Coach Allen: I’ll just start off and say, first of all, I appreciate you guys being here late this evening. We feel really positive about the guys that we’ve been able to add to our team thus far. Both the guys we were able to add today we feel like are really good football players and really stand for the things that we’re looking for, and things that I’ve been talking about and Reggie’s been talking about, guys that really love football, guys that want to work, guys who are going to put the team first. Felt really good about the two picks we added today.
Q: How difficult is it to evaluate a guy like
Coach Allen: I think when you look at a guy like that, number one, you look at where did he play? What was the level of competition? This guy played at Florida State at a very high level of competition. He played extremely well. We like his athleticism. We like the fact that he’s been a boxer. He’s been a basketball player. He’s got excellent feet and he’s got great punch. We think that’s a good addition.
Q: The scouting report seems to be that he may not know what he’s doing all the time as far as technique. Is that accurate, you think?
Coach Allen: Well, I mean obviously, he hadn’t been playing the position for a long time. But we’ve seen…it’s not like we’re taking a guy that was just a basketball player and he’s never seen football. We’ve seen him play college football at a high level and play really well. This was a guy that we had rated as one of the top tackles on the board and he was available for us in the second round, so we took him.
Q: Either of the guys you took today, do you have an idea of where you might place them? For instance, right side of the offensive line or a specific linebacker spot?
Coach Allen: I think
Q: We talked to Sio and he said he’s the best linebacker in the draft. Do you agree with that?
Coach Allen: Well, I think he’s pretty good.
Q: He also said he was pissed off…
Coach Allen: I’d rather him say that than say, ‘Gosh, I wish I would have gotten taken in the seventh round.’ I mean, here’s a guy we had an opportunity to spend a lot of time with at the Senior Bowl. That’s one of the things that when you look at it, we spent a week with this guy, in the meeting rooms with him, in the dining hall with him, watching him interact with the other players. You talk about a guy that loves football. He epitomizes what we’re talking about when we talk about a guy that loves football. So, we’re trying to add as many quality football players as we can. He fits that mold.
Q: Did that put you over the top with him, that you got to know him at the Senior Bowl?
Coach Allen: No doubt. Obviously, you look at the tape and you see the qualities on the tape and you see the plays on the tape. I think he had the 10th-most tackles for loss in the NCAA last year. He’s a guy that has a lot of ability, but just being able to be around that guy for a week, he’s the type of guy we want to bring into that locker room.
Q: Is Menelik’s learning curve, only being a year at Saddleback and a year at Florida State, that you could see him making a quick ascension?
Coach Allen: Well, absolutely. I think one of the things that you look at when you look at a guy like that, you look at tremendous upside. This guy has got tremendous upside. I think with having him here, with having one of the top O-line coaches in the National Football League in my opinion in Tony Sparano, I have no doubt that this guy is going to develop into a solid NFL player.
Q: When you look at a guy like Menelik Watson and Sio Moore, they seem like they’re just about polar opposites, both in personality and play on the field. One of them has got a great big personality and the other is a little bit more reserved. One has three years of starting experience and the other just one. What do they have in common that brought them both to the Raiders?
Coach Allen: I think a drive and a passion. I spoke to both those players after we took them and both of them have a little bit of a chip on their shoulders. They want to prove that they belong in the National Football League. They want to prove that they were worthy of being picked where they were picked and really, in their minds, should have been picked sooner. So I think that’s a great thing. I think both of them love the game of football. Both of them want to be really good.
Q: So it seems like from the outside looking in, do you guys have enough pass rushers? Is that still a big need for you guys at this point?
Coach Allen: Obviously that’s something that we’re going to continue to look at. Sio Moore is a guy that has rushed the passer. We put him in the Senior Bowl and put him at defensive end and let him go rush the passer a few times. He sacked the quarterback and had a hit on the quarterback. That’s one of the qualities that he has is he does have some rush ability.
Q: Is Moore’s selection an example of, ‘Hey, we’re taking the best guy on the board?’ I mean, you added a lot of linebackers already.
Coach Allen: Yeah. He was a guy that as you’re looking at the board, that name keeps jumping off at you, that he was really the pick at that particular time. I think adding him to the linebacker mix, you have to look at special teams. That’s one of the things you want to do and so the better your linebacker corps is, the better your special teams are going to be. So, he can help our team in a lot of different areas.