||Owner Art Modell
||VP/Personnel Ozzie Newsome and Art Modell
||Director of College Scouting Phil Savage and Ozzie Newsome
click here to download the transcript (Word document)
Ozzie Newsome: About two months ago, Brian and I were in my
office, as we do most mornings, talking about our football team and talking
about the League in general. He was
talking about continuity and chemistry, which is very big for him, this year;
keeping our coaching staff intact. He
had a stat, as he normally does when he comes down to talk to me, that at that
point I think there were only five of the coaching staff that had remained the
same from 1999 going into the year 2000.
I think since then one of those stats have had a turnover. The reason why I am bringing that up is that
I don’t go out on the road a lot. I
think that the structure that we have with the scouts and how the information
is given back to me allows me the opportunity to stay here, hang out with Art
and do some pro work, and hang out with Mike Preston and make sure that he gets
all his quotes right. However, when I
went to the East/West Game and was walking out onto the field which is really
my exposure to a lot of the scouts around the country, in just over a year’s
time I could see a whole lot of turnovers that a lot of the scouting staffs
have gone through. The reason why I am
bringing this point up is that when you think of Ron Marciniak, Vince Newsome,
no relation, George Kokinis, Phil (Savage), Terry (McDonough) and I; we have
probably worked together for seven years.
We were all on the staff that Ernie Acorsi, Mike Lombardi and Bill
Bilicheck had and we were all basically trained in the very same manner. Also, we have had the ability to add some
quality people like James Harris and John Wooten, Eric DeCosta, T.J. McCreight,
Joe Hortiz, and Chad Alexander. Why
that is so important to me and I think the reason why we have had the success
thus far in the draft and the success that we can look forward to is because
there is a very openness during our meetings.
There is a very good interchange that goes about. The reason why is that we have been together
and have not had a lot of transitions. We don’t have to get involved in
re-training a lot of scouts (Art Perkins is another person we brought on). I think that is why we are able to get
started in December when we bring the scouts in and start to prepare ourselves
getting ready for the upcoming draft.
It is not as much as myself, it is the work that the scouts do out on
the road when they get started. To let
you know a little bit where we are, some of our scouts have already started to
work on the 2001 draft.
What I would like to do today is to take the opportunity to
talk about some of the players at the different positions. I’ll take a couple of positions, Brian will
take a couple of positions, and Phil will take a couple of positions. At that point, I will sum it up and talk
about the exact process of us getting prepared for next Saturday.
Ozzie Newsome: All right. I’ll take my positions.
I’ll take the running backs.
This is probably the first time that we faced a draft where we feel like
we want to upgrade the talent and the draft is yielding a lot of players in the
position that we are looking to upgrade.
When we look at the running back position, all of you know
about the Heisman Trophy winner, Ron Dayne, who a couple of weeks ago at his
workout was 250 pounds, ran 4.55. That
says a lot about a guy. Around the
league we have had some questions about him being able to maintain his
weight. He has been able to do that
according to Eric DeCosta, our scout that was there; he looked very impressive
from a physical standpoint.
Thomas Jones, running back from Virginia. An interesting thing about interviewing him
at the Combine, he’s a guy that in his junior and senior years in high school
ran for over 3000 yards. I thought that
was an incredible feat that he did.
Jamal Lewis, linebacker from Tennessee, a 3rd
year junior, who had a knee injury in 1998.
He was able to get back after 9 months and was able to start and play
for the University of Tennessee.
Shaun Alexander, a guy that I probably know most about
because he is at the University and Art always pays for a trip or two for me to
go down to Tuscaloosa to visit the campus and family, and everyone else down
J. R. Redmond, a player who had enough toughness that they
were going to play on the defensive side of the ball at safety.
(Kevin) Prentice, (Rueben) Droughns, Trung Canidate, who may
be one of the fastest guys in the draft today.
So, if we are looking, as we are, to upgrade the running
back, we think the first day in the draft will provide us the opportunity to do
At this time, I am going to turn it over to Brian who is
going to talk a little bit about quarterbacks and wide receivers.
Billick: To build on what Ozzie
was talking about, the real value of the 5th and 15th
pick provides us with multiple options without reading too much into the way we
present it or in what order. We are
real confident that whatever we yield in that 5th pick can be
complimented by the 15th, and we don’t have to stretch one way or
the other. Those two picks in combination
are as much a key as to what is represented by the value of those picks.
I will start with the quarterbacks. I am just going to go down so that no one
reads into anything as to the order that I put them in. I know you wouldn’t do that. I do have them in alphabetical order, but
the way I spell, I would probably mess it up so I am just going to use the list
that we have. I think it is Joel
Clearly, the top two quarterbacks, Chad Pennington and Chris
Redman are the ones that everyone is talking about. I think it is under particular scrutiny coming off a year where
we had a flood of quarterbacks last year.
I think the intriguing thing about these two young me; excellent visits
as Ozzie and I sat down over an extended period of time with these two young
men. Interestingly, both are coach’s
sons. Much like we talked about Brandon
Stokley last year, thee are two guys that have grown up at the dinner table
talking football every night of their lives; you can sense that about them. There is a great deal of maturity about
them, a good solid insight about the game.
They not only ran their offensives very well, they understood them; they
had a very inherent nature, and they are going to bring that into the NFL.
Chad Pennington had an excellent workout at the
Combine. He didn’t actually throw, but
he showed what his athleticism was about.
And the people that I know from my college days that have worked with
Chris Redman really feel like he is a quarterback that can have a chance to
establish himself in the National Football League.
After those two top names, it falls into a category where
beauty is going to be in the eyes of the beholder, and there is going to be
some value where it be in the 2nd round or all the way down to the 7th.
Tee Martin, with his athleticism, from Tennessee, does not
have a great deal of experience. However, all you have to do is watch him play
and realize that this guy is a winner, and will bring that dynamic with him
into the National Football League.
The young man from Hofstra, Carmazzi. Again, a very intelligent quarterback. Again , some of the parts for this young man
may not equal the whole. By that I mean
is that he is a fine athlete, good arm and good vision; however, his
productivity has exceeded the physical abilities that he has. Certainly, that is where you have to
Rattay from Louisiana Tech and Brady from Michigan. Again, good solid quarterbacks with solid
careers. You can weight and measure and
put the on a 40 time, and talk to these kids, but eventually you have to go
look at the film, and that is where you are really going to get a feel for what
a quarterback’s ability is. You can
clearly see it with these two men.
As you goes through those names, this is a year that I don’t
know if it will yield the numbers either in the high round or totally that you
have seen in the last year or two, but these are all guys that we would
certainly consider, particularly due to the fact that we are sitting here right
now very comfortable with our quarterback position. We have two quarterbacks under contract with Tony Banks and with
Trent Dilfer. I would like to get
Stoney Case back under contract, but we are sitting here today with only two
quarterbacks on the roster. That is clearly
something we want to address.
At receiver, all the talk is about Peter Warrick. Again, that is one that you can measure and
weigh and put on 40 time, and do this workout and that workout; however, all
you have to do is sit down and look at him play and the way he impacts the game
both as a return man and a receiver.
Every player, and he have a number of players that we have come through
at this late stage, that you visit with, you typically ask them who’s the best
player that you’ve every played against.
Anybody that has played Florida State, invariably you are going to hear
Peter Warrick’s name. He is that kind
of an impact player. Whether he will
fall or fly, we will find out.
Certainly, we know a great deal about him. We had him in the other day.
His impact is going to be felt immediately in the National Football
Plaxico Burress was an athlete that we had in and I got a
chance to meet him for the first time yesterday. I came away very impressed with him. You hear a lot about different
players. Clearly, he has the physical
abilities. He is going to be a dynamic
player in this league. What jumps out
at you about Plaxico, along with a number of these players, and it is a deep
draft at the receiver position, is that there are some young kids in this
draft. That is not to say that there is
immaturity. It does not comment on the
personality. They’re just young kids. A lot of juniors have come out. Plaxico is one, and I very much enjoyed our
conversation, particularly some of things that have been said about Plaxico
that you read, I found him to be a delightful young man. He is a young man and has a lot to learn, as
anybody at that age does. He is very
passionate for the game and is very excited about coming into the NFL.
The next one on the list, Travis Taylor. Another young man. He is a 3rd year junior, if I am not mistaken. The thing you are going to find with most of
the receiver corps here is that many of these kids, had they gone back for
their last year, that senior year, would have had that stamp of guarantee
placed on them having that extra year of visibility. With a lot of these kids, that year is going to take place in the
NFL. Whether that accelerates the next
year for them or not is open for debate.
When you have young players like Plaxico Burress and Travis Taylor come
in, the learning curve for them is going to be huge. The productivity that you get out of them the first year will
have a certain limitation to it, but they are both excellent young men; a class
individual in Travis Taylor and one that has all the physical abilities to do
Sylvester Morris is another young man with a very raw
talent, but he has the kind of size that everybody covets now, a certain speed,
great eye-hand coordination. Again, the
thing that jumped out at me at the Combine from the receiver position was just
watching the heights and weights go by, was how physically big this group of
receivers is. Virtually before, they
were 6 feet or above. If you heard of a
guy come across at 5’10” or 5’11”, he was somewhat the aberration. This was a huge group in terms of the
physical size, which I think is indicative of the way the league is going, and
he certainly fits that coming out a smaller school like Jackson State.
Dez White is a proven player out of Georgia Tech. He is very intelligent and again, has good
Then there is Jerry Porter, an unknown commodity from West
Virginia. Maybe the best pure athlete
given speed, size, athleticism; but somewhat of an unproven commodity having
caught only 15 balls at West Virginia last year.
Phil Savage: This year, there are basically two tight
ends at the top of most everyone’s draft boards.
Bubba Franks from Miami is a junior that declared for the
draft. He is another player who would
have probably benefited from going back for another season; however, he opted
to come out. You are going to hear a
lot about his workouts; poor 40 times, etc. in the 4.9 range. He is a very good athlete. He has the size and the frame to be a
legitimate force in the NFL as a tight end.
I am sure that he is going to go somewhere in the first round.
The next tight end is Anthony Becht from West Virginia. He is close to 6’5” about 270 pounds. Runs well, not great, but runs good enough. He is a very good blocker in terms of his
size and strength. It is really tough
in this day and age to find tight ends who are not linebackers and defensive
linemen around. They are just not out
there. Coach brought up a good point
the other day when we were discussing tight ends and the wide outs, that every
year you are going to get the opportunity to get a wide out basically in any
round of the draft. That is just not
the case at tight ends.
Those are the two tight ends. Then it falls off. There
are 31 teams in the league and everybody plays with the tight end for the most
There are a couple of other guys that you can keep an eye
on; Erron Kinney from Florida is a developmental tight end who played in a
system that, believe it or not, at Florida where a tight end is not part of
their passing attack. They have
concentrated more with their three wide receivers.
Another player is Dave Stachelski from Boise State who
played in the East/West Game. He had a
good showing. I think you will probably
see him go somewhere in the mid rounds.
Another tight end, I will just throw a name out at you,
would be John Jones from Indiana of Pennsylvania. He is a player who has some character issues in his
background. He transferred from
Pitt. He has good size. He ran extremely well at the Combine. He catches the ball. I think you will probably see him go
somewhere, most likely on the second day of the draft.
The offensive line is really a group headed up by the
tackles this year. Chris Samuels, as
many of you know, is kind of an earmark by the Redskins as being one of their
choices ahead of us. He is from
Alabama, a four year starter. Chris is
a player who I watched for a long time.
He and I being from the same hometown, I have known about him for a long
time. He is a player who has gotten
better each year. I think this year he
improved from spring practice to the early games of the fall through the
remainder of the year. You are going to
hear comments about his knee condition.
He did miss his last game against Michigan. He did not play in the Senior Bowl. He did not work out at the Combine. He has since come back and worked out at Tuscaloosa. He is a player who is a left tackle. He could play guard if needed to do that for
a team. He is very athletic and
certainly a player who will be a starting left tackle for someone in the
A couple of other offensive linemen to be mentioned will be
Stockar McDougle. He is a big, giant
athlete, a junior college transfer. He
spent a year-and-a-half as a starter at Oklahoma. Interestingly enough, they changed coaches this year to Bob
Stoops who came from Florida. So he was
in a traditional offense as a junior, a passing-oriented offensive as a
senior. Athletically he has all the
gifts. Early in his career he is going
to struggle some because he is just not polished enough to come in and play
immediately; however, there is a big up side ahead for him. He is probably a right tackle, but a good
enough of an athlete to play on the left side.
The other offensive tackle I would mention would be Chris
McIntosh from Wisconsin. We brought him
in last week. Chris is a 50-game
starter at Wisconsin; a two-time captain.
He is a true All-American type of person and leader. I think you will see him go somewhere in the
middle part of the first round.
The guards. Again,
the guards and wide receivers are a dime a dozen in most every draft. You can take a guard basically in any
round. Maybe this year, with the
exception of the first round. There may
not be a first round guard in this group.
Three of the names listed here would be Cosey Coleman, a
junior from Tennessee. He is a size
guard with the ability to get movement at the point of attack. Probably not a player that you are going to
see do a lot of pulling, but certainly capable of doing that.
Another guard would be Travis Claridge from Southern
California. He is another player like a
Chris McIntosh who started every game in his career. He played tackle this year which is a benefit to him because most
teams are projecting him inside the guard, and he does have some ability to
play in space.
A couple of small school linemen to keep an eye on would be
Michael Thompson from Tennessee State.
He is a left tackle at TSU. A
very good athlete with some upside potential as a pure left tackle. There is also Leander Jordan, another player
from a small school (Indiana of Pennsylvania).
He played in the Senior Bowl. I
think you will find that most of the league is split down the middle. Some think he has a lot of possibility. Others have put him down the draft
board. It will be interesting to see
where he goes in the draft.
Centers. This year
John St. Clair from Virginia is probably head and shoulders above the rest of
the group. He is a big player in the
middle of the Virginia offensive. Not
necessarily the greatest athlete, but in a system that requires zone blocking
and not a lot of movement in the interior line.
Newsome: Moving to the defense
with the linebackers. Probably the most
fun guy to watch on tape this year has been Lavar Arrington. You are talking about a young man that has
shown the ability to take over college football games. He is a very fun guy to watch. I am in here since Cleveland. If they are given a choice or Warrick,
Courtney Brown, and Lavar Arrington, they can’t miss. They cannot miss with either of those guys.
We got Brian Urlacher out of the University of New Mexico, a
guy that has played safety, has played linebacker, has played tight end. He has played wide receiver. He did everything at the Combine and did
everything very well.
You got Rob Morris, an inside linebacker from BYU who is a
throwback to the Nitschke and Butkus days, but not that good. I am not going to put that type of image on
that kid. You got Keith Bulluck and
Julian Peterson from Michigan State.
A middle linebacker that we have a little bit of a feel for
is Ian Gold from Michigan and Jeff Ulbrich, inside linebacker from Hawaii.
Those are some of the guys you can watch the first day of
the draft that we think will be taken by either us or some other teams.
In the secondary, a kid that came out of Maryland this year,
Lewis Sanders, has had a very good spring working out. He can run, shows ability to come up and tackle. He can play safety as well as corner. It is going to be interesting to think that
his best football is ahead of him.
Ahmed Plummer, a kid we watching with all of the Ohio State
players last year. We got a chance to
watch that kid.
At the safety position, Deon Grant from Tennessee that had
between 7 and 10 interceptions. He is
really a ball hog back there.
There is an interesting little safety out of Minnesota, Tyrone Carter. This gut is probably 5’8”. Probably 200
pounds. In the Minnesota/Wisconsin
game, he was in on 20 tackles. I am
sure he was very sore after that game.
But is shows the type of toughness that this kid has.
Phil Savage: Defensive line. The top rated defensive tackle is probably
Corey Simon from Florida State. You
talk about a class person. At least in
my estimation he and Thomas Jones would be the two classiest players in the
draft. He visited the complex the other
day. He is a very good talent. There are some concerns that he has had a
shoulder injury or two in the past, but has not had a problem the last 2 1/2
years. He vertical jumped 41 inches at
his personal workout several weeks ago.
He ran a 4.8. Basically, he
almost ran as fast as Warrick did on the same surface.
Other defensive linemen would be Cornelius Griffin from
Alabama. Another player who came from
junior college. He has played the last
two years at Alabama. People feel that
there is an up side to him in the interior.
A couple of defensive ends.
Obviously, Courtney Brown is going to go in the top two or three picks
of the draft. A rare, rare size and
speed athletic combination in this position in terms of his position in terms
of his sheer athletic numbers. He is
one of the best that has come out in a long time. His playing strength has improved. He is not a finished product yet, but he should be a tremendous
player in the future.
John Engelberger from Virginia Tech played in the National
Championship Game down there. He is a
former walk-on who has worked himself into a basically All-American type
status. I think you will see that he
will go somewhere in the first round.
The last end I will talk about is Shaun Ellis from
Tennessee. He is another player who
fits the profile as an NFL defensive end.
He has the size, the height, the weight, and the speed. There are some concerns as he had a car
wreck a few years ago and still has some problems at times with his durability
and weightlifting off-season wise with certain lifts. So that is a concern with him.
Those would be the top defensive linemen this year.
The kickers and punters.
You have heard a lot of talk about Sebastian Janikowski from Florida
State. The Polish power keg. I saw three of their games this year. He has tremendous leg strength. I would say that probably half of his
kickoffs did go into the endzone.
Probably of the half that went into the endzone, or a quarter of those
went through the uprights at the stadiums that they were playing in this fall. He has tremendous range. He is a threat. I came back and told Ozzie that this guy is a legitimate weapon
because once you get somewhere around the logo you have a chance from the 50
yard line. He is an interesting
player. There are obviously some
concerns about his Green Card and the Visa situations. He is from Poland. If all of those things can be cleared up, then obviously he is
somebody that would be of interest to most of the teams in the league.
The top rated punter is Shane Lechler from Texas
A&M. Shane is a two-step
punter. Outstanding mechanics. He is a former high school quarterback. He is an athlete, just not a person who is a
punter. He is very tough. Good football mentality. I think you will see him go somewhere in the
middle rounds of the draft.
Ozzie Newsome: Just a couple of extra points…. The first being two things that we have to
factor in in the draft room. Number 1
is the 20 hour rule. In college, they
can only have 20 hours of supervised football players. Therefore, most of that time is taken up out
on the field. They cannot really
supervise the guys when they go into the weight room. When you get into the season, they cannot spend a whole lot of
time on fundamentals. Everything is
basically schemes. So, a lot of the
players that we are dealing with are
not only junior when they come out but players that have not had a chance to
develop from a fundamental standpoint.
The other factor is junior college.
Because of Prop 48, a lot of players that come into the draft now only
have one strength at a major college football.
So, you have to factor that in as to where that player is going to be
once he gets in on our level. From our
standpoint, the guys can be there from 7:30 or 8 o’clock in the morning and
they don’t leave until 8 o’clock at night.
The 20 hour rule would be over in two days. There is a lot of room for players to come in on our level and
get better, especially the junior college players. The junior college programs are as good as they can be, but are
not very good as compared to a major college program. We are dealing with a lot of players from JUCO.
The other factor I would like to mention is that there has
been a lot of talk of us trading back, drafting. Nothing is finalized at this
point. We have had calls for us to move
back from 5 to anywhere between 6 and 20.
We have also had calls from people asking us if we are willing to move
from 15 back into the top 10. So, there
are several things cooking. Nothing
that is concrete. Right now, we are in
the 4th session of meetings with the scouts. Hopefully, we can finish up by noon tomorrow
because I do have a meeting with ownership tomorrow afternoon; I think we will
be done. Next week, we will bring
everybody back in. Some guys will stay
through the weekend and we will finalize our board. Our board is not final at this time. We will have coaches that are out on the road as of today working
players out. With that Kevin, I will
open it up.