Philadelphia Eagles News

Head Coach Andy Reid

Opening remarks: "We've had an eventful last couple of days here with a lot of picks taking place. Today we finished up with, in the fourth round [LB] Casey Matthews who's an inside linebacker/outside linebacker. He can play the strongside, weakside, or the MIKE. And I'll get together with [defensive coordinator] Juan [Castillo] and we'll just figure out exactly where we'll use him. [K/P] Alex Henery who is a kicker/punter. Again, we'll just see how everything goes with our kicker and punter and as time goes on, [K] David [Akers] and [P] Sav [Rocca], but we sure are glad to have Alex aboard. And he was the best in college football and at this particular time it was hard to pass him up. And then in the fifth round we took [RB] Dion Lewis who is the running back for Pittsburgh who really came in and kind of broke all of [current Eagle RB LeSean] McCoy's records – not that McCoy wants to hear that. But they're good friends so I say that a little bit in jest.

"So we brought him in to put him in the running back mix and he can do everything for you as far as running the football and catching the football. He'll have to work a little bit on his pass blocking, but we'll get him coached up on that. And then [G/C] Julian Vandervelde is an offensive guard/center, primarily played guard, from Iowa. And again, we were able to add some depth here to our offensive line and some competition. And then, [C] Jason Kelce who is a center, a converted linebacker to center at Cincinnati, and he brings just what you would think: just a tremendous amount of toughness and quickness and want-to to that position. Again, it will be a good competition at that position, there. We took him in the sixth round along with [LB] Brian Rolle who is a linebacker, outside linebacker, predominantly weakside linebacker or nickel linebacker, from Ohio State. And Brian is a rare breed, man. He's not real tall. He's put together like no other and he makes plays all over the field. If you look at the linebackers he's one of the finest athletes in that group.

"And then in the seventh round we were able to pick up [LB] Greg Lloyd who's an inside linebacker; in our system he would be a MIKE linebacker. [He's] a big, physical guy from Connecticut and he's very good inside the tackles; he will hit you. He was banged up last year coming off of knee surgery so he's really had the year off. He'll come in here and compete. Again, it will give us tremendous competition. And then we finished up with [FB] Stanley Havili who is a fullback from USC and he's an all-purpose running back is really what he is; he can block, he can catch, and he was the most gifted of all of the fullbacks.

"It's just he's coming off of shoulder surgery and right now recovering from that. But you're looking at a guy that can carry the football for you, particularly he did quite a little bit of it in the one-back sets that they had, and then in their two-back sets be a fullback that can block and at the same time catch the football. Again, we'll add competition to our fullback spot. So I think we brought in, if you had to take a couple characteristics of these kids here is that they're smart and they're tough. I can't look through here and tell you one kid that doesn't love to play the game and I think that at this level that's a huge, huge intangible that you need. This is a rough sport and these guys like to mix it up and I like that."

On whether Akers will be back with the team next year: "Well listen, I haven't even gone there with [general manager] Howie [Roseman]. But I will tell you that [Henery] is a good kicker. And so, we'll talk about that as we go here."

On whether he felt he had to make a move for a kicker just in case Akers doesn't come back: "We'll see. It's more about this kid just being a good kicker. I really haven't gone there. It's a little different right now with where we stand with this football today as we talk. Right now David's with us."

On the inside linebackers the team drafted are small and whether they will have to put on size: "Well, you know, obviously you start with Casey. And Casey kind of bounces between 230 [and] 235 [pounds], right in that area and I'd give you a whole list of starting middle linebackers that weigh that much in the National Football League; there are some pretty good ones as a matter of fact. I don't consider him small. Rolle would be considered small and what an amazing thing for this guy to come in and start two years at Ohio State and be all Big Ten and that whole deal. I mean this guy's a heckuva football player, really fun to watch and we look forward to getting him on board. And then, I don't think anybody would call Greg Lloyd small. So I think that it just depends on how you look at things."

On whether they would have drafted a kicker had Akers signed the transition tag: "Yeah, I think we're probably going to skip Akers [questions] right now and just kind of move on with it. I want to kind of concentrate on this [draft] and I'm not going to get too much into David Akers right now. We'll talk about these guys here."

On whether finding intelligent players was more of an emphasis because of the circumstances surrounding the league: "We try to bring in intelligent kids and I think Howie did a great job really focusing in on those intangibles that I mentioned, and smarts is one of them. And then, [Director of Player Personnel] Ryan Grigson and his army of guys, they went out and kind of gathered them up and got them in here. But I wouldn't say that it has anything to do with the lockout; this is kind of what you want. This is what you want to build a football team with – smart, tough guys that enjoy playing the game.

"I mean you kind of like that from a coach's standpoint. And then I've said before every game has those highs and those lows. If you get those guys that are up and down and kind of flow with the game I'm not sure that's a good thing. You want those guys that are just kind of steadily steady throughout the game and have that high intensity and just know that if a bad thing happens that they're turning it around into a positive and you're moving on. So I think all these guys kind of have that."

On whether he felt a need to get younger and more athletic on the interior part of the offensive line: "Howie and I both thought it was time to bring in some new guys. And we've spent so much time on the defensive line and bringing in the young guys there that we felt it was time now to make sure we get back and fill in here with some young guys on the offensive line and they give you some flexibility here. With the exception of Kelce they're two-spot guys; the other two can also play other positions."

On whether there was a reason he didn't address the defensive line despite having fewer sacks in the last half of the season: "Yeah, that was a little bit of a trend in the league with a few of the teams. We've gone back and looked at that and we think we have it worked out. We'll see if we do come the season."

On whether teams around the league having fewer sacks the second part of the season was the trend around the league: "Yeah, there was a little bit of a trend in that."

On selecting a cornerback that probably will not start right away: "Well I didn't make it that cut and dry, but what I was saying is that this was obviously a kid that was good enough to play in the Senior Bowl. You're looking at a kid that is really only two years at that position, so he doesn't have a lot of cornerback miles on him. I think what he'll do is he'll continue to get better. I think you'll see him progress even throughout the season, but he's a pretty good football player and he'll compete in there to start. He's got to present a lot of competition there, but what I think you'll see with him is a lot of continued process. We'll see how he does here. We drafted a pretty good corner last year, who made a couple starts for us, so we'll see how he does. We'll see how things work here."

On drafting a majority of players from BCS schools and major NCAA Division-I conferences over the past two years and if that is part of his philosophy for making selections: "Actually there are a few [small school] guys that we've liked. Villanova obviously had a pretty good player out there that we liked. There were a few throughout the country we liked. It's just not how it worked this year. We didn't have a set plan on not taking those players."

On selecting three players who have fathers that once played in the NFL and if that is just a coincidence: "Listen, they come from great bloodlines. I know Casey has one or two brothers older than him that are in the business world. That could go either way. We look at good football players that like playing the game."

On what position he sees Casey Matthews starting off: "Well we'll see. Howie and I are going to sit down and go through all of that and we'll work that out. He gives us flexibility and I know he can step in and be a linebacker. He's highly intelligent. He did that at Oregon in the nickel package—you saw him making the calls all of the time. You know he can do that and at the same time, he played well in their base package, so you get to see him do that. I have confidence he can play whatever position very easily."

On whether selecting offensive linemen was priority over the defensive line: "I wouldn't necessarily say that. [Defensive Line Coach] Juan [Castillo] looked at the kids here—you notice there's one from Iowa. Since Field of Dreams, I'm not sure anyone likes Iowa more than Juan. He really thought a lot of his kid. A lot of this was his son and Juan talking to his son, our relationship with their coaching staff up there."

On the dynamic of this year's draft with the lockout rules factored in: "It's not a finished product. I think we had some great kids here. Some of them fit needs and so on and will present good competition and make us a better football team. But again, it's not a finished product until you finish up with free agency and so from that standpoint it is different. So, we'll just see how it works out as we go here and move on.

"We've had a pretty good plan for free agency when it happens. We'll go back and evaluate these players here that we've taken and work that in and see how that's affected and see where we've got to go. We have covered the free agent part of it. We've gone in. Howie Roseman and Louis Riddick did a heck of a job evaluating all of these players; they narrowed it down to what players to look at by positions. We went through it, so we have a plan right there. We know who we like, so now it's just about evaluating this to see where we need to plug holes. We have several guys on our team that potentially, depending on how things go here, and free agent s, so we'll have to look at those guys and see how they fit in here and then go from there."

On whether the uncertainty factor of having players restricted or unrestricted  plays into making selections: "You have to see how things go here and let this whole process take place with the CBA and just see how things work out. Whatever card you're dealt there, then you work with, you evaluate what you have here, sort that out, and then go from there."

On the impact of having different coaches and whether that played into the lack of defensive linemen being drafted: "I want to tell you that by widening those ends out, that helps the pass rush, obviously. When you look at Tennessee's stats, they're going to look like our stats. There are teams that went through this that went through a little bit of a lull there, but there's some things you can do there."

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