Tennessee Titans general manager Jon Robinson spoke to the media Wednesday during day one of the NFL scouting combine inside Lucus Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
He was asked a variety of questions on several topics and shared as little useful information as possible during his time at the podium, though some could speculate that he did give away the Titans intentions in the first round when he spoke of the team's emphasis on protecting quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Below is the full transcript of Robinson's comments on Wednesday.Opening Statement
“It’s good to be in Indy, first time in this role for me, but it’s really the first time we get a chance to spend with the prospects and the interview process, the medical stuff and the on-field stuff. So we’re really excited about this 2016 class, getting to know these guys and seeing how they fit on our football team.” Would you like it to be a surprise when you go to the podium with the top pick? “I don’t know if there are really any secrets in the league. We’re going to evaluate every prospect we think can help our football team and explore every avenue available to our football team. So whether we stick and pick or whether we can get an offer we really can’t turn down, whatever decision we arrive at in April, we just want to come out of it a better football team. That’s the most important thing.” Importance of the Left Tackle in this league has always been understood. As we see more and more pass rushers, is the importance of the Right Tackle increasing? “I think really those kind of guys, they have to play certainly left tackle. That’s a premium position in the NFL. But the most important thing … the quarterback, in my opinion, is the most important, and I think that’s probably league-wide the same opinion. The quarterback is the most important position on the team. It’s imperative you keep him upright and keep him able to throw the football. There are different ways. Whether it’s keeping him on his feet, or the defense turning the ball over, getting off the field on third down so you can get the ball again … Again, it’s keeping him upright so he can throw and putting the ball in his hands, those are key parts of the game.” On Laremy Tunsil “HE’s played a lot of football in the SEC. He’s a good athlete. He’s blocked a lot of good football players. Again, I haven’t met him yet. I haven’t met really many of these guys yet. I’m looking forward to meeting him and getting him to know him a little bit.” Last year there were two franchise QBs at the top. Not so this year. Is this a good year or bad year to have the number one pick? “I think having the number one overall pick gives us options. If you were to poll 32 teams, they would have various opinions about who their top quarterback is. Just like last year, some guys had Jameis over Marcus, some teams had Marcus over Jameis. Beauty is in the eye of the beholders. We certainly don’t want to be in this position next year. But we would like to capitalize on (this pick) and try to make an impact on the roster, whether we pick an impact player or whether we acquire more picks via trade.” How much did having the number one pick last year (when he was with Tampa) help in preparing for number one pick this year? “Definitely. We were very exhaustive in our research of both Jameis and Marcus. We spent a lot of time with both of those guys in meetings, board work, medically … and in the end, we just wanted to make sure that the player really kind of fit what we were going to be as a football team, and that will certainly help us this year.” On if he heard from Belichick “Yeah, I talked to Bill a couple times. He wrote a nice article the other day. I appreciate that. I owe a ton to that man. I respect the heck out of him. His record speaks for itself. Whether it be discussions or just watching how he went about building the football team there in New England, I learned a lot of football from my time with him. It was really special.” On what he learned from New England? “Finding players that have a team-first attitude. There is nothing more important to a football team. No one part is greater than the other. In the end, it’s about how many wins we have stacked up in that column at the end of the season.” On Tampa GM Jason Licht “Yeah, Jason kind of got me into scouting, I guess 14 or 15 years ago. He kind of peeled back the GM curtain if you will in Tampa there. I was exposed to the daily operations of what it took to run the team there in Tampa. He talked about delegating authority and empowering people to do their jobs, holding them accountable to do their jobs. That’s kind of the approach I’m going to take in Tennessee as well. Hire good people and put them in position where they can do what they’re supposed to do. Demand that they do what they’re supposed to do and rely on those guys.” Why does Patriots organization prepare scouts to become GMs? “New England is a unique place. It forces you to learn football and it forces you to learn more than just , This player can do this.’. It’s ‘He can do this and this is how he is going to fit into our football team.’ It teaches you big-picture things when it comes to roster building and I think that’s kind of what has prepared Jason and Dimitroff and Scott and Bob and myself to really attack our own individual clubs with a similar philosophy but with our own personality on the football team.” When you saw other guys getting GM jobs, did you and Bob ever talk about that possibility? “Oh sure. You’re sitting there late night watching tape and you try to come up for air a little bit. And it’s like, `One of these days, if we keep working hard, maybe we can be (a GM).’ We’d talk about it. But in the end, we’d just try to work at our jobs and try to be the best at what we were doing.” On Taylor Lewan “Taylor is a good football player. He played a lot of football, blocked a lot of pass rushers. He is a tough, smart football player. He is a good athlete. I think offensive linemen, that’s important. It’s the versatility that helps you play more than one position. I think in the end, we’re going to try to put the best five up there that will give us a chance to win football games. Right now Taylor Lewan is our left tackle and we’re proud that he is our left tackle.” On the running backs “We have to get good production out of the backs. You talk about helping out Marcus. Part of helping out the quarterback is being able to run the football to get us in second-medium and third-short situations, where there’s still the threat of running the football. So then we can still run play action or whatever Coach Mularkey schemes up there. But Cobb, Andrews, Bishop Sankey, McCluster, all those guys, we want production out of our backs for sure.” On relationship with Jason Licht “Um, it’s familiarity, similar thinking. There’s a lot of things I would just do because I knew that’s what Jason would want, so taking some initiative, kind of getting the plan rolling, so that when Jason came in from a marketing meeting or something else he was responsible for, we could get back to football.” Question N/A “We’re our own individual thinkers. That’s part of scouting. Scouting is an subjective business. All of our scouts are paid to give their opinion. That’s what their job is. Not that we want arguments, but we want them to write and talk about how they see the player and how they see him helping our football team. I don’t want them to agree with me all the time.” How open are you thinking outside the box at No. 1 pick, such as taking Jalen Ramsey? “I would say with the first overall pick, we’re looking to add an impact player. There’s a handful of players that fit into that. A handful could be a couple or it could be 10 according to how big your hands are. But we want to come away with somebody that is going to impact our football team.” In past years, elite tackles haven’t had the best of luck. Any reason for that, any concerns when considering tackle at No. 1? “Yeah, certainly. I haven’t really gone back and done the analytical research on all that. But whatever position that is, whether it’s offensive tackle … when you evaluate the player and how he fits our football team, you’re going to describe a role for him and you want him to come in and play that role. Why certain tackles didn’t necessarily pan out … could be a scheme-related thing. It could be a coaching-related thing. I think every situation positively and negatively, is really kind of its own unique situation and you have to evaluate it kind of in your own organization.” So you still consider tackle an elite position worthy of No. 1? “Certainly. I think it’s certainly a premium position.” On Titans WR Tre McBride “I think Tre had some good snaps at the end of the season. I remember last year when he came out of the draft, he had good size and good speed. He helped us out in the kicking game. I think it’s going to be on Tre to come in and be a more consistent football player. That’s what we’re asking out of all our players, come in and be more consistent. When you’re supposed to run the route to 12 yards, you run it to 12 yards. When you’re supposed to block, you’re going to block. So whatever we ask of those guys, we just want more consistency.” How much does the spread offense in college impact having to project players in the draft, and going forward, do NFL teams have to (simulate spread?) “Yeah, great question. You see the college game and the tight ends, most of those guys now are flexed out, and a lot of the offensive linemen, they’re not necessarily asked to run off the ball and sit a guy up and try to move a five-technique three yards down the field. They’re kind of asked to just zone and occupy and let the backs cut off the blocks. So you really have to dig through those plays where you can really see him unroll his hips and dig his cleats in and really get moving. So the style of football that we’re going to play -- a downhill, run the football, be a physical football team – we need to identify those players that fit what we want.” On draft class “I think there’s good depth throughout the draft. I think defensive line is a pretty strong crop of guys there. There’s 97 underclassmen … There’s good depth on the offensive line. There are some good receivers in this group. I think in the end, it’s just evaluating all the position groups and we’ll find a guy that we think will help our football team.” Do you pay attention to draft strategies of teams behind you? “Yeah, we’ll focus on that once the pro days kind of conclude and maybe there are calls that come in or not. But you try to look at the team’s needs behind you and certainly in the second round, too, there are players we’ll be targeting there in our second-round pick and players we have identified on the board worthy of that pick. Are there teams behind us that might have the same need we have to try to jump up to get to the back half of the first round and get a guy before we get to him. Again, that’s looking at the draft order, the needs of each team and trying to position yourself to acquire the player that you think can h ave the biggest impact on your team.”
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