Sean Payton talks NFL Draft, full transcript - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Sean Payton talks NFL Draft, full transcript

(FOX 8 File) (FOX 8 File)
METAIRIE, LA (WVUE) -

Opening Statement

“We finished up. I said earlier I thought the round would go fairly quick. Obviously there were a few trades, just a handful of things maybe and yet things progressed well. We are fired up about our selection. (Sheldon Rankins) He is someone (we liked) just through the process, the senior bowl and (his) college career. We have a good relationship with the coaching staff there and it’s an area that we feel like we can help our defense significantly. He is a guy that we would check off as a pressure player. He gives you a pass rush ability from the inside and you see that quite a bit on tape. (His) Makeup is fantastic and it’s nice that he was a former Falcons fan. Any questions.”

Did you get any more calls than normal for your pick this year?

“No, in fact as the tackle dropped from Ole Miss one of the reasons we waited was just to see if anyone was going to move up. I don’t think we got any calls and that wasn’t surprising. There was this initial group of players and there were probably a normal amount of trades. Time wise I don’t know how it compared to others, but it was fairly smooth.”

In 2014 ya’ll felt like you didn’t need to bring in Brandin Cooks in for a visit was this the same scenario?

“Absolutely, you have some opportunities, you have the senior bowl opportunities for interviews, combine and obviously the players that you can bring in. We felt real strong about all the boxes being checked with this specific player. So yeah, I don’t know how many players over the years, I would say probably 50 percent of the players we have drafted didn’t take one of the 30 (visits) sometimes you have different goals in mind. When you bring a player in sometimes you just didn’t have a good half hour, 15-25 minutes with them or whatever you didn’t have that period of time. Sometimes there are additional follow up questions, but he was one that we did not bring in.”

His reputation sky rocketed after the senior bowl in the media, was that the same with you?

“No, a player can move up in the postseason, but his tape is real good. I think the senior bowl and Louisville playing a real good level of competition now and you see some real consistency in his play. The senior bowl just gave me a chance to see him relative to other tackles and other players. He has a real good motor and he is smart and all of those things were pluses when it came to the selection.”

Ya’ll didn’t add anyone besides Nick Fairley to the D line in free agency was that because of the depth in the draft at the position?

“Well, before getting into free agency we had a feel for how difficult it was going to be to get this position or that position, we tried to do that and engage it and then is there a player that you thinks fits when it comes to the free agent market. We weren’t going to be out there with a lot of opportunities. We did feel like there were some quality defensive tackles in this draft and some depth there and we saw a few more go off the board here and I think we will see some more tomorrow.”

Was anybody picked off the board before you picked that you liked?

“This is the first time in my ten years that I have been here that it wasn’t just the mocks, but you have to be prepared to have your 11 or 12 players and after the trades were made it really became 10 and are you prepared to take the corner Tampa took or all those guys we had good grades on, but this was the first time, although there were a few tweaks, this kind of went like we thought and it worked out well.”

What did you think about the Myles Jack situation?

“It’s hard to measure how far you think a player might move down the board. Its unfortunate and I would say both he and the linebacker from Notre Dame Jaylon Smith. I would say in the last ten years they would be players taken in the first 8-10 picks every year and would be graded that way. We felt both of those players were elite and really good football players and for both of them to have their setbacks, be it they are different, and the circumstances are different, but man that’s difficult and obviously disappointing. Those players are going to get drafted, but certainly you wouldn’t even just say first round talent you would say early first round talent. Real good football players so you’re disappointed because you watch the tape on both of those guys and the way they play and the passion they play with and obviously I think for Jaylon and not really speaking for him, but I think he is prepared to continue his rehab and get through 2016 and get ready to play for the 2017 season and yet there is still some uncertainty there and Myles (Jack’s) case each team is really looking closely at the grades, but I think this time tomorrow night there is a good chance both of those players will be selected.”

What do you see versatility wise with Sheldon Rankins?

“I see him as an inside player in the base and certainly one of our inside sub rushers. It is a pretty clear vision and you have to be in rotation and it allows us to address the need of a pressure player. It doesn’t have to be just an outside guy, but I see him playing in that spot.”

He would be next to (Nick) Fairley?

“He (Nick) Fairley, (John) Jenkins, Tyler (Davidson) those are all noses or three techniques. I see him (Sheldon Rankins) playing more as the three with Nick (Fairley) and I think the sub rush will sort itself out. Those players in this draft and the offensive lineman, I don’t know how many went, but they always go a tick quicker and certainly today was a good example of that.”

People always look for the edges for their rush; how does getting it from the middle change a defense?

“You’re looking for players that can win one-on-one matchups, and that box that you can check off if he is a pressure player or not. Do you view him as someone that can affect the quarterback on passing situations? There are a lot of good football players that are going to get drafted in the defensive front that we might not check that box. He is someone that is disruptive inside. The disruption for the quarterback can come from the inside and outside. Typically, the outside rush is more visible and you see that more, and then oftentimes though the inside is just as problematic, if not more. That is an important decision though, if we are checking that box because there is added value and he is going to play more snaps. He is going to play in the sub. There are some tackles that will get drafted that maybe are first and second down players.”

Several times this offseason you have used the term “clear vision”; is that something that you wanted to make sure that you went after?

“I think it’s important that when we go through the process and we read a player, the scout reads him, the cross-check scout reads him, and they’ll be three or four scouts by the time the process is over with, (as well as) coaches, that when we are finished with that, alright what is the vision? What do we see him doing? What position? Do we see him on three-down or is he a four-down player? Does he play on special teams? (We are) Trying to be realistic based on what we’ve seen, and then what we’re projecting. I think that is important.”

A few years ago you interviewed Todd Grantham (Louisville defensive coordinator); did you talk to him (about Rankins)?

“Absolutely. He was great. He’s someone that we have known well. For us, he’s been someone that has always helped us when it comes to Georgia players that he has been around or as in this case, a player from Louisville. He is someone who is a good defensive football coach, but he is someone who is never going to overhype (a player). He’s just someone who says this is what I think of this player. Our experience has been pretty good when he has said that.”

Any offensive players that made their way onto your cloud, or were you pretty set on defense?

“As Leramy (Tunsil) came down the board, obviously, that was the one thing that was unusual and notable that happened in front of us. He’s an extremely talented player. He is athletic, then you start projecting alright, who is going to guard? I think we felt really confident with Sheldon (Rankins). He (Tunsil) was a highly graded player and obviously what happened to him tonight was unusual and disappointing. It was a tough deal for everyone just watching it and seeing it.”

Did you guys talk about (what happened with Tunsil) in the room?

“Yes, quickly, we are discussing it. Very quickly the agent will update you and say hey, this was something that happened in the past. That’s like last minute and you try to stick with hey, we felt this kid was a good learner, and by and large someone that had a good football makeup. You trust the long process, and then all of a sudden for one player, to just have a closet door opened is unfair. If you open that door with a number of players, it is just unique that it is happening (right before the draft). It is all that social media message. It was good to see him get selected. Yes, we discussed it, when all of a sudden, unusually he has gone down to this spot. The more challenging discussion is alright, (what is) the vision? It’s one thing to say we’re going to plug these players in these positions, but are they going to be excited to play those positions. That’s a little murkier.”

Do you recall a player getting sabotaged that way before the draft?

“Not like that with social media right in the middle of the first round, never.”

What are some of the traits that separated Rankins from others?

“He’s explosive. He definitely is a pressure player. We feel he can affect the pass rush. He is someone that wins with initial quickness. He’s got really good football instincts, and every other box that you look for. (He’s) a two-time captain, a guy that everyone at the school speaks highly of, just keep going down the line, with regards to the football makeup and things that we value. Then, here is this production consistently and here is this production after the season is over with, just in case you forgot. Here he is playing well and really practicing well. He is a guy that when you watch him in practice, and it is hard to notice, but if you’re watching the front, he was a handful. From an inside position, he read differently than some of the other players that we evaluated in the defensive line.”

How do you feel about day two and how it is setting up?

“Well, I think and I am sure that the room feels the same way, there were some good players taken in the end of that round. (There are) guys that you kind of, as you watch certain players go off the board, if you don’t have a high grade on a player and someone takes them you feel good because it just pushes other players down. There were some good players taken. There are still a number of good players. We are at the (second round 16th pick) right now so you begin to look at the cloud. You saw the lineman go toward the end, the Stanford guard (Joshua Garnett) and the Texas A&M lineman (Germain Ifedi). You just pay attention to the magnets now. This is just as important. I said this earlier but the really good drafts continue to have players throughout the draft. I don’t want to say that the first one is easy but there is more projection now. There are more variables when you get past that 12th pick.”

When in the process did you find out that he was a Falcons fan?

“Someone just told me that he and his whole family was from Georgia. Shortly after the selection someone had mentioned that he grew up watching those guys and Michael Vick. I know he is from Georgia.”

As far as the Tunsil situation, have you ever had something where you had to make a snap judgment on a player and it didn’t work out?

“The two elements are the injuries, and that is tough, especially the two players that we just discussed (Myles Jack and Jalen Smith) who are really good football players and guys that have great makeup while the health is the concern. The other is the makeup off of the field. Sometimes, it is just learning. If you feel like that can be potentially a fatal flaw or you feel like that isn’t good enough. But not in the sense that this happened, this was unique.”

People always look for the edges for their rush; how does getting it from the middle change a defense?

“You’re looking for players that can win one-on-one matchups, and that box that you can check off if he is a pressure player or not. Do you view him as someone that can affect the quarterback on passing situations? There are a lot of good football players that are going to get drafted in the defensive front that we might not check that box. He is someone that is disruptive inside. The disruption for the quarterback can come from the inside and outside. Typically, the outside rush is more visible and you see that more, and then oftentimes though the inside is just as problematic, if not more. That is an important decision though, if we are checking that box because there is added value and he is going to play more snaps. He is going to play in the sub. There are some tackles that will get drafted that maybe are first and second down players.”

Several times this offseason you have used the term “clear vision.” Is that something that you wanted to make sure that you went after?

“I think it’s important that when we go through the process and we read a player, the scout reads him, the cross-check scout reads him, and they’ll be three or four scouts by the time the process is over with, (as well as) coaches, that when we’re finished with that, what’s the vision? What do we see him doing? What position? Do we see him on three-down(s) or is he a four-down player? Does he play on special teams? Trying to be realistic based on what we have seen, and then what we are projecting. I think that is important.”

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