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Del Rio on Lewis


The following is a transcript of Jack Del Rio's press conference following the first round selection of Marcedes Lewis.

(on the pick of Marcedes Lewis) "We were happy to have added another weapon to our football team. Obviously after (Vernon) Davis, the tight end from Maryland, Marcedes was the next tight end that fit here in Jacksonville. We are happy to have him in Jacksonville. With his size and athletic ability he brings a talent to that position that we haven't had to be a force in the passing game. With Kyle Brady here, he doesn't need to come in here and be a starter from day one so he can learn. He's a good blocker now and as he gets bigger he will be a better blocker. We are happy with the pick."

(with your first four first round picks, it seems that your expectations are high for the passing game) "Expectations are to continue to build our football team. It's a very thorough process with scouts and coaches and the hours that go into it. What goes into it, putting your board together, not only the talent and what they do on Saturday but the medical and character issues. He comes in as a solid addition to our football team."

(on the need of speed at receiver) "The only speed deficient receiver is Ernest Wilford, but he has achieved through effort and vertical leap. All the other receivers, Matt (Jones), Reggie (Williams) and Jimmy (Smith), are fast and can run. At running back Fred (Taylor) is one of the faster guys out there. We feel like Greg (Jones) and Alvin (Pearman) have solid speed. They're not burners. They have solid speed. We feel good about that. I don't think that each guy that walks in here has to be 4.3."

(on building a cast of young receivers and young quarterbacks) "Eight of our 11 current starters on offense or returning starters on offense were drafted by the Jaguars. So we're going to continue to add talent. Obviously, you go into a draft and you're going to select the best player that matches the most talent, that matches up to what you're looking for and it clearly stuck out."

(you didn't use your full allotted time on the clock for your pick which would indicate that you had targeted Lewis) "We liked him. We like this player. That's why I said consensus in that coaches liked him, scouts liked him. We like this player. We think he's a very solid pick for us. It was beginning to get a little thin. We were getting some calls and entertaining possibilities of moving back but he was a player remaining that we had said in our draft process the way we go about doing our business that we were going to stay and make the pick."

(were there no discussions about other players?) "Once we got to our pick, he was our pick."

(what was your exposure to Lewis throughout the process?) "The first exposure I had was to see him play, besides TV scouting, was to see him play at the Senior Bowl. I watched him practice, watched him compete, watched him play in the game. Then the interview process at the Combine. Beyond that it is a lot of film work and a lot of coach work in terms of bringing information and discussions in the meeting room regarding the different players at each position. Like I said, it's very thorough, in particular with the guys at the top of the board."

(how do you feel about drafting a Bruin?) "It just so happens we got a Bruin. Good players are good players. They're all welcome here. I think the fact that he played at UCLA means that he was a cross-town rival at one time but now he's joining the Jaguars."

(you have said that Reggie Williams is the fastest player, is that accurate?) "I think mid 4.4 is a pretty solid time to run. It just depends on how nit-picky you want to get about guys and their speed and what they do. I continue to believe in that young man in particular and we'll just see. The third year is a big year for receivers. Historically, that's been a break-out year for the ones that are going to break out. Time will tell but I continue to see the things that I need to see to remain encouraged in terms of his commitment, work ethic, desire to be special."

(are you concerned that Lewis ran a 4.8 at the Combine?) "He would have been able to run by me. I played 11 years and I ran a 4.9. I think speed can sometimes be overrated in athletes. (Tony) Gonzales was a 4.8 guy. He's been a pretty solid tight end in the league. I think there are athletic guys that can get in and out of breaks, change direction, contort their body and make plays on the ball, and 4.8 is not a bad time. 4.8 running down the middle will affect them defensively, make them take care of the middle and should open up things for our receivers outside."

(with Kyle Brady still on the team, can it be assumed Brady will play on run downs and Lewis on passing downs?) "We may actually have him in there when we run the ball. We'll just see how it goes but I think the great thing with a guy like Kyle, we don't have to count on him (Lewis) to be a point of attack man day one for us."

(did you see anything special or tangible in Lewis?) "Marcedes is a very solid player. I think everybody that's graded the position, that looked at it, sees that and understands that. This is not like a shock pick. I think there was some shock when there was a projection pick of last year, things like that. This is where he was expected to go and we're happy to have him."

(on the Nick Greisen signing) "He was a good addition to the team. Prior to the draft, we had identified a few guys and wanted to get a veteran in that had the ability to play for us, that was at least a four that could compete with Pat Thomas, with Jorge (Cordova) for an outside linebacker spot. If we were able to find a guy that won that job or if we were able to get a guy in the draft to be that person, that he would be a good team guy. Be a good special teams guy, know multiple positions, in a back-up role, so he brings in a lot of value in that he has experience, he has started, he has played in multiple positions. He's very intelligent. A good football player. A good hard-nosed instinctive football player. It was a good addition for us to be able to not go in feeling the need to prop somebody up where they didn't belong in the first round."

(did you downgrade Winston Justice because of his off-the-field issues?) "I thought Shack (Harris) answered that pretty well earlier. We put our board together and obviously we factor in all the different things that you look at during the draft process – medical grades, character grades, how they played, how you project them to play. If players get into where they're graded similarly then you start looking at team need and those things. I'm sure he's going to land somewhere soon here and be a fine football player for somebody. But where we had guys stacked individually on our board, I don't think that's part of any discussion that Shack or I want to have."

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