Q: Media tends to use words like riser/late riser. Was this a guy that was a riser? Did he make his way up as this process wore on?
A: In our eyes?
Q: Or did you identify him early?
A: He was a guy that during the season when I went to South Florida because I had four senior guys - where you put the tape on and you say, "Wow, who is the world is this guy?" Because you don't know anything about him; he just got there. But he makes you take notice because he is jumping off the film. So of course you track him though the year. He was just a junior but the way he was playing it was a very strong indication that the guy was going to come out. So, no, he wasn't a late riser for us. We had big grades on him throughout the year.
Q: Is it more difficult to grade a guy like this who has had a limited amount of playing experience?
A: Well, if you just base it off of when he played, it is very easy to grade the guy because he tremendous. And then you go, and just like any player that is my job - to scout these guys and dig deep and find out whatever --- all players have strengths and weaknesses, red flags. It is our job to dig deep and feel comfortable with those and research them so that we know they are a good fit for us.
Q: Did the defensive coordinator, Perry Fewell, sort of come to you and say, "This is what I am looking for."
A: No, not at all. We go through the process. We meet for weeks and our scouts write reports all year and we stack the board based on the best players. Of course, Coach and I will talk a lot but, no, the coordinators or the position coaches don't come and say that.
Q: Given his limited playing time, how much actually did you guys put in terms of time to scout him? How many games did you see; how many films did you look at? And was there one that really stuck out and you said, "Hey, this guy would be great for us."
A: Well, I have probably seen every game he has played this year. Our scouts, the way I have them do it, we have three scouts that do that area, they break down different parts of the season and do it. Of course the coaches get involved. Every game - Florida State - he jumps out on tape every game he played.
Q: You have three very good pass rushers - defensive ends. Is he like any of them - a body type like Kiwanuka?
A: He is rangy like Mathias in that kind of height. But when you see this guy - this guy is a freak of nature, really, some of the stuff that he can do and the way he looks. He is just a different guy. He has done things that I haven't seen in scouting - in games - that I just haven't seen.
Q: Like what?
A: Combination of the length and power and speed - just running though people and rag dolling tackles. He is just a different breed of athlete.
Q: Did he play against any tackles or linemen that were rated high? Because that is how you judge him, I would assume?
A: When you watch any position you try to grab the best matchup. I was at the Rutgers game - that was referenced earlier and of course watched the tape several times. He lined up on Anthony (Davis). They went head to head maybe 15 times and actually contacted each other seven times. And he did fairly well. So that was probably the best competition that he had even though they weren't the whole game up against each other.
Q: You guys are obviously comfortable with this pick. But is it tough to get comfortable with a guy who has such a limited body of major college work?
A: Of course you would like all guys to be fifth-year seniors or four-year starters and producers and all of that kind of stuff. But that is why you do the research. That is why we have the scouts and these guys that take a lot of pride in their job to make sure we get this thing right. And I take a lot of pride in what I do. And I wanted to make sure that we were totally comfortable with this guy.
Q: Is there athleticism or are the technical skills there right now?
A: No, when he learns how to really play, it is going to be "watch out." Because he does some things just naturally just playing - in your back yard just going. And when he really learns - when he gets his coaching and he keeps growing and developing like we think he will, he is going to be tremendous.
Q: Does this put a little pressure on your coaching staff - to get him where he needs to be?
A: How do you think I am going to answer that? Yes, of course. That is why you do it. With good teams you have to have that bond between the scouting staff and the coaches and that trust with one another with any player you take to hope that the kids do develop. They all are not ready made; they have to get better.
Q: How much did (George) Selvie, on the other side, how much did that benefit him?
A: We will talk about Selvie later. This kid is a great player. Selvie --- not much; not much. This kid helped Selvie.
Q: Then how do you know he won't - two years ago people were talking about Selvie kind of how there were talking about Jason PP now. How do you know he is not going to be another Selvie?
A: They are totally different players; totally different skill set; totally different athletic ability. The media was talking about Selvie - the guy had a tremendous sophomore year. He had 15 sacks or so. But his production has gone down and that is where you evaluate their skill set; their athletic ability; the height, weight, speed, the quickness, the strength, those things.
Q: There is a lot said about his ‘up side' and when you look at a guy a lot of times you have to weigh potential against what you think you can get out of him right away. How much did potential kind of outweigh what you can get right away in looking at this guy for long term?
A: If he was a bad player and we were just basing it on potential, then you don't make the pick. But this guy is a very, very good player; tremendous player, an impact player who we still see with tons of upside, probably the most upside in the draft. But it is not like we are saying, "Man, we are hoping." We see it. The guy does tremendous things on the field. And he is a good player that we are hoping still gets a lot better.
Q: How much more weight can he carry on that frame?
A: This guy can be 280 easy, easy. He has almost 35 inch arms, tall, long legs, easy.
Q: Did you give the recommendation for Coach to go see him personally?
A: Of course I set it up to recommend to him that we should go see this group at South Florida. They had other good players, too, that we needed to see. So it was a good trip.