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NFL Draft First-Round Press Conference

Ravens executive vice president/general manager Ozzie Newsome's opening statement:

"OK, guys and young ladies, as you see we traded out of the first round. I guess that's the first time in the history of this franchise that we've traded out of the first round. But you know, when [we] started, there were three teams that had multiple second-round picks; it was the Broncos, the Buccaneers and the Patriots. And I've had dialogue with those teams going back maybe two weeks. [I] had some serious conversations with Denver yesterday. They made me an initial offer early this morning, and after the Draft unfolded, they kept increasing the offer. And as we started to look at the board, and understanding where our football team is right now and having the opportunity to get the extra picks… Because if you look at it now, each pick that we gave to Arizona [for Anquan Boldin], we have improved on those picks in those rounds. And now we have seven picks in this Draft, and we've always felt that this was a Draft that could be very beneficial to us if we could have multiple picks. And now we have them."

Ravens director of player personnel Eric DeCosta's opening statement:

"Well, we're a team that historically has been built through the Draft, and we knew back in September this was going to be a strong Draft. And it's proven to be a strong Draft, and we wanted more picks. Our scouts and coaches are very excited. We see tomorrow as a tremendous opportunity for this organization to get better. There is going to be a little bit of uneasiness as we see some of these early players come off the board, but there are some great opportunities for us to get better, and we're excited about that."

So, WR Dez Bryant wasn't necessarily the desired pick of the Ravens?

*(NEWSOME) *"You know, as it stands right now, that offer was so good [from Denver], that if Dez Bryant doesn't get picked in front of us and makes it to us, we probably still would have made the trade. And to add onto that, we had a chance to move up to that spot that Dallas moved up to to get Dez Bryant, and we decided against it."

Did it floor you with QB Tim Tebow being taken in the spot you traded out of?

(NEWSOME) "Well, I was on the phone with Denver, and normally, it's 'OK, we'll make the [trade if you] tell me who the player is.' And he said, 'Yes, but I've got to call the player.' And he said, 'Just hang on the phone and I'll get back to you.' But by that time, we saw Tim Tebow with the phone [on TV], so we knew it. You know, there were some rumors swirling that they had some sincere interest in Tebow, and that's why they made the trade and gave us the picks that they gave us, was to get up and get him."

Ozzie, you said Denver had increased its offer throughout the day. Would you have still done this with Denver's original offer?

(NEWSOME) "No, but I think at the end of the day, I think we ended up getting at least three different offers from them. So, they changed it like two or three times. So, we sat there, and the offer got better. But in their mind, they had accumulated a lot of picks, you know, by moving back. They made a good pick in Demaryius Thomas up a little bit earlier, but I guess they had their mind set on getting that quarterback. Now, there were some other people trying to get into that spot too, that we think might have been trying to get to the same player. Now, I don't work for that organization, but there was another team trying to get our pick in front of Denver."

Was Denver the only team that you were talking to for the 25th pick?

(NEWSOME) "No, we had some other offers for that pick."

Did you try to get back into the first round after trading away the 25th pick?

(NEWSOME) "We made some calls to the bottom of the first round. We had some scenarios where we could get back into the first round without giving any picks, you know, just moving around a little bit. But we did make some calls, but all three of those teams chose to pick."

Were you guys surprised by some of the players that were still available when the 25th pick came up?

*(DeCOSTA) *"Well, there are certainly some guys that we really like still there. Otherwise, we would have probably just stayed there and picked. You know, we've done this before, where we traded back and still got the player that we would have taken. And you need to have a little bit of luck, but certainly, there are some players that we really like. Definitely. It wasn't that hard of a decision based on the players available."

As you guys set up your board and watched the Draft go, did they match up a lot? Were there any surprises you saw in the first round?

(*DeCOSTA) *"There's always a few surprises. A few in particular kind of surprised us. But you know what? I think we had… We nailed 30 of the 32 first-round picks, so we weren't that surprised."

Now that the first round is over, looking into the second round, are there still players available that you would have still selected at 25?

*(NEWSOME) *"Yes. Yes it is."

Are any of those players worth trading up for?

*(NEWSOME) *"The problem with that – and we've already talked about it in the room – this is like having that fourth-round pick, and we've had it before in other Drafts before. I'm sure… It's St. Louis [picking first on Friday], right? St. Louis is going to be getting a lot of calls. And if you get overly anxious, you can end up giving up a lot more. They're going to be able to sit there and have an auction, whether they want to pick or someone is going to give up a whole lot more to come up and get that pick. Will we be on the phone tomorrow? Yes, we'll be on the phone tomorrow. But, we'll be prepared to pick at 43 also."

Did you know from the beginning that you wanted to move down, or was there a temptation to stick at 25 if some guys were still available?

*(NEWSOME) *"No. As the board started to unfold, and as the team started to call us and make us offers about trading out of the pick, we were matching up what's available on the board vs. what we can get from this pick."

Can you describe the reaction of the room once you made the trade compared to if you had made a pick?

(DeCOSTA) *"I think there were some people like Steve [Bisciotti] who were very, very happy. Draft picks are a little bit like currency, and we have more money now to play tomorrow. I think that yeah, we're excited, it's just that there's a little bit of uneasiness because we don't know who we're going to get. I thought that I would be able to sleep tonight knowing who our first-round pick was, and now I'm going to be up all night again waiting until 6 o'clock tomorrow night. *(laughter) From that standpoint, it's frustrating. The new format makes it frustrating. As Ozzie said, let's just call the Commissioner and see if we can keep this thing going. We're fired up, but now we have to wait until 6 o'clock tomorrow night. It's a weird feeling. I think everybody's kind of mulling all the possibilities now – the players that we can get, but we don't have them yet."

Is it an advantage at all that you have the time to go back and rework the board from the first to second round because of this format?

*(NEWSOME) *"I mean, we've had the opportunity to do it before when we would go from the first two rounds and then we'd… We'd always have to reshuffle the board in the fourth round. Since we've done it before, we know how to do it. And you figure what we used to do in the fourth round – you take [Le'Ron] McClain, Jarret Johnson, some of the guys, Ovie Mughelli… We are used to adjusting our board, so we'll be able to do it tonight. We'll do it tonight before we go home, but then we'll be able to set [and] have all day tomorrow to massage it some more."

If you had stayed with the 25th pick, knowing the six picks who were behind you, are you at liberty to say who you would have picked?

*(NEWSOME) *"No, I will not tell you. But we did have players ranked, but I will not tell you who we would have taken, no."

Is he off the board?

*(NEWSOME) *"Is he off the board? At this point, yes."

When Jermaine Gresham was picked by Cincinnati, what were your thoughts about having to face the guy twice a year?

*(NEWSOME) *"Well, I mean… [Maurkice] Pouncey, we're going to have to face him twice a year. Joe Haden, we're going to have to face him twice a year. We are accustomed to having to play against players, and as picks were being made, we were saying, 'We're going to have to play against this guy.' I mean, with our 16-game schedule, we look at it like that, but we have a vast amount of knowledge on all of those players, so we feel like we can match up with all the ones that have been picked so far."

Have you had any talks about trades involving any of your players?

*(NEWSOME) *"No, I have not."

With the new format of the Draft, do you think that enhanced Denver being so active?

*(NEWSOME) *"No. I think when Denver first called me and said they would be willing to move to 25, they also said, 'We're at 11, and we want to move out of 11.' So they had a plan in place. Whether we were on the old 15-minute-per-pick [rule] and we were doing two or three rounds, they had a plan in place and they executed their plan."

Are you satisfied with the picks you have tomorrow, or is there a chance you might be making calls in the morning to see if you can move up or down?

*(NEWSOME) *"We will be doing both. As a matter of fact, we already have gotten calls about people wanting to move to our spot at 43. We already have an offer on the table."

Were you surprised at the pace of the Draft? To follow up on that, I want to get your thoughts on Tim Tebow going in the first round?

*(DeCOSTA) *"I think we were surprised a little bit by the pace. It moved pretty quickly. It seemed like each team on the clock felt like an obligation to follow suit, because everybody picked really quickly – at least through the first 20 picks, then it slowed down a bit. You know what? Tebow is a guy that has loads of potential, great kid. Very, very intelligent, phenomenal intangibles, and obviously they feel like he's the quarterback of the future. They paid a big price to get him. And there were other teams as well that wanted him. It was a leverage situation for us, and obviously, by that very fact, that there were at least two teams trying to get him, tells you kind of how the league feels about him."

So, Tebow was going in the first round either way?(NEWSOME) "We think so. There were some other teams trying to get ahead of the team that ended up drafting him. We're assuming that's what they were trying to do."

If you had seven or more picks to begin the night with, would you have targeted a player and tried to move up, or would you have held on to those picks?
(NEWSOME) "I think with our team as it is right now, and the way the board is stacked, I think we've been sitting here saying, 'Let's get more picks.' I don't think anyone came down the board that far. Now if [Ndamukong] Suh or [Gerald] McCoy had come down the board that far – if they had made it to 15 of 16 – I probably would have [traded up]."

What are your personal feelings about the new format of the Draft?(NEWSOME) "Well, I'm on the Competition Committee, and I'm one of the ones who voted for it. I think what you saw with those first 20 picks that Eric alluded to, people have had all day to prepare themselves. So, you know what? They were ready to pick. I think it provided for more excitement from a TV standpoint, because there wasn't a whole lot of dead time. We didn't have to listen to all the analysts talk about the players, because as soon as one pick was made, the other pick was in. I think it worked out from that standpoint, but we'll see tomorrow when seven and five [minutes] is the amount of time. If it stays a fast-paced Draft, then we have accomplished what we wanted to, because now it's good for TV."

Why couldn't this format have happened some other year? Doesn't the NFL instruct you to be quick with picks?
(NEWSOME) "We are not instructed to be quick with picks. People can still use their whole 10 minutes. But I think maybe because we had all day, people were just sitting there [saying], 'You know what? When we get on the clock, our guy here will just turn it in.'"

(DeCOSTA) "It seemed to me that teams had a plan this year of what exactly they wanted to do, and they did it."

Did the Draft only slow down in the 20s with all the trades?

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