Q: What were you thinking as he dropped and dropped?
A: I really didn’t think there was a chance we were going to get him. He was one of those where at the end of the [first] night you’re saying he’s going to be one of the first few guys taken in the top of the [second] round. Very surprising that he was still there. Just keep holding your breath, holding your breath. Nah, somebody will pick him. Until you start seeing some of these other receivers go. Alright there’s a chance and he was there.
Q: Do you think the quarterback play of LSU hurt him?
A: Definitely. The way LSU plays, they run the ball, they play defense and those two quarterbacks, to be quite honest, are not very good. So he didn’t get a lot of chances. When the ball came to him he was productive, but he just didn’t get a ton of chances to win games, to catch, but when they went his way he made plays.
Q: So how do you evaluate him?
A: There was enough to see his skill set and see his physical tools. Then you go from there. You see the practice, combine stuff.
Q: Did you think about trading up?
A: No, because we still had a group of guys that we liked that were still there. We don’t panic. We were hoping. He was definitely the highest guy that we had on the board, by far, and we were hoping, but definitely not thinking about trading up to get him.
Q: Did you have a first-round grade him?
A: Yeah, he was in our stack there. Actually we talked about him a little bit yesterday at our pick. So he was in the discussion yesterday.
Q: What is it about his skill set that specifically impressed you?
A: Reuben is an NFL-ready receiver. I think with receivers a lot of it gets overblown with 40 times and speed and this and that. You need guys that are NFL-ready and what I mean by that is this guy is strong, he can catch the ball, he’s a good route runner and he’s position savvy – he knows how to get open. To me those are the successful receivers in the NFL. I think our guys who we have now – Hakeem and Victor – if you put them at the combine you won’t notice them, but you put them on the football field and they just take their game to another level and this is how Rueben is in our eyes.
Q: How can you measure that?
A: Again, you can study the physical skill set, the speed, the strength, the quickness, the change of direction, his body control. You look at him running down the field wide open and then not being able to get the ball to him. But you just look at his individual gifts as a player, his physical gifts.
Q: Where do you see him fitting in?
A: That’s up to coach Gilbride and coach Coughlin. We just provide the players and then they coach them up.
Q: Rueben was the ninth receiver selected. Where did you have him on the receiver list?
A: He wasn’t ninth. He wasn’t ninth.
Q: Was he four or five?
A: That was so long ago I can’t even recall exactly, but he was up there.
Q: Former quarterback, does that help those guys?
A: Yeah and he plays that way. When they see the field and then they go to another position they have a great understanding for what’s going on. He fits into that mold.
Q: His games against Alabama – five catches, 32 yards.
A: Did you watch the National Championship game? The quarterbacks couldn’t even get from under center and get the ball off. Of course you’re not going to be able to get it down field. Just watch that game. It was impossible for them to run the ball, throw the ball, do anything. He just got smothered. There’s nothing the receiver can do if everything else isn’t going his way. He’s pretty much a byproduct of everything that’s going on.
Q: Can you get a feel for how quickly he can contribute?
A: Yeah, but I think his game will transfer well up here because of the way he plays. He plays like an NFL receiver – big, strong, physical, catch the ball – as opposed to a raw guy who needs a lot of development on routes and techniques or drops a lot of balls – needs to work on his hands. This guy pretty much has a skill set that fits in, will transfer pretty quickly.
Q: What have you done for your offense?
A: Hopefully made us better, more explosive. We just brought in two good football players, both of whom we really like. So hopefully we got better doing that.
Q: Does he have experience with Eli at the passing academies?
A: I’m not sure. I would think he would, being down there, but I’m not sure whether he has or not.