IMPACT SAFETY AT 51?
"Impact safety at 51? I'm most concerned about getting an impact player who can help us win at 51 and at every spot in the draft."
DEPTH AT SAFETY?
"Very much when you look at this draft it is strongly in terms of depth and value as far as its quality is offensive-orientated. There are good defensive players in this draft and when it's our turn to pick it's does the player we're orientated towards in terms of our needs or wants match up; does his value match up with that pick? And that's the determination of taking any player. You want the player's perceived ability to match up with the level of the draft that he should be taken at. If there's a better player at another position, either side of the ball, we're going to take the best player that can help us win now. That's the most important thing. That means that that grade has to match up to that value level of the draft."
ON HIS GROUP OF PLAYERS FOR NO. 14:
"Yeah, every day we keep narrowing it in terms of defining who that group is. I would say for that first pick, we're right at six. I'd be happy that two out of the six were on the board at our pick and I'd be ecstatic if three out of the six were on the board at our pick."
ON THE SAFETY TRAITS HE PRIORITIZES:
"In terms of traits, it's the same for all the players, dynamic ability to make plays whether that's a big defensive lineman stopping the run or if that's a receiver that can get downfield and beat press coverage and beat people over the top or whether that's a running back that can make people miss in the hole and will lower his pads and fight for more yards. Dynamic players, players that can make plays, players that can help you win."
ON THE WIN-NOW WINDOW FOR THE DRAFT AFTER FREE AGENCY SIGNINGS:
"Specifically, in terms of the draft, you're always looking for players who can contribute immediately, especially at the top end of the draft, that can provide not only a need but that can help provide some help, whether it's a rotational player, a rotational starter. If it's sub-starter immediately as a rookie, that's good. If he's a starter as a rookie and you have a hole and he can fill that and his grade warrants that pick, that's good too. But in terms of a window, I'm always thinking now, but obviously when you look at needs, you have to look at needs not only our perceived current needs, but needs in the future in relationship to the contracts that you have. You're constantly looking at the big picture. You can't just look at today or this season. You have to look into the future. Last year, we had a number of one-year contract players. We signed a ton of players in terms of to either replace or extend with the players that we had here or brought in new ones. And that's for the now, but it's also for the future. Several of those players were signed to multi-year deals also. So you're looking at big picture. I would say in the draft, yes, you want to fill what your perceived needs are but you also want to fill what could be needs down the road."
YOUTH ON DEFENSE, ESPECIALLY EARLY IN THE DRAFT:
"Yeah, we like the balance of it. That could mean all seven picks. That could mean 4-3. If we pick up an extra pick, it could be 4-4. It also could flip the other way because as I just said, this in offensive-orientated draft in terms of the talent level and the depth of the talent. It's more on offense than it is on defense. I'm not going to say it's going to be all defensive picks but the picks that we do make on defense are obviously ones we feel can help us win this fall and in the future."
IMPACT PLAYERS AT 14 AND 51, FITS THE REQUIREMENTS OF WINNING NOW?
Don't know when those defensive players are going to come. It could be at any point in the draft. I know that the ones that we take we feel like are going to contribute to our defense and help us win.
EXTRA TWO WEEKS OF DRAFT PREP?
Yeah, I love it. Honestly. I've heard reports of people complaining about it. I don't know what they're complaining about. This is the juice in the personnel cycle. This is where the fun is. So these discussions, this extra little bit of space between the true UFA market – and ours went long – so this space between that and the draft has been very beneficial. It's allowed us to have less rushed conversations and to look at things from all different angles and to think future and now and to have those conversations and to come back and revisit and to try to look at fitting this piece of the puzzle from all different angles. And I really believe that the draft is another piece of the puzzle of the year-round cycle to find ways to help your team from a personnel perspective. Obviously the UFA market is one of them. The draft is another big part of that. Post-draft signings, rookie free agency? That's huge. We were just looking at that yesterday to prepare for that market. Well over 40 percent of this league, current roster is undrafted free agents. So it's a big consideration and a big effort towards that, to making those signings count. Then, because of where we're at in this cycle, it's an interesting thing. This year, it's about 100 more players on rosters at this time this year than there was last year. So you bring in this influx of rookies and rookie free agents, what's going to happen is you're going to have a lot of veteran players released at some time from post-draft up until the season. So that's going to create another pool of players. So could we end up in that pool and trying those players out and seeing if they can help us? Yes. And then you've got the cut-down process and the camp cuts and then the 53 cuts. That's a big part of the process. So it's a year-round event in terms of trying to fill your needs and help your team win.
RISK OF PARALYSIS BY ANALYSIS?
You feel about the players how you feel about it. It's working the plan, finding the best way to use this part of the year to fill as many needs that you have and to add as many dynamic players that you can that will help you now and in the future. So no, it's not about overanalyzing players. It's about working your plan and having more time to do so, which I think is very beneficial and really has been a very enjoyable process.
DEFENSIVE SCHEME TWEAKS CHANGE THE WAY YOU EVALUATE PLAYERS?
I said when I came in the door: If I had my druthers, bigger would be better. And we're a little bit orientated that way, but we're not going to pass up dynamic players regardless of their size.
WHAT'S LEFT TO DO IN THE LAST WEEK?
Daily interaction and meetings. Right now we're in that big part of where you plan for undrafted free agents. That takes a lot of work. There's a lot of phone calls. A lot of thought goes into the process in trying to find interconnections with those players. You work very hard at identifying what that pool is. You have to guess from the fifth round down, which of those players are going to make it through the draft. And you're in contact with players that may get drafted. But you want to stay in contact with them as much as you can—pre-calls, in terms of ‘Do we have your right number? Just want you to know that you're in our plans, and good luck in the draft.' And making sure they're healthy and they've stayed out of trouble and those type of things. But the planning takes a lot of work, and it takes everybody in the building to have a good class of rookie free agents takes a lot of work post-draft by everybody in the building and we've had some success. I think we were third in the league with three on the 53 a year ago. I think we had a real good success two seasons ago, and we had a couple this past year. And that's just rookies on the 53. And then the league, as I said, is full of undrafted free agents on current 90-man rosters. So it's not only the guys that make your club, the 53, it's the one that you put on the practice squad and the ones that you sign to the futures contracts at the end of the year that you've identified that have something that can help your team compete in camp.
DO THE CHANGES IN THE DEFENSIVE SCHEME CHANGE THE WAY YOU EVALUATE THE BACK FOUR?
Yeah it might affect the ideal player that we're looking for, but you have to be able to be in position to draft those players. So if we are, I'll let you know at that time, after we pick him.
HOW SERIOUSLY DID YOU LOOK AT QBs THIS YEAR?
I always look at quarterbacks seriously in terms of the evaluation process. It's not a position you would take lightly. It's the most important position on the team. Obviously there are several being mentioned. I will tell you there has never been a draft that I've been involved with that you don't, especially when you're not looking to take a quarterback, that you're not counting quarterbacks, because you are hoping more are taken in front of you than less, so that it kicks up quality players up to wherever you're drafting. So yeah, you're very cognitive of their talent level and where their perceived level is and who might take them and what that means in terms of your pick.
WHAT HAPPENED TO WANTING TO DRAFT A QB EVERY YEAR?
Yeah, you know, that's the theory. OK. I just did a little study. It's very interesting. That developmental theory doesn't hold a whole lot of water. There's entire classes of quarterbacks, since '06, I went back and looked at from Jay's on — when people say developmental quarterbacks, ok, so who has gotten developed? There isn't a single quarterback after the third round since '06 that has been a long-term starter. So you're either developing thirds, and most of them have been wiped out of the league. So to get a quality quarterback, you've got to draft them high. That 2012 class is a blip on the radar that's unusual, highly unusual. Most of the starters in this league come from the first and second round. So that's where you need to take a quarterback. So when you talk about quarterback every year, they have to be somebody that you truly believe will beat out the second and third quarterback that you perceive on your roster. And if not, history shows that you shouldn't make that pick.
BUT ARE YOU INTRIGUED BY THE IDEA OF MARC TRESTMAN PAIRED WITH A LATE-ROUND QB?
I got to be honest with you, I'm more intrigued with how Marc matches up with Jay and Jordan and Jerrod. I think we've got three guys that all have traits that can continue to be developed. And you look at Jordan and Jerrod, they're both 6-5, they both have good arm strength, they're both intelligent, they both work extremely hard at being a very positive part of the team. So to me, both of those guys have developmental upside and Jay is working his tail off to get better at everything he does. So that's what I'm most interested in — pairing Marc with the players that we have.
ARE YOU COMFORTABLE WITH Jordan Palmer AS YOUR NO. 2?
Absolutely. And I told him that the other day — the same thing I told Josh: ‘Glad you're here, looking forward to your contributions and we're counting on you.' And Jordan, since the time that he came last year has been nothing but a positive. He performed well in a preseason game and I understand that's the fourth preseason game, normally that's the second and thirds and the backend of the roster, but you still want people to show that they have upside and perform well. There's people that make squads in that game, so that game is important. And he did well. He has been a backup in the league, obviously in Cincinnati, so he knows what the weight of that position is and how to carry himself and how to contribute positively to the team in that role. And to get himself ready to go every week in case there was an injury. So yes, comfortable with him and excited to see Jerrod on the field for longer than a week or two. You know, we brought him in to take a look at him, but we had to release him because we had other needs on our practice squad at the time depending on what had happened with our 53-man roster. So I told him when we released him that we would like to bring him back and we did.
ALL THINGS BEING EQUAL, IS THERE A POSITION YOU THINK MATTERS MORE THAN OTHERS?
There's positions that have bigger impact in terms of when you look at it overall. To myself and to our staff, the defensive line has more impact overall in the defense than any single position, because that's where it all starts. That's where it starts in terms of stopping the run and that's where it starts in terms of rushing the passer. If that's what you're talking about, yes.
IF DT AND SAFETY ARE THERE AND THEY'RE POSITIONS OF NEED, DO YOU OPT FOR THE LINEMAN?
Opt for the best player that's going to help us win. It just depends on balancing that player out against who we have on our roster and who we're putting him in with.
WHEN PROJECTING PLAYERS, HOW DO YOU BALANCE WHAT THEY'VE DONE WITH RAW ATHLETIC ABILITY?
To me, it's not just raw athletic ability, it's athletic ability for the game of football. If they've shown us on tape that they can do the things we're going to ask of them, the fact they would have a big ceiling athletically helps us like the player more, certainly. In terms of pure production, can that production carry over? Does he have the necessary height, weight, speed, athleticism, suddenness, needed to do that at a highest level.
GUY WHO WAS GREAT IN COLLEGE VS. WORKOUT ATHLETE THAT WASN'T GREAT?
It just depends on what level, and are we talking about the same player at the same pick? Obviously we took a very athletic player that had a limited background in terms of a starter. He's still got to grow as a player, but it worked out fairly well. It's a player that we liked. We saw him do things in college against high-level competition and not only at Oregon but at the senior bowl. And during the course of his workouts, when coaches put him in positions that they wanted to put him in, and do it, and do it at a very high level. He's a tough, smart individual. There was really no reason to say that he wasn't going to have success. Players like that, yes. Players that are just height/weight/speed guys and they don't have any production vs. somebody that has high-level production and you can see that their frame and the suddenness they have will carry over? You're going to take the more productive player. We're not just looking at players based on … I've talked about the A Score. The A Score is part of it. It's not all of it.
ARE THERE CORNERS IN DRAFT THAT CAN MOVE TO SAFETY?
It's a great question. I'm going give you the honest end of it, ok. I'm actually going give you some information today that has truth behind it, ok? So yes, absolutely. We've looked at every corner that has length as a possible safety. We've looked at him as a scouting staff and I reassigned them again to go look at that equation. I asked our coaches to do that, and I continue to give them lists for players to look at their position versatility. The problem is, in fact, what you talked about: you have to project. Again, to take a college corner and make a safety out of him, that's a big jump. You have to feel the player has the intelligence to do it; more importantly that he has the instincts to do it. And at what level? It's a little different if … I put Brandon in a position he couldn't succeed, and that's on me. I said that at the end of the year. if it's a fifth or sixth rounder and it's someone that has dynamic suddenness and size, that's a little bit different story than somebody higher in the draft. But we have looked at them from all angles, because there is a drop-off in terms of perceived level of ability between the first few safeties in the draft and the next grouping. Out of necessity, we have looked at them from all different angles in terms of their positional flexibility.
HOW MUCH DOES IT HELP THAT YOU'VE HAD A YEAR WITH THIS STAFF?
It's very helpful. We've gotten to know each other in the draft room, we've gotten to know each other during the fall and what works and doesn't work, the scheme and the system and matching players up with coaches. This has been a great process with everybody in the building. We've all had a chance to communicate and communicate often. You have a conversation, and then you go back and fine-tune the conversation or ask better questions based on the previous conversation, so it helps a lot that you're familiar. It also helps that we did make some coaching changes. Obviously, we brought in Reggie Herring, Paul Pasqualoni and Clint Hurtt. Paul and Reggie have added greatly because of their experience and they've seen it from a lot of different angles with other clubs, so they've helped the conversations from that perspective.
DO YOU HAVE A STARTING SAFETY?
It's wide-open. That's exactly what I told every one of them when they were signed, this is a wide-open competition, best player wins.
WHAT IS Ryan Mundy? STRONG? FREE?
We're going to find out, that's what OTAs and summer camp are all about.
CONTE'S SURGERY, WHEN DID IT COME TO LIGHT?
He signed out healthy, he got in a situation – obviously, he's very motivated to have a great year. He started training, and he just didn't feel right. He had it examined, it went through a decision-making process, and he made a decision to go ahead and have it done. Happy that he'll be ready for camp and expect good things out of him.
SO YOU EXPECT HIM READY FOR CAMP?
Yes, he may be on PUP, but in terms of that first preseason game, we expect him to be (ready), but obviously we're talking about a healing and rehab process, it's always a little bit of a non-predictor, but our best-guessed estimate and medical evidence would say that he'll be ready for the first preseason game.
Josh is a player that we chased a little bit in free agency a couple years ago, he just signed beyond what we had in terms of resources when he signed with Washington. He's a player we're very familiar with. Things didn't work out for him in Washington, I think the first year he was still rehabbing from the injury, still wasn't completely right. This past year, he had some limited participation, I think he had a little bit of a penalty that caused him a little distress and it just didn't work out for him. He was looking for a new home and we were glad that he wanted to come to the Bears. Competition is important and we think he's going to provide good competition. As I told both himself and Domenik, hey, best man wins the job. Come in here and earn it and they're both excited about the process to do so.
We need to create competition for that position. We need to find the right back for that backup position, so Shaun is part of that, and so is Michael Ford and whoever else we bring in either through the draft or free agency or a veteran signing, we're going to find ways to provide competition for that position.
WILLING TO USE AN EARLY PICK ON A PLYER REHABBING FROM INJURY?
That's a tricky slope. There are a number of players that we like that are rehabbing from injuries, so that'll be, where we're at in the draft, who else is on the board. My preference would be not to, but also, if we did, it would be because we felt like, through consulting with our physicians, our team doctors, that player would be ready to go this fall.
Have they asked us? I think they've asked everybody, to my knowledge.
WILL YOU BE UPSET IF THEY MAKE YOU DO IT?
I think we have a great camp. We have great media. We have fan interest unlike any other city. I think this is the best NFL city in the league, bar none. I think our media is the best in the league, bar none. I think our coverage is outstanding. I think our fans love going to camp to find out more about our players, I think there's a number of teams that don't have as much attraction, have as big a base for whatever reasons, their population or their history, obviously, this is a tremendous, historic franchise. I think there will probably be other places that could benefit from it other than the Chicago Bears. How's that for an answer?
YOU THINK THEY WILL PUSH YOU TO BE ON HARD KNOCKS?
"Ultimately, it's the commissioner's decision and whatever the commissioner decides we will abide by."
HOW HAS SCOUTING SAFETIES EVOLVED OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS?
"A lot more coverage responsibility. They still got to be physical players because they have to get backs on the ground in space. At times, you're using them as a _ eight-man box is very prevalent in this league. Players that play safety, to have them ideally they are interchangeable. You have to have physical toughness and the ability to get backs on the ground. That part of it hasn't changed, but people are sacrificing a little bit in the size area in terms of getting players that can be more active and successful in coverage. I would say that we need to look no farther than New England, the Devin McCourty move from corner to safety. I think he's a 5-10 or 5-11, 190-pound player. He's been up to the task. Some players can handle that at that size. Some cannot. You're definitely looking for individuals that, there's a number of what we would call receiving tight ends that are really challenging teams, cause you to spread out and some that can challenge you over the top. You have to have players that can match up length-wise or come close to it to play those types of players that you create mismatch opportunities. You have to find guys with length at safety or at corner that you can bring inside and cover those types of players."
IS THE CB CLASS AS DEEP AS THEY SAY? ANY STARTERS IN THE THIRD OR FOURTH ROUND?
"Potential, yeah, in terms of their length and athleticism. Obviously, as you get farther down in the draft … What you want to do is draft players that have the capacity to develop. That's where that cut and athleticism is paramount. You want good or better athletes. When they're sufficient, they have a ceiling, which means when you draft a ceiling athlete late in the draft you're not, in my mind, drafting players that can develop into starters. You're looking for athletes. So as far as this particular class of corners, there's a subset of players that meet that requirement, that have the athletic upside, that have had flashes of production. But if they had steady production and they had the athleticism, they would be more in the front end of the draft, the first or second round."
HOW MANY QUARTERBACKS BEFORE 14?
"I hope three. That's my wish. If somebody wants to take a fourth one, that would be great."
HOW MANY DO YOU THINK WILL BE GONE?
"I would think at least two."
THE UNDRAFTED FREE AGENTS YOU SIGN, ARE THEY ON YOUR DRAFT BOARD?
"Ideally, those are the ones that you sign. As the draft starts to get to the close, whatever players are left on our draft board we have a separate undrafted rookie free agent board. It's initially set up with just the players that you have undraftable grades on. For us, in our system, that's a 54 grade. So only the 54 players are up there. As we get buried in the last five or six picks, we take all the players that are left on our board. We put them on top of those prior free agents, and those are the players that you want to be orientated toward and start going after as soon as you are legally able to at the end of the draft. Those are the ones that you want to attack with phone calls, especially the ones that fit for what your needs are."
IS Lamarr Houston A CANDIDATE FOR 3-TECHNIQUE?
"Lamarr is a candidate to play anywhere he can help us win games."
IS THAT A 3-TECHNIQUE?
"Wherever that is, wherever his talent lands him, wherever our coaches feel he is best suited. Again, I'm not trying to be cute about it. We've got a lot of OTAs we haven't entered yet, and we have a lot of camp in front of us, preseason games, (before) we make all these determinations."
HAS THERE BEEN A GUY YOU RED FLAGGED AS UNDRAFTABLE BECAUSE OF CHARACTER THAT YOU SIGNED AS AN UNDRAFTED?
"No. Once we've flipped them over, they're flipped over."
SHEA McCLELLIN LOST WEIGHT
He looks like an extra from a Dolph Lundgren movie, doesn't he? He's lookin' good, lookin' trim and fit. To be honest with you, I have never expected anything less than Shea and Shea was in tremendous shape when he came here last summer. Shea is a hard gainer in terms of putting weight on. And obviously we've put him in two different directions. Up and through the end of the season it was at D-end. And to his knowledge he was a D-end until we hired the rest of our defensive staff at the very last week of January he was concentrating on being a D-end again. He left here. The last game he was weighed in that Wednesday or Thursday, he was weighed in at 253 pounds. So like most NFL players when they get a chance to relax a little bit and their activity level goes down, they all have a tendency to put on some weight. I don't think Shea is any different than that. Plus Shea probably felt like he had to get heavier because he was coming back as a D-end. The moment that we notified him that, hey, we're moving him to linebacker, he found the right person, he moved out to California and he attacked it with a vigor. And that's what I would have expected out of Shea. And the end result of what he looks like is because of his efforts. I will say that's not unusual for players in the NFL, especially with the new CBA. The changes in the dynamic of the off-season, when we talk to agents during the UFA market, it's not something that they feel has been to their benefit because their clients have to go out and seek other personal trainers so they can train and get ready. Where the off-season used to be 12 weeks, now it's eight. So they have to fill that void. So Shea, along with all of his teammates, go out and find personal trainers and try to find the absolute best people in a one-on-one situation so they can improve at their craft, at their profession.
HAS THAT HAD IMPACT ON HOW YOU VIEW YOUR LB NEEDS?
Well we have always thought that Shea was part of the mix so the honest answer is no. We're counting on him being part of that mix at linebacker and competing for the job. Nobody is going to be given a job, it's a full-on mix. The only person we've told has a job --the room has been told that -- is Lance Briggs. The rest of it is the best player wins.
WITH BOSTIC, HOW DO YOU SPLIT HIS REPS BETWEEN STRONG AND MIDDLE AND IS IT POSSIBLE HAVING HIM PLAY BOTH HURTS HIM FROM FOCUSING ON ONE
You know, the OTAs are a long way from the season. It is a little big about experimentation and not only your players and their best fits but what you're going to do offensively and defensively. This is the time. This is the eight weeks that you have to do that. So they'll be split whether it's in the front end he does them at outside in the back end of those OTAs and workouts, he does them on the front side. What they all need to learn is the system and how to line up others and line up themselves and how they fit against particular plays whether inside or outside. But Jon will work back and forth. There may be a segment of practices that he's outside, a segment that he's inside. And so will Shea and so will Khaseem. They'll all have opportunity.
WILL ROLES BE NARROWER THEN BY CAMP?
I think where they're going to line up initially will be more defined but I wouldn't say it's absolute.
TRADING DOWN, GETTING CALLS FROM PEOPLE IN LOWER TEENS OR 20S?
Yeah we've gotten some calls. That's what other than working with our staff and our scouts on refining and fine-tuning our selection of players that we feel will be available at particular areas of the draft, we're also working very hard at figuring out the scenarios on what works on how far down we would go. To go down, just say in theory you go down six picks, that means you have to count your pick you're giving up is one, and if you're going to pick six picks later, you have to have six players on the board that have that graded value that you're comfortable taking. So you have to come up with six players that I would take any one of those six and you will rank order them and you may end up with that last one on the list but that last one you'd better want or you shouldn't trade. So if you don't have that number of players you feel good about you shouldn't trade.
Now, the other thing you have to decide is what are the other teams in front you needs and may they take players outside of your 6-list. So that may add a little bit of breathing space but you can't count on it because what could happen? Somebody could trade in in front of you that you weren't counting on. Their need may be different than that team that currently is at that board. So you can't allow for much breathing space in that list. It really has to be very close to the number of picks that you're moving down.
WHAT ABOUT TRADING UP?
Trade ups are expensive, obviously and you just have to feel like that that player you're trading up for makes a dynamic difference in your team.
WHAT MADE HEN-MEL SUCH A GOOD 3-TECH?
You know, when Henry was playing at a productive level it was because of his athleticism. He had good instincts to the ball, he could run to the football, he could find his way through traffic very well and because of his speed and explosion he could close on a quarterback when he got free.
HOW IMPORTANT IS HEIGHT TO THAT POSITION?
You know height's important if it becomes a factor, you know long arms, total length and how you use that length and how you use that leverage. I would say that the person that points to me since I've been into scouting that it depends on the player and how they use their tools. Elvin Dumervil is a prime example of an undersized player that is dynamic at his position. I mean literally when we were going through that draft process looking at him, we said there is a guy that everybody will say is too short to play that position but because of his shortness, he literally could rush standing straight up and down. And all he had to do was lean in and he gained leverage. His hat was hitting the armpit of the offensive lineman when they were crouched with a slight knee bend. He already had leverage on him. His lack of height was actually a unique tool, which he has shown that he can use at a very high level. So there are players like that you just have to decide if that player that you would pick at a position has those type of skill set, has that uniqueness because that doesn't work for everybody.
WHY AREN'T THERE MORE LIKE THAT?
Well, like I said that's a unique skill set, that's a unique talent. That's why those players from a compensation perspective get paid so well, because they have unique abilities that transfer. They can use what they have better than other people would in the skill set that they have.
HOW CLOSELY DO YOU PAY ATTENTION TO MOCK DRAFTS AND WHAT NO. WILL Aaron Donald WEAR?
Heh-heh. It usually doesn't happen that way does it Jeff. I wouldn't count on that one. He's a very good player. Usually teams, when the dust has settled usually teams understand who the top 10 players in the draft are and then you'll see as the draft – it's a very interesting dynamic in the league, you'll see as the draft gets closer, the mock drafts get a little finer, just because they're talking to people in the league and they finally, everybody is finally agreed on who the top 10 or 12 players are and you'll see all those players all of a sudden, some of then are leaping from 18, 19 20, all of a sudden you'll start seeing them at 10 because people have talked enough, people are saying that's a really good player, that's a dynamic player, that's a difference-maker and all of a sudden some of these folks that have been back there, mock drafts hanging back there at 18-25 are all of a sudden in the top 12. They didn't rise, it's just the universal knowledge has been gained on who the top players in the draft are, so that's always an interesting dynamic to look at, but what we look at, not so much mock drafts, we look at historical values of players at position selected per round, and we have our own mock draft in which we fill in from those historical values, say defensive linemen, normally like 3.5 players, I don't know what the numbers are because they're not in front of me, but say it's basically 3 players at defensive line are normally taken in the first round, it might be 4 it might be a little more. So you figure out, so for this draft, historically over a 5 and a 10-year average, let's use the number 4, there's been 4 defensive linemen taken in every first round. So you figure out those 4 that are most probable and you place them in the first round and then you figure out what's the value for the second round and then you build your mock that way and say historically this is what it should look like. Then you have to say, for this draft it's really offensive players so we're really going to push one or two players at those position out because there's going to be better offensive players. At the end of the day you're going to select players that have the value for that pick so you're going to push a few up and you just keep massaging that and we change it as the draft goes along. We take off the players that have been picked, we don't push them up, we still keep them at the value level that we had them in terms of round sequence, but it gives you a pretty good idea of who's going to be available. It's really valuable in when you're discussing trade opportunities. You start looking at what's left on the board, historically what should be left, what those players are, what grades you have on them and the mock helps fine-tune that for you. It's a tool.
ARE THERE ANY OFFENSIVE PLAYERS YOU COULD NOT PASS UP ON?
What was really interesting going through that 2006-on study, there's a really good reason – besides his talents and the person that he is – that we signed Jay Cutler. There's very few quarterbacks on that list that are still in the league in terms of top-end starters. Jay is the only started out of his class, long-term starter, and that's true for about two or three classes in front of him all the way through 2010. 2008 had a couple first-round starters. But there's a reason you hang on to the quarterbacks that you have. So, in good conscience, I would find it surprising if the Chicago Bears were to draft a quarterback in the first round, but hey, like my friend Ray Farmer in Cleveland said, ‘I love Johnny Manziel. He's a hell of a player.' So it's always possible, but I would say it's improbable.
HOW ABOUT ANY POSITION ON OFFENSE IN THE FIRST ROUND?
In the first round, I would say only quarterback. That would be the only surprise pick to me.
JEREMIAH RATLIFF, WHERE DOES HE PLAY?
We can see him playing three-technique or nose tackle. I think he's very interchangeable. It will depend on what the best grouping of players is. Jeremiah has come in in great shape. He's got a great attitude. Very excited to see him get on the field and compete.
WHAT DID HE SHOW IN HIS FIVE GAMES LAST YEAR?
As he started getting into shape, he started making plays. Extremely strong. He's a dynamic presence. He's somebody that can really hold the point of attack, and he can penetrate. He showed us good rush ability. Again, he was used in a limited way, but the more he was used and the better shape he got in, he showed us that there's a reason he was a Pro Bowl player.
HOW MUCH CAN CLINT HURTT AND PAUL PASQUALONI HELP YOU SCOUT COLLEGE GUYS?
All information is valuable, and the closer the person is to that player, the more value it is. So, yeah, it's very valuable information. A huge part of our road scouts' jobs is the evaluation of character, investigation of a player's background. So having somebody that's been in there with that player is big.
Marquess has done very well during the offseason training. I think everybody saw the pictures of him and several of his teammates down training with Brandon. He's put on a good amount of lean mass. You know, the weights that have been reported on him were always under what he actually was. He's been in the 190s since he's been here. He's a little closer to 200 or over 200 now. He's had a good offseason. His attitude has been fantastic. He's training like a pro and he's acting like a pro and I expect him to come out and show his best side, and we'll see how it works out for him. But obviously, we've signed other receivers, and he's going to have to compete for his job.
HOW SIMILAR IS AARON DONALD TO HENRY MELTON?
They both get after the passer. They both can get in the backfield.