DAY ONE NFL DRAFT MEDIA AVAILABILITY
E*_xecutive Vice President/General Manager Eric DeCosta, Head Coach John Harbaugh & WR Marquise Brown_*
Eric DeCosta opening statement:"We're happy to discuss Marquise Brown, excited to get him. He's a player we followed quite a bit this fall, and some of you may know I have an affinity for Oklahoma players. In my mind, this is one of the more electric players in college football this year, so we spent a lot of time looking at him and watching him. We brought him in last week and had a great visit with him, and he's a playmaker. He's a guy who can do a lot of different things with the ball in his hands. He can catch screen passes, he can run reverses, he can run deep, he has outstanding hands. I think he's tough, and he's electric. We think he complements our offense very well, our vision of what we want our offense to be. He's a humble guy, as you guys probably saw on TV. He's a leader, and he loves football. So, we're very, very excited to get him, and I'll turn it over to John [Harbaugh]."
John Harbaugh opening statement:"Well, that's it to me. He's the kind of player we like. He's a Raven. He loves football. He's had a lot of adversity in his life. He's fought to get to the point where he's at. He's never been a guy that's been … He's always been a guy that's had to overcome. He has a certain toughness about him, and he's a playmaker. It fits the type of offense that we want to build. It's a perfect fit for what we're trying to do offensively, so yes, we're really excited."
Beyond the fit, how appealing is it to draft a first-round wide receiver having a second-year quarterback, for those two guys to grow and develop together? (Luke Jones)
DeCosta:"I think chemistry. We want to put as many really good players around Lamar [Jackson] as we can on offense, and this is one of those kind of guys. If you look at successful offenses throughout the course of history, there's a relationship between the receivers and the quarterback. And, this guy plays in an offense not identical, but similar, to some of the things that we want to do. He understands the offense, and he complements Lamar and our other receivers very well."
When you decided to move back, were you pretty confident that WR Marquise Brown was going to be there? (Todd Karpovich)
DeCosta:"No, I don't think so. We were nervous, actually, to be honest. I was a little bit nervous that Philly might take him. But, it's a calculated risk. We had some other players that were there that we liked. You know we like to make trades. It made sense to gamble, to roll the dice a little bit, so we did."
Did you think about trading back again? Were you looking at that possibility, or were you just excited to get in*with that one? _(Childs Walker)_*
DeCosta:"We always consider it. In that particular case, the phone didn't ring. You do get to a point where you start to get nervous. You don't want to be too greedy, and we had a chance to make a trade and go back and get the guy we wanted, so from that standpoint, it was great. But, the phone never rang at – what was it, 25 or 26? So, we ended up just making the pick."
How was the phone call with WR Marquise Brown? He was really crying when he walked up to the podium. (Kirk McEwen)
DeCosta:"It was great, because he and I had a great conversation last week up in my office. It was just awesome. He was emotional. I think he was really, really happy. I think he got a great feeling about this place from Day One. I think he knows Lamar [Jackson]. Somehow, there's a relationship with those guys. Honestly, too, him being my first pick was emotional, I think, for both of us. I stressed that he and I would always be forever linked. So, it was great." (Reporter: "Did you cry?") "No, I didn't cry. (laughter) No, not this year."
There are concerns about QB Lamar Jackson's accuracy. I heard David Shaw talking about this pick. He mentioned that there are a lot less concerns about his ability to throw accurately deep. Would you agree with that assessment? (Stan Charles)
DeCosta:"I think Lamar is an excellent passer who is going to get better and better. We all talk about it, but he's working his butt off, and he's going to get better. All these young quarterbacks improve, and I think with Marquise [Brown], he can run deep. He can run underneath. He's going to be an asset to this offense. And, he and Lamar are going to be – they're going to be electric players, I think, on the field at the same time."
Eric, after waiting years and years to finally make a draft pick, were you a little hesitant to trade it away when that opportunity finally came? (David Ginsburg)
DeCosta:"No, I wasn't hesitant to trade it away. I got nervous when the phone wasn't ringing. I'm so used to making trades with Ozzie [Newsome], and it was so quiet in the room. For, I think, six minutes, no one spoke a word. I just waited and waited, and thought about it, and waited and waited, and it was just deadly quiet in the room. So, that made me nervous more than anything. I'm going to tell the guys to make some jokes or something, because it was just so quiet!"
Harbaugh:"We were just looking at him. He was sitting there, and we were all just kind of looking at him like…" (stares, laughter)
DeCosta: "It was so quiet." (Reporter: "Was this for the first pick or the second pick?") "The second pick. The first pick, the phone was ringing. Lots of teams wanted to come up to that pick, so it was pretty hectic, but the second pick, it was just quiet! That was kind of unnerving. It wasn't making the pick, but it was, in the room, I don't even think guys were breathing. It was just strange."
Harbaugh:"We were looking at you!"
DeCosta:"It was a weird dynamic."
Eric, WR Marquise Brown has the foot injury, the Lisfranc. Where is he at medically? You probably checked him out when he came in for that visit._ (Jamison Hensley)_
DeCosta: "First of all, we've had players that have had this injury, the Lisfranc injury, and it's a predictable injury. We feel really good about his prognosis long term. We brought him in, he had another physical. He's had a couple different medical re-checks. We've had a chance to look at different films, and his agent did a great job of sending me videos of Marquise rehabbing and running and doing different things. So, I think conservatively, I think training camp we'll have him back. But I think he's at the point now where his rehab is going to be ramped up quite a bit, and he'll be here with some of the best trainers and strength coaches around. I think it's going to be great."
Eric, how long was WR Marquise Brown in your office when he was there last week, and was there something in particular that he said that really struck accord with you?_ (Childs Walker)_
DeCosta: "No, he's just a competitive guy. I do this test with the players that come into my office. It's just a game, and most of the guys sit down when they do it, and he stood up. He asked me if he could stand up, and that kind of resonated with me, because I would do the same thing, because you get really into it, and he just didn't feel comfortable sitting, so he stood up. I could see the intensity when I met with him, and that was cool."
Eric, so much has been made about the Ravens history of drafting wide receivers high. Did that cross your mind at all?_ (Jordan Schatz)_
DeCosta: "Not really. I don't think so."
WR Marquise Brown obviously has a pretty notable cousin [Antonio Brown]. How much does having a family member in the NFL factor into your evaluation?_ (Aaron Kasinitz)_
DeCosta: "I don't think it did really. It's nice to know that he's got a cousin who is one of the best receivers in the NFL, but he would have had the same grade on the board regardless."
John, you had a lot of drives that were 10-, 13-play drives. How much will WR Marquise Brown help with getting those bigger plays. I know you were always hoping to get that last year._ (Jamison Hensley)_
Harbaugh: "It's interesting you say that, because it's one of the conversations we had in the draft meetings the last couple of weeks. I said at some point in time when we were talking back and forth and it was like, 'Listen, if you love the long drive and you love the grind-it-out and take-it-down, get first downs and get it into the red zone and keep your fingers crossed and hope you score touchdowns, then you don't want this guy. If you don't like scoring from 70 yards out, then you don't want this guy. If you like a quick strike or a big play, this might be your guy.' So, we all decided that we liked this guy."
Eric, is there any way you can see yourself getting into the second round?_ (Stan Charles)_
DeCosta: "It's too early for me to say that, Stan. I'll sleep on that, and we'll look at it and assess who is still available and a lot of that will happen tomorrow as we get going and see the players that are getting picked. Never say never. We've done things like that in the past. I think this is a really, really good draft in the third and fourth round. So, I think we've got what, two third-round picks now and three fourth-round picks, I think? And then, what, three sixth-round picks? We see great opportunity for us over the next couple of days."
You fashion yourself as someone who gets a lot of information and knows a lot how it's going to play out. Were there any big surprises to you in terms of who was available and how things came off the board? (Jeff Zrebiec)
DeCosta: "There were surprises. There are always surprises. You don't want to really talk about other teams' drafts, but I think you do get surprised, and when that happens, it's great. When you see players that you love get pushed down the board, it's a great opportunity for you. I'll tell you – and I honestly mean this – sometimes we sit up there and we laugh at other teams' picks, and they're actually great picks. Nobody really knows. That's the genius and beauty of the draft. Every team's board is different, and we all have a strong opinion. But some of the best players are players that we laughed at. That's what makes this whole thing fun."
Eric, was LB Montez Sweat under consideration at either point in this first round? (Jamison Hensley)
DeCosta: "He's a really, really good player, one of the better pass rushers in the draft – really, really talented. We were very excited to get Marquise when he was there. He was obviously the best player that we had available at the time. It just made all the sense in the world to take him."
WR Marquise Brown Conference Call
On how much he knows about QB Lamar Jackson:"I know a lot about him from playing Pop Warner against him when we were younger, to watching him through high school, to him even reaching out to me through this whole process. He's been a big mentor and a person I look up to."
On what those Pop Warner games were like:"It was him running around." (laughter)
On Ravens EVP/GM Eric DeCosta saying that he really connected with him when he came on his visit, and if he felt the same way:"Yes, sir. When I was there, it felt like I belonged there and that was the place for me. I'm just so happy to be a Raven."
On what his cousin Raiders WR Antonio Brown told him about the Ravens, if anything:"We didn't talk about the Ravens, but I'm sure I'll be seeing him out there."
On how he thinks WR Antonio Brown will feel about his cousin playing for the Ravens:"He's definitely happy for me. He knows how hard I worked for this moment, and he's going to look forward to seeing what I do."
On what it was like to sit in the draft room and if he thought he would go to Baltimore when it was on the clock:"Yeah, for sure. I knew once it got to the Ravens' pick, I just thought that was going to be my place. When they traded back, I got a little nervous, but everything worked out."
On where he is at health-wise and if the medical re-checks went well:"Everything went well; I'm still on track. I'll be ready to go, and I know Baltimore has a great training staff, and we're going to have a plan ready."
On if he has been able to start running at all:"Yes, sir. I've been running."
On how he received the nickname "Hollywood":"I'm from Hollywood, Fla., and the announcer Gus Johnson called me [Hollywood] after a big game, and it kind of just stuck. Everyone started calling me it."
On if it is fair to say that QB Lamar Jackson is the quarterback that he would have liked to play with the most:"Oh, yeah. For sure. I've always dreamed of playing with Lamar, and we've got our chance. Everybody has their opinion on him, but I know what he can do, and I'm looking forward to working with him."
On why he got so emotional on TV right after he was drafted:"I mean, three years ago I had no food, I had no offers, I had nothing. I was out there working at Six Flags, working my tail off just to pay for my rent and for school. So, that moment just was surreal. People were always telling me what I can't do. So, for me to get drafted in the first round, it just means a lot to me."
On what he did at Six Flags:"I was a ride operator out there."
On which ride he worked on:"It was called Full Throttle."
On why he felt like he was so comfortable when he visited the Ravens:"It was that vibe – the same vibe I got from Oklahoma. They want to win out there, and that was the whole meeting. Meeting with all the coaches, you could tell they are really about business and they want to win. They could tell that I'm a guy with the same qualities and the same traits. So, we kind of hit it off."
On if it helps having fellow Sooners T Orlando Brown Jr. and TE Mark Andrews on his new team:"Oh, yeah. It helps a lot, and they know the Sooners prepare you well. Mark and Orlando, they paved the way for me and for them to trust in me."
On EVP/GM Eric DeCosta talking about how much he likes Oklahoma players, and if he thinks that helped his chances to end up in Baltimore:"Yes, sir. Like I said, those guys paved the way, and they know what we're bringing from Oklahoma and the standard we come from and the will we have to win."
On if he has any doubts that QB Kyler Murray is going to be successful in the NFL:"I feel like Kyler is going to light the NFL up. He's so dynamic, and I'm happy for him."
On if it meant more to him to be the first receiver taken in the draft and if he was surprised it took so long for a receiver to be selected:"Honestly, I wasn't even paying attention to it." _(laughter) "I'm not the kind of guy that worries about other people, honestly. I was just focused on the teams that I felt like I had a chance to go to, and when it got to Baltimore I was just blessed when I got that phone call."