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McKenzie and Allen transcript

Here is the transcript from the post-draft news conference with Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen:

McKenzie: “The day is over. Ah, shoot. Let’s open it up, guys. Questions?”
Question: Just an overview of how you think the day went?
McKenzie: Well, it went better. We had more picks today. We set out to try to upgrade the team and by the end of the day we felt like we did that. Remains to be seen just how good they will be, but we anxiously will await their presence here in Oakland and also into camp. So, we’re excited. It was a good weekend. We feel good about where we’ve come so far.

Q: Are the D-lineman you drafted projects you can be patient with and bring along slowly?
McKenzie: Yeah, with all these guys, to a certain degree, they’re going to have to be brought along. But yes, the D-linemen, they did get into football late. But they are very good prospects so even though they’re a little raw, we feel like we can coach those guys up and they will eventually be pretty good players.

Q: There’s a report you could sign Matt Leinart, what could he bring to what you’re doing here?
McKenzie: What we’re doing, we’re bringing in Matt Leinart for a tryout. Signing and all of that, that’s secondary. But we’re bringing him in for a tryout.

Q: What do you like about him?
McKenzie: The fact is he’s an experienced quarterback and we just want to take a closer look at him, watch him throw the ball and see how his injury has come around.

Q: How do you evaluate a guy like Bilukidi who was at Georgia State?
McKenzie: Well, for one, it’s not his fault who he plays against. But with that being said, he’s a big man with a great deal of athleticism and he hustles to the ball. You can see that type stuff in watching him play. You can see his ability to move laterally, see his ability to play hard. But yes, playing against some SEC, Pac-12-type players, he did not have that chance to do that. But what you look for, did he dominate at his level? And that he did. Bottom line, he’s a big man with really good athleticism and he plays like he loves to play the game. So, we were down there in the draft and felt like we needed to take a look at him. You know, we had brought him in for a visit and interviewed him, spent a lot of time with him and we felt like we needed to take a further look and get this guy in.

Q: What did you like about Burris and is he the one guy today who has the most chance of making an impact this season?
Allen: I don’t know if he’s the one guy that has the most significant chance of having an impact. But he is one of those guys that we feel like… and Reggie said this from the very beginning, guys. What we wanted to do is we wanted to go out and get quality football players. And that’s what we feel like we got in Burris. I think he’s a tough physical player that’s got good athletic skill, has instincts for the game, plays the game the right way. And that’s really at the end of the day when we looked at it, we said hey, we’ve got a quality football player that’s got a chance to come in and compete for a position on this team and we wanted to try to bring him in here.

Q: How involved were you, Dennis, in the pick-by-pick and what were you emphasizing–let’s get the toughest guy? Something like that?
Allen: First of all, I think Reggie and I, when it got time or it got close to the pick, he and I were in constant communication on where we thought we ought to go with the pick and who was the best player available. And at the end of the day, really, what we went off of was, when we looked at the tape, what players jumped out at us, that were productive, quality football players? And I think everyone of the guys that we were able to pick understood how to play the game, they were tough, they were smart, they were disciplined, they played the game with instincts. Those were the qualities we looked for in a football player. And then they’ve got to be above a certain line athletically, and all these guys were.

Why all the basketball players, Reggie?
McKenzie: “You know, even when college scouts go in and do their research, you see this guy played baseball, this guy played three years of high school basketball. Yes, it helps when you talk about how athletic especially big men are. Do we go in and look for guys who played basketball? No. No. But when we research and get down into the scouting part of it, yes. That’s part of the process. It’s just like when we look at defensive backs – if they play center field and outfield, learning how to track balls, that’s part of scouting. But for a specific sport? We don’t go out looking for basketball players, defensive linemen who can play basketball. That doesn’t give them a boost up in a round, no.”
Allen: “We’re close to having a starting five, though.”

And how about all the players with such strong faith?
McKenzie: “You know what? I think when you talk about high-character guys, how they were brought up, work ethic, I think part of that is kind of reflective on your faith. At least I know it was with me. But did we go out and say we’re going to get faith-based players specifically? No. No. That’s not our intent. But I think just by nature good quality players have a strong foundation in their faith.”

Surprised Criner was still there, and was his speed a red flag?
McKenzie: “Yes, we were surprised that he was still there, but excited that he was. And the speed, it was a factor but it was not a red flag. Because if it was a red flag we probably wouldn’t have taken him. But the guy, for a big guy, he’s quick. So if he was a slow guy with no quickness, it would have been a struggle to get him there.”

How did the trade come about?
McKenzie: “After looking at the board, we felt we could have an opportunity to move down, and pick up, we had quite a few players around that level, so we felt like we could get one of ‘em. And also by picking up another pick, that was just gravy. So if we got a team to do it, we would’ve jumped on it. And we did. So that’s how it went down.”

So you approached them?
McKenzie: “Yes.”

Q: Why didn’t you draft any defensive backs?
Allen: “Well, first of all, I appreciate the guru comment. I don’t know if I classify it as a guru. But, really, at the end of the day, we set out on this process and our goal was to get the best football players we could for this team. If there was a defensive back that was available at the value that we were looking for at that time, then that’s a decision that we would have made. But, really, at the end of the day, we played the board out exactly how we went through the process. That’s a credit to Reggie and the scouting department on how we set the board. And we didn’t panic. We just went right off the board and the best player available was the direction that we went. We feel good about the guys that we picked.”

Q: What are the rules for contact with the rookies between now and the mini camp in two weeks?
McKenzie: “Well, there’s a lot of rules. For fear of not abiding by the rules, I’m going to just leave that alone. Yes, our hands are tied. Now, we’ll get them in in a couple of weeks, as far as the rookie mini camp goes, but it’s hands off. It’s an off-limits-type of thing. Those guys have to be back into their college towns no later than tomorrow night if we would have brought them in today. So, it has to be a short turnaround. Just come in, meet you guys, and they’re pretty much out. That’s the way the league, along with the NCAA, has it. So, it’s for fear of taking these guys out from school. That’s the main purpose. Yeah, we wish we could get them in and do a whole playbook sessions, but we can’t do that.”

Q: What did you learn about Reggie during the draft process, coach?
Allen: “I said it before, and I’m not going to restate it again, other than, I’m just going to say, listen, you get the same guy, no matter what. He’s not going to fold under the pressure, the stress is not going to get to him, he’s got a plan, he’s going to work that plan and, at the end of the day, those are the guys that make the best decisions. The ones that don’t get emotional about making a decision, they have a plan attack, they have a thought process about the way that they’re going to operate and, at the end of the day, they work that plan. And that’s what he did during this draft, and that’s what he’s done with everything since he’s been here.”

Q: What is the latest on Tyvon Branch and Marcel Reece and their tenders?
McKenzie: I haven’t, our contract negotiators have been in contact with them specifically, but communication’s been well. With either of those guys it’s not been an ugly situation. They know we love ‘em and we feel good about our chances of getting them back, hopefully sooner than later. But the communication has really been pretty good.

Q: Neither has been signed?
McKenzie: No, not yet.

Q: Relief that it’s over, knowing you came into this without a lot of picks?
McKenzie: Coming into this thing, knowing that I had two picks, thinking about it was a struggle, because I didn’t want to think about that. But the hope of the possibility of getting compensatory picks, that gave you a brighter outlook, and when we got ‘em, needless to say we were excited. But to come away with six draft picks on the day, we feel great about. Where they came, really doesn’t matter, it’s the fact that we have some draft picks, and, but the anticipation of it, didn’t matter what round, it was exciting. We’re getting ready to pick our guy, and it was constant communication. It was a good process. It was good for me. This was a good weekend.

Q: What caught your eye about Hardy, no football experience at all?
McKenzie: In high school, he played. He was a basketball player in college. For one, the video tape, watching him, in the tryout showed his athleticism, ability to catch the ball, adjust and all that. You can tell his hands are not going to be a problem. And he ran pretty well, the frame, his physical frame, he looks the part. It was one of those deals, let’s see him try out in person. And I sent the scout down and everything was positive, so we brought him up. He’s had a little injury since he’s been up here, and that’s kind of slowed down his progress which he needs a lot of progress, but it’s one of those, `let’s take a look and see’ we know it’s going to be a project, but we’ll try to figure out if it’s going to be a good one or not.

Q: Injury is a minor injury?
McKenzie: Yeah, it’s minor. It’s minor.

Q: Now you have four tight ends. Are you comfortable with four or looking to add one more?
McKenzie: It depends on if something comes available. I’m just not going to let a player that we like that comes on a waiver wire or whatever through a tryout. If it’s a guy we think we can add and upgrade the competition, we’ll add him.

Q: More incentive today to address the defensive side?
McKenzie: I think we went into the draft from day one to address the defense. You got to understand we have a defensive head coach and a defensive-minded general manager, so let’s win on defense. But as the day went, the defensive players were the players that were on the board. So we didn’t intentionally just go defense, defense.

Q: With the two defensive linemen, Christo and Crawford, do you have positions you think they’re going to be at?
Allen: Yeah, right now we’re looking at Christo going inside and playing inside and we’re looking at Crawford as a defensive end.

Q: In terms of Crawford’s leaping ability, he’s batted down a lot of passes at the line of scrimmage, maybe could be used for blocking kicks, is that the kind of thing you look at for something he could be used for?
Allen: Yeah, he’s big, athletic, runs really well. And he’s had some production, and so again we look for versatility in guys and we try to find roles for specific guys and I think as you look at him as we get a chance to work with him, I think we’re going to be able to define a pretty good role for him.

Q: Undrafted free agents?
McKenzie: That will be an on-going process. It’s going as we speak. We’ll wrap this up pretty soon. That process has started prior to us coming down. That thing goes for a while. We are hopeful that we get some good players that way too.

Q: Will this be an all-nighter?
McKenzie: Yes, absolutely.
Allen: Every night is an all-night thing.

Q: What’s the back and forth like with those UDFAs?
McKenzie: Let me tell you something. I’ve been at this for all these years. It’s ongoing until we have the signed document. It is a constant struggle because you have the recruiting part of it. It gets competitive, especially when you’re dealing with contracts, money, opportunity of course. Everybody gets into the recruiting aspect but we have the closer here next to me so we should be fine.

Q: How were you able to sign Hardy before draft?
McKenzie: Technically his draft year was in ’11, 2011. He was technically a street free agent at this point.

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  • J Hill

    The 3rd rd pick didn’t dominate at OT against 19 year olds, but since he’s playing LG for us it doesn’t matter.

    You really don’t think The Reggime’s first draft pick isn’t going to start?

  • guest123

    Criner looks as though he makes nice cuts and runs routes well tO make up for the lack of speed.

    **********

    From the film I saw, I agree w/u.

    But it can be spun either way. He definitely has strong hands and knows how to fight for the ball in traffic. But he’s not getting much separation and those college corners are not nearly as physical as NFL corners.

  • guest123

    You really don’t think The Reggime’s first draft pick isn’t going to start?

    ******

    honestly no. Coop is better and it will take time for him to replace him barring injury. The battle at RT is pretty well defined between Barks/Barnes. I don’t think he’s going to be a factor in that battle.

  • http://000 Bob Marley

    Mista.

    DHB gets plenty of cushion, that’s why he does well with the comeback routes, the CB backs off and DHB starts running upfield, as soon as the CB starts backpedaling DHB turns around and is often wide open.

  • guest123

    If we end up with 2 solid starters down the road and a couple of back-up, special-teamers, it has to be considered an decent draft, right?.

    **********

    For a team with an brand new coaching staff and new philosphy on defense, and the draft grade talent we let slip by for project-fliers…..

    We have needs and holes in several positions, not the least of which is corner, and we neglected the short term and long term holes for basketball choirboys.

  • RaiderRockstar

    I hate to be a wet towel, but I think this entire draft class has nothing but depth and special teamers

    ***

    @G123

    Agreed – as rookies anyway. Hopefully they can be coached up and fit well with our system

  • guest123

    agree with Bob Marley:

    ______
    DHB gets plenty of cushion, that’s why he does well with the comeback routes, the CB backs off and DHB starts running upfield, as soon as the CB starts backpedaling DHB turns around and is often wide open.

    ______

    As much as I complain about DHB, his speed is a huge weapon that puts him in position to take advantage of smaller corners – if only he could snare the ball with his hands. But he’s not losing his starting gig anytime soon anyway.

  • http://000 Bob Marley

    There are definitely question marks when it comes to Criner, specially the WR friendly offense he played in, how is he gonna do with a feisty NFL CB lined up a yard in front of him?, I’m more concerned about that, his willingness to rough the CB up and gain position than I am about his 40 time, there’s plenty of “slow” WR’s who can play.

  • RaiderRockstar

    every team needs depth.

    Reggie told us that he was looking for “depth” in this draft along with a starting linebacker, but that was before we inked Wheeler.

    Reggie & Dennis feel like we already have the starters in place … can’t say that I disagree with them

  • J Hill

    Wow, G123

    Surprised by your takes.

    I think the 3rd and 4th rd picks are already slotted for playing time. LG didn’t even have a body there. Coop is old and has not played LG. If he was still any good, why not just leave him at RG and sign a LGmin FA?

    4th rd pick will play on STs and in the nickel package.

    The Reggime talked about the need for depth. Stayed true to what he’s been saying.

  • guest123

    @RRS,

    That’s rationalistic BS. We were all hoping for an upgrade, let’s be honest. None of us were getting our draft boards ready for a solid depth guy.

  • http://000 Bob Marley

    RaiderRockstar Says:

    every team needs depth.

    Reggie told us that he was looking for “depth” in this draft along with a starting linebacker, but that was before we inked Wheeler.

    Reggie & Dennis feel like we already have the starters in place … can’t say that I disagree with them.
    —————————————————-

    Yeah, there’s a starter projected at every position except TE, where I’m still unsure that anyone will emerge as a complete player, we’ll probably do it y committee.

    Some of thhose projected starters don’t sit well with everyone but it’s year 1, can’t solve every issue in a single off-season.

  • Carl Weathers

    G123, thanks for the help but my onscreen keypad only has a “previous”, “next”, “done” buttons.

  • guest123

    Repost from earlier. Here’s what I am talking about, and why I’m disappointed.

    +++++++

    When you look at what could have been….in rounds 3-4-5

    • Alameda Ta’amu NT or Ronnell Lewis LB in the 3rd
    • Josh Chapman NT or De’Quan Menzie CB in the 4th
    • Josh Kaddu LB (if they don’t trade away their pick) or Jonathan Massaquoi DE or Marv Jones WR (still available at pick 164)
    But Reggie picks:
    • Tony Bergstrom, guard/tackle
    • Miles Burris, LB
    • Jack Crawford, DE
    I realize hindsight is 20/20, but we could have had this instead:

    Ronnell Lewis, Josh Chapman, Kaddu/Mass
    Or
    Ta’amu, Menzie, Kaddu/Mass

  • guest123

    Some of thhose projected starters don’t sit well with everyone but it’s year 1, can’t solve every issue in a single off-season.

    ***********

    For sure we can’t solve every problem. But a big ugly NT has been on every Raider fan’s wishlist the past decade, and we let 2 good ones slip through our grasp in consecutive rounds. Damn!

  • http://000 Bob Marley

    Guest123.

    Save that post for a couple of years own the road, then we’ll see how it turned out.

  • Carl Weathers

    If we end up with 2 solid starters down the road and a couple of back-up, special-teamers, it has to be considered an decent draft, right?.
    @@@@@@@@@

    That would be a great draft IMO.

  • raiderlization

    R.M. wants prior to have compitition so he is not handed anything so he continues to work! good idea!

  • raiderlization

    Pryor LOL

  • guest123

    The draft is like Christmas morning. You get all excited about the pick – whoever that is. First reviews accentuate the positive. Everyone comes off like a steal. But then you uncover the videos and look at the H/W/S measurables and conferences they play in and it kind of puts a damper on the enthusiasm.

    Still, if we get some solid depth, it won’t be a bad draft. Just not the usual AD type draft with a mixture of steals and busts. More of an even keel, good, not bad, not great draft.

  • Dakota

    So, did we get A grades from all the experts or what?

    I should think so, since we drafted three Hall of Famers, and a couple of solid pro bowlers!

    Woot!

  • RaiderRockstar

    When you look at what could have been….in rounds 3-4-5

    ***

    @G123

    I agree, I was doing that myself during the draft

    However – I’ll just be honest. I haven’t seen any of the guys we drafted play football. Never even heard of them. I know a few semi pros wanted Burris in RD 5 or 6 (Raider O & YA?)

  • DEATHROW 55

    Who is the dumb azz that said the Turd nuggets were going to take out the lakers, lol….. 10 blocks bynum is a beast can’t wait for okc.

  • Marks hair

    1011. I was iwas.. Thats why I didnt even bother with a prediction.. Bpa all the way. I said for weeks we most likely wont find a starter at 95.. Although I have high hopes for bergs. Backups & depth… I must have wrote that 50 times last month…

  • J Hill

    Still mad at Jordan Hill trade, Dakota?

  • RaiderRockstar

    For sure we can’t solve every problem. But a big ugly NT has been on every Raider fan’s wishlist the past decade, and we let 2 good ones slip through our grasp in consecutive rounds. Damn!

    ***

    @G123

    i’m trying to let me wounds heal, do you have to rub them with sandpaper ??

    My positive spin is this, we needed help on defense and 4 of 6 picks went towards that – whether we got the right guys or not wont be determined for 2 or 3 years imo

  • hwnrdr

    1023.DEATHROW 55 Says:
    April 30th, 2012 at 7:43 am
    Who is the dumb azz that said the Turd nuggets were going to take out the lakers, lol….. 10 blocks bynum is a beast can’t wait for okc.

    Did someone really say that? I heard about getting swept by OKC…but Bynum and Gasol was beasting yesterday!!!
    However, wtf was Rondo thinking yesterday…unintentional my a**!!!
    And with Rose going down…now I believe that the Heat will take the East…but who cares? LOL

  • Marks hair

    Im hearing good things about criner. If he was healthier he would have gone higher.

  • guest123

    I don’t have much beef with the Burris pick. He looks like a player. Let’s see if he can cover anyone. Still don’t see him challenging Wheeler anytime soon. I like his demeanor though.

  • Marks hair

    Why would draft a nt? We play 4-3 and we had 5 dts before the draft..

  • Dakota

    1025.J Hill Says:
    April 30th, 2012 at 7:44 am
    Still mad at Jordan Hill trade, Dakota?

    ++++++++++++

    Who?

  • guest123

    Im hearing good things about criner. If he was healthier he would have gone higher.

    *******

    A few picks prior to Criner went Marvin Jones. That’s a huge dropoff at WR for so few slots.

  • Marks hair

    Boy the clippers almost blew it.

  • Marks hair

    Hill was another great pickup.. I hated playing murphy & mcjump

  • bcz24

    Bergstrom is going to be our swing lineman. He will be the guy that comes in if either of our guards get hurt. Our swing tackle is probably not on the roster, because I dont see us throwing Barksdale at LT if Veldheer gets hurt.

  • RaiderRockstar

    Gotta give mad props to my man Jhill. I’ve been debating with him for YEARS that the run defense problems stemmed from the poorous DT & MLB play. Every year this problem seems to be overlooked in the offseason. Looks like Seymour, Kelly & McClain are gonna get a shot to redeem themselves under different coaches in a new system.

    in the draft we took 2 DE’s and 2 OLB’s (size wise)

    fat slob John Henderson is out and we’re not going to have a 300+ player replace him. starting to wonder what this “multiple” defense is going to look like.

  • J Hill

    LOL,

    I’ll take that as an admission that you and your Buss Jr propaganda are wrong AGAIN.

  • Marks hair

    I looked at our picks measurables and production, and they stack up nice..

  • bcz24

    A few picks prior to Criner went Marvin Jones. That’s a huge dropoff at WR for so few slots.
    ************************
    Really? From everything I have read Criner was a very solid snag. The 1 knock on him is his 4.65 speed, which isn’t even that big a deal. The guy is a very good route runner and has nice hands. I bet he unseats Murphy as our 4th wr by the end of camp.

  • RaiderRockstar

    I dont see us throwing Barksdale at LT if Veldheer gets hurt

    ***

    Me neither, Bcz. Barnes has starting experience at LT though

    If Veldy gets jacked up, I think they have to play Barnes at LT & Barks at RT

  • bcz24

    If Veldy gets jacked up, I think they have to play Barnes at LT & Barks at RT
    **************
    That doesn’t make me feel all warm and fuzzy either. I think there is still at least one more lineman to be added.

  • Dakota

    1037.J Hill Says:
    April 30th, 2012 at 7:58 am
    LOL,

    I’ll take that as an admission that you and your Buss Jr propaganda are wrong AGAIN.

    +++++++++++++

    We’ll see what you have to say when the cost cutting continues this offseason…..he has already conditioned you to accept it.

  • guest123

    From everything I have read Criner was a very solid snag. The 1 knock on him is his 4.65 speed, which isn’t even that big a deal. The guy is a very good route runner and has nice hands. I bet he unseats Murphy as our 4th wr by the end of camp.

    *******

    That’s not saying much. Murphy is another guy that was slow to recover from injury. I’d like to think it’s all mental – like what happened to JLH. But I think his days are done regardless. If we brought in TO, you could drive the nail into his coffin.

  • Marks hair

    on defense we will rush 4 d lineman, and a blitzer or 2 sometimes behind that we’re gonna play zone, team tackling anything past the los.. We played too much man behind our attacking line last yr.

  • RaiderRockstar

    Wisconsin safety Aaron Henry
    Fort Valley State punter Marquette King
    Beloit wide receiver Derek Carrier
    Pittsburgh defensive end Brandon Lindsey
    Pittsburgh defensive lineman Lucas Nix
    Missouri defensive lineman Dominique Hamilton
    Southern California wide receiver Brandon Carswell
    East Carolina wide receiver Lance Lewis
    Utah cornerback Conroy Black
    Penn State cornerback Chaz Powell
    California (Pa.) wide receiver Thomas Mayo

    ***

    Have any of these UDFA’s been confirmed yet??

    or have we signed anybody else ?

  • guest123

    I know that we were hurting for cap space, but that contract that KC signed Winston in free agency (~$6M/yr), we should have gone after him. The right side of the line would be fixed, and we’d have that swing tackle that we are missing now.

  • guest123

    I heard both Mayo and Carswell bolted for Pittsburgh. But that’s not confirmed, just rumor.

  • J Hill

    I’m already on board with the cost cutting.

    GaSTUD to Charlotte for their #1 pick, and add KG for the mid level.

    That’ll save us 10 million, lol.

  • Marks hair

    1042. The made the new cba specificly to hurt the lakers , buss & kup find a way to get younger, faster, & under the cap & your complaining?

  • Dakota

    1048.J Hill Says:
    April 30th, 2012 at 8:10 am
    I’m already on board with the cost cutting.

    GaSTUD to Charlotte for their #1 pick, and add KG for the mid level.

    That’ll save us 10 million, lol.

    ++++++++++++++

    lol…..turn in your Lakers’ card!