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Quotes: Head Coach Chip Kelly

Q.  Do you just hate offensive linemen?

CHIP KELLY:  What's that?  You can ask that.  Do I hate offensive linemen?  No, I love offensive linemen.  You know, but again, you've got to take what's available.  You know, as we moved out of the fourth round, not having a pick until you get to six, so there weren't many offensive linemen left at that point in time.  The board was pretty depleted by the time we got back on the clock.

Q.  Did that run there in the fourth round on offensive linemen change plans?

CHIP KELLY:  There was a couple guys there, but a couple that you look at, and that's just kind of how it works out.  You can't predict where it was.  There was a run in the second round.  There were some guys we were really excited about, but they went before we picked also.  That's just kind of how it goes.

Q.  Did the Lions call you on the trade in the fourth round?

CHIP KELLY:  Yeah, the Lions called us.  They were looking to move up, and they had actually called us before the day started that if there's a player we're looking for there, would you be interested in this?

Q.  They offered a pick next year?

CHIP KELLY:  Yeah, they offered a pick in a higher round next year.  It's probably short‑term sacrifices for long‑term gains is what you're looking at when you're making those decisions.  It's one of those deals where right now you wish you had the pick, and then next year you're going, 'Great, we've got an extra three.' So when you're kind of caught in the moment ‑‑ that's why I think you have to have discipline on draft day.  When you're caught in the moment, we'd rather have picks on this day, but when you really think about it, just ‑‑ you have a better chance of taking a guy in the third round one year better than you do in the fourth round.

Q.  DB Randall Evans was a really versatile player at Kansas State. Do you see him as a safety?

CHIP KELLY:  You know, the unique thing about him is he's played safety, he's played nickel, he's played corner.  He's a physical player.  He's an outstanding special teams player.  [Kansas State head coach] Bill Snyder, you're getting a Bill Snyder‑coached football player.  They love him in Manhattan in terms of what they say about him. We had real good exposure to him.  He's a guy that we've had our eye on for a while just because of his ‑‑ not only his athletic ability but his position versatility, so he's a guy that we were excited that he was still there.  We didn't think he'd be there, nor did we think [DB JaCorey] Shepherd would be there.  I think some people even, if you follow the guys on TV, had him at a lot higher grade than he was.

Q.  Were you looking at both guys as swing players?

CHIP KELLY:  We had a priority of doing a better job in terms of depth at inside linebacker and getting guys to play in the secondary, so that's what we're looking at right now, and we could take another one in the seventh.  What we're going to get is ‑‑ if you look at the history, and I've studied the history here, they haven't drafted a lot of DBs in the last 10 years, and there's a thing. We need to develop those guys and try not to rely on free agency to go out and get those guys.  We had to because of the situation we were in, but we hope to continue to get defensive backs through the draft and develop them.

Q.  Offensive line, I think T Lane Johnson is the only o‑lineman you guys have drafted?

CHIP KELLY:  Drafted in the last two years, yeah.  It's just how it feels.  I mean, we hadn't drafted DBs in recent years, so it's just kind of ‑‑ you can't take them all.  You only have a certain amount of picks.  It's not that we don't think we need to create depth on the offensive line, but as you look at it right now, the only offensive lineman we've lost is [Colts G] Todd [Herremans], and so we feel like getting [G/T] Allen Barbre back off of his injury, [G/T Matt] Tobin and [G/T Andrew] Gardner played really well for us there, and we've got some young guys that we're still continuing to develop, [C/G] Julian Vandervelde is back. There's some guys there that have played for us, but it's just kind of how it fell.  There were some offensive linemen we were really excited about in this draft, but we just didn't ‑‑ they got picked before we had an opportunity to pick again.

Q.  Do you expect G Evan Mathis to be back?

CHIP KELLY:  That's a question for Evan.

Q.  A lot of numbers at cornerback now.  Do you expect DB Jaylen Watkins and CB E.J. Biggers to stay at corner?

CHIP KELLY:  We're going to throw them all out on the field and figure out who the best corners and safeties are.  And again, I've said this, I don't care on Monday who lines up where.  We just ‑‑ let's start working on technique, let's start backpedaling.  We've got a long way to go.  You've got three weeks of you can't even go against a look.  They're just backpedaling and braking and doing drills with no heartbeat across from them, and then we'll get going and we'll figure it out.  But the more people you have to select from, the better we think our prospects are in the secondary.

Q.  It sounds like you're saying you want Mathis back, it's his decision, the ball is in his court?

CHIP KELLY:  Yeah, Evan has a contract.

Q.  If there's uncertainty there about what he wants to do, how do you decide whether you take an offer for him or ‑‑

CHIP KELLY:  We have never had an offer for Evan, so there's nothing to take.

Q.  How do you decide whether to go shopping him?

CHIP KELLY:  Evan has been available to trade for two years now, and we've never had an offer for him.  That's through his agent and him.  They've asked us if we can renegotiate a contract and see what he can get, and we've obliged them with that, but we've never had an offer on him.

Q.  You've talked about measureables before with certain positions. These last two cornerbacks, is this a case that production kind of trumps that?

CHIP KELLY:  No, Randall is a six‑foot corner, 195 pounds.  JaCorey is just a little bit shorter but not out of the realm of what we're looking for.  I think he's just a notch at 5'11".  They're both in the ballpark in our height‑weight‑speed parameters in what we're looking for.

Q.  I think JaCorey ran in the 4.6s at the Combine.  Did he have a hamstring?

CHIP KELLY:  Yeah, he had an injury, hurt it at the ‑‑ I think he may have ‑‑ you have to exactly get with him when you talk to him, but we discussed it and his play time is a lot faster than that when you turn the tape on. But he was injured when he finally got tested.  But our first exposure to him was at the Senior Bowl.

Q.  As a kick returner, what stood out about Shepherd?

CHIP KELLY:  Yeah, he's a guy that fit [Vice President of Player Personnel] Ed [Marynowitz] and I on.  Obviously we have a lot of guys, and then once we kind of figure out where they are from a special teams standpoint, we ship them over to [special teams coordinator Dave] Fipp, and he gave him a really good grade as a returner.

Q.  Last year was the business with Evan – it was present in the offseason, but once he came in, everything ‑‑ he ostensibly did what he was supposed to do.  Do you expect that again?

CHIP KELLY:  I don't know.  I mean, the one part about this part with the CBA, and I've said it with [LB] Mychal [Kendricks] and I've said it with Evan, it's strictly voluntary.  I can't call him and tell him we need him to be here, nor would I.  That's the player's decision in terms of where they are, so that's a question for Evan, not us.

Q.  There's been no communication about the mandatory parts?

CHIP KELLY:  I haven't talked to him since -- the mandatory part doesn't happen until June.

Q.  Is LSU OL La'el Collins completely off the board?

CHIP KELLY:  He's not on our board.

Q.  Did any team talk to you today about Kendricks, any team at all?


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