GM Jerry Reese
Q: What impressed you most about
A: He’s NFL-ready – he runs the entire route tree. In this day and age in college football, it’s all about the spread offense, and guys don’t run the full tree. This kid runs the full tree. He kind of looks like a big, pro wide receiver out there with how he runs routes. I think he’s going to be a quick fit into the offense with how he plays; he’s big, he can post guys up. People mentioned
Q: How close were you at taking Randle with the No. 32 pick in the first round?
A: He was in the discussion. There were five guys in the discussion, and he was one of the guys who we spoke about as well. We were really surprised a little bit with him still being there because we thought he would’ve gone early in the second [round]. He was still there, and I think we’re fortunate to get a guy of his caliber.
Q: Are any of those five guys still available?
A: No. They’re all gone.
Q: Why not move up a couple of spots to ensure you get the player you want?
A: We like using all of our picks, and we’ve moved up to get guys before and it hasn’t worked out that great for us. We’re a little bit leery of moving up and taking guys. We’ve done that in the past and I don’t think our success has been very good.
Q: In Hosely’s case, what did you say about the drug test?
A: It’s a personal conversation. We’re aware of that, obviously. He’s not the first one to have a situation like that. He’s a young kid—he’s very young. He’s 20 years old. He’s an early-out junior. He knows that’s a bad decision that he made and we expect better from him. We feel like we have a good player in him as well. He’s not a big man, but this guy has athletic arrogance. He plays like a big guy. His skill set, years ago, kind of reminds me of Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones – he plays kind of like that. He runs in there kind of like a little linebacker. He throws himself in there. He has outstanding cover skills. He’s productive. He’s an interceptor, he can intercept the ball, so we expect him to be in our nickel packages. And a bonus is that he’s a punt returner. He can return punts and kicks, but he’s probably a better punt returner than kick returner. He has a lot of good qualities that we like. We think if he was a couple of inches taller, he would be in the first [round] [in the conversation] with the first two guys—those two top corners.
Coach Tom Coughlin
[Rueben Randle is a] big receiver, outstanding athlete, very smooth, quote unquote pro-ready, 97 receptions in the course of his career for almost 17 yards per. Size, speed. People said, ‘Can he get deep? He can get behind?’ Yes, he can. He doesn’t have that Olympic type speed, but he has the size and the speed and the power. He’s a smooth athlete. Very, very athletic guy and I guess Marc told you that we rated him very highly and when it came time for us to make our pick he was without a doubt the guy that had the highest grade.
Here, in the bottom of the third round we picked corner
Q: What’s it say that you work for an organization that does not panic and trade up, whereas some other organizations get antsy and do that when they have a chance to get a guy rated as highly as you had Randle rated?
A: Having worked with this group of men who are in our personnel department, I think we take a lot of pride in getting the proper grade on the player. A lot of pride in ranking the players properly and then stacking the board and believing that there is going to be a good player for us to pick by virtue of showing patience and not doing a lot of maneuvering. As an organization, when we go into a draft we look at the number of picks we have and we certainly expect to come out of the draft with that many or, if we’re fortunate, more, but we don’t do a lot of trading. We don’t do a lot of maneuvering. We do have a number of calls that come into the room offering to maneuver, a lot of which are ‘Are you interested in?’ Of course, as you know, to move substantially, particularly if you’re going to move up substantially, is going to cost you some picks. So we believe that we’ll have an opportunity to draft a good football player, whether you’re talking third, fourth round or whether you’re talking even later in the draft.
Q: When you see a guy like Randle drop, do you second-guess yourself?
A: No because I think the homework has been done. I think there have been a lot of personal calls made into that particular school, talking with coaches who have worked with Randle. Thomas McGaughey was with us as a special teams coach here and he is currently on the LSU staff and gave Randle a very strong recommendation and we have a lot of faith in Thomas’ ability to judge. Also, I think Jerry Reese has an individual that he has known for a long time on that staff who verified and talked about this player and his ability. Nobody is perfect. You have some things you have to be able to work with, but he will respond to good, solid coaching and that’s what he’s going to get.
Q: It seems like there are a few red flags.
A: There is. He did fail the test in Indianapolis. We’re very much aware of that and we’ve addressed that with him and we’re prepared to address that professionally as well when we do get him here.
Q: You’ve taken some chances on some other players like that in the past.
A: Provided we have enough information about the player to believe that we can work with him and he’s willing to overcome whatever issues he’s had.
Director of College Scouting Marc Ross
What were you thinking as he dropped and dropped?
A: I really didn’t think there was a chance we were going to get him. He was one of those where at the end of the [first] night you’re saying he’s going to be one of the first few guys taken in the top of the [second] round. Very surprising that he was still there. Just keep holding your breath, holding your breath. Nah, somebody will pick him. Until you start seeing some of these other receivers go. Alright there’s a chance and he was there.
Q: Do you think the quarterback play of LSU hurt him?
A: Definitely. The way LSU plays, they run the ball, they play defense and those two quarterbacks, to be quite honest, are not very good. So he didn’t get a lot of chances. When the ball came to him he was productive, but he just didn’t get a ton of chances to win games, to catch, but when they went his way he made plays.
Q: So how do you evaluate him?
A: There was enough to see his skill set and see his physical tools. Then you go from there. You see the practice, combine stuff.
Q: Did you think about trading up?
A: No, because we still had a group of guys that we liked that were still there. We don’t panic. We were hoping. He was definitely the highest guy that we had on the board, by far, and we were hoping, but definitely not thinking about trading up to get him.
Q: Did you have a first-round grade him?
A: Yeah, he was in our stack there. Actually we talked about him a little bit yesterday at our pick. So he was in the discussion yesterday.
Q: What is it about his skill set that specifically impressed you?
A: Reuben is an NFL-ready receiver. I think with receivers a lot of it gets overblown with 40 times and speed and this and that. You need guys that are NFL-ready and what I mean by that is this guy is strong, he can catch the ball, he’s a good route runner and he’s position savvy – he knows how to get open. To me those are the successful receivers in the NFL. I think our guys who we have now – Hakeem and Victor – if you put them at the combine you won’t notice them, but you put them on the football field and they just take their game to another level and this is how Rueben is in our eyes.
Q: How can you measure that?
A: Again, you can study the physical skill set, the speed, the strength, the quickness, the change of direction, his body control. You look at him running down the field wide open and then not being able to get the ball to him. But you just look at his individual gifts as a player, his physical gifts.
Q: Where do you see him fitting in?
A: That’s up to coach Gilbride and coach Coughlin. We just provide the players and then they coach them up.
Q: Rueben was the ninth receiver selected. Where did you have him on the receiver list?
A: He wasn’t ninth. He wasn’t ninth.
Q: Was he four or five?
A: That was so long ago I can’t even recall exactly, but he was up there.
Q: Former quarterback, does that help those guys?
A: Yeah and he plays that way. When they see the field and then they go to another position they have a great understanding for what’s going on. He fits into that mold.
Q: His games against Alabama – five catches, 32 yards.
A: Did you watch the National Championship game? The quarterbacks couldn’t even get from under center and get the ball off. Of course you’re not going to be able to get it down field. Just watch that game. It was impossible for them to run the ball, throw the ball, do anything. He just got smothered. There’s nothing the receiver can do if everything else isn’t going his way. He’s pretty much a byproduct of everything that’s going on.
Q: Can you get a feel for how quickly he can contribute?
A: Yeah, but I think his game will transfer well up here because of the way he plays. He plays like an NFL receiver – big, strong, physical, catch the ball – as opposed to a raw guy who needs a lot of development on routes and techniques or drops a lot of balls – needs to work on his hands. This guy pretty much has a skill set that fits in, will transfer pretty quickly.
Q: What have you done for your offense?
A: Hopefully made us better, more explosive. We just brought in two good football players, both of whom we really like. So hopefully we got better doing that.
Q: Does he have experience with Eli at the passing academies?
A: I’m not sure. I would think he would, being down there, but I’m not sure whether he has or not.
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