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Coach Jackson Press Conference


Coach Jackson: Obviously today is a great day for the Raiders and Raider Nation, very excited. We just had the chance to draft Stefen Wisniewski from Penn State University where he's going to play center for the Oakland Raiders and I'm very, very excited.  I told you guys last night that when I went home I knew a plan would unfold and obviously that plan came in place today well executed by us and now we've got a guy that we had targeted on our football team and I'm very, very excited about that.

Q: Is this the guy that you wanted or was there any effort made to move up to get a quarterback?

Coach Jackson: No; we got the guy that we wanted, there's no question. Today, I truly believe, I think we've talked about it, an area of our football team that we wanted to address was the offensive line and we've started that today, obviously, with this draft pick, and hopefully we'll continue, as we move forward, to strengthen our team in the areas that we feel we need to strengthen.

Q: Hue, you're saying flatly that Stefen is a center?

Coach Jackson: Yes, I am; he is a center on the Oakland Raiders football team, 2011.

Q: Samson Satele did a pretty good job for you guys last year, I don't know whether he's tendered or whether he'll be back, but is he still in the picture, can he move to guard?

Coach Jackson: Right now, until those rules come into place, which they haven't, until I know more about how this league is going to work or those particular players; I know right now, on this football team, Stefen Wisniewski is our center.

Q: He's played guard most of his career at college; what about him makes you feel like he's best suited at center?

Coach Jackson: I think he's very smart, very athletic, very powerful.  I think he's a young man, his body type will be able to handle the big nose guards that we face in the National Football League. We play a lot of 3-4 defensive football teams, so there's going to be a lot of big people playing against him week in and week out in those types of defenses and I think his body type will fit exactly the style of running that we hope to run this season.

Q: Is he the type of guy from day one, training camp, can come in and be the starting center and run with it from there?

Coach Jackson: Honestly, he needs to come in and earn his stripes, but there's no question, that's why we drafted him. I drafted this young man, our organization did with the thought process in mind that he will go in there and play center the way we want a center to play and be there for a long time.

Q: I'm getting the sense that he was plan A for you?

Coach Jackson: There's no question; obviously there's a lot of players that you wake up and you put them on that board and then people start to go away, but he is definitely a guy that we had targeted in this draft.  We got our guy, that's the most important thing that I think you guys want to know, and that's the truth.  We got the player that we all wish was sitting there and that's the guy that's on our football team today.

Q: Was there any consideration of trading down maybe a few spots, getting an extra pick and drafting him there?

Coach Jackson: Again, as I tell you guys, we always are going to listen to anything and everything. Just like yesterday, there's different things that were going on, but obviously we felt very comfortable with where we were that we could get a player that we had targeted and a player that we want, and obviously we were able to do that.

Q: How much did it help having Steve on the staff?

Coach Jackson: You know what, a lot of people say that.  I want you guys to all know, and Raider Nation, obviously Steve was a tremendous football player here for 13 seasons, and did an outstanding job. But this is not about Steve, this is about Stefen.

Q: But how much did having Steve on staff help; did it help to pick his brain at all?

Coach Jackson: Honestly, it didn't. Again, with our staff, we have to do our homework, just as we do on every player. Obviously he probably knows a little bit more about his nephew than anybody as far as his upbringing, but when we watch the tape, we watch the tape as "can he play football, wear the Silver and Black, and do the things we need a player to do?"  By no means was this pick made because of Steve, and by no means is he here because of a relationship; he's here because he can help the Oakland Raiders win football games, and  that's why he's going to play center for us.

Q: Did you almost avoid asking Steve?

Coach Jackson: You just said it; I know I did. I'm sure there's some other questions from others that came up. I want to be able to evaluate a player with a very clear mind without any influence whatsoever, and I think what it comes down to is that's what it's truly all about.  I think Steve would tell you too that he wanted to make sure that we, as the other coaches in this organization, wanted his nephew more so more than anything that he could say to push him towards us.

Q: Was there any effort made to move up to pick Kaepernick?

Coach Jackson: There was an effort made to see if we can acquire any player that we felt we wanted to get, not one particular player. But obviously, again, those things don't fit for us. We were right in the spot we wanted to be. We had pick number 48, we have Stefen Wisniewski on our team and he's our center.

Q: Was there any hand ringing at all thinking that maybe Stefen would not be there at 48?

Coach Jackson: Oh man, there's no question! I mean you start seeing guys go off the board that you have and you get concerned. I mean, you're concerned about every player that you might have in the second round that you want that could be gone. I mean, as I told you guys yesterday, you wake up, you come in here and the board can get upside down real fast or you can, it can flow, but you've just gotta stay to it. And, again, in that room it can get tense at times because there's a chance that somebody may be gone, but everybody just kept their poise, held to it, and obviously we got the guy we wanted.

Q: Steve tends to be pretty stoic in his reactions. What was his reaction?

Coach Jackson: He's very excited, all of us were! I mean there's a party going on upstairs right now. We're all excited. This young man brings to this football team exactly the characteristics that we're looking for in our offensive line. He's tough, he's gonna be very physical, he's athletic, he loves to play the game, he's very smart, he loves football, he loves the Silver and Black and he can't wait to get here and get started.

Q: Is this almost a little bit like last year's pick of Rolando McClain the guy who you put in the middle of the defense to try and the guys really into film, he's into football, and now you're doing that with sort of the middle of the line in the offense?

Coach Jackson: There is no question.You know, I think you've got to be strong up the middle. I truly believe that playing football. I said that, again, the first time I met with you guys that we're going to be very good on both sides of the ball and it starts in the lines. It starts in the trenches and those guys who are up front: the Richard Seymour's, the Tommy Kelly's, the Stefen Wisniewski's, those guys gotta make sure that their dominant, dominant personalities, dominant, dominant football players, and they also have to be smart and love to play the game and so we're building that. I told you guys last night, we're becoming something and I'm very excited about where we're headed."

Q: You evaluate last year's offensive line and now you go to build one for 2011. What kind of a line do you want to have? What kind of image? What kind of identity do you want from your line?

Coach Jackson: I said this before, when the Raiders were great there was an unbelievable offensive line here, a tremendous offensive line. I mean, there's too many names to talk about and that's where we're headed. I want an offensive line that's physical, that's tough, that's athletic, that we can play in the rain, we can play in the snow, we can play when it's hot, we can play when it's cold, it doesn't matter that we're going to line up and answer the call and be very physical and be very dominant and exert our will on the other football team. I think you have to acquire those kind of players and that's what we're in the process of doing. Building block number one is in place, we just got that guy today and we're going to continue to get better in all phases of our football team as we move forward.

Q: Were there any question marks about Stefen you had going in that had to be answered? And two, will you still need more linemen, more offensive linemen?

Coach Jackson: I think there are questions about every player. I mean there's strengths and weaknesses to every player but I think his strengths are exactly what we're looking for and the areas where he can improve we truly feel as coaches that we can help him get better, and obviously we're still looking to get better on our football team in every position whether it's the offensive line, defensive line, corner, wherever. We're going to continue to search for the best players to put on this football team in this draft, in the 2011 draft that's what we're after and I think we're off to a great start.

Coach Jackson: Hey, my man Mike Waufle is down here with me today. I want to make sure you guys know that. Is Jim Otto here? There he is. Jim, it's so nice to see you and hopefully, that this young man that we put on our team today can go play football the way that man played. Obviously, he's not Jim Otto, but I tell you this, if we can get close to what that man has done for the Raiders than we got something special. Thank you.

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