GENERAL MANAGER RUSTON WEBSTER
(on why Zaviar Gooden was a good fit)
I think he fits in well with what we are looking for in a 'Will' (weakside) linebacker position. I will let coach talk about it a little bit. He fits in that same mold as Zach (Brown). He’s going to help us on special teams. He gives us a player that can play in space and really run. We were really happy to get him. We needed another linebacker. We were really targeting that position there at the end.
(on how Blidi Wreh-Wilson fits into the system)
I think we were looking for a bigger press corner that could run. He fit that mold. We went into this third round targeting some things defensively and that was something we were looking at – a corner with size and speed. Kind of do what we want to do out there on the edge. He fit that. Great kid. Bright. Hard worker. Kind of all the other things we want out of our players.
(on if the defensive players picked in the third round can contribute immediately)
I think they will definitely be able to come in and compete to contribute. I guess that remains to be seen. I think they have the ability to come in and contribute, that’s for sure
(on how Gooden is in pass coverage, blitzing)
He’s done both and he’s got a knack for both. Pass coverage wise, his speed is a real plus for him playing man coverage. Blitzing wise, he is explosive. He will step on you if he has a chance.
(on positions left to address including defensive line)
We will look at that. We still want to add some guys there so we would like to do that. It just depends how it all falls. When this is over, if we don’t get it we will just keep scouting and find some guys that fit what we need along those lines.
(on if they were looking to get SEC guys)
A lot of it has to do with the SEC. That’s where the best players seem to all be. I think that has played out throughout the whole draft, not just with us. I think there are years when certain parts of the country are stronger than other parts of the country. This was definitely a year where the SEC was the strongest and had the most players. I’ve seen it happen out west and other spots but this year the SEC definitely was the strongest.
(on thoughts on the day as a whole)
When we started the day, we did target Justin Hunter and trying to get up and get him. That was the focus of really our morning and our early afternoon, really the whole afternoon, was trying to work from that and get up to get him. So we were ecstatic to be able to do that. I think everybody, offensive coaches and defensive coaches, all our scouts, just everybody on board and happy about that pick. Then we felt like we needed to go defensive. There were some things that we wanted to do. We wanted to get bigger at corner, get somebody that can play some press and Blidi Wreh-Wilson fit that mold. We needed a middle linebacker. Both those things worked out for us, not that we didn’t look at some other positions, especially in that last pick. Zaviar Gooden was the best player for us at that time.
(on what other areas need to be addressed in the draft)
I think we will come in the morning and revisit the board. I think there are some defensive linemen still up there, some defensive backs, safety-type guys, corners. There are still some offensive linemen on the board and just some offensive skill players, receivers and running backs. There’s actually a pretty good group left. It’s just a matter of how quickly the guys we like go as we go forward. I’m sure we will have players we like in every round.
HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK
(on choosing players with impressive backgrounds)
Definitely, that’s a big part of it. It has been since I took over the head coaching job. You look at the player but you also look at the person. That’s important because we have seen when it doesn’t work out how sideways things can go. I think it has worked out where these guys do a great job of checking the backgrounds of these guys before we even start the first meetings when I get involved for the first time in February. The big part of it is about the character of different guys and if there are concerns they go out and do their homework and the coaches have a chance to see the combines and the visit here to really get a feel for the guy to see if they are guys that can fit with this football team. I think as you see the draft process, I think we feel that is the way to build a team. We get the right guys in here. The players that are already here, they want those kinds of guys. That’s our job to get that done, on top of the talent obviously. It’s worked out today where, as you meet the rest of these guys, you will see the same type of individuals. They are focused. They are passionate about what they do and they want to do it the right way.
LINEBACKERS COACH CHET PARLAVECCHIO
(on if Zaviar Gooden and
First of all, I don’t think you can have too much speed. They both can fly. This kid runs 4.49 – 4.53 in there. I think what you have to understand about Zaviar is that he is a much more physical individual than you think. He’s a great bodied kid. He’s second in the combine in the bench press. He’s a physical kid. He needs a little more experience in the box as far as playing the power and the run game. But I think in a lot of the schemes that we are going to be doing in the future, you could see that develop into a situation where both of them are on the field at the same time. That wouldn’t be a bad scenario with two 4.5 guys with the physicality that the two of them have being on the field at the same time. Like Ruston said, special teams wise you just made an improvement. You just got an explosive player that can do a lot of things for you on teams. The youth of our football team and the depth of our football team at linebackers just got a lot better.
(on if he is strictly an outside linebacker)
He’s a 'Will' backer. He’s a space player. He’s the kind of guy in certain fronts where you can create a top off situation for him where he can blitz. Again with that explosive speed and again he’s a strong kid, he could be a devastating blitzer. He has played strong safety in the past years ago. Again he has a good feel of space and time. Anything that happens out on the perimeter, he has outstanding closing speed and can make a lot of plays out there.
(on if having linebackers that can run can create favorable matchups)
You have guys that can run. Everything in this league now is matchups. Creating matchup situations. The more fast physical people you can have – those 235, 240, 225 kind of guys that can run the 4.5s , run the 4.4s and play with physicality – you can’t have enough of those guys. You are seeing more situations where there are two or three tight ends on the field at one time. We all know that if there is any position that has changed and is dynamic through the years is the tight end position. You have to be athletic to match up with athletic.