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Jack Del Rio on Rashean Mathis


(how do you view Rashean Mathis?) "He's a guy with great range. A very productive player. He has the size and speed that covet and he has production to match it. Where he ends up and what role he ends up in will be determined by how well he can come in, learn our system and earn a job."

(on the fact Mathis can play both cornerback and safety) "He can. That's always something you take into consideration."

(coming in as a rookie, what defensive position to you think is easier to play?) "I don't think any of them are easy to play. I think that defensively if you can count to three, then we can design a package that works for you. So we're able to utilize speed and quickness and cover skills and some of the things that he brings. Again, how fast that happens for him, how soon he gets on the field, that'll be determined through competition. He'll earn that right and we'll just take that as it comes."

(was this pick a sign that you want a bigger cornerback?) "Obviously, if you have a chance to have a guy who's bigger and faster, generally that's a good thing. But those guys (Fernando Bryant and Jason Craft) are good players. This is no way a knock our two corners. I like those two players. I like several of the players that we have at that position on our team. This is just another guy. We talked about increasing the level of competition at all positions and we just increased the level of competition at the defensive back position."

(how much did the Bryant and Craft contract negotiation impact this pick?) "They didn't. They didn't at all. To be honest with you, the reason this was such an easy pick, we had a list of guys that we would not go beyond. We thought that we were in between on this guy and the guy that we also had on the board last. So we had a couple guys there that we thought would be gone at the end of the first round before our pick in the second round, and the fact that we happened to get one makes it an easy pick. So there's not a matter of some guy we resurrected from the bottom of the draft board. This is in line with our plan."

(with Mathis' speed and athleticism, one would think he would play corner; why do you think he played safety in college?) "The coach was doing something right. Mathis ended up with 31 interceptions. I think they put in positions to make plays and he made them. So we'll do the same. We'll find out what his best spot is for us and that's where we'll play him."

(did you have Mathis ranked in the first round?) "We don't rank the board the same way that you might make the board. Again what I'm saying is on our value line, he was not a guy that we anticipated having here. If we were fortunate enough to have him be here, we'd be happy to take him and that's where we are."

(is it safe to say he was the best player available on your board?) "No question."

(as the draft advances, is there much difference between players?) "It gets a little more difficult to determine as you get further down. The differences are smaller between players and player grades. There are bunches of players as you get down to the lower rounds. Players tend to get bunched up and have to work through them the best you can and find traits that you want on your team."

(is there a different approach starting with the third round?) "Possibly."

(do you have your board ranked 1 through 250?) "I can't say that we don't. I can just stay that you guys have plenty of information about how we do our business and we're following our plan, and that's where we are."

(is your board a secret?) "It's our board. We do our board our way. We've said all we need to say about how we set-up our board and draft from our board. We have a plan. We're following the plan. We feel very good about the two players we've acquired thus far."

(with the bunches of players, how do you distinguish the players?) "When you get players that are bunched up and have the same grade, then you would look more to need. If the guy has the same ability and the same scouting grade and coaching grade on them, at that point, then they're going to address need more so. Not that you ignore need in other places, but it becomes more obvious."

(will you develop Mathis at safety or corner?) "We'll talk about that as a staff. Probably safety. That's where he played in college. That'll probably be where he'll be most comfortable coming in. But we won't rule out the possibility of taking a look at him at corner as well."

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