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Harris on Lewis


The following is a transcript of James Harris' press conference following the first round selection of Marcedes Lewis.

"We just selected Marcedes Lewis from UCLA. A big tight end. 6'6", 252 pounds. All-America this season. UCLA all-time record holder in touchdown receptions. A former basketball player. We're excited to have him."

(what is good about Lewis?) "He's productive. He has good size. He's proven to be a playmaker. He's made athletic plays."

(how concerned are you that he ran a 4.83 at the Combine?) "There have been several Pro Bowl tight ends that run 4.8. I won't get into names, but there are several tight ends in this league that runs 4.8. The thing that we look at is play speed, and he plays fast."

(was he the player you thought would be at the 28th slot and is he who you wanted?) "We thought he had an opportunity to be there. He was one of the guys we spent a lot of time with researching and we were very happy that he was there."

(did you explore trading up or down?) "No, we were prepared to stay where we were and pick. We thought that Marcedes had a chance of being there going into the draft. We worried about a couple teams in front of us who may have had some interest, of someone coming up and trading in front of us, but we were just going to stay there and wait and see if he made it to us."

(what does Lewis add to your team that you don't already have at tight end?) "He's young compared to (Kyle) Brady. He has some playmaking ability. We have some young tight ends we like as well, but this is a big guy who can block and receive. He can become kind of a combination guy."

(do you see him becoming a first down tight end?) "We see Marcedes as being able to block and being able to make some plays in the passing game. We believe that he can play the complete game."

(will Kyle Brady still be on the Jaguars team this season?) "Yes, Brady is one of the better blocking tight ends in the league and we feel he is still an asset to us."

(does that mean Lewis will play on third downs?) "That means we'll go to training camp with several good tight ends and let it play itself out."

(were you concerned about Lewis' Wonderlic score?) "We drafted him in the first round so we must not be concerned about it."

(did you have any qualms about drafting another receiver in the first round?) "They are two different positions. They are not the same position. Tight end and receiver are very different positions. We didn't group them together as a receiver."

(did you consider drafting Winston Justice?) "No, we were going to take Marcedes Lewis."

(did you have Lewis rated higher on your board?) "We took the next highest rated guy on our board."

(so you rated Lewis higher than Justice?) "He was the next highest rated guy on our board. We don't want to reveal our board and our information. Those kinds of things can be used against you later on."

(did you see any surprises in the way the picks came off?) "There were some surprises. There were some players that went that we had lower that obviously helped us. Every time a player goes below 28 on our board, that gives us more hope that our guy has a chance of getting there."

(were you not going to trade up at all?) "We weren't going to trade up to a certain point. There were some players that had they dropped, but they went high. Yeah, we would have traded up, but none of those players even came close to coming down. I think when we spoke the other day the reason I said we weren't going to trade-up is because we knew the players who had that type of value for us would not drop to a position where we had a chance to go get him."

(are you talking players at the top 10?) "Mostly, yes. There were some guys up there that we would have traded up if we could have gotten into position and been able to give up for our value. If it was a realistic trade for us to trade up."

(how high would you have traded up?) "I can't say how high we would have traded up."

(you mention you would have traded up to a certain point, what point was that?) "It probably all depends on the board but I'm not sure because we never got into calculating."

(with Lewis having a basketball background, do you feel he is groomed and ready to be a playmaker as a rookie?) "Yes we do. He went to the Senior Bowl. He had a good Senior Bowl game. He was very productive. He scored 10 touchdowns last year at UCLA. So we have no reason to think that he couldn't come in and be productive."

(did Houston's transaction yesterday impact you?) "It had no impact down where we were. Obviously we watched it and observed it but it had no impact on our selection."

(did you get any calls about trading?) "We were on the line with some teams throughout, like we normally are. There's always some talking about trading up and down. So you're constantly on the phone."

(did you get calls about the 28th pick?) "Yes, we got some calls about our pick. Nothing ever got real serious."

(did you downgrade Winston Justice because of his off-the-field issues?) "We did our research on Winston and what we do on character, we keep it within the organization. We don't like to speak of a player's personal character."

(on LenDale White) "We did our research. We like to keep a person's personal character within the building and that's what we try to do."

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