John Lynch Opening Comments:
“I can tell you that [head coach] Kyle [Shanahan] and I and everybody are extremely happy. An active day, I think a real productive day. We continued along with our goals of adding pieces to the puzzle and then getting explosive and dynamic players to add to the mold. We’re really thrilled to have done that. I think I should start off with [S] Jaquiski Tartt. We’re thrilled to have extended him. Jaquiski is a guy we feel really good about. We wanted to, when we came in, we wanted to reward our players who represent our core values and we think are really good football players and are fits in our scheme. We thought Jaquiski was one of those. That came together and it was something that we wanted to get done and we were pleased to. Moving on to the draft, [WR] Dante Pettis is a guy that we moved up to get, we had targeted. You talk about a dynamic player, I think Kyle can speak to it more, but this is a guy that has tremendous flexibility in terms of versatility at the wide receiver position. He’s a finisher. He scores touchdowns, both as a receiver. He has a lot of the traits that we like and covet and then you know, all-time NCAA leader in terms of punt return touchdowns. Very dynamic from that standpoint, as well. [LB] Fred Warner, a linebacker from BYU that we really throughout this process grew to really grow comfortable with. He came on a 30 visit. We enjoyed that. You know, we enjoyed, I thought that his skillset really mimicked what we do. You can see a lot of it on tape. He’s a guy who is comfortable playing in space and a very efficient linebacker, uses his hands well. [DB] Tarvarius Moore, he’s a defensive back from Southern Miss. He’s a guy who played safety at Southern Miss. We think he has an opportunity to play some corner for us. We’re going to check that out and see if it is, but we know that he can play safety. This is a guy who ran, I really credit our scouts, [regional scout] Darrell Moody and [regional scout] John Stevenson and [national scout] Justin Chabot who went through there and really identified him as an elite athlete. He went on at his pro day. He didn’t go to the Combine. He went on his pro day and just blew the doors, ran a 4.32, jumped over 40 inches. He’s a special athlete, but he’s also a guy on tape who shows up and gets the ball. So, I’ll turn it over to Kyle from there.”
Kyle Shanahan Opening Comments:
“Excited how it went, guys, so open it up.”
With Pettis, he’s a guy I covered back when he was in college and he was a really studious guy. Seemed like he really studied the details of the playbook. I’m wondering if that resonated a lot with you?
KS: “I think that helps show why he’s such a good player. If we were going to go for studious types, I would have drafted myself and lost a lot of games. I think that’s stuff that helps him play well. It starts with the tape and he’s extremely talented, a very good route runner, he can separate and has extremely good hands, very quick, fast enough to run all the routes, and when you meet him you see how smart he is, how hard he works, and you get why he’s the full package.”
There were a lot of receivers that went within that range. What differentiated him to you guys?
KS: “We just feel he fills a lot of spots for us, not just, we’re happy with our group. We’ve got a lot of good players. With our group before we got Pettis, who have a lot of different traits. We can use them all differently. We think Pettis does a little bit of everything. I think we can use him sometimes similar to how we use [WR] Marquise [Goodwin], if need be. I think we can use him inside similar to how we use [WR] Trent [Taylor] if need be. I think he has the hands and toughness, we can use him similar to [WR] Pierre [Garçon]. In the meantime, I think he’s going to be a very good punt returner too. So, he’s a guy that adds a lot of versatility to our team and when I speak of someone with those type of traits, he’s a guy who can help you out an all four downs, not just third down, not just first or second and then also special teams.”
One of the problems with Pettis, he does run great routes but is his coming off of the line of scrimmage. Is that something that you guys have to work with as far as strength and conditioning is concerned, having him come off the line of scrimmage like that?
KS: “No, that’s actually one of the things I liked about him most in the draft. I thought he was one of the best receivers versus bump-and-run, he’s got the lower half where he can cut outside of his frame and be good with his feet. So, when it comes to bump-and-run I think that’s one of the things I think he did better than anyone in the draft.”
You eluded to the fact that Warner played in space a lot at BYU. Is there any curiosity about him playing or being more physically close to the line of scrimmage and close to the action?
JL: “He did both. We saw a number of examples where he lined up in the slot a lot but he also played what we call stack backer. We love the fact that he’s done them both. There’s a lot of clips. One thing he does, we play a lot of zone defense. You have to read the quarterback. You have to see the quarterback and when that hand comes off, you break. There’s just numerous clips that kind of fit what we do, and he’s a guy we just all really appreciated the more and more we watched. Then he’s just kind of got that same makeup. You guys, we talked about the studious types. These are some smart football players. These are some smart guys that can play football. They could moonlight over at Google. These guys, we added some IQ to the building and we’re happy for that, but most of all, it starts with the tape, as Kyle always says, and these guys can play and they are very good fits for what we do.”
Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh worked with Jacksonville Jaguars LB Telvin Smith and you’re obviously familiar with Atlanta Falcons LB Deion Jones. Is that WILL linebacker spot, those coverage traits what you guys were coveting with him?
KS: “WILL and MIKE are the same thing to us. MIKE just talks more because he communicates to the defense and everything. In terms of what we ask those two to do there’s very, very little difference. We want linebackers who can run. We put them in some tough spots. They have to cover a lot of ground in what we call the hook area, it’s from hash to hash and almost to the inside edge of the number so that’s a lot of space that you have to key the quarterback and to get under things, and so the quarterback has to check it down over the ball, and then you need the quickness and the tackling ability to close and you know, you’ve got to do it perfect to make it a five-yard gain so there’s a lot of stress on those guys and you have to be able to move and like the guys you mentioned and Fred, those are the type of guys we’re looking for.”
When you guys trade up. In general, is that an indicator that you caught wind that someone is going for your guy and you’re worried about losing him?
JL: “Yeah, I think that’s a good question. You never really know, but you try to garner as much information as you can, and I think most of all, we just knew Pettis was a really good and versatile football player that we thought would excite a lot of people. I mean, everyone studies these guys and each team sees them different. But you know, I think he’s a guy that I think was going to appeal to a lot of people. Kyle talked about his ability to contribute and be explosive on four downs. He was a guy that we saw, hey, this guy is going to go. So, we came into the draft really saying, hey, if we could come out with him, we’d be doing very well and we were fortunate. We moved up where we thought we needed to be and we were still hanging on. But, we got it done. It happened right before the buzzer and we got it in and we’re pleased to have done so.”
Fred Warner is a guy who is also very involved in the community and did a lot of community service. Obviously, it starts with the tape, but was that something that was important to you in this draft at that position?
JL: “Yeah, we always talk about football character but in general, character. Fred is a good guy. I think that’s when the visits, sometimes there’s certain times where we talk about guys you really don’t need a 30 visit. Fred wasn’t necessarily that. But, I would say that [regional scout] Reggie Cobb did a great job scouting them but then we go down to the Senior Bowl and he just kind of looks good against that quality of player and so you feel a little bit better, so let’s learn a little bit more about him. We brought him in and I think we all just had a really good feel once he was in the building and all those things in the community, he’s a good kid and a really good football player.”
KS: “It makes sense. It’s not like I know his community work and what he’s doing and that’s why we want him. But, we want to know the guy and we want a certain type of person and the type of person that we’ve gotten to know, when you say that, it doesn’t surprise us at all.”
He said in an interview a couple of weeks ago that he watched a lot of film of Seattle Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner. Did Robert Saleh say anything about, this guy reminds me of Bobby Wagner, that sort of thing?
KS: “Yeah, I think Saleh mentions that a lot when we’re watching linebackers because we’re doing a certain scheme and it started out there in Seattle and Bobby has done that as good as anyone. We’re always comparing guys and matching them up to people. Yeah, they do have some similarities.”
I saw Warner is 6-3, he’s taller than some of the linebackers he’s compared to. What does that add to his game?
JL: “I think Kyle can tell you, and I think that’s part of the reason Kyle chose a coordinator like Robert who played this scheme is because it’s difficult on offenses. But, we covet length. We always talk about no absolutes, but length, much like I remember [former NBA head coach] Phil Jackson was at the forefront of that in basketball, closes down passing lanes. And so when you’re in those hooks, guys that have great length and great ability to move in a real athletic fashion, it shrinks the field and we think Fred’s one of those guys who can shrink the field.”
With Warner and Moore, they are going to have a tough time getting on the field in defense, I would think. But, they also have special teams value as well. Is that part of the big picture here?
JL: “Well, special teams is a big part of it. But, hey, you know, the NFL is all about competing and so these guys are good football players we expect to come in and compete to play on defense and on special teams, but yes it did help to know that they both are effective and have been excellent special teams players as well.”
On the broadcast NFL Network analyst called Moore a late riser. Did you guys have him that way or have you been on him the whole way and maybe towards the end if he is a late riser around the league that you’re worried that the secret is out on him?
KS: “He is a late riser because you don’t get invited to the Combine, so you’re just a little, at least for the coaches, we see him a little bit later than we saw the other guys before. But, I know the scouts and I know our DB coach [defensive backs coach] Jeff Hafley, they were very high on this guy pretty early, and when you’re not invited to the Combine and things like that, you think you’ve got a sleeper, and then the guy goes and runs a 4.32 at his pro day and all of a sudden he’s not so much of a sleeper. So, more people start to hear about it where probably a lot of guys were knowing about him, thinking they could find him later in the draft and then you start to do that stuff and by the time the three months go by, the secret’s over.”
Is that kind of more unusual for a guy to not go to the Combine?
JL: “Really, that’s why you really rely on your scouts so much. These guys have been around these Universities for some time and they have great relationships. They go in there and they do a lot of hard work. Like Kyle said, our guys did a great job of identifying him, early, with these elite athletic traits. Again, you talk about a guy with length that can run and has ball skills. But, then he goes to run a 4.32, no more sleeper. People have been awoke and so then it’s a judgment, okay, where do we take him. We knew he was a player we really like, where do we take him and you know, fortunately, we had, after the trade, we had three third rounders today. One of those allowed us was part of a trade to move up to get Dante. We still had two and we addressed two things that we felt like were important pieces to the puzzle for us, and we’re very pleased to come out of the day with that.”
KS: “Those visits are very high risk/reward. We don’t want you to guess everyone in our mock drafts and stuff. Can’t be automatic, you only draft people you visit with. Got to mix it up for you guys.”
Moore said he didn’t play much cornerback. Is that somewhat of a projection and you say well he’s got athleticism and he can probably do it?
JL: “It no doubt is a projection. We don’t have film of it. Jeff Hafley did a tremendous job of showing us whatever tape. There’s instances where he’s in coverage and you know, I think one of the traits, you’ve got to be able to run to play corner in this league. He can flat-out run and he’s got the length and all that. We know he can play safety. We’re going to give it a go and see. It always helps, the flexibility to help shape a roster. We’re going to play him out there. I would tell you if you’re going to play safety, the best thing you could do go play corner. [Former NFL head coach] Herm Edwards when he came to Tampa he made me go cover receivers as a corner and it makes you a better safety. I think in the least bit, he’s a guy that we’re going to give a go there, we’ll see how it works, but we think he has some skills that could translate. It certainly is a projection, though.”
Does that change your plans with DB Jimmie Ward this offseason or are you going to keep him at corner for now?
KS: “We’re keeping him at corner for now. Jimmie is going to be starting at corner in OTAs and with the number of guys out there, we’ll put Moore right behind him with some other guys and we’ll see how the competition goes. You know, we know we’ve got a good safety, who can play in this league as a safety. We think he can play corner. We’ll see. But, we also know we’ve got a guy who can run really fast and doesn’t mind hitting people, so that usually translates to a good special teams player, also. I think we’re very fortunate to get a player like that where we did.”
You said he’d start at corner during OTAs. That’s outside with CB Ahkello Witherspoon?
KS: “Yeah. Right, if he plays well, he’ll stay there.”
If he plays well in OTAs is he going to continue that?
KS: “Right. If he plays well, he’ll stay there.”
T Trent Brown passed a physical in New England at about nine a.m. today. Was something in the works before the draft with that?
JL: “Yeah, my fingers were crossed last night when I was walking to you. I did say never say never. We had agreed in principle. But, part of these deals, you’ve got to see them through and obviously there was an injury and he had to go pass a physical. You know, I had spoken to Trent last night and we had talked to him. He got on a plane. He went out to New England, passed the physical and there we were.”
How much do the finances play into that? Obviously, he’s going into the last year of his contract. You mentioned how much tackles can get on the open market. Is that just looking into the future, the financial picture playing a big role in that decision?
JL: “It’s all part of the puzzle. You look at all these things, is this a guy that we’re going to want to pay the next contract to? Along those same lines, we talked at great length about what we appreciated about [T] Mike McGlinchey and how we came to really appreciate him. And so you know, once you do that and you still are at a point, you know, we’re by no means a finished product, and so we still have some areas that we need to address, other pieces to the puzzle, and so I think the idea of already having two third rounders but then having the opportunity to have another one that gives us some flexibility to move up, that was appealing to us. We went ahead and we made the move.”
Would this deal have been made if you hadn’t gotten McGlinchey?
JL: “Probably not, you know, right now. But, we did, and so those are all hypotheticals.”
Was it contingent on, did you tell the Patriots, if we don’t get our guy, we’re backing off a little?
JL: “We did it after we secured McGlinchey, yeah.”