Combine Quoteworthy

Here are the best things to come from the podium from NFC North personnel on Thursday. Vikings general manager Rick Spielman perhaps threw a wet towel on speculation that Greg Jennings might land in Minnesota. Bears general manager Rick Emery talks about loose lips sinking ships.

Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman, Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz and Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery and coach Marc Trestman met the media at the Scouting Combine on Thursday. Here are the most interesting things they said.

Spielman, on building through the draft vs. building through free agency: "I'm not a real big believer in spending in free agency. We're always going to try to build through the draft and continue to do that. Because I think that way you maintain a roster that can be competitive year in and year out. Not only on the field but also from a financial standpoint of staying within the cap and looking at the overall cash. I think you have a lot more success when you sign your own players as unrestricted free agents because you know them the best. And if you screw up signing one of of your own guys and he doesn't pan out, then that's a fault on you. I think it's a little riskier when you go out and try to sign other team's UFAs. I don't know if you looked at the statistical analysis of how many of those guys have actually had success coming into new programs. And sometimes, even those guys when they come in -- I don't want to call them rookies because they're veterans -- but they take time to adjust to their new teammates, take time to adjust to their new surroundings, take time to adjust to the new offense that they're running. So, it's not always as smooth a transition as people would think it would be. But last year we took the position of not spending. Other than (signing tight end John Carlson), we spent it on one-year guys that we gave really low contracts. I don't want to call them Rent-A-Players … And then when you draft, my philosophy is always try to have nine or 10 draft picks come in. It's an open competition that way. So a veteran might be slightly ahead of [a draft pick] as you're going through training camp and as you're going through the preseason. But is that rookie going to pass him in Week 3, 4, or 5? Does he have the chance to be developed into a better player than where that current vet is? So, it doesn't lock you into the situation where you're saying we have to keep this vet because we've paid him X amount. We can keep who we think is the best available player and the best player for us. And that's the kind of philosophy we had last year."

Schwartz, on scouting quarterbacks: "It's changed a little bit because of what you're seeing in college football. You're seeing a lot more spread and running quarterbacks and things like that. There's always been difficult evaluations. Forty years ago, everybody tried to figure out if an offensive lineman could pass protect, because they didn't see a lot of it in college because teams were running the wishbone. That was a big thing. Same thing with quarterbacks. Guys were throwing the ball 8 to 12 times a game in college and all of a sudden you're expected to do a lot more. You started seeing teams throw the ball a lot more and you became better in your evaluations. There's always things that you have to project. You're not going to see everything from a player. They have their tape and what they're going to do well, but you're always going to have to project them and find a good fit. I think the most important thing in scouting is having a role for a player and having a job description, and not every job description is the same. What one team looks for in a quarterback is going to be different from what other teams look for in a quarterback. What might be right for one team, might not be right for another. I think if you keep those things in mind, then it cuts down some of the haze a little bit."

Emery, on what happens when too much sensitive draft information becomes public: "I won't give you a specific year. But I have been in a draft room where way too much information was given out and we were jumped on a player we liked and we had planned on drafting. That player was drafted in front of us based on information that. There was just too much information that that was our player. So, that was an uncomfortable feeling. When you're excited that you've got this player you really desire and he's your guy, and you have figured out all the scenarios, that that's your guy and you don't get him, the room deflates a little. So, we want to do everything we can to avoid that. We want to make sure that there may be one or two people that know who that actual guy is and that's about it. So we don't want to give out information so that we create, ‘Hey, everybody knows that that's Chicago's right tackle. That's the guy they want.' So, I'm on one of those other 31 teams and I need a right tackle, I got to get in front of Chicago."

Trestman, on if he's behind in analyzing his personnel because of the time needed to assemble a coaching staff: "I think that's very fair. I don't feel behind in the football and X's and O's side. But certainly in the personnel side, I've got some work to do just in terms of just the week-in, week-out of when I left the league, as most coaches do, you know everybody in the league. You know how your personnel matches up in your division and your conference and throughout the league. That's a big part of it, so as we build our playbook, which we're doing presently along with all the other things that are going on, obviously I'll continue to try to familiarize myself on the personnel side and that would be the side I'm most deficient in going in."

On Friday, Vikings coach Leslie Frazier, Lions general manager Martin Mayhew, and Packers general manager Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy will have their press conferences.

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