Q&A with Dick Haley

Jets director of player personnel Dick Haley has indicated that this will be his final season in that capacity with the team.

Haley has been scouting NFL talent for the 36 years, the last 10 of them with the Jets. On Wednesday, Haley took time out of his busy pre-draft schedule schedule to talk about his philosophies. Here is the conversation that followed.

Q. What are your overall thoughts on the draft? How does this draft compare to past drafts?

HALEY: In total numbers, that's hard to assess. There are some strong positions. The defensive line, there's both ends, pass-rushers, some big interior players. How long they last, we're not going to know. There are some secondary players. There are some interesting corners that might be able to fit in here. They would be able to improve the situation. I think the tight end is a very — probably a strong position this year as I've ever seen it in numbers. The people at the top are real good also.

The biggest thing I think when you assess the draft is, some of the players may not fit exactly. But … as long as you stick with the players you like, you have a chance in the third round to get a player you think is second or first-line player. I think sticking with it, even though maybe you have a strong position, still pays off in the end. Anytime you start to jump and reach, once in a while it works out good, but the majority of the time it's not going to work out quite like you want.

P>Q. (There is a) group of about four defensive tackles in the first round. Any chance of taking one of them?

HALEY: I think anytime you have a fairly reasonable number to pick from, there's a chance that guys will slide a little bit. We all know there's a premium on the big interior linemen. So the real good ones that have proven everything to most teams are probably going to go real quick. But stranger things have happened.

Every player is an individual situation, and every team doesn't feel the same, regardless of what we see and read in some of the newspapers. Everybody doesn't feel the same way about every player.

There's a couple of guys that are real interesting. I don't think they're exceptionally high draft choices. They don't have all the physical tools that the first couple look like they have on paper, what they showed in the tapes. There's a couple coming out of smaller schools, others coming where they're not as small.

We've all seen some of those players come in who are athletic, maybe only 6'1", really develop into first-line players over the last few years. I think there are interesting players, but I do not see them going right away. A couple could be speculated on early. Personally, what we've done here, we would probably wait until the third round at least to consider them.

Q. Offensive line, will there be a premium on those guys early?

HALEY: I think there's going to be a premium on a couple of them. There's a couple offensive tackles who stick out, both from a size (standpoint) and athletic ability and production. They're going to go right away. They always do. As you come away from that, I think there are going to be some intermediate-type guards and centers that are pretty good at what they do.

I think there will be a chance to pick up a player in that area that's going to have upsides that he might be able to develop into a starter for you.

Q. After the top tier offensive tackles could you give us a name of a guy that you would select?

HALEY: I'm not good with the names. I have a hard time keeping track. I can answer questions about your name, but we don't supply them.

Q. Dick, what is your philosophy on drafting juniors?

HALEY: In my assessment of the juniors, it's really a catch-up because you don't get his name until January. We're thinking about certain people ahead of time. Our scouts are going to write a few reports, but they … probably got 10 and 12 players to write up anyway.

To speculate on a junior, you're probably not going to add a lot of people to your list.

Q. Are watching all-star games really worth while? Do some players jump out to you from the All-Star Game?

HALEY: We've always kind of approached the All-Star Games with — players who do better, we want to look at more. We don't necessarily knock a player down off of an All-Star Game. If a guy has played 20 games as a college player, and he's played well, we (say), "It's a red flag. Let's find out what he was thinking."

Each guy approaches the game a little bit differently. It's something you have to watch out (for) on both sides. Some haven't played for the last 20 games. Now they go there and all of a sudden they're showing up. I do think it's a factor. If a player does well in an All-Star Game, we give him consideration for that. But that won't be our total picture.

Q. Do you think that Dwight Freeney is an end or linebacker?

HALEY: I think he's a defensive end. He's an excellent rusher. He's undersized. We've seen good players at that size. There are not a lot of them. Your approach to that (size) guy, he has to be special, which I think (Freeney) has a chance to be. He's 6'1", probably going to play at 260 to 265. Excellent pass-rush.

The game is a lot of situations. If the guy is going enough, (the coach will) find a way to get him on the field and be able to make an impact for you. He obviously has rush skills, a major factor in our game.


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