With our 15th pick we took Jason Pierre-Paul. We had an opportunity to investigate him quite thoroughly. We traveled down to South Florida for his pro day. We brought him in just prior to the draft and spent extra time with him with regard to that. Much has been said about his one-year stay at South Florida. But that is fine. That speculation is fine. He is a very, very talented young guy who is very healthy, who tests out in all categories very well; long arms, rushes the passer very well. He has played down inside on the guard. He gives you a nice mixture in combination of people utilized in pass rush combinations. I think he can play the run. He has played on both sides – left and right defensive end. He has done that. He is very well thought of by the coaching staff. His position coach was retained and we did have a chance to spend quite a considerable amount of time with him. He had a lot of very nice things to say this young guy. He comes from a very humble background. Interesting introduction to the sport - his high school coach got him to play in a playoff game when he was a junior in high school. He hadn't played football – he was a basketball player. That started his career and of course his senior year in high school he became a football player. The rest is well documented. But this is a very, very talented young man with outstanding upside. It gives us tremendous flexibility in terms of the number of people that we have in our pass rush rotation. We expect that he will come in here and learn well. It will be an opportunity for him to spend a lot of time on the football – the playbook aspect of the game – probably something that he hasn't had the opportunity to do in his short number of years that he has played the game. So it will be a very important part for him when he reports out here to our rookie camp first and then in mid-May.
Q: What did his college coach say?
A: That he is a very eager young man; eager to learn, obviously doesn't have a great wealth of background in this sport but when you watch him play right away he certainly knows enough to adjust and maneuver on the field because he does. His pass rush arsenal includes inside moves and outside moves, a spin move. So he was very thorough in his description of this young guy and what he said is backed up by the tape.
Q: Did you get the impression that he can pick things up quickly?
A: I did. And according to all of the tests, that part of it is not an issue. The first thing that happens, as I have said many times before, is that the play book terminology is Chinese. It is something that they have to learn to understand what the terminology is. And that is the biggest problem for a young guy learning a new system. He has learned a new system each and ever year. But I think that he won't have a problem with the learning part of it; some of which you will have some obvious inexperience, you will have some things that he is asked to do that he has never done before. But as I said, he has played down inside, he has played both left and right defensive end.
Q: At number 15, it is a relatively high pick; a little more of a risk/reward kind of pick?
A: Yeah, but I think one of the things that we all did was, as you looked at the grades that were given to this guy, he was substantially graded. All of his tests came through and verified exactly where he was taken in terms of not only his ability but his off the field – his medical and all of those kinds of things. And we felt that as the round unfolded that here was clearly a guy who had outstanding grades, who was the highest graded guy on board when we took him. And I think you could find something about a lot of people. Some of the players that went before him seemed to have some aspect of their game which is questionable. So I don't think there is any greater risk here than another guy – a young guy who is very, very talented, who has tremendous upside, who we are looking forward to working with.
Q: When he played against Rutgers this year his name wasn't called a lot in that game. Did you guys watch the film of that game?
* *A: Yeah, we saw it, sure. Although it wasn't called a lot, am I wrong in saying there were two sacks in the game? Florida State, he had two sacks. So he may not have had his name called --- maybe they didn't know how to say his name. It is that P-P thing, you know what I mean?
Q: You have a lot of defensive ends now.
A: That is a good thing.
Q: Exactly. Some of them though have said things about wanting to start and not being really happy. With so many of them, do you have a delicate balancing act now?
A: Go play; let's play the game. Let's get on the field. Everybody has a chance to play. Everybody is going to contribute. It is a long season. We didn't rush the passer very well last year, so let's get back to playing football and rushing the passer and stopping the run and doing those kinds of things. And let's go back to what we did a couple of years ago. And we didn't do a whole lot of talking; we played. And I think that is something that we can do. We have had an outstanding offseason. With all of these defensive ends that are here, they are working hard. And we certainly would like to think that we have added to that group of young men who are good people and good football players. We have had success when we had depth and let's work at that aspect of it again.
Q: When you have a new coordinator like Perry Fewell, do you go to him and say, "Okay, when we get this guy, how are we going to use him? Do you see if it is on his agenda?
A: His agenda is my agenda. That is how the discussions will go. Have we talked about how this particular player will be used? Not yet, but we will when we approach the mini-camp and beyond.
GM JERRY REESE
Q: This guy, what'd you like about him? A lot of the scouts said he's a real hit or miss kind of player.
A: Well, you hear guys on TV say that. I don't think you hear many scouts saying that. There's a lot to like about him. He's one of those guys where he has a lot of things you can't teach. He's a rare, gifted, talented kid. He is just uncommon, I think that's a good word to use to describe his skill set. He's long, fast, athletic, he has a great motor. We're excited about having him and we are going to put him right into the mix with our three, four defensive ends, including Tollefson. We're not trading Osi, so you don't even have to ask that question. I know that is on everybody's mind and we're not trading Osi. We're excited about having the defensive ends that we have. He's a great pass rusher, and we like to pass in this league as we all know. This guy is really going to do a tremendous job coming in to help us rush the passer. We will also be helped on special teams with his speed and his length. We will always need some type of kick blocker and stuff in that respect as a special teamer.
Q: How about the fact that he didn't have a lot of high level college experience?
A: You take that into consideration, but he played well in a big league this past season. We think the guy has the biggest upside out of any player in the draft. Any player in the draft. That's how we really feel about this guy. We think that the sky is the limit. Robert Nunn and Perry Fewell are really excited about this player.
Q: How much input does Perry have in the process?
A: Well, our scouts have the most input. They go out and they know these guys. They have watched him for a couple of years. They know all the background so they are our number one source of information. Marc Ross and his staff, our coaches go out and do some work. They go to the pro days and they go to the combine. The coaches have input on it as well. Everybody in the room felt good about him, and that's what we try and do. We want everyone to feel good about the pick and everyone is excited about him.
Q: What are these things he has that you can't teach him?
A: The length, number one. He's 6'4", 270 lbs. The speed that he has and the long arms he possesses, the athletic ability that he has. Those kinds of things just come naturally raw, oozing with talent and the motor that he has. All those kind of things he has, you know, it's hard to find a package like that. He has some freakish athletic skills that we're excited about trying to hone and get him on a good path toward workouts.
Q: You say he has a good motor, is he a play-to-play kind of player?
A: Yeah, he has a great motor and plays hard. I have no problem with that at all, he motors.
Q: Do you think he's similar to Jevon Kearse coming out?
A: Length-wise, he's built similar to Jevon Kearse so yeah that's a good comparison. The body type he has that's kind of stringy looking. You rarely see guys with that kind of length and that type of body type. He does have a body type like Kearse, yeah.
Q: As the first round progressed and the 15th pick came closer, was it easy to pick him?
A: This was an easy pick for us. This was an easy pick for us. Obviously we have guys that we thought might be in our window. Again, when you pick in the middle of the round it's really tough to target guys. We felt like he could be one of the guys there. We're excited about him. If you pick in the top seven or eight, or bottom seven or eight, you can really target a player. Being right in the middle, guys come off the board all over the place. You're really not sure. It got close with this guy, and obviously they were a lot of good players picked before him. We were very happy to see he was still up there.
Q: Was there any player you were really holding your breath on?
A: No, we don't hold our breath on anybody. We just look for good players.
Q: How about on him, that another team might take him?
A: Not really. We don't hold our breath on anybody. We felt like there were some good players on the board two or three picks away from ours that we liked. We knew we were going to get a good player right there.
Q: How close did you come to moving up or down?
A: You know, we always keep our options open. I can't say we were close to moving up or down.
Q: We talk about this guy as a pass rusher, can Pierre-Paul play the run?
A: He can play the run. He can play the run, the pass; he has the whole package. We think that he has the entire package as a defensive end. Perry Fewell thinks he has good promise.
Q: Do you think he has the temperament and the maturity after limited time at the top level?
A: All the psychological elements were there. All of the interviews were good. We brought him in, on one of his visits here, and we wanted to find out everything about him. We don't have any reservations about this player.
Q: You used the word 'raw'…is he going to ease in this year or is he a contender to play?
A: When you pick a guy in the first round, you expect him to come in and play. We expect him to come in, and obviously, we like guys to come in and to play on special teams and we think he can do that. We expect him to get into the rotation pretty quickly.
Q: You mentioned not trading Osi before we could…are you worried about his reaction?
Q: Will you talk to him about that?
A: Osi and I have talked. Osi knows that he is going to be here. Osi knows we are not looking to shop him. He knows he is going to be a Giant in the fall and he is looking forward to that.
Q: Did any teams try to get him, maybe for a bargain deal?
A: Well, there is always chatter in the media about what we're doing and what we're not doing. This time of year, there is so much false information flying around out there. We did get a couple calls. They were like, 'Are you really serious about that?' So, we did get some calls. We are not looking to shop Osi in any kind of way.
Q: At the point you picked him, was he your value board choice?
A: Let me just tell you that this guy was high on our board, okay. He was high on our board.
Q: Did you identify defensive end as a need?
A: We identified this player.
Q: So it wasn't by position?
A: No. Our value board isn't by position. It is about who the best players are for us that we think are in the first row. He was high in our first row.
Q: His height and weight is what right now?
A: At the combine he was 6'4.6", 270 pounds.
Q: Does he have the frame to put on more?
A: He could be bigger, yeah. He is a lean 270 pounds so he can be a much bigger man.
Q: Do you think you will use him the way you used Tuck in his first year, playing all four positions?
A: We like that. That's what we look for. We look for guys who have versatility and can play inside and outside. Guys who can play special teams. We target that kind of thing so we expect him to play all over the place.
Q: Rolando McClain went early to the Raiders…were you surprised by that? How high was he on your board?
A: Well, not really. Nothing surprises me. You should never be surprised by anything that happens in the draft. He is a good football player and I'm not surprised he went that early, no.
Q: Do you think middle linebacker is a priority going into tomorrow?
A: We are looking for good players.
Q: You said this was an easy pick but you used most of the ten minutes:
A: You know, we looked to see if there was a possibility of something else happening. We talked, and then talked to him on the phone for a while. We made sure he was okay, healthy, and ready to go. So we took our time.
Q: After giving up 427 points last year, do you think defense is a number one need?
A: I think we can do better all over our football team. Our offense can do better, our special teams can do better, our defense can be better. We can't target anything. We win together and lose together. I don't think the defense is the only reason we went 8-8 last year. I'm the reason, the head coach is the reason, the players are the reason. Everyone is the reason. We win together and lose together.
Q: You brought J.P.P. here on a visit, did you put him on the board to see about his football knowledge?
A: We put him on the board and we were satisfied with what we thought he is capable of. We did our work on him, we did.
Q: Is he the best back flipper on the defense?
A: Hmm…maybe so, probably. I don't know.
Q: The other day you said you weren't going to pick a gymnast…
A: Yeah, well, I'm not interested in that. He's a good football player who can do flips, I guess. That's a good thing, too.
* DIR. COLLEGE SCOUTING MARC ROSS*
Q: Media tends to use words like riser/late riser. Was this a guy that was a riser? Did he make his way up as this process wore on?
* *A: In our eyes?
Q: Or did you identify him early?
A: He was a guy that during the season when I went to South Florida because I had four senior guys – where you put the tape on and you say, "Wow, who is the world is this guy?" Because you don't know anything about him; he just got there. But he makes you take notice because he is jumping off the film. So of course you track him though the year. He was just a junior but the way he was playing it was a very strong indication that the guy was going to come out. So, no, he wasn't a late riser for us. We had big grades on him throughout the year.
Q: Is it more difficult to grade a guy like this who has had a limited amount of playing experience?
A: Well, if you just base it off of when he played, it is very easy to grade the guy because he tremendous. And then you go, and just like any player that is my job – to scout these guys and dig deep and find out whatever --- all players have strengths and weaknesses, red flags. It is our job to dig deep and feel comfortable with those and research them so that we know they are a good fit for us.
Q: Did the defensive coordinator, Perry Fewell, sort of come to you and say, "This is what I am looking for."
A: No, not at all. We go through the process. We meet for weeks and our scouts write reports all year and we stack the board based on the best players. Of course, Coach and I will talk a lot but, no, the coordinators or the position coaches don't come and say that.
Q: Given his limited playing time, how much actually did you guys put in terms of time to scout him? How many games did you see; how many films did you look at? And was there one that really stuck out and you said, "Hey, this guy would be great for us."
A: Well, I have probably seen every game he has played this year. Our scouts, the way I have them do it, we have three scouts that do that area, they break down different parts of the season and do it. Of course the coaches get involved. Every game – Florida State – he jumps out on tape every game he played.
Q: You have three very good pass rushers – defensive ends. Is he like any of them – a body type like Kiwanuka?
A: He is rangy like Mathias in that kind of height. But when you see this guy – this guy is a freak of nature, really, some of the stuff that he can do and the way he looks. He is just a different guy. He has done things that I haven't seen in scouting – in games – that I just haven't seen.
Q: Like what?
A: Combination of the length and power and speed – just running though people and rag dolling tackles. He is just a different breed of athlete.
Q: Did he play against any tackles or linemen that were rated high? Because that is how you judge him, I would assume?
A: When you watch any position you try to grab the best matchup. I was at the Rutgers game – that was referenced earlier and of course watched the tape several times. He lined up on Anthony (Davis). They went head to head maybe 15 times and actually contacted each other seven times. And he did fairly well. So that was probably the best competition that he had even though they weren't the whole game up against each other.
Q: You guys are obviously comfortable with this pick. But is it tough to get comfortable with a guy who has such a limited body of major college work?
A: Of course you would like all guys to be fifth-year seniors or four-year starters and producers and all of that kind of stuff. But that is why you do the research. That is why we have the scouts and these guys that take a lot of pride in their job to make sure we get this thing right. And I take a lot of pride in what I do. And I wanted to make sure that we were totally comfortable with this guy.
Q: Is there athleticism or are the technical skills there right now?
A: No, when he learns how to really play, it is going to be "watch out." Because he does some things just naturally just playing – in your back yard just going. And when he really learns - when he gets his coaching and he keeps growing and developing like we think he will, he is going to be tremendous.
Q: Does this put a little pressure on your coaching staff – to get him where he needs to be?
A: How do you think I am going to answer that? Yes, of course. That is why you do it. With good teams you have to have that bond between the scouting staff and the coaches and that trust with one another with any player you take to hope that the kids do develop. They all are not ready made; they have to get better.
Q: How much did (George) Selvie, on the other side, how much did that benefit him?
A: We will talk about Selvie later. This kid is a great player. Selvie --- not much; not much. This kid helped Selvie.
Q: Then how do you know he won't – two years ago people were talking about Selvie kind of how there were talking about Jason PP now. How do you know he is not going to be another Selvie?
A: They are totally different players; totally different skill set; totally different athletic ability. The media was talking about Selvie – the guy had a tremendous sophomore year. He had 15 sacks or so. But his production has gone down and that is where you evaluate their skill set; their athletic ability; the height, weight, speed, the quickness, the strength, those things.
Q: There is a lot said about his 'up side' and when you look at a guy a lot of times you have to weigh potential against what you think you can get out of him right away. How much did potential kind of outweigh what you can get right away in looking at this guy for long term?
A: If he was a bad player and we were just basing it on potential, then you don't make the pick. But this guy is a very, very good player; tremendous player, an impact player who we still see with tons of upside, probably the most upside in the draft. But it is not like we are saying, "Man, we are hoping." We see it. The guy does tremendous things on the field. And he is a good player that we are hoping still gets a lot better.
Q: How much more weight can he carry on that frame?
A: This guy can be 280 easy, easy. He has almost 35 inch arms, tall, long legs, easy.
Q: Did you give the recommendation for Coach to go see him personally?
A: Of course I set it up to recommend to him that we should go see this group at South Florida. They had other good players, too, that we needed to see. So it was a good trip.