HEAD COACH GUS BRADLEY
(On the draft) "Dave (Caldwell) really hit a lot of the points that I was going to hit on. I think in my mindset it was the talent and competition. As I look at our team I was excited about things that I saw in the mini-camp. I did see a bunch of other guys compete. I think that as a group the core guys that we have on our team they're going to get better. They've bought into it completely, they're competing out there and I'm excited about the core group of guys. I looked at this draft to add more competition, to add talent and speed to the group of guys that we have. Our hopes are that our core guys that are here right now they elevate their play and these guys coming in elevate their play along with them. I think the last two picks that we were talking about with Dave, I looked at the board and we were talking about different scenarios and one of the points I brought up was, 'let's take the two corners.' Let's build that pool up and get some guys in there that have some speed, some length, and some traits that we're looking for. I never feel like you can have enough of those guys just to take a look at and build. Will those guys come in, do you project them to be starters? And just add to the whole group and add competition. I'm sure there may be a couple guys that we look at developing but that's the fun part of it when you can develop a guy that comes that late in the round and see him progress and end up eventually being a starter for you is great for our team. I'm really excited. The other thing I'd like to say about these guys is I don't know if it's a good word or a bad word but these guys all have juice, and that's a big trait for me as a head coach. I want to be able to feel this team out there. I want to feel their personality, I want to feel what they can bring to this organization. Dave and I agree with that. I think when you get a chance to talk to some of these guys Jonathan Cyprien, Ace (Sanders), Denard (Robinson), these guys have got some personality and some juice to add along with what we already have. That competitiveness and that drive to be the best that they can be, we're really trying to incorporate that into the room that we already have."
(what do you mean by juice?) "Spirit, a love for the game, excited about opportunity to play the game, excited to learn about the game, excited to watch film. Am I going too fast? It's just all those traits where I know for me, probably one thing that I'm learning in this short career in the NFL is balance. I think it's hard. My family is extremely important to me and I'm trying to juggle that to say sometimes you've got to spend time with the family. I know that's what we're looking for in the players, where they have their priorities but football is right up there with them. It's important to them. The height, weight, speed, all things we're looking for, and then to have that. They're just so competitive and they love the game. I think that just raises everybody's level."
(How often did you talk to Dan Quinn?) "I purposely did not talk to Dan Quinn too much. I guess I didn't want to give him any hints. I did talk to Will (Mushcamp) though. I talked to Will, I called Will and spent some time with Will about Josh (Evans) and he was great. The conversations Will and I had about him, what we're looking for, what we're trying to do. I knew what we saw on tape and the type of player, but to hear it from Will and just to give him an idea of what we're trying to build here and what we're looking for he conveyed his message."
(What does Josh Evans do?) "For us? When I looked at the safety spot I know when we initially first thought we didn't have any strong safeties, guys that came down the box and to utilize our strength. So at first that's what Johnathan Cyprien and I think as well as Josh Evans. I think there's going to be a battle there but I don't want to just pigeonhole those two into our strong safeties. The two best safeties will play to add with the guys that we have. I think we have a group that we can start to take a really strong look at. I told our team, it's no surprise. They know that this competition is not over now. We can get free agents and we'll keep adding to this team. That's my commitment as a coach is to keep raising the bar on the level of play that we expect, and I'm committed to our players to do that."
(You talked to some of these guys well before the draft. How important was that process for you to take these guys?) "Very important just because what I was talking about, that feeling. Some of these guys my conversation have been shorter where I just talk to them real quick but I knew enough about them. The good thing about having this time in between the rounds is that you can make phone calls, you can talk to people, you can visit with the guys. And I've had a chance to visit with all of them but just to get even a better feel for them, especially the late picks."
(Can you give a sentence on each guy from today?) "Let's start with Ace (Sanders). He's a very explosive punt returner. When I'm talking about these guys too I was thinking poor Mike Mallory, we've got to help him out. And Ace gives us that punt returner that we're looking for. A north-south type guy, he makes people miss, and can help in our field position battle. Denard (Robinson) same thing. I love what he can do offensively but I see him as having the ability to compete for our kick returner, so now we've added someone for the kick return specialist part. Jedd (Fisch) and I have had extensive conversations about how would we use him, what's going to be his role, how are we going to give him a chance to compete and compete to be active when it comes to game days? So special teams and having the ability to play running back, slot and things like that will be good. Josh Evans I talked to you about. I think he's a very good instinctive safety. I think he'll come down and hit you. He's physical; two hundred and seven pounds. He's more the style that we're looking for at the strong safety spot and has a good feel for the game. He's instinctive in the box and in the pass game. Jeremy (Harris) I really like his length. He's six two, a hundred and eighty five pounds and runs a 4.4. Those are the type of guys you really like to work with. He has a conscious of staying on top, principles that we teach our corners and you see it on tape. I think that he's a guy that we're really excited about developing and see where he can take his talents. Demetrius (McCray), same thing. I like his speed. He's a 4.4 guy. Again, he's got some press coverage with him, he has some good length over thirty-three inch arms, and when I talk about length that's one of the biggest factors. He also has the ability to stay on top of the receiver. He's very intriguing, that part. If Jeremy and Demetrius just keep developing and see how fast they develop in the next couple of months."
(with Denard you can do a lot on offense, stress the defense) "Yeah, it does. The same thing with Ace (Sanders). I think both of those guys add stress because you're taking away practice time from doing the base fundamentals that a team does. They have to prepare maybe for a wildcat, they've got to prepare for an empty package, they've got to prepare for the tempo of the game. All of those things take away practice time from locking in to what you try to do. They have to be prepared for that. I think that's a great unknown, how we're going to use those guys. We're not going to get out of whack, we're not going to do a million different things. It's still about us and what we need to do. We'll keep it within a package that our guys can execute."
(On Josh Evans role) "Well, on tape you see him as a free safety. When I say a free safety, our free safety will come down in the box too but it's maybe more away from the tight end. With a strong safety is going to come down more to the tight end side, so I saw Josh coming down away from the tight end so he has the ability to play in the box and on occasion come down to the tight end side. We have a good enough feel to know that he can do it."
(You have one veteran safety. I know there's competition but do you think he has a big advantage?) "We're always going to keep it open to play the best two guys. No doubt, going into this I felt like we needed more depth at strong safety. So if you were to talk right now I'd say it'd be nice to have both of these guys at the strong safety spot, but if they both show up and they're our guys I think you can flip them. Like I said, D-Low (Dwight Lowery) and Chris (Prosinski) they both had pretty good mini-camps so we'll just let it see how it plays out, bring in the numbers like that and let's go ahead and compete and give us an opportunity for someone to shine."
(On undrafted players) "They've had a plan already in place before the week started."
(Did you talk to a lot of those guys before the draft?) "I know some of the scouts have handled all of that. Dave had a plan and said here's a group of guys that we're going to target. Some of them by the time I get back (to the draft room) may have already been picked. We know the numbers at each position. We know that we want to bring into camp so if someone gets drafted we just move down to the next guy."
(On quarterback situation with Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne) "I don't know. My personality is I am more optimistic but I don't want to be naive. I want to see the whole picture. I think I mentioned to you before, we've done studies where we say a team that averages from zero to three pressures a game the quarterback rating is in the nineties. Zero to three pressures is just where the quarterback gets off the spot, not necessarily sacks. If they get from four to nine pressures a game now the quarterback rating is in the seventies, and if it's nine-plus pressures a game it drops into the sixties or fifties. At times we had nine plus, so it's not just Blaine or Chad; anybody who's the quarterback it may be like that because that's the way the NFL is. Now that we end up drafting Luke (Joeckel) and that's why it was important for me and Dave in this whole process to say now let's knock the pressures down and see where we're at,' and I think we're very excited about that to say okay. I think that by drafting Luke like we did it's going to allow some competition in there but it should be able to create depth. Will that draft pick not only buy time for the quarterback but allow maybe Marcedes (Lewis) to get out more on his routes or allow receivers to do different things? Those are all unknowns but it's exciting to see what's going to take place. I don't know what's going to happen. I told you before, my mindset is let's just go get our free agents now. That's what we do and then tomorrow we will come in, well I might take a break tomorrow, but Monday that's all we do. Let's just see how this whole thing takes place. I am excited about it. I would imagine you've got to be. How do we know how this whole thing is going to play out? But I don't want to get caught up in the results, I just really want to stick to the process and say every day we add to it and get better. Let's go do it."
(How fired up was Jedd Fisch?) "You haven't seen him running up and down the halls? He's excited but so are our defensive guys. Go talk to DeWayne Walker and talk to Bob Babich and those guys because we're adding to the mix. Our coaches really like our attitude of our team. I was told that when I first got here, 'Gus, you're going to really like the locker room.' They were right. I can't remember who told me that but whoever did, they were right. I do like the attitude, I do like the demeanor of this team. We've just got to add more competition and create a new level where maybe this level was acceptable it's no longer acceptable. I'm talking about we need you to perform at this level at your own personal ability."
GENERAL MANAGER DAVID CALDWELL
(On draft) "We're really excited. We got eight really good players that we feel like can come in and help us and contribute and compete for spots here on this team. There were five defensive players and three offensive players. The number one thing that we needed to do here was fill some needs with good quality players and guys that had some type of urgency, what we like to call juice to them. All these guys are fast, aggressive, physical, and they have some type of urgency to them. The one thing that was evident to us watching a lot of film when we first came in was the lack of speed, and that's the one thing that we really want to upgrade and we feel like we've done that here today and through the weekend."
(On five secondary guys, that was obviously a need) "Yeah, it was identified early on in the process, especially since we're a system-specific team and Coach Bradley's defense is very system-specific. That is the one thing we had to kind of change and fix to a degree. We just had some vacant roster spots in the secondary when we came in and a couple were a little bit more. We created our own urgency there quickly into our tenure here. So we knew that we had to draft but we also knew that it was a good year for the secondary for this year's draft so that was our mindset."
(Was the value not there for a pass rusher?) "We felt like for a premiere pass rusher or a premiere offensive tackle you really have to take those guys really high. We knew coming out of this draft we were going to fill one of the two needs. The rest of it was going to be other needs that we were going to fill. We still have college free agency. There are actually a couple of guys that have some pass rush skills that we feel like we can develop and they may fall through and we get them as free agents, so I look forward to that too."
(On Denard Robinson) "I've been watching that guy for as long as he's been playing. Every time I go to Michigan it just amazes me about how passionate he is about football, how loved he is at that school amongst his teammates and how he just goes about his business. You watch that guy practice and he has fun. Not only does he have juice on the field in terms of his speed and play-making ability but just juice in the building. You're going to love the kid. I've watched from afar for a long time. I got a call from Thomas (Dimitroff) and he's like, 'I knew you were going to end up getting him at some point in time,' because we talked about him in Atlanta and I was really excited about that pick."
(He's a running back?) "We're going to play him at running back and we're going to play him a little bit at slot so you're going to see him in a lot of different formations. He's a running back just like he's a slot and we're going to use him as a kick returner so we're going to try and get the ball into his hands and that's going to be one of the goals. I've been fortunate enough in my time in Atlanta and my time in Indianapolis to see what playmakers can do for a team and we needed some speed and some explosiveness here."
(On his injuries) "No, nothing major. He's played in the Big Ten, the Big Twelve now, and carried the ball a ton of times and has really been pretty durable for as much as he's played."
(Did not a lot of teams look at him as a running back?) "I've heard all different things. I've heard teams look at him as a running back, as a wide receiver and even as a corner back. We even kicked it around a little bit before the draft just kind of joking knowing our need was a corner back saying, 'Well if we draft him we can use him both ways.' But we're going to stick to him at offense. He is a tremendous athlete."(Are you faster today than you were two days ago?) "Absolutely, yeah."
(Any concerns with Robinson's ability to hold onto the ball at the Combine?) "He's not our finished product by any means. He's played quarterback his whole life so he's going to be a work in progress. I don't expect him to go out there in year one and just have everything down. He's going to have his drops, he may have his fumbles, and that stuff but it's going to be a little bit of a work in progress. We feel like if we can develop him then he can turn into something special."
(Wildcat?) "That's a possibility. We want to get the ball into his hands."
(What about the three defensive backs today?) "Josh Evans is a guy that we actually felt like if we did not get Johnathan Cyprien in the second round like we did he was a guy that we considered for us as another good fit at safety. Not only can he play the strong safety but we feel like he's got versatility to be both and free and a strong in our system. He's just a tremendous competitor. He played in the SEC. I think he led the University of Florida team in tackles, and they speak really highly of him at the University. Coach Mushchamp speaks very highly of him and we were excited to get him. His urgency and his toughness and his competitiveness is really off the charts. To get a good local Florida Gator on our team we felt good about that too."
(One thing the Jaguars have never had in their history is a good punt returner) "We think he's a really good punt returner. The best thing he does is field the ball, which is the number one priority. And then outside of that is he's really quick, he heads north and south extremely quick which is a mark of a really good punt returner. And he's very elusive and he's got exceptional quickness. With all that skillset the sky is the limit in terms of the punt return skills and same as with him as a receiver too."
(What about his Combine time?) "I wasn't too concerned about it. I've seen good punt returners with lesser speed, time speed so to speak. It's a matter of how they get up-field and create their opportunities. He's played in the SEC and we've watched him against LSU and Florida, against Georgia and they are some of the fastest athletes in the country and he's running away from them on the video so we felt really good about it. I think Josh Evans said don't pay any attention to that time speed."
(What did DeWayne Walker like about Jeremy Harris?) For him, we feel like his best football is ahead of him. He's big, he's long, he's a great system fit for us, he's a competitive kid. And the fact that he's really only played one year of solid college football he just feels like he's really learning a lot of the technique and that we could really develop him into something really special."
(Why didn't he play more?) "He was a junior college transfer."
(Are you bringing in more quarterbacks?) "One. At least one, maybe two."
(Are you going to sign any veteran quarterbacks?) "That's not our intent right now, no. Not right now, no."
(Is it likely that you won't before camp?) "It depends. If somebody comes available that we have interest in that's a possibility, but that's not our intent right now."
(Talk about each guy today) "Ace (Sanders), Denard Robinson, Josh Evans, Jeremy Harris. Jeremy Harris we talked about at New Mexico State. Has excellent length, excellent speed, a little bit raw but he's still developing and we feel like his best football is ahead of him. Demetrius McCray is a really interesting guy. He's over six foot and 190 pounds. He's a sub-4.5, he's in a 4.4 range, he's another guy that's long that can run, can press, he has really good ball skills."
(On McCray, a one I-AA guy) "He's a really good player and his skillset, for us, he's a forty inch vertical, I want to say his eleven foot bar jump. I don't know the exact numbers, don't quote me on it but it was pretty astounding when we were going through the video and you see some traits of him where we felt this guy really can develop into something that we don't have."
(On special teams) "Gus and I talked about that. We wanted eight to ten good core special teamers. We felt like we had about four right now so not only are these guys going to play for us on offense and defense but definitely contribute on special teams."
(There was a lack of speed – offense, defense, across the board?) "Across the board. Our bar is probably set a little high because coming from Atlanta and my time in Indianapolis that's what we put a premium on. In Gus' time in Seattle they put a premium on that. Not every team is like that but this is what we're trying to build here and trying to get to."
(On picks overall, did the board fall the way you thought it would) "We felt good about it. I thought that maybe the (Dwayne) Gratz pick that was the only pick that it really came down to he's our last guy at the position that we wanted to target. Other than that we had two or three names at each pick that we felt really good about."
(Who was the last guy that really came up?) "Probably (Demetrius) McCray."
(You met him at the combine?) "At the Combine, yeah."
(Did you consider Denard Robinson in the fourth round?) "I always had a mindset that he'd be a third rounder. Even in my time in Atlanta I felt like that would probably be good value for him. I never thought he would be there in the fifth round to be honest with you."
(You still think he's a fourth round pick?) "Yeah, we had greater needs at that point in time."
(So you were surprised that he was there in the 5th?) "Yeah, I was excited about it, for sure."