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DAY ONE: Two Impactful Players

Posted Apr 26, 2013

News conference for general manager John Idzik, head coach Rex Ryan, senior personnel executive Terry Bradway and director of college scouting Jeff Bauer with Jets reporters following the Jets' two first-round draft selections Thursday night:

JOHN IDZIK: It’s been an exciting night so far for the New York Jets. We came into the draft knowing we were in a great position to select two players. We were very confident that, with our positions in the draft, we could bring in some very impactful players to the Jets and we would also have the opportunity and flexibility to field some offers.

That’s just what happened tonight. In the end, the two players we drafted, Dee [Milliner] and Sheldon [Richardson], they were two of the highest-rated players on our board by far. We’re extremely thrilled to have them as part of the New York Jets and I think they’re going to make an immediate impact on our organization.

On if the selections were based on the value on the draft board…

IDZIK: Yes, we said from the beginning that our draft philosophy is going to be a talent-based operation. Specifically in the first round, when you’re picking that high, we’re going to pick the best players for our team. That’s precisely what we did.

On if he is happy the team drafted two defensive players…

REX RYAN: You can’t blame this one on me [laughter]. I think everybody is surprised, every team in the league is "I’m surprised that this guy was there." These two players that we got, I think and we’ll all see soon enough when we get out there, but when John mentions these are impactful players, I believe he’s exactly right. These two guys are going to make an impact for us. We love what they bring to the defense - the kind of mentality that both these young men play with are the same traits that we look for in all of our players, but they certainly play like a Jet.

On if they were tempted to draft an offensive player…

IDZIK: You’re tempted, but you’re not going to going to succumb to temptation. You’re going to stick to what you believe in, and that’s if you have players on your board you highly value, then you’re going to stick to the talent base. That’s exactly what we did.

On if there were any offensive players on their board close at the 13th pick…

IDZIK: Yes, in fact as we saw the first round come off, this draft, we’ve said it’s kind of unique because there’s an upper crust. I think our upper crust was very similar to a lot of teams, so we saw a few of those players come off. Even with that, again, I back up to say we selected two of our top four players on our board, period and we’re extremely thrilled to have that. We were in a very unique position that way, especially considering this draft.

On if the team had to consider Milliner’s ability to handle pressure in light of the team’s decision to trade CB Darrelle Revis…

IDZIK: That is wrong. That had nothing to do with this. It’s purely based on the player. It may be perceived that way, but the reality is Dee was one of our highest ranked players, regardless of position on our board. So we took him.

TERRY BRADWAY: We did a lot of work on Dee. Our coaches did a great job when we brought him in here. Our scouts, especially our area scout, Jay Mandolesi, we did a lot of work on Dee. Jeff [Bauer] and I had an opportunity to see him. He’s a big cornerback who can play press, who can play off. He’s a good tackler. He’s probably as complete of a corner as there is in this draft. To have the ability to take him at nine was good. We look for him to come in here like everyone else and compete, and hopefully win the job.

On the Jets' thoughts on Milliner’s medical history…

IDZIK: We’re comfortable with the medical. He’s had a few things. He’s a very physical player. He doesn’t miss time. He played through the injuries. He attended that Indianapolis Combine so he could compete. That’s very important to us, and then had his surgery post-Combine, so that says something about the kid. Dee just loves football. He just does not miss practice. He does not miss games. That was really important to us. But in short, we’re comfortable with his medical.

On if he anticipates moving CB Kyle Wilson to the nickel spot…

RYAN: We’ll let all that sort out. Dee has played in the slot as well, so he’s had experience playing inside, outside. Again, I think he’s a complete player. He’s a great tackler. He’s physical. He can play press man, off man. You name it, he can play it, inside, outside, whatever.

On Sheldon Richardson’s ability and how quickly he will be able compete for playing time…

RYAN: I think he can come in and compete right away. When you say that we got two players in our top four, that will tell you what the New York Jets, what we feel about them. He’s been almost an All-American wherever he’s been, right out of high school, junior college and certainly this year he played like one. I don’t know if he was voted one, but he certainly played like one.

On if it is a fair to assume the Jets will play more 4-3 defensive fronts…

RYAN: First off, we’re a very multiple-front team. So we can play an odd front, a 46 front, even front as well. I think some of the versatility of some of the guys we have will allow us to do that.

On if the Jets was close to trading down…

IDZIK: We entertained calls. We entertained a few potential scenarios, but when we saw the players on the board, it would have to be pretty attractive for us to leave our top four. Again, in the end, it was too good for us to pass up.

On if he sees Richardson fitting in a 3-4 front…

JEFF BAUER: As a player, this guy is special. Kevin Kelly, our area scout went in there. Dan Zbojovsky [coordinator, college scouting], looked at him. We had a lot of scouts that looked at him and he just jumps off the tape. This is a defensive tackle who made plays 20 yards down the field, sideline-to-sideline, and his motor is non-stop. He’s going to make an impact here quickly. How he fits into our defense, Rex can answer that, but he’s a great football player in our eyes and we went with him.

On not selecting any offensive players in the first round and where the team stands in that regard…

IDZIK: We’re not done. We have two days of work to do. We also said from the beginning we feel this draft is very deep. We’re going to take the same philosophy going forward into the second, the third, and right on through the draft. We’re going to take the best players. We’re going to assemble the best team of players and let them compete. That said, once you get down a little bit further in the draft, it stands to reason, by numbers, there will be more offensive players that will stack up. We’re cognizant of that, so we’ll address need, but again, talent will trump need, especially higher in the draft.

On how many offensive players they had in their top four…

IDZIK: We had a number of offensive players in our top four. We picked two of the top four.

On when the team anticipates Milliner will be ready to participate in full football activity…

IDZIK: He’s a good way through his rehab and it would [likely] be sometime in June. Until we get our hands on him, we won’t know for sure. What’s going to be nice is we’ll have the rookies in for rookie mini-camp in two weeks and, pending his status at school, he should be able to stay and he’ll get right on to rehab. Certainly, by training camp and that would be the projection now, but it’s a little premature for us to say without having put our hands on him. We would say some time in June, he [will be] ready to go. This guy, again, fast healer and tough are probably understatements. If anyone is going to beat the curve, Dee will beat the curve.

On if there was a level of excitement to the room when it appeared the team would have an opportunity to draft Milliner…

RYAN: John went over all the scenarios and it was evident that there was that possibility. Certainly, when he was there, certain people I know got excited about it [laughter].

On if they are concerned about the number of Milliner’s surgeries…

BRADWAY: We trust our doctors. They’ve done a good job over the years. They have no concern, so we have no concern. As Rex and John pointed out, this guy is a tough guy. He missed one game during his career, it was against Western Kentucky. He could have played, they held him out. He plays the game physical. He’s a really good tackler. He’s a competitive player and he’s not going to miss games. He’s going to play games. We felt good about that.

The fact he’s been at Alabama, that was big, also. The guy has played in national championship games, at a good program, he knows how to play, he knows how to practice. His football character and personal character were very high on our board, so we were very fortunate to be able to get him.

On if the Jets are sensitive to the perception that Milliner is potentially replacing Revis…

IDZIK: Not sensitive at all, I think it’s unfair to Dee. We drafted Dee because of his talent. We drafted Dee because we felt he was the best player on our board at the time. It was not position specific. If you insinuate that, I think it devalues Dee a little bit. It’s pure and simple, he was the best player. He was one of the best players on our board period, so when we had the chance to get him at nine, the room was pretty excited. He bubbled up to the top. It was pretty obvious.

On if Cromartie, not Milliner, is the player stepping in for Revis, making the association of Milliner and Revis a moot point…

RYAN: Nobody replaces Revis. Cro, I understand what you’re saying, he did some of those roles where he would take out the No. 1 receiver and stuff like that. He did that all last year when Darrelle only played two games, so I understand what you’re saying there, but we want Cro to be Cro and we want to Dee Milliner to be himself. That’s it. He’s a great football player. All these guys are.

They don’t have to worry about trying to be compared to Darrelle Revis. Darrelle is certainly a great player. I think both these two guys, obviously with Cro making the Pro Bowl last year, and we’ll see with this young man. All he needs to do is be the guy we drafted, that’s be himself, and we’ll be more than happy with that.

On if it will be harder to find explosive offensive playmakers outside of the first 15 selections of the first round…

IDZIK: This draft is deep. We feel it’s deep. There will be guys there. We can’t predict what’s going to happen at our picks in the second and third, but we feel confident we have some very fine players left in this draft. We’re excited about tomorrow. We’re excited about Saturday as well.

On what made Richardson stand out from the other available defensive players…

BAUER: It’s the athletic ability. His ability to change direction is uncanny. We were talking, I don’t know if we’ve seen a defensive tackle this athletic. We couldn’t think of one. They had him play linebacker against A&M one game and stand up. You’ll see a special athlete. His athletic ability, his balance, it’s special.

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