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Del Rio on Ernest Wilford


"…We just obtained Baltimore's fourth-round pick and traded Kevin Johnson to Baltimore and we selected Ernest Wilford. He's a big, physical wide receiver from Virginia Tech. He's a guy who was elected team captain. Very competitive, very physical. Able to win jump balls. A blocker. A special teams guy. He'll come in here and compete and be a solid guy. Coach Beamer talked about him and considered him one of the top character guys that he's ever had there."

"Both of these [fourth round] guys were elected captain. I think four or five guys we selected have been former team captains, so we're bringing in the right type of leadership and attitude and toughness we're looking for. I think if you want a breakout game, obviously he didn't do this the whole time he was there, but if you want to go back and find the most spectacular game Ernest had in 2002, look at the Syracuse game. He had eight catches for 278 yards and four touchdowns. We just think the combination of bringing in Reggie Williams and him being a starter allowed us to now look at making our backups at the wide receiver position, guys who are able to play special teams, being blockers, being more of a contributor as far as building the core of the team, we thought this was the better fit for us. For Kevin Johnson, he's a high quality character guy, a very classy guy. I think he was of the opinion we didn't need a wideout; we thought we did. I think he'll find a home in Baltimore and we wish him well there. I think it's a good fit for everybody involved."

(with drafting two big wide receivers, is this a direct response to the team's production in the red zone last season?) "One of the things as we went back and reviewed our season last year, I don't recall us winning the jump ball, whether it be our defensive backs going against other teams' receivers or our wide receivers going against other teams' defensive backs. So we feel like we've added some guys that can make a difference and make plays when there is coverage that we can go up and take the ball away and win some of those jump balls. So certainly that was something that we found attractive."

(will Ernest Wilford contribute on special teams?) "Absolutely. This is a guy that has the ability, and has shown the ability, to be part of the coverage unit and so we envision him as being a guy who can do that can make our 45-man game roster and is a physical wide receiver that'll run down on cover two."

(did Kevin Johnson ask to be traded?) "No, he did not."

(with Reggie Williams drafted as a starter, was there now not a need for Johnson?) "Correct."

(will you still have veteran wide receivers as backups?) "We still have Troy Edwards. We still have Matthew Hatchette. We still have veteran backup receivers, but we drafted Reggie with the intent on starting Reggie."

(did you shop Johnson or did Baltimore call about him?) "Baltimore and the Jaguars have been in discussions about several players and Kevin is one of them."

(what other areas will you now be focusing on building competition in the remainder of the draft and free agency?) "I can't get into that, that wouldn't be very wise of me. We still have some work to do. We feel like there are some good players left there."

(on Wilford's speed) "He's not a burner, for sure. He builds speed as he goes, but he's more of a 4.65 guy. He's not a 4.4 guy. This was not a small, fast guy. This is a big strong physical guy. A blocker, make the tough catches, go up, catch the ball in a crowd. So it's a different type of wideout."

(did Kevin Johnson tell you that he saw himself as a starter?) "No, I just know that Kevin saw himself as a starter and we drafted what we think is our starter at that position, so we're just looking to make our backup situation reflect what we're looking for."

(does Troy Edwards consider himself a starter?) "We all do, I guess. All players want to consider themselves the best at what they do."

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