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Q: Talk about picking Robert Woods?
Buddy Nix: Well we’ve been talking about getting a receiver. And Robert Woods we were fortunate that he was there and the guy’s got the intangibles; plus made all these catches. We got to know him a little bit when we were out there working out Matt Barkley. We’d already written him in that kind of thing. The individual workout we got to visit with him a little bit.
Q: He already said he hit it off with EJ Manuel, how about that?
BN: Yeah, and Coach Marrone can talk about all that stuff and how he’s going to use him and that kind of thing. Robert Woods obviously we wanted to get an outside receiver. We also wanted to get another linebacker. We got one (Kiko Alonso) we think can play MIK, he’s interchangeable. He’s a big guy, can run, he can cover. Then Marquise Goodwin, he’s a world class athlete. Actually one of the things in the report that jumps out at you, a guy his size, he’s a tenacious blocker. He’s a tough guy. He’s a football player first. He’s had all that success in track but I think when you see him play I think you’ll realize he’s a football player, just needs reps and touches.
On drafting two wide receivers on the second day:
BN: I told you earlier that we were going to try to get one and might take two receivers. I think picking up the other two picks going to eight picks and it gave us a chance to take the best guys on the board and these were the most explosive playmakers on the board.
Q: Can Kiko Alonso be a third down linebacker?
Q: Your thoughts on Kiko’s DUI (in 2010)?
BN: He did some things early and it was alcohol related, never drug related. It wasn’t criminal, wasn’t beating up women and that kind of thing. He drank too much. Everyone else would maybe social drink, he had too many and that one night he had that incident. He’s gone to counseling since then and that was his junior year I think. They constantly monitored him and he hasn’t had any problems since. We see a lot of those guys. Everybody needs a second chance. We think it’s a good risk with him.
On WR Robert Woods:
BN: One of the leading lines on the reports on him is he was the most NFL ready of any of them and I expect that’s right.
On selecting a player (Kiko Alonso) with a prior incident and the team being known for no off-the-field issues:
BN: Well you’re right, we haven’t had a problem and we hadn’t had one with him either yet. Right now we’re still batting 100.
Q: Talk about Robert Woods playing against you at Syracuse and him as a player?
Doug Marrone: I think a lot of those catches that we talked about statistically. I got to see him really up close and personal, really getting to meet the young man. Obviously like Buddy said, in the workout very impressionable. The one thing that I was able to see, and Buddy touched on it a little bit, was the intangibles of him from leadership quality, from the toughness standpoint from that position. Talking to him, we use the term NFL ready. You’ve got to come in here and compete. He’s someone that can play all three positions, someone that can help you on special teams. I’m not talking about just necessarily a returner but someone that can help you in other areas of teams also. Again, I think he’s a high quality kid that has a lot of skill. He has to come in here and compete and he can help us score.
On Robert Woods:
DM: I think for us as coaches it scores quite a lot from a player that obviously is surrounded by talent, obviously as a younger player there, Marquise Lee, who’s a very good football player also. No effect, you don’t hear anything. He just put his head down and went to work and was productive and wants to help the team and wants to win. I think all the things you stand up here as a coach and you say what you want in a player, he’s exhibited that in all those situations.
Q: Do you sit back and think of the potential 1-2 punch you have with EJ Manuel and Robert Woods?
DM: I wouldn’t use the words sit back and kickback, for us it’s the constant pressure as well as it is with the other parties. You’re looking, when I look at offense, I try to look at playmakers; people that can make plays, people that can be productive. The whole thing in this league is how are you going to score. I think that’s what we’re always looking for on the offensive side of the ball, people that can make plays and we feel that the two individuals you mention, EJ and Robert, can do that.
Q: Can you talk about the dynamic of working with the front office to draft and the selection of Oregon LB Kiko Alonso?
DM: We loved it. It is always great and it has obviously been the first experience for our coaching staff working with our scouts. My role, as far as working with Buddy and Doug Whaley, really to write reports and really to be on the same page is exciting. For us, yes Mike (Pettine) and the defense are excited to bring him in. He’s a young player who probably has not played as much as maybe the other players that we have had, but has shown that he can play multiple positions. He has shown that he can play on teams. He has shown that he is instinctive and from the standpoint of developing him there are things that he has to develop which is our job as coaches when he comes in here that are correctable. And we are excited about that.
Q: How did they use Alonso at Oregon?
A: I think he can play two. He is a big kid. You are talking about a guy that is 6-3. You see it on the clips. He can cover man-to-man. He has good zone awareness, had a bunch of pass break-ups. You look at it from a coverage standpoint and you see that. Then you see him coming downhill, making plays and he has a lot of tackles for losses. He can make big plays from that linebacker position in both coverage and the running game.
Q: Are you surprised that Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib has not been picked yet?
DM: I am extremely surprised. I think the world of Ryan. He has a strong work ethic. He is a tough kid. He has a very good arm and I think he will be a great addition to whatever team selects him. He has the skillset to be successful. I wish him the best of luck. I think he will be successful in this league. I really believe a team will select him soon.
Q: It seems like it is almost painful for you discussing it given how close you must be to Ryan. Is that a fair thing to say?
DM: It is a fair thing. I think that you look at it and you are coming from a team with players that you have recruited and still some players that are on the board. You love those kids and you love what they have done for you. There have great qualities. Prior to taking this job, I have talked to multiple teams in the league about those players and I have had nothing but great things to say about all of them. Shamarko Thomas is still out there. It is difficult because you care about those players. You have feelings for those players. Those players helped get me where I am right now and we have been through a lot. So human nature, you take a job and you do what you have to do. You do what is best for the organization that you are at. At the same time, the human side and the feelings that you have—it is hard, but at the end of the day you are making decisions as what is best for your organization. I would be remiss if I did not tell you that it does hurt. That is the human side of it.
Q: With these picks, are we seeing you place the initial stamps on what you see this offense looking like?
DM: Well the players that we even have here (in) T.J. Graham; and obviously Stevie (Johnson) has had great production. There are some younger guys that have not had those opportunities yet, obviously that we have had to get on the field. I am going to reiterate what I said before—we are looking really for those playmakers. We are looking for when you send a group on the field people are worried about them getting behind them. People are worried about doing things in the slot. Putting, as a cliché, weapons out on that field that people have to think about how are we going to defend them? How many corners are we going to put on the field? How many linebackers are we going to put on the field? Who are we going to match-up against them? I am telling you things that happen throughout this league. I am not telling you anything that people do not know. I think when you look at it and you are looking at our overall team speed, our overall production with the players that we have and the players that we have acquired. We have the ability to put quite a few playmakers on the field.
Q: Do you feel a little different now that you know some more of the players you will be coaching?
DM: Exactly. And I think it is very challenging for us to have players here on campus, I like to use that term, and players that we have brought in that have skillsets that can be developed. And that is really what our role is. Develop those players. I think that the scouting department has done a great job. From the players that were here to the players that we brought in. Now it falls on our shoulders to develop those players, to make sure that they are involved. Then decisions as we go through OTAs and preseason camp of putting the best players out there to produce touchdowns.
Q: What is attractive about Goodwin’s skillset?
DM: Well I think it is interesting that the first thing that comes to your mind is speed. And that is the one thing, and you here this a lot from coaches, but it is the one thing you cannot coach. You are either fast or you are not fast. The one thing that I am very interested in is that when you talk about development of a player and you say, ‘OK, normally there are places in the south with football where there is spring football for high school players. They go to college. They play in college. They have spring football in college.’ The one thing about Marquise was he played during the season and he was on the track team in the spring. That area of development for him was not there and it was probably there for most of the players in this draft. What is interesting is when you look at upside and things that you can do, I think there is a higher ceiling because that level of development that most of the players in this draft have, he was not a part of because of what he did with track.
Q: How do WR T.J. Graham and Goodwin differ?
A: Well again, the challenge for us is how do we use both? They both have that speed. That is what we need to do because we always want to have that threat of speed on the field and I think it is important. So whether it becomes interchangeable or both players being on the field at the same time, that is the challenge for us as we work through this as coaches. Again, when you have that speed set it is a different mentality on the other side of the ball.