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NFL Draft Press Conference Wrap-Up

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

"OK, I'd like to begin by saying it's been a three-day experience. I've been getting the opportunity to be told what some of the TV ratings have been about the coverage; I think it's been very good. I think how the Draft has kind of flowed the last couple of days has been very good, so I think the initiative that [Commissioner] Roger [Goodell] had about making this a three-day event has been very successful. To kind of sum up the Draft, I think I have to basically go back to the beginning: Each year, I could come in here and say how great the scouts and the coaches work together, but again, this year I think we've topped what we've done in the past. The way that our coaches and our scouts interact with each other, our medical staff, the video staff and [vice president of information technology] Billy [Jankowski] and his guys with the computers… It takes a whole lot for us to be able to put together a Draft, and I think everyone stepped it up. And I'm reminded of the big snowstorm that we had here [in February], and the scouts were in town, and we had to continue with our meetings, and our two associates that work on the grounds crew that did everything to make sure we were able to get into the parking lot and get out of the parking lot. When we talk about team, I think the Ravens organization has stepped up to make this a very, very good Draft for us. And I should commend everyone that has been involved in it. I know Steve [Bisciotti] and Dick [Cass] feel the same way. As far as the seven players we have picked, we'll all get a chance to share a comment or two about it. When we first met with Steve on Thursday, in our Draft prep meeting, he asked me the question, 'How many picks would you like to have in this Draft?' And I think I pulled one out of my hat, I said, 'Seven.' But I felt like – based on all of the information that had been accumulated over the last year – that to come away with seven good players would really, really help our football team, not only for the opener against the Jets, but in future years. And not to elaborate on the seven players, but I think last night was very productive. And I was able to get a little sleep last night, but then to be able to come back today and to pick the four players that we were able to get today, I think this has been a very, very productive three days for the Baltimore Ravens."

Head coach John Harbaugh's opening statement:

"Like Ozzie, you can't say it any better than that, just from the organization [standpoint]. But if I could? The coaches, first of all, I thought that the work they put into it and the effort they put into it was as good as I've ever seen. Our scouts built a foundation under that board that is just fantastic. And you take a look at that board and its final product, and you see what Joe Hortiz's group of area scouts did for the last 365 days and even multiple years to build this Draft. You have a lot of confidence in that board. I mean, I just felt like we could look at that board – right Eric? Ozzie? – and just say, 'You know what? This board, we can trust it.' And to me, that's a credit to our scouts. I thought watching Ozzie and Eric and Joe work, as far as the trade… And then not just the trade, because you can get picks, but picks don't mean anything until they become players. You know, we'll find out three [or] four years down the road how good these guys are, but they got players that we're excited about as a coaching staff to have – guys that we targeted and we wanted. That just speaks volumes. And then Mr. Bisciotti… The job Steve did in that room, in terms of helping us orchestrate the trade and figure out the values, and the expertise he brings to the table – I think you'd agree Ozzie – was really something. So, it's a team effort and I think… Just one additional note: After we didn't have a guy after the first day and made a first- round deal for the first time, it's tough. And we came in and we were all a little bit edgy, we were all a little bit [edgy]. And we went back, and we were watching tape, and we were talking about scenarios and who we might get and who we might not get and kind of battling it out a little bit more. And then to have it fall the way it did because of the work that was put underneath those picks was really, really rewarding. And we're excited about it as coaches."

Are there any common elements among the seven players you selected?

(NEWSOME) "I really don't know – other than the consensus in the room when it came to picking that player. That was a common thread. I cannot say any one particular thing in my mind. Maybe these other three guys – after hearing me not answer the question – maybe they can answer the question for you. But, I can't come up with a common thread, other than we're happy to have them all."

Ozzie, will you talk about the two tight ends that were selected?

(NEWSOME) "Well, we got [Ed] Dickson… One thing that we try to do when we bring players in is that, when they get here, they bring something to the table already. When they walk in the door, we know these guys can do certain things, and then we try to improve on the things they can't do. Both Dickson and [Dennis] Pitta are excellent receivers, have excellent ability to work the middle of the field, excellent ability to be able to gain yards after the catch, and they provide big targets for Joe [Flacco]. We've got a 6-6 quarterback, and I've listened to Cam [Cameron] for three years talking about 'big throwing to big.' And now we have a quarterback that can throw to some big targets in the middle of the field, that even when they're covered, they're not covered. So, that's the way we felt about both of them. And it's kind of unusual for us to have picked a player at a position, and then come back and back it up, but that's how good we felt about bringing Dennis [Pitta] into the fold."

John, how will you plan on implementing those tight ends into the offense?

(HARBAUGH) "It can't be said any better than [what Ozzie said], other than the first step to finding out what they can do for us in the field is plugging them into our roster, into our depth chart. And these guys – I think one thing that runs through all these guys – they fit our depth chart really well. They were the best available player on the board at the time. They also were needs that we had, and we have spots for these guys on our team. So now, how we use them – how they fit in, middle of the field, downfield, whatever those opportunities are – I think now we start building that through the minicamps and the OTAs."

Joe, what are your thoughts on the players that were chosen in today's rounds?

(HORTIZ) "Well, Dennis [Pitta] – I think Ozzie touched on him – he's a real instinctive player. He lines up in the slot and at traditional tight end. He's got outstanding hands. In the five or six games I've watched him, he dropped one ball. He's a real savvy route runner and just knows how to get open versus a zone. He's quick and sudden enough to be a mismatch versus linebackers, and he just brings that flexibility to an offense where you can line him up on the line or put him out in the slot. David Reed, to me, he's a crafty route runner. I'm being honest – he was one of my favorite guys in the Draft. He's got really good hands, really good body control and excellent toughness. He's 6-foot, 190 pounds, and you'll see him go over the middle of the field like he's 6-2, 220 [pounds], and he gets hit like he's 6-1, 190. He'll get knocked back and snapped, but he jumps right back up and the next play he's catching the ball over the middle of the field. So, he's just a really tough, aggressive wide receiver with some playmaking ability. Art Jones is a guy, to me, that is a big-body 'D' tackle with athleticism and competitiveness. His long speed is probably average, but we don't ask those guys to get outside to the sideline very often. He's a high school wrestler who was a national champion, or finished in the nationals in high school, so he's a leverage player like Goose [Tony Siragusa], like Kelly Gregg. He has that background, foundation. He battled some injuries this year starting in the spring with a torn peck and then he had a knee [injury], but he's got a lot of ability. And when you watch that junior tape, he's a much better player than he was as a senior, and he as a good player as a senior as well. Then, [Ramon] Harewood is a huge man. I mean he's a giant. You guys are going to see him – he's massive. He can knock down his side of the line of scrimmage. He's raw. He needs a lot of developmental work and technique, but he's got foot speed. He ran a 5.08 at his pro day. He didn't go to the Combine, and he got hurt when he ran on his pro day, but that's another story. He's got a lot of work to do, but he's got the passion and drive to get better."

As far the defensive secondary is concerned, do you feel like you have what it takes to compete with the elite QBs in the league?

(NEWSOME) "No. 1, I think how you can affect the passer is you have to get after the passer, and Sergio [Kindle] can do that. We think Arthur Jones can do that also. We know what Terence [Cody] can do, but as we move forward, the roster is still fluid and we don't have to play the Jets until the Monday of the regular season opener, and there probably are going to be some opportunities to do some other things there. But we feel good about it, because if you can hit the quarterback, and you hit him enough times, then you don't have to be as good in the secondary."

Does drafting WR David Reed send a message to current WRs Demetrius Williams and Mark Clayton?

(HARBAUGH) "We don't really send messages. To me, it goes without saying that it's a competitive league. It's tough to play in NFL, it's tough to make a team, it's tough to earn playing time, it's tough to start. That's why you have so much respect for the players in this league. Our guys know they have to compete, and just like we've said all along, the guys who play the best are going to be the guys who play. So, David Reed will get in there and compete, and we'll see what he can do. And who ever he's going against – offense, defense, special teams – whatever the situation is, that's what we're all about, and I think that's how you build a better football team."

What goes on around the facility now that the Draft is over?

(DeCOSTA) "Well, I think our guys have been starting for a long time. [Southeast area scout] Joe Douglas and [Pro Scout] Mark Azevedo are the two guys that coordinate the undrafted free agency, along with the coaches. We've been calling players for the last month or so. We've been recruiting guys, sending out some letters, different technological things with Twitter and different things like that. We have our list of guys that we really want to go after. Some of that is dependent on if they get drafted or not, obviously. At this time right now, since we're done picking, our guys are actually talking to players, calling players. We're allowed to do that to tell them that we're very interested in them as free agents. We've had some preliminary conversations with agents about guys. Sometimes, a guy you're talking to actually gets picked, which happened today and it happened last year. It's kind of a funny thing, but we're ahead of the game. That's one of the nice things about not having a seventh-round pick is you can start early in this process. [Vice president of football administration] Pat Moriarty and [executive assistant/football administration manager] Jessica Markison kind of coordinate the contracts for us. It's a lot of paperwork involved with that. The coaches are making phone calls getting back to Joe and Mark trying to get commitments from players after the Draft. We can't actually get a solid commitment until they're not picked. In that case, we get these guys signed up, get the contracts out to them and come back on Monday and see how many of those guys actually sent back the contracts and move forward."

How do you feel about the first-round trade now that you've got the picks to show for it?

(NEWSOME) "I think John said it best. It's one thing to have the picks, but when you can match the players to the pick, it changes your outlook. Sitting there Thursday night and just having picks, it was a very uneasy feeling. But sitting here today, and if someone were to ask me the question, 'Would you make that trade again?' I'd say, 'Yes, I would,' based on the picks we got and based on the players we got with the picks."

How tough was it on Friday dealing with wondering if the player you wanted wasn't going to be there when your pick came?

(NEWSOME) "Well, the only thing I can say to the uneasiness that went on is that we all want to win. At the end of the day, when there are disagreements and things get a little testy, it's only because we're trying to win. The good part about this building is that people can disagree with each other and people can get after each other a little bit, but it's all in good taste. We're just trying to win. We're just trying to do what's good. So, when it gets a little testy, and I always say, 'We've got a lack of sleep here, guys…' So, we've got to be careful, but it was out there because we just want to win."

Do you think Ramon Harewood is going to get looks at tackle and guard, and what can you say about his background?

(DeCOSTA) "If I'm not mistaken, he's the first Barbadian football player to be drafted in the NFL. He's a monster of a man, very physical. [He's a] real intelligent kid. He actually does want to be a rocket scientist someday, if you talk to him. He's very bright, but he's huge. We'll probably start him out at tackle, would be my guess, but probably move him inside at guard. He may play both spots. Our coaches really like him. [Assistant offensive line coach] Andy Moeller went down and worked him out him March down there at the school [Morehouse], and he was impressive in his workout. We think he's got a lot of upside. I didn't scout Orlando Brown when he came out, but this guy has that same type of size and body, and hopefully, he can end up being as good as Orlando was."

Are you planning on trying to sign a rookie kicker as an undrafted free agent?

(NEWSOME) "No, I don't think we'll be signing a rookie kicker. But, I do feel that by the time we get to training camp, there probably will be some competition at the kicking position."

I counted 16 tight ends taken by the sixth round. How typical is that? Where do you place the tight ends you drafted among all the others?

(DeCOSTA) "I think there was definitely a run in the second and third days on tight ends. We felt like it was a very deep tight end pool. We think we got two of the better ones, honestly. We had both guys rated very high. They're similar is some ways and they're different in some ways, Dixon and Pitta, but both guys are very, very good football players, both very durable guys – excellent size, excellent hands, receiving ability, and we feel very fortunate. It's interesting that New England and us in a span of two or three picks both ended up picking tight ends, two tight ends. I think that speaks to the talent at that position that us and New England would both take two tight ends pretty early in the Draft. We felt like it was a very, very deep crop of guys this year."

Did that run on corners make it so that drafting one didn't make a lot of sense from a value standpoint?

(NEWSOME) "Every year there is a run. There was a run on receivers in the third round. I think maybe 10 of them might have went off in the third round. At a position there's going to be a run on players, and you can either be in the mix or you can be outside of the mix. To say that we were interested in some of the ones that went, yes. But, when you're outside of the mix, for us, we don't feel that we have to reach."

What will the special teams impact of these newly-drafted players be?

(HARBAUGH) "Football players like to be on the field and they like to play, and you've got some guys that have some unique abilities. Sergio Kindle's going to be able to run down the field on kickoffs. He's a physical, hard-hitting kind of guy, and he's fast and he's big and he likes to play. I don't think Cody will be running down on kickoffs, but he can block field goals. He can run over offensive linemen – he's done that in the past. Of course, Ed Dickson, he's a tight end that can really run, and he's athletic. Pitta's the same way – he can run, he's athletic, he's a big, rangy guy. He can cover kicks and stuff. David Reed… So that's what's exciting to me, that you've got a bunch of guys that bring something to the table as far as size and speed that can play special teams."

Can you see Dickson and Pitta splitting out, like the kind of tight end that seems to be the trend in the NFL these days?

(DeCOSTA) "I don't know. I think that's up to Cam [Cameron] and the coaches how we use them, but these guys have done a lot of different things. They're versatile. Both guys can split out, and they move around the line of scrimmage. They can play around the point of attack. They can play on the line of scrimmage. I mean, they've done it all. They're just good football players."

What is the perception of David Reed? Is he more receiver or kick returner?

(HORTIZ) "He was a really good receiver this year at Utah. He came in… He was a Ju-Co [junior college] kid. Last year, he didn't spend a lot of time on the field in terms of being a starter. He got there late and then turned out to be their best kick returner as a junior. He filled that role last year as a junior. This year, he was so valuable to them in their offense. He caught twice as many balls as any other receiver on that team, and they took him off kick returns, obviously, because of that. So, to me, he's a receiver who can return kicks, personally. He's pretty good as a receiver, and like I said, he was pretty good as a returner last year as a junior."

Do you see Reed in the slot more than outside?

(HORTIZ) "He plays both. I can see him doing both. [When] you watch film, he works the slot and then he beats corners that run 4.4 downfield. I think he can do both. I'd say he definitely has value as a slot guy, because he's an instinctive guy with feel and good hands and toughness over the middle."

What's your general impression of the Draft class?

(DeCOSTA) "I'm excited. I think, as Ozzie alluded to earlier, that trade was mentally challenging, but it ended up really being the beginning of a great Draft. I mean, without that trade, we're sort of handicapped. We had to deal with a little bit of frustration early, but if you had said to me that just looking at the first three guys – Kindle, Cody, Dickson – those are guys that we honestly coveted before the Draft started. These other guys – Pitta, Reed, Jones and Harewood – all have people in this building that really, really like these guys a lot. That sense of ownership is really what you strive [for] as a scouting staff, to have people in your building that are really excited about your players. Each one of these guys right now, I could give you a name and say, 'That guy is fired up.' And usually, when you have that, that means that guy is going to be pretty good. So we feel really good about it."

How do you think the Ravens' class sizes up with the rest of the division's?

(NEWSOME) "You see what Pittsburgh has done with [Maurkice] Pouncey, but then again they went out and got three guys that can rush. But, I think they did that to improve their special teams. You get guys that can run and hit. I think they felt like their special teams were not up to par, so they took this Draft to get better at it. You see where Cleveland is: They've got a transition going on in that organization between Mike [Holmgren] and Eric [Mangini]. They're meshing as to the type of players that they want to put on the field. You could see the flavor there. They were able to come away with a young quarterback later in the Draft. They did a good job. And Cincinnati, [Jermaine] Gresham is a load. [Carlos] Dunlap can play. [Jordan] Shipley, I know from working with their wide receiver coach, Mike [Sheppard], who was here, they were looking for an inside slot guy. They got Shipley. They all improved themselves. I think that's what the Draft is all about, is having the opportunity to improve your football team, and I think all three teams in our division did that."

Coach, before the Draft started, you said that you wanted to get one or two cornerbacks out of this class. How surprised are you that you didn't get any?

(HARBAUGH) "I said that we would add two cornerbacks onto our team. That's what I said, one way or another. You'd like to get one of them through the Draft, maybe, and one of them through some other means, but we weren't able to do that. I don't think it was a real deep corner class, myself. I think there was a group of corners at the top of the Draft that you really liked, and after that it was second-tier guys. Those guys are kind of like rolling dice – you're never sure which one of those guys are going to make it. We were looking at those guys in the fourth round, but we couldn't justify one of those guys over Pitta. We just couldn't do it as far as being the type of player that we know he's going to be. And that's where we're at right now. So, we'll find a way, as Ozzie said, we'll find a way to add a corner. We've got guys who can play. Two guys are getting healthier, and I'm real excited about what we're going to do in the secondary. We'll be fine."

Does Frank Walker remain a possibility for the secondary?

(HARBAUGH) "Sure, absolutely Frank's a possibility."

When you have two consecutive picks, is there any reason to pick one player in front of the other?

(NEWSOME) "No, not really, other than one of them is going to be a little bit happier than the other, because he's going to get paid more money. (laughter) But no, not really. We had some action going on at that pick. Some people wanted us to move back. Some people even offered us picks for next year. But, we liked the two players and there was a lot of discussion as it came to those two picks, and we decided which two it was. I know the League is happy that I didn't take my whole 10 minutes that I had at that point. I got it done a little sooner."

It looks like your defensive front seven got a lot younger. Can you talk about how that's beneficial?

(HARBAUGH) "I think, obviously, it's the way that the NFL works. There are always new guys coming into the league, and they can play. It's competition, but I think it benefits our guys who are here. It's funny, because everybody wants to challenge and say this means something for the guy that's already there. That's not the case with this Draft. You look at the tight ends: Todd Heap is our tight end, and we expect a great year from Todd Heap. Kelly Gregg is our nose guard. We expect a great year from Kelly Gregg. Jarret Johnson is our SAM linebacker. Terrell Suggs is our rush linebacker, and we expect those guys to have a great year. I think adding… No great player is disappointed when you bring another great player in to play with them, because they realize that great players make each other better. That's going to just take pressure off guys. A lot of guys will rotate in and just make us a better defense."

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