Josh Norris

Draft Decisions

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Press Conference: NFC West

Thursday, May 11, 2017


How does a draft writer spend the first weeks after the big event? I’m not sure, but I have decided to watch ever press conference for every team after each day of the draft, so you don’t have to. The goal is to pick up tendencies, tells and specific reasoning for selections. Sometimes the coaches and general managers have a role in mind, and as I’ve learned, too often they do not.


As you can see, the notes are very rough. This is not transcribing, more so noting the important points involved in an entire thought.


NFC South Press Conference Notes



Arizona Cardinals


Speaking: Steve Keim and Bruce Arians in the same press conference


1 (13). LB Haason Reddick, Temple - A top 5 graded player for the team. “No way did I anticipate him being on the board at No. 13.” Dropped due to QBs going early… Flexibility he brings helps. High motor plus 4.46 guy. Destroyed opposition at Senior Bowl in one on one pass rush. Then he covered RBs one on one and didn’t allow a pass after “never doing it before.”... Play sub defense 65% versus 35% in base. Should find an immediate role in sub… Learning from Karlos Dansby will be huge. Plus pass rush toolbox… This draft in particular was difficult to forecast the top 12… Mike Jurecki asked about Reddick in the pre-draft presser… Reddick brings more flexibility than Reuben Foster… Reddick displayed “infectious personality” within one minute during Combine interview. One of 60 interviews. Visited the team… Checked every box along the way. Easy pick… Arians compared him to Von Miller. Unbelievable speed to turn the corner, plus stack linebacker ability. Hybrid player… “We are always looking for speed.”... Best player on the board, by far.


Received:

2017 second-round pick (No. 36)

Traded to Bears:

2017 second-round pick (No. 45)

2017 fourth-round pick (No. 119)

2017 sixth-round pick (No. 197)

2018 fourth-round pick


2 (36). S Budda Baker, Washington - Aggressive to go and get him. Coveted him from the very beginning. Jumped off the tape. Passion. Football character. Hybrid player who has the ability to play multiple positions… Brought up Tyrann Mathieu, noticed Budda is bigger and faster… Could barely get him off the phone because he wanted to know the whole playbook… Quarter system, likely will miss most of OTAs… The team ran the space needle and Budda was barking as his teammates to go faster after being the first finisher… Missed one game in three years… Doesn’t have the same ball skills as Mathieu… Wanted to target alpha males… Most dynamic secondary in the NFL… Cardinals are always looking for captains… Warranted first round potential


Received:

2017 third-round pick (No. 98)

2017 fourth-round pick (No. 115)

Traded to Panthers:

2017 third-round pick (No. 77)


3 (98). WR Chad Williams, Grambling - Was a target but felt they could trade down to get him. Cardinals are known for small schoolers in round three… First caught Keim’s eye versus Arizona… Big, fast and physical. Great week at the Senior Bowl. Has the potential you look for… Visited with him during draft week in Louisiana… Third round is Arians’ favorite… Team was looking for a bigger, more physical and fast receiver. Think he can jump in right away… Pick guys you like… “Wrong place wrong time type of deal” regarding legal trouble heading into 2016… Speed was not a bonus, it is the evaluation. "I don't like slow guys. I don't (care) how big you are. You have to be able to run behind people," Arians…


4 (115). G Dorian Johnson, Pitt - Rated him extremely high. Physical player. Excellent technician. Very smart… “Some days coach and I have liver issues but we are doing just fine,” Keim when asked about possible medical issue with Johnson. They believe he can manage it. Knows how to. Spoke with everyone… Thought he was one of the best interior guys in the class. Thought “no way” he’d be available in the fourth.


5 (157). OL Will Holden, Vanderbilt - Positional flexibility. Extremely smart. Really good feet and natural bend… Could get stronger. Understands to get by with whatever limitations they have… Understanding how to use their length…  


5 (179), RB T.J. Logan, UNC - Keim and Arians discussed selecting him since the Combine. Foot speed and explosiveness excited, but also what he can do in the offense in terms of catching the ball. Flair routes and ability to return kicks. Arians’ favorite day three draft in a long time.


Received:

2017 sixth-round pick (No. 208)

Traded to Raiders:

2017 sixth-round pick (No. 221)

2017 seventh-round pick (No. 231)


6 (208). S Rudy Ford, Auburn - Stuck out. Corner, safety and nickel. Plan is for him to play corner and press. Special teams. Necessary to go up and get him. Possible core special teamer… “I know he can play safety and slot” so let's try him at corner.


Los Angeles Rams


Speaking: Les Snead and Sean McVay in the same press conference


Received:

2017 second-round pick (No. 44)

2017 third-round pick (No. 91)

Traded to Bills:

2017 second-round pick (No. 37)

2017 fifth-round pick (No. 149)


2 (44). TE Gerald Everett, South Alabama - Five players after round one. Rank them one through five. Trading out (which happened) also a scenario. No plan to trade up into round one, best strategy is to stay put… Expected to trade down in round two… Always good to have depth at tight end. Adds to versatility. Still like Higbee. The three still complement each other well. Mentioned 13 personnel… Snead believes Everett was one of McVay’s favorite players in the draft, would’ve taken him at No. 37… Individual workout one week ahead of the draft. Senior Bowl helped… You see toughness without the football in terms of blocking… Yards after the catch threat. Discussed scenarios at No. 37 for 3.5 hours.


3 (69). WR Cooper Kupp, EWU - Private workout one week before the draft… Showed his best stuff against FBS teams. Senior Bowl helped. One of the Combine interviews. Spoke like a receivers coach. “Wired the right way” in terms of a plan at the line of scrimmage. Mentioned elite 3-cone and shuttle times, match up with top slot guys… Don’t want to exclusively say he is a slot, but that is likely where he best fits. Will move all of the guys around, so he will play some outside… Great feel, instincts and awareness… Yards after the catch threat


3 (91). S John Johnson, Boston College - Will focus on safety. Special teams coach really wanted him, view him as a core there… Body of work at every alignment…


Received:

2017 fourth-round pick (No. 117)

2017 sixth-round pick (No. 197)

Traded to Bears:

2017 fourth-round pick (No. 112)


4 (117). WR Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M - Great ball skills, big catch radius, one on ones at the Senior Bowl… Great ball skills in terms of consistency and reliability… Picking from Senior Bowl group was not intentional, but it is a great tool… One of the better players available and at a position of need…


Received:

2017 fourth-round pick (No. 125)

Traded to Jets:

2017 fourth-round pick (No. 141)

2017 sixth-round pick (No. 197)


4 (125). EDGE Samson Ebukam, EWU - Multiple players available that made sense at the pick, but they located the top need.


6 (189). DL Tanzel Smart, Tulane - “Who is this guy from Tulane?” after Senior Bowl work. Valuable tool…


6 (206). FB Sam Rogers, Virginia Tech - Passion he plays with… Can fit and press on angles out in space… Excited for his wheel routes. Brought them energy in round six.


7 (234). EDGE Ejuan Price, Pitt


San Francisco 49ers


Speaking: John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan in the same press conference for day one, C.J. Beathard and day three. Lynch alone for second round picks.


Received:

2017 first-round pick (No. 3)

2017 third-round pick (No. 67)

2017 fourth-round pick (No. 111)

2018 third-round pick

Traded to Bears:

2017 first-round pick (No. 2)


1 (3). EDGE/DL Solomon Thomas, Stanford - Board was just under 200 players. Drafted two of top three grades. Special football player. Disruptive. Versatility. Fits in with current group because he is different than what we have. Classmates with John Lynch… Had a conversation with Ryan Pace a week before the draft, since the two teams will be connected throughout the draft. Another call asking if teams had shown interest in No. 2, the answer was yes. One more call the day before the draft… Other trades were in play, that helped improve the deal… “I don’t put much into the pro day,” Kyle Shanahan. Went out to dinner with Solomon… A goal was to add more picks… Can play outside or inside.  


Received:

2017 first-round pick (No. 31)

Traded to Seahawks:

2017 second-round pick (No. 34)

2017 fourth-round pick (No. 111)


1 (31). LB Reuben Foster, Alabama - Sideline to sideline. Will hit anything that moves. Lynch’s kind of player. Contagious… Called everyone from teens to 31 in the hope of trading up for Foster… Very likely Foster would’ve been the pick if Solomon Thomas went No. 2… Exhaustive in gathering information. Brought him in for a visit. On the phone and Facetime.  Sent two staffers, including pastor, to visit with Reuben for two days. Tremendous visit.. This is the place where Reuben wanted to be… Genuine person. Smile that lights up the room… Tremendous athleticism at the position… Did not have intel that the Saints were going to take him… So many prospects to watch on Alabama, but eyes kept going to No. 10… Talked about the issue at the Combine, admitted it was a mistake… Some question his character, but his character is what drew the 49ers to him…  


3 (66). CB Ahkello Witherspoon, Colorado - Obviously had a need, but grew to like the player specifically… Gave it one more look with four evaluators the morning of the second day, this was the player they wanted if in position… Movement skills will allow for growth… Smart kid, apparent when he visited… Lynch got to know the head coach at Colorado…


Received:

2017 third-round pick (No. 104)

Traded to Vikings:

2017 fourth-round pick (No. 109)

2017 seventh-round pick (No. 219)


3 (104). QB C.J. Beathard, Iowa - Did not go into the draft saying “we have to get this guy at this position”... Saw Beathard battle through adversity. Shanahan does not look at the numbers. He “just turns on the tape and watches it.”... “You have to watch to make sure people get open, rhythm of the offense with protections and receivers, are guys separating and are they catching.”... Don’t look at it as he can compete to start, likely will be the third… Accuracy is “do they throw where they are trying to throw.” Is he hitting the right shoulder, is he hitting a guy in stride…


4 (121). RB Joe Williams, Utah - Got really comfortable with him. Better understanding of his story… Talent was undeniable. “When you hear ‘quit the team,’ then it is no, we don’t want him.” Then they started doing the research… Bobby Turner talked to him daily. College head coach said he did not quit the team. Had to step away due to mental and physical exhaustion… John Lynch called Joe the morning of the last day. Turned from no interest to someone they traded up to get… Kyle Shanahan brought the film from the dead… Speed, contact balance, ability to make all the cuts… We want every runner to have feature back ability… 20-yard shuttle are quicker, not necessarily faster…  


Received:

2017 fourth-round pick (No. 121)

Traded to Colts:

2017 fourth-round pick (No. 143)

2017 fifth-round pick (No. 161)


5 (146). TE George Kittle, Iowa - Grew very fond of him during the process. Great value for the pick… Some teams checked in on Vance McDonald, product of a new regime coming in.


Received:

2017 fifth-round pick (No. 177)

RB Kapri Bibbs

Traded to Broncos:

2018 fourth-round pick


5 (177). WR Trent Taylor, Louisiana Tech - Not concerned where the rest of the league had him. It matters if they are a fit for us. From the start, excited about his ability to separate in the slot… Come in all shapes and sizes… As good as anyone in the slot role in this draft. Ran angry with the ball in his hands.


6 (198). DT D.J. Jones, Ole Miss - Stout nose with 3-technique versatility.


6 (202). LB Pita Taumoepenu, Utah - Will play the LEO, speed rusher off the EDGE… Have to have a lot of pass rushers. Let the best man win…


Received:

2017 seventh-round pick (No. 229)

2018 second-round pick

Traded to Saints:

2017 third-round pick (No. 67)


7 (229). CB Adrian Colbert, Miami - Got hot on him in the few weeks before the draft. Likely a special teamer. Played corner as a graduate transfer. Fits the profile (long).


Seattle Seahawks


Speaking: Pete Carroll and John Schneider in the same press conference


Received:

2017 first-round pick (No. 31)

2017 third-round pick (No. 95)

2017 seventh-round pick (No. 249)

Traded to Falcons:

2017 first-round pick (No. 26)

…...

Received:

2017 second-round pick (No. 34)

2017 fourth-round pick (No. 111)

Traded to 49ers:

2017 first-round pick (No. 31)

……

Received:

2017 second-round pick (No. 35)

2017 sixth-round pick (No. 187)

Traded to Jaguars:

2017 second-round pick (No. 34)


Expected the first trade back, but not the second. “The player was still available” after the trade. Getting more picks was the goal “but not at the cost of getting a certain player.” Did not feel like they sacrificed. Several first round grades left after round one. Some people have a rule of not trading within the division... A few teams were in play when trading out of No. 26. Atlanta made the most sense… Cluster of players allowed them to drop down… Very little thought of moving up… VP of football administration met with other NFL front office members to create a new trade chart now that compensatory picks can be traded.


2 (35). DL Malik McDowell, Michigan State - The guy we were hoping to get… Flexibility. Has played all across the board from every alignment. “Bodes well for us.” Unique player. Young man who has a lot of growing to do. Upside. Good visit.… Inconsistencies. Close buddies left school a year earlier. Bange up, injured. He would even say he wants a few games back. We had those discussions with him on his visit… Been looking for a pass rushing 3-technique since we’ve been here… At his peak, Calais Campbell out of Miami… Clump of guys allowed them to keep moving back… “We feel we can reach him”


2 (26). C Ethan Pocic, LSU - Most flexible (position) offensive lineman in the draft. Really smart, intelligent, long, tall. Background is what they look for… “The one guy we were really sweating out. Felt like you are drafting 2.5 players and positions when selecting him. Thought up trading up.”... Did not meet with Tom Cable during the process. Wanted to hide their interest… We understand the importance of OL, “we’ve just made the decisions we felt were appropriate to manage our cap along the way.” That cap space went to defensive players… Not looking to replace Britt. Want to build with the nucleus they have… Asked themselves “where would George Fant have gone in this draft?”... Not a big year for offensive lineman. Why Ethan was so important…


3 (90). CB Shaquill Griffin, UCF - Fun kid. Really confident. Really fast. Tough. Our kind of DB… Special teams player… Really good motor. Can’t deny the speed. Terrific athlete. Outside CB… Good athlete and not afraid of anything… Ability to respond after losing the previous play stood out… Unique person. 14 visits to teams.


3 (95). S/LB Delano Hill, Michigan - We know he can play safety. Physical. In the framework of the style we like. Has also played slot/nickel… Looks like a hitter, so more of Kam’s style…


3 (102). DL Nazair Jones, UNC - Really fired up about this pick. Big 3-techniques to load up versus running game in the division. Line of scrimmage guy, early down player… Amazing story. Can play 5-technique as well. Really different than Malik… “We talk about guys who have overcome obstacles in their life.”


3 (106). WR Amara Darboh, Michigan - Young in football and looks like a professional wide receiver… Blue grit kid who has overcome. Real good route runner… Respectful and articulate. Has been through a ton… “We laid in the weeds a little bit on him.” Didn’t need to spend a lot of time on him… Parents/Sierre Leone… Coming from pro-style really helps. Can contribute on special teams.


4 (111). S Tedric Thompson, Colorado - Defensive back heavy draft. Stuck to the board… Phenomenal ball skills. Great feet. Coverage skills. Competitor. Really good range. Well rounded dude.


6 (187). S Michael Tyson, Cincinnati - Will play corner. Big tough aggressive. Played a lot of nickel for Cincy. Profile of what they look for. Projection to the outside, but that’s what we are going to try. Press corner. Always around the football… Feet and length made them feel like he could move to the outside.


6 (210). T Justin Senior, Miss State - Had a much better junior than senior year. Very good pass protector. Got heavy during senior year. Has tools, but needs to decide if he wants to be a player. Did not have a good Senior Bowl week. Potential wake up call. Pass pro scores were phenomenal.


7 (226). WR David Moore, East Central - We think he’s a stud. Size and speed. Can contribute on special teams. Visited.


7 (249). RB Chris Carson, Oklahoma State - A Pete Carroll pick. Physical, love the way he runs… Very similar formula to Thomas Rawls… Came into his own during the second half of the season… Has a story…  



Josh Norris is an NFL Draft Analyst for Rotoworld and contributed to the Rams scouting department during training camp of 2010 and the 2011 NFL Draft. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Josh Norris



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