Shanahan Post-draft Press Conference

Denver Broncos' head coach Mike Shanahan held a press conference at the end of Day Two of the NFL Draft. Read what Shanahan had to say about DT Marcus Thomas and other topics.

On drafting Florida DT Marcus Thomas in the fourth round of the 2007 NFL Draft

"I am very happy to have Marcus with the organization. We really think a lot of him as a football player. We had Marcus in here a few weeks ago, and he had some time to spend with myself and some of the other coaches. There is going to be a lot of questions about some of the things he has done including being suspended from Florida. I would like to share with you at this time that Marcus is probably one of the luckiest guys. We are giving him the opportunity to come back here, and here there is no second chance. He is obviously a good football player and a guy that we think a lot of; Otherwise, we would not have brought him in. I think he has learned that he will not get a second chance in the NFL, and we are extremely excited to have him with the organization."

On Thomas' talent

"I think he would have been a first round draft choice. I think some of his troubles are the reason he did slip. If you take a look at his stats throughout his career, he is probably statistically one of the best defensive linemen. Our policy is relatively close to the NFL policy. We have a personal conduct policy for everyone, and if you don't step up to that policy, you will not last. That is one of the good things about the National Football League is its reputation. The reputation is going to stay solid and if you don't abide by those rules, you won't be in the league. The commissioner has set up strong guidelines, but I have a good feeling about Marcus. I think he will come in here as a natural leader and as you talk to others that know him you will get the same feeling."

On giving guys second chances

"We talked about taking an educated gamble. You have to sit down with that specific player, and that player has to learn what the rules and regulations are and what the organization is all about. If they do make a mistake then you have to release that player and let them go. No player is bigger than the team. Some people do make mistakes and some players don't follow those guidelines and those players are the luckiest players. They come into the NFL without a second chance and they know if they do make a mistake then they are gone. Sometimes, I think that is better than a guy that hasn't been caught and he gets two or three chances. We know exactly where the guidelines are drawn. We feel good about the guy we got even though he has made some mistakes. Time will tell, and we will see. If he doesn't follow the guidelines, I will be surprised."

On the NFL?s new personal conduct policy

"I think everyone knows about it a little bit more than before. The commissioner has the right to make a decision based on what he has experienced before. I think the policy is good for our league and good for our image. I am very proud to be a part of the National Football League, and I support the guidelines. What goes with that is responsibility. If we are going to draft a guy you have to go with your gut feeling."

On drafting three defensive linemen

"We felt like we needed some depth at the defensive tackle position and when Marcus was there in the fourth round we just couldn't pass him up. We gave up our third round pick next year and our sixth and seventh this year to obtain a player that we think is a difference maker."

On whether he has regrets of giving up Denver's 2008 third-round pick in that trade with Minnesota

"If I did, I wouldn't have made it. Its not a very steep price to pay unless he is not with our program two weeks from now. We were very straight forward with him. The guy is a natural leader as you will see. He was the leader of that football team and a guy that you will be most impressed with the way he handles himself. He has been tested every week. He said, 'Coach, do whatever you want. You don't have to worry about the signing bonus, spread it out over four years, do whatever you need to do but I am going to show you that you don't have to worry about me.' When a guy says something like that then I think I am dealing with the right guy. I feel very good about the guy and I want to share that with you because I know there will be a lot of speculation in the next couple of days."

On his talent

"If you take a look at what he has done relative to his starts and consider his number of sacks and production of tackles, he would lead all defensive linemen. I really think if he would have played this year he would have been drafted in the first round or early in the second but all of that doesn't matter. Now he gets a chance to compete with the rest of the guys. We think there is a big upside and if not, he won't be with us."

On Denver's draft priority

"We had a priority of drafting defensemen prior to the draft. Going into the second round, we were hoping for a defensive end or a defensive tackle. In the third round we were looking for an offensive tackle and we picked up (Notre Dame T) Ryan Harris. We were planning on taking an impact player with our 86th pick, but we had to give up that for our number 17. We moved to 121 and got a guy (Florida DT Marcus Thomas) that we think can compete with these other guys. Any time you deal with guys that are 320 pounds that can run you have to take them because they don't come around very often."

On taking a guy with off-the-field issues

"I think you are a little bit tougher, but you can't be afraid to make a decision. If you make the wrong decision, you release that player. I think people know because we tell them about our strict guidelines. Players coming in realize that they don't get a second chance especially if you have a checkered past. This guy has made some mistakes but has not done anything relative to the law. He is a quality guy, and hopefully he wont make anymore mistakes."

On the Broncos addressing needs in the draft

"We addressed some needs offensively getting more depth on the offensive line helping ourselves in the guard and tackle position. If you take a look at the offense you will see that we have addressed a lot of our needs in the offseason. If you take a look at the defense, we picked up (CB) Dre Bly, who will help us out at the corner position. At the safety position ,I think we were pretty deep to start with. If you look at the defensive line, although we have some quality players, I thought we needed some youth there. We have guys who are in the last year of their contract and I think we needed some competition there. Linemen are the hardest guys to find, so with the picks that we had I thought we could address some of those needs."

On the cornerback position

"Until a guy comes in and shows you what he can do, you won't know how it is going to go. Same goes for our draft choices today. We think we have made the right decisions but there are always question marks. Until you see how they play when they come in and through the next couple of years, you just don't know."

On the potential of Denver trading for another pick in the 2007 NFL Draft

"There is always the possibility of having another pick. Maybe there is someone that comes up in the seventh round that we have listed as a third round pick. In that case we would try to move up."

On Colorado K Mason Crosby

"He has a very strong leg and I think he will make a great pro for a lot of years. You always wish you had another pick, but with Jason Elam kicking the way he has been, over 90 percent, it is hard to go in a different direction. I wish him well."



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