2011 NFL DRAFT WRAP-UP PRESS CONFERENCE
Ravens executive vice president/general manager Ozzie Newsome's opening statement:
"We've just finished with our last pick as you've seen. Just to talk about today's work… When we got into the fourth round, you evaluate the board. Last night, our guys, along with John [Harbaugh] and the owner [Steve Bisciotti], they put in a lot of extra time working the board, and the way it was set up, it was very easy for us to make decisions as to what direction that we needed to go, based on what we had done with the picks before. But, when we got to the fourth round, Tandon [Doss] was a guy that was the opposite of what Torrey [Smith] is. He's 6-2 and over 200 pounds – a very smart kid and can catch very well. We thought he would be a great complement to Torrey and to the other guys, and he adds to the mix. Then with the two compensatory picks [in the fifth round], we had 10 minutes to make choices. Chykie [Brown] is a kid that started at corner, played at safety, brings some versatility. We think he'll be a really good [special] teamer. And [Pernell] McPhee… Anytime you can find someone that has an ability to rush the passer – he brings value to us. And then we got into the sixth round, and we had Cam [Cameron] and [offensive assistant] Craig [Ver Steeg] to [view and report on] quarterbacks, and they both felt very high about Tyrod Taylor. Eric [DeCosta]'s scouts felt very good about Tyrod, and we felt like we could bring in another guy that we could start to develop within our system. And then lastly, Anthony Allen: We think there's some upside there being that he played in a wishbone [system]. Running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery made the statement to us last week when we were in meetings that if we backed this guy up six or seven yards from the ball, then he thinks he could add a lot to us as a running back. So all in all, we were able to address some needs, but we were also able to get some players that the City of Baltimore would be very proud of. And, we think we added some quality depth to our football team. We are a better football team today than we were when we started out at 8:00 on Thursday night."
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh's opening statement:
"I want to thank the entire scouting department, headed up by these three guys. Obviously, the work they put in has paid off. I thought we had a great handle on the Draft, beginning to end, and you can see that the way it was executed. Then also the coaches – I think the coaches did a tremendous job. Coaches always work really hard at it, but maybe even more so with the lockout situation. We put even more time in. I thought the communication between the two sides was just fantastic. Our fourth year in here, [we] built this particular program. It seems like everybody is very much on the same page about the type of team that we want to put together. So, I just want to thank everybody for doing that, and I know as coaches, we're very, very excited about this draft class. We can't wait to get to work with them."
Ravens director of player personnel Eric DeCosta's opening statement:
"I'm just glad it's over. (laughter) It's kind of neat how the whole thing worked out for us. Just positionally, some years, you have a hard time addressing different needs on your team. There's been many years, for instance, where we would need a corner, and we just couldn't get one. We tried, four different rounds to get a corner, and he gets picked every time. This year, the draft just fell for us the right way. We had some positions that we felt we needed to address to make ourselves a better team, and really good players fell down to us – players that we really felt could help this team. They were there when we had the chance to pick. So, we got lucky this year, in some respects. I think we were aggressive in our approach to the Draft, knowing who we wanted, being able to get a player like Jah Reid. I think it was a good spot, good move for us to go up and get him, based on the board. Again, to piggy-back on what coach [Harbaugh] and Ozzie said, I want to thank the coaches. We really did ask a lot of those guys in terms of travel, in terms of watching a lot more players this year, [doing] reports, put a lot on those guys' plates. The scouts, this is their really most important time of the year. These guys all have families, small children, most of these guys, and they've been here a lot, on the road a lot, more so than probably any other year. I think it paid off this year. This is a big draft for us. I'm excited about what we were able to accomplish, and I just can't wait to get started up at some point."
Ravens director of college scouting Joe Hortiz's opening statement:
"I'm very excited about the guys we were able to get today. Ozzie and John and Eric all mentioned it – the coaches and scouts work great together. If you guys had a chance to see our scouts in the room, re-stacking the board, the passion they showed in terms of getting the guys in the right spot [was amazing]. And then, as the Draft's going on, getting the emails when we're in the draft room, suggesting guys, exclamation points, coming in with information – I think they're really excited about the guys we got today, as are we. It's just really a great feeling to know you're getting guys that are loved by the guys that put in all the work and all the effort to get to know these players, both as players and people. I think they did a tremendous job in helping us set things up and helping us push it through."
Was there more of a comfort level to this NFL Draft without having free agency before?
(NEWSOME) "It allowed to the opportunity to just focus on it. Like I said at the pre-draft luncheon, if we would have had free agency, we would have probably been able to acquire some other players [and] definitely got some of our own players under contract during that time. It allowed us just to focus on the Draft and spend more time on it. Hopefully, it will pay dividends that it worked out that way."
Do you like the idea of free agency coming after the NFL Draft going forward?
(NEWSOME) "Like I said, that has been discussed a number of times on the Competition Committee that I serve on. The reason, thus far, that it hasn't is because of restricted free agency. If you decide to go after someone's player that's restricted, they want the pick in this year's Draft. So, that's one of the big reasons that we have not been able to change it."
You've used baseball analogies in the past. How would you describe this NFL Draft?
(DeCOSTA) "I think we played well. We had good pitching, hit the ball well and we won the game. We didn't make any errors. There was an error made, but earlier in the Draft. Fortunately, that wasn't our error. (laughter) We were prepared. It fell the right way. I think a couple days ago I said to Ozzie, 'Could you imagine if we were able to get Jimmy Smith, Torrey Smith and Jah Reid?' He just looked at me and said, 'Ah yeah, that'd be a great day.' And we were able to do it, so it worked out."
Is it true that WR Tandon Doss was one of the receivers who you had QB Joe Flacco look at prior to the lockout?
(DeCOSTA)"Way back right after the season, when we could talk with Joe, before the lockout – and what I'll say is, I said to Joe – 'We'd like to get you involved a little bit in the process.' Ozzie and I had talked about this and with coach [Harbaugh] before we did it, and I gave [Flacco] six guys to look at. It took him awhile to do it, and I was getting worried that he wasn't going to get back to me before the lockout. Fortunately, he did get back to me and we discussed these guys. Honestly, the guy he was excited about was Doss. What he liked about him was that he caught the ball away from his body. He was tough and he was very physical. He made the comment that he looked like the kind of guy who was easy to throw the ball to. That kind of stuck with me. That did come up today in the draft room before we made the pick, and I think he's a good pick, because as Ozzie alluded to, he and Torrey kind of complement each other really well. They're different receivers – both very good – but have different skill sets, so to speak, what they do well. And that's nice for our offense."
Do you look at Anthony Allen as an all-around power back?
(HORTIZ) "Obviously, at Georgia Tech, they run the triple option, and he's either running the ball of getting hit on a fake. So, he's tough. But when you go back and look at his career, and at Louisville, and you watch the Combine tape, I think at the Combine he really showed the ability to catch the ball away from his frame. Not all the quarterbacks out there were throwing it on the money, and he could track it on the downfield routes. He catches the ball well. He's a tough kid; he will block when he does those fakes, so he's pretty versatile in that sense – square up and when they give him the belly and they're throwing. They don't throw to him there, but he'll square up and take on D-tackles until they come off blocks."
Can you talk about taking QB Tyrod Taylor over Greg McElroy from Alabama? Is he strictly a quarterback in your eyes, and how do you see him fitting in this system?
(NEWSOME) "No. 1, we drafted him as a quarterback, and he was evaluated as a quarterback by Craig and Cam. As far as him coming into our system, we feel like he has the skill sets to play the position and he also brings the added dimension of being a terrific athlete that can – as we see so much now – guys that can get out of the pocket and hurt people. He has the ability to do that also."
What do you see out of DE Pernell McPhee and how can he fit in the system?
(DeCOSTA) "We think he can get bigger to be more of a 3-4 end. But, what we like about him is he's relentless – plays very hard. We had the chance to see him down in Mobile, [Ala.], at the Senior Bowl, and there were stretches when he had his way with some of the better tackles in the Draft down there. We just like his motor, his mentality; he can rush the passer. He's a JC kid – there was a lot of upside there. [He] was a very successful pass rusher at JC. [He] had over 30 career sacks at JC, which is attractive to us as well. We think this is a kid who has a lot of upside and who can get a lot better."
Is pass rush an area of priority during the remainder of the offseason?
*(NEWSOME) *"Yes. If we could get the opportunity to put ourselves in the position to get someone else, we would probably be looking at it very seriously."
What did you see on tape that led you to want to pick CB Chykie Brown?
*(DeCOSTA) *"It's hard to find big corners. We've been trying to do that for about five years now. He's a big guy who can run. Unlike a lot of corners, his arms are over 33 inches. He can press, which was attractive to us. [He's] an explosive guy; jumps – well. We think he's a guy that can get better. We sent coach [Teryl] Austin out to Texas to look at those guys, and he came back very impressed with Chykie Brown. We think he's got a skill set to get better. When you're picking down in the lower rounds, sometimes you're looking for traits more so than just... All these guys are down there for a reason, so you're looking for specific traits. We see some positive traits with this kid that could lead us to think he can become a productive member of our defense."
The Ravens are thin at inside linebacker. Did you think about drafting an ILB during the process?
*(DeCOSTA) *"There were some guys we liked. But I think, quite honestly, we like our guys. We've got a number of inside linebackers that we think can get better for us. We've got some young guys. We've taken a few guys these past couple years. We've signed a couple undrafted free agents who have gotten a lot better, too. We like our inside backers. We think they're getting better – they're young players on the come. We didn't see that as a big priority for us this year."
Is it strange to not go into the undrafted free agent phase right after the Draft?
*(NEWSOME) *"Yes, it is. We've had a lot of success with the undrafted college free agents. What we'll do is we'll be prepared when that opportunity comes to be able to still try to get in the mix and hopefully come away with some guys that could be productive players for us."
Can you call undrafted free agents and talk about the future?
*(NEWSOME) *"No, we could not. We could not do that, no. You couldn't do that."
Did you try to communicate with prospective players before the Draft?
*(HARBAUGH) *"Yeah. Most of the guys that are in that category are guys that we would be thinking about drafting at the end, too. We're always researching and getting to know guys. We'll just see how all that shakes out. We didn't do anything different than we did in previous years. Whatever we send out is within the League rules. This time, there is none of that, and it's going to be very interesting when we get the opportunity to do that. We're going to have to put that together very quickly."
Are you going to pursue the botched trade with Chicago in the first round with the NFL?
(NEWSOME) *"No. I think Steve [Bisciotti]'s quote today in [The Baltimore Sun* sums it up]: 'It's the end of the story.' It's the end of the story."
As coaches, where do you go from here with the lockout back on?
*(HARBAUGH) *"There is never enough time. It seems like we're always trying to do projects and do things to get better. We've got tons of work to do. We've got new teams to study that we're playing this year for the first time. We've got a list of things that we're going to try to get accomplished, and we're going to try to get as many of those things done with the idea that the players are going to come back at some point in time here. It could be days, it could be weeks and it could even be months. But, we're going to get as much as we can get done, done. If at that point we feel like we're ready for training camp and we still don't have any players, then we'll get the coaches out of here. But, we're going to try to pound as much of that work in now that we can, with the idea that we'll have the players a little bit later. We'll try to have that stuff done before training camp and try to do it now."
What are personnel guys going to do now that this is over?
*(DeCOSTA) *"Well, they're probably going to sleep. I'm going to rehab my Achilles. *(laughter) *We'll start spring scouting soon. We'll take a couple of weeks off, and probably about May 15, May 21, we'll start spring scouting – looking at the rising juniors. We'll also do some free agency work. I'll have the chance to look at some guys that kind of got pushed back this year. We'll have the chance to do that now over the next couple of weeks, just in case we have to. The pro guys have really been doing that – Vince Newsome and Chad [Alexander] – those guys have really been doing that. This will give me a chance now to get caught up. That's one nice thing, from my perspective, is that when you're getting ready for the Draft, it's hard sometimes to get ready for free agency at the same time, and you have to do that. But this year, essentially some of us put it off a little bit hoping we could get through the Draft and then devote ourselves full-time to free agency. That's my plan."
How many painkillers did you have to take through the Draft for your Achilles?
(DeCOSTA) *"I'm pretty good. *(laughter) *Once we got the Smith boys [Jimmy Smith and Torrey Smith], I didn't have to take any more pain medication." *(laughter)
Did the hope that LB Sergio Kindle will be able to play next year factor into the decision to not draft an outside linebacker?
*(NEWSOME) *"No, not really. We had our board set based on who we thought we could get. Pass rushers are like corners – you don't ever have enough of those guys. If you get involved in a game where you're up by a couple of touchdowns and people are throwing the ball on every down, you need as many rushers as you can get. If there would have been someone that we thought could have come in and been a productive rusher for us, then we would have definitely drafted them. We tried to draft a couple of them, but they got picked. One got picked one pick before us, two picks before us."
Is there a trend that players coming out of Texas have character issues?
*(NEWSOME) *"Is that a fair statement to Cory Redding? He's a Texas player."
*(DeCOSTA) *"What I would say to that is that we don't stereotype players in any school. Our scouts go in and look at each player individually, treat every player separate. We talk to people and really generate a profile. That's what we do – we evaluate every player differently and make our decisions that way. That's all I can really say on that."
What is your impression of how the rest of the AFC North did in the Draft?
*(NEWSOME) *"I think Cincinnati continues to get better. The question with them is: Is Carson [Palmer] coming back, and when is [Andy] Dalton going to become a player? I thought Cincinnati did a good job. I think Cleveland is building their franchise. They're rebuilding it. You can see they're taking good, solid people with every pick that they're taking to rebuild that whole roster. When you look at what Pittsburgh does, there is always a reason. They got two corners and they got another guy in the front seven that will learn how to play in a 3-4 defense. They always have a good plan [for] how they want to continue to build their team. Their defensive ends are getting [older], and they get someone like Cameron Heyward to come in and be ready to go in two or three years. Kevin [Colbert] and those people up there, they do a really good job."
Is there anything similar between QBs Troy Smith and Tyrod Taylor besides them both being mobile?
*(HARBAUGH) *"To me, that's totally an irrelevant question, in all honesty. Think about that question for a minute. Tyrod Taylor stands on his own two feet. Troy had a great career. I think I've said many times that I think Troy's got a chance to be a heck of a quarterback in this league. Tyrod Taylor has a chance to be a heck of a quarterback in this league. If you want to make comparisons between the two of them, look at the tape. Watch the two guys play. You're a college football fan, right? You've seen Tyrod play? You can answer that for yourself.
"One thing I would like to do is make a shout-out to Tori Pagano. You talk about how hard the coaches work and how hard the scouts work. It's the senior prom tonight for Tori, and her dad [Chuck Pagano] wasn't there. Her dad was here through the Draft. Chuck had pointed that out earlier, and it's tough. It's a very special night for her, and I hope she has a great night out there and for the Pagano family. It's a special deal. That's how hard these guys work. Hopefully she'll get this at point in time. It's a special deal."
Does overcoming personal issues factor into football ability?
*(DeCOSTA) *"I think that's really just a microcosm of society, actually. A lot of these guys come from very different backgrounds. One thing that I do think is good is I found that players who have had some sort of adversity or were able to overcome some situation, whether it's an injury or family – could be anything – when they come to our level, they're more prepared, in some cases, for the NFL and professional sports. I look at that as a positive in some situations with these guys. It's not something we really look for, per se, but when we see it and get to know these guys, sometimes I think that it's a positive when you're talking about these kids and trying to compare all the different players and all the different ways we're able to compare these guys."
Are there more stories recently about players overcoming something in their past?
*(DeCOSTA) *"What I think is that the internet has made these stories more well-known. I think they've always existed. You can just Google anybody's name. I could Google you and come up with some interesting things. *(laughter) *That's what people do. That's what you guys all do. We do it with these players. You guys do it. We all do it. You can get so much information. It's all out there. It's much more public. Over the last 15 years or so, I don't see a huge change, but I do see the information getting out there now and being made public, which we think is unfortunate in a lot of cases."
Do you think having the Draft before free agency will become a trend?
*(NEWSOME) *"That's something that has to be collectively bargained."
Do you think it could take off and become the trend?
*(NEWSOME) *"I don't know. I'm sure there will be some dialogue. We have some conference calls next week, and that may or may not be a topic. I don't know. I have not seen the agenda. I don't know whether this will lead to a groundswell or not, because, like I said, it does create a hole in the system."