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James Harris on LaBrandon Toefield


(on LeBrandon Toefield) "LeBrandon Toefield was a three-year starter at LSU. He made All-SEC as a junior. He scored 19 touchdowns. He was injured in the SEC championship game, but he returned and played last season. We feel this would be the second year removed that injury. I think he should be even better. He's an inside-the-tackle runner with good running skills. He can catch. He's an effective blocker. We think he can be a guy that can come in and compete for some playing time."

(with Toefield twice having two ACL injuries in his left knee, what do you do to convince yourself he's OK and not be a problem in the future?) "We've looked at the knee. The medical staff has given him the grade in order for us to draft him. We feel comfortable that he's over the knee injury and should be even stronger two years removed after the injury."

(are you now finding that a lot of players have the same grade so you now pick on need?) "Here we're going strong mostly on need because there are so many players graded the same. They're tough to separate in terms of grade. So we are going need here."

(is Toefield a short-yardage back or an every-down type of back?) "We think he gives us an option to compete with Elvis Joseph. He has been a front-line back that could carry the ball in terms of when he was in college. He's a 230-pounder, so he can pound it. He can carry the ball, but right now we're expecting him to compete with Elvis Joseph for some playing time in terms of resting Fred Taylor."

(RB Avon Copeland was also available at this spot; where did you have ranked?) "We preferred a bigger back with size. This back gives us more flexibility. If needed, he can also serve as a fullback."

(why did you trade out of the fifth round?) "We traded out of the fifth round to give ourselves a chance of increasing the opportunities for guys to make the team. We felt the numbers were more important than the value. Getting three picks this late in the draft with so many players graded the same, we decided right now that we prefer having more players with more opportunities to make the team, a special teams player, a role player."

(do you find that the players in the sixth and seventh round are not much different than the fifth round?) "In terms of our board, that's correct. We think it's a possibility. The guy we pick here is a possibility he may be available in the seventh round. That's how close we grade it."

(do you think you'll draft a kicker in the seventh round?) "I don't think so, but that's hard to say. I don't think so."

(do you think he'll get a wide receiver in the sixth round?) "I couldn't assume that. Once again, we'll look at our board and see how the value is. Need first, but someone must be a receiver in that area that we like. We'll look at it and put value vs. need, with need being the priority, and make the decision accordingly."

(do you think you'll find a receiver in veteran free agency?) "That will certainly be an option that we'll look to, but right now we want to finish the draft and review after the draft."

(did you envision before the draft began that you could go five rounds without getting a receiver?) "No, we didn't envision it. We went into the draft realizing we couldn't address every need. We knew that. We also went into the draft realizing that we would not make it fit and where we had the receivers on the board, they never really fell for us. It just wasn't a fit. We had some receivers we liked, but when we picked those receivers, they had been drafted. We also went into the draft looking to trade down. Anytime after the second round, we had plans of trading down. We couldn't get a trade we liked. We didn't want to trade certainly in the third. The player was of value. We ruled out trade in the third round. We couldn't get a trade that we liked, but we finally made a trade. But we had intended on adding additional picks."

(have you entertained any trade offers for Mark Brunell?) "No."

(have you called any teams offering Brunell?) "We've had conversations about several players in the last couple of weeks. We haven't had any trades, haven't talked to anyone during this draft about any players."

(was Brunell one of those players you refer to?) "We've been involved in some calls about Brunell. That's as far as it got."

(do you expect after drafting Bryon Leftwich that you would get more of those kinds of calls this week?) "I'm not sure. A lot of teams have their quarterbacks and we'll just have to wait and see."

(do you think it'll be tough to trade Brunell because of his salary situation?) "We haven't really thought about that right now as much as we are right in the middle of focusing on this draft. We haven't stopped to start thinking about that right now. We're just trying to finish this draft."

(what do you think about the possibility of signing J.J. Stokes at wide receiver?) "J.J. Stokes as been a starter in San Francisco. He's been a solid player. If we would sign him right now, that's not something I'm prepared to talk about right now."

(will Mark Brunell be at next week's minicamp?) "We certainly hope so."

(any chance you'll cut Brunell this week before minicamp?) "Nobody is talking about cutting Brunell. I don't understand cutting Brunell. No, we certainly haven't talked about cutting Brunell."

(have you spoken with Brunell since picking Leftwich?) "No, we have not. We have been concentrating on the draft."

(does the organization feel it's not important to talk to Brunell regarding the Leftwich pick?) "Right now, in terms of our players, when we draft we are not in the habit of just calling every player to tell him who we drafted. Our focus right now has to be on the draft. Brunell is a veteran. He's a starter on this team. Right now we haven't said anything differently about that. If something changed, then we certainly would talk to Mark about it."

(did you have Toefield rated higher than most boards?) "Each team has their own medical staff and own finding. I don't really know how other teams had him on their board. We just thought it was good value for us. We had entertained some offers for that pick. A couple of teams were interested in Toefield when we picked him, and that's as far as we know in terms of his value."

(on Toefield comparing himself to Fred Taylor?) "He's not as fast as Fred Taylor. They're both big and instinctive runners, but he doesn't have Fred Taylor's speed."

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