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General Manager Billy Devaney and Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo

April 30, 2011 11:20PM
General Manager Billy Devaney and Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo
Final Draft Press Conference - April 30, 2011

(On if Mikail Baker is a safety or a cornerback)
(Spagnuolo): “Corner.”
(Devaney): “Baker is a corner. We had him in about two weeks ago. The more we watched - he was a non-Combine guy – we really liked on tape. He had a knee injury in ’09, and just to check him out, we brought him in for a physical to make sure he was okay and he checked out fine. (Special Teams Coordinator Tom) McMahon loves him. So you put him in the mix. He’s a good scheme fit. We’ll see what we have.”

(On if they view Baker as a returner)
(Devaney): “He’s done it, yeah. He’s been a return guy. We’ll let him compete as a return guy, but even if he’s not a return guy, he’ll contribute in other areas on special teams.”

(On if Baker was injured last year)
(Spagnuolo): “He had a knee in ’09.”
(Devaney): “And he had a collar bone, yeah. He’s a tough guy. He’s a football player.”

(On Oklahoma S Jonathan Nelson)
(Spagnuolo): “(Joking) We didn’t want to get yelled at by (Sam) Bradford because we didn’t take an Oklahoma guy. No, he had a little bit of injury history early in his career, but he had a good year. He kind of surfaced this year in his senior year. Great range. Those are the comments that a lot of scouts made and coaches. He played in a lot of big football games, so there’s some value there.”

(On Nelson’s production last year)
(Spagnuolo): “That’s what I understand. Like I said, he surfaced this year, so that’s a good thing.”
(Devaney): “It’s interesting, we’ve got two different types of safeties, the Ohio State kid (Jermale Hines) and this kid (Nelson). Just styles, just the way it was, totally different kind of styles.”

(On LB Jabara Williams’ size)
(Spagnuolo): “No, he’s a good sized guy. We didn’t see him as an undersized guy. He’s a good sized guy. We kind of like that about him. He played inside. He was a Mike linebacker. We’ll probably play him outside, but here’s a guy that one of the scouts was just telling us, early in his career, his freshman year, in a game played linebacker and running back. So you’ve got to be pretty smart and you’ve got to be pretty versatile to do that.”
(Devaney): “I think they were like 0-8. Their season was going (points down), and in the middle of the week, the coach said, ‘You’re the best athlete we have. You’re playing running back this week and linebacker. You’re not coming off the field.’ And he rushed for like 120 yards his first game.”

(On what they like about Williams)
(Spagnuolo): “He can run. He’s another guy that Coach McMahon is excited about because he’s a big body that can run, and if you’re a special teams coach, you can never have enough of those guys.”
(Devaney): “When we get down to this point, you’re usually looking at developmental kind of guys. You’re not looking at these guys to come in and make an immediate impact as starters, so their qualities better include special teams play. That’s how they’re going to earn their stripes as they’re developing as players, so all of these guys are viewed as major contributors on special teams.”

(On if they had a tough choice at the end as they used up all their time on the clock)
(Spagnuolo): “That was to keep you guessing.”
(Devaney): “There was more yelling and screaming at that point.”

(On not being able to signed undrafted free agents at this point)
(Devaney): “It’s different right now. I mean, we still have some compensatory picks going, but in a normal year we would have been on the phone by now, calling guys, recruiting guys, potential free agents. Then when the final pick goes in, there’s that frenzy to try to get players in, but that’s not the case right now. It’s just different.”
(Spagnuolo): “One of the toughest things is talking to these guys right now and saying, ‘There’s a chance we’re not going to be able to talk to you for a while.’ That’s a little different. That’s tough.”

(On if the inability to sign undrafted free agents had an impact on how they approached the end of the draft)
(Devaney): “No, not really. It still came down to the best chance to make a team and contribute. No, that part didn’t factor into the selection.”

(On if they approach free agency with lists of four-year and six-year free agents, depending on what rules are eventually in place)
(Devaney): “Correct, the UFAs (unrestricted free agents).”
(Spagnuolo): “We’re locked and loaded.”

(On if they’re anxious to fill out the roster by pursuing veteran free agents)
(Spagnuolo): “Yeah, you’d like to be able to do it, but it is what it is.”
(Devaney): “It’ll get done.”

(On if the Rams entered this draft hoping to get a running back)
(Devaney): “No, we never really said we have to. If it happened, it happened. It was probably close a couple of times and we didn’t force it, like, ‘Gosh, we better reach for this guy because we have to have a running back.’ There were running backs that we were thinking about taking and they went before our next pick came up. But we didn’t react by saying, ‘Okay, we lost the back. Now we’ve got to drop down in value in this round and take a back no matter what if he doesn’t warrant going there.’ It didn’t work out.”

(On if they had the same approach to the defensive tackle position)
(Spagnuolo): “Yeah, same thing. Names were up there and they flew off.”

(On if it’s tough to stick to their board when they have positions of need)
(Devaney): “Not really. Especially early in the draft, certainly not. When you get down in the later rounds, you can’t manufacture these guys, but by the same token, we’re not kicking off on Sunday. We’ve got a while to go, and what we didn’t fill these past couple of days, we know the areas that we still have to fill. And there’s ways to go about that.”

(On the competition that will present itself at tight end and wide receiver)
(Spagnuolo): “Yeah, which is a good thing. You hit the nail on the head. We’ve said this before, that one of the goals was to create competition at as many spots as we could. I just think that makes everybody elevate their play. You’re right about those two spots. That’s good."
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  General Manager Billy Devaney and Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo

Blue and Gold703April 30, 2011 11:20PM