DAY 2 PRESS CONFERENCES & CONFERENCE CALLS
(NEWSOME)"OK, we had the two picks in the second round, the first one being Courtney [Upshaw], and then we stayed true to the board and picked, I am not going to try to pronounce his name [Kelechi Osemele]. We call him 'K.O.' in the draft room. Coming in today, when you talk about the two guys we got, they both were seniors, so they bring a level of maturity to the locker room already. They are guys that have made their way through two pretty good programs. And when you talk about Courtney, there still is a game we call football, and Courtney is a football player. Obviously, he played at the alma mater of myself, and I had the opportunity to watch him a lot. K.O. is an offensive lineman that has the potential to play either guard or tackle for us. So, it gives us some flexibility there."
(DECOSTA)"Just excited to get these two guys. We put a lot of time in with both players, looking at both guys. I think they are two players who our scouts are excited about, and certainly, I think, two players that our coaches are very, very excited about too. We had a chance to spend a lot of time with these two guys over the last couple of months in various settings, and we think they are great fits for this football team, and we think they are going to help us moving forward."
Obviously there are a lot of talented Alabama players in this draft. Were you surprised Courtney Upshaw was there at the 35th pick?* (Joe Platania)*
(NEWSOME)"Yes, in a sense. I am sure if you had asked us back in October or November, would Courtney make it to the third pick in the second round? Everybody would have probably said, 'Probably not.' He was a guy that we talked about at [pick No.] 29 also."
Eric, in terms of Kelechi Osemele, what games stood out to you as you guys evaluated him, in terms of competition? (Aaron Wilson)
(DECOSTA)"Well, I think at the Senior Bowl, he was one of the better offensive linemen that we had a chance to watch all week. We saw a big, physical guy with very, very long arms who moves well on his feet. [He is] strong. I think he benched 32 reps at the Combine. We spent a week with him down there. We had a chance to see him. I was watching him vs. Oklahoma just the other day, looking at another player on Oklahoma's team. He stood out in that game. I think I have had the chance to watch him play a couple times over the years against Iowa, and he has held up really well. As a young player, he played really well against [current Buccaneers DE Adrian] Clayborn of Iowa, this was going back a few years. He is a talented guy, no doubt about it. We had the chance to spend some time with him at the Combine. We interviewed him, and we were impressed with him."
John, with Courtney Upshaw, do you see him competing with Paul Kruger for the SAM linebacker job? (Aaron Wilson)
(HARBAUGH)"Yes. Obviously, it bolsters our linebacker situation. It gives us one more player in that mix. It allows us to move some guys around a little bit, but Paul [Kruger] is still the lead dog there. He is the veteran guy. It will give us another pass rusher. Courtney will provide great competition. There will certainly, obviously, be tremendous depth. It adds one more guy into the mix in special teams. Obviously, it makes us more physical on defense. We will continue to be physical and stay physical, because that's the kind of player he is, and both these guys really, offensively and defensively, give us two very physical players."
Do you sense that he [Upshaw] is kind of hungry because he had to wait a little bit longer than his other teammates? They all went last night, but he had to wait until today. Do you think that is something that will motivate him? (Aaron Wilson)
(HARBAUGH)"Yes, you know, it's a really good point. Both guys we got on the phone, wouldn't you say, Ozzie?"
(HARBAUGH)"Both guys were a little bit miffed about where they were taken. They were happy to come to Baltimore. They were both real excited about that. But, they both feel like they have something to prove."
Joe, what was your take on these guys as you watched the tapes and as you got to know them? (Aaron Wilson)
(HORTIZ)"With Courtney, obviously, I favor the Southeastern Conference, so I have seen him for a long time, even though I am an Auburn guy. He is a really explosive player and heavy-handed. He plays hard, and he is versatile. He has played with his hand down and up, so he can stand up on two feet and play and then get down and play in the sub packages as a rusher. I think both guys come from programs where we know the staffs pretty well. Our scouts, when they go in there to talk to the head coaches there and the defensive coordinators, and our coaching staff here knows those guys, so I feel like we know both players really well. I feel like we are pretty solid."
Eric, in terms of setting the edge, that was something that Jarret Johnson did so well for you guys. How would you rate Courtney's ability to do that and stop the run? (Aaron Wilson)
(DECOSTA)"Well, I think that's his specialty. That's one of the things that was so attractive about him. He plays like a junkyard dog. He has a strong punch. He is a physical, violent football player. We're excited about that. That's not an easy position to play. A lot of guys can't do that. A lot of guys can rush the passer, a lot of guys can drop and play in space, but setting the edge is really one of the most important things at that position. We feel this guy can really do that."
Ozzie, did you guys at all look to trade up after you picked at 35 to get somebody in that range between 35 and 60? (Stan White)
(NEWSOME)"We talked about it, but the way the board was stacked, we felt like one of our four or five top players that we had rated coming in today had a chance to make the 60[th pick]. But, we did talk about it, and we also talked about moving back and collecting more picks also."
When you got to those picks, 60, was there more than one guy there that you were really considering with that pick? (Stan White)
(NEWSOME)"Yes, yes there was. There was a couple of players that were there, and maybe they'll be there when we get to that next pick."
Would you say this is because of need then because they were pretty equal guys? (Stan White)
(NEWSOME)"Well, we needed the other player too, and we had this player rated higher than that player, but we can use both."
Ozzie, you said the needs you wanted to address were pass rush, offensive live – and you took care of those – but you also mentioned wide receiver. Is this a deep draft for wide receivers? Are you confident you will be able to find a player that can help you guys out in the next few rounds? (Matt Vensel)
(NEWSOME)"We feel like there are some receivers left on our board that we think can come in and compete with the guys that we have on our roster."
John, is Osemele someone that you assume can step in at left guard and play right away? (Glenn Clark)
(HARBAUGH)"Have you been practicing that pronunciation? *(laughter) *Quite impressive. Yes, that would be a possibility. I think left guard or right tackle. I think that we will just let those guys compete and see also who meshes better where. Jah [Reid] being in the mix, and also Michael Oher being in the mix and Bryant McKinnie being in the mix. You know what, it gives us some competition, and we like that."
Ozzie, I know you keep one eye on the rest of the division and one eye on your team. How much do you think you guys have improved compared with what you have seen thus far with the rest of the division? (Jerry Coleman)
(NEWSOME)"I think I'd like to reserve the answer to that question until this thing finishes, and then I can walk over, and I can look at what Pittsburgh has done with all of their picks, what Cincinnati has done with theirs and with Cleveland. I think everybody has done a good job thus far, but I think how you do on Day Three really determines how well your draft is."
**SECOND-ROUND PICK OLB COURTNEY UPSHAW: CONFERENCE CALL
On being drafted by the Ravens and having to wait until the second round: "First off, I'm very excited to be chosen by the Baltimore Ravens and that whole organization and the coaching staff and everybody there. The wait was a little frustrating at times, but I'm very excited and very happy to be chosen in the second round and by the Baltimore Ravens."
On if it was a shock that he was picked by the Ravens with Ozzie Newsome's Alabama roots: "I wasn't shocked. I went into today kind of hoping that I'd be a Baltimore Raven. I can't do nothing but smile once I got the call. I started the 'tough-guy' act going. My family would get teary-eyed. I didn't want them to see me getting down. Not down, but teary-eyed and crying and all that. Like I said, I'm very excited, and I'm ready to get it going. I'll actually be there tonight."
On what kind of football player the Ravens received: "I'm [a] tough, physical player. I feel like I'm relentless, and I get after the ball. I'm a playmaker, and at the end of the day, I'm a football player. I love the game."
On what it feels like knowing that he's going to play with future Hall of Famers in Ray Lewis and Ed Reed: "That's the exciting thing about it, as well. I wanted to play for Ozzie [Newsome] and Coach [John] Harbaugh. But, Ray Lewis is Ray Lewis. As a kid, most of us, I can probably speak for a lot of players, especially on the defensive side, to actually play with Ray Lewis, who you dream of being like him one day, his leadership, him and Ed [Reed] bring, and [Terrell] Suggs, everybody there. It's already a great organization, but those players there make it even better."
On what his meetings and conversations with Coach Harbaugh have been like: "They basically just wanted to feel me out, talk about football and see if my head was there. They all went good."
On if he visited Baltimore and also if the Ravens worked him out:"Both. Baltimore was my first visit."
On why he felt like he dropped out of the first round: "I don't know. I can't speak on that. I'm sure the coaches and GMs can answer that for you guys, but honestly, I don't know."
On if he expects to compete for a starting spot on defense: "Most definitely. I don't go into any situation thinking I'm going to be behind a guy. I'm going in thinking, 'Hey, I'm going in to compete.' And that's what I'm supposed to do. [I've] got a lot of high expectations on myself, so of course I'm going to go in and compete."
SECOND-ROUND PICK T KELECHI OSEMELE: CONFERENCE CALL
On how he sees himself fitting in with the Ravens and what he brings to the table:"I feel like I bring a lot of competitiveness, and I feel like I bring a lot of physicality and aggression to the table. I just want to get in there and compete from Day One and try to fit where I may. You know, let the cards fall where they may and try to make the team better."
On whether he was a little miffed by having to wait until the 60th pick to be drafted:"Well yeah, that's true. I'll just use that as a motivator more than anything to help fuel me when I first get in there and try to prove everybody wrong and try to prove the naysayers wrong. And hopefully 10 years from now, I'll still be there and be playing."
On whether he sees himself as more of a left guard or if he could play tackle in Baltimore:"It really doesn't matter to me, honestly. At the Senior Bowl, I played a lot of guard, and I dominated, so regardless of where I am, I just need to be physical like I always do."
On his meetings with the Ravens:"What specifically do you want to talk about? I mean, we just basically talked about football. [They] just got a grasp of my football IQ and things of that nature."
On whether he had an inclination that Baltimore was interested in him:"I've known that they were pretty interested in me. I've heard, from my agent obviously, that they were interested, and they were looking at me. I talked to the [general manager] and all the coaches and everything like that. So, I had a pretty good idea that they were interested."
On whether he took a visit to Baltimore:"No, no."
On whether the Ravens went to Iowa to work him out:"No, sir."
On whether his size is his calling-card:"It's just like the way that I play. It's just the aggression that I play with, the physicality more than anything."
THIRD-ROUND PICK RB BERNARD PIERCE: CONFERENCE CALL
On his thoughts of trying to compete for the backup job with RB Ray Rice:"He's an amazing player. I've watched a lot of film on him. He does his job, and he does it well. But I just want to come on the team and try to contribute any way I possibly can."
On whether he is surprised that the Ravens came up to select him in the third round:"You know, I got interest from people – and I wouldn't say it surprised me – but hey, I'm happy to be a Raven."
On what type of feedback he got from coaches after his meeting with the Ravens:"It was a good visit. The coaches welcomed me with open arms, and they're great guys. Now it's time to start progressing and getting in the playbook and getting ready for the season."
On how well he fits the Ravens' scheme as a zone runner and what he brings to the table:"You know, if you want me to get those short yards, those fourth-and-ones, third-and-shorts, I can definitely contribute to a game plan any way you want me to. I'm a big back. I'm not just going to go down easy. I'm definitely going to fight for every yard."
On his decision to leave school early:"I felt as though I did a lot for Temple. And in such little time being there, I put my heart, body and soul all on the line for the team. I love my teammates, but at the end of the day, I have a child on the way and it's time for me to grow up. So, I needed to make sure that I was able to step up and provide for my family."
On whether there is a sense of gratification that the Ravens traded up to get him:"I kept texting the coach, I would say in the beginning of the first round, just texting, texting, texting, and he told me he was trying to get me. So, I just trusted him, and I waited, and I got the phone call."
On which coach he was texting:"Harbs [head coach John Harbaugh]."
On what the meetings were like with Harbaugh:"He is real good guy, real good guy. He is cool, down-to-earth. He is a real guy. I think we clicked immediately as soon as I walked into the meeting room with him."
On potentially practicing with the first-team offense this offseason:"I am ready. I am definitely ready. It's going to be different, but I am going to adapt and I am going to try to mold myself as fast as possible to this offense and definitely try to get on the field as soon as possible."
On if Rice is a running back that he has emulated:"Yes sir. I have seen a lot of his film, and he is a smaller back, but he gets it done. He is a hard runner."
DAY 2 WRAPUP
Moving up seven spots to get Bernard Pierce, is this a case where you got a vibe that maybe somebody was going to snatch him beforehand? (Joe Platania)
(NEWSOME)"No, it was the same situation as last year. We stopped and looked at the board, and we started to see that a lot of our players that we really wanted were being picked. So, we had the additional pick in the fifth round, and we felt like the value of going up to get Bernard was worth it."
What caught your eye about Bernard? (Jason Butt)
(NEWSOME)"He is a one-cut runner with some size. He runs very well behind his pads, and that's the style of running game that we're using right now."
Do you see him competing with Anthony Allen for the backup role behind Ray Rice? (Aaron Wilson) (NEWSOME)"And Damien Berry. Those three guys will be able to come in, and one of the key things about all three is their ability to play on special teams."
If he plays his senior year at Temple, where do you think he fits into the Draft? (Stan Charles)
(NEWSOME)"You know, that's really tough in the sense that the majority of the players that have probably been taken in the first three rounds have been juniors, and if they stayed for their senior year, who knows with that draft. If Julio Jones was in this draft, where would he have gone? So, it's hard for us to say."
Does Ray Rice's contract situation at all factor into this pick, and does Bernard resemble Ray in any way? (Jerry Coleman)
(NEWSOME)"He's bigger. He's bigger, but he is a runner that can run very well on the inside as well as on the outside. But no, the contract … Ricky Williams retiring probably had more to do with that."
For Joe or Eric, what games kind of jumped out at you watching this guy? He did have a lot of production. What did you guys see from him in the Mid-American Conference? (Aaron Wilson)
(DECOSTA)"I think he is a guy that really showed up in most games. He has been a real productive player of the last couple of years; the tape is very consistent. What I like about him is he is really good down in the red zone. Also, on the goal line, he is a real physical guy. He can lower his pads and does a really nice job down there. Impressive. We didn't know a lot about him until he came out and declared. I think our scouts did a good job. [Running backs coach] Wilbert Montgomery did a great job scouting him, evaluating him so we could get him right on the board."
You saw some pretty good 40-yard dash times on him, including the Combine. Is he a guy that you saw run away from people on film and finish long runs?* (Aaron Wilson)*
(DECOSTA)"Deceptive. He is a bigger back. What we like about him is his burst. There is a change of speed when he gets to the hole, and he is able to clear the defender. We see change of speed, which is what most big-time backs have."
Joe, how about catching the ball? How does he rate for that? (Aaron Wilson)
(HORTIZ) "He doesn't get a lot of balls thrown to him. They use him as a bell cow and then turn around and hand the ball off to him a lot, probably one or two catches a game. He can work the ball in and around his frame. He made some nice catches on the sideline. When he does get the ball thrown to him, he can reach out. But, they don't use him extensively in the passing game, but he is definitely capable as a receiver."
Ozzie, speaking of receivers, do you see some receivers still left that are on your board that you like? (Aaron Wilson)
(NEWSOME)"Yes. What we'll do tonight – this is where our scouts really come into play – we'll sit down, and we'll regroup the board a little bit. We got a very good pick tomorrow, the second or third pick in the fourth round. That has always been a good pick. We probably are going to get some phone calls about that pick. But, we'll restack the board a little bit and there are several receivers that are still available."
Ozzie, at the state of the team address in January, you said that, "We will come out of this draft with a center." Do you still feel like you will? (Stan Charles)
(NEWSOME)"There are some centers still on the board. I think there has only been one that has been taken thus far. [Peter] Konz is the only one that has been taken, so yeah, we still have some centers available that could very much come into our plans tomorrow."