Jaguars DC Bob Babich
(Where is Michael Bennett going to play?) "Three technique, defensive tackle. He's going to be an inside guy. We are really excited about him. We did work on him and think he is a very good player. He obviously comes from a great program. They've been very successful. He's a very good person also. He came in and visited with us and was fun to visit with." (Is he going to have trouble making the team?) "Whoever makes it is going to make it that much better. The competition is good so we are excited about that. Any time that you can add talent to your roster, we think it is a plus."
(What did you like about James Sample?) "Me personally and us as a staff, we think he's a really good football player. Not only does he have a skillset that we think you need to play safety, free safety but also we think that he is an excellent tackler, he's physical, he can track the ball. He came into the program right before the fall started so for us it meant a lot that he could come right in and learn the system and that type of stuff. That told us he is a very good football player because that's a good program and for him to do that is a big plus in our eyes."
(Do you take Dante Fowler Jr. and put him at LEO and that's it?) "We will see how it goes, but he has done a lot of different things. He has the ability to do a lot of different things and you don't know with a rookie how far you can push him but we want to make sure we put him in a position to be successful. Starting out by doing that, we think that's the best thing to do. There are a lot of different things. He's an inside rusher like on third down. People call it a spinner where he stands up and you move him around on third downs. He's done a lot of different things so we feel like he has an excellent skillset and we're going to utilize his skillset the best we can."
(You don't have anyone else that can do that on the current roster?) "The guy that did that thing was Ryan Davis. He was the guy that came in and was the inside rusher. (Andre) Branch at one time stood up and was a spinner so we have done some things like that but used different people."
(On getting an upgrade this offseason on the defensive side of the ball) "There is a genuine excitement. We've all been around each other a long time, the core of our program and adding the talent level that we have added. There is an excitement that we have as a coaching staff and the players have. I think adding the guys that we have we feel really good about them with House, Odrick, Sergio and the guys that we just drafted. Any time you get the talent level to be better and there's more competition it translated into more production on the field."
(How many more options does that give you each week?) "Depending how it all shakes out I think however it ends up we are going to have some different options. Whoever ends up, the guys that we dress and that type stuff will determine the types of options that we do have. Like I said, Ryan Davis was the inside rusher and Branch was the spinner and outside rusher, (Chris) Clemons was the outside rusher and then you have Sen'Derrick (Marks) once he's healthy. He was a big-time inside rusher. There's just a lot of different options that you have and Dante is a talented player."
(On elevating the talent level) "I think any time that you elevate your talent level it allows you to possibly do some different things and utilize your personnel differently."
(Is Josh Evans a better fit at strong safety?) "We really respect Josh and his football IQ. That position does a little bit more, has different drops and that type stuff so we think it's an excellent fit."
(What's Chris Clemons' role now?) "He is a LEO and he is a big time player, pass rusher and that type stuff. It's fortunate we've got a couple of different situations that are really good as far as competition but we will see how it all shakes out. This could be a good thing."
(What do you like about Jared Odrick?) "He is a big dude. I like that. He fits the 4b position and he has flex at the 3-technique too. He's a strong, athletic guy that's going to provide pass rush from being in position. I really like the mentality that he played with his first season in the NFL. He's going to bring a lot. Any time you have a seasoned veteran like that who can play a bunch he is going to bring a lot to the program."
(Did it feel good to get a first-round pick on defense?) "Gus is a defensive coach, man. Yes it did. Hopefully there are many more in the future."
DT Michael Bennett
(On if he was disappointed to fall to the sixth round) "I said it at the combine, the whole goal is to get drafted, so the round doesn't really matter. I got to the best fit in the league with Jacksonville, a great team, a great coaching staff, great city, so I'm not disappointed by any means."
(On his visit with the Jaguars) "I don't think (defensive line coach Todd) Wash was there when I visited, but I loved the visit, I loved the facilities, every other coach that I met. It felt right, my agents had said that Jacksonville was a great fit from the beginning, so I really wanted to come here the whole time, so I'm just thankful that they pulled the trigger and picked me."
(On if he was recruited by any of the Ivy League schools) "No, not really. I had some for academic stuff, but not for football."
(On how he played at Ohio State, yet the Ivys didn't want him for football) "I had good test scores, so I got letters from a couple of Ivy League schools, but football, I don't think I ever got an offer."
(On his conversation with Gus Bradley upon being drafted) "It was positive. He said he liked what he saw, that the d-line coach really liked me, and then he told me about the mentalities they have on (the Jaguars) and I loved what he had to say, just working hard and no matter what happens at the end of the day, he's going to coach the same at the beginning of the year as he is at the end of the year and I really liked everything he had to say and the mentality that he brought to the team."
(On what he remembers from playing T.J. Yeldon) "The guy runs hard. I don't know what he weighs or how tall he is, but I know he hits like a train. I know he will be very successful with Jacksonville, so I can't wait to go against him every day in practice and get better just from going against him."
(On if he has pride in his interior rushing skills) "You've got to find your niche, or niche or whatever it's called, and interior pass rusher is my thing. I can stop the run, I can be a three-down player, but I think I'm making my living at my ability to rush the passer so I take a lot of pride in it."
(On why he can't pronounce 'niche' he correct way despite getting a 43 on the Wonderlic) "(laughs) Everyone says it differently."
(On if Sen'Derrick Marks being out provides him with chances to gain experience with more reps) "I'll be given the opportunities that I earn. They've got a lot of defensive tackles (in Jacksonville) already who are going to be fighting for that sport and when Marks comes back, he is their go-to guy, so I'm trying to learn from all of the guys ahead of me, keep my mouth shut and work hard and take advantage of any opportunity that I get."
(On if he feels like he fits in Jacksonville) "Like I said, my agents told me a couple of teams and this was at the top of my list from day one with me singing with (his agents), they said 'Jacksonville is going to be the best fit for you.' I'm excited, my family is excited, my agents are excited because this is the team that I wanted to be on from the very beginning."
(On who his agents are) "Todd France and Brian Ayrault."
Jaguars Assistant Director of College Scouting Paul Roell
(On why Michael Bennett fell to the sixth round) "There are always different things, one would probably be scheme fit. He's a little bit of a smaller guy; he's a natural 3-technique in the 4-3 front. Three-four teams may not be able to fit him in as much. Some of those 4-3 teams may already have their 3-technique."
(On Bennett's skillset) "Mike has what you look for in a 3-technique. Number one, he's a very smart player and instinctive. He has quick hands and is a penetrator, both run and pass. Mike as a pass-rusher has really good hands. He's quick and he can work the edge of a blocker and get on a guard or a center on his edge and work and finish. He also works down the lines of scrimmage very well in the run. There are a lot of things to Mike that you like as far as being a scheme fit and a 3-technique in our defense."
(On his 18 sacks) "Ohio State has had some good edge rushers. I'm sure there were times he was going up against single blocks and then times he split a double. It's hard to say. But anytime you have a guy with that first-step quickness and quick hands, he's got a chance. The inside guys win early, that's how they get it done, normally. Now if it's a coverage sack, sometimes the quarterback will get flushed and they'll come off and make the play that way. Normally they're going to win early and that is one of the things Mike has."
(On his 43 Wonderlic test score) "He's very football-smart. We had him in here a couple of weeks ago, probably about two weeks ago; he's a very bright and articulate young man – a very analytical thinker. His parents are both West Point graduates so it tells you a little bit. He's the type of kid when we were talking to him, he's very polite and well-mannered. The big thing is you could tell how smart the kid is. He was thinking things through, taking it serious. It's exciting to have a kid like that here."
(Which player have you done the most work on out of the first six picks) "I've done work on all of them. I would say Mike would be one because I made that school call. He would be one of the guys. Dante Fowler, Jr. because I cross-checked the LEOs and defensive ends, so he was another. And then T.J. Yeldon just because I really liked T.J. and the way he plays. He was fun to watch."
(What separated Yeldon from other second-tier running backs) "I'm sure you have heard this, but the biggest things with T.J. that jumped out to me were his run instincts, his vision and his instincts. T.J. is a little bit of an upright runner at times, but when you see T.J. in the hole the thing you see is his eyes, which are so good that he anticipates where the next cut is going to be before he's even there. He can be at the first level and he's already anticipating the second-level cut he has to make. He also has quick feet and fluid hips. A lot of times you'll get an upright runner and they'll be a one-cut type guy where they may have a little hip tightness, but with T.J. it's a little bit unique so there is a lot of things to like about T.J. Yeldon. I'm just thrilled he's a Jaguar."
(On Bennett's groin injury which kept him from testing and his evaluation process) "Yes, he pulled it at his pro day on either his first or second 40-attempt and couldn't complete the remainder of the workout for the rest of the day. We'll bring him in and evaluate him and the way we are looking at it is he'll be ready for training camp one way or another. Whether he makes it for our rookie minicamps will be up to the docs to decide as far as where he's at, but he will be ready for training camp so it's not a big concern."
(How similar is he to Roy Miller, Ziggy Hood and Sen'Derrick Marks). "Well, he's different than Roy. Roy is a big powerful guy with good quickness, too. He has some similarities to Sen'Derrick with the quickness, the quick hands and the way they can penetrate and disrupt. There are some similarities there to them. I mean, that's the 3-technique in a nut shell and that's the way Sen'Derrick plays it and Mike will play it in a very similar fashion."
(On getting Power Five conference players) "It's probably not a coincidence. I don't know that we specifically set out for that, but if there was a guy who played at a smaller school and was up there high and we felt good about, we're not opposed to doing that. Generally, we've done studies dating back to when I started in Indianapolis with Bill Polian and your Division I big school guys are generally the guys who are going to go in this draft. Now, there are small school guys who are going to go as well."
(On data supporting big school players as more successful picks) "It's hard to say because there have been guys from small schools who have had great careers, too. That's hard to say, there might be data on an individual basis but I would say your law of averages are a little higher."
(On not drafting a linebacker thus far) "We'll see how it falls the rest of the way, hopefully that happens. But, again, you don't ever want to force the pick for need. We want to make the team better and if that means we are taking players at other positions then that's what you do. You get in trouble when you start forcing picks for need and the players is not as good as some of the others on the board."
(On the linebacker class) "It is a thin class at linebacker. You try and study why, but I don't know. Obviously, you'd like to hit your needs in every draft and sometimes it's possible and sometimes it's not. What I know is from the beginning of this weekend to now and throughout the draft process we have gotten better and it's exciting. We sat here this whole month and went through this with Coach Babich, the defensive staff and the offensive staff. It's been long and today the proof is in the pudding. It's paying off."