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Jackson Wraps 2011 NFL Draft


Coach Jackson: Man, what a great three days, period; my first draft as the head coach of the Oakland Raiders. First of all, I've got to do a couple things. I've got to thank Coach Davis for just allowing me to have so much input and for allowing me to go about doing what I think I do best, which is create a vision for a team and preparing to lead men.  Second, I've got to thank my staff; what a tremendous group of men who work so hard to do everything they could to give us the information to make some tough decisions, to see exactly what it is that we are trying to create here. Obviously, to thank this organization. Amy Trask is here every day; all of the people who are here in our organization who come every day with the thought process of one thing - doing everything they can to help this team, this organization, chase perfection and be the best they can be. And then fourthly, to Raider nation. Obviously, I get so much different information from so many people, but there's nothing, in my opinion, like Raider Nation, because we are everywhere. I get so many cards and text messages via different ways, from people who are involved, and what Raider Nation means to this organization, this team, this city, is unbelievable and I think Raider Nation should be very proud of the players that we were able to put on this football team. I'm so excited to talk about all these young men that we were able to draft from the second round pick all the way to our seventh round pick. We really feel truly that we've improved our football team. It's just another step in the process that I just told my staff a second ago. Obviously, the process is different than what it's been in the past. We're now in the draft. At some point in time we'll get to free agency. We'll get to the undrafted rookies and have to deal with that process and then get these players here and start to coach them and prepare them and my goal is to do everything we can as a football staff. As the head coach of this football team, we have to develop our players; we have to develop the players we just drafted, we have to develop the players that our on our team now, so that we create an environment for these players to be the best that they can be. There's no question that I feel very comfortable in doing that. That's why I am the head coach here because I feel strongly that one of my strengths is taking players and taking them to another level and helping them get better and see where they can get better, expose their weaknesses, and taking their strengths and making them even stronger than what they are. So, today is just a culmination of, again, an organization preparing, being ready when they needed to be. When it was time to make a pick, we made the pick that was best for us, and we got the guys that for the most part we wanted. As you get down to the sixth and seventh rounds, there's some tough decisions to be made, because you're trying to take players that have an opportunity to make your football team and players that have a chance to ascend and get better as you move forward, but we were able to still find players that I really think are going to make a difference in this organization as we move forward. It's been a great three days with you men, being able to sit before you and talk about our players today, have you meet four players that we're putting on our football team that I think are just outstanding young men. We took guys that have great character, great integrity, guys who love the silver and black, guys who we think are fantastic football players and have potential to be good, and some guys have the potential to be great, and that's what we're going to chase and that's what we hope to become. This organization, this team, is going to become something. I can't tell you how fast it's going to happen, but I know that it's going to happen. There's a process to all of this; we're at the beginning of it and trust me when I tell you, this team will have an opportunity to go where it wants to go this season, if we can go do what I know we can do which is practice first - got to get them on that grass and get to practicing, got to get them in these meeting rooms and teach them our systems - and then we've got to go out there and get it done. So what do you have for me today?

Q: Was there anybody that you thought you were going to get that you just weren't able to move up?

Coach Jackson: There's always a couple guys that you go, 'wow' and you wish might have fell or right when you were picking that you could have picked, but I am extremely happy with every guy that we were able to put on our football team. As I said yesterday, you have a process, you have a board, and I truly believe that you play true to the board.  If a guy goes off that you wanted, that's why you evaluate all these guys, you take the next guy, you take the next guy that's on your board based on your evaluation and your judgment, and that's what we were able to do, and that's what we got done.

Q: David Ausberry, is he a tight end or wide receiver?

Coach Jackson: You know what he is a really unique athlete because the guy is over 6'3". He is 240 plus pounds and runs really fast, 4.56; he can catch. Were going to find out exactly what we need to do with him, we're going to bring him in here as a receiver but obviously this guy has room for growth. I mean this guy can get up to 255-60 pounds and who knows he might be an unbelievable tight end. To me those are the kind of guys you find in the seventh who have that potential, who have the measurables, the size, the speed combination and now just a matter of us pushing this young man and seeing who he can be.

Q: Hue, I assume your biggest needs coming into this draft were offensive line. First of all do you agree with that, and secondly, how well do you think you have met those needs?

Coach Jackson: I think they were needs based on where we were, based on some uncertainty about what's going on in the league right now, and I think we addressed them as well as we could. We have two very strong, big-bodied offensive linemen on our football team who love to play the game. We have addressed our secondary concerns if there were any with two players that are extremely gifted and talented that are big, long guys who can really run. So there is no question I think we have come into this with some thoughts that we wanted as I told you guys I think this is a very talented team. I didn't think we had a ton of holes to fill, but there were some things that we needed to get done and we were able to get those things done.

Q: Richard Gordon only caught ten passes in his career, what makes you think that he can be a productive tight end in the NFL?

Coach Jackson: It goes right back into the evaluation, some tight ends in college don't get the ball, because when you play, probably at the University of Miami they throw the ball down the field to some of those big, tall receivers that can really run, or the smaller that can run so they keep those guys in for protection. But when you get to evaluate the tape, the workout tape, the game tape, and you see a guy can catch, can make plays but also block at the point of attack, it makes that guy very enticing and he was a tremendous pick for us and I am very excited about him because he has nothing but upside.

Q: Cornerback is the only position you guys addressed defensively in this draft. What should we interpret that of meaning how strong you feel about the defense that you have?

Coach Jackson: This is what it means and I think I have said it before - Our defensive football team, I expect us to be one of the best defenses in football and I am not just saying that. I believe that. We have some tremendous, tremendous players over there. Cornerback here for the Oakland Raiders will always be a position that we address. We love guys who can cover, we love guys who can block, we love guys who are athletes who can play several spots back there in the secondary but I think the message that sent is that we are pretty solid on that side of the football. And I feel that way, I think our staff, our organization feels that way, but we want to make sure that we will continue to grow in the secondary. I don't think you can ever have enough corners, you know with guys that can cover different types of offenses as they put out there and we were able to address that.

Q: Offensively you weren't able to get a quarterback. Jason is your starter. Kyle Boller is your only back up at this time. Do you think you're going in free agency to fill that third spot? How are you going to handle that?

Coach Jackson: You know obviously we will cross that bridge when we get there. I mean obviously we need more than two arms. That is obvious and we will make that determination as we move forward. Jason Campbell is our starter, Kyle Boller is our back up and then we will find that next arm as we continue to move forward.

Q: What exactly are the guidelines regarding the undrafted rookie free agents, is there a slight window where you can call tonight and say "be up and be ready, we're going to call you?"

Coach Jackson: No, you can't right now with the rules. Thirty-one other teams facing the same rules right now. It has not totally been in place exactly what you can and can't do. That is still being determining by the league and again until that is known, when they say the draft is over, everything is over, and that is what every team in the league has to do at this point.

Q: So the usual flurry of phone calls that starts right when the draft is over is done?

Coach Jackson: Right now, there will be no phone calls. Right now when the league says stop shop, we will stop.

Q: How is Moore, the wide receiver from Tennessee similar or different to anybody you already have on the roster?

Coach Jackson: Well he runs a 4.42, tall, he makes plays, he is very athletic. I see him as a guy that's a little bit different than some of the guys that we have, because this guy is different in the sense that he is coming from Tennessee which I think is a very good school, and he has demonstrated that he can make plays from anywhere on the field. One thing that you guys can see that we found on offense is that we infused our offensive team with even more talent, more guys that can make football plays. If a guy can make a play, I want him on this team because that is the name of the game you have to go out and make plays and we have guys that can make plays: the Jacoby Fords, the Louis Murphys, the Darius Heyward-Beys. Those guys can make plays but I am still searching for anybody that can help this team win. I am looking for them and this guy can.

Q: A running back and kick returner wasn't necessarily a need, but you see Jones there. Was that hard not to pass up?

Coach Jackson: How do you pass up a guy that can make plays like that as I keep saying you find a guy with a special talent, a guy that can score touchdowns as often and as fast as he can. It is hard to pass up those kind of guys. I wouldn't pass him up, and we didn't pass him up. I mean he is on our football team. This guy is a tremendous football player and he is something special. When you talk about need sometime, and that is very important and I feel like we addressed those needs, you cannot pass up a guy that can make a play on your football team, especially when they are sitting on that board.

Q: You grabbed speedy corners. In what ways do you feel like they can compete?

Coach Jackson: I think both of them can play corner as you mentioned, but one is a little bit bigger then the other. And as far as weight is concerned, as far as speed is concerned, one runs in the 4.2 and the other in the 4.3's so they both can really run. One will play right and one will play left. You know that is obvious, but they're guys that demonstrate characteristics that we look for, they can play man coverage, they can get up in the line of scrimmage with some very good receivers that we are going to face in our division. They can line up with the big guys and obviously that is the question that you have with Van Dyke – can he line up with Vincent Jackson and go play with the guy? But that is yet to be seen. We are going to coach this guy, and again I have two of the best secondary coaches in football in Rod Woodson and Ross, and we are going to get these guys ready to play.

Q: There was a point there where players could be contacted and given their play books. Were you able to do that?

Coach Jackson: Oh boy, I was trying to give them as much information as I could. I don't know how much information that we were able to give them before the league said stop, but I know that we were trying to do everything within the rules to give our players all the information that we needed.

Q: Play book different than last year?

Coach Jackson: No, not for the most part, the expectation is different and how they prepare with that play book, and I hope that we can hit the ground when we come back, and a lot of our guys can hit the ground running and know exactly where we are and what we are trying to accomplish on offense and defense and special teams.

Q: Obviously you were looking for more time to put on this team before the start of the next season, but do you feel after this draft that you filled up any gaping holes that you may have had?

Coach Jackson: Well we filled the holes, but I would be, in my opinion, not a very good coach if I said, "Okay, that's enough". I mean I want as many good football players as I can put on this football team that's going to give us the best chance to win each and every week. I'm not adverse to anything. As we move forward, obviously, it's about who you can put on your team, be it based on money, be it based on whatever all that is, and we'll cross those bridges as we go. But I really think this team, right now – we have done a good job at plugging holes, filling needs, and I feel very strongly that we have a pretty sound football team as we get our opportunity to come back together and go practice.

Q: Considering the fact that you may lose Michael Huff, how close were you to picking a safety here? How well do you think you're set in that department?

Coach Jackson: I think I feel very comfortable where we are at safety. Obviously I can't comment on the player that you just mentioned because the rules won't allow me to. But know this – I hope that we can get every last one of our players back that are sitting out there because I think they're good football players - we drafted them, they were here, and we'd love to keep them here.

Q: Besides all of the physical attributes you guys look at for every player in every draft, it would seem from the guys that we've seen at the podium, not just this year but from the last couple years, that all of them sort of share a seriousness about football and studying it and that sort of thing. Are there guys, without naming names, that you don't even have on your board because when you get them, talk to them, no matter how talented they were, you just didn't get the sense that the vibe wasn't there?

Coach Jackson: There's no question. Everybody can't wear the silver and black, just like everybody can't wear other teams' jerseys. We look for specific types of player to play for us. Obviously, the measurables are important, like you said, we want the guys big as he can be, fast as he can be, agile as he can be, but at the end of the day, he's got to want to play football and that's what it comes down to. You've got to like the toughness, the physical nature of this sport, and if you don't like that then you don't have a chance to be very successful in this league. All these young men that are on this team this season, and you alluded to last year, and that's all I can speak to because these are the only two years I have been here, they like to play football and that's what this is truly about. You've got to want to come to work in this building each and every day, and prepare, and go to practice and compete and then go out there whether it's Thursday, Sunday, Monday, and play as well as you can to get this organization, this team, a chance to win.

Q: Chekwa, big guy coming out of a physical conference, can you bounce him around and play safety?

Coach Jackson: Well I think, like you said, plays in the Big 10 and is known for running teams and all that and I think he can do anything we need him to do. Obviously we are going to play him at corner. The guy has an unbelievable skill set because he is a big guy, a physical guy, he can get up in your face and put his hands on you and can redirect you. If we needed him some place else we will find that out as we move forward, but as of right now he is going to play corner for us.

Q: Was there anybody in this draft that came up and you just couldn't believe that they were still available?

Coach Jackson: Yes, our first pick Stefen Wisniewski. I mean this guy is a really good football player who plays center and guard, can play either guard spot and play center, and when you sit there and you think about it I mean that is where the game starts in the offensive line. It starts at center. As you build a team you kind of build it strong up the middle and here you go and here it was, and obviously there were all kinds of rumors that teams were trying to jump ahead of us and draft him. But again, as I told you, it has got to fit, and we were very fortunate that he was there for us and he is on our football team and he was the first guy, and I was like oh my gosh, he is a guy that we targeted and he is on our football team today.

Q: In what ways do you feel you helped your special teams today?

Coach Jackson: Because if you took a look at all these players on our team, they are all athletes that can run who are big bodied guys that love the game and I think any time that you put a collection of athletes like that together they can play a multitude of different things. Obviously special teams is a huge part of what we do here. There is offense defense and special teams, and I truly feel like guys that can contribute on offense and defense should be able to contribute on special teams too. But they all won't be based on decisions that we make based on their opportunity and skill set but all these guys have a chance to line up and contribute, whether it be field goal team, punt team, whether the kick off team, the kick off return team, all these guys have an opportunity to be a part of our special teams.

Q: You know quarterbacks; can you evaluate this year's draft of quarterback class?

Coach Jackson: I think that this was a class that had some guys that were good players. Gabbert, I thought is some tremendous talent. I know Jake Locker went first to Tennessee and obviously is very talented and it wasn't as strong in my opinion as some past years. In my opinion, I didn't see Sam Bradford, I didn't see Joe Flacco or Matt Ryan, that is just sort of the way that I see it. But I think there were more guys who have more of an opportunity to ascend and become very good players as you continue to go through the years with them and obviously the truth with a quarterback is to get on a team that is going to give you an opportunity to showcase your abilities. Most quarterbacks when you are drafted you don't get that opportunity most times. You get plugged in a system that you have never seen, you get plugged in a terminology that you never heard of before and it can be difficult for a quarterback, but is this one of the stronger classes that has been around? I don't know that, but is it overall so many guys have gone, is it a pretty good class? I think that is yet to be determined.

Q: In drafting guys like DeMarcus who didn't get a lot of time in college, how do you approach that going forward?

Coach Jackson: Oh yeah, because that guy has a chip on his shoulder and he has something to prove, and to me that is the kind of player you want. You want the hungry player that has something to prove, that is interested in showcasing his talent and letting everybody else know they made a mistake. Both of those young men are very eager to show Raider nation and our teammates and this organization, that we made the correct choice. I think that a hungry player is a good player because they do have something to prove and I am looking forward to watching these guys compete and play.

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