OPENING STATEMENT:"So what we've done here in the second round, we took Chris Jones, defensive lineman, Mississippi State, and then Dorse has been moving faster than a greyhound, picking up all these picks here. We were able to pick up a third‐round pick, and pick KeiVarae Russell, cornerback from Notre Dame. That's where we'll play him, at corner, and again we feel very good about both of these players. Jones, I think a lot of people had him as a first‐round pick. He probably could have gone in either round, he's that caliber a player. He's a big kid with great energy. You guys got a chance to talk to him earlier in the day so you understand that. He's a pistol. He'll be a nice mix into our defensive line. We felt he was the best on the board at that time and we are very comfortable with him. KeiVarae, likewise, has been through a few things at Notre Dame and has worked through those things. He played through an injury this year and was still in position to be drafted in the third round here. He could have gone anywhere in there. He was one of those guys that probably could have gone higher than where he did, but we've gotten him here and we're excited to add him in the mix in our secondary. We'll see how, again, we'll just see how it goes once the players get here. We'll take a look at them during the rookie mini‐camp and then we can determine some things from there. That's what I've got for you. Fire away."
Q:Regarding KeiVarae Russell's injury status, will he be ready to practice at OTAs?
REID:"Yeah, I believe he is. That's what I understand, so he should be fine to practice."
Q:With KeiVarae, was that another instance like it was with Marcus Peters where you see a guy go through some things in his college career and see how much football means to him?
REID:"Yeah, and listen, he did wrong there and got himself straightened out. The coach had his trust in him obviously, and how he handled himself, to allow him back. I think there were four or five kids going through that thing and I think he's the only one of the bunch who came back and finished up. I think that speaks for itself there."
Q:Do you think Russell can move from left corner to right corner and fit in as a natural replacement for Sean Smith?
REID:"Well, we'll see. I want to see how both of these guys do in the rookie mini‐camp. I think it gives you a little better feel on how they work. I think he can play either side, to answer your question on that part. I don't think that's a big deal. I think he can also play inside in those spots, so again he has some flexibility there. He's a smart kid and pretty versatile I think. But again, let's take a peek at him at the mini‐ camp to see how they do there."
Q:What kind of plan do you have in store with Chris Jones?
REID:"I don't know that exactly. He can play a bunch of different spots for you. The one thing that I'd love to do is to be able to throw fastballs at the offense. He allows you to do that. He's got to come in here and work and do the things he needs to do obviously, but when you get him in that mix with that crew, you keep them fresh throughout a game and fresh throughout the season. I think that it could be a little plus for us."
Q:How important do you feel like conditioning and nutrition will be for Jones?
REID:"He moves around pretty good so I think he's going to be okay. He was working pretty hard at State there, so I don't think that's necessarily going to be an issue. I had taken Fletcher Cox from there when I was with the Eagles and he turned out pretty good. With this kid and his talent, he just needs to be pushed a little bit, keep playing at a high level. When he is playing at a high level, boy I tell you, he is a hard one to stop. I look forward to getting him out here and letting our guys be around him. I think he'll feed off that room that we have there."
Q:Do you know if there's an issue with either Jones or Russell in regards to participation and their academic semesters?
REID:"Yeah I think both of them are okay. Our guys are checking on that, but I think both of them were okay to participate. I don't think either one of them were on the quarter system there."
Q:What was KeiVarae's reaction when he was on the phone with you and John Dorsey?
REID:"Yeah, he was excited. It means a lot to him. Those guys that have been through so much, I think they appreciate it and the opportunity. When you're kind of looking down the part of, am I going to be able to play or not play and then how are people going to take it, and then you give them another opportunity, that's special for them and their family. He was pretty good with us, you could tell he was pretty excited."
Q:You're an offensive guy, when is John going to get you some new toys?
REID:"We're okay there. I'm all good with stacking up on defense so I'm fine with that. I know how things work. When you have a good defense, you can even get a little crazier on offense, right? Isn't that what they say?"
Q:What about stacking up on picks? It's not something you have done a lot here in your first few drafts?
REID:"I think every draft is a little different that way. I know Dorse felt really strongly, and I know he talked to you about this, he felt strong about the second, third and fourth rounds in that area there, and even into the fifth. He was working to gain those picks. He wanted to get a couple picks out of this thing, and I thought he maneuvered it around pretty well. Kind of parked it here in the third round and knocked that out in the second round, so we got that taken care of. I look forward to them all. We've got a whole load of them tomorrow, I believe seven picks tomorrow, so that's exciting."
Q:Were you interested in moving up to draft Paxton Lynch and what are your thoughts on facing him twice per season?
REID:"I think he's a good player, I agree with that part. But going up to get him, I'm not sure about all that. I know Dorse doesn't get into any of that stuff, doesn't want that out there. But I thought he was a good player and I'm happy for him, he landed in a good place. Look forward to the challenge of playing him, he's going to be a heck of a player down the road. And you guys know we brought him in, so I got to know him a little bit, that's why I say these things. As far as moving up and all that, we normally don't go into all that."
Q:With Chris Jones' combination of size and athleticism, can you expand upon that unique combination? There's moldable talent there, right?
REID:"Yeah, listen, he's 6‐6, 308 pounds – I know their head coach (Dan Mullen) there very well, he was Alex Smith's (quarterback's) coach there in college at the University of Utah, so I've gotten to know him over the years and I've taken a couple of players from (Mississippi) State there. We were light on him and our scouts did the work there – Ryne Nutt went in there and did a nice job of making sure he had all the information on the kid. You're talking about six‐foot‐six here, 308 pounds, he's a big kid. He's got a great first couple of steps – you know how important that is with your d‐line. He's explosive, he's able to keep his big body down low, which is important. He's got plenty of room to improve. Like I said before, when he's on, he is tough, tough to stop. You've got to work on a couple things, he's got to work on consistency. He's a young kid with a huge personality and you're going to love that part of it. I think with our room and veteran leadership we have in that room, I think it will be real good for him. He can take his game up another notch here."
Q:Now that you have a moldable talent there in Jones, are you going to nudge your son and say this one's on you, make it work?
REID:"Yeah, put a little pressure on him. He understands that. It'll be a great thing for that room. Like I said, that room right there is something special. All the guys in there – (Dontari) Poe, (Jaye) Howard, all those guys, (Allen) Bailey – those are hard‐working, tough, class acts. And listen, Britt's got a new challenge here being the d‐line coach, he's got another player here that he has an opportunity to coach. I'm happy for all of them there. That's a good place for this kid to be."
Q:What tells you that Mike Williams is ready to get his career back on track?
REID:"Dorse met with him quite a little bit and felt good about him, then I had an opportunity to sit down with him before we ended up signing him and felt pretty good about where he's at right now. He understands, you don't get a lot of chances in the National Football League. He's been in six years, he understands it, he's grown up a little bit from where he was. He understands how sensitive this league can be at times and that you better keep your nose clean or you're not going to be in it very long. I think that's where he's at right now in his career and he looks forward to the challenge. This is no secret, you guys have been around this a while. He's a pretty good player now and at Tampa Bay when things were going good for him those first few years, he was a tough one to stop. We look forward to bringing him in the mix and seeing what he can do."
Q:You have him and Rod Streater and numerous picks tomorrow, how do you feel about where you are at wide receiver wise?
REID:"Listen, I know a little bit about Rod because my youngest son played with him at Temple and then Britt coached him there – as did (assistant linebackers coach) Mark DeLeone, who was also on the staff. So I'm very familiar with him and I think I know what his strengths are and we can utilize some of those things. He's a heck of a kid, so we welcome that to our team and I think he'll fit into this offense well. Again, we look forward to bringing him in here and just competing. So I feel pretty good about that. With those two guys, I feel pretty good about that crew."
Q:Are you starting OTAs on the PUP list or are you going to be able to be out there?
REID:"Listen, I'm going to try to get out there doggonit. We'll see how I can get this thing warmed up. We'll try to get out there and move around, we'll see. I'm not quite there yet, not quite there yet, I need a couple more days."
OPENING STATEMENT:"As you well know, we kind of moved around a bit today. That's directly related to Adam's comment, that we only had three players in the top 106. Now we have four. We've got some really good players here. They fit where we want. We feel moving forward into this thing, we sit in a pretty good position in the fourth round, pretty high. I think there are really talented players to acquire in this draft and we are going to try to do that. With that, I'll take your questions."
Q:With Jones, what tools does he have that you like?
DORSEY:"Well athletically, for a man his size, he is uniquely gifted. Very good athlete, former high school basketball player. I think everybody knows his track record as he progressed through college. Before college, he was probably one or two in the nation for defensive linemen. He goes to Under Armour, I think it's Under Armour All‐Star Camp. Probably has 56, 57 college scholarships, chooses Mississippi State which is probably an hour and a half from his hometown. As he goes, he begins to develop and learns that trade of a defensive lineman. He has such a wonderful ceiling moving forward. Then when you combine that with those defensive linemen in our room now, you know, they have high standards to live up to and this guy will fit right in that room and moving forward, I think it's a good pick."
Q:What do you think about his body composition and effort on‐field?
DORSEY:"I think the one trait that he has is athleticism. He has the flashes of brilliance, but what he does like every young kid in college is, he begins to play high. So what we have to do is technically, we have to get his pads down. That's a technical thing and that takes a little bit of time. He'll be fine. When you play long periods of time, once you begin to rotate these guys and your role begins to develop, he'll be fine."
Q:Did you look at him as a first‐round talent?
DORSEY:"If we had picked him at 28, we'd have been very pleased to pick him at 28. But, we felt after analyzing that board, if we were to go back a little bit, there's still a high probability that we could acquire that player. And you know what, luck had it, we acquired that player and got some picks."
Q:If you had to pick at 28, is this the guy you'd have chosen?
DORSEY:"Well, you never know until you have that pick."
Q:So now that you've acquired a lot of fourth‐round picks, how important will the fourth round be to the success of this draft?
DORSEY:"I don't think it's an individual round that is the success of the draft. I think it's the whole body of work of the draft. Now, we've identified some players that we feel are really good players and good fits in the fourth‐round for us, and we were fortunate enough to get those high fourth‐round picks at 105 and 106, and then you sprinkle in the 126 at the backside, that's pretty good. Tomorrow is going to be a busy day. We have a lot of picks and again, you can begin to add some of that depth we talk about. Competitive depth."
Q:With each of these players, do you know if the academic restrictions of a quarter system versus a semester system will factor in for either of these players?
DORSEY:"Nope. Not to my knowledge. We're good."
Q:Can you go over some of the physical attributes of Russell?
DORSEY:"When you combine all the different matrixes of studies, you formulate that into a score – I would put him as a red level a‐score guy, meaning he has a lot of attributes that are really good. You combine that with his person, his competitiveness. He has a great deal of toughness. You got a guy that can play through a stress fracture and play through that and practice on that on a daily basis, is pretty mentally tough to me."
Q:Did you guys look at the academic situation at Notre Dame?
DORSEY:"It's an isolated incident. He is a really sharp and really neat kid. Everybody in South Bend loves him. I think he is from Everett, Washington, if I am not mistaken. He was class president of his high school. He is well spoken, articulate, sincere, a guy that likes to play the game of football. Plus, he wants to get himself a degree. I think you guys are really going to like him when he gets here."
Q:Both guys were so happy when they were drafted, did you guys take into consideration how much these guys really loved football when making these decisions?
DORSEY:"Well, I have always liked guys that are good guys and are competitive. These guys really fit the boxes. These guys are fun."
Q:Russell was weeping when I talked to him, I didn't know if you got a chance to talk to him?
DORSEY:"Yeah, I did for about the first 30 seconds, and then, I went back into the draft room. I just introduced myself and asked if he wanted to be a member of the Kingdom and he said, 'Yes, I do Mr. Dorsey."
Q:Was it that level of emotion when you talked to him?
DORSEY:"I heard that from others. In the brief conversation that I had with him, there was a degree of respect when he was speaking over the phone. I thought that was emblematic of who he is as a person."
Q:Is he ready to practice with the broken leg?
DORSEY:"He will be fine. Once he gets here, we will find out."
Q:Can we take that as a yes?
Q:Neither of these guys came in for interviews, what is the value of having these guys in here without interviews?
DORSEY:"We interviewed Chris, it's a sixty‐player interview at the Combine as well as our positional coaches interviewing him. Ryne Nutt, our southeast scout spent a considerable amount of time with him not only at his Pro Day, but also where he was working out in south Florida. He spent some time down there as well. So, there are different platforms and avenues to get to know who these guys are. With KeiVarae, we spent a lot of time at Notre Dame with him. We were also fortunate enough with Will Lewis whose sons also played high school ball in the state of Washington, knew him a little bit, so Will got a little bit about his background of who he was there as well."
Q:How do you feel about Corner now that you have Russell in there?
DORSEY:"Well, we just keep chipping away at it. That is where we are right now. We just keep chipping away at it and we will see what happens."
Q:Is Russell a potential nickel guy, does he profile at that position?
DORSEY:"You know what, I think he can play inside, outside. Let's start him outside and see what happens."
Q:Did Russell earn his degree from Notre Dame?
DORSEY:"I don't know yet if he's got his degree yet. You know what, he probably did, only because I say that – I think he's a fourth‐year junior in the scenario. There's a high probability he did, don't hold me to it, please."
Q:Chris Jones had the 'wardrobe malfunction' at the combine, were you there for that?
DORSEY:"He watches too much TV."
Q:It just struck me as one of those moments that the poor guy has to live with. DORSEY:"It is what it is. You know what, big men should never wear spandex."
Q:How does Jones' personality fit when you evaluated him?
DORSEY:"He's just fun to be around. He likes football. You can see guys that really like football, like being around the locker room. And then you watch them move around, you can see his degree of athleticism and you go 'my God, this guy's really athletic.' And then you combine that with his drive. All these things, they kind of work in your favor here and now we got him in the second round."
Q:Is that what you mean when you fold him into the group he's coming into?
DORSEY:"That's important. Those positional rooms are very critical moving forward, regardless of what position. And I think the defensive line room is very close. I think he will fit in that defensive line room very well."
Q:What tells you that Mike Williams is ready to get his career back on track?
DORSEY:"Well he's been here for, I believe, three days of OTAs last week. He came in for a workout and really displayed some of the traits that he had earlier. I sat down and talked with him extensively for about 30 minutes and then I wanted everybody within the building to sit down and talk with him. And you know what, he is a very genuine guy, driven to get back his career that he got derailed on."
Q:How did you see that?
DORSEY:"You see the person and the sincerity of his words and I think that's first and foremost. And how driven he is to be that guy. So we'll see what happens."
Q:You said during the workouts he showed some of the traits he had shown early.
DORSEY:"Meaning his ability to come off the line, ability to run routes, ability to catch the ball, ability to run some of the routes that we run during the games. He still has those really big hands. He's just a larger‐ type of catcher that, if you can get him back to where he was, you may have something there. We'll see, it's going to take a while."
Q:Is this a deep draft or is it just deep at certain positions?
DORSEY:"Deep draft would seem to me that you start from one and go all the way down. Again, I said last night that in rounds two, three and four, I think there's some really interesting players there that can be had and be really good, quality members of your team."
Q:People are characterizing this as a deep draft, is that accurate?
DORSEY:"Certain positions. Here's what it's driven by, it's driven by the defensive line and the depth of the defensive line. It's driven by the depth of the corners. Meaning that there's pockets to be had all the way through the draft – and maybe the offensive line. Then you have the two top quarterbacks – top‐ three quarterbacks – and then maybe there's a separation between that. And maybe you have two or three receivers and a degree of separation there."