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Draft Transcript: Dave Caldwell

Posted May 10, 2014

Quotes from Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell after the team concluded the 2014 NFL Draft.

(Opening statement) “We ended the day with six offensive players and three defensive players. The priority was, as we said all along, was to get playmakers on both offense and defense. We feel like we’ve done that. We feel like we’ve upgraded team speed, but we’ve upgraded with nine guys that fit what we’re looking from a cultural standpoint, in terms of passion for football, competitiveness, toughness and overall passion for the game. We feel good. Some of you guys commented on the draft class last year about the profile of some of those guys, (Johnathan) Cyprien, D-Rob (Denard Robinson), Luke (Joeckel), Ace (Sanders), (Dwayne) Gratz, just in terms of how they act and their passion for football. I think you’re going to see a lot of the same things from this draft class, too. Those are the things we feel most proud about and at the end of today, we’re a better football team.”

(On if he knew the team would draft offense-heavy) “Yeah, it was a priority. As Vito so eloquently put that we didn’t do anything last year on the offense, we felt like it was something that we had to address this year, thanks to Vito. We decided to go offense heavily this year and obviously when you take a quarterback with the first pick, you want to give him an opportunity to succeed in the future. We got some guys that can grow together, now.”

(On if Storm Johnson’s relationship with Blake Bortles made him more of a target) “Yes, it does. We actually consulted Blake about the drafting of Storm. He spoke highly of him. Storm is a very hard worker, tough kid. He runs the ball very well. We need to make sure he holds on to the ball. Other than that, Blake was excited about having him as a teammate. That was good. We’ve seen a lot of him. Every time we watched Blake, we saw Storm, too. There was a point in time during the season when I was watching Blake and Storm, before he declared, we didn’t even have any information on him; we had to look him up because he was making some plays with the ball in his hands.”

(On if he can be an every-down back) “He can play all three downs, yes.”

(On where he ranks on the depth chart) “We have Toby (Gerhart) and Storm that are kind of similar in terms of their run style; you have Jordan (Todman) and D-Rob (Denard Robinson) that are outside-zone runners.”

(On taking the long-term approach in this draft) “That was a tough balancing act. Outside of quarterback, we didn’t really think too long-term on it. I think (Aaron) Colvin is one that fits, but we can see Aaron play this year. A lot of rookie corners have a problem coming in and playing right away anyways, but he’s got a chance to come in and get healthy and at the end of the season, there’s a chance he could play for us.”

(On if upgrading the defense’s speed was a need for this draft) “Absolutely, yeah. All of those guys we got run very well; all sub-4.7 guys. Aaron never ran because he was injured, but we feel he played to that level.”

(On if Storm Johnson was in attendance at the combine) “He was.”

(On if the players selected on day three were the plan heading into today) “Probably not. They were in all of the scenarios, but I don’t know if that’s who we had planned, but we missed out on one or two, but feel good about the ones we got.”

(On Michael Sam) “I think it becomes a system fit for a team, in terms of what he does on the field. Each team is different; they all run different defenses. I think his game fits a particular style of defense. I can’t say one way or another if I’m surprised or not surprised.”

(On if he fits the Jaguars defensive style) “He wasn’t a great system fit for us, in terms of what we do defensively. I think 3-4 teams, the outside linebacker-type, with his size and skillset, he may be a better fit (in a 3-4).”

(On where he would fit in) “I don’t know if we have a whole lot of room for defensive ends right now. I think we’re booked up on defensive ends; we need to look more for the interior guys.”

(On if you would be surprised if teams passed on him because of his orientation) “I would be surprised. This day and age, I don’t think it’s an issue. Talking to a lot of general managers, it’s not an issue. It shouldn’t be an issue. It shouldn’t even be in the discussion. It’s never been. My whole time in the league, it’s never happened.”

(On the needs for undrafted rookies this year) “We have to fill specific positions. We have a list of what we want to bring in to camp. By position, (we have) 11 wide receivers, five running backs, we have to fill spots with whatever gets us to 90.”

(On if that will be wrapped up tonight) “Yes, for sure.”

(On if one of those undrafted free agents will be a quarterback) “We’ll see. We would like to, but if we don’t, it’s not a major priority. Blake (Bortles) is going to get a lot of reps this weekend.”

(On if Matt Scott is allowed to compete in the rookie camp) “He could, yeah. We haven’t decided that, yet.”

(On the current roster size) “79.”

(On if you sign any more than 11, you would be forced to cut somebody) “That’s right.”

(On the direction of the league based on this draft) “If Adrian Peterson was coming out this year, he would be in the top 50. It’s kind of where the talent is and what teams value. It has to do with the player and it has to do with the system.”

(On if a running back could still be a top-ten pick) “It has to be the right team, too, but there are teams that have a specific need. But if you can get a dynamic player that high in the draft, you should probably take him.”

(On if Blake Bortles will be more comfortable having Storm Johnson here) “I think it will make Storm more comfortable having Blake. Blake, he’s a leader and he can direct back there in the backfield, so I think there will be a comfort level there.”

(On if it hurts to know you missed on a guy) “Obviously, we’re very competitive, we want to hit on guys all the time. We want to hit on every single pick. You look back and wonder why you didn’t hit on him. We’re not going to be right all the time, unfortunately, but we strive to be right all the time.”

(On if any of the scouts said, “You really need to take another look at this guy”) “Yeah, (Luke) Bowanko. He’s a guy that our scouts did a great job of digging out. We had great grades on him and brought him in for a visit. He’s a good kid. He fits what we want to do offensively in terms of the zone-running game. He’s a guy that our scouts dug up pretty well. As for the other guys, there was a lot of consensus on most of them.”

“Last year we were going in with an older running back, Justin (Blackmon), we didn’t know what his situation was going to be, Cecil (Shorts III) was really our only playmaker on the perimeter, Marcedes (Lewis) is a very good player, but is more of a blocking tight end with some pass-catching skills, but other than that, we didn’t have a lot there to help out our offense. On top of that, you look at our offensive line; our whole left side of the offensive line is going to be new this year. Our right guard is going to be new. The only constant is our right tackle. I consider Luke (Joeckel) to be a new player, because he only played five games, and only a quarter at left tackle. We’re encouraged by the direction it’s going and what we have there.”

(On the plan going into the draft) “We kind of had an idea that we would go offense in the draft and that’s why we wanted to make a point of signing defensive players in free agency, so it wouldn’t limit us on the offensive side of the ball. We wouldn’t have been able to take two wide receivers in the second and third round if we hadn’t done what we did in free agency.”

(On the team’s running backs) “We feel really good about Toby (Gerhart), who we signed. D-Rob (Denard Robinson) has really come along. I think you’ll really see a difference in the way he performs out on the field, especially from what I’ve seen out there on the practice field. Jordan Todman showed last year in the Buffalo game that he can handle the load. It’s a physical game, and we need a lot of running backs, but if we needed to go into a game with those three running backs, we would’ve been alright.”

(On how far ahead they are on next year’s draft research) “We have a pretty good idea. We have already targeted most of the draft class for next year. We have a pretty good idea. We know who the A-tier, B, C guys are. Knowing who the exact top-10 picks are? That’s going to change.”

(On the different tiers) “A-players are usually first-round players, B is usually second and third-round players, C is four through six and D is five through seven and are draftable guys at this time.”

(On who will compete with Brandon Linder for right guard) “It will be Jacques McClendon, Will Rackley, those will be the main two. Drew Nowak as well, Demarcus Love, other than that, possibly Sam Young or Cameron Bradfield, if they can move to right tackle, then Austin Pasztor could move to guard. We’re going to tweak with a lot of things towards the offseason and minicamp and see what works best.”

(On how many additional guys can come in besides rookie free agents) “As many as we want.”

(On how many workout players you would want to have) “Not that many. Last year we wanted a lot more, but we won’t do that this year. We’ll just do a select number of guys.”

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