Saturday, April 28, 2012

Eagles have productive second day

The Philadelphia Eagles made the following moves last night:
·         Selected LB Mychal Kendricks (2nd round - 46th overall)
·         Traded the 51st pick to the Green Bay Packers for the 59th and the 123rd picks
·         Selected DE Vinny Curry (2nd round – 59th overall)
·         Selected QB Nick Foles (3rd round – 88th overall)

The Eagles now have five remaining selections in the 2012 NFL Draft:
Round       Overall       Notes         
4                  123               from Green Bay
5                  153               own selection
6                  194               from Denver
6                  200               from New England
7                  229               from Atlanta

LB Mychal Kendricks Conference Call

On whether he had any sense that the Eagles were interested in him:
“No, I knew they were interested a little bit, but I didn’t know they were going to pick me up.”

On how he knew they were interested in him a little bit:
“I just know that they were talking about it and they brought me in for a formal meeting and that was it pretty much. That’s it, I knew that they wanted to have a meeting with me at the [NFL] Combine and from there, that was pretty much it.”

On whether the team explained to him on where he might project at the linebacker position:
“No, not at all.”

On whether he feels like he has the tools to play either weakside or strongside:
“Yeah, I can play anywhere I need to play. I feel like I’m versatile and I’m going to do what I need to do. It doesn’t matter where I play, I’m up for the job.”

On what position he played as a senior at California:
“I played inside linebacker. In my last year I played inside linebacker.”

On what his game is like and what he brings to the Eagles:
“I have a lot of energy and I don’t take plays off. I’m strong on the attack and I’m a great tackler, too.”

On whether he has followed the Eagles:
“I know that your cheesesteaks are pretty good.”

On whether he is familiar with the team’s defensive schemes:
“Not yet.”

On how he knows that the cheesesteaks are good:
“I have a friend from Philly.”

On how his shoulder is and whether he had surgery on it:
“Yeah, I had labrum surgery.”

On whether he would be able to attend offseason camps:
“Yeah, for sure, I’m fine. Everything’s fine. I’m one hundred percent and ready to go.”

On dealing with the criticism of him not being tall enough:
“I just play big, that’s all I do. I just play big and shut them up that way. It’s never been an issue for me, so I don’t know why it would be an issue for anyone else.”

On whether he patterns his game after anyone in the NFL:
“I did before, but now I’m an Eagle. I’m ready to play.”

On whether he knows anyone on the team:
“I know [linebacker Casey] Matthews.”

On whether he knows fellow Cal alums CB Nnamdi Asomugha or WR DeSean Jackson:
“I know Nnamdi and I know DeSean, but I don’t know them [personally]. It’s going to be good playing next to them. I’m so juiced. I’m juiced, man, I’m excited. It’s going to be fun, oh my gosh.”

DE Vinny Curry Conference Call

On where he grew up in New Jersey and on being an Eagles fan:
“I’m from Neptune, New Jersey, and I’ve always been an Eagles fan ever since I started watching football.”

On how he became a fan of the team despite not living in Eagles country:
“You know, it’s central Jersey.”

On whether he expected to be drafted a little earlier:
“Oh yeah, I was expecting to go in the first, but you know, things happen and God has a plan for all of us. This is where God wanted me to be at and this is where I wanted to be. Only thing that I have to do is get ready to suit up for camp and prove my case.”

On what he thought happened as a result of dropping to the second round:
“I have no idea. It’s just the way the cookie crumbled. It’s the draft nature, you never can predict the draft.”

On making a dramatic improvement on his 40-yard dash time from the NFL Combine to his Pro Day:
“If you watched the Combine I kind of tripped over myself towards the back end of the 40.”

On how he describes his game:
“I’m just a natural pass rusher. The first thing to my game is get off, and I just pride myself on everything I do. I really hustle to the ball.”

On working his way into the defensive end rotation and on learning the system:
“Oh, yes sir, I plan to do that right away. Trust me when I say right away.”

On whether not being selected in the first round puts a chip on his shoulder:
“Oh yeah, most definitely, most definitely, most definitely. You  know, right after that, [defensive line] coach [Jim] Washburn hand-picked me and I can promise you that I won’t let him down.”

On whether he knows anyone on the team personally:
“No sir, I don’t.”

On whether he watched the NFL Draft last night:
“I’ve been watching it all day.”

Eagles QB Nick Foles Conference Call

On whether he knew he was on the Eagles radar:
“I met with them at the Senior Bowl and I met with them at the Combine. They came and worked me out in Austin [Texas]. I could definitely sense a lot of interest, and when I met with the coaches, I felt really comfortable and knew that was a place that if I had an opportunity to play, I’d be really happy. Throughout the draft, that was a team that every time they came up to pick the last couple of rounds, I knew it was a possibility. The power actually went out in my house five, ten minutes before the actual pick and then my actual phone rang and it was a Pennsylvania number. I was pumped.”

On his pre-draft meetings with the Eagles:
“I did get a sense that they were interested, and I met with pretty much every single coach on the offensive staff. I met with [head] Coach [Andy] Reid, and he was the greatest as far as meeting with him and he’s a guy you can just sit down and talk to. He’s just such a successful coach and such a great person throughout his career. With meeting with the other coaches, everyone just wants to find out everything about you with transferring and everything throughout college. They found out what I was about and I loved the organization.”

On his mentality as to where he fits in with three quarterbacks already on the roster:
“It’s get in there early, leave late, work my butt off like I’ve done my whole career, and learn. I know it’s such a great opportunity to learn from such a great staff. I know that Mike Vick is the starter there and he’s a guy that’s a heck of a player and an amazing athlete. He’s a guy to learn from. As far as the other quarterbacks with [Mike] Kafka and [Trent] Edwards, I’ve gotten to know Trent throughout the years and have a lot of respect for those quarterbacks, all three of them. It will be a great opportunity to go in there and learn and work my butt off like I’ve always done and just continue to progress as a player.”

On whether he has been told what role he will play:
“It’s way too early for that. I just got drafted and became a part of the Eagles. I have to go in there and learn a whole offense, earn my stripes, work my butt off, and prove to them that I’m a winner and what kind of player I am. That’s going to take a lot of work. I’m going to go in there and work my butt off and just be the best quarterback I can be and the best teammate possible.”

On scouting reports that say he is slow footed:
“I’m an athlete. I’m a basketball player, too, and I feel that I can play against anyone in basketball. Football-wise, watch film – I’ll break tackles, throw on the run, show escapability. I’m not a Mike Vick by any means but I’m able to extend plays on my foot and throw from awkward angle. I’m not a track athlete if that’s what you’re asking me. You’re not going to put me on the track and I’m going to blow by you in a 100-yard sprint or even a 40. I have functional speed where I can move around and make plays with my feet and extend plays with my feet. I think that’s important to get the ball into the playmakers hands like the running backs and the wide receivers and help the o-line out by moving around and working their pocket. I’m going to continue to do that and work on that every single day and get better at that as long as I play this game.”

On how being a basketball player translates into quarterbacking:
“I think just the ability to move around and extend plays with my feet. In basketball, and even in basketball passing, I’d be able to grab a rebound, go full court, and gun it. Then, you’re moving around finding seams. When you’re scrambling around, you find the running back and throwing from different angles. In basketball, you’re moving around running, jumping, shooting, doing all sorts of things. Just the functional movement of playing a sport. When you’re playing football as a quarterback, you’re dropping back and passing but sometimes the pocket breaks down and you have to make a play. That’s why I look at being an all-around athlete comes in handy in just moving around and moving the chains and making plays.”

On the process of staying positive playing in front of an inexperienced offensive line:
“We had a young o-line and I knew that going in. My junior year we had all seniors and it was a group I was with for two seasons and they were a great line. We were rebuilding the line the next season and we had a couple of redshirt freshman and some sophomores and two juniors on the line. Between five guys, there was one guy who was in our bowl game the previous season in our center Kyle Quinn. I knew it was going to be a re-doing year and that came during the workouts in the summer. We did different things to excel them right along. They did a good job and we started the season with 3-4 games against top 10 opponents and those were those o-linemen’s first time being in a college game, so it took for them to learn the speed of it and it was different for them. Sure, I was hit a few times but when you look at the film, those guys worked their butt off and they picked me up off the ground. Every game they excelled and by the end of the season, they were doing a really solid job. I couldn’t have been more proud, and they did a really solid job. They hated when I got hit and they really did grow throughout the year, and they’re going to be a heck of a line next season.”

On how much he has seen from WR DeSean Jackson and RB LeSean McCoy:
“Just watch ESPN. I’ve watched those guys all the time on the highlight reel. I know they are some explosive players and the Eagles have such a great tradition. [LB] Britt Hager who played for the Eagles several seasons ago is a great family friend of mine. I grew up with his son so I know all about the Eagles tradition. Then with [TE] Brent Celek, I roomed with his brother at Michigan State so we would always turn on the Eagles while we were in college there. It’s really a blessing to be with the Eagles.”

On whether he played Britt Hager’s team in high school:
“We didn’t play Odessa while I was at Westlake but we played Abilene in West Texas. I haven’t seen the movie but I read the book and it’s pretty much all Texas high school football. It’s intense and it’s crazy man.”

Head Coach Andy Reid Press Conferences

Opening Remarks:
“In the second round, we’ve been a little but busy. Mychal Kendricks is an outside linebacker from Cal. We took him with our first pick in the second round and we’ll play him at SAM linebacker initially here. He’s played all three [LB positions]. The things you see with him are great athletic ability and speed. He was the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year. He gives you a good opportunity to cover the tight ends. He’s just a little below six foot in height and he has good mass to him when you see him. We’ll bring him in tomorrow and give you guys a chance to meet him and let him get introduced to Philadelphia. We’re very excited about him. You think of being the Defensive Player of the Year in the Pac-10 and you bring a little bit of heat with that, so we welcome him aboard to help strengthen our defense along with [DE] Vinny Curry. Vinny Curry is a rush defensive end from Marshall. I mentioned this the last time I was up here but really he was just the best player on the board at that time. There was no way that we could pass him up just sitting there. He wasn’t an immediate need or anything like that. It’s not a worry with any of the guys that we have like [DE] Brandon [Graham] coming off of a knee or anything like that. That’s not what this is all about. It’s just a heck of a young football player who might be the biggest Eagles fan ever. He grew up in Jersey here. I think when you meet him, you’ll see he grew up an Eagles fan and he’s dreamed of playing here. He and [defensive line coach] Jim Washburn developed a relationship over this whole draft process and have stayed in close communication with each other throughout this thing. Again, he has one speed and that’s 100 miles per hour. That’s how he plays. Along with all of his vivacious personality, he’s quite a colorful guy and really loves to play the game.”

On selecting three defensive players to open the draft:
“A lot of it is best player available the way it fell. It wasn’t something where we came in with a plan that just says, ‘Hey, we’re going to go strictly just defense.’ It’s welcomed, and I thought we were playing very good defense at the end of the year. We had these fellas into it and into the mix. It creates great competition and certainly increases our athleticism. Certainly these three guys are great athletes.”

On whether they traded down because there were guys they liked toward the bottom of the second round:
“We did. We had a handful of guys sitting there that we liked. Vinny was one of them.”

On a possible logjam at defensive end:
“You’re going to carry four to five defensive ends during the season, and that’s a very good problem to have. A very good problem to have. I don’t mind that one bit and I love that competition there. I’m excited to see how Vinny fits in there and works.”

On why Kendricks fits at SAM:
“He’s played all the positions. The one thing that really interests me there is we’re getting a phenomenal pass rusher on that side. We’re getting someone who can really cover the tight end, and his pass cover skills are a strong part of his game. When you see the way he’s built, you’re understand. He plays a very physical game. You’ve heard the term when someone is very heavy handed, so when he locks onto you, he’s pretty strong with that.”

On whether SAM is evolving more into a speed position than a size position:
“You need a combination. In this day and age, you’ve seen where the safeties evolved in this league to where if you can’t cover and run, you’re going to have an issue and you’re going to get exploited. That’s the case with your outside linebackers in a 4-3. You’d like them to have the ability to run and be athletic and make plays.”

On Kendricks handling tight ends that are larger than him:
“He’s had success with that. In the Pac-10, they throw the ball once or twice out there. You get a little bit of a pinch there with him covering some guys. We’ll see how he does. That’s been one of his strengths so we’ll see how that transfers over. I’m thinking it will. You’re also getting a team captain and a tenacious football player. I know they’re showing some of those clips but that’s kind of what he is and that’s what you get. He’s one of those guys who love to play the game.”

On what makes speed a valuable commodity for an outside linebacker to have:
“You want to try to, from an offensive standpoint, find a weakness in the defense. Then, you want to exploit those weaknesses. From a coaching standpoint, I’m trying to eliminate any of those weaknesses the best I can from a defensive standpoint. I think that these players, and in particular you’re asking about Kendricks, he’s the type of player that doesn’t present you with a lot of weaknesses as long as it carries over. He is coming from the college level and I’m expecting it to carry over obviously or I wouldn’t have taken him, but as [general manager] Howie [Roseman] and I looked at this thing, we just thought that he had great speed, cover ability, toughness, and all of those things you’re looking for from those linebackers.”

On whether speed is more valuable because of teams copying New England’s tight end system:
“That’s a unique situation with a unique quarterback. How much of that happens, I can’t tell you that. I don’t know if that’s going to be a trend or not. Tight ends in this league have been catching balls a lot over the years.”

On whether there are steps that have to be taken when a player like Curry drops:
“I think we know a lot about him. He’s a local kid, and things like this happen during the draft. When you get into the second and third rounds and whatever flavor that team wants, and so he got passed up. I don’t think it’s anything against his play ability, character or anything like that. He’s not a problem. He was a very productive player at Marshall against good caliber players. You see it happen every year, though.”

On whether he projected Curry to be a late first-round pick:
“Yeah, late first, high second. I think that’s where most people probably had him just from talking around. I think most people had him in that area.”

On whether there are any issues with Kendricks being suspended two games in college:
“No, I think we’re alright there.”

Opening statement after third round:
“Alright, so in the third round we took Nick Foles, quarterback from Arizona. Nick is obviously a good passer from the records he set at Arizona – all the school records. [He] broke all of [Saints QB] Drew Brees’ records in high school, so he has a bunch of accolades to go along with being a good football player. He was also a heck of a basketball player. He was recruited by Georgetown, Texas and Baylor, so you’re getting a big man, but also a good athlete. Not necessarily a runner. That’s not his deal, but he’s got good feet, pocket presence and he’s smart. We had an opportunity to work him out and then we also brought him up here on one of our top 30 visits and grilled him pretty hard there. We felt very comfortable with him. Again, this is a young quarterback to bring in to the fold here and let him compete. We’ll just see how he does.”

On how many quarterbacks he worked out:
“Well, the guys that really worked them out were my quarterback coaches.”

On how many quarterbacks the team worked out:
“We probably worked out five.”

On what set Foles apart from the other quarterbacks:
“Well, listen, I like the way he throws the football, and then he’s also a smart guy which helps. So, it’s a different offense. He’ll have to learn this offense, but that’s okay. He’s smart enough to do that. It was unanimous with our coaches. They all liked him. We’ll see how it works. I’m curious to get him in here and let him throw the football around a little bit.”

On whether a third-round quarterback is a shot in the dark or whether he could be a franchise quarterback:
“Well, I think you have to see. I think you just have to let him develop and then you go from there. I love that we had enough confidence in him to draft him in the third [round]. Now the rest is just seeing how he fits in and develops in our offense. Again, that’s a risk there. I feel like you’re getting a big arm and a smart kid who loves to play the game and has had a lot of success.”

On whether drafting a quarterback was a priority considering that QB Michael Vick will turn 32 years old:
“I have a lot of confidence in [QB] Mike Kafka. I have a lot of confidence that Mike [Vick] is going to continue to play. I guess he’s a young 32 you’d say. He missed a couple years there playing. This isn’t to replace Mike. That’s not what I wanted to do with this pick. I wanted to get another quarterback. We all know that is a pretty important position. If you see one out there you like, you snag him up, bring him on board and let him compete.”

On whether drafting a quarterback inside the fourth round means that he could be a full-time starter:
“Listen, we didn’t pick him in the first, we picked him in the third. But there are plenty of things that I liked about him. He’ll never tell you this, but the kid is a team captain and he came into the season fairly highly ranked amongst the quarterbacks in the country. He played behind an all-freshmen offensive line, so he’s not going to stand up here and tell you that. I’m going to tell you that that’s not an easy thing to do. He never complained about it, he rallied those kids around him; he took some pretty big hits knowing that those kids are going to be good players down the road, but they were learning at that time. His percentage under pressure was as good or better than anybody in the country. The receivers, obviously [Arizona WR Juron] Criner was a heck of a player for him and he was his go-to guy. After that, there weren’t a lot of people around him. There were young guys that he helped develop for the future of Arizona there. That’s reality. Those are things that as a coach and as a scout, there are things [general manager] Howie [Roseman] and I had to look at and evaluate. Coming out of it we still felt like he did a heck of a job.”

On whether Foles has enough mobility to be a full-time starter in the NFL:
“Listen, you say that and then you see some of the bigger quarterbacks in the league – I think [Broncos QB] Peyton Manning is pretty good, I think [Patriots QB] Tom Brady is pretty good and [Steelers QB] Big Ben [Roethlisberger] is pretty good, so he’ll fit in somewhere in between there as far as mobility. I’m not going to put him in that category yet, he hasn’t thrown a ball in the NFL. We have to get him in here and let him work a little bit.”

On why Foles transferred from Michigan State:
“You know, it wasn’t a fit. They were going to the spread [offense] and they were going to run a little more option with the quarterback. That’s what they wanted to do. I’m not sure that’s really his style or play.”

On whether Foles is more of a drop-back quarterback:
“More of a drop-back guy. Although if you look at his completion percentage on movement throws, it’s pretty good. He’s a tall drink of water, so when he comes in here – this is not a little guy. When you look at him you’re not going to go, ‘Running quarterback.’ That’s not what you’re going to say.”

On whether there’s an obligation to call Vick when deciding on drafting a quarterback high:
“Listen, I have a good enough relationship with him, but yeah. I had [offensive coordinator] Marty [Mornhinweg] call him because I was in the mix of everything going on. There’s not enough time, so I made sure that Marty talked to him.”

On the process of teaching and grooming young quarterbacks:
“Well, number one, you have to have talent. But then the player has to have talent. Then you go through the evaluation process, try to find guys that you think would fit in to this offense, you know, what we would like to do. And then there is a maturation process that takes place. That’s fun, that’s the teaching part of it. If a quarterback gets an opportunity to play like [Cardinals QB] Kevin [Kolb] did, he got an opportunity to play. He was able to play well for us and you see how it works out. Michael was kind of the unknown there and Michael played well, that was a good thing. Even with Michael – which I think it is the same with most quarterbacks – they keep learning until the day they retire. It’s just one of those deals. Even with Michael you saw that maturation process take place in this offense and that’s satisfying. That’s why we do it, we’re really teachers. That’s the satisfying part. And with these quarterbacks very few of them come from the west coast offense. You saw the kid that went before him [Wisconsin QB Russell] Wilson. He had played in the west coast offense at North Carolina State. There are very few of those that have that opportunity to do that. Most of the teams now are either in the spread option or the spread offense where they go four wide. This kid had a little bit of each. They did use a little bit of tight end at times. He was under center at times, but most of the time it was four wides. They weren’t running the option with him, but they were throwing the football.”

On whether the team had any interest in Wilson:
“Well, I did. I liked Wilson, yeah, I sure did. He’s a heck of a player too. We had our eye on those two players and I wish that kid all the best. He’s got a great personality. Not a lot of guys have his size, but he gives you the confidence he’s going to be able to do it.”

On whether they had their eye on Arizona State QB Brock Osweiler:
“I really honed in on the two here, yeah.”

On what he learns from a guy who takes a lot of hits:
“He kept getting up, that was the key. There were a few of those hits where you just kind of went, ‘Ooo.’ You can tell that those linemen care about him. They went back there and helped him up. They were learning, they got better as the season went on which was a plus for him. He took some pretty big hits and I think you can tell he was a tough guy. He had an opportunity to go down with [ESPN analyst] Jon Gruden. I think you guys know I’m friends with Jon. He has them down there for about eight hours and works with them in the classroom and out. He had the highest regards for the kid. So I was able to cross check with him and my guys that worked him out.”

On his confidence on the draft so far:
“There’s a foundation there that you’re able to do that from and that was re-signing your own players which I thought was important. Then we made the trade for [LB] DeMeco [Ryans]. We really went in and not saying that, listen, we have to have this. I think it works out better when you go about it that way.”

On whether QB Trent Edwards will compete with Kafka for the back-up role:
“They’re all competing. I don’t know Trent as well, but I know Mike Kafka and I like what I’m seeing from Mike. I like what I’m seeing from Michael Vick, so I keep going back and saying that really, those two, this is their first offseason working with us and we’ll be able to get out there Monday and actually work with the players on the field. Right now that’s not taking place.”

On the importance of Foles being able to play under pressure:
“That’s a big thing. That’s a vital position right there. You just take some hits that are unbelievable. Even though the rules are changing for safety purposes, for the quarterback, and in a lot of cases they still take some big whacks. There are a couple things that you see, now, there are a lot of guys that can take the hit, but then their production after the hit isn’t very good. There are guys that can’t take the hit at all. They’re going to stay down. And then the guys that you really want to find, they get hit, they bounce themselves back up and then they’re throwing strikes afterwards. There’s no flinch involved. You’ve got to have an iron will to do that. He was able to do that at the college level.”

On how confident he feels with Kafka and Foles despite inexperience and only 19 combined NFL passes:
“As long as they were 19 good career passes, that’s all I care about. Listen, they’ve got to start somewhere and we just have to see. That’s why we brought Trent here so we can see how this whole thing works. We’ll make sure we have the best three guys.”

On whether he envisioned being this far into the draft without taking a cornerback:
“Not necessarily. I didn’t have my odds set on having to draft a corner. I’m trusting that [CB Curtis] Marsh continues to improve and he’s been up here every day working. We liked what we saw last year and hopefully we continue to see improvement this year.”

On how important it was to get back a fourth round pick:
“[General manager] Howie [Roseman] did a nice job with that. We really wanted to get that back in place if possible and try to make ourselves whole. Howie worked it and was able to take that place.”

On the potential impact of the three defensive draft picks:
“You’ve to continue to bring an influx of young players in. That’s just this day and age in the National Football League. They are guys who think we can contribute early. Do I think we needed that? Yeah I do. It’ll help with competition level. Not that we don’t have good players at those positions, but you can’t have enough. That competition brings out the best in everybody.”

On whether he sees Marsh as the third cornerback right now:
“Possibly. We’re going to experiment with that just a bit, and we still have [CB] Joselio [Hanson], too. We’re okay there but we’ll see how he works and how he does.”

On whether CB Brandon Hughes can play the slot:
“He has played inside a little bit, yeah.”
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