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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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  • RaiderRockstar

    Isn’t there an excellent website dedicated specifically to undrafted free agent signings??

    checked it on the regular the past 3 offseasons. can’t remember what it was though or if they kept it going

  • DEATHROW 55

    Does any body know if that punter we signed is as good as the punter that was drafted in the 3rd rnd by jags?

  • Dakota

    1049.Marks hair Says:
    April 30th, 2012 at 8:12 am
    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?

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

    Lol, we are nowhere near under the cap…and the younger, faster guys are fine….until you watch them walk out the door this offseason and wonder what we really got for 2 first round picks other than more $$ in Jim Buss’ pocket.

    You can’t cry poor when you have a $200 million dollar a year TV deal kicking in….sorry, only you chumps can buy that story.

  • Lowdown_in_Beijing

    Perhaps Allen And Big Mac saw enough in Travis Ivey @ the mini-mini camp that it mitigated the need to chase a NT in the draft…

    It is gonna be a battle royal in training camp as Allen puts a blank piece of paper on the wall and says “this is the starting D-line. You want it? You earn it.”

  • mcfadden20.

    Morning nation

  • RaiderRockstar

    Perhaps Allen And Big Mac saw enough in Travis Ivey @ the mini-mini camp that it mitigated the need to chase a NT in the draft…

    It is gonna be a battle royal in training camp as Allen puts a blank piece of paper on the wall and says “this is the starting D-line. You want it? You earn it.”

    ***

    @Lowdown, it’s entirely possible!

    If not, I’m hoping we can snag both former Saints DT’s from last season … Aubrayo Franklin & Shaun Rogers

  • DJ Johnny

    1029.guest123 Says:
    April 30th, 2012 at 7:52 am
    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.

    I realize highlight reels like Buriss’s being bandied about can be deceiving cuz it’s only showing the good stuff, but if it’s any indication as to what we’re getting, he’s a STUD.

    I vote that he be given every opportunity to show if he is better than Wheeler and if so…we go with the guy who will best help this team win; regardless of experience, contract, whatever.

    If Burris needs to sit and learn for awhile then so be it.

    Any video out there of Burris showing the good with the bad?

    I’d like to see that.

  • Marks hair

    1. Cp3
    2. J.barks
    3. T.J
    4. TP
    5. Bergs
    6. Burris
    7. Criner
    Thats a solid draft. Id take TP over any player taken in the 3rd rd this yr.

  • Dakota

    I have to hold out hope that the coaching staff can make a difference with bums like Curry, McClain, Kelly and Branch when it comes to stopping the run.

    If they continue to play like have in the past I am sure McKenzie will cut bait and work on fixing the problem next year when we have some cap space and some draft picks.

  • DEATHROW 55

    Rogers already signed with a team

  • Dakota

    I vote that he be given every opportunity to show if he is better than Wheeler and if so…we go with the guy who will best help this team win; regardless of experience, contract, whatever.

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

    Better than Wheeler? I think he will be more likely to beat out Curry or McClain.

  • r8eray

    AlzadoX Says:
    April 30th, 2012 at 1:11 am
    Chris in NY Says:
    April 28th, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    Bilukidi actually looks really good, IMO. The athleticism of this big man pops out at you:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STiBwfkomOY

    ******

    interesting video.

    first time I saw a standup nose tackle since late 1970s college football

    calling this kid raw is an understatement, but he’s athletic. Mobile, agile, changes directions, body control is really nice for a big guy. Can see how he could play basketball before growing into a football player.

    I was wondering how they were playing division II football on astroturf in a nice stadium till I found out they play in the Georgia Dome. They are a new college and/or new football program that is trying to move up to division I

    liked the Angolan music too but wish they played more instead of looping a segment

    ==============

    He also was elected one of GSU’s permanent team captains for the 2011 season … Rated one of the top 15 prospects for the 2012 CFL Canadian Draft!

  • Marks hair

    1056. Stop it. We are a 4 man front.. We dont need a nt.

  • Dakota

    Mike Mitchell looked good on youtube too…..

  • J Hill

    1054

    Exactly!

  • Dakota

    1063.Marks hair Says:
    April 30th, 2012 at 8:29 am
    1056. Stop it. We are a 4 man front.. We dont need a nt.

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

    Call it whatever you want, NT or NG, we need a big ugly to occupy a G and C on running plays opposite a three tech DT who is mainly concerned with killing the QB. When both DTs can be handled with one blocker it opens the door for the guard to take out a LBer.

    There is a reason that we have not hade a good run D in Oakland since the days of Sam Adams.

  • r8eray

    Nathan Stupar’s Uncles Ron, Doug and Jeff Hostetler all played football for the Nittany Lions in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Jeff, who finished his college career at West Virginia, was a quarterback in the NFL with the New York Giants, Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders and Washington Redskins.

    Nice to know he has pedigree…

  • r8eray

    Dakota Says:
    April 30th, 2012 at 8:29 am
    Mike Mitchell looked good on youtube too…..

    ======

    He looked like the next Ed Reed!!!

    Lol…

  • Marks hair

    1066. Big doesnt alwayes =effective. We wont give up as many big plays in a soft zone.

  • Lowdown_in_Beijing

    There is a pic of Corey Ivey in one of the recent camp photos…massive.

    The rest of the D line look like DBs standing next to him.

    From what I heard, he will be wearing nos. 90 & 91..at the same time.

  • Raidernationdave

    Just Fire Baby Says:
    April 30th, 2012 at 6:40 am

    I think the hope is for Criner to be a Coltson-type slot guy.

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

    Great point. I see Criner as being a much healthier, dependable and talented than Chaz Schilens ever could be. This is what I like about RM’s draft and what the Raiders picked up. Criner is ready to go. CP can back shoulder fade with this dude all day long.

  • Marks hair

    What can you see in a meet & greet mini camp? That he’s in shape?

  • http://www.raiders.com Raider O

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

    Criner was ranked higher than Jones on some boards.

  • J Hill

    You stop the run guys are just cliche after cliche.

    Do you realize how many big runs we gave up out of our so called big nickel?

    The big ugly you are asking for would be on the sidelines in a nickel defense, mayne!

    Why don’t you guys complain about us not getting off the field on 3rd down?

  • Marks hair

    I thought the donks had a bad draft.

  • CanuckRaider

    #1068: Dakota says: “Mike Mitchell looked good on youtube too…”
    Funny, but I was thinking the exact same thing when everyone was creaming themselves over Burris’ senior year highlight video.

  • http://www.raiders.com Raider O

    Criner = BPA
    Burris = another 4th round steal.

  • Marks hair

    I realy like criners hands

  • guest123

    You stop the run guys are just cliche after cliche.

    **********

    speaking of cliche’s, how many times does DA have to use the “at the end of the day” cliche???!?!? Go read his transcript of every player intro and make it a drinking game, you’ll be drunk by the second interview.

    At the end of the day —> pregnant pause or “er-um” would be better

  • DJ Johnny

    948.alzadoX Says:
    April 30th, 2012 at 1:32 am
    So here’s what the 53-man roster would theoretically look like at this point:

    *****

    can’t determine who will make 53 man roster yet. Preseason is not nearly as useless as some make it out to be.

    Not at all. Everything we saw in preseason last yr….translated to what we saw in the reg season.

    The lack of depth was on full display. Our “scrubs” couldn’t stop jack squat on defense and alot of those guys ended up playing due to injury etc.

    Kick coverage was horrible in preseason and it cost us dearly in reg season in games against Denver and SD to mention just a couple.

    In preseason there was no evidence we could stop the run either and penalties were still there..(the lockout didn’t help but still…)

    Preseason will be very interesting imo. and well worth watching.

    All of us will be looking for signs that things have changed. Who cares about what the scores will be.

  • http://www.raiders.com Raider O

    5+ YPC for the last 7-8 years, and you don’t see a problem?!

  • CanuckRaider

    Both Criner and Burris could be really good…I just don’t think a Youtube highlight reel tells the story.

  • DJ Johnny

    1070.Lowdown_in_Beijing Says:
    April 30th, 2012 at 8:39 am
    There is a pic of Corey Ivey in one of the recent camp photos…massive.

    The rest of the D line look like DBs standing next to him.

    From what I heard, he will be wearing nos. 90 & 91..at the same time.

    Isn’t it TRAVIS Ivey?

  • http://www.raiders.com Raider O

    Canuck,

    Forget that YouTube crap. Look at his hands (10.5″), look at his college production, read his scoutung reports, and then look at tape. The guy is a beast.

  • Raidernationdave

    I think we might be surprised in how the Raiders use Christo Bilukidi. I don’t see him as a down lineman as much as I see his speed utilized as OLB in 3rd down situations – especially in 3rd and 7, etc. He has the speed to drop into coverage and the strength to take on blockers and fill a lane. Sleeper pick.

  • CanuckRaider

    True DJ…What we saw last pre-season came to pass during the regular season…I think our defense will be much improved this year just due to better coaching and schemes.

  • http://www.raiders.com Raider O

    Some scouts think Burris will be an all pro in a few years.

  • DJ Johnny

    1082.CanuckRaider Says:
    April 30th, 2012 at 8:49 am
    Both Criner and Burris could be really good…I just don’t think a Youtube highlight reel tells the story.

    The write-ups on these guys is pretty good as well though.

    I’d really like to see some video showing good with the bad on these guys.

    I’ll check to see if I can dig anything up on the SD St. Michigan game…or the one against Boise.

  • raiderfankirk

    Travis Ivey?

  • CanuckRaider

    #1084: You’re preaching to the choir on this one Raider O…I love Criner’s size, hands and college production…He can fill a big need for that big red zone target.

  • raiderfankirk

    Travis Ivey 6’4″ 325. Kind of tall for a NT?

  • CanuckRaider

    #1088: Good idea DJ…If you find something post the link if possible…I’d be interested to see that.

  • Raidernationdave

    Christo Bilukidi could quite possibly be seen as the steal of this draft in a few years. I trust DA & RM will bring him along at a pace where he can absorb the scheme to match his skill set.

  • http://www.raiders.com Raider O

    Testing!

  • DMAC

    Morning/afternoon peoples.

    I give Reggie a B+ in his draft. The only reason he didn’t get an A was because he didn’t draft a NT. Burris looks like a quicker Mathews and will be a beast. Christo might this years sleeper out of the draft.

  • RaiderRockstar

    5+ YPC for the last 7-8 years, and you don’t see a problem?!

    ***

    O,

    STUFF THE RUN = WIN THE GAME!!

    9 years is a long time to wait, man.

    Apparently – Reggie, Dennis & Jhill are on the same page though.

    I wonder if JFB is pissed we didn’t draft any D-Backs when he called our secondary the worst in the league. A collective “turd sandwich” or something like that

  • Marks hair

    Production picks.. New era..

  • RaiderRockstar

    I give Reggie a B+ in his draft. The only reason he didn’t get an A was because he didn’t draft a NT.

    ***

    @DMAC

    I give Reggie a C-

    still a passing grade

  • http://www.raiders.com Raider O

    I don’t want to compare Burris to Mathews, but I think we got a great player. Another 4th round steal like Branch, Bush, and Ford.

  • Raidernationdave

    Raider LB’ing was hit or miss most of the last few years…this draft sought to change that. RoMac step your game up, both on and off the field because the job you may save could be your own!