GM Reggie McKenzie and HC Dennis Allen address the media following the second day of the 2012 NFL Draft. Photo by Tony Gonzales
McKenzie: First of all, thank you for staying here until the last pick of the draft. We can begin with your questions. I just appreciate you waiting and we feel good about waiting this long to pick our guy, so we're ready to sleep good tonight and have a good day tomorrow.
Q: Was this the guy that you wanted in the beginning of this process or did you just wait and a couple of guys went and then it kept working its way down to him?
McKenzie: Yeah, there is no way we can picture who we are going to take at 95 at the beginning of this thing. We start, as it got closer, and names started falling off the board, and then it became clear what few guys are still up there that we liked. So was he one of the guys? Absolutely. We said that if this guy was going to fall we were going to take him.
Q: Reggie, I think Tony played right tackle mostly last year, I see him listed as a guard, what do you see as his natural position, or do you know that yet?
McKenzie: Well, the one thing he has is that versatility. He has been a tackle, he played some guard in the senior bowl, and we know he can play that. So the bottom line is that his versatility is going to afford us to do a lot of things and it will help our offense tremendously. We would probably take a look at him at guard initially, make sure he can play that and play that well.
Q: Reggie, how difficult was the whole process. I'm sure you had names and they kept falling off as they got picked ahead of you, what was that whole experience or process like?
McKenzie: It was extremely difficult. I mean to see all the names fly off the board, you know, it's not like you have a boatload of names up there, especially when you get into the middle of the third round because they are flying off the board. So it was very hard to watch good players that you liked come off the board, but that's a part of it.
Q: Reggie, you had said that from day one, when your turn came to pick that you were going to go with the best player available at that position regardless of need. Was it tempting at all, especially for you Dennis, being a defensive-minded guy there are still a lot of defensive guys that are on the board both of you guys are defensive guys, to not look at the defensive side of the ball on this pick?
McKenzie: Yeah, we let the offensive guys know that throughout this month. We reminded them that we are defensive guys. So I know it was a shock to them about our decision. But yeah, going into this we want to add depth to the entire team, both sides of the ball, and so in doing that you can not reach down and pick a need, two or three rounds lower just because it fulfills a need. We want to make sure we pick the right player who we have on the board and who we liked. So we want to pick the best player and that is what we did.
Coach Allen: Just like Reggie said, I thought the thing that he did a great job of is we never panicked about anything. We stayed true to the board and, at the end of the day, the best player available revealed itself to us with the 95th pick and that is the pick we chose and I think that is the best way to operate the draft room.
Q:Can you talk about your contact, your study of this player, throughout the entire draft process, how did you come to get to know the young man?
McKenzie: Throughout it is all these college guys, you go out and make the school call and get as much information, as much as possible. And when we meet, we go over all of that, you see him at the Senior Bowl, you see him at the Combine, the interview process, the calls to their coaches. You know, it is so much information gathering, but that is what scouts do. That is what we do. So when we sum it up here in April and the weeks leading up to this date, this weekend, we discuss every player that is on the board. So when we put them on the board, we know the guy. So that is just the process of scouting.
Coach Allen: There was a lot that went into it. I think our whole scouting department has done a great job of preparing for the draft and they basically get the board in order and then the coaches become involved in it and we have an opinion and then at the end of the day, we take into account the opinion of everybody involved and come to a conclusion, and that's the way you do it. And I think Reggie has done a great job of that.
Q: Just of this player in particular, can you tell me what your earliest recollections of him are, what your impressions of him are and how your opinion of him has evolved over time?
McKenzie: When we scouted him, he was an offensive tackle, but the guys who went in there, they felt like he could play guard. So we knew he had versatility. And then when he was invited to the Senior Bowl, he actually showed that. Those coaches played him inside. So he played some tackle too, but he played a lot and practiced a lot at guard. So we knew, it just kind of confirmed what our scouts were thinking, so he grew on us and we continued to study him and we didn't waver. We continued to like him, and we liked him even more as it went on.
Q: You were going for the best player available as you said, you must have expected that Burgstrom was going to go a lot higher than he did. Were you surprised that he was there when the Raiders picked?
McKenzie: No, we felt that he was right around there. So I'm sure if he was a first rounder he might have gone in the first round. But we felt like we had a chance. He was a guy that was on the board at the third round. The bottom line, we picked at the end of the third round. It could have been very early in the fourth round, you talk about the compensatory pick at the end of the day. So it is hard to tell who is going to be there, what team liked certain types of players. But we felt good about this player.
Q: Reggie, did Bergstrom make a visit to the facility?
Q: Was the draft room yesterday deathly quiet? Or was there phone calls? Were there opportunities to move up? Were there teams trying to get you to move up? Or was it pretty quiet, watching.
McKenzie: It was quiet for the most part as far as contact with other teams. It was still exciting amongst the staff because we went through the day as, 'who we are going to pick?' So it was a nice dress rehearsal. Today was much more anticipation. But no, we had no ammunition, no calls coming in to offer us their first round pick.
Q: Reggie give us a quick scouting report on Bergstrom. What were the characteristics that jumped out to you?
McKenzie: First off, the guy is a football player. He is tough, he plays with great football intelligence, he understands the game and he is a physical football player, tough. And that is what you want. He has good size, he has got movement skills, he knows how to use his hands. He is going to help us up front and the coaches, I am pretty sure, will be excited once he gets here because he is going to show those guys that he is a football player.
Q: How much experience does he have in zone blocking?
McKenzie: Well, it's hard, college offenses these days, trying to figure that out, I* *would be up here all day trying to explain it to you and you still wouldn't know what I am talking about. But the guy understands blocking and in any kind of scheme he will fit in. He is one of those guys that he is such a smart football player, so whatever Coach Pollack and Coach Wiz has him doing, he will get it down. That won't be an issue.
Q: Reggie, is there a way, a test or anything, you use to test how much a guy loves football? How do you decide that?
McKenzie: Well, we do go through some types of testing and we interview the guy, we try to get to know the guy. So you have to go with your gut. When it is all said and done, you go with your gut. You interview a guy a couple of times and you see him get interviewed by the NFL and you see videotapes, you examine the psychological testing, and you determine. But, in the end, whether it is a test, watching the interview via video, it is going to all come to what does your gut tell you. And our gut tells us that he is the type of football player that we want to bring in this building.
Q: Reggie, you mentioned the anticipation today in the draft room, personally did you give any thought to it being your first draft pick as a GM?
McKenzie: Yeah, after everybody kept telling me this is my first pick. So I didn't get consumed by that, but it was definitely known that it was going to be my first pick, and to be an offensive lineman, one of those unsung heroes type positions, it's not too fancy like everybody wants to draft a quarterback or a receiver, somebody to score touchdowns, this is a blue collar position, and he was the best player that we had up there.
Coach Allen: I just wish we didn't have to wait so long to make that first pick.
McKenzie: I wish we would have had an early one.
Q: Have you allowed yourself to think about how you might use Tony? Have you thought about the different ways you can take advantage of his talent?
Coach Allen: Yeah, well obviously, like we said before, I think this is a versatile player. I think he can play offensive tackle, I think he can play offensive guard. I think he is a guy that can fit the offensive scheme that we are going to be running here with the zone blocking stuff and his ability to get to the second level. So I think when you watch tape on him, not only can you tell just by watching tape that this guy loves football, but he also has the athleticism that you need to run our type of zone blocking schemes. So we are excited about him and we think he is going to be a real good player for us.
Q: So now you have got a big day for tomorrow, you have got at least four picks, talk to me about what you see for tomorrow, do you anticipate finding ways to get more picks, do you plan on going for size, speed and strength guys as opposed to production guys or vise versa, how do you plan on approaching tomorrow?
McKenzie: We are not going to change our approach. We want good football players. Of course the bigger the better, the faster the better, as long as they are good football players that we feel like our coaches can work with. That is not going to change. We are not going to take flyers just on guys in hopes that they can play. Our lines will be open for possible trades. We only have two picks that are tradable. The compensatory picks are not. So if it comes, we will listen. But everything is dependent on the player that is on the board at that time. If we rather pick the player, we will do that, if we trade down or up or whatever, we are going to entertain that offer also.
Q: Reggie, Bergstrom went on a Mormon mission for a couple of years. I believe he is a little older then some prospects; how does that effect your evaluations of a player?
McKenzie: It just gives us information really, from a maturity standpoint, where he is, him being married, having a child. Other than, is that a hindrance because he is a little older, knocking off years of his prime and all that? No, especially from a physical standpoint, medically, that's the only issue, if age and medical was the issue, but there's no issue. So no, we liked that fact, it won't be an issue.