HEAD COACH JOSH McDANIELS
END OF 2009 NFL DRAFT PRESS CONFERENCE
"Day two is officially over, well I don't know if the draft is over, but our part in it is. I am very happy with what we have accomplished here in the last two days which was to add the kind of players that will compete for spots on our team, and we feel like we did that with five more players today. I am looking forward to the competition as it begins later this week in our second mini camp"
On QB Tom Brandstater (6th Rd., 174th overall, Fresno State University)
"In terms of the mold of a quarterback, the arm strength, the height, he is 6'5" 220 and has a good arm. He is bright and smart, and I like that a lot. He has above average feet that he can maneuver a little bit in the pocket. I think he also has a passion for football, and for being the best player that he can be. He has got a long way to go as most quarterbacks coming into the league do, but he has a great attitude and a great approach, and he will be here later this week. I am looking forward to getting him in here and beginning to teach him."
On comparisons between QB Tom Brandstater and New England QB Tom Brady
"The body type may be similar, but I would not compare any quarterback to Tom [Brady] or Matt [Cassel] at this point. We are talking about a guy who has never even practiced at this level, so I am not going to put anybody in that category. I don't know if I have been around any rookie quarterback that has come in ready to compete immediately. He is going to come in and be competitive with his work ethic and in meetings, so we will see how far he can go, and we will continue to coach him the entire time he is here."
On the way he approached the draft
"I don't think this is a very deep draft in terms of players that would fit our system in those areas. When you get to a selection and you have a player that you valued much higher than another player, then in my opinion you don't want to draft someone because they play a certain position. There may have been a few times where there was some discussion had, but we are not looking to draft players and cut them, especially early on. If the player is not going to come in and compete with someone on our roster, then we are going to go in a different direction at another position, and that is what we did the entire draft."
On finalizing the roster
"We will not be done with our roster until the end of August. If that means college free agency after the draft, we are never going to stop looking. We are not going stop looking at any position not just including the front seven. We have players who have been here for the past few months working extremely hard, and we are going to see how they do and how much we can coach them."
On if they got every player they wanted
"I'm not going to say any names here or there, but the players we drafted yesterday and today I am very pleased with. Each has an opportunity to come in and compete and make our team this year and make our team better. That's what we were looking for, guys with skill sets that we value at those positions and the traits. Most of you have spoken to or asked questions to the guys we drafted on the first day and hopefully they represented what we are all about, which is tough, smart, competitive, good people, believe in the team. Not just it's ‘me, me, me.' None of them are like that. You're not going to find the five we drafted today are like that either. I'm very happy with the results of what we tried to get done this weekend. Again, the results won't speak until these guys actually get here and go into their first meeting and come out with a big headache and not having any idea what to do. Then they get out on the field and try to get better each day. It's a slow process, but we're excited about what we added on our team this weekend and we're looking forward to coaching them here on Friday."
On if they targeted more offensive players
"I mentioned before, we were trying to add good players on either side of the ball. I think the perception was that we were going to do more on one side than the other, but if we could add good players on either side of the ball or, in many cases, we added players that can help on our special teams which is a big key for us. We have so much room to improve on special teams. We were 32nd in the league in field position, so anybody that can help us on a kicking unit, I'd love to have them in a Bronco uniform. We addressed some areas where we felt we could help our team. Some of those were offense, some were defense. I didn't have a preset number. Sometimes when you get to a selection, you have two or three guys you are hoping are going to be there. Then you mini-rank them throughout the draft, then two picks before you pick, one of them is gone, then the pick before you pick, the other's gone, so you say, ‘that's our guy.' That happened more than a few times. That's the process that you go through and we hopefully got the value we were looking for at each pick."
On speaking with drafted players
"I personally spoke to each player that we drafted before we actually sent the card in today. Most of the players, I think seven in total, came to the facility before. The other three we worked out extensively in private workouts. We either met them here, did a private workout, or, in many cases, did both. We are very familiar with each player we have now. I think that helps the process. When we called today and I got on the phone, there was a familiar voice on the other end. They knew me, I knew them, and they knew what we're about too. They've heard it before."
On familiarity with drafted players
"We took advantage; we used almost all of the allotment we are permitted as far as bringing players in. I think the number is 30 that you're permitted. We brought in close to 30. Like I said, seven of ten have been here before. They know their way around, they've seen the facility. They've met me and the coaching staff. We targeted players; we weren't trying to throw a bunch of smokescreens in the process. We wanted to bring in players we had a sincere interest in and we felt could help our team. We're fortunate that we felt comfortable with them, we watched them on tape, we brought them here, and we saw them at the combine. We have a mini relationship started already with many of them."
On WR Kenny McKinley (5th Rd., 141st overall, University of South Carolina)
"He can really run and he's got very good hands. He's smart and loves to compete. He's a guy that can play more than one spot in the receiver alignments. Adding a player that has sub 4.4 speed, I think anytime you add a skill player with that kind of speed, it's a good thing and you've gotten faster. You've hopefully helped out your special teams in some capacity, which hopefully Kenny can do. He's a great kid. Again, he loves football and he loves to compete. He's very much like the other players we drafted, he has a little different skill set, but should fit in and compete with the talented receivers we have on our roster."
On S David Bruton (4th Rd., 114th overall, Notre Dame University
"He's one of the finest special teams players in the draft, period. He was a great gunner for the punt team, getting down there and getting to the returner before the ball was caught, many times forcing a lot of fair catches. He's got great speed. I think he's the fastest safety in the draft. He could really impact us on three or four teams; punt, punt return, kickoff, kickoff return. I think he's blocked a kick or two in his career, or certainly has the capability to do that. He's got great range in the deep part of the field as a safety also."
On if any rookies will start this season
"I think it's so hard to tell how fast they are going to get to that point. At some point through injuries or progression, you may end up with that many starting. I don't know, we'll see. But I love the attitude that every one of these guys is going to approach our organization and our team with, which is that they are going to come in and work hard. They know they have good competition ahead of them. They know they have good veteran players to learn from. They're going to try in any way they can to help us improve. If that means starting one of them, or five of them, or all ten of them at some point, then I hope our team is better for it."
On offensive line
"I think that's a spot you always- you know, you don't ever turn head away from. If you feel like you've got good players inside that fit your scheme, that are athletic, physical, smart players that can play more than one position, which is important. We don't want to have players too many players along the front that don't have good versatility. (C) Blake (Schlueter) and (G) Seth (Olsen) both, they can play either guard or Blake's certainly more center than Seth. But Seth is a player that will learn how to snap the ball and play center once he's here. So, to have three-position versatility inside is very big. We have some players on our roster right now that have that, and we looked to add more and those two players were guys that we really liked."
On strategy during draft
"I think we were aggressive, if you want to use that term. We didn't have that many players on our board once we were done with the evaluation, and that was the goal. ‘Let's get the players on the board that we want on our team. Let's not have 200 names up there if we don't want 200 guys on our roster.' So, we had a board that was thinned out. (General Manager) Brian (Xanders), and the scouts and the coaches did a great job evaluating the players they had in their areas. And, by the end of the process, our board was thin. We knew we wanted to come away with players on our board and we did, we didn't go to the back board for anybody. At some certain points in the draft, I think you ask yourself ‘If we wait, is he going to be there?' And there were a few times where we felt like there's no way. If we wait, we're not going to be able to attain a player that we'd like to get. We weighed the value of what we were trading to try to go ahead and get the players that we were looking to get. And we have a totally full draft next year, one through seven. So, we didn't give away any rounds next year. We had a couple extra (this year) and we used those to move and get the players in this year's draft."
On trading own pick in 2010 draft to Seattle to acquire CB Alphonso Smith (2nd Rd., 37th overall, Wake Forest University)
"We agreed that (the pick) could be ours. After talking through with (Seattle), we felt like ‘that's okay, we'll roll the dice. I have no idea where Chicago's pick is going to be, and I don't have the foresight to know where our pick is going to be. So, we felt like, at that point to haggle over something like that, that may not turn out in your favor, but it may. After discussing it with (Seattle), we said, ‘alright, let's go ahead and do it."
On trying to get more picks in Rounds 3-7
"It's an interesting night after the first day of the draft where you kind of take the players that are left. After the first day, it's even thinner than it was when it started on Saturday. We took the players that were left on our board, that we felt very good about in terms of wanting to try to acquire those players. We stacked those differently from top to bottom. We felt like if that group of 20-some players starts to go quick in the third round, where we didn't have any selections, then our best maneuver would be to try and get as many of them as we could. But, we felt comfortable with where we were at, looking at the players that we had a chance to get, so we just took them."
On pursuing college free agency, feelings of roster
"I don't think the work's going to ever stop. We're going to address the college free agency hard, we're going to bring in some college free agents and see if they can compete. And, if they can win a roster spot, that's great, that's good for our football team. And the ongoing spring, college free agents, veteran free agency- there's a lot of things that go into that. By the time August rolls around, we'll have a much better idea, a much better feel. But we're going to bring in the amount of players that we can bring in after the draft to try and give ourselves an opportunity to see as many guys that we kinda liked that didn't get drafted as we can. And if those players are good enough through a month-and-a-half of minicamp and passing camp practices to make us want to take them to training camp once all the draft picks are signed, then we'll do that. But they'll have an opportunity to do that in the next month-and-a-half, and if they succeed at that, it makes our team better."
On the type of player the Broncos were targeting
"From the get-go, we targeted a certain type of player: tough, smart, competitive, versatile, a good person that loves football and wants to win. And we think we brought in those types of free agents with every guy we brought in and we think we drafted 10 players that fit that mold also. And the college free agents that we bring in will hopefully be the exact same. So, if our locker room is full of those kinds of players, we're going to be happy with the kind of player we have in there. And, ultimately, it's our job and their job to come together and improve throughout the entire spring so that'll we get to the point, as a football team, where we can actually execute and play well. It's not only good to have those kinds of players, but to play well with them. And all of them are good players, and they're going to have an opportunity to make us better. Again, I can't emphasize enough how much we're going to try and win as a team. It will not be one side of the ball. It will not be one side of the ball beating the other team, it won't be the other side of the team beating the other team. It'll be three phases, playing well, playing together, complimenting one another and playing good situational football, and that's how we'll win."
On S Darcel McBath (2nd Rd., 48th overall, Texas Tech) and CB Alphonso Smith (2nd Rd., 37th overall, Wake Forest)
"Both (S) Darcel (McBath) and (CB) Alphonso (Smith) have gotten their hands on the ball. And that, to me, is sometimes something you can coach a player to improve in that area, and sometimes that's instinctive, that's something that they possess as football players. They can see the quarterback and the route at the same time so they can get to the catch-point before the receiver does. I would say it's hard to find guys in a draft or free agency that you feel like have that kind of production. So, hopefully we've addressed an area where we feel like we can help our team turn the ball over more with the players we have in the secondary. And hopefully it shows this year on the field."
On pursing college free agents
"We're going to try to get as many as we can today. The competition starts as soon as (pick) 256 is done. So, we'll see how fast we can get it done and obviously we'll work as late as we can today to try and close those things off, so that in the morning we feel like we've got an idea of who's going to be here on Thursday."
On C Blake Schlueter (7th Rd., 225th overall, Texas-Christian University)
"He's one of the best athletes, in terms of those interior positions, that was in the draft. I think he was the fastest interior linemen, not that that matters a whole lot- they don't have the ball and are running away from everybody. But it shows that he can move and that he has good movement skills and that he can do some of the things that we ask our centers and our guards to do, in terms of the zone scheme that we'll use, in terms of pulling and getting out in front of the runner, screens- a very athletic player that can do some of those things and that's going to be something that we're going to try and improve at this year, is our screen game. Blake (Schlueter)'s very versatile, very, very good kid, very smart, multiple positions, flexibility. And he fits the mold of what we're looking for in there. His athletic ability is certainly a big plus."
On C Blake Schlueter getting bigger
"I think he was 292. If he can get a little heavier, that's great. But he's certainly effective, strong, plays strong, plays with great leverage. That's one of the things, he's 6-2-and-a-half and he uses that to his advantage. He can bend, he can get under people, he can anchor the pocket and drop back passes, and that's something that's valuable to us here. But I think he can probably get a little bigger."
On draft experience as head coach
"It was great. (General Manager) Brian (Xanders) and I worked hand in hand the whole weekend and it was a lot of fun. It's always great fun when you're sitting there adding player after player after player that you feel like can come in and improve your team. And to actually put the tag on the board, where he's actually on your roster, on your depth chart, that's a neat feeling. So, it was a great experience, I look forward to next year's draft and going through the process again."