By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Saturday, April 25th, 2009 at 3:39 pm in Oakland Raiders.
What Raiders coach Tom Cable said after the Raiders’ selection of Darrius Heyward-Bey with the No. 7 pick in the first round of the draft:
Opening statement: Well, this is a very exciting time obviously, announcing the pick for Darrius Heyward-Bey, a wide receiver from Maryland. This is the guy we wanted all along. It really, as I said probably about a month ago, there’s one guy in the draft who makes our entire team better. He makes Zach Miller better, he makes JaMarcus better, he makes Darren McFadden better, and Justin Fargas, Michael Bush, Johnnie Lee Higgins, Chaz Schilens, on and on and on, we now have a guy that we can throw the ball over the top of anybody and he can go get it. So this is a very exciting team. He helps us obviously what we do running the football but he gives us that deep threat that traditionally has been the Oakland Raiders. Really, just an awesome awesome time for us and excited to have Darrius, look forward to getting him here to minicamp and letting him show some of that speed.
Q: Why him over Crabtree and Maclin?
Cable:: This is a guy that i had targeted a month ago in the thing. He’s the one guy who’s made everyone better around him. We needed, as has been mentioned and written by all of you, we needed the ability to throw the ball over people’s head and JaMarcus has obviously shown he can outthrow most everything. This is a guy now who can go run that down and catch it. As I mentioned, he’s going to make Zach Miller better, and Johnnie Lee and Chaz Schilens and Darren MvcFadden and Bush and ultimately he’s going to help JaMarcus be the kind of quarterback we’re trying to get him to be.
Q: His college numbers don’t suggest that?
Cable: Well, different system and obviously when you look at what he did in yards per catch, his explosiveness, amazing. When you real y break him down and look at him for what it was, his opportunities and attempts, he’s off the chart, far far greater than the others.
Q: Thought of trading down and still getting him?
Cable: No, that was never the plan. We knew what we wanted to do the whole time. This was the choice that we thought we had to have to move this team to the next step.
Q: Any thought of taking Eugene Monroe?
Cable: Not at all. There’s a reason we have Mario Henderson here and Khalif Barnes, Erik Pears, Cornell Green. That may be something we do later in the draft, we’ll see how the day unfolds and obviously tomorrow, but the biggest need on this football team is to get someone to score points and obviously when you look at wh at I just said, his ability to do that and make everyone better around him, we’ve got to score points to win football games.
Q: But he had 13 tds in three years, Crabtree had 41 . . .
Cable: Different systems. If you put the spread system at this level, it doesn’t really exist. Those numbers would be dramatically different. I think the one great comparison that I did that really showed this was the right guy for me, if I put him in that same system, he might have been over 50 touchdowns. He’s that talented.
Q: Offers to trade out of the pick?
Cable: We never ever really talked about wanting to move. We were pretty strong about what we needed to do. Like I said, we targeted this one about a month ago and getting this team where it needs to be, and obviously that’s the ability to score more points. This was the no-question pick.
Q: Comparison with another player?
Cable: We talk to the scouts and everything. They bring up the name Randy Moss and obviously when you look at the history of the great receivers who have been Oakland Raiders, it’s always been about that vertical speed, being able to stretch th field, take that top off the defense and this certainly does that for us.
Q: Did he visit here?
Cable: We’ve worked him out, we visited with him, we’ve done great great diligence on this one. This is the one we wanted in terms of character and talent. And then the numbers and everything kind of speak for themselves.
Q: Was there a time when you thought you might have to trade up to get him?
Cable: There was. There was some time the last two days; in particular, last night it got a little bit nervous because there was some teams that tried to move ahead to get him. So, you really start worrying about all that.
Q: Do you consider him a polished receiver?
Cable: Actually, he was in all the top receivers – there’s really four of them that everybody has talked about; three at the top – he is the best route-runner of that group. Again, he’s the only guy that came out of a true pro-style system. Everyone else was in a spread s ystem. So, his learning curve is much, much shorter than those other guys. Then you got that size, that speed and his ability to go get it. The thing that jumps out at you, this is the one guy at the combine who, at the 30-yard mark, actually changed gears. And there was a whole other warp speed, if you will.
Q: What have you learned about his character?
Cable: He’s got the character that we’re looking for to build this team around. He has honor in everything he does. He has a tremendous family, does the right things. He was a guy that, early in his career, was considered a track guy and really set out as a goal to prove that ‘I’m a football guy’ and has done that. He’s a hard-working guy, did everything that we asked him to do. When you looked and dug, did all the things that we do, never once did you find anything that would detract you from him in terms of his character and his personality.
Q: How is he catching the ball?
Cable: There was some talk about that early, that they were inconsistent. But as we did a breakdown over the last two years, much greater consistency that way. He did a great job at his workout. His workout was phenomenal, just phenomenal. He caught everything at the front end of it, did a great job of being able to react and adjust his body to some tough catches and really kind of sold you on it. Because you started to see some of those things that scouts mentioned earlier, that he could do those awkward things.
Q: Who did you have at the workout and was it at Maryland?
Cable: A scout, had it filmed and taped and did everything that we would normally do.
Q: Was it just the Raiders at the workout?
Cable: No, there was many people at the workout.