RE: Overall impression of draft
Q: Well, as it stands now (before the seventh round pick), we obviously took four defensive players and two offensive players. We answered some solid needs with those picks. We got an outstanding pass rusher, we got a very, very – I went back and looked at my Senior Bowl tapes and notes in order to put myself back into the Sinorice Moss thought process. Gosh, he was so much quicker and so much faster and so much more electric in the practices. Then, of course, you saw him make the good play in the game. Where he will fit our football team is I think he will give us a nice jolt regardless of whether you talk about him on the outside or in the slot or whatever. He does have some return capabilities as well. In (Mathias) Kiwanuka, we got a captain. In (Gerris) Wilkinson, we got a captian and in Peprah, we got a captain. So we got guys who have been in a leadership role who have played in big games and represented outstanding schools and universities and we are excited about that. Barry Cofield was an opportunity in the fourth round that we felt, with our two picks to take two linemen, two big people there. In Cofield, we feel he can come in and give us what we are looking for in a physical nose tackle. A first and second down guy, if you will. A run defender who can anchor in there on the center and maintain leverage – he doesn't get knocked off the ball – he'll allow those linebackers and our other front seven to work with him holding his own. In (Guy) Whimper, we took a very athletic, young offensive tackle who we think has the ability to be trained to play on the left side. In the Hula Bowl he played left tackle and our scouts were extremely impressed with his speed and his quickness. This guy runs under 5 flat for being a legitimate 300, 305-pounder. So we were very impressed with his athleticism, his quick feet, his ability to play on the left side in the Hula Bowl. That is what excited us about him. In the Peprah pick, at that spot in the fifth, we were looking for a guy who had versatility. In this young man, he had played corner for two years with (seven) interceptions. Of course, playing at the University of Alabama, he played in a lot of big games. A guy who played his last two years as a safety, we think he'll be an outstanding special teams performer as well. When you look at this group you see, in Kiwanuka a guy who has the ability to perform at the line of scrimmage, not closing out the idea that he might play from a two-point position, whether it be on third down or whenever and special teams. Moss will play on special teams and he will give us advantages there. Wilkinson will play on special teams and having played all three linebacker positions, we will start him on the outside probably at the Will position and take a good hard look at him there knowing that he will make a strong contribution on special teams and the fact that he has also played the Mike and the Sam. Cofield has played end and tackle as well. We will start him out as a nose. We think he's a guy that can give us some versatility there as well. Whimper, as I mentioned, is a guy who may be athletic enough – did play tight end, which is interesting, in college as well. So if you're talking about a guy that runs under 5 flat and you're talking about a guy who has his athleticism, has quick feet, perhaps there is some goalline and short yardage versatility there that we might utilize in Guy Whimper. Peprah will be an outstanding special teams performer. We expect to start him out at safety but we could start him at corner and move him to safety. It's just that the amount of quality time spent at the position without creating any real issues in terms of changing positions for him would be the only reason that we would just flat out start him out at safety. He's a very intelligent kid, he made the calls and we think he can go ahead and do that on this level as well. We feel good about this group of young men. An awful lot of people have worked extremely hard to get to this point. You always wish you had more picks, that is always the case and as usual, as you make one selection, as elated as you might be, you always start looking right toward the next selection. You don't get a lot of time to think about it. The way the group came together in terms of the six people, at this time four defensive players, is probably what you would have expected going into this draft.
RE: Getting all these defensive free agents and daft choices on the field contributing
A: It will be an interesting development that will take place, as you well know, right away, in that rookie mini camp followed by the work that we'll have in May and June and hopefully we will have a pretty good handle on the versatility and how we might be able to use some of these young guys in order to just get it started in training camp. You're still going to be doing some things in training camp to try to get some people in the right spots at the right time. I think getting them in the right spots is not the issue. It's at the right time, whether it be a second-and-long or a third-down situation or short yardage or goal line or whatever. But we like it that way. That is what these guys are here for. They can run, they are versatile, they play multiple positions, they're going to give us the intelligence factor which, I think, will accelerate their learning as well.
Q: Is there one guy in this draft class that you think will have an immediate impact?
A: Well, in our day and age, I hope there are three or four of them. I wouldn't say one because obviously we have some needs on both sides of the ball and on special teams as well. We have specific objectives for each individual and how fast they accelerate their learning. Part of the reason for the opportunity to bring them in mid-May is so that by the time mid-June rolls around they have started to understand a little bit of what is expected and started to make it a routine for them so that it isn't such an eye popping experience for them when they come to training camp. I'd like to get to that objective and get them worked in as fast as we can. There will be the normal hazing and the normal things that take place when the veterans get their hands on the rookies, but this group of veterans will do a great job of assimilating these people into what we are trying to accomplish.
RE: Sinorice Moss's size being a concern
A: No. What the concern was to try to present – we thought this guy could present a different look to the defensive people as well. We have some big targets; we have some speed as well, as you know. We've got various heights of individuals who also have speed. This guy gives us another dimension in terms of his quickness and that's something that has to be considered from a defensive standpoint in how they are going to defend whether he's in the slot or on the outside. The idea is that this guy presents a little different look and some more for them to have to plan on defending knowing full well what his quickness and speed brings.
RE: Nose tackle not being as big a need as it has been made out to be.
Q: When it's a rookie he has extremely limited experience. At least in those kids they've been around here for a while. I think you're going to be pleased when you see, for example, (Damane) Duckett, who was 315 the other day. Now that is a slim trim looking guy from what you've seen in the past. He knows, Damane knows, it's time for him to have some production here or else. That's kind of the way we are. When you look at Jonas Seawright, you're talking about a guy, last time you saw him, he was about 330. He's a difficult guy to block. He's bigger and he's stronger. Some of which I've tried to take off of him. But when you see him the next time, you are probably going to see a guy that is 335 to 340, that has been in an off season program and has the strength. If he can display the kind of quickness he had over the ball last fall, he gives us something very solid to work with and I'm excited about that opportunity as well. There will be good competition. Don't forget that Fred Robbins has played on the nose before and by virtue of how we've played in the past, if you remember, at times we've slid and let the two front people whether the formation was right or left assume both the ‘three' technique and the nose. Last year we didn't do that because of Clancy and we may look at doing that again. If that's the case you end up with William Joseph on the center for a small amount of time. I don't think that is the best spot for him but it does tell that we've had four or five guys that have played in there before. And with Cofield, we will add another one and we've got the seventh round and then we've got an opportunity to really jump into getting free agent defensive linemen because we won't have our quota for training camp so who knows.
Joesph and Robbins have been the ‘three' technique. Last year they were the ‘three' technique. Seawright is a nose. Damane has played the nose and the ‘three' technique. We will bring Cofield in and we will line him up at the nose because that's where we want to evaluate him. That is what we want to see right off the bat.
RE: Kiwanuke's life story
A: I think the whole story. His family. I think the whole story of his. His experience, his grandfather's experience. I think all of that was particularly interesting. I've known about the kid for a few years. The fact that he was at Boston College and some of the information and feedback that I get about the kid. People have been talking about him for a long time now. Since his sophomore year, really.
RE: This being Ernie Accorsi's last draft
A: I'm the one that is reluctant. I keep telling him that he should never say never and he should keep his options open. He's been great for me to work with and he's done a super job since I've been on board and really trying as hard as he possibly can to understand from the coaches standpoint how we define all our positions. This goes for our scouting department as well, everyone in personnel has done a really great job of trying to understand what we think the definition of a position is and tried to put that into their thinking as we've gone out and studied players and then try to have that in mind when we try to evaluate them. I can't say enough about that whole group and, of course, I'm not going to stand here and pour praise over Ernie. I don't want it to get back to him.
RE: Linebacker position
A: We'd like to take Wilkinson and stick him on the weakside. Brandon Short has played on the line of scrimmage as the strong backer and in the bubble. We will probably start him out weak but know that he can play on both sides. (Carlos) Emmons will play on the weakside. Then on the other side it will be (LaVar) Arrington and (Reggie) Torbor. They will line up strong. In the middle you've got (Antonio) Pierce and Chase (Blackburn). Probably Marcus Lawrence in the middle, he has experience on both sides. Ty Smith is doing very well in NFL Europe. He may come back and be one of the two outside backers as well. He might end up on the strong side, I don't know yet. He has done a good job over there and a good job on special teams. So I'm kind of looking forward to having him back. But the weakside will lineup Emmons, Short, Wilkinson.