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Titans 2014 NFL Draft Recap Press Conference Transcript

Posted May 10, 2014

GENERAL MANAGER RUSTON WEBSTER

(opening statement)

It is nice to have that one in the books.  It was a good process that I thought went very smooth.  I’m happy with our draft and the players that we have.  I’m happy with the way free agency has gone.  Our guys have been up there working like they are on the floor of the stock exchange.  That has gone extremely well.  I’m very happy with the job Lake (Dawson) and Blake (Beddingfield) and their guys all did and coach and his coaches, so it went well.

(on the decision to give up the seventh round pick to get Zach Mettenberger)

I don’t like letting go of picks, but it was one of those situations where quarterbacks were going.  Quarterback was a position that we wanted to take in the draft and we probably felt better about Zach than what was left there on the board at that time, so it made sense to do it.  We felt like it was kind of a small risk to do it.

(on why he felt Mettenberger fell in the draft)

I think it was multiple things.  I think some of it was the guy is coming off a knee, there were the rumors about the combine test and all that and I’m sure that played into it, but he was one of several quarterbacks that fell; I guess all for different reasons.  One thing is when you are coming off a knee I think it doesn’t help.

(on the Mettenberger test at the combine)

I don’t feel like it is an issue.  We feel good enough to take him.

(on the reports of Mettenberger having a back injury)

With went through our medical test on him just like everyone else did and heck I saw him.  I was at his workout and that thing was pretty amazing for coming off an ACL.  That was one of the more impressive things I have ever seen in a guy that has been hurt.

(on if they are convinced there is no back issue with Mettenberger)

We are.  I talked to Zach on the phone and he feels good.  We grade every player medically.  We don’t take players that we fail medically.  If we felt not OK about it, we wouldn’t have taken him.

(on considering taking a quarterback earlier in the draft)

Yeah, we were talking about guys in that range.  We had several players that we liked.  We were feeling really good about that fourth round and the players that were there and even the fifth round.  To get Avery Williamson, we were excited about that.  There were a lot of good players there that we felt could help us and at some point have a chance to start.

GENERAL MANAGER RUSTON WEBSTER

(on if he felt Avery Williamson was better than a fifth-round talent)

Well we liked him, yeah. We considered him earlier in the fourth when we were talking about those guys and he is somebody that we had targeted and brought in for a visit. We wanted to get him out of Milan Bulldogs and in here and see if some of those winning ways could rub off.

(on if Mettenberger would have been a top quarterback prospect if not for the medical issue)

I think so. I think without that he was headed in that direction. He is just so big and throws the ball so well and the talent level. They say that a quarterback’s talent is in his arm and that’s the case for him. He throws the ball really well.

(on the off-field issue from his college career)

I wouldn’t go into any of that what we talked about. He made a mistake, he admitted to the mistake and he moved on. I know a lot of people at LSU because that was my area for it seems like forever. I probably went to LSU three times every year. I know people all over that place there so I had a pretty good feel for it.

(on how he wants Jake Locker to handle it with Mettenberger coming in)

I will tell you one thing about it. There is one guy that I don’t worry about handling things, is Jake Locker. Jake and I have a really good relationship, or I feel we do. In talking to him, he is really not fazed by any of it.

(on what Mettenberger’s job will be in 2014)

I think Zach needs to come in here and compete like everybody else and get better. Like any college quarterback, Zach can get better and improve on things and develop and that’s what he needs to do and I think we have a good coaching staff to do that.

VICE PRESIDENT OF PLAYER PERSONNEL LAKE DAWSON

(on if there is a quarterback past or present that Mettenberger projects like)

Well the big arm, and all of the intangibles that you look for in a quarterback in terms of their decision making and their processing ability and the big arm that he has, I think that’s who you can compare him to. Specifically anyone, no I wouldn’t say anyone at this point in time.

GENERAL MANAGER RUSTON WEBSTER

(on if he sees Marqueston Huff as a corner or safety)

We will probably work that out some when he gets here, but the plan right now is to start him at corner. The one thing when we first got here and met with our coaches and we were going through free agency and Ray Horton talked about the guys that were versatile enough to play both. So actually we talked about a few players in free agency that were like that and he fits that mold. He is one of those guys who can play in the nickel or can play corner or he could play free safety and I think will help us on special teams.

(on if DaQuan Jones brings the versatility that he is looking for)

He fits in with those guys. I think like Al Woods is for us when we signed him, he has the ability to play multiple positions.

VICE PRESIDENT OF PLAYER PERSONNEL LAKE DAWSON

(on if DaQuan Jones brings the versatility that he is looking for)

The versatility is key. With us switching to a 3-4 defense with Ray Horton, the more guys that have the flexibility to move along the defensive line the better. The fact that he has that size and the well-tuned athleticism, he can play the five technique, the nose, and the three technique for us. The more guys we can add like that, it helps Ray be more creative as well as help the team with depth.

VICE PRESIDENT OF PLAYER PERSONNEL LAKE DAWSON

(on whether DaQuan Jones is bigger than guys that can move along defensive line)

He’s in with that 3-4 defense. He’s like Al Woods, that’s a great comparison for him in terms of size and ability as well. He fits a 3-4 scheme.

GENERAL MANAGER RUSTON WEBSTER

(on looking for versatility)

We have. We talked about it a lot defensively. We talked about it when we talked about the running back. I think that’s important on every team, you look for players that can do more than one thing. It helps you roster-wise and that’s what we did. That was intentional.

HEAD COACH KEN WHISENHUNT

(on roster)

Well, I think we feel good, we said we feel good about the roster. I think the big thing for us is getting time on the field with our players because what you want to do is tailor what you do to fit the abilities of our players. That’s something you’ve seen on tape, but as far as being able to operate the systems and what we’re going to do and what we’re going to be efficient in, we just need some time on the field with them. I think we’ve got a good core group of guys. We’ve got some young guys that we get a chance to see what type of versatility they have, to talk to that point and that’s an exciting period of time. The next six weeks is the fun part. We’ve got the guys, now we get a chance to work with them.

GENERAL MANAGER RUSTON WEBSTER

(on receiver class and whether he’s disappointed on not coming out with one)

Yeah there was. We would have liked to…there was a point in time where we were looking at receivers with the other positions and just like everything in the draft, it’s a deep class, but there are certain guys that fit what you want to do and sometimes it just doesn’t work out where you get those guys. We’ll keep scouting. That’s one thing about it, I think you’ve got to be…everybody looks at the draft as the end-all, there’s college free agency and there are better players that are still out there that hadn’t signed that can also help us.  Our motto is just to continue to keep scouting and trying to find players that can fit in for us. 

(on plans to add a kicker)

We’ve been working on that in free agency, yes. We had a few guys we’re talking to.

VICE PRESIDENT OF PLAYER PERSONNEL LAKE DAWSON

(on the number of undrafted free agents the team will sign)

We’ll sign 14 people. But like Ruston said, we’ll continue to scout, we’ll continue to look at guys in mini-camps, as far as veterans and college players, so things could change.

(on whether there is a good pool of free agent wide receivers)

I think they’re always going to be guys that become available.  I hate to say it because I played wide receiver, but it’s almost like we’re a dime a dozen, you can find guys. So guys will be available and we’ll continue to turn over rocks and look at college guys, in terms of bringing them through, guys who didn’t sign with anyone, as well as pro guys and veteran guys that can still contribute to us. So, that will be an ongoing process for us.

GENERAL MANAGER RUSTON WEBSTER

(on other positions that were considered addressing in the draft)

Yeah, there are always some guys positionally and just good football players that you’d like to get and it just doesn’t work out. So, we went through and I’ve told you guys when we’re getting ready to pick, we have a list of six players and we work from that list. We put them, one-two-three-four-five-six and then if one goes, we just move them up the list. We work off that and sometimes guys go ahead of you and those type of things, but that’s the draft. That’s the way it works.

HEAD COACH KEN WHISENHUNT

(on whether Taylor Lewan will play both tackle spots)

I think we’ll start moving him around. He’ll be the back-up left tackle starting and then we’ll move him around. One of the rookie mini-camps next week, Bob and I already talked about it, we’re going to play him at different spots, get him reps, kind of get him started that way to see what he can do.

VICE PRESDIENT OF PLAYER PERSONNEL LAKE DAWSON

(on what made Huff attractive besides his versatility)

The toughness. We all sat down early on in this process and we talked about the type of football players we wanted this team to be built on and we wanted smart, tough physical guys with high character and guys that had versatility and that was some of the most attractive traits that we saw in him as a player, those type of traits.

GENERAL MANAGER RUSTON WEBSTER

(on historic day of Michael Sam being drafted)

There no doubt about it having an openly gay player like that drafted and it was big for the league. I am happy for him. I think he will have a chance to go there and compete in St. Louis. It kind of switches of all that pressure of his situation to now it’s pressure of making the football team and playing in the NFL.

(on what he thought of Michael Sam as a player)

You know I have said this on several occasions, I mean he is kind of a tweener, size-wise, but a good pass rusher. It was a matter of what’s the best fit for him, probably as an under-size defensive end, nickel-rusher type.

(on what it says about DaQuan Jones staying at Penn State)

It says a lot. A lot of players left. It was a tough situation and not only did he stay, he helped those guys win games and kind of persevere through a real difficult time. So, he was a real impressive young man to talk to and besides the fact he’s big man. He can help us inside and just make us better there. It says a lot about him.

(on the talk of lengthening the number days of the draft and looking as if he is running on fumes)

Do I really? That’s what my mom says every time she watches was one of these things.  Yeah, it’s pretty intense. The league is going to do what they are going to do. We’ll adapt to do however we have to. I’m usually spent after this thing is over. You know, it’s funny because you go through this and you are waiting for guys that you want. You feel like they are big decisions and they are big decisions at the time, trying to make trades and do this and that. It does spend me a little bit.

(on if he would campaign to move the draft back)

I loved it where it used to be. So, I have said many times this year it helped us because of the coaching change and all the other things we went though.

(on his first draft working with Coach Whisenhunt)

You know it got rough when he had two sparks, a five-hour energy drink and Red Bull. I thought he was going to choke me out a couple of times. No, it was good. It went real well, don’t you think?

HEAD COACH  KEN WHISENHUNT

Yeah, it went good. You know one of the things that is the understated part of the draft is it’s human nature, you always like players. When you have those five or six guys that are there you really want this guy and you are stressed about that and then somebody picks him three picks in front of you. That takes an emotional toll out of you. That may sound silly, but it does. Over a period of three days, going through that with amount of time, I mean people probably don’t know the amount of time that goes into preparing for this. Blake, Ruston, his guys I mean it’s an incredible amount of time that you put in to be able to pick six players. It’s a pretty intense experience, but it is also a great experience. You find out about guys you are working with. We had a good room up there. It was a lot of fun.

GENERAL MANAGER RUSTON WEBSTER

(on if Antonio Andrews has signed with team)

Yeah he did, he agreed to sign with the Titans. That is accurate. He is a good football player. I saw him play this year. He has size. He runs tough, he has got good vision. He has got very good hands. So, I like him. We are very excited about having him.

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