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Harris Draft wrap-up


The following is a transcript of Vice President of Player Personnel James Harris' press conference immediately following the 2007 NFL Draft.

(on the draft overall) "Overall, we had some needs and we think we addressed several of those needs. We added competition in terms of some of our depth and we also think we added some speed receivers in this group. We got some guys that can compete for special teams and we certainly got a playmaker at safety."

(on the similarities between Reggie Nelson and Josh Gattis) "They are similar because they both are free safeties. They both are productive. Gattis is All-Conference in a major conference, so he's had a productive career."

(on passing up Brady Quinn in the draft room) "I'm not going to go that far in the draft room, but he was bypassed because when we finished our discussions and made our decision, we felt like Reggie was the best pick for us at that time."

(on the quarterback situation overall now with the addition of two more wide receivers) "I would say we like the three quarterbacks that we have and we have a new coaching staff that is looking forward to meeting with the players here and we are looking forward to seeing that."

(will you bring in another quarterback?) "We will bring in another quarterback through free agency. Right now it might be an undrafted rookie, more than likely, it will be today."

(how surprised were you that Quinn fell?) "We were surprised to see him fall mainly because of how he was advertised. We were surprised to see him fall that far."

(on Gattis and Nelson so similar, do you have something in mind for them?) "We have five safeties that can make the roster and that's what we are looking at. We want to have five good safeties and have some special teams."

(on trading the three picks for to get back to the fifth round, were you afraid of losing either Gattis or Uche Nwaneri?) "No, we were trying to get back up into the quality players. We had so many picks that we figured that it would be challenging for some of those guys to make the roster, that we wanted to get back into the better end of the players. That's why we chose to get back into the fifth round to get a better player."

(was Nelson the better player than Quinn or were you afraid to send a bad message to Byron Leftwich?) "We weren't trying to send messages; we were trying to make a decision that was the best for the team. When we talked and discussed it, we felt that that was the best decision for the team."

(what can you get out of Mike Walker and John Broussard this year at wide receiver?) "Mike Walker is a versatile receiver that has instincts at the position. He is a highly productive guy that has some route ability. We like him because he finished third in the nation in receiving after coming off an injury. He understands the position and he is coached by an NFL coach. He will go over the middle and he is tough. Broussard is a slight build guy that we like. Our special teams coach (and former coach at San Jose State, Tom Williams) highly recommended him. We feel like we had a little insight there. He will play receiver."

(are these guys better than what you have?) "I'm not going to say they are better than what we have, because we like the guys that he have, but Walker is a guy that we think that can come in and be competitive. Broussard brings some speed."

(on Brian Smith and his hip injury) "In this league, one of the true factors is pass rush. When you get an opportunity to get one, you get him and he was one of the better pure pass rushers in the draft. He has a history of rushing the passer. In high school he had 55 sacks and had 35 his senior year. He was a teammate of (Jarvis) Moss and I think both of them had nearly 30 sacks apiece on an undefeated team. At Missouri he would have been, perhaps, the all-time sack leader in the conference had he not gotten hurt his senior year. Even after getting hurt, he was still the most valuable player on his team."

(on your confidence in his rehabilitation) "We feel comfortable that he will have an opportunity to come back, but as I said, when you get a chance to take a pass rusher, you take them."

(did the injury cost him in the draft?) "I'm sure he would have been a first day guy if hadn't gotten injured."

(what grade do you give this draft?) "We feel good about the draft and adding

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