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Linehan & Devaney Pre-Draft Press Conference
Head Coach Scott Linehan & Executive Vice President of Player Personnel
Billy Devaney Pre-Draft Press Conference
April 24, 2008
(On if there have been any trade talks with other teams)
Billy Devaney: Actually, there hasn’t been a whole lot going on today.
We’re very indicative of what 31 other teams are doing. This is kind of
the last ‘work’ day. Friday, the day before the draft, everybody gets
away and gathers their thoughts. There’s not a whole lot happening the
day before. That’s what we’re doing right now – finishing the process
that started a long time ago. I feel very strongly that it’s been a
complete and thorough process. We’re getting to the critical point.
We’re not quite there yet, but we’re close. I would expect in the next
48 hours that we’ll get to that point.
(On when the team actually decides on who the pick will be)
BD: I think kind of the way we left it is ‘get away from it tomorrow.’
Everybody’s just going to be on there own. I don’t even know if we’ll
come in tomorrow quite frankly. We’ll put all our thoughts together,
everything we’ve been talking about, for what seems like forever now and
probably talk about it late tomorrow night sometime and see where we’re
(On how a consensus is achieved when choosing the pick)
Scott Linehan: Well, I don’t think anybody’s really any different. I’ve
been in, this will be the fourth different setup, but generally the
board’s stacked. It’s set. There are a lot of things that happen. My
first year as a head coach here we traded our pick. We were pretty
prepared regardless of whether we could or couldn’t. We were going to
pick a player and then with about four minutes to go when we were on the
clock there was a trade made. We’re just ready for those scenarios. I
think right now it’s pretty much you just kind of count where you are in
the draft and you know what pool you’re probably going to be picking
from and we’ve pretty much decided that if nothing were to change we’ve
got a game plan.
(On if the team will pick based on the draft board in the first round)
BD: That depends. The way it’s shaping up, and we’re not kidding
anybody, this process started a long time ago and there are thousands of
names going back to September and through the course of the year you
whittle that down and eliminate people and you meet and you start
stacking people into rounds and then start narrowing that down and who
fits your needs and hopefully you get to the point that you have a
couple of players that are graded close enough that you can take a
specific player that fills a need. I think we’ve been fortunate, and you
know the players involved that we’ve been talking about, I think that’s
definitely the case. They are high rated players, they’re all lumped
together, they’re very close, and at the end of the day or at the end of
the night tomorrow night we just have to come to a conclusion which guy
fits for us.
(On if the three players that the media thinks that the Rams are
interested in are closely rated)
DB: Absolutely. That’s why we’re still talking about them. If there was
a gap between one guy and the other two then he would have been
eliminated already. That’s why all three are right there clumped
(On if the decision is still based on a consensus opinion)
DB: That’s how we’re going to arrive at the pick. Absolutely.
SL: You guys know how it has worked here and it’s always been a team
effort. I think the great thing about how we involve everyone in the
whole picture when you start going with the scout as well and the
coaches and everybody that has done all this hard work up until now, all
the real hard work has been put in and I think the draft is the fun part
for all of us. Obviously that is where you see the work executed. I
think the fun part about it is the scenarios that can happen and I think
the Rams have been as active in being on the phones as anyone. We’ll
listen to anybody about anything. The bad thing is that we end up with
really great draft picks this year, but the great thing about it is that
we have great choices and they’re going to be outstanding football
players for us for the years to come. I think the momentum of all of our
goals for next year can really get jump started with a great draft and
we really feel comfortable with obviously not trading this pick at No.
2, and No. 33 and so on.
(On if the team is actively looking for trade offers for the first-round
No. Like we said, it sounds like a broken record, but any of those three
guys that we have been zeroing in on we’d be thrilled and it would take
something really exciting to get us off of that. We’re not being active
looking to trade out of there. If something presents itself and we think
it makes us a better team and we have good options to move back then we
would think about it, but right now we’re excited about those three
(On if the team is allowed to negotiated with potential selections since
Miami signed Jake Long as the No. 1 selection)
SL: No, that has been decided. Basically we’re on the clock and we’re
No. 2 and there are no negotiations or anything at all.
(On if the team is comfortable with the medical status of LSU DT Glenn
BD: We cross-check with other teams. We had Dorsey in about a week ago
and we had him checked one last time. We were at his pro day and we met
with three or four trainers and doctors down in Baton Rouge and they
presented all these tests that had been performed by a variety of
experts around the country. We’ve exhausted everything and the guy
played every game last year. We’ve completely signed off that he’s
healthy and it’s not a concern.
(On what the team likes about Dorsey, Virginia DE Chris Long and Ohio
State DE Vernon Gholston)
SL: They’re all great players. Honestly, I don’t mean to generalize too
much, but they’re all very effective at the positions they play and are
a handful for the opposing team to block whether it’s Dorsey at tackle
or the other guys at end. You can’t go wrong with any of them.
BD: That’s why we’re still talking about them. There are strengths and
weaknesses to each. Character-wise, and this is what makes it great,
they are off the chart in a positive way, all three of those guys. You
can’t go wrong character-wise. As players, all three of them bring
different things to the table. We’re trying to figure out just which
fits best with what we’re looking for at this point. Like Scott said, we
feel like we can’t go wrong. We’re going to get a great player and a
great guy that is great for our organization.
(On if the team would have made a decision on a pick already if they had
been able to negotiate with potential selections)
BD: No. It kind of makes it academic that we were told that we couldn’t
because we’re not even at that point. We wouldn’t have been near
starting negotiations, because, like I said, we haven’t figured out
which way we’re going yet.
(On where DL Adam Carriker will line up for the majority of plays next
SL: His versatility probably creates some confusion for the whole
process. Adam is a great football player. For him to from playing
college defensive end to playing nose guard last year, and playing very
well, says pretty much all that you need to say about Adam. Adam, across
the line, can play really good defense for us. I don’t know that nose is
his natural position, but he played very well for us and our run defense
really did show great improvement from the year before, because he
really added to what we were missing on the inside. The guy was an
all-American defensive end so he could play out there and we wouldn’t
have any problem with him playing some end as well. I think you’re going
to see him playing across the board. I think tackle is really his best
position, but there’s no reason he can’t play anywhere on our line to be
honest with you.
(On if Linehan likes not having to worry about as many scenarios because
the team is picking high in the draft)
SL: It makes it a lot easier. We can count to two and now we’re just
counting to one. It gives us a lot of time to discuss the pluses and
minuses of the guys we’re looking at now.
(On if there are groups of people advocating for different players as
the team’s selection)
BD: No. I think what’s made it really enjoyable is that there are
personalities here, but at the end of the day people state and make
their evaluation, but they always end it with ‘whatever you guys think
is the best player that helps us the most I’m comfortable with that.’
That’s not always the case in places that I’ve been. It does make it
difficult and that’s not the case here – be in scouts, position coaches,
coordinators or what have you. Of course there are going to be
differences in the way people see players but since we started this it’s
always been at the end of the day whatever you think is best just get
the best player.
(On what happens if there is a difference opinion among the decision
DB: I’ll give an example. Obviously so much speculation is spent on the
first round pick, but we’ve been spending a lot of time and having
differences about fourth and fifth round guys also. I got with the
scouts yesterday and we said there are two guys that we are kind of off
on – and we’re talking about maybe fourth round guys. I said, ‘the
coaches see it this way let’s go back and look at these guys again.’ We
divided up into groups so it was more objective and we met at the end of
the day and quite honestly we said ‘We can see what they’re saying. For
these reasons we can alter it. If it came down to these two then we
should go with the way the coaches had them ranked.’
(On if those discussions are limited to players that are ranked very
close to each other)
BD: Ideally you stick to the board. In this case there was a sizeable
gap, but there was a difference of opinion. That’s why for the most part
we’ve been in agreement. There haven’t been many of those discussions
where we’ve said we better go back and lot at this player because we’re
way off on this guy. There have been one or two guys where there have
been a sizeable gap and we’ve had to go back and redo.
(On if having Jake Long off the board has helped in the decision making
process or if there is still confusion)
SL: I wouldn’t call it confusion. That’s just how the draft works. I
think being at 11 or 15, that’s a problem because you don’t know which
guys are going to come up. Wouldn’t you love to know that whoever you’re
picking is going to be a great player. I’m not sure you can say that
about mid-round guys. And I’m sure there have been top-round draft picks
that haven’t panned out based on expectations. I think this is kind of
an unusual year, because like Billy said, these guys carry the traits
that we’re looking for regardless of the position. Then they bring that
intangible factor in there and you say ‘this is really what we need.’ To
be honest with you, there’s no downside with whoever we pick.
(On if some players have been removed from the draft board due to
BD: It’s more than four. I promise.
(On if Arkansas RB Darren McFadden is also a possible selection at No.
BD: We’ve talked about McFadden as part of one of the hundreds of
scenarios that we’ve laid out if certain things happened. Is he a
candidate if we stay at two, if we go back to five or seven and he’s
still there? That’s all I can tell you. He’s been talked about and he’s
still very highly rated on our board.
(On if the later starting time to the draft on Saturday gives the team
more time to discuss trade options)
BD: It means you can go for a longer run in the morning and not worry
about getting back for the draft.
(On if defensive philosophy dictates who is selected)
SL: I can answer that really easily. Obviously the tackle fits 4-3 as a
three-technique. He’s a great player there. And the other two guys are
defensive ends in our mind. I’m sure they could play in a 3-4, both
kids, and I’m sure Dorsey could be a heck of a nose guard in a 3-4 or a
five-technique. You could make that assessment if you were a 3-4 team.
In our case, all three of them fit our defense. That actually probably
adds to why they’re all still in the mix.
(On if there is any interest in trading some of the team’s picks away
for future draft picks)
BD: No, not for futures. We want players now. They’re right towards the
top in every round and we expect a good player to be there in the second
round. The third-round pick is the start of the second day now and as a
rule after the first day of the draft teams go back and look at their
boards and they start looking and there are some guys on the board where
they say ‘this our last chance to get a tackle’ or ‘this is our last
chance to get a receiver’ so guys kind of get pushed up. We’ll get a lot
of phone calls for that third-round pick just for that reason.
(On how deep this draft is as far as players picked in the third and
fourth rounds that could be starters)
SL: Some of those guys could be starters and some of them are a ways
away. It just kind of depends on the position.
BD: I’m pointing the finger at personnel people. I hear ‘Our first-round
pick has to come in and start. Our second-round pick, we want starters.’
It’s hard to start in this league when you’re a rookie. First-round
guys, wherever you’re drafted, this is hard. To say that in the fourth
or fifth round realistically that you’re going to come away with a
starter is really stretching it. If you get your first-round pick on the
field and he’s starting that’s great. If you get your second-round pick
and he’s starting you’re doing pretty good.
(On if the team is looking for a quarterback in this draft and when they
may draft one)
SL: Yeah, and maybe it’s just because of my background, but it’s really
something that you’d like to do. We’re very comfortable with our
quarterback situation. Getting a young guy that you could develop is
always part of it. It’s really difficult though because there’s less of
them than there are of others. Regardless of whether we drafted one or
signed a free agent that could be competing with Brock (Berlin), that
would be fine too. I would be fine with either scenario. I’ve always got
my eye on some guys personally and we’ve got some really good
quarterback evaluations within our staff and personnel department. We
were just talking about maybe we need to go hit the arena league circuit
and drum up another Kurt Warner somewhere. You never know.
Re: Linehan & Devaney Pre-Draft Press Conference
They obviously know that Carriker was best where he was selected to play for the majority of the season, where Dorsey will play in the NFL. I think this will make the Rams think twice about getting him, Carriker can play along the line, but is best where he was appointed to last season.
Character, I say Chris Long. I have seen interviews with Chris Long a the past few days, and his character impresses me all the time.
In the end, it will be a tough decision. Only saturday will tell...
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