"We just finished up with some college free agents. We hope to have that all finished up as well in the next day or so. But given what we did today, usually that first day when you look at players collectively and you canvass teams outside yourself, most people say, ‘oh you took that player too high' and usually that first day is when you hear that. And the second day is when you get that real value when you feel like here, this is a real bargain and a great pick. Usually that is how they focus on the player who fell out of the first day to the fourth round. So we found that getting those extra picks would benefit us and they did given that the players that we got were not only players that we wanted and could create competition, but also players that we feel do have a chance to make our football team. Naturally special team play is a big part in that as well."
On the individual Day 2 selections:
"We got Josh Beekman. We saw him quite a bit during the year and saw him at the Senior Bowl and he played center and guard and thought he was a good prospect that played at a good level at Boston College. Next, Kevin Payne, we had tracked him since the Senior Bowl. He was a running back and had a pretty prolific career and went to Louisiana-Monroe and the new coaching staff, they put him on defense his junior year and he really took a big step, big enough where he got into the Senior Bowl. So he played around 240 pounds, a big strong safety that was physical in the box and a good special teams player. We don't really have anyone like him, and Lovie (Smith) and the staff really liked him and what they saw, and wanted to get a bigger player at that position.
"Corey Graham, interesting player as you know from New Hampshire , a very, very good football team. We had Jerry (Azumah) a few years ago and they compared him to Jerry in certain facets of the game in terms of his kickoff return ability and he can also return punts. He has good size at 195 pounds. He has good height, very intelligent and we felt that if he didn't have the injury and would have been able to run a 40-yard dash, what he did his junior year, he might have gone a little bit earlier than where we were able to get him. But we brought him in and feel good that he will participate soon. Trumaine McBride wound up at the combine and didn't run as fast as what we had, (but) we went back in the spring and he is a very, very good football player at what we consider a value position.
"We did bring in another offensive lineman that we sent our coach Harry Hiestand out to see and we liked him during the spring workouts and felt like he was, I don't want to say he is developing because he played a lot of good football at Iowa State at a pretty good level of competition, but he felt he could come in and compete for a spot. We got two offensive linemen, we got a couple of secondary players so it was a good day for us."
On the draft as a whole:
"I think this is a very good draft considering that we picked in the later part of each round. I really like the players. I thought that what we did was a very good job of collectively, and I am talking about the coaches and scouts alike, we spent a good amount of time on all of these players. A good portion of the draft is projecting where and when; you can't be giving everybody the same amount of attention. So our guess work, so to speak, I thought paid pretty good dividends and if we are right, we are going to like this class because we know each one of these players inside-out and we feel like each of these players are strong players and are applicable to what we want."
On the versatility of the draft picks:
"We have that. (Josh) Beekman stated at center and started at guard at Boston College and the tackle (Aaron) Brant can kick over to the left side. Corey Graham could possibly play the free safety position. He is very, very intelligent and he has special teams talent and I look at special teams as a position, so to speak. And (Trumaine) McBride just kind of walked into the corner position. We really try to do that when we can and we feel that we got a little of that with some of the players today."
On the rookies making an impact in their first season:
"It is too hard to say. You are talking about rookies coming in and helping you right away, and that's really hard to do. I always feel like you have to give them a year, just let them get their feet on the ground and develop. Really you just see that next step in the second year, so anything they do as a rookie is really just icing on the cake. It is fortunate that they contributed last year on a good football team, and I like these players and I have to say that I like these players very much. I don't want to say that because we are picking at the end of the round that we are down there bottom-fishing and that this is the best a carp can look. No, these are very good football players. We like them very much, they are going to create good competition, a good handful are going to make this team. They are going to start for us and we are going to win with them and that is the bottom line, can you win with a player? We feel strongly that with every player we took today in his role, that that can be accomplished. So now it is a matter of going out and competing and there is a lot of time for that. Again we see the arrows going up on all of them."
On linebacker Michael Okwo:
"I like Okwo, I think Okwo is a very good player. I thought (Jamar) Williams in the fourth round last year was just coming on with special teams for us, I thought he was just ready to take that step and then the injury. So we have a good player in Jamar Williams and I am really interested to see how he progresses. This Okwo is a very, very good player and, in fact, he reminded me a little bit of Lance (Briggs). They played in the same conference (PAC-10) did some things like Lance, highly productive, this guy makes all the plays like Lance did so there are some characteristics there that I saw with Lance and am very, very happy with him. It was just someone that we felt strongly about. Usually on that first day you are picking a player a half a round higher than where they might go and in some cases a round higher and that is irrelevant as long as you believe in that player."
On developing offensive linemen:
"It usually takes a good two years to develop a lineman if you are doing it right. Not to say that a rookie can't come in and play the first year, I have seen that happen, but as a rule it takes a good year to develop. We feel real good about the defense and the level of competition with both these players who have been playing at a high level and have a lot of starts behind them so its more now the competitive nature being able to handle the power of the game. They have been well-trained, we aren't talking about players from small schools."
On the Lance Briggs situation:
"We made a decision on Lance. We're just going to let it run its course. We didn't look at draft day to create leverage with Lance. If we didn't draft a linebacker, we felt good going ahead because we drafted another good linebacker. That just makes us better at the position."
On if there was a position the Bears would like to have drafted but didn't:
"You can't get them all during the draft. What you try to do is line them up. We probably had five or six positions going into the draft that we could have addressed and we felt like we did address all of those positions. We did take a corner in Corey Graham and then we saw another in (Trumaine) McBride. We really didn't need to take McBride, we weren't looking for a corner again, we just felt that the value was too good as a player. You can't really have enough corners. Again, we tried to stay with value. We had a couple of needs. Running back, we had two on the roster, tight ends, we had two on the roster, so we had to get a tight end. We wanted to get a running back, that's why we did what we did on the first day. We felt really good about the two players we picked at those positions."
On the maddening length of the draft:
"I don't think they want to see yesterday duplicated. It did go an hour and twenty minutes longer than it ever had before. I don't know what the feedback is going to be from the League. I think what you see too that goes on, sometimes, you are talking parameters, contractually, once you are on the clock you are able to do that. We have taken advantage of that time to do that in certain cases. That might be part of it. I don't know how many teams do that, but I do know that goes on. I would say that a good reason it takes so long is because of the trades, entertaining calls. We had approximately five calls for our 31st pick, three that were very serious. Normally, if we weren't really fixed on a player, we would have traded down given what we were given by three teams. I thought all three were very good. I'm just assuming that because we were 31, those teams above us were getting the same kind of action."
On TE Greg Olsen opening up the receiver position:
"We wanted to get another playmaker and that is what we did with Olsen. We looked at some receivers. If we had stayed at 37, we probably could have taken a receiver, but we felt that we wanted to address some other needs and by trading down, we compromised getting that receiver. We went on to get what we did at the 62nd pick with the defensive lineman. We're flexible. You can't get it all done. We like the competition at all of the positions. We feel that there will be a bit of an after-market now that all of these players start matriculating into their teams. Then you will start seeing some players filter out. I'm talking about veteran players. So that is part of it too. If there are some things that you would have liked to get done over the weekend but didn't get accomplished, I feel that there will be enough of an after-market where you will still have the ability to do that."
On the length of time of the draft reflecting the quality:
"I'm just hypothesizing. I would say each draft is unique. Maybe next year it will go the fastest it has ever gone, so it's not anything that's telling. I do know this; over the last few years it is becoming more and more calculated. There is more brain-storming going on during the rounds. People are now trained to think that there are going to be opportunities presented and they want to weigh each of those opportunities. That is the environment we have created for ourselves, so everybody now is used to doing that. I remember in the old days, you got your guy, you put the name on the card, you sent it up and you were done in two or three minutes. It doesn't work that way anymore. Maybe it's because there are more teams now, the player pool isn't as rich as it used to be, so teams are counting more on how they want to go about utilizing their draft time in moving down or whatever the case might be. You are seeing a lot of teams willing to trade future picks, good picks, we picked up a third rounder (next year). There were a couple of (first-round selections) that were picked up yesterday. We were offered a (first-rounder) at one point during the draft, so people are doing more and more things, I don't want to say they are becoming more desperate, but they are becoming more aggressive on what they are offering. That takes time to digest because you never had any idea that was going to present itself."
On a single defining moment during the draft:
"[Greg] Olsen, given that he was the only tight end talked about in the first round and we picked him up at 31 in the draft. The trade was big for us because it created the flexibility and the opportunity we needed to get additional picks because we liked the players we picked today. We felt that these players were going to be there in these rounds. We really like these players. We like Kevin Payne very much. We liked (Garrett) Wolfe and we liked (Michael) Okwo very much so we had to sacrifice maybe that receiver if we would have stayed to pick up this running back, pick up another safety, a corner. Who knows? In time we will find out if we did the best thing. We made the call. We feel good about the direction we went in and hopefully we will get a little luck and it comes to fruition."
On Garrett Wolfe being an every down back:
"Garrett Wolfe to me, and I told our scouts, I had the benefit of seeing what Warrick Dunn had done in Tampa. There are some Warrick Dunn-like traits that he brings to us. He's very, very competitive, highly productive, great hands. You can't underscore this guy's competitive nature. This is a great competitor like Warrick Dunn. He has strength. When we took Warrick Dunn, who did he remind you of? Well, James Brooks, Joe Cribbs, Joe Delaney, those were some of the smaller backs that played pretty well in the League. Small backs have to have strength. He had good strength. He's a very good blocker. I'm not going to say he's Warrick Dunn. That's a high mark, but he did have things that reminded me of Warrick Dunn. Warrick Dunn was an every down back and when we took him, I remember the staff saying that he was maybe going to be a 10-to-12 carry guy, do a few things on special teams, third down. He graduated beyond our expectations of what his role was."
|John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and Editor in Chief of BearReport.com. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.|