General Manager Doug Whaley**
Friday, May 9, 2014
Opening Statement:Thanks again for coming out. We're extremely excited to get Cyrus (Kouandjio) in the second round. We projected him as first round pick and we didn't think we'd have a chance to get him at our pick in the second round, so we're very ecstatic to be sitting here right now talking about him.
Q: Why did you trade down? Did you have a sense he wouldn't go between 41 and 44?A: We had a group of players that we were very comfortable with in that range that if he did go we had another guy we would be extremely happy with picking.
Q: There are reports that he failed multiple physicals with other teams. What can you say on that?A: I can't comment on other teams. We have supreme confidence in our medical staff and we look at not only our medical staff and what they came back with, but his resume. The guy didn't miss practice and he didn't miss games. We're comfortable with it.
Q: What does he bring to your team?A: Prototypical right tackle. Very aggressive run blocker, people are going to say that against smaller defensive ends he had some trouble. He's not going to be playing against 6-2, 190 pound defensive ends in the NFL so we're comfortable he'll be able to protect the right side. We're excited about his size and his length and what he may lack in a little foot quickness, he'll make up in length and make them take a bigger arc to get to the quarterback.
Q: Long term are the knees concerning to you?A: Again, our medical staff cleared him, passed him and we don't have a problem with him long term or now.
Q: How high do you feel the ceiling is with him?A: We think it's very high. We think he has untapped potential and we're excited about it.
To follow up on the last question, nowadays he can go out and blow a knee tomorrow, so we can't worry about that. Again, we looked at our medical staff and how they reported on it and his resume and the time that he played and minimal time missed at Alabama.
Q: Obviously you were looking to get a pick back?A: It just presented itself. That wasn't out main goal going in to today, but it worked out that way. We gave up that sixth for Mike Williams and now we got a better pick, a fifth round pick.
Q: You weren't kidding when you said this is all about surrounding EJ Manuel with talent. Can you comment on that?A: Absolutely. There's nothing else I can say. We are committed. I want you to believe me when I say that stuff. That's why I always tell you guys that I'll never say never because I don't want to paint myself in a corner, but when I do say something I do it and I mean it and I try to fulfill it.
Q: How big of a concern was the offense when you look back at last year?A: We have to score points. That's the name of the game. We have to win games and to win games you have to score points. We wanted to improve the offense and we think outside we brought some weapons in, but we also needed to solidify the line. That's the plan with drafting Cyrus.
Q: When you reference the 6-2, 190 pounder, that is the Sugar Bowl you're referencing right?A: Right, the Oklahoma guy.
Q: His run blocking, how developed do you feel he is? How would you rate him?A: Out of 1-10 I think he is around 8, 8.5. He has some technical issues he'll have to brush up on and I have supreme confidence in our coaching staff and our head coach being an old offensive line coach, he'll get the best coaching there. One thing you can't teach is aggressiveness and toughness and he brings both of those to the table.
Q: As a second round pick, do you expect him to be starting on opening day?A: We expect him to be contributing early. Opening day? Not sure. I can't put a timetable on it; it depends on how he comes in and grasps the offense. Your first and second round picks have to contribute early and even your third. That's the way we attack the draft.
Q: In regards to Stevie Johnson's salary cap situation, do you know what you're going to do with the dead money?A: The dead money? We're going to have to eat it.
Q: Are you going to defer any of it?A: We're going to have some internal discussions about that later. Right now we're focusing on the draft.