Jaguars DB Coach DeWayne Walker
(How much does that factor into your evaluation process?) "It's very important. What we've learned in our system the safety position is critical. We are going to start him out at free safety so he will be in the middle of the field quite a bit so the open field tackling and having instincts to play the ball and those things are very important in our system."
(Does he have strong characteristics if you want to move him down the line of scrimmage?) "There's no question. Again, when you look at Seattle's defense which is the same as ours, they decided to leave Earl (Thomas) in the middle of the field and leave Kam (Chanchellor) down for the most part. In our system, our safeties now are interchangeable so he will fit perfectly with what we're trying to do with the safeties that we do have."
(On Sergio Brown and how he fits in) "So far, so good. He's a pro. He's very attentive in our meetings. He has pretty good experience because of what he's done so far in our league so we think he's interchangeable as well so we're not just going to have him in the middle of the field and have (Jonathan) Cyprien down. We will probably stay with what we've done the last couple of years in terms of interchanging one of our safeties."
(On three-way competition for free safety spot) "We just want to be competitive across the board. I think we have definitely upgraded our whole secondary to be honest with you but it's going to be pretty good competition across the board especially at safety."
(Do you feel like Davon House is an ascending player?) "We hope so. That's why he is here. I think so. I have history with him when I had him at New Mexico State so that is one main reason why he is here."
(Did you see him improve each year at Green Bay?) "I followed him. He was a boy back then and he's a man now. Physically, he's really grown into a physical tough corner. I always knew he had pretty good ball skills and good football instincts so it's good to see he's made good progress in his career so far."
(Does James Sample play a lot of special teams?) "I am sure he will. I am sure our special teams coach Mal (Mike Mallory) will have him be a four core guy for us. He's physical, he's aggressive, so he's exactly what you're looking for not only as a safety but as a special teams player."
(How rare is it to get a guy who can go sideline-to-sideline this late in the draft?) "Good. I just think a guy like Earl Thomas is rare. To find a guy like Earl Thomas is tough, but we just feel like he has enough mobility and athletic ability going sideline-to-sideline that he will fit in perfect."
(On Aaron Colvin's offseason and gaining weight) "Like I said, last year I thought it was pretty unbelievable coming into camp and playing like he did. Now, he gets a chance to start off with everybody else. We are really excited about him becoming the type of player that he can become."
(Did he need to get stronger and add the weight?) "I just think with him having a chance to have an offseason he's a growing young man so that will happen naturally, but I am happy to see that he is getting a chance to start off like everybody else."
(Starting free safety?) "We will start out with Sergio. That's why we signed him. Sample will get a lot of opportunities. Josh Evans will be a swing guy who will start off at strong safety. We know these last two seasons he's played free safety so we have some flexibility with those new guys."
(Will there be two new starters in secondary?) "Yeah."
(Do you think it's time?) "It's time and he understands that."
(This will be a very solid secondary?) "On paper. We still have to get it done on the field. On paper it looks much better."
(Sample is the seventh defensive back drafted in the last three years. Is that ideal having young guys out there?) "From a development standpoint, the one beauty about young guys is you get to develop them your way. Sometimes with veteran guys, you have to talk them into what we think is best for not only our system but for our team. With young guys, I think it's good because they're probably going to listen a lot faster because they may not know as much as they need to know in terms of what we're trying to do. That part of it I see the advantages of young players."
(Did Cyprien develop slower?) "I wouldn't say that because we've had these conversations. I think sometimes the outsiders don't look at it from a schematic standpoint. When Cyprien played in college he played a split safety defense so he was rarely down. Coming into our system is more of an eight man front system. He's like a linebacker in certain defenses. There's certain things that you have to learn within our scheme and what offenses are trying to do with him being in a new position. He walked in right as a starter so for a young guy having to learn the NFL, learn the system, and a new position, all of that is quite a bit for a young guy. I think the last couple of years he has learned a lot."
(He needed a couple of years to adjust?) "That's mostly as guys coming in as rookies starting in our league. It's definitely a process that they have to go through."
(Is this year is the year he's stepping up?) "We are banking on it."
(Do you think Davon House is ready to be a vocal guy?) "Yes, I think so. I think our guys already have respected him because he does things right. That's the one thing I like about him. With our history, he gets it. He respects the game and I think our guys have been a part of that so I think they look at him as not only being a pretty good player but a good person so that's going to help our room quite a bit."
Safety James Sample
(On if he was surprised to be picked by the Jaguars) "I had a feeling that I was going to go early today, but I'm just fired up, ready to go."
(On if he feels like he fits into the Jacksonville defense) "I feel like I fit in well, it's a young defense. I feel like I could come in there and make an impact."
(On what the second and third rounds were like when he wasn't selected) "It was cool. I just held my head up high even though I didn't go. Either way, I was just waiting for my name to get called. It didn't matter what round, I just needed the opportunity to come in and play and that's what (the Jaguar) have given me, an opportunity." (On if he thinks bouncing around in college hurt his stock) "A little bit. Everybody says "one hit wonder" and I had only one full year of football, but it doesn't matter, I'm just happy to be here."
(On if he thinks Jacksonville is a good landing spot for him) "It's a really good spot. It doesn't get cold, kind of like California, so I'm all right by that."
(On if he thinks Jacksonville is a good opportunity to land a starting job) "Right now I'm not worried about that. I'm just ready to come in and compete and if I end up getting a starting job, that'll be a blessing. I'm just going to give the Jags everything I've got every single day."
(On his chances to start because the Jaguars do not have "an Ed Reed sitting back there") "I know, but they've still got a big group of guys. I'm going to learn from the guys up there and if I end up getting a starting job, I like it."
(On his interaction with the Jaguars coaching staff) "I met with them at the combine. I got a good feeling when I met with them at the combine. Then I met with (Jaguars assistant defensive backs coach Mike Rutenberg) at my pro day and I had a real good feeling with him. He just told me to enjoy the process, relax, and taught me about the things that I can control and the things that I couldn't control. Leading up to the draft, I wasn't nervous because it was out of my hands. I did everything that I could do. I had the film, like they said 'the eye in the sky doesn't lie.' From there on, whatever happens happens. (Rutenberg) helped me relax a lot."
(On if his performances in the big games helped his cause) "It helped a lot. When you play against big time opponents, you've got to show-out. Just playing in front of the crowd, I like playing in front of crowds, they energize me, get me turned up during the game, especially Clemson, that was a fun game."
(On who is at his draft party) "It was early in the morning up here, so it's only me, my brothers, my sisters, my trainer. They were all out here, in my room. We were just chilling. "
(On how many brothers and sisters he has) "I've got two brothers and two sisters."
(On if his brothers play football) "Yes, they play football. They're fired up, they know they're about to get a lot of free gear and stuff."
(On if his brothers are younger than him) "Yes, they're both younger than me."
Jaguars Assistant Director of Player Personnel Andy Dengler
(Opening statement) "Hey guys, just so you know, we traded the 103rd pick for the 104th and 229nd in the seventh round."
(What did you like about Sample?) "He's 6-2, 209 almost 210, ran 4.5, had four interceptions and led the team in tackles. He had 90 tackles, 76 solos and 14 assists – he's a productive player. I think he has a really high ceiling. He has really good ball skills, can fill the alley and is a really aggressive player."
(If playing time was the reason for leaving University of Washington) "He started out his first year with a shoulder injury that set him back, and then they were going to try and switch positions on him. I think they maybe wanted to move him to linebacker and he wanted to play safety so he spent one year at American River Junior College and then transferred to Louisville."
(On his skillset) "We do think he can play redline to redline as coaches described it. He's got good speed and good ball skills and has very good range. He can come in and he'll be a really good special teams player because he is really aggressive and a good tackler. He can compete at the free safety spot with Sergio (Brown) and also Josh (Evans). Like anything, as Coach Bradley always says, he wants to build competition with each position and this one adds to that factor for us at that spot."
(On when the Jaguars met him) "We met at the combine. They interviewed him at the combine and we feel real good about the make-up of him; we have done our homework and he is just a quality guy. I really think he's got a lot of upside to him, you know, the fact the he's really a one-year producer at the Division I level."
(On prospects of starting) "I would say it's not wide open, but he's going to come in and have an opportunity to compete. It's to build depth at this spot with our team. Sergio and Josh both have NFL experience. I don't think it's going to be handed to him by any means but there will be competition."
(On Dante Fowler, Jr.) "Number one, he gets to the quarterback. He's really an explosive player and has heavy hands. He kind of gives you a couple different dimensions because not only is he a good pass rusher that has dip and move to him, but he has strong hands to set the edge too. It's not like you are getting a one-dimensional pass rush player. I think you are getting a complete player that plays with strength and plays with great balance and explosiveness."
(On T.J. Yeldon) "Yeldon gives us, I think, a good feature – he's got really quick feet and to me has excellent vision to get through holes. He really gives us a number one back. He's a big back at 220 pounds and he's got speed and is really strong at the position."
(On A.J. Cann) "He comes in and I think he can compete for a starting position. He's a four-year starter, he's a captain and he's got great worth ethic. He can really roll his hips and create movement. He's a power player and has a ton of trigger time at South Carolina, and I really think he has a lot of upside. Last year we did a lot of movement in regards to the zone scheme, so I think we are going to be able to run more power with him. He'll come in and I think it'll be a good competition. Once again, we brought a good player in who will compete for time. It'll be interesting, and we also think over time he can transition to center as well. He gives you a lot of versatility."
(On draft meeting needs) "It's worked out that way. For us, you know, I get greedy. I want to fill them all, but you can't. There are only so many slots that you have. We do our homework, too, and do research for what is available for next year. So if there is a position low in one area next year, our area scouts have already done that .It gives Dave (Caldwell) and Gus (Bradley) a chance to see really what is position-rich for the year after. If it's light there then that might be an emphasis for this year."
(On details of trade with the New York Jets) "There was one other team that was involved. I can't mention who but I would say that was the scenario. It's like anything, if you really have a need for somebody you go get them. That's what they did and to our benefit we moved back one spot and we were still able to get the player that we targeted and gained a seventh round pick. It was a win-win for us."
(On evaluating the safety position) "The toughest position to evaluate for myself is safety just because there are such limited opportunities so you just have to do more work and watch more games. Sample pops out on tape in terms of production. He's an aggressive player. All four of those guys were coming out in the (Louisville) secondary, and between (Gerod) Holliman and Sample and the other two players, they had 21 interceptions. It's a productive team and Louisville is a good ball club."
(On specific games in which Sample pops out) "I always think when evaluating players you take them against their best competition, and there might be at times an individual battle. I always think, too, when you get to be playing the best team and a rivalry game you get to see, or should be seeing, them at their peak."
(More on Sample) "He gives you the range of a free and the strength of a strong. It's a good combination to have."