COWHER & COLBERT POST DRAFT INTERVIEW
Kevin Colbert: We would just like to try to wrap things up with the draft. I guess most teams or most colleges they never had a bad draft, a bad recruiting class. We feel good about this one, as well. It really broke very well for us, we thought. We got a lot of players. In fact, all the players we wanted really fell into place when it was our time to pick those players. We really did not feel that we reached for any position. These kids, and we said this going into it, we were kind of excited with the depth of this draft. We really feel that obviously, on the first day, but on the second day as well, we got some players that are going to come in and push and be very competitive for roster spots and be able to help this team and contribute. Again, we don?t feel that we reached to accomplish any of that. It broke very well for us and we are excited about the group.
Is there any one player that you were surprised that was still there in a later round that you expected to go early in the draft?
Kevin Colbert: Not really. I guess we were a little surprised that some of these kids were still available because we liked them. There is not a player that we took that we did not have a high regard for. We were happy that they were available. Just because we liked them doesn?t mean that they are going to be good players. It just means that we liked them. Time will tell if they are going to be able to help us or not. But really, there weren?t any big surprises.
Last year you talked about players would fill extra spots on the practice squad. Do you feel that way about these guys?
Kevin Colbert: I think it is a little different year because we lost a few players in free agency, more so this year than we had previously. These kids, I think, will be closer than maybe the group was last year just because of the amount of people that we lost previously. It really wasn?t done with that in mind. It was just they happened to be available and they were good fits where they were available.
Do you think your quarterback will be happy with the draft?
Coach Cowher: I really don?t care. The bottom line is I think we helped our football team. I think it is exciting that we are bringing in the group of players that we are bringing in along with some of the free agents we are currently trying to sign. I think we have created some very competitive situations. Any time it becomes competitive, I think it is going to bring out the best in somebody. I think whether or not these players make our team or become eligible for the practice squad, it is going to be up to them at this point. I think the biggest thing we tried to do is create some options for our football team, create some competition at positions that can make for some tough decisions when it comes down to trying to get the 53-man roster put together.
The biggest reason I asked that is because you have big, tall receivers in the top four picks?
Coach Cowher: We feel good about our number-one pick, and certainly our first pick today. Getting a kid like Fred Gibson, we like Fred. He is a guy that has played at a high level with a lot of exposure in that conference. I think he went down to the Senior Bowl and had a really good week of work, he played very well in the game against all the top players. He is a tall guy that can run fast. He is a good route runner. I think he will fit in well here.
Your top three picks, were they all guys that you had rated among the top thirty?
Coach Cowher: I think it was interesting, I think up until our last pick, Noah Herron, I had a chance to talk to every one of them. Whether or not we brought them in or talked to them at the combine, or even went down and talked to and saw (Bryant) McFadden, we talked to him and went down and saw his workouts. I think that is the thing that really worked out is that we felt to a point that we had a chance to talk with each kid, for the most part and had a pretty good feel for what they were as players and as people. A lot of that is yet to be determined. Like Kevin said, it was probably one of the cleanest drafts we had in terms of as you look at the board and the quality of player as it approached our roster and some of the things we wanted to address, it really came off very clean.
It looks like some of these guys had a feisty nature in college. Do that translate to good aggressive football players?
Kevin Colbert: I think in both those situations it was in a competitive nature. You want people to be competitive, but you want them to have a certain restraint and there are situations that they have to control so that they are not drawing penalties. Sure you want them to be aggressive, but you want them to be smart also.
How many free agents are you looking at?
Kevin Colbert: We are looking somewhere between eleven and twelve guys.
Is there a certain number of guys form each position you are looking to bring in?
Kevin Colbert: Not really. Most likely we will bring in more linebackers. I think that is the biggest number we need to add. Other than that it is a player here or there or some positions we don?t need to add anybody.
How do you rate your players?
Kevin Colbert: We rate them based on ability, based on their position, and based on how they stack up throughout the league. Coming into this draft you weren?t really going to be looking for a quarterback, but the quarterback?s were rated and stacked on our full board because you have to keep them in there so your board has the proper balance. Other teams are going to be taking them. If you only put up the players you like the board is not going to be properly positioned and balanced.
Were McFadden and Trai Essex rated pretty high on your list?
Kevin Colbert: No question. We really like Bryant McFadden. He is going to fit what we do because he is an aggressive kid. Trai Essex did some things as a run blocker and as a pass protector as well as some of the top tackles in the draft.
Is there any connection between your team and drafting BYU defensive linemen?
Kevin Colbert: No, we looked at that and saw that we could have three BYU guys on our defensive line, which is probably a little different than the rest of the league. Shaun is a guy that was not highly rated going into the season. We had scouts go in and liked him. He played in the Las Vegas Bowl and did very well. We had John Mitchell look at him and we continued to like him. He did not go to the combine so we brought him in and gave him a physical, interviewed him and kept him alive as a guy we would like to take.
Is it getting harder to find defensive ends that you can convert to linebacker?
Coach Cowher: There are projections involved and you are seeing more of them go. I don?t know if it is any harder than it has been. I think we looked at it and tried to rank and rate it and it unfolded the way it did. There were some guys we liked, but they were taken before we had a chance to pick them or we had another guy rated higher. With more 3-4 teams that everyone is kind of looking for that guy. I don?t know if it is harder, but they are just in more demand.
Are you expecting Rian Wallace to come in and contribute right away?
Coach Cowher: We expect him to com in. We want to go into camp with a certain amount of guys at each position. Because we only drafted one linebacker we still need to fill some more guys to the roster who are going to have the opportunity to be a part of this team. That is why we are looking to fill that position.
Are you looking to bring in a rookie quarterback or are you still looking to bring back Charlie Batch?
Kevin Colbert: We are still talking with Charlie and look at some other options at the collegiate level as well. We have not finalized yet. That is still to be resolved. Charlie is an option for us at this point.
Have you considered Chad Brown at all?
Kevin Colbert: There has been communication, but we will see where it goes, just like we did with Willie Williams last year. Any veteran that is out there we will continue to follow up with.