I know at Oregon he had some issues with his family and his mom. What was that like during your time there?
KELLY: I think he developed a great relationship with Scott Frost who was our wide receivers coach and now is the current offensive coordinator. I think he grew to trust everybody on the coaching staff and kind of considered them family. Just a special young man in terms of what he's been able to accomplish. He's graduated. He has his degree. I just think obviously he had a little different up bringing than some people, but never used it as an excuse, and always fuel to the fire for him to accomplish what he wanted to accomplish. He's got an opportunity now to play in the National Football League, and he's a college graduate, so it's a real good deal, and a really neat kid. You're going to enjoy him when he gets here.
In the draft was it a challenge to maintain objectivity with these guys you recruited and you know so well?
KELLY: Yeah, it is. I specifically stayed out of those guys and let the personnel give me what the grades are and what you think. You can ask Howie [Roseman] and those guys. I think there are points in time where they've got to convince me this is the direction we're going in because I try to divorce myself from that situation.
With such a deep receiver class, why did you want to go receiver back to back like this?
KELLY: Again, we're following exactly the way it was. When we kind of look up there, every time I think we always talk about it's staring you in the face, and he was the highest ranked guy we had. As we looked at it, it's the same thing, I think. You get to the bulk of the draft where we are now when names go, it's like, God, I liked him. He's a pretty good player. You just keep picking the names off the board, and you look at it, and look up. It's the same thing. Who is the highest ranked guy as we're going? What are we going to do? I thought we did a good job putting ourselves in position tomorrow. We have the first pick tomorrow morning which is an interesting pick, because I think everybody thinks overnight who they like. So sometimes it's got a little bit more value than just moving into the next rounds, because people are going to think if they need to move, the opportunity may be to move into 101, and we picked up another pick when we traded back. So we have two more picks tomorrow that we acquired, plus our other pick. So we've got a pretty good system that we continue to follow. There are still some quality guys on the board that we really want to get. We're hopeful they'll still be available tomorrow.
Can you talk about him as a returner, did he do both?
KELLY: He's more of a kick returner, he was a punt returner, but more of a kick returner. Bralon Addison was another young man that was a good punt returner for us. But Josh has returned kickoffs for us early in his career. Kind of the whole same thing that I think happens in the National Football League as they start and they're younger, they're really more special teams, and that's where he was. He was a really good kick returner as a freshman. As he kept moving up and becoming the go to guy at receiver, they backed off on the special teams standpoint.
That was a little issue returning kicks last year for you guys. You brought
KELLY: We hope so. I think it's been a big emphasis. The addition of
You guys get a lot of guys that have graduated or are about to graduate. Is there something to that?
KELLY: I think it's important from the standpoint of number one, intelligence is a huge part of what we're looking for in every aspect that we do, whether it's offense, defense or special teams. So the fact that they have a degree is proven where they are from an intelligence factor. The other thing, it's also what is their commitment? They set goals out for themselves and can they follow through for it? A lot of people can tell you they want to do this, this and this. But look at their accomplishments. Sometimes when you look at those things, it's always a plus when you have that. Tony Dungy came to speak to our team when I was at Oregon just to speak to our players about it, and I think he had some statistics that kind of blew our mind that the two teams from 2000 to 2010 that had the most graduates were the Colts and the Patriots, and there was something to it. Teams that are really successful seem to have that. Number one, I think it shows their intelligence, but I also think it shows you their commitment and people's ability to follow through with goals.
Chip, why did you trade back and use an extra third round pick, but you gained a pick. But players in the third round are better than the players in the fourth and fifth round, so why do you do that?
KELLY: I don't think it's necessarily that way, because not everybody sees it the way we see it or we don't see it the way they see it. I don't think we went back far. And we really feel that having the top pick tomorrow morning has a little bit more value. So really when you go back to the top of four, it's really you've gone back to the end of three. So when you look at it, it's the way we look at it, kind of conceptually is I can take him with this pick, or if I back up, maybe he's still here and I can get him. So you're getting a two for one is what you're trying to do.
Now sometimes that doesn't always work that way. Because when the risk is that when I back up, he gets picked. So we did it in the first round. We felt like we were going to take Marcus at 22, how far do we go back if we back up to, as I said yesterday, we backed up to 26. The thing that scared us is Dee Ford went, and now we're concerned who is the next pass rusher off the board and how do they look at it? Do you want to go back again? If we do, he may not be there. So you're gambling a little bit. Kind of playing with the house money. But when there is an opportunity to when you think you can still get the player you want. So we feel there are guys right now that we still have rated in the third round that are there that will be there tomorrow morning when we wake up and make our first selection in the beginning of the fourth round. But we picked up another pick. So we've got an extra body. So that's how we do it.
Huff had his best year statistically last year as a senior. You weren't there. Was he kind of where he was in the totem pole before that year and that's why maybe he was....
KELLY: Yeah, I think no, Josh was extremely productive in the three years I was there. But I think he's moved into a great leadership role, and when you talk to the coaching staff there now and in terms of the steps he made, we had some guys that played with him. Jeff played with him, LT, was one of those guys. It's a maturation process. But there is a marked improvement from each year. But he was a kid that did come in and played as a true freshman for us.
I think like most guys, you hope you see that production, and I do know in Josh's situation the same thing. It helps that that guy's pulling the trigger in Oregon is there too, throwing the ball around. Marcus had a better year at sophomore year than he did his freshman year. But they had a pretty special connection. When you see the highlights, he made some stand out plays and he's a lot of fun to watch.
You guys go into the last day of the draft, do you guys start looking at positions of need for the final picks?
KELLY: I don't know. I think we're still going to right now I would say we've addressed needs in terms of what we're doing. Now it's where can we add to this? I think that's more kind of what our mindset is as we're going tomorrow. You know you're not going to pass on, I don't think, any position right now if there is a guy that we feel we had him rated in the third and we're in the middle of the fourth picking. We're saying, hey, we'll take the guy. You know, so I think that's where you get value. A couple years ago here they took, I think, Julian Vandeville in the fifth and followed up with
Yesterday there were a lot of good players in the draft that you guys don't necessarily have on the board ranked high because they're not scheme fits. Would you say Louis Nix fits that role?
KELLY: No, I think Louis Nix would be a scheme fit because he's a 3-4 type player.
Even at his size? He's pretty big?
KELLY: We like big guys.
You're talking about the guys that are third round guys that could still be there. Just off the top of your head, are there a lot of guys still on the board?
KELLY: We probably have a handful of guys that we have rated above the fourth round that are still there right now. That is kind of how we look at it. It was the same thing last year. We kind of looked I think we had taken Bennie [Logan] last year at this time and we left. I remember going back up to the office and looked at the board, and
In going into the draft, was the objective to get two receivers?
KELLY: No, we didn't have an objective. We talked about we're going to let it play itself out. But we felt like with the depth at receiver, there are still guys there. I mean, that is the position that was the deepest in this draft. There are some other positions, as I said earlier, that we felt were pretty thin and you can see how it's playing itself out. But there are consistent players, we felt, receivers that could go in the first, second or third. And there are still guys tomorrow, day three guys that I think are going to make football teams. You know, just the influx of the juniors especially at that position, I think there were 10 to 12 juniors that jumped to the top of the rankings, starting with Watkins and Evans and those guys. There are still guys like Joshua who are seniors who are still good football players and productive players in the NFL. So just that position itself lent it to that. So we're not averse to taking another one tomorrow.
Will you get to a position where we say, okay, we're set there, and we don't need to take another receiver?
KELLY: We haven't gotten there yet, but there may be, yeah.
The other 31 teams have a full night to look at that first pick in the fourth round. Do you anticipate keeping it or will you shop it tomorrow?
KELLY: I don't know if shopping is a word but we'll listen. We'll align ourselves when we get back upstairs. We'll be on the clock when we get here. If we're going, who are we going to take? It's going to be him. Then it just comes down to value. You go through the histrionics of it, if we move down, will he go? What is the offer to where we're going from 101 to 107? If we lose him, who will still be there at 107? Do we feel comfortable with that?
Is there a point in the draft where you start looking at guys who suffered injuries during the evaluation process and aren't going to be available this year?
KELLY: Yeah, there is. Conversations are going on right now. We're at that point in time. You know if you do draft them, you get a quote-unquote redshirt year out of them, because they may not be ready to go, so they become an IR guy, and certain teams have had a lot of success doing that. But you have to weigh the value. A lot of that comes back from [head athletic trainer] Chris Peduzzi and his staff and what they feel the medical is on them. Is it a long term prognosis or just some time that they'll be ready in October, November, December? But that's a conversation.
Speaking of a redshirt, because you mentioned it -- do you look at
KELLY: Yeah, I guess we don't look at him as part of the class. But obviously, he's part of yeah, we didn't get a chance to see a heck of a lot of him. He did have shoulder surgery, and he's back here now full for the offseason program and running around. He's a guy that wasn't in the mix last year on the defensive line, but will be in the mix this year. Yeah, you can say that. We do look at him like that. So the big thing for us is we’ve got 68 on the roster, and between the picks we've made now and what we'll do tomorrow and with free agency, we'll add 22 more guys to round out the roster at 90 and kind of hit the ground running on Monday and see how the thing falls.