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TC's press conference following the draft

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Head Coach Tom Coughlin on 2007 NFL Draft




Opening statement:


For the New York Giants the 2007 draft has just been completed. We are aggressively going into the free agency market as soon as the draft ends. We’ve had our meetings and our thorough analysis of our numbers and who the coaches and scouts are working with to try to provide some of the needed additions to our numbers. Let me go back with you to the third round pick yesterday, Jay Alford. I did not have an opportunity to speak with you. This is a guy who we were very, very impressed with. A real penetrating inside pass rusher who I think, and Mike Waufle agrees, is going to be a very good football player for the New York Giants. A guy that can play the run as well. Just very, very quick and athletic, and not only that, a guy that really wants to be a Giant. That was pretty exciting for me, that he wants to be a Giant. Zak DeOssie, our pick in the fourth round, Zak is a guy that brings multiple versatility to your football team. He is a long snapper much as his dad was. He is a big linebacker who runs extremely well. He has outstanding numbers when you think about the combine and the things that he was able to accomplish there. He will be an outstanding special teams performer. He will be a physical linebacker much as his dad was. He runs better and will cover. If he ever becomes the long snapper, he will cover and do a good job from that standpoint. We feel like in Zak DeOssie we have a guy who fits a need obviously as a linebacker, a big linebacker, a big physical linebacker. He will also help us on all special teams but has the ability also to contribute as a long snapper. Kevin Boss is a kid that comes from Division II football that was extremely impressive as we studied the tape. We brought him in about a week ago and had an opportunity to sit and talk with him. Mike Pope did some real serious studying with regard to Kevin Boss. He is an athletic guy that is used in multiple capacities as a receiver, as a tight end, and as a blocker at Western Oregon. He is going to have to get stronger and become a better blocker. He does have some developmental aspects to him but I think this is a guy that will help us on special teams. He is a big kid. He is going to fill out. He is going to be able to play on the point, we know he can move, and we know he can catch the ball. He can be a strong contributor in a lot of ways. Adam Koets is an individual who played at Oregon State that has been a left tackle and is an athletic guy. He is very quick and a good pass protector. I think he will have to do some work in the weight room as well to help in the run game but he is a guy that we were very happy to see last if you will until we had a chance to talk about him and eventually pick him in the sixth round. Michael Johnson is a big, strong safety who will come down to the line of scrimmage. He does have range from the middle of the field and who will contribute in a special teams capacity as well. He was very attractive. We were able to match a need, if you will, with a strong value in the seventh round there and so we picked Michael Johnson. Ahmad Bradshaw is a very, very productive running back at Marshall University who caught the ball coming out of the backfield, who ran the ball. He didn’t really return kicks because quite frankly he was a guy that was very busy with the other aspects of his game in terms of being a contributor in both the run and the pass aspect of the game. Again we felt that at this point in time here is a guy who was a style of runner that we perhaps do not have and his production really was like a magnet. We were attracted to that in the seventh round with the compensatory pick. We were happy that a player of his value was still there on the board.


Overall it was four offensive players and four defensive players. We tried very much to attack the needs that we had, keeping ever mindful of the contribution that the athlete would make on special teams, of how the individuals that we bring in here would be team oriented people that would understand that their primary role is to help us, the New York Giants, succeed in whatever capacity we can initially place them in. Most of these young kids are very hungry when they first come in to have direction, and to understand exactly what their role will be when they arrive here. I look forward to this group coming to our mini camp in two weeks and then being able to stay with us in mid May right through the OTAs and on into the mandatory camp.


Do you feel better about the team now after the draft?


There is no doubt I feel better because some of these slots that we have been anticipating trying to solve we were able to go forth and do it with regard to the draft. The draft is a time for the individual to show some patience because there is so much time in between and you see so many players come off that board that you begin to wonder whether you are going to have an opportunity to accomplish what you need to. I do feel like we did have success filling our needs along with value picks. We are excited about seeing these guys come in. Now they obviously have to come in and go to work and prove to us how in fact they will fit. You have to take your hat off to our scouts, to our scouting department, to all the work that our coaches and scouts have done with regard to grading and being in position to feel good about each one of these players and we do.


Is Mathias Kiwanuka an option next season as a linebacker?


He is definitely an option that we are going to look at very strongly. Mathias from the defensive end position has been up and dropped a year ago. We think that our idea there is to try to get as many quality players on the field at the same time as best we can. I think he can play well in that position and as we move into the spring here we get an opportunity to spend more time on the field and in meetings where we will continue with that experiment. Gerris Wilkinson’s development is very important for us without a doubt. Kawika Mitchell is in that role and fits that position as well. When you look at DeOssie, he can play a couple of spots. He can play inside and he can play on the outside. I think that we have helped ourselves with that spot.


Would Kiwanuka be a full time linebacker next season?


We will get into that. Let’s just take it one step at a time now. We will look at Mathias in a first and second down capacity there. Obviously we are going to use his pass rush talents and skills, whether it be third down, second and long, or whatever. In what capacity, we are going to have to take a look at how all these pieces fit together.


Is David Diehl more likely to be the starting left tackle now after the draft?


I am not ready to say that. I have been real impressed with what has been going on with Guy Whimper here in the off season. We have done a lot of individual things with him. He is a very, very good athlete. Obviously he has the experience of one year here which is going to help him from having an opportunity to learn the system a little bit better. We will know more about that as we move along. I am not ready to say that at this time.


Did you coach Steve DeOssie?


I was at Boston College as an assistant when Steve was a player and of course here in New York when Steve was with us for the Giants. A tough, hard-nosed football player.


Did going to Brown University hurt Zak DeOssie?


It did not hurt him from my standpoint right now. He is where we want him to be. Of course you do have to take into consideration level of competition. This is a big strong, fast, physical, and healthy football player that has nothing but upside. From that standpoint I see nothing wrong with where he went to school. The fact that he is here with us right now worked out very well.


Is Koets at a similar level of development to where Guy Whimper was last year?


I don’t know if similar is the right word. Whimper was a defensive end, he didn’t have a lot of time at offensive tackle when we drafted him. Koets has been an offensive left tackle. He is very athletic. He has been in a good scheme where an awful lot has been thrown at him. He, like Whimper, has a good test score so I think he will pick it up very fast. Hopefully he has advanced.


Is there anything different with Jerry Reese as General Manager this year?


When Jerry came on board it was a very smooth transition. Jerry is a hands-on guy who incorporates everyone. Every facet of the team is included in every decision. The draft was conducted that way and all the meetings have been conducted that way. Jerry’s style is a very, very admirable style. He is upfront. I’ve always been impressed with the way Jerry has run the draft even before he became General Manager. That particular style of how the draft is run continued this year as well.


Is Alford more of a three technique kind of guy rather than a nose tackle?


He has played over the center. He has a very, very quick move which is something that jumps right out at you. First of all his sack total for his career was very productive compared to some of the other guys at that position. He has played on the nose, or on the center, and he has played very effectively there, but he has also played in the three technique position. His versatility is something we will take advantage of. Certainly on third down he can play at either spot. I would say probably at this point in time in first and second down he would be a three technique. We are going to get him in here and get him on the weight program and he will come in at 304 or 305 right now and probably maybe when we go to camp 307 or 308 with that quickness which is really going to help.


Are you going into the season looking for a veteran left tackle?


I don’t think you ever stop looking for anything. I just think you continue the process as best you can under any capacity. You never stop looking for better players. Just as I don’t think you are ever satisfied with the draft, you are never satisfied with free agency, and you are never satisfied with where you are, that attitude continues even after the draft.


Are you nervous about the left tackle position?


We are going to certainly spend the next few weeks as we move on into the spring here and work at that position. Of course when Koets comes in here it will be even better. We are obviously going to continue to try to find the right combination for our front.


Would you agree that you had a good draft in regard to player character?


I think so. As has been stated before that has always been a very strong consideration and I think that it continued to be that way in this year’s draft.


Did you investigate the character issues with Ahmad Bradshaw?


We did and we interviewed him at the combine. We talked to a lot of people. We talked to his Head Coach who gave him a strong endorsement as far as a young man. There were no problems for him.


Can the first four guys you selected come in and look to start this season?


Well, hopefully they can. I think you always say that. It is going to be very competitive and very difficult for them. You certainly expect a lot out of your draft class and for these guys nothing less will be expected of them. They will come in and compete and then let the best man win. They are brought here for a reason and they certainly are going to make a strong contribution whether or not they are starters or however they fit. Eventually you have to use them all.

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