Titans Executives Recap 2011 NFL Draft




(on Zach Clayton)

As far as Zach, having a chance to coach Zach the last two years at Auburn, I thought he was a kid on the rise. Through that first year he had a bit of injury. That next year he went off and made some changes to his body. He's a kid that plays with great explosion. I think he feels better playing inside at the nose and I think he is going to be explosive. He's a gym rat. He loves football. I feel like that is going to bring a little bit of difference to that defensive line.

(on having versatile players on the defensive line)

You never know how this thing may turn out. You try to find versatile guys that will grow into something a little bit different, that may grow into a defensive end, a defensive end that may grow into a defensive tackle. Zach is built like a three technique but he plays like a nose guard. He loves playing the nose guard position so we feel comfortable with him there.

(on making the phone call to Clayton)

Once Cole, the area scout, got on the phone and talked to him it was a party. He was very excited. He comes from a great family. I know the family just from being a part of it. Everybody was very happy and I think the phone call caught him off guard.

(on Clayton's size)

In this draft, we always want more. We can't have it all. I like what is inside of him. I think he's going to bring something to this team as in leadership, the work habits that may transfer to other kids and other players around him.




(opening comments)

This if my fifth draft here and obviously it's Mike Munchak's first year as a head coach. A lot of the staff is new, the coaches, Ruston's first year. We had a lot of new people interacting and I can't imagine a draft that could have gone better. With everybody giving their opinions and discussions with coaches and scouts, the VP of player personnel, everybody weighing in and at the end of the day getting the right decisions for the Titans. I think the process was very smooth. I think we did a lot of good things to help our football team. With that let's open it up for questions.




(on Tommie Campbell and his unique story)

He is well-traveled. What we saw in him was he is 6'2, 203 and ran the 4.3 at the All-Star game. He is somebody that had some ability. When you get here so late in the seventh, corners with that kind of size and speed are hard to find. Usually you try to sign them as free agents and when that opportunity came we felt like that would be difficult to do. Without any free agency, it was the time to take a flyer. At this point in time, seventh round and four picks from the end, we had a couple of guys we were talking about. We just felt like we felt comfortable taking that flyer. The scout had a conviction on him and had spent some time with him and talked to him. That's what you do late in the rounds, listen to your scouts.

(on other teams looking at Campbell)

I think his well-traveled past, maybe they wouldn't have drafted him, but when it came time to sign guys to bring to camp as free agents. Sometimes that's what you do in the seventh round, late. You are thinking about am I going to be able to get this guy in free agency if I want him? Philosophically, I feel like you take the guys, linemen and corners with that kind of size and speed. That's what you do. There's a lot of receivers out there, they are always out there after the draft. There's not a lot of linemen, not a lot of corners. We just felt it was the time to take a chance.

(on Campbell's off-the-field issues)

Part of it was grades. I think there were some other issues but nothing that we know of right now from an arrest standpoint. It was probably a violation of team rules type of thing.


(on Campbell's ability to play safety)

I think he played some safety in one of the All-Star games and he has a chance just because of his size and speed. He's an intriguing guy to look at, at that point in the draft.


(on what attracted him to Campbell)

The sense we got is that he is hungry. That was one of the things that attracted us to him is that he is hungry. He's going to get his chance. With that kind of speed and ability, if he does what he is supposed to do then he has a chance to play in the National Football League. He's going to get his opportunity.


(on the importance of getting late-round picks who can make a difference given the uncertainty in veteran free agency)

Well, I think the nice thing is, going into the draft, we had nine picks with the two extra (compensatory) picks.  That helps us greatly.  I think we did a good job of trying to address certain areas of need, and I think if you look at the defensive line, the linebackers, some of the holes we had, we've been able to fill some of those holes.  So it does take some of the pressure off from free agency.

(on if not being able to sign rookie free agents immediately affected anything)

Not really.  At some point we're still going to do that.  Who knows when, but the college free agency will still happen.

(on rebuilding the defense through the draft)

I think the three defensive linemen help us immensely.  We got some big guys; we got some guys that are versatility.  I think the two linebackers—one has a chance to start right away and the other has played inside and outside.  I think you've got some guys that can impact the defense right away.




(on rebuilding the defense through the draft)

We got the kind of guys that fit our system.  Coach (Jerry) Gray was up here numerous times talking about we not only got guys, we not only got three defensive linemen, we got guys that fit what we want up front.  We wanted to get bigger, and we did get bigger at the defensive line position.  Like Tracy just talked about the two defensive tackles we drafted, we feel they can both do a great job inside helping stuff the run and take some pressure off the linebackers so they can get involved in the tackles in the run game.  Same thing at linebacker.  We did the same thing.  We got ourselves a nice-size SAM linebacker, which we didn't have.  We got bigger at the linebacker position, which is also what we were trying to do going in.  So we filled the need, but we also filled the need with guys that we feel are great fits for what we are trying to do as a defense.

(on if the defense is going to have a new look)

Well I don't think we'll be—and that's more for Jerry; he's talked about it a little bit—it's still a 4-3 front.  It's not going to be drastically different.  I think the way we're playing it with this linebacker on the line of scrimmage is a different look.  You're asking the SAM linebacker to set the edge more and have the defensive end in tighter, be a more physical player for us rather than having the defensive end wider in that position.  That just changes things.  It changes the attack of the offense, how an offense attacks that front, especially in the run game, is what we're trying to do, especially with the front, having bigger guys inside rather than pass-rush guys inside.  I think you'll see some changes, obviously, and we'll see how it goes.  But I think we found the kind of guys that we're looking for in this draft.  We got quite a bit of help the last three days in that regard.


Yeah, the other thing I think you might see: more versatile guys, guys that are playing different spots in different positions.  I think that's one thing that you probably will notice.


(on trying to identify versatile players in prior drafts or if it was a point of emphasis in this draft)

I think it was more of a point of emphasis.  From a versatility standpoint, that's always a good thing, especially when you're talking about linebackers and defensive linemen, you know, guys that can go inside and out, and then linebackers that can play multiple spots, which I think (Colin) McCarthy will be able to do.  So you're always looking for that.  From a scheme standpoint, we had to change a little bit of what we were looking for because the scheme changed a little bit.  When the scouts, when we were all out on the road during the fall, we were looking for one thing, you know, one type of linebacker, one type of defensive lineman.  When the new staff came on, we had to adjust that, but we'd identified what everybody was, so it wasn't that difficult to do.  We just started looking at maybe a different group of players.


(on what they liked about sixth-round offensive lineman Byron Stingily)

He's an athletic guy, a 315-pound guy that I think ran a 4.95 (40-yard dash), which we haven't had many of those tackles around here.  So athletic guy that we felt…We had him come in for a visit, one of our 30 visits a few weeks ago.  So we got a chance to spend time with him, Bruce (Matthews) did and Art (Valero) did and watch some tape with him, get a good feel for him, and felt he was a guy that could come in and provide some competition at the tackle spot as a swing tackle, feeling he could play both sides—right and left tackle.  He's always a guy that at some time you can always move him inside to guard.  Start initially at tackle and then have some competition there with (Mike) Otto and (Troy) Kropog.

(on what Stingily needs to work on most)

I think it's just flipping sides.  I think just playing both sides, getting to learn our system a little bit.  Same thing most guys have coming in.  It's going to be new to him.  He's a raw guy.  He's a guy that's got to develop.  But like I said, Bruce and Art felt really good about him, really liked his time here and thought he'd be a nice fit for that.  And it's hard to find tackles on the board.  A lot of times you evaluate tackles, and you're saying, 'He's a right tackle, he's a right tackle.  He can maybe play guard.'  This guy had an opportunity to play both sides and then maybe go into guard later on if we needed him.

(on how much it helped Stingily to work prior to the draft with former Titans tackle Brad Hopkins)

I think those things are a big help.  I think a lot of these guys have been helped the way they work from the combine to the draft.  These guys that do spend the time working with the ex-NFL players, I think it's a huge advantage for them with learning some of the techniques, the mindset that they learned spending time with someone like Brad.  Obviously playing tackle, playing the position, and fortunately we drafted him, so Brad's probably teaching him things that we taught him here a little bit.  So it can only help him.

(on whether he talked to Brad Hopkins about the pick)

No, I had not talked to Brad.

(on his first draft as head coach)

It's a great feeling.  It was really…I really didn't know what to expect.  I've always saw it from a different perspective.  I think, like Mike said, I'd like to echo what he said.  I think what he does and what Ruston's done with his staff and scouts and to actually be in the room and see what really does go on, I've always been…As coaches, you stay down on the main level until we're needed for help in some of the decision-making.  But to see how the scouts, how well they work together, how they interact, it's a stressful deal.  There's a lot going on that you don't realize until these picks.  You see the finished result of, hey, we took Jake Locker with the first pick.  But there's a lot of discussion, there's a lot of guys involved, and it was great to see how well that process went, especially with the first three picks.  It seemed like it just fell in order of guys we wanted, and it was good consensus of what we're doing.  For me it was an awesome experience that went about as well as it probably could.  I have nothing else to compare it to.  This was my first shot at it—


Best one ever! (laughing)


Yeah, best one ever.  Hopefully I'll say that every year.  But yeah, it was interesting.  It was a learning experience for me and something that, just like anything, you'd like to get better at and more prepared at every year, personally like to get involved with.


(on the team's priorities once free agency starts)

It is one of the interesting things by the way this is all playing out that normally you would do free agency first.  By doing the draft first, we addressed a number of issues.  We will meet this upcoming week and kind of go through free agency and kind of re-prepare for that.  We still have some places we can add some depth, some holes we would like to fill, but obviously the draft took care of a lot of those issues for us.

(on specific areas of need)

I think a veteran quarterback we've said.  We still might even add some interior defensive line; we might look at a veteran there, maybe a safety.  There are some other positions we will look at.  And tight end.

(on looking at bringing in receivers)

We will probably add some young guys.  We need numbers, but it doesn't have to necessarily be a veteran free agent.

(on the rules going forward for college free agency)

There is no college free agency at this point in time.  When the draft ended, all contact with college players ended.

(on his preference for the order of the draft and free agency)

Why don't you ask me that question when we're all done.  Not today but at the end of the process.  I think we have to go through the second half and really see how that goes.


(on if they were able to put the scouts in touch with some of the college free agents before the draft was over)

Yeah, until the draft was over and up until we were able to talk to those guys and recruit them a little bit.  Our guys did a good job of that.  Scouts take a lot of pride in that free agency part of it.  We did a little bit of that just to lay the ground work for the future.


(on trade possibilities throughout the draft)

We had a number of conversations with clubs, but at the end of the day we were in position with the board that there were always three or four players that we liked and wanted for the Titans.  It made more sense just to stay put where we were.

(on how many of the draft picks can make an immediate impact)

That is a tough question certainly.  I think you really have to get into the OTAs and when we start practicing again to really get a feel for it.  I think all of them have some traits; all of them we think have a chance, so we really need to see them in person competing with the other guys before we can make that decision.

(on the decision-making process to draft Jake Locker and whether everyone was on board)

I think that is an interesting question because I think kind of what happened I think Ruston probably saw him most early on and formed some opinions.  I probably saw him second in line and then Mike and the coaches they came later.  It is actually very interesting because I think we all formed our opinions separately and then came together at the end and surprisingly we all agreed.  We all saw the same things, which is a very reassuring way to do it.

(on the lead up to the draft and where they felt they could take Locker before another team drafted him)

It became clear that we placed a certain value on him and in our minds that the number eight pick was a pick that we felt very comfortable taking Jake at.

(on the lockout being reinstated)

I don't think we have had time to register that feeling quite honestly.


(on the scout that identified Tommie Campbell)

Richard Shelton.  He does the East for us. 

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