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Quotes: Head Coach Jay Gruden 04-28-18

* Head Coach Jay Gruden*

*On if DL Tim Settle was too good of a value to pass up: *

"That's what it boils down to, really. He was highly ranked on our board and he was still there and, you know, a lot of times you want to go by all the work you put in in the offseason. Scouts put a lot of work in. Kyle Smith did a great job and the rest of the scouts, so he's another big body that can rush the passer a little bit and he's really good against a run. So, I’ve said it before, you can never have too many big bodies. He's a talented kid to add to the mix with the other guys that we have here. I think he'll be good."

*On if drafting seven players from “Power Five” schools was strategic or coincidental: *

"That's how it worked out. I think those guys may have a leg up. If it's close between them and maybe a smaller school guy, then you might err on that side because they've played against great competition, but that's not always the case. It just so happened to be tonight."

On S Troy Apke: 

"I think he improved as the season went on, I think he's a very good safety. He's got great range. You've seen him fill in run support and I think he's going to get better and better. I think the sky's the limit for him as a player. You know, anybody who can run 4.3 – whatever it is, 4.32, I think it was? Short shuttle, I think he's right around 4.0. He's still learning the position. He takes good angles to the football and he's not afraid. And he's great on special teams, so it was a win-win not only as a safety but as a special teams player. I think he'll fit right in."

On if they planned to select so many defensive players or if it evolved as the draft progressed:

“I think it evolved with who was available, like Settle, same thing with him like we mentioned before. We try to stick by our board as best as we could but there were some positions of need that we addressed here later on in the draft that we’re happy with the guys that we got. For the most part we’re trying to take the best player available. We feel good about the team we already have. Now it’s about adding good quality players, which we did.”

*On if he was surprised by Settle's availability in the fifth round: *

“We were surprised, very surprised, you know? Pleasantly surprised we got him. He’s a big, wide body, has good feet, good short-area quickness, plays off blocks well. He’s disruptive in the passing game and I think can play multiple spots along the defensive line as [Da’Ron] Payne, as [Jonathan] Allen. So it’s very important to have versatile defensive lineman and have a lot of big guys that can do multiple things and he’ll add to the mix.”

*On the importance of depth on the defensive line in this particular division: *

“It’s important. It’s very, very important to have those big guys that can be interchangeable and not just be a one position, one-trick pony. Subbing guys in and out and keeping them fresh throughout the course of the football game, whether you dress five defensive lineman or sometimes six, a good, sound rotation is what you are looking for with big guys that are very talented that can multitask and do different things.”


On CB Greg Stroman and if he could contribute as a punt returner:

“Yeah, I think last year we did not have anybody that could back up Jamison [Crowder], really. DeAngelo Hall took some there at the very end and right now on our roster we really don't have anybody that can catch a punt other than Jamison, so it was very important for us to address that. So with Greg and with Trey [Quinn], the last pick here, both of them have punt return experience, so that was good. And Greg is also a good corner.”

On how he feels about the draft overall:

“Well, I think everybody feels good about their draft. We feel very good. We got some players we wanted – we were intrigued about – we got them. We got some with Da’Ron [Payne] and Geron [Christian]. Those are two good picks. And obviously the rest of them with Tim and Trey… Trey Quinn is a very exciting prospect. At SMU, he caught a lot of balls, did some punt return. He’s a great option route runner, great feel in zones, strong hands, good physical blocker, good after the catch. Shaun Dion Hamilton, obviously a leader of that defense at Alabama, one of the smarter players that I've heard about on that defense communicated. Had a couple of injuries, we understand, but from our trainers we feel like he's going to be good to go. So I think overall, I feel good about it.”

On if there's a specific reason for consistently taking four Alabama players in the last two drafts:

“It's just a coincidence, really. It just so happens Jonathan Allen fell to us last year and obviously Ryan Anderson was one of our top outside backers at the time. And then Da’Ron Payne, he's one of the best defensive tackles in football right now, so we took him. Obviously with Shaun Dion Hamilton, I think watching him alongside Reuben Foster last year, watching the impact that he had on that defense, the way he communicated it, talking to the coaches and the players that played with him, how smart he is, how he anticipates things, it’s a great add for us. But, it's just a coincidence.”

On if there's a common trait among players from Alabama:

"They play at such a high level, consistently. Their defense is good week in and week out. I mean, In the last three years, they've been to three national championships and won two. So that type of consistency against the best competition in college football, their defense stands out. They get the top recruits out of high school. These guys translate to great college players and then, for the most part, they translate to great pro players. You're going to see that here. Ryan Anderson is just getting ready to make his mark and obviously Jonathan Allen's going to have a healthy year next year and play extremely well [and] Da'Ron. So we're excited about these Alabama guys but we're also excited about everybody else."

On how much better they think they'll be at running the ball and stopping the run after free agency and the draft:

"We feel like we're better. We addressed it. We've got to get everybody together here – first steps first. We have to get everybody together, get them in the meeting room, study the game, get the phase two going, then get to our OTAs, get them in shape, and then get them to training camp and see where we're at. But I feel good about the physicality of our football team. You know, adding Derrius Guice in the running game, he's a powerful, physical runner. Adding obviously Daron Payne to go with Jonathan Allen and the rest of the guys we already have and Tim Settle, we're going to be more physical up front. So I think I like where we're headed. Now it's just a matter of getting everybody on the same page and playing good together."

On if he envisions an immediate role for all of the draft picks:

“Well, we will see how it goes. We are not guaranteeing anybody anything. They have got to come in here and compete. They have got to stay and they have got to get themselves in shape and understand what type of grind this is. They have got to learn a lot of football – techniques, the fundamentals and terminology – all that stuff to see how much they can handle. But we anticipate these guys having an immediate impact and we’re going to give them every opportunity to do that, but we also have guys in-house that aren’t going to give their job away easy. So, there’s going to be great competition and great teams will have great competition throughout OTAs, throughout training camp and throughout the regular season, so we anticipate that here.”

On position groups they may target with college free agents:

“I think we’re short probably a little bit at wide receiver. We don’t have a lot of bodies there. We probably need some more receivers, some more defensive backs, probably. Maybe another offensive guard or two. Go from there.”

On if he saw the same thing that NFL.com evaluators did in comparing Shaun Dion Hamilton to Martrell Spaight:

“No. No, I did not. No, I didn’t see that. I think that they’re two totally different players. Yeah, they’re different players.”

On if Stroman will play inside or outside:

“I think he has got the ability to do both, which is good.”

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