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Quick Quotes: Caldwell, Bradley, Gratz

Posted Apr 26, 2013

Jaguars GM David Caldwell, Head Coach Gus Bradley and CB Dwayne Gratz address the media

GENERAL MANAGER DAVID CALDWELL

(opening statement) “We got a cornerback; are you guys happy? We’re happy about it and I don’t want to sound like a broken record but smart, tough, competitive, reliable as a person. As a player he’s an ideal scheme fit for us. He’s got good length, he’s got very good speed which those two combinations Coach Bradley and I talked about, if they don’t have length they have to have speed and if they don’t have speed they have to have length. This guy has both of them so we feel really good about that. He’s a good tackler, he’s a physical kid, he’s got good press, man cover skills and one of the things we like about him as well is his ball skills. He’s an athlete. I think he still holds the state high school fifty-five meter hurdle record so this is an athletic kid and I think his best football is in front of him.”

(A lot of people had his teammate Wilson ahead of him. What did he do to jump in front?) “Got in Senior Bowl week and he had a nice week and just the competitiveness with this kid and his ability to tackle and play physical. We feel like our guys are going to be out there on an island and have the mindset and mental and physical toughness to play down in down out there on that island.”

(inaudible) “Not a whole lot because it’s a Division I. The Big East is a good conference. They play good football up there. They’re a BCS school and they get an automatic bid so we feel good about that. They played Louisville and Florida at the end of this year so the Big East is a good football conference. Florida International if you look at their defensive strength of schedule they played some really good offensive teams. I think they’re in the top thirty in terms of top offensive teams they played and efficiency in Division I. They played good competition and on top of everything else these two guys went to the Senior Bowl against the best of the best and really stood out.”

(So that had something to do with it? Seeing them in person?) “Certainly, and they’re Division I players. They’re connected to BCS schools. Florida International is not, but they play BCS teams.”

(Why does three-year starters make a big difference? All three of these guys you’ve gotten are three-year starters.) “That’s a good thing. A coincidence on that I would say, but obviously we want production. We want a history of production and we want a history of play time. Like we said we want reliable. We keep preaching the same thing and we’re kind of sticking to our theme here and what we said all along with free agency is we said we want reliable guys out there that are going to be durable and can handle the down in down out stuff in the NFL.”

(Do you see Gratz as somebody who can be an eventual starter for you as opposed to just being a nickel back?) “Yeah. I think he has to compete for it but from the length, the size, the speed and athleticism he has all the tools to do it so we feel good about him coming in and competing as a starter.”

(How much has he played the nickel?) “He’s played a little bit but not a ton.”

(Is UConn’s system press?) “Yeah they play a lot of press. As a matter of fact we cut down every single play where he was in press and I think it was a hundred and sixty some-odd plays.”

(All three guys are a good fit of value and need?) “Yeah, absolutely. Value and need and that’s perfect . Somebody in the draft room told me and I forget who it was, said, ‘Hey these are the three guys we were targeting about a month ago.’ And we weren’t a hundred percent that a corner like Dwayne would be in the third round and that fed into a little bit in terms of us taking a safety earlier. We knew John (Cyprien) was not going to be there in the third round so that’s kind of where we did it. We were holding it and to be honest with you Dwayne was our last man standing there and we went right down to the wire with that one.”

(What do you mean? If he was gone you would have just dropped off?) “We would have just quit. We would have just walked away. No, we would have had to go a different position, yeah.”

(How important is tomorrow in terms of building ___?) “Very important and we look at these guys that we’re going to get in the fourth through seventh rounds and the college free agents and they’re going to compete for not only positions on the team but starting positions. I mean Coach Bradley and his staff have preached day in and day out competitiveness and that’s what’s going to go on here. That’s a great selling point for any college kid that does not get drafted that wants to come here.”

(Any one position more than any other?) “We’re just going to see where the board…we’ll sit there tonight after this round gets over and we’ll look and see where the best value is for us and where we have needs still.”

(People come up with the usual, ‘Why didn’t the Jaguars take quarterback in the third round’ and your answer would be?) “We had greater needs at other positions. But this is one good thing about this year’s draft; there’s not a lot of teams that need quarterbacks. So I think that’s why you’re seeing a lot of them fall and teams are filling their needs for where they have first and there’s a handful of teams that need them desperately and I think one of them took one already. Two of them took them.”

(A cornerback can start as a rookie?) “He has to compete to do it. He has the skillset to do it and we hope that he comes in and does it. Obviously that’s going to go around through the OTA’s, mini-camp and through training camp. The best guy’s going to start so it doesn’t matter if you’re a third round, first round, second round, or college free agent. I think the best guy’s going to start.”

(Since you’re not going to bring your quarterback ___ it looks like Henne and Gabbert are the guys. Who’s going to start this year?) “There’s going to be at least another quarterback, right?”

(For a rookie to come in after the third round and start as a rookie…) “You never know. We’ll see.”

(On Tim Tebow, since the Jets drafted a quarterback) “I think he’s still a member of the Jets and we’ll leave it at that.”

(On not taking Geno Smith) “It was a situation where we had greater needs. We like Geno and we think he’s going to be a good player. I think he exceeded our expectations when we met with him and I think he’s going to be a good player for New York.”

HEAD COACH GUS BRADLEY

(Is he a left corner or a right corner?) “I think obviously he’s competitive. He’s a really good football player, I think you can say that about (Dwayne) Gratz. He plays different coverages. He’s not just a press corner. You see a lot of snaps with him playing press but you saw him also playing off, some cover two snaps where he just understood the game pretty well. I think another important aspect of our corners is the reason you’re looking for size is durability. If this guy ends up coming in and starting and he ends through the competition part of it becomes our guy, you need someone that you can count on week in and week out to line up there and play. Generally the guys that are over two hundred pounds and the physical style that we play, those guys have had a little bit more success. I think that’s one of the traits that we really liked about him as well.”

(He has the most presses than any guy at the combine) “That’s another asset for us. The ability to press. He’s strong at the line of scrimmage. What is he five-eleven? Five-eleven or something? You’d say that’s not the traditional six-two guy that you’re accustomed to or the six-three guy. It’s not always the height. I mean that’s great to have but it’s also the arm length and the strength at the line of scrimmage. In order to do that you have to have some size. And he can run. One of our top principles is to stay on top and a team might throw some comebacks on us and get us in those spots, but he’s got to be able to run and stay on top of receivers.”

(Do you like the durability that all three picks are ___?) “Yeah. The reliability part. Tough, reliable, smart. I think all of our grades without getting into it too much have all fared out very well. This young man…we had a chance. We flew up to UConn and visited with him. We worked him out on a Saturday. We went up there and worked him out right before their spring practice and put him through a bunch of drills and I met with him and our defensive coordinator Bob Babich met with him and spent a lot of time in the classroom with him. I had a pretty good feel coming out of there, his mentality.”

(On secondary) “We really stuck with on our board the best guy. We didn’t want to take a guy that was going to be a rusher just to say we filled that need. We really looked at it and said we need to get the best available on our chart. It was a nip and tuck at the end there. We were all standing in the war room watching until the last couple of picks and we were fortunate that he was there. I told you earlier that we put ourselves through all different scenarios and one of the scenarios in the second and third round was Cyprien and Gratz. It’s amazing. It’s amazing. I think we had three different scenarios and once we looked at taking a corner in the second round and a safety in the third. We said, ‘What happens if these things fell into place in case Cyprien wasn’t there. Now what is our plan?’ It was just unique that it happened that way.”

(Was there a pass rusher in the scenario?) “In the first round we had some conversations about some of those pass rushers. Yeah, there was.”

(The second and third? They weren’t good in those two rounds?) “We didn’t feel as strongly about it.”

(inaudible) “It was more like he’s still there, he’s still there, he’s still there. We had options. It’s amazing, if you went in and you could see our draft board the first and second round is wiped clean. There’s no extra cards up there with people where we misprojected them. Shad commented on them. He said, ‘Look at that Gus.’ I said that’s amazing how it went just to follow our board to a T. That’s really with some guys that we maybe graded higher or lower based on scheme fits. I give a lot of credit to Dave and the scouting staff. They did a nice job. All we did was present the guys that we’re looking for and they had to put it in order how they thought it would fall out and where we would have to take these guys.”

(With the top sixty-two guys rated all went in the top sixty-two?) “I think there was one guy in the first and second round that was still on our board.”

(Any quarterbacks in the third round?) “We had some guys in the third round but the first two rounds the board, how we had projected it would go, is where it’s at.”

(Tyrone Mathieu just came off the board. Was he even an option for you guys?) “He was still on our board. He was still on our board not in the realms that we looked at him; maybe a little bit lower than we chose but he wasn’t one that was off of our board. I really did like him as a player.”

CORNERBACK DWAYNE GRATZ

(On if he had a feeling he would be selected by the Jaguars following his workouts) “Yes I did have a feeling. Me and the coaching staff connected on a level that was incomparable to any other team that I met with and I love what they do and what they’re trying to do with their defense, be physical. That’s something that I can bring to the table. I’m going to compete every day and I know that they believe in me and I’m going to keep working hard and keep grinding.”

(On how his play will fit in with the Jaguars defensive scheme) “There is no difference between playing college football; just go out there and do your job and hope for the best. If you prepare yourself both mentally and physically, you’ll put yourself in a good position. I’m not worried about anything like that. I’m just going to keep competing and doing what I’ve been doing since I’ve been playing the game.”

(On if he was heavily recruited coming out of high school) “Not really. I probably had about seven scholarships coming out of high school and that’s it.”

(On the quality of players from his high school) “I actually went to a big school, probably about 5,000 students. Our program was well known for our football. We went to the state championship almost every year. We’ve had a few other players go out. In the past five years we’ve had three players go in the first year: Malcolm Jenkins, Kyle Wilson and Anthony Davis. We’re a good school as far as sports go and it was good experience to go there and take my talent to the next level.”

(On if he was recruited by his local college, Rutgers) “Rutgers recruited me after UConn did so I couldn’t respect that. At the time, I lived five minutes away from Rutgers and you would think that they would start to look at me and the type of player I was, but it was only after UConn gave me a scholarship that they started looking into me.”

(On his career against Rutgers during college) “I think we did well. That’s our rival, so every year was a dog fight. I think last year it was 44-10, this year we wound up losing by a couple points. Every year was a good game. Rutgers was always my best game because it was going back to my hometown and playing in front of my family and everything like that. Every year I played them, I played my best.”

(On his confidence in coming to Jacksonville and winning a starting job) “I’m very confident. Like I said before, going to the next level is not going to change my attitude. I always want to become the best player and best person I can be, no matter what the situation is. I’m just ready and glad that I have this opportunity. “

(On growing up playing football) “I started playing football when I was seven and I actually started off as an offensive linemen.”

(On his positions at Piscataway High School) “I played receiver and cornerback…very different.”

(On if he has siblings that play football) “I have three brothers and they all played football. My older brother was a receiver and safety and my younger brothers are all corners and receivers.”

(On his conversations with head coach Gus Bradley) “I was impressed as well. We didn’t talk about my life or football, he was just talking about the type of player he was looking for and what type of player will make it in the league. I took it and ran with it because you might think that you’re doing things right; you might think that you’re in a good position, but it’s not always like that. It’s not always as you see it. You need to look at it from the outside in. That’s what he helped me do. He helped me look at my game from the outside in and try to fix that and question what I was doing so I could become a better player.”

(On if conversations with Gus Bradley felt like a college recruiter) “I don’t think it was like that all. It was very relaxed. That was one thing I noticed; it was very relaxed. He’s a down to earth person. I talked to a few college coaches when I was being recruited and it was nothing like that. He’s a great guy and a great coach and I’m looking forward to working with him.”

(On where he fits among his siblings age-wise) “I’m the third-oldest; there are eight of us.”

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