Transcript: Marty Hurney, Ron Rivera recap draft

On Christian Miller being available in the fourth round

Hurney: He was a guy that we have been talking for a while. He’s an excellent football player, had 8.5 sacks in around 400 snaps last year. I think, you know he’s been going through a hamstring, he went through a hamstring early in the offseason process. That might have contributed some to him being available to where we picked him, but we are really happy to get him. He’s got length, he knows how to rush the passer, he can dip and bend. He just makes plays and as you can see by his stats last year he’s a really good football player. He’ll help rushing the passer. That was one of the things we wanted to do was address that and I think we did that in this draft.

On Miller’s positioning limited to one position

Rivera: No, I see him doing both. I really do. That’s the neat thing about both Brian and Christian, you got guys that do have that versatility. They’re going to line up on the outside. I think with their skill sets, you’re talking about guys that can play either side and contribute as far as a four front as well. I think both of these young guys can come in and compete and give us some more depth.

On favoring three or four man fronts based on personnel

Rivera: Well it just depends on the situations. We went back and looked at last year and we played our nickel package almost 70 percent of the time. So because of that, your base front is not going to be as much as you would think. So I think based on that, we got to look at opportunities to change it up, mix it up because again we have some guys that have skill sets so I’m pretty excited about being able to use these different types of football players.

On importance of adding key pieces to defensive side

Rivera: I feel good about the guys we had to begin with. I think these guys add to the mix and I think these guys can come in and become the kind of guys you’re looking for most certainly. I wouldn’t say you needed to have them, I’d say these are guys that have a skill set that bring something to the party. That’s going to be the fun thing about it. Watching what they do and the way they do it. They’re both dynamic football players. I mean Brian, for us to have Brian on this football team just adds to what we’re going to do. Getting the added depth with a guy like Christian who has an opportunity to get into the rotation, that I think is really cool.

Hurney: It just starts with a basic philosophy of football, I mean protecting the passer and rushing the passer. It all starts with those two and then you go to everything else. If you can’t protect and you can’t pressure, you’re going to have a hard time on either side of the ball.

On analyzing safety market

Hurney: We are always going to look at every spot to see. It’s just some drafts, it’s just the way the draft is falling and sometimes you go in, just like last year, if a running back had fallen to us we would’ve taken one. This year, if it fell right and the safety was there, obviously we would’ve taken one, but it just didn’t work out that way. We don’t play tomorrow. You’re never going to have all your needs filled. So you’re just always looking and we have some guys on our football team that we think can compete and do a good job at safety. But we are always going to be looking at every spot not just safety this year, a running back last year. That’s the key. Every day you come in and try to use all avenues to try and improve your football team.

On Jordan Scarlett maturation

Hurney: Well I think the biggest thing is, he was very remorseful. He admitted he made a mistake when he was a freshman and he was the one guy that stayed and worked his way back to make up for it. And I think that’s what really impressed us the most. You talked to anyone down there, they love this kid and he’s one of the most well-liked players on that team. He openly admitted that. Listen, he was young. He made a mistake, but he worked hard to work his way back to make up for that and to go back and play there and stayed there last year and I thought that was very impressive.

On strengths and weaknesses of the draft class

Hurney: Well I mean again, you look at it, we got two tackles and two pass rushers. So I think protecting the passer and rushing the passer. Obviously, we did not draft a safety or really a secondary player but we feel like we addressed a lot of needs and feel good about the way things went.

On positioning for the two tackles drafted

Hurney: We’ll see. You know Coach Matsko, I mean versatility is always a key. So everybody is going to play more than one spot but the fact that they are left tackles and played left tackle is certainly a plus.

On Rivera’s time speaking with Dennis Daley

Rivera: It’s interesting because he seems like a young man that’s on a growth pattern. He’s learning, he’s growing. It’s not like he’s played a tremendous amount of football, but he’s played enough quality football that we’re most certainly curious. I think he’s a solid young man who’s going to come and fit in very well. I think he’s going to be really committed. I mean he’s shown that based on the way he’s grown up. So it’s going to be fun it really is. I like where we are and as Marty said, we got guys that have position flex and as much as we want to see guys and see what else they can do, I’m interested in just watching Dennis’ growth. I really am. Coach Matsko is really excited about him, as was Travelle. Travelle for the South Carolina ties obviously, but they both spoke very highly of him. So I’m really excited about that.

On Rivera’s time with Christian Walker

Rivera: I was really surprised he was there. I really was. I get it, the hamstrings and the hip tightness stuff like that people get concerned. He only played a little over 400 snaps and he had 8.5 sacks. They got guys that play 600 and 700 snaps and weren’t even close to 800. So I just feel like we got a good football player. A guy that’s going to come in, he’s very mature, he’s a young pro. He understands already, he grew up with it. So he understands, that’s what I’m excited about as well.

On Scarlett’s skill set

Hurney: First of all, I think the first thing that you see is he breaks tackles. I mean he breaks a lot of tackles and he’s got a burst and once he gets out he can go. He’s a very physical runner. He’s got great vision and it’s hard to bring him down. He very seldom goes down with the first contact. I think you’re right he does compliment Christian well. We were surprised he was there to be honest with you at that point.

On Scarlett’s lack of involvement in college passing game

Rivera: It looked like a lot of lack of opportunity. I mean when you watch him and watch what he does for them as far as his inside running game his ability to bounce the ball too, good vision. As Marty said, probably the thing that stuck out to me he is a violent runner. He’s got good balance. The first contact doesn’t necessarily bring him down. It may knock him off balance but he stays up and continues to run. He looked to be good as a blocker. A willing blocker. Throws his body in the mix. Seems to be always in good position, stuff like that. So you felt good about that and you know he had I believe 10 catches this past season and he made the most of it. I believe he averaged nine yards per catch. So with the ball in his hands in space he seems like he’s tough to bring down. He didn’t run particular routes. What you did see was a couple screens, you saw a couple of the swing patterns they’re very traditional for running backs. What we ask Christian to do is a little bit different obviously with the route running and stuff like that. So I never really saw him have to run the types of complimentary routes that Christian ran in terms of down the field and stuff like that. But with the ball in his hands in space he’s a load he really is. I agree with Marty’s statement, he can be a good compliment to Christian’s style.

On seventh round selection Terry Godwin

Rivera: You’re getting a good route runner, good hands. I saw a stat of him that shows he’s like 13th all-time in receiving yards or receptions or something like that for Georgia. So you know he’s a guy that makes plays and makes things happen. He does have some return skills as well that we’re going to take a look at. He’s a dynamic guy with the ball in his hands and can make people miss and he’s got some speed.

On Hurney’s relationship with Greg Little

Hurney: I think the thing that impressed me was he wants to be really good. He’s got such a skill set and I’m not sure he realizes how good he can be. I think he knows he is good. I think we hit it off. He’s a great kid and I think he has a lot of drive. I just wanted him to understand that he’s got all the tools to be one of the top left tackles in this league. All he has to do is keep working and consistently finish plays. He just listened to everything. He took it to heart. He’s come in here with a great attitude and everyone that has met him just comes up and says just how impressed they are with him.

On Greg Little being able to come in and compete

Hurney: He’s been a guy that we’ve talked about a lot and had our eye on for some time.

On scouting report on Dennis Daley

Hurney: Yes, you’re not going to go through him. I mean he is stout, he is so stout. He is strong and he is a guy that we think has a ton of upside. He’s good in the run game. I think he does have good feet and is athletic enough to play left tackle in this league. He is stout and he is strong. He’s got great play strength.

On Dennis Daley’s need to improve technique

Hurney: I mean yes, he does.

Rivera: But the big thing is, he hasn’t played a lot of Division I football. That’s the biggest thing, so as he gets more and more exposure he’s going to improve. That was one of the neat things in talking with Coach Matsko and Coach Wharton about him was that they both felt that this guy just needed reps. Repetition, repetition, repetition. He does, there are some refining he has to do but the ceiling I think for this young man is good as well.

On being active within the undrafted market

Hurney: We’re active but obviously don’t need as many guys. So we are probably focusing in on five or six guys, more or less.

On trade to select Little being a key

Hurney: Yes, I wish it would’ve been a little easier but it did, it really did. I think that was probably the key of the weekend was being able to after getting Brian, trading up and being able to get Greg Little. He was a guy that obviously we wanted to add a tackle and we would prefer to have someone that played left tackle and we come out of the weekend with two guys that have played left tackle. Which is probably more than what we could’ve wished for but yes I think that was probably the key to the weekend. To move up and get a guy that everybody thought had a chance. Really, we think that both of these guys have a chance to come in and have long careers for us. That trade up and getting Greg was huge I think for the weekend. I think Ron would agree.

Rivera: I like what Marty said earlier. When you come out with two of the more important positions. Two guys on offense line, two guys on the defense that can rush the passer you feel pretty good about it. So I think it’s a good start to what we wanted to do this offseason and as far as the draft was concerned.

Hurney: And these are all guys that have done it at a high level. I think I’m right, but I think five SEC guys, one Big 12, one ACC. So we’ve seen these guys do it on big stages and their comfortable with being on the big stage and I think that’s a plus.

On plan to take pass rusher first, then offensive tackle

Hurney: Well yes, I mean the board depends who you take. We came in and I think we said in our pre-draft conference that coming into this off-season we wanted to address lines on both sides of the ball. Pass rush and protecting the passer and rushing the passer and I think we carried that theme through the draft.

On offseason workouts

Rivera: For the most part, I think we got very good participation. Just real pleased with what we’ve got from my understanding. It’s voluntary and I really appreciate the guys making time to be out here and get themselves ready. From what I understand Cam has been doing everything we have been needing him to do. He’s progressing very nicely. Again, I’m not going to give a time table on that. Torrey looks good. He’s running out there on the field right now so that’s good to hear. The trainers feel that he’s getting stronger. We had a couple guys that had just some nicks and stuff like that. I believe Daryl has come along very well. It really is exciting to watch him as he’s going through his rehab program and getting himself ready to go. From my understanding, it’s been a good two weeks. The reports I get from strength and conditioning and from the training staff have all been positive. It’s good to see everyone back. Monday will be the first time we get to work with them on the field as coaches so I’m pretty excited about that. We’ll do our normal day. Defense will be on the field first and then we’ll flip it and defense will go into meetings and offense will come onto the field afterwards.

On interesting moments from this draft

Rivera: I think all of it with the owner. It was his first one. He was there and he was there for the whole thing. He asked a lot of great questions throughout the whole process. It was fun. It really was. It was an enjoyable one, it really was.

Hurney: This was one of the more calmer ones. The trade up – the effort to trade up to get Greg – was probably the tense-ist, and tense isn’t the right word, but the most action revolved around that.

Rivera: Faith and trust.

Hurney: Faith and trust, that’s it. But then it was really kind of smooth. In the end, that was the key to the whole weekend. Once we got Greg, we had Brian, and then everything fell into place. I know it didn’t make you happy but we had to make that trade back from (round) six to (round) seven. But we just wanted to get two more players and we got the two guys we wanted.

On how hands-on Dave Tepper was during the draft

Rivera: The questions were right. He was engaged. He was seeing what was happening. Again, he’s a numbers guy. He sees the numbers right away and so we were answering the questions that came up about the numbers.

Hurney: He let you do your job, it’s great. It’s great having him.

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