Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell
(Opening statement) "As you know we selected T.J. Yeldon with our second pick, a running back, and we are excited about it."
(What did you like about him?) "His size, his foot quickness, his instincts, his run vision, his three-down ability, ability to catch the ball, he's got excellent hands, he's got the size to be a very good pass protector. Other than that I think the way he runs he's got the ability to break long ones. He's a patient runner and he gets the most out of what's there."
(Last week you said you'd wait until round 4 or 5 to get a good running back.) "We had three guys up there that we felt like could be really good backs for us. The first two went in the first round; he was the third, and after that we felt like there was a little bit of a drop-off. We felt to get one of those top three guys that we had would be a win for us."
(Were his fumbles a concern?) "It wasn't a concern for us. I think he cleaned it up this year more so than last year. If anything our coaching staff here makes that a priority of taking care of the ball. We've had running backs that have had a lot of fumbles in college and have come in here and not done it. Even some of the guys that have had fumbles in year one and come back in year two like D-Rob (Denard Robinson) in terms of taking care of the ball a little better. It's a coaching point that we emphasize here and it's an area where our players can get better at it, for one. And two, it's not a stat that translates from college to the NFL, or year to year for that matter."
(Do you like a guy that competed in the SEC?) "I think with anything that if you can get a guy that's competing in the SEC he's playing against the top level of competition in college football, along with the speed of the game down here in the south he is going against fast defenders. Those holes close about as fast as they close at this level, too."
(You said before that adding a running back would be the last piece to the puzzle.) "I think it was just an opportunity to get a player that we felt really good about and it just happened to be a running back. It may be early and it may not be. I think now is as good of a time as any."
(How much of a percentage of a load would you like a running back to carry?) "I would say, and I'd have to ask Greg Olson what his thoughts are, I don't think today in the NFL you can have a guy that's taking the load, 23 or 25 snaps a game every week in and out. I think it'd be somewhere in between 250-260 for a year. When you get towards that 300 mark you're starting to reach a threshold there."
(Do you compare him to any other running backs?) "He's probably somewhere in between Ingram and Eddie Lacey. He's got the size of Eddy Lacey and the feet of Ingram. He's a good mixture and he's really good in the passing game."
(Do you like the fact only three years in college?) "I do like that. He doesn't take a lot of shots. When you watch him too, he's a back that can get skinny in the hole. He has good awareness of where his defenders are. He feels the first level while he's seeing the second level, which is really good for backs."
(A need and best player available here?) "Yeah, that's really what it was. We thought we would have some trade scenarios last night and this morning really trying to target to get up. I think a lot of them were targeting for Landon Collins and once he went that kind of dried up."
(How much is Greg's (Olson) offense. Do you have to change the way you look at running backs?) "No I wouldn't say that. I think we're still going to run some zone principles along with some gap principles. T.J. is a back that has very good burst, can get to the perimeter and he can be a one cut back to turn it up. He's also got a little stutter and go where he can be patient in the hole and fit it into the gap scheme. It's really good fit for both schemes."
(On upright running style) "He is six-foot-one plus so he is going to be a little bit upright but he's 221, 222. He's a little bit of a longer torso guy which gives you the illusion that he is upright but he's got really good knee bend and upon contact he has good pad level."
(Does it help he played in the pro style?) "Yeah, it definitely helps he played in the pro style. When you talk to people at Alabama they speak very highly of him. They will be the first to admit that when he had some things and left the game they felt their offense lacked a little bit."
(What does this mean for Denard?) "I think our plan is to use Denard on some kick return duties this year but he is still going to be a really good prominent part of this offense. You can never have enough good backs; we've got Toby (Gerhart), Bernard Pierce and we have Storm (Johnson) there too. We have a stable of backs we feel good about and they all bring an element that's a little bit different than the others. Some two-back sets you're going to see some different variations of guys in there too."
(You won't carry five will you?) "We can carry five because we won't have a fullback this year."
(Do you want a bigger physical back?) "We wanted a bigger back but I wouldn't categorize him as a pounder. We were looking for that 6-2, 220 range, a guy that can maybe carry a little bit more reps."
(No fullback this year?) "No fullback this year."
(What's your philosophy on that?) "We don't use one in any of our offensive sets so no sense in carrying one if we're not going to use one."
(On if he was expecting to be picked by the Jaguars) "I was very surprised. I had a good visit and a good meeting with (the Jaguars' coaches) at the combine. I was very excited to get picked."
(On how he fits in with the Jacksonville offense) "I think I fit in pretty well. I can do a lot of things; I can catch the ball, I can run the ball. I feel like I fit in very well."
(On if he was expecting to get drafted in the late 1st round) "I honestly had no idea where I was going to go. I was just praying and hoping that I'd get picked, so I had no idea where I was going to go."
(On if he was disappointed not to go in the 1st round) "No, not really. I just wanted to get picked by a team and showcase what I can do on the field, so I wasn't really disappointed at all."
(On if he's talked with any of the former Alabama running backs who are in the NFL) "Not really, I haven't talked to them. I talked to Eddie (Lacy) some and he said 'the practices are much easier than at Alabama.' And he said that they don't have too many practices that are that hard, but it wasn't that bad at Tuscaloosa."(On if he has a preference for a number) "I'm hoping that I can get 24. I can't keep my low-digit 4 number, so I'm hoping that I can get 24."(On if he's looked at the Jaguars' roster) "I haven't really looked at the roster, I wasn't really into that. I'm just excited to get a chance to play for Jacksonville, go out and compete with the guys and just have fun out there."
(On what he believes his strengths are) "I feel like I've got excellent vision. I feel like I can see things before they're about to happen, like seeing a guy down the field, or read my blocks and set my blocks up when I'm running the ball. And I can catch the ball out of the backfield excellent and I can pick up blocks pretty well, the same things that I did at Alabama."
(On what he has to work on) "People say ball security, but I worked on that. I wasn't really focused and wasn't holding onto the ball. I did better this year with ball security."
Jaguars HC Gus Bradley
(On if need met best available with the selection of T.J. Yeldon) "We went through, like I said, mock drafts going through it. This was a guy that popped up if we got to this round, anticipating the other two guys would be taken. We knew if he was there, it would be a really good thing for us. I think to me what really shows up in watching it with the offensive staff, he has great vision, really, really good instincts, great anticipation. Dave (Caldwell) talked about the second level and that's very accurate. Sometimes when you run zone schemes and gap schemes, you really need to have a guy that knows when to hit it and have patience to let things develop in front of him. That's what you saw in him, even in conversations with some of his coaches, that's what they said; tremendous instincts. It showed up repeatedly."
(On how he compares to Dante Fowler, Jr.) "Opposite personality than Dante, though. Kind of quiet and cerebral. He knows what he wants and goes for it. He's just a hard worker."
(How was the decision to not include a fullback in offensive sets?) "The ability to carry an extra tight end."
(On what it takes to run several offensive sets) "The instincts, when to hit it and the zone schemes. It's kind of a work in progress for some our guys that was new to them. This guy has it. He shows a great ability to do it. One of you mentioned that he was a little upright, a little bigger. He's a little bit upright, he's 226 pounds. But even with the analytics and the yards after contact he had one of the highest, always falling forward, always gaining that extra yard. When you see him, he's a little higher-torso body, smaller legs, longer upper-body. When you see him in his running style, he just controls his pad-level very well for his size."
(On Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban's views on Yeldon) "He really liked him. I think the conversation was that, 'you'll be really pleased with him because we were with his performance.'"
(On Yeldon's ability to fight through injuries) "I think in this league, the number of carries you'll get, rarely do you see backs getting over 20 carries anymore. You see 15, 16 carries. We want to be like that too and have that opportunity to change up our running styles. That will help him. I know he's bounced back from those injuries. I believe he'll only get stronger."
(Is he the number one back heading into training camp?) "What's our central theme? It's the same thing we told him over the phone: come in and compete and let's see what takes place. We're excited about it."
(Are you starting to get the sense that you have every piece?) "I can say this: we really like our tight end group. When you're looking at that group, you have four or five guys and you say that we feel really good about that. In the running back group, this is starting to come together here. The offensive line, and the receiver group, there are things we need to continue to see if guys will develop that are on our team. It's coming together. I think the challenge is that some of the guys that are so-called No. 2s or 2Bs that develop into ones and we get into that developmental phase."
(How often do you anticipate using a two-back set?) "It could appear a two-back set because the other tight end could be in the backfield. With no fullback, but you could see rocket or something like that with two guys that are in the backfield together that are both tailbacks."
(On players' response on draft day) "We're all excited, excited to get up there. Enjoying our trip and hoping it could work out and it did. That's what I told T.J.: 'It all started for you and I – obviously it all started in my office – but we met at the combine, in the office,' and he said that he remembered that day vividly. It came true. It worked out and I'm excited."
(On making draft picks' dreams come true) "Any organization, the opportunity to get drafted, they generally come in with an appreciation for the organization for thinking highly of them, holding them in high regard and picking them."
(Were you nervous that you would not be able to pick Yeldon?) "You go through and say, 'who needs a running back?' So you go through that. 'What kind of style of running back are they looking for?' Some backs out there are good one-cut runners. Like what we were talking about last year with zone schemes, so you try to picture who needs a running back and what style of running back do they need."
(On if he was concerned about the fumbles during college) "I think that fumbles can be addressed. We talk about it in conversations with our guys. I think we'll be all over that. Regardless if he had no fumbles or quite a few, it would be addressed. I think you'll see it when you meet him, he has a presence to him where you really trust him and that he'll take care of it."
(What will your base offense be?) "It will be multiple personnel groupings, but what you can draw the conclusion of it won't be two backs and fullback. You'll see some 12 personnel: one back and two tight ends, one back and one tight end, one back and three tight ends. You can see variations. You'll see multiple that way."
(How important is it to have a good first-down back?) "I think the importance for us is a first-, second- and third-down back. T.J. has that ability. He has really good hands. His protection is solid and is something we'll continue to work on, which for most backs is a transition for him. He played all three downs, can play all three downs, catches the ball well, runs hard, makes people miss. It's what we were looking for our scheme."
(On his performance on screen plays) "He catches the ball really well and can get to the open field. I've talked to many coaches and some of the things that we talk about is that intellect. Is he intelligent? We're looking for players that have intelligence. It's not their score in the Wonderlic. It's his ability to make spontaneous decisions, the ability to make quick decisions in the heat of the moment, that kind of intelligence. That's him. He can make spontaneous decisions in the heat of the moment. You see it. The hole will close up and it just comes naturally to him. It's instincts that take place. A lot of the really good backs in our league have that."
(Why is it important to have multiple running backs?) "You just want flexibility. You want a guy that can come in. If he can play all three downs, that's great. If it happens to be in a no-huddle situation, it's first, second and third down, he can stay it or we can have the flexibility of him staying on the field."
(Were you ever considering searching for a different position with this pick?) "I think with him, if he was there, but if he wasn't, we had the flexibility to go in a different direction."
Jaguars RB Coach Kelly Skipper
(On T.J.'s patience on the stretch play) He can put his foot in the ground and burst and accelerate. The thing about him, he comes from a pro-style offense so he utilized a lot of the run-schemes that we use. You can see the patience, he knows blocking schemes, he can read them, but the biggest thing is, if there's nothing there, he can create on his own. He can make guys miss and the biggest thing, like I said, he can make plays. We brought him here on a visit and I went through all of the protections and different things like that and he's very comfortable and very smart on the board. He understands protections that we utilize, so I can see him there in protection on third-down; he can do all of that, plus he catches out of the backfield very well."
(On if college running backs rarely come out of college with success in protection) "That's what I told him, you know. When I met with him, I was like, 'That's the hardest thing for a running back coming from college to the NFL, to pass protect. Knowing the blitz schemes and the patterns that (defenses) run their blitzes, once you learn that, it will be easy for you. That's the hardest thing is just identifying it, knowing your assignment, knowing the different calls and being on the same page.' Just going through it with him on the board, he had a lot of experience from that and he felt comfortable and I felt really good about him knowing his assignments. That will be easy for him to make the adjustment that way."
(On how you envision using him as a running back) "The biggest thing is coming in to compete. Get him out here. The biggest thing is to let him learn the offense so he can compete and feel comfortable. We'll see what his attributes are like on the field when he's together with all of those guys and then we'll fit him in however his abilities show."
(On how good he is in the screen game) "They utilize the screen a lot. The thing about it is that it gets it to them in space. On the highlights, you can see him making guys miss and making plays. He has really good hands. You can split him out, he can run receiver-type routes being detached. He's very comfortable doing that. He's going to do a lot of things that we're thinking about utilizing in our offense."
(On his fumbles in college) "One thing about it is that the fumbles went down this year. He had 10 fumbles or whatever, but most of those were early in his career. He did a really good job of locking it up and the 'points' and all of that stuff. You can see that he has good technique carrying the ball. The thing about it is, get his pad level down; you will protect the ball a bit better."
(On if he has drills to work on protecting the ball) "We always do. That's the first thing we do. It's all about the ball. We do a lot of bungee-cord-type drills with the football, pressure points of holding it, using your fingertips, your arm, your bicep, locking that elbow down so you can get it high and tight. Keep your wrist above your elbow. All of those little mechanics and techniques…we preach that every day. That's the first thing we do. Ball security."
(On if patience is a tough attribute to find) "Yes. I think some guys are too fast. I think they hit the hole and don't let it develop. If you have patience, real natural instincts and let it develop and when you see it, you explode."
(On if he was ranked three being Gurley and Gordon) "It's a good draft for running backs. The thing about him, he did a lot of things well. Plus, he has that size. He's quick, he does a lot of things that a little guy can do, but he's 6-1, 226."