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Titans Evaluate Selection of Kendall Wright

Posted Apr 26, 2012

GENERAL MANAGER RUSTON WEBSTER

(opening statement)

I am very excited to make our first round pick Kendall Wright from Baylor. We spent a lot of time watching Kendall, we brought him in here for a visit and we sent our coaches to work him out. He is an exciting playmaker who can help us in a lot of ways and will be fun to watch. He is going to make our offense even better than it is, so we are very excited about that.

(on Kendall Wright’s strengths)

I think his strong point is making plays after the catch, getting himself open and then doing something with the ball after he catches it. Sure, he will be used to playing with a mobile quarterback; that should work well. They should work well together.

(on if he is comparable to Derrick Mason)

I can see that to some point. He is similar in size and the fact they were both playmakers. For me, that’s a compliment for Kendall to be compared to Derrick Mason.

(on what Kendall Wright brings to the current receiver core that was not there)

We have a good group, but I think it’s more about Kendall. He has the ability to catch a short ball and turn it into a long run. He can create some things for us on offense. I think he will mesh well with what we have and he will add to the group.

(on how much drafting Kendall Wright had to do with Kenny Britt’s health)

We were considering a lot of different positions so it wasn’t like it was something that we were focusing on in terms of, ‘OK, we just have to take a receiver because of Kenny’s health.’ It was more about the fact that we really like Kendall Wright.

(on if it was an easy decision)

It was an easy decision. We talked about in the earlier press conference about having the six guys lined up, well Kendall was at the top of the list when it came time to pick. It was an easy decision.

(on what would have changed if defensive linemen Melvin Ingram and Quinton Coples were there)

Well I think Kendall would have been our pick even at that point. We really felt good about him and what he would bring to us in comparison to what was there, and we are excited.

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR CHRIS PALMER

(on Kendall Wright)

This guy is electric and I don’t think it has anything to do with the ability of the quarterback. I think this guy reminds me of Drew Hill and Ernest Givins that we had back in the run and shoot days in Houston. He is a guy that can also play outside. He closes the cushion between himself and the defensive back very quickly. The fact that he has the ability with the run after catch, his hands are very good, and I think he is a guy that will allow us to move him around and complement our other receivers and be more explosive offensively. The fact that he can get down the field, and if you watch the film he has thrown passes and made big game catches. I think this guy is electric and a very explosive player.

SCOUT JON SALGE

(on the team taking his recommendation)

I agree with coach. The first thing that you notice about Kendall is that on the field he is one of the most competitive football players that I watched this year and really in the last couple years all together. He is a very competitive football player and he really wants to be good. That is his make-up. In terms of his actual ability, the explosiveness, you see that. You can’t help but see it. Speed, quickness, hands, run after catch, all of these are qualities that you can’t help but be impressed by. Regardless of what you see in a 40-yard dash, guys getting trained to basically run a track drill, you turn the film on of Kendall Wright and you see a very explosive player both vertically and laterally.

(on Kendall Wright’s basketball skills)

I am aware of his talents on the court and he is pretty proud of the athlete that he is. I have never seen him do it, but I have no doubt that he is pretty good.

HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK

(on if Jerry Gray was OK with drafting an offensive player)

Of course he was. Any time you add a great player on offense that gives you a chance to stay on the field and make plays and score points. It helps both sides of the ball. When you are looking for guys to help you win, this is the type of guy that jumps to the top of the list. That’s what’s exciting for the whole team. He is a guy that is going to help this team win football games. Obviously, that is very good for your defense when you are scoring points and doing those types of things which adding another weapon like this will allow us to do.

GENERAL MANAGER RUSTON WEBSTER

(on previously saying that improving the defense was a priority and how that impacted the decision to draft an offensive player in Kendall Wright)

The big thing for us was to just stay true to how we grade the players.  I think I also talked about levels to take a certain player.  Kendall was our highest rated guy at that point in time, so we took him and we’re excited about him.  We’ve obviously been watching him for a long time, and Jon (Salge) did a great job.  It really was about Kendall and he was the best player available at the time.”

(on if he knows where Kendall Wright was on the Titans’ draft board and where specifically that was)

Yeah.  Obviously he was in the top-20.

(on if it is fair to say that there were defensive guys in their top-20 that got drafted prior to their pick)

Yeah, that is fair to say.

(on if they thought that Kendall Wright would still be on the board going into the draft)

We weren’t sure he would be there.  We thought he might, but there were a couple teams ahead of us that we thought could take him.  So, we weren’t sure. 

HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK

(on if they expect Wright to be able to help them this year, despite a history of wide receivers not always making an immediate impact)

Obviously we expect him to be able to help us right away.  Like Coach Palmer mentioned, he’s a guy who is very competitive, he makes plays, he is fun to watch on tape.  So, we’re not looking at what happened in the past or years ago, we’re looking forward to this year and we felt when you pick a guy, like we did, at 20 that the player is going to be able to help us this year.  We’re excited about that.  In fact, this guy is going to help us win football games, and looking forward to working with him when he gets in town.

(on where Kenny Britt is in his recovery from season-ending knee surgery and if he’ll be ready for the start of training camp)

All intentions are good.  He’s running, he’s not cutting yet, but he’s out running.  He’s lifting with the guys who are in town.  He’s obviously in meetings with the players this week.  I think he’s very excited where he’s at—the plan, if everything goes well that by training camp he’s kind of where he was last year.  We’re keeping an eye on him, we’re making sure he doesn’t do too much and then getting him into the preseason games and kind of see where it goes from there.  Obviously, we’re assuming we’ll have him for the start of the season.

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR CHRIS PALMER

(on if he’s excited about putting all the offensive pieces together now that he has Kendall Wright to go with playmakers already on the roster)

Let me just go back to the one question you asked.  You can go back and look at our record; we had Terry Glenn in New England, as a rookie caught 90 balls.  We had Kevin Johnson at Syracuse as a receiver first year had eight touchdowns.  You had Andre Johnson who had 975 yards his rookie year.  So, I think this system allows a rookie to come in and play early.  There is enough evidence of that in the history of our coaching to indicate that we’re counting on this guy to come in and play.  Where we plug him in, I think that is the beauty for our offense because I think he can play outside, I think he can play inside and there are several other spots.  Two nights ago I went back and looked at the film, and when we start the draft process one of the things that Ruston (Webster) and Mike (Munchak) are going to ask me is, ‘Where does this guy fit?’ So I take four or five guys and I look at them and I say, ‘Coach, this is where I think this guy will fit, this is what I think we can do with him.’ Then they are going to make their decision on the final board on what we say we can get done with the player.  So, obviously we think we can do an awful lot with this player.

(on referencing his days coaching the ‘Run-n-Shoot’ offense and if he wants to use more three and four-wide receiver sets this year)

We’ll play to our talent, okay—last year, I thought (Jared) Cook was a good player and I thought he had a good year for us.  I think Dave Ragone, our wide receiver coach, did a great job with the receivers.  Each one of them had their best season.  A guy like (Lavelle) Hawkins, had 19 catches in three years and he winds up with 47 catches.  I think this system is a very friendly system for quarterbacks and wide receivers.

GENERAL MANAGER RUSTON WEBSTER

(on if taking Kendall Wright in the first round makes it more likely the Titans draft defensive players in the second and third rounds of the NFL Draft)

Yeah, we will definitely look at some defensive players.  Again, we’ll probably stick to our board, but we’re trying to fill needs and do all those kind of things.  We’ll see how it goes—the thing about picking 20th, is you’re at a lot of team’s mercy if you stay there, so we’ll just have to see how it falls out.

(on how seriously they considered drafting Stanford offensive lineman David DeCastro)

We considered it, we considered it.  We just felt like to get a playmaker of Kendall’s ability was probably best for us at that time.  But, we did consider it and we did talk about it.

(on if it is likely the Titans will look to trade up in the second round)

I would say there is a chance.  A lot of it depends on what you have to give up, and then what we feel we can get in those middle rounds because you probably have to give up a middle round pick, a fourth or something like that.  So, we’ll just have to see.

SCOUT JON SALGE

(on if there is a specific NFL player that Kendall Wright reminds him of)

A lot of people have different styles of doing this, and comparisons aren’t really my style.  I feel like I identified Kendall as a very good football player and I’m very happy we have him.

GENERAL MANAGER RUSTON WEBSTER

(on if there was any validity to the report that they looked seriously at Georgia Tech WR Stephen Hill)

We did a lot of work on Stephen Hill.  He’s a talented player coming out of an option system, but our coaches and ourselves did a lot of work on Stephen once he declared to come out.  So yeah, we looked hard at him and he’s a talented guy—it’ll be interesting to see what happens with him.

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