Pre-Draft Presser: Zorn, Cerrato and Snyder

Pre-Draft Presser: Zorn, Cerrato and Snyder

Dan Snyder, Vinny Cerrato and Jim Zorn all spoke with the media about a variety of topics as a prelude to the NFL Draft this weekend.

Pre Draft Press Conference

 

 

Redskins Executive Vice President of Football Operations Vinny Cerrato:

"We have been very busy getting prepared. First of all welcome Zack (Bolno, Executive Director of Communications). If you all don't know, Zack is our new PR person. The last two weeks in preparation really have been a lot of the coaches and scouts meeting 15-16 hours a day in preparation for this coming draft. Like I said, we have nine draft picks. What we have been doing is, all the coaches and the scouts have been together, by position, watching, grading, ranking, evaluating, putting the board together in preparation for the draft this weekend."

 

"With the addition of new coaches, the scouts, I think things have meshed tremendously. I think the coaches have done a tremendous job, offensively, defensively and Danny (Smith, Special Teams Coach), giving their opinion, meshing with the scouts. Things have progressed very well. At this time we are ready. We could draft today if need be, but we still need some preparation time to make some final decisions yet. We still have a couple of things to work out, evaluating a little bit more, doing a little bit more background on other guys and that will all be completed by Friday.  We are looking forward to the draft this weekend. As Dan (Snyder, Redskins Owner) said, it is exciting having all these draft picks. It is going to be fun to add, right now, nine new guys. That is what has been going on."

 

"As you know the scouts, they work it year- round. Let me just say that Scott Campbell (Director of Player Personnel) has done an excellent job of organizing the meetings and leading the scouts through this process and all the scouts have done a good job too."

 

On whom the Redskins are going to draft with their first choice:

"It was a lot easier last year when we were picking sixth because there was only so few guys that could go in front of you. Now, at 21, you have to sit back and try to figure out what is going on and it seems like it changes all the time on guys who may be there, may not be there. The thing that we will look at also, over the last couple days I have contacted the teams behind us and the teams in the top of the second round about moving up to 21. Usually the teams that are looking for a quarterback possibly, they may want to come up, so we have talked to all those teams about possibly moving up. Come draft day, at 21, we may have an option of trading back."

 

On the speculation that the Redskins have offered the Cincinnati Bengals draft picks for Chad Johnson:

"We have never commented on trades or hearsay on what is going on. When we complete trades or do anything like that we comment on them, but we don't comment on hearsay."

 

On if having all these draft picks represents a change in philosophy or if it is a one year thing:

"I don't think it is a change in philosophy. We got the extra compensatorys, otherwise we would have six picks. With the compensatorys it was an added bonus for us. I don't think it was a change in philosophy. It all starts with the free agency. When you evaluated the free agency, there are less and less free agents it seems like every year and the value of the players in free agency we were getting was not the value we put on them. That is why we weren't active in free agency, other than signing our own guys. The other way to add players is through the draft. Fortunately we got the extra compensatory picks, so that is just the way it worked out this year. There are three ways to acquire players, free agency, trades and the draft. Some years we have done more in free agency, some more we have done with trades, this year it happens to be the draft. We will always be active in everything, but we like to have draft picks. It is exciting."

 

On if the Redskins would trade up draft picks in order to get a certain player:

"We have always been an aggressive team, so if there is somebody there that we like, we have made efforts to go get them. Like with Chris Cooley (TE, #47), we didn't have a pick and we really thought the guy was talented so we went and got a pick.  I don't think we are afraid to do anything. We are willing to do anything, move up, move back, get picks, go get a player. Whatever is in the best interest to help the football team in, that has always been Dan's philosophy."

 

On now that Joe Gibbs is gone, how will the dynamics on draft day change:

 

Redskins Owner Daniel M. Snyder

"I don't think it is going to change much, at all. The system we use is the same system with Coach Zorn as with Joe Gibbs. We really rely on the work product of all of the scouts throughout the year and then the coaches and the scouts working together for three plus weeks in 18 hour days. At the end of the day, we believe in the work product, not fooling around with getting out of order or heat of the moment, we have really avoided that. As Vinny said, occasionally there is a player that we have a high grade on that we will say ‘That is an opportunity to be aggressive and go get,' and Cooley (Chris, TE, #47) is an example that we traded next year's two, back then, for a third round pick, because we had a very high grade on him. As he went to his first Pro Bowl this year, I think it is more than justified, but you do try to make those opportunities when you can."

 

Redskins Head Coach Jim Zorn

"I have been involved with the process from day one. Not only individually looking at all the players, but then collectively within the group atmosphere with the scouts and the rest of the coaches. I think the process has helped me so that on draft day when I am sitting there I will know who we are talking about, I have seen the guy, we have talked all through the issues and I think it will be a pretty methodical function of all the information that we have gotten to make that choice."

 

Redskins Executive Vice President of Football Operations Vinny Cerrato

 

On if they have talked about limiting rookie salaries:

"No, not really. [We] haven't really thought about it that much to be totally honest with you."

 

On if not having full drafts in previous years has depleted the youth on the team:

"Like we talked about, there are a lot of different ways to acquire players and a lot of those guys were through trades, which cost us draft picks. A lot of the free agents that we signed were young guys. I think we realized the value of draft picks, especially in the cap era, because you have to develop young guys. If you want to pay a lot of starters a lot of money, then it has to come from somewhere. To have depth as inexpensive guys, that is the best way to go, and the best way to get those is through the draft. This year we have a full draft, and every year forward we have a full draft."

 

On how difficult is it to have the 21st pick in the draft:

"The way we picked everybody, we are not looking for a certain thing. We are going to draft the best player. Last year we were looking for a Pro Bowl player, Dan said ‘Get us a Pro Bowl player.' This year, we may have a need here, we may have a need there. We will look to take the best player that is available at 21, because what happens is, if you get to 21 and you say we have to have this position, and that position is gone and you might be taking a late second round pick where at another position you are getting a guy who is valued at 21. In the long run, you are much better getting the value for the player then reaching for the guy. The biggest mistakes are made when you reach for a player. The most overvalued, over drafted position is the defensive line because if you don't usually get them early, you are not getting them, so that is why they all go. A lot of second, third round guys end up going in the first round. That is why, if you look at history, a lot of times the best value in the draft is in the second round."

 

On if there are some positions they will not take at 21:

"When I walked in the training room this morning Clinton (Portis, RB, #26) was down there getting stretched and he says ‘What are we doing?' I said ‘Didn't you hear? We traded up for McFadden (Arkansas, RB).' He laughed. If something crazy happened where somebody fell, you have to look and evaluate it. There are some positions that don't really warrant us taking."

 

On if they look at a prospects character issues as well as athletic ability when grading them:  

"With every guy, you evaluate every piece of the puzzle. It is all pieces of the puzzle, you put it all together and evaluate it as a whole. You don't evaluate it individually with certain pieces of the puzzle, but you put it all together and look at the whole body of work."

 

Redskins Head Coach Jim Zorn

 

On the importance of drafting offense or defense:

"I have become far more neutral in really feeling the urges of all those coordinators, position coaches involved. I just remember wanting to make sure  I got my voice as a position coach heard and then as a head coach I have tried to listen to all of it. I'm not favoring on over the other, I'm fairly neutral in my thoughts at this present time."

 

On if they would take a receiver with pick 21 to gain height in the receivers:

"What I am looking at too is who we already have. We have Anthony Mix (WR, #19) who has some size. We have Maurice Mann (WR, #80) who also has some size. Those are the guys that at this mini-camp I really want to take a good look at. So as far as receiver goes, yes if that guy is there and there is a guy that we like and he is graded out well and we see him, we are willing to take a look at that. I would not say that there is going to be one position that I look at over another, especially with pick 21. I am sure there are going to be four or five guys there and it is going to be a difficult pick. It is going to be a difficult choice."

 

Redskins Executive Vice President of Football Operations Vinny Cerrato

 

On Phillip Merlings (Clemson, DE):

"He is working out on Thursday, so he is going to get a chance to do some drills. So we will get a chance to evaluate him at that time."

 

On if Greg Blache (Defensive Coordinator) is making a push to draft defensive linemen:

"The thing that is great about our coaches in our meetings, when we meet with the defense as a group, they are like whatever player we need to best help the Redskins Greg Blache is not sitting there saying, I have to have a d-lineman or I have to have this. He is saying whatever player helps the Redskins win is what we need to do. There has not been one coach standing up, but they haven't yet stood up on a soapbox and said I have to have this or I have to have that, they are just saying, we want to win, let's get the best player that helps us win."

 

On if they need to look at getting defensive linemen in the draft due to the ages of those currently on the roster:

"It all depends on how the draft falls. Like I said, we're not going to sit there at 21 and because you have some older guys on the d-line we're going to take a d-lineman no matter what and we have a third round grade on a guy we are taking in the first. That doesn't make sense. We are looking o-line, d-line, wide receiver, cornerback and we need depth at linebacker, fullback and also at safety, so there are a lot of things we could use help at, so that is kind of good when we get our choice to pick we can pick the best player, because we do have some needs."

 

 

Redskins Owner Daniel M. Snyder

 

On getting impact players:

"If you look historically at the draft, not only first round, but primarily second round, you end up with a real opportunity to get some real long-term, great players. We are not quite panicked at any one position as a franchise. We feel like we are in a pretty good place to select the best player. There are only a few positions where we say we wouldn't take. Other than that we are looking at it from a broad prospective. I think we feel pretty good."

 

Redskins Head Coach Jim Zorn

 

On why it is hard for receivers to come in and immediately make an impact:

"It is hard for a wide receiver to come into any program, learn a new language basically and try to understand the techniques that that particular offensive philosophy encourages and demands. When a receiver comes in he is getting used to be being a part of a pro team, he is getting a whole new vocabulary and the only way to play receiver in the League is to play fast and I think it is hard for a young guy to immediately just free up and play as fast as he is going to play his first time out, so it is a bit of a process.  I think it is a process for every receiver. I think you will see the young guys that come into the League, the thing that they will do well if they are great receivers, they will go deep well. Everybody can go deep but when you are trying to run patterns and when you are trying to use the philosophy of the offense and think on the football field, it gets more difficult."

 

Redskins Executive Vice President of Football Operations Vinny Cerrato

 

On if they have a favorite pick over the years that they are particularly proud of:

"Probably like Dan said, he has talked a lot about Cooley. I don't know that you can say that Sean Taylor and LaRon Landry (S, #30) were finds."

 

On day two of the draft, how does the depth of the prospects look:

"I think that there is more depth in the draft this year than there was last. I know we have more names on our name this board. Last year Bill Belichick (New England Patriots Head Coach) called, I think it was in the fourth round he called, ‘We will give you our fifth, two sixes and a seventh for your fifth.' I said ‘Is your board empty too?', and he said ‘Yes." I think it will be better this year. There is will be more depth. As you know, big people go quickly. The guys that will be there at the end will be some guys that will probably need some development, is usually what happens with the big guys.  We were fortunate last year with a guy like Stephon Heyer (OL, #74) that we got. It helps when you have an outstanding offensive line coach that can develop guys like that. When you have a good teaching staff you can take those guys, like the Montgomery (Anthony, DT, #94), Golston's (Kedric, DT, #64), Heyer's and they can develop into players quickly because you have good teachers. So, we are fortunate to have good teachers, which enables us to take guys that you can develop because the coaches want to develop young guys. They are not in the frame of mind that I have to have a proven product. Give me somebody that I can develop and they have done that and they have proven that. That is why I think that we do get some quality guys later."

 

Redskins Owner Daniel M. Snyder

 

On if it has been tough this off-season to sit back and not make a big splash:

"No. All we have tried to do year after year is improve the Redskins and that is get the best available players out of free agency, out of the draft, trade, what have you. This year Vinny and the whole staff and the coaching staff felt as if free agents were a little thin this year, so we didn't have a big free agent list to go after this year. We felt that when you grade them you also grade against your own players. We felt that as a club we were stronger than many of them."

 

 

 

Redskins Executive Vice President of Football Operations Vinny Cerrato

 

On if he feels that there is more quality or quantity of players on their draft board:

"At the offensive tackle, there is probably more quality- it will be early, it will probably be gone before we pick, but there are more quality big men at a left tackle then there has been in a lot of years, but they are going to go fast. I think there is decent depth later in the draft in the O-line. Defensive line, what happens is once you get past the first round you are getting guys that maybe they are only good run players or they can only rush the passer or they are undersized. They are lacking something and like I said, that is when you have to develop those guys. Receivers, there are not top of the draft guys, it is more probably late ones, and twos and threes is probably where the depth is at wide receiver. So there is more depth in the middle than at the top."

 

Redskins Owner Daniel M. Snyder

 

On if he looks at this as the year for Vinny Cerrato to have his signature draft:

"I don't want to discount the previous drafts and going back to the question asked about where did you think you end up- well in the third pick in the draft we took Chris Samuels (OT, #60) and he has been to the Pro Bowl five times. So, you have some signature draft picks you that you have made more so than signature drafts overall. If we can do that job that I think we have done here, I think we will be very successful in this draft."

 

Redskins Executive Vice President of Football Operations Vinny Cerrato

 

On if he has a quarterback in mind that he thinks teams will try to move up to get:

"There are a number of quarterbacks that teams would like to come up and get. There are probably two to three that people are looking at.  It all depends on what happens at the beginning of the draft. If teams at the beginning of the draft don't get the quarterback then they want to come back and get him in the second, but a lot of times they will probably get gone by the time they are picking, so teams like to move up to be sure. When you are trying to get the quarterback, you do what you have to do to go get him. There has been a lot of interest in teams to move up. Everybody is interested on Monday, come Saturday we will see."

 

On if they have taken any guys off their board because of character issues:

"Yeah, we have a long list. We have a long list of guys. That hasn't changed. The thing that we have learned and Jim (Zorn) has also said, you win with quality people and quality guys and we have an outstanding locker room and we don't want to bring bad guys into a good locker room. We want to add more good guys to a good locker room."

 

On how they feel about having ten minutes between draft picks in the first round:

"That is great. We like it much better. You didn't need 15 minutes. Probably there will be more preparatory work early Saturday and maybe Thursday, Friday about teams contacting teams about wanting to move up. You will have Joe Bussert (NFL) on speed dial as you are picking, that is the trade guy. There is plenty of time to make trades and do what you have to do. You get to sit there and watch your team for fifteen minutes and see highlights, that what is was."

 

Redskins Owner Daniel M. Snyder

 

On if his thoughts have changed on obtaining older players since he bought the team:

"When I first came in I wanted to not only win now, but also didn't understand what I do today. With today's salary cap and today's system, the contracts need to burned off. If you sign them for a five year contract, you really need them to play for most of the contract, if not all of it, so you have to get a younger free agent. You can't really sign a 33-year-old to a five year deal, or you are going to be in trouble."

 

 

 

 

On at what point do they analyze their previous drafts:

 

Redskins Executive Vice President of Football Operations Vinny Cerrato

"You can kind of evaluate it after one and then after two to see how the guys are doing. After the first year you get a pretty good idea of what direction they are headed. A lot of times guys make their most improvements, especially guys that aren't picked as early, make their most improvement year one to two, so after two years you should have a pretty good idea of what direction they are headed, if they are going to be a part of the program or not part of the program."

 

Redskins Head Coach Jim Zorn

"What most teams do, and we will do the same, is after the draft when we start our mini-camps and our OTA's and then we go to training camp, those scouts who put in all that ground work and everybody who had a part in the evaluating will be out there at those practices comparing those draft choices, free agents, with who we have on our team and then they learn. There is a learning curve there as far as they will see the real talent in their evaluations. Either I was right on or I missed it here or this was exactly what we thought this guy was going to be. Once those scouts learn that after the draft, that is where we will put our grade on what kind of draft we really had."

 

Redskins Executive Vice President of Football Operations Vinny Cerrato

"Plus, the thing that we do is we bring our scouts in in December and we have them grade our players in December before they are getting ready to grade- they each get a position to grade after the season is over- so they will come in and grade our players at that position and go to one of our games, so they get a chance to see our guys at the end of the year. Then, the position that they are going to grade in the draft, they have just evaluated the players that we have on our team so that it is easier for them to compare. Say that you are evaluating our receivers. You get a chance to grade all the Redskins receivers while you are here for a week, watch them live, go to practice everyday and then they are going to grade the 25 or 30 receivers in the draft and then it is easier for them to compare with what they have. Then, in their final summary in their reports when they right the college reports it is how do they fit into our team- they are better than, they are not as good as. So, we grade for the League, but then in the summary, they are grading for how they fit into our team."

 

Redskins Head Coach Jim Zorn

 

On if he put his other coaching duties on hold to prepare for the draft:

"I have really put on hold the playbook preparation. The things we are trying to do, other guys are doing that. I haven't stopped preparing the quarterbacks, just because I think that is a valuable part of the process, especially to start mini-camp in a few weeks here."

DCProFootball.com Recommended Stories


Up Next


The Redskins stuck to their board, opting for the best player instead of need. And that resulted in…

Forums


3 Fans online
    Join The Conversation

    Tweets