Executive Vice President of Football Operations Vinny Cerrato
On the linebackers and defensive line in the draft:
"Linebacker was not a deep draft this year. After the first two in the first round then there was a long drop off. We had a guy ear marked in the fifth round, and then he got taken. Then we were looking at a guy in the seventh and he got taken. We signed two undrafted guys [linebackers]. We signed 13 undrafted guys [total]. We're done with that. D-line, the thing about it is, if you don't get them early then you look later on as you are going and when we got in the fifth, sixth round you look and say, ‘Alright, does that guy have a chance to make the team, or is it better off to take a guy who has a chance to make the team?' We brought Blache (Greg, Defensive Coordinator) and asked, ‘What do you think,' and he said, ‘No, take those other positions first'."
On Rob Jackson (DE, Kansas State):
"Our scouts liked him when they went in and then John Palermo (Defensive Line) watched him on film. It is kind of like Blache (Greg, Defensive Coordinator) with Montgomery (Anthony, DT, #94) and Golston (Kedric, DT, #64), there was something that Greg Blache saw in those guys when we took them. There was something that John saw in Jackson. He went out and worked him out a few weeks ago and then he came over again Thursday when we were over there to see Jordy (Nelson). The guy played very good against Auburn, so he has ability. He flashes ability. Now it will be just to get him stronger in the upper body. It will be to get him consistency. There is a reason why he went in the seventh. We just have to get it out of him, like we did with Montgomery and Golston. That's the same type of guy. When you see him he is not real big upper body, but he has a solid lower body, so he needs to get stronger up top. Jordy told me when we were there working out that the receivers had to watch Rob's hands, because he used his hands so well. It's a guy who has ability and we just have to get it out of him."
On Durant Brooks (P, Georgia Tech):
"How we do the punters and kickers is, I let Danny (Smith, Special Teams) evaluate them all. Punters, kickers and go work them all out, find out all the information you need about them and then tell me on the draft board where would we consider them. We liked his ability and Danny went down and worked him out. He has a very powerful leg. He was the Ray Guy award winner, so the guy has ability and he has a big leg. So, it will be good competition."
On an overall assessment of this draft class:
"This draft class we covered a lot of positions. We were able to fulfill a lot of things that we went in the draft looking for. One defense, when you talk to the defensive coaches, the number one need coming in on defense really was safety because we just had three on the roster, so that was big need. Greg (Blache, Defensive Coordinator) told me we can go play, but we just have no depth at safety, so that was a priority to go get that. You always want defensive linemen if you can find them. Overall offensively I think we satisfied everything that we went in looking for. We didn't go in looking for a tight end but it just happened to be that's the way it fell on the board and we are happy that it did."
On trading down three times:
"The reason we did was because we had a lot of guys we liked at that spot. We felt like we have guys that we like, so let's trade back and there is a good opportunity that somebody will still be there we like, and we can gather another pick. All three times that we traded back, the guy that we were going to take at the previous position was the guy that we ended up getting at the next spot. At 21 when we traded back to 34, Devin Thomas was a good chance he was going to be the guy. In the fourth round Tryon (Justin) was going to be the pick at 103 when we traded back to get him, so it worked out. Some years it works out great, some years it doesn't."
On the undrafted free agents:
"It was four O-linemen, one quarterback, one wide receiver, two safeties, two linebackers, two D-linemen and a corner. It was two [defensive] ends."
Head Coach Jim Zorn
On Colt Brennan (QB, Hawaii):
"He was a guy I had followed through college just because of all the numbers he was putting up. I had been in Hawaii a couple years previous, invited to June Jones- he has a charity golf tournament and invites a bunch of coaches and past players. Colt was always there and we spoke several times. I just kept my eye on him. When he was there at the end in our later rounds, I think the history of most clubs is to try to get a quarterback if there is one that you see that you might be able to develop, he was there. We just thought he would be an excellent choice to come in and compete. He is coming off of a bit of a hip surgery. In speaking with him, he got his hip surgery on April 7. He is progressing along. He is already throwing. He is lifting. He is starting to move now. I'm sure by next week he is not going to be ready to run, but if he can actually stand there and throw the football and just start learning what we are doing, I am fine with that. He will be ready to go in training camp."
On if he is concerned about Colt Brennan missing mini-camp and OTAs:
"I'd say it was a little bit of a concern, but not enough for me to pass on him. He has the kind of career where he has played a lot. I think he understands what it is going to take to commit to learning it. Hopefully he will be truly physically ready to start practicing in training camp and then hopefully well enough and solid enough to even participate in the pre-season somewhat."
On what he likes in Colt Brennan:
"The thing that I look for is one of the strong suits of a QB: is can he hit what he is throwing at. Colt has done that. He has been a 70% passer. Really whatever level and whatever type of defense you are going against to throw 70% completion there is some accuracy. You can see that in many of the games in the last couple of seasons. You can see his accuracy. He has the ability to move around. He is a 4.7 runner in the 40. Also his lateral movement and his ability to get himself in the position to throw the ball after a play breaks down is tremendous. Hopefully he will be able to com in here and do that. Supposedly there was some talk among the experts that he has a bit of a side arm release, which is true. We will try to bring that up a little bit, if we can great. It is just little steps to help him become efficient. Some of that stuff is not efficient. Hopefully he will get brought up to speed that way. If he understands what is going on we could get pretty good on a guy that could come in and support."
On Colt Brennan's arm strength:
"He is not a strong armed, fire ball. When you see the ball come out it is going to come out quick and it is going to be accurate. I don't know about his ball speed. I wasn't as concerned about the ball speed as I was about accuracy. What happens is, guys that don't throw hard will have to anticipate better. That is what I will be looking for."
On the adjustment of Colt Brennan going from mainly shotgun formation to being under center:
"The shotgun doesn't make me too nervous because I saw him drop back a lot. There are a lot of shotgun QB's that are in shotgun every single play. They have to relearn how to drop and how to throw on rhythm. I don't think he is going to have that problem. Remember he started out at the University of Colorado. He has been in a couple of offenses that were not necessarily all shotgun. The thing they did in Hawaii that is different than most other clubs at the NCAA level, is they were a ‘run and shoot' offense, which has its own system and own style. Any NFL team that he went too would be different than that particular philosophy and style. We will see if he can adapt and work into it."
On not drafting a linebacker or defensive tackle in the later rounds:
"There were two occasions where right before we picked, two or three spots before we picked, a guy we ear marked was right off the board. So we had to go to our next choice. That is the way it is in the draft. I think our preparation proved to be very sound. Everyone else is picking too. There are 31 other teams picking. That is a situation that no one can predict."
On if there is any disappointment that they weren't able to draft a defensive lineman:
"Not disappointed because that really is the way the draft went for us. I can't tell you I am disappointed, at this point we are trying to sign several free agent linemen both on the offensive side of the ball and the defensive side of the ball. So we are going to fill out our roster with guys that were not drafted. Remember there are only seven rounds but there are some good athletes still there that will have a chance. Free agents make the team every year."
On not addressing the front seven at all in the draft:
"One of the things we don't want to do is spend a pick in an area or on a player that we don't think can actually win the position over the guys we have there right now. We do have some veteran players. Those veteran players know how to prepare. They are going to be there. They are going to win the position. The players we did look at, we didn't feel they could develop immediately so they could unseat that particular athlete. That's why you pass. As we go on here we hope to latch onto a couple of guys who probably in this draft are as good as those players that we did pass on. Maybe they are better."
On if he is pleased with the draft:
"I am very pleased with the draft. It's unpredictable every year as to how it looks. I think it's an interesting discussion because who would have known so many offensive players would have been taken. We didn't yesterday morning say, ‘Ok men it's an offensive day.' You don't gear up for that. You gear up with our preparation. What we did do, and how the board got mapped out was we listened to every possible piece of information that we could have. You start with the scouts' reports'. You have medical and off the field character issues. You have all of these things that you rank your board. In this particular year as we worked it through these are the choices that came to us and that we actually chose."
Post Draft Pressers: Cerrato and Zorn
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