DAY 2 NFL DRAFT MEDIA AVAILABILITY
E*_xecutive Vice President/General Manager Eric DeCosta & Head Coach John Harbaugh_*
Eric DeCosta Opening Statement: "It's been a long day, I think a really productive day, and we're very excited. We think we got better today as a football team, and we're excited to add Jaylon Ferguson from Louisiana Tech, one of the better pass rushers in the draft this year. He is a guy that we spent a lot of time watching this year and had him into Baltimore two weeks ago I believe. We spent some time with him, enjoyed it, and he's a guy that his skillset really fits who we are as a defense. Big hole for us – we lost some really good pass rushers, and we think that Jaylon can come in and really add to the other guys that we have and really help us on third downs and passing situations. We're excited. And then Miles Boykin, he's a really intriguing player from Notre Dame, a size, speed receiver with really tremendous physical gifts, an outside vertical guy. He's very physical to the football, just a big man. We think his skillset complements our offense extremely well. We're really excited to add a receiver like Marquise [Brown] and Miles. They're different types of players, but we think they really add to the mix very nicely. Overall, it's been a very good day."
Eric, how surprised were you that OLB Jaylon Ferguson was there that late into the draft?_ (Jamison Hensley)_
DeCosta: "You never know how these things are going to happen, so we just waited and waited and waited. We talked to some teams about trading up, and that actually didn't materialize. It ended up being very fortuitous for us, because he was there, and there was some elation in the draft room. Coach [Don] Martindale was very excited to get him, and it was a good feeling."
So you were trying to trade up specifically for OLB Jaylon Ferguson?_ (Jamison Hensley)_
DeCosta: "We tried to do that, yes, and just didn't have any success."
Not that it was deliberate, but it's pretty strange that he broke OLB Terrell Suggs' career sacks record and it's also a reflection of just how productive OLB Jaylon Ferguson was. (Luke Jones)
DeCosta: "Yeah, when we brought him in, it was really interesting. We've spent a lot of time over the years interviewing defensive players and outside linebackers and defensive ends, and this guy had a really, really awesome grasp of pass rush techniques, studying NFL players. He was able to break down their techniques and their skills and various things. It was impressive to us. It showed a level of professionalism that we respected."
Eric, did the way it played out prove your theory that you would be in a sweet spot to get values at the positions that you needed? (Childs Walker)
DeCosta: "We took some water on early on. It was really a long day. We had some really outstanding players get picked. It was frustrating for me. I actually got up and walked out a few times and paced, went out into the hallways and went down to my office, just because we weren't picking for so long, and we see these outstanding players that we spent nine months basically grading and evaluating and following [go off the board]. Not having a second-round pick is a challenge. We knew this was going to happen, and we've had time to prepare for it, but it was frustrating. The third round fell nicely, and it was needed, because I'm telling you, I was ready to leave the building. It was such a long day of waiting, and to have those guys fall to us was excellent."
You talked earlier about this notion that you need to take more swings at receiver. I know you don't know how things are going to play out, but in your mind did you think there was a possibility that you would take two receivers with the first three picks with how things were shaping up in your sports?_ (Bo Smolka)_
DeCosta: "It wasn't intentional, I can assure you of that. It's just kind of how the board fell. I think we did a good job stacking the board and evaluated all the players across all positions, and those two guys were up there. We felt like we had to pounce, and so we played the game. We traded back to get Hollywood [Brown], and we traded up to get Miles. Both guys we feel are excellent fits, and it was a nice fit for the team."
John, on the draft coverage, they were talking about where OLB Jaylon Ferguson best fits, inside or outside. How do you see him fitting in? I know you guys versatile guys. (Jeff Zrebiec)
Harbaugh: "What's interesting is we played our base defense less than 20 percent of the time last year. It's the trend of the league, and people don't really like to line up against us that way. So when we're in our base defense, he'll be what we call a RUSH. It moves us more into kind of an odd type of a framework in our base defense, although, we'll play all of the different fronts. But you've got two edge-setting outside 'backers for sure. That doesn't discount the other guys we have, the young guys like Tyus [Bowser]. Tyus is still in the mix playing SAM, and it gives us another pass rusher. But we're in our sub packages, which is our five and six defensive back packages, over 80 percent of the time, so you're talking about defensive end. That's where Matt [Judon] is and Tyus is and Jaylon [Ferguson] will be and the other guys are there, too. That's kind of the way they play, and to have a big, physical guy like that that can set an edge and rush the passer is perfect for what we're looking for."
John, how exciting is it to have an influx at wide receiver, having two young talents like that? It's very different it seems like to add to the offense._ (Jamison Hensley)_
Harbaugh: "It is. First of all, we got faster. Those two guys are different, but they bring speed, they bring playmaking. We're going to block people. Someone asked the question to our guy Hollywood if he's going to block, and he said, 'Yeah, I'm going to throw it up in there, man.' But we also might have him going real fast that way, having guys chase him. That's another way he can block. But Miles [Boykin] can do that, too. Miles is going to get in there and block people. But I don't want you guys to forget about our other two young receivers that we drafted last year either. Jordan [Lasley] and Jaleel [Scott] are working hard, and those two guys are in the mix, too, so we have four young receivers in the mix to go with our veteran guys. I'm just really looking forward to rolling those guys out there and letting the chips fly and see what happens."
John, I know you're looking for quality above all else at wide receiver, but is it an added bonus that they are two guys with different dimensions, so to speak? (Jonas Shaffer)
Harbaugh: "It definitely is. It's funny, but you had asked the question of would we take two guys who are the same. And we said, 'Yeah, if there were two really small, fast guys, we'd be thrilled to have them. If it was two bigger guys, we could work those, too.' But to have one of each probably was the ideal, and to have it fall that way is exciting. It's great."
Eric, much was made with OLB Jaylon Ferguson about not getting an invite to the Combine and the reason. How comfortable are you with him and some of the character red flags – or, not character red flags – but past incidents? (Jeff Zrebiec)
DeCosta:"Like all players, we get outstanding information from the schools, from the coaches and teachers and various people. We brought him in. We spent some time with him. We met with him at the Combine. He was there at the Combine, and we did have a chance to meet with him briefly at the Combine. But, he came in and spent a whole day with us and met with a lot of different people. When we bring people in, players in, they meet with coaches and scouts. They meet with a lot of other people in the building – player development, all kinds of people, nutritionist, everybody. We try and use everybody to meet with these players. We got great feedback, and I had a great visit with him. I know the coaching staff had a great visit with him, and we have an outstanding comfort level with him. So, I think he's a good fit. I think our scouts did an awesome job getting information on Jaylon, and we're excited about him."
Eric, did you ever get close to getting in the second round, or had you pretty much ruled that out? (Jeff Zrebiec)
DeCosta:"We made some calls early today. John [Harbaugh] and I talked, and we kind of dipped our finger in a little bit, just to see, and it was hard to get a lot of significant interest. And then, when you look at the price, sometimes the price is a little prohibitive. So, it was a long day. I ate a lot more today, just pacing the hallways and grabbing food and walking up and down the hallways. (laughter) I think it's safe to say we're probably not going to trade our second-round pick anytime soon, unless there's a great player. It's a chore for me, as much as I like picks, to sit there and watch all these really good players come off the board."
You obviously have a lot of picks really early tomorrow. What do you see? What do you think you can accomplish? (Aaron Kasinitz)
DeCosta:"That's huge for our scouts. Tomorrow is really an All-Star day. I think our scouts will rise to the occasion. We've done an amazing job of stacking the board this year. There are a lot of good football players left, and tomorrow really is the kind of day that makes your draft. We'll look at this draft four, five years from now, and it won't be because of Hollywood [Marquise Brown] and Jaylon [Ferguson] and Miles [Boykin]. It's going to be these fourth-round picks, this fifth-round pick, the sixth-round picks that really do kind of make this draft special. So, it's a challenge for us. We'll be ready for it. We embrace it. The scouts are fired up, and those three picks out of the gate tomorrow, those are huge."
So much is said about WR Marquise Brown's speed and athleticism, but you also have a receiver in WR Miles Boykin that does have that same burst as well. How do their styles of play complement each other? (Kyle Andrews)
Harbaugh:"I understand exactly what you're saying. What those guys bring, it's different packages, but it's the same thing, basically, and what it is, is speed. It's speed, and what Eric [DeCosta] referred to yesterday, was playmaking ability. Those two guys have it many times over. You have a big, fast guy, who's a powerful guy, who can catch and get upfield with the ball with his stride length and his stiff arm, and he goes up and makes catches. He's a developing player. He's kind of a younger, developing player. He's only really had one year in the offense. Then, you have, like you said, the smaller, faster guy with quick feet that can make people miss in a short area, in a tight area. He can catch and run in crossing routes. But the bottom line is, these are two really fast guys that make plays, and that's what we were looking for."
Eric, everybody talked about three big needs coming into this – wide receiver, pass rusher and interior offensive line. Is it a sign that you haven't drafted an interior offensive lineman? Do you like that class? Do you think that's a class where you can find guys on Day Three that could really come in and help? (Jeff Zrebiec)
DeCosta:"Yes, historically, if you look at the draft and you look at how teams are built, you'll see some centers and guards. Just look at our team, guys that we've added over the years to come in and play really good football for us. So, the opportunity is there, and we'll try and do that. We had some players that we liked, and they went in the second round. A couple guys went in the third round that we would have been excited to take at some point. But, there are still some really good players on the board, and I also think this: We have some young guys on the roster that we're really excited about, some draft picks, some undrafted guys, that we think have a chance to really kind of ascend and become good players this year. So, I think we have a good nucleus of younger players, and we'd love to add maybe one, two guys over the next day or so."
Do you have enough picks, or do you think that's still something you can look to add to that? (Jeff Zrebiec)
DeCosta:"More draft picks? Never say never, I don't know. You never know. We've been saying for years that we've tried to trade for next year's picks, and I don't know that we've ever gotten that done. One of these years, you're going to see us trade a pick for a better pick next year, so we'll see. One of these years." (laughter)
Harbaugh:"You probably already have something in the works right now." (laughter)
OLB JAYLON FERGUSON CONFERENCE CALL
On how he feels about coming to the Ravens after breaking OLB Terrell Suggs' collegiate sack record:"It's a dream come true. At the same time, I feel the pressure. There are big shoes to fill behind Terrell Suggs, so I have my work cut out for me."
On helping the people of Ruston, La., recover from a recent tornado:"I'm just trying to help the people right now. I was one of the people who was blessed. My home [wasn't damaged] by the tornado, but I know a lot of people in the community, in the Bulldog community, that were affected by it. So, I did my best to help out everybody that came."
On the significance of helping the Ruston community:"Very important, because the fans are what make the Bulldogs the Bulldogs. At the school, they're going to be more secure there than out in the community, but the purpose of getting out in the community is to help out more."
On if it is exciting to join the Ravens' defensive tradition:"Yes, I'm ready to fly it up. We're ready to go, and I had a great talk with [defensive line] coach [Joe] Cullen on my visit, on one of the first visits I took, and I'm happy to be back and be a part of the program."
On what the draft process has been like waiting to hear his name called in the third round:"Yes, I'm a little bit surprised, but I don't really pay that much [attention]. I'm just ready to get in and start working. These last 24-to-48 hours have been nerve-wracking. Now that I have my home; I'm ready to get in and get my feet established and start working."
On what his self-scouting report is: "I'm coming in and I'm bringing back the [intensity]. We're getting down, we're getting after it every down on defense and also will play hard against the run. Let's do it. Let's throw on purple and black, and let's roll."
On how disappointed he was that he wasn't invited to the Combine: "I was disappointed, because I felt like it was something I worked hard at and earned the right to do in college. But at the same time, I understood, because there are rules. But I am still blessed to get the opportunity to play NFL football, so I don't really hold it against anybody. Now we'll move on to the next phase."
On what it means to have support from the veteran players on the team already: "It feels real good, considering how the incident played out. My freshman year when I first reported to [Louisiana] Tech, I redshirted. I was just running around, just running around hitting everybody, just running having a good time just happy to be on a college football field. One player pulled me [aside] and told me that in four years, I'm going to be great – be one of the best players. That player turned out to be Kenneth Dixon, who got drafted by the Ravens. So looking at the Ravens now, with all the guys looking forward to me coming in an working with them, it seems like it's all meant to be."
On if there was any issue being reachable via phone during the draft, considering the damage from the tornado: "Everything worked out with it. We got everything settled, so now we're good. We're all football-minded now."
WR MILES BOYKIN CONFERENCE CALL
On if he thought Baltimore was the place he would end up in the draft:"No, you kind of just go into this process with an open mind. You never truly know who is going to pick you. People try to tell you, 'You're going to go here, or you're going to go there,' but at the end of the day, it's really a surprise for everybody."
On joining fellow WR Marquise Brown and how their skills can mesh:"It's definitely exciting. He's definitely a big-play threat, and I love watching him play. But at the same time, we're two different receivers, and I think our games are just really going to complement each other."
On if he likes the idea of getting to grow with a young quarterback like Lamar Jackson:"Absolutely. Chemistry is everything. If you ask any quarterback or wide receiver, just getting on the same page is the biggest thing, in terms of that relationship, in terms of winning on the field."
On what he thinks of QB Lamar Jackson's game:"I love it. I loved watching him play at Louisville; I loved watching him play last year for Baltimore when he got his chance. I'm extremely excited to be able to get on the field with him and just start working on that chemistry from Day One."
On how the chemistry was when he came to Baltimore for his visit:"I didn't take a visit to Baltimore."
On how it makes him feel when the team trades draft picks to move down to select him:"To me, that just shows they have all the faith in the world in me. I'm definitely going to show that they made the right decision by doing that, and I'm just extremely blessed and humbled to be in that situation."
On where he feels like he has the most room to grow and improve:"I think just in my route running. I think the biggest thing for me is I'm still developing day-in and day-out, and I have a lot of upside. I think I can do a lot of things well right now, but at the same time, I have a lot to work on, and I know that coming into this organization. I think I'm surrounded by the right coaches to be able to grow and grow with this team and grow with this quarterback. So, I think the future is going to be great for us."
On how he complements WR Marquise Brown:"I think when you look at it, he might be more of a slot receiver, playing the slot, and I'm more of an outside guy. Not to say that we can't flip-flop or anything like that, but I just think our games play well off of each other."
On what it was like when he got the call from the Ravens that he was drafted:"A scout called me; I was just watching at a restaurant with my family. It was really the coolest feeling I ever had in my life. When my phone started ringing, everybody at the table looked at me, and it's awesome. When you see that stuff on TV, you never imagine that's going to be you with all of your dreams coming true. But once again, I'm just extremely blessed and humbled to be in this situation."
On if he had a sense that was the range in the draft where he could be selected:"I was just watching, which is the same reason I didn't have a party. I just kind of wanted to enjoy the process and accept it for what it is. I knew I was going to have a chance to play in the NFL, and that's all I can ask for. I couldn't care less where I went, whether it was Round One or undrafted free agent, because I knew I was going to get a chance to play this game. So, for me, it was just more about being with the right team and an organization that believes in me."
On if there are any current NFL players he compares his game to:"Right now, no. There are a lot of receivers I like out there, but Calvin Johnson, when he played, was definitely one of my favorite receivers of all time. He's actually one of the reasons why I wear 81, but just watching his film and going back and talking to him, it's awesome. I think if I can model my game after him, I'm going to be something special."