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COACH TOM COUGHLIN ON TONY BRACKENS

I feel very good about Tony Brackens. He was in the middle of the first round on our draft board, which means, in effect, that we were able to come away with two first-round picks. He¹s an outstanding athlete. There were some questions about him being a pass rusher, well, he was our second-ranked pass rusher. He can come in and be taught to play on third downs right away. He obviously gives us some more depth in the defensive front, and we answer a couple of solid needs with the second pick overall and the 33rd pick.

You should know that we considered doing some things (trading up) in the bottom of the first round to be in the position to draft Marcus Jones or Tony Bracken or people of that nature. But, with four picks in the first 84 of the draft, we were very reluctant to move up because of the loss of picks.

³I feel very good coming in front of you right now with this pick, saying that we have gotten ourselves in position with two outstanding picks to have a really, really good solid draft and answer some of our problems. We have some more needs, but I think we can accommodate some of those needs as we go along.

(why did Brackens fall to the second round) ³Good question. He¹s a young man coming out of college at the end of his third season Š perhaps his size. I really don't know what the answer to that is, why people soured on him. I was at the workout when he injured himself, but he stayed with the drill, so I thought that was a plus on his behalf; some people obviously did not. But he¹s an outstanding athlete and great value with this pick.

(were you surprised that he was still there) ³We really were. And Lawyer Malloy was right there, too, on our board. Those are two solid football players right there.

(on being happier than he was a few hours earlier) ³I really am. I thought we would suffer great pains waiting from the top of the first to the top of the second round. And, as I said the other day, the defensive side of the ball in this draft might not have a lot of numbers and they will go fast. I thought, for sure, that by this point, we would have much of that board completely eliminated. So I thought this was an excellent opportunity for us. It was a very good sign for our draft.

³Both Brackens and Hardy are capable of doing a lot of things because of their athleticism. Brackens has speed. If you run better, you¹re going to play better defense. We just got two players who can run. Brackens was the second-fastest player at defensive end. He¹s a guy in the 4.65 - 4.68 range. And Hardy is right at 4.7. They bring speed to the table.²

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