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COACH TOM COUGHLIN ON KEVIN HARDY

³We¹re excited to pick Kevin Hardy as our first choice, the second pick of the first round. Kevin Hardy was the most outstanding defensive player on the board. We had a very strong need to address that area of our football team. Kevin, as you know, is an all-purpose football player who can play over the tight end or can play in space. He had 11 sacks last season, so he can rush the passer. He¹s an outstanding young man. I¹ve had an opportunity to visit with him on a number of occasions, having spent time with him in Indianapolis and when we worked him out. We decided there were a lot of questions about what we were going to do. It was a very difficult decision for us, but in the long run, we decided that we would address our need which, of course, is the defensive side of the ball. We felt that we were very happy, that this is the most outstanding defensive player, all-around defensive player on the board.²

(on Hardy¹s need to improve on his pass rushing) ³I think that it¹s because he¹s used in so many different ways. If you studied his collegiate films, Kevin has actually walked off in space on a number of occasions. He¹ll play over the receiver and in space. He was not utilized all that much and then when used in tandem, of course, with Simeon Rice. I think he has improve his quickness and some of the technique involved in pass rushing. But he¹s fast enough to get to the edge, and I think that¹s where he made a majority of his sacks.²

(on decision between Hardy over Lawrence Phillips) ³The decision was based on the fact we wanted to address our defensive needs, and, at that point in time, Kevin was our highest ranking defensive player.²

(on the difficulty to not choose Phillips) ³Extremely difficult. But, in the long run, addressing the need of our football team took us in that direction. We have some outstanding running backs here, as you well know, so we addressed the need of our football team.²

(on whether there were any interesting offers made for the second choice) ³No.²

(on Kevin Hardy) ³When you meet Kevin Hardy, he¹s an outstanding young man. He¹s a superb football player. He¹ll be a very well-desired pick. He¹s much needed on our team and in our system. I think we can create some opportunities to use him, perhaps to take full advantage of his skills a little more than he was used in college.²

(on playing Hardy down on the line) ³He may play with his hand down. We¹ll see what happens on third down. The interesting thing about this guy is he can play in space. He could also be used as a cover back. I think what we¹ll do with him, with (Eugene) Robinson and (Bryan) Schwartz and the ability to use (Joel) Smeenge in different ways, is to use Hardy not only has a cover back but also in the blitz, whether it be a zone blitzed or a regular blitz. I think we¹ve got a football player that we can utilize his talents. He¹s very flexible. I think he¹ll fit into our system very well.²

(on which scheme will be utilized) ³We will utilize whatever scheme best allows us to take advantage of his talent. We¹ll probably still play in some kind of a 4-3 overscheme or underscheme, however that works out. I think this player can adapt on first and second down as an all-purpose linebacker. On third down we can utilize him either in the rush or as a cover backer. He has that much versatility.²

(on moving up for picks) ³Certainly, we¹ll entertain those thoughts as we get back in the draft room. We¹ve talked about that. I think one of the more difficult things this year is the idea that we have four picks in the first 84, which is where we used to draw the line. For example, when the value line was developed, that was three rounds with 28 teams. So four picks in 84 is very good. Now, if we maneuver up, obviously, it¹s going to cost us something, and just exactly what we¹re willing to pay will always be a key factor in whether we maneuver of not.²

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