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Draft Transcript: Andy Dengler

Posted May 10, 2014

Quotes from Jaguars Assistant Director of Player Personnel Andy Dengler after the team drafted Luke Bowanko.

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF PLAYER PERSONNEL ANDY DENGLER

(Opening statement) “Had the opportunity to draft Luke Bowanko, he played both center and guard at the University of Virginia. He’s a fifth-year senior, third-year starter, high character, very football-intelligent. Even this year, he started the first four games at guard, moved back to center. We think he can come in and compete for the starting position here in Jacksonville. High character. We had him in one of the 30 visits, interviewed him. He had a chance to sit down with both of our offensive line coaches and the head coach as they came in. We had a really good feel for him and thought it was a great idea to take him where we did. We think we got great value for him.”

(On if he was at the Combine) “He was not, but he got votes. I was on the selection committee and he had several votes by different teams. Each position kind of breaks down the number of people. There are a  lot more offensive line votes, but he was in the mix to go, was on the bubble to go to the Combine.”

(On if they bring in players to get to know more about them) “When they don’t go to the Combine, part of (the reason they bring a player in) is for medical purpose, you can bring him in and have the doctors and trainers have a look at him. It’s also a get-to-know them session. Sometimes, when they don’t go (to the Combine) and you bring them in , some teams travel them around so they have a better opportunity to find out who they are and what they represent.”

(On Bowanko being a high-character person) “One of the reasons is he had played center in the past and they moved him to guard and he didn’t fight that at all. He’s one of those guys that is a team player. You bring him through here and he is a good student. To me he has high marks in that area and it’s easy to stand up for a guy who had had no issues.”

(On if he looks for Brad Meester traits in centers he scouts) “I was here when we drafted Brad and that’s hard to replace. We took this guy and we have Mike Brewster, so it should be a good competition to try to replace a guy who I think is an exemplary player, so that’s what we are trying to do.”

(On development of Mike Brewster) “We signed Mike as a an undrafted free agent after he was a four-year starter coming out of Ohio State. He’s gotten stronger and has been able to play both positions (guard and center). It’s easier when you’re a lineman and you can lock in at center and you have a better opportunity to compete when you’re at one spot. Mike is highly competitive, so it should be a good opportunity for two guys to go to battle.”

(On if Bowanko has any flaws) “Part of it was that he played guard at the beginning of the year and I think he is more natural at center. You start out the season at the beginning of the year when you go through and you’re looking at him at guard and then he moves back to center. I think naturally he plays better at that position than he did at guard. I think  it’s a good spot for him. Coach Bradley wants to breed competition at all positions, so it gives us a chance to have another threat there.”

(On how the draft has improved the depth of the team) “It’s exciting for me to be able to be a part of it. To see some of the players we’ve taken, I think we’ve upgraded our roster through the draft last year and this year and hopefully we’ll even sign some guys through free agency that will help us as well. It’ll be a good opportunity to help us improve in that area.”

(On size and quickness of Bowanko) “Quickness is good, he’s got good short-area quickness. He’s 6’5”, 300 pounds and he can move. They pull him some. Some of the things I think will fit schematically with some of the things that Coach (Jedd) Fisch will like to do. Those are some of the things we try to do on the scouting side: provide them with what they want position-wise.”

(On if Bowanko had been target from the onset of the scouting process) “Yes. I think the fact that we brought him in for one of the 30 visits shows the investment that we had in him and the awareness of who he was. We’re happy that we took him, he’s going to be a quality player.”

(On if they are able to get starters late in the draft) “It helps your entire team. It helps control your salary cap and gives you a lot of opportunities down the line  for being able to have depth on your ball club and that’s what we are working to do with guys like this that we drafted.”

(On if current Jaguars lineman Austin Pasztor, a UVA graduate, gave the team any insight on Bowanko) “I know they talked to Austin and I know that (Bowanko) is friends with Austin. He made a point of that when he came through. We all interviewed him and it’s a process where we go through that when they do come in, they are able to meet with several people. They meet with the personnel staff and he brought up Austin and he thinks very highly of him. Austin is excited about it and he’s excited to be here so it helps in that area.”

(On if the Jaguars will bring in any more undrafted centers/guards) “When we drafted a guard and drafted a center, it makes it a little bit tougher. Agents are looking at our roster. You hope that if we need one, that we’ve developed some ties and we work through that year-round, trying to develop ties with agents. It would make it a little bit tougher, but we could probably do it if we needed to. It is tough when you start drafting positions in depth, they want their guys to make the team too, so hopefully you can bring a guy that is competitive in and have a shot.”

(On third-round pick Brandon Linder) “I liked him a lot. He’s a dual-position player. He even flipped between right tackle and guard in games. He was at the Senior Bowl and I had a chance to really spend some time with him. I think he’s a highly competitive player and we were fortunate to get him. He’s got all the traits that coach Bradley and Dave look for.”

(On why Bowanko was not invited to the Combine) “The whole process starts through the scouting Combine. Sometimes they don’t grade a guy high at the beginning of the year and when you add the fact that when you travel around as much as we do and you go to a school and may be there early and on the tape he’s playing guard and his best position is center, sometimes that happens. That’s part of the whole process and scouting is year-round. As soon as we are done with this draft, we’ll be on next year’s guys. Through the whole process you go through it and you really get to meet the guys, sometimes guys get overlooked. He got some exposure because Virginia had another offensive lineman that was a senior, Morgan Moses, so he got some people to come through and test him as well.”

(On if he talked to Austin Pasztor) “I have not personally talked to him, but he talked to Luke (Joeckel) and Luke said that Austin is excited to have the opportunity to start here and keep his career going.”

(On who on the scouting staff was looking at Bowanko) “It’s a consensus in the room. We don’t just have one guy that has a grade on somebody, we have several people that go through it then we go through the whole process of meeting and evaluating players. It’s not just one person, we have eyes on a lot of these guys. It’s pretty thorough how we do things here.”

(On how the Senior Bowl helped Chris Smith) “It definitely helped him. We had him graded as a draftable player, but when he was there, on the first day in one-on-one offensive line defensive line drills, Chris did a good job extending off of blocks, was highly aggressive, I know Coach Wash really liked him. I think he definitely helped himself. He showed some power and he’s got really long arms. He showed the ability to press off of blocks, I think he did a really good job there.”

(On his personal opinion of Blake Bortles) “Blake is a really good player. Going through the process, looking at him on tape, he’s got tremendous upside. He’s got size; I’ve done some big quarterbacks in the past. He’s got a really strong arm. He was easy. To me, when you go through scouting, some guys stand out that you really like and he was one of them. It wasn’t hard to like his qualities. Starting with his height, weight, arm strength, and then you meet him and character-wise, that even helped him further as he went on. He was easy to get excited about and we really start going into their two-year tape and their development and their progress as they go. I enjoyed the process of watching him. I hope that that development and upside continue.”

(On where he thinks fourth-round pick Colvin would’ve gone had he not been hurt) “I can’t really speculate on it, but based off of what we saw at the Senior Bowl, I would say he would be a round, maybe two rounds higher. He’s a highly productive player, his makeup is solid. It was a shame. We thought enough of him to draft him. A lot of teams would pass on him, but I think that just what he did while he was there was outstanding.”

(On how he projects a player) “I think that’s part of what you do while you’re in college scouting. Part of it is having a projection as to adding weight, taking weight  off. Sometimes there is a line where you will look at a player and say, ‘I want to get him bigger, but not too big.’ With Telvin Smith, he’s a guy we would like to add weight, you also want him to play where he’s comfortable. He’s a speed player and he can shoot and get through gaps, so you don’t want to get him to the point where you take away from his strength.”

(On if Blaine Gabbert’s failure with the Jaguars still stings) “Any player that you take, you want to have them see success, whether it is on the field, off the field. When you’re in the business that I’m in, yeah you take things personally. You want people to succeed and if you don’t, you shouldn’t be in it.”

(On if he is intrigued by the differences between second-round receivers Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee) “It’s a really good combination of players that we drafted. We drafted the Z, speed receiver in Marqise Lee who is dynamic with the ball in his hands. He can catch the bubbles and the hitches and he has shown through the course of his career, even through kick returns, to go the distance, so he gives us an element of being able to take the top off the defense and make them miss with the ball in his hands. Robinson is bigger, more of your X receiver. He will be able to go up and get the ball in the air. He’s two inches taller and heavier, but he’s got really good hands and for his size he is really fluid. He does not have the premier speed that Marqise has. Marqise was a productive player, when you went through there, as a freshman they stand out. Good players stand out on tape. It’s not hard to evaluate them. In the process of dealing with him, having (Matt) Barkley there, some of his numbers were down and that’s why I think we were able to take him. He’s an explosive player, he’ll make a difference for our roster here.”

(On if he is pleased with how the defensive picks fit into the team) “That’s a good question. One thing we need to do in the personnel department is really what they’re looking for. We want to give them the players that fit them schematically. The coaches do a really good job at explaining what they want, so when you go out on the road you’re educated as to what’s going to be a fit, what’s not going to be a fit. And we try to bring them those players and players that set the mindset of what Gus and Dave have a vision for, not just as players but as people. You want guys that are good players and Gus is up-tempo and he wants guys with a lot of energy, so we try to give him as many of those qualities as we can, and eliminate the variables they don’t want and give them the ones that they do.”

(On Bowanko’s 40-yard dash time) “I don’t have it right with me, but I would probably say right between 5.2 and 5.3. Pretty average.”

(On how many undrafted players he’ll call) “I don’t mean to distort, but we canvas  a lot of players through the whole course and that’s really what our responsibility is, to put our best foot forward too and let them know. I can’t even begin because every scout, every coach, is calling guys throughout. It’s a process now. For me, right now I’ll text certain guys and certain agents. You just want them to know that you’re interested and you can’t make any offers until the draft is over, but you want to let them know that this is where we are at, we like you, you’re in the mix. Once it’s over, it’s like the Wild Wild West, trying to get guys. If a guy moves on, you get the next one and hopefully you’ve developed enough ties within the business that there are opportunities, for you to help people and for other people to help you.”

(On if there are money wars over UFAs) “We do. We play within the constraints on which the league allows. It’s hard. In the past, when there wasn’t a moratorium on what you could give out, you did bid a lot more. Now, you put it on the kid, too. Have you done your research, this is our opportunity, we’ve had a lot of undrafted free agents make our team. We have different selling points that we use, hopefully to entice them to want to come here. I think if they’ve watched Gus at the Senior Bowl and how he coaches, that’s a selling point and that will help us as well.”

(On if they plan to release an informational guide to UFAs) “I don’t know that. I think that it’d be something we’d look into. It hasn’t been brought up in terms of that. Usually it’s a personal touch that you have. We sell the same things to the players and you go down the list of guys that have been here and they’ve had good opportunities. Even Mike Brewster. Some guys have gotten second contracts over the years, so I think it’s advantageous for us.”

(On how is Dave Caldwell different from other general managers he has worked with) “There is a lot of openness and cooperation. It’s run professionally. It is a business and it is business opportunity on draft day, but I really believe that I like it. I like how Dave does business. I like the fact that there is a lot of input and by the time you get to the point of being through all the draft meetings, it comes down to guys that we’ve targeted. From there, it’s making whatever choice it could be, whether it’s a linebacker or an offensive guard, we usually have three or four guys work vertically first, then horizontally.”

(On the arm length of Bowanko) “It’s in the mix. It’s not a detriment at all. Average to above average. Not a problem. With Mike moving to center, that helps too, he can get by more. Better than guards because guards need to have more length. He’s done both at a high level in the ACC.”

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