Capers/Casserly on Johnson

GM Charley Casserly

(opening statement) "We opened the day with the 13th pick in the first round. Our feelings were that there would be a group of players available at pick number 13 that we liked. That was the case, so we decided to trade back. We would have taken Travis Johnson at the 13th pick, but New Orleans offered us a chance to move back with an extra pick for next year's draft, a third round pick, and we felt comfortable that Johnson would still be available three picks later. When we arrived at the 16th pick, additional trade offers were available to us, but the offers were picks for next year or post third round. We felt if we moved back again the percentages were against us to get Johnson. He is the player we targeted for this area in the draft, so we decided to go ahead and pull the trigger at that point. Come to find out after the pick, another team had him on the board and if we would have moved back, we would not have gotten him."

Head Coach Dom Capers

(opening statement) "As we entered the off-season our number one goal on defense was to try to increase our speed, athletic ability, and we obviously wanted to address trying to rush the passer better. I think the addition of Travis Johnson fits right in with a number of other moves we've made here through the off-season to increase our speed and athletic ability on defense. Travis Johnson is a very active interior lineman, a guy we think has a combination of the size and strength to play the run yet the athletic ability to penetrate, and add pass rush to our defensive front. We see him fitting into our nickel scheme right away as an inside rusher and a guy we can fit into the rotation with our front people. We felt he had the most speed, athletic ability, size combination really of any interior lineman in the draft. He plays very aggressively, we like the motor, plays hard, has been very productive and we certainly liked what we saw of him on video."

Capers: (on adding another defensive lineman to the rotation) "I think he comes in right away and we put him inside in our substitution package and rush the passer from there. The way we play our lineman is we rotate our guys through, if you look at their play time percentages through the first three years, all of them get mixed into the flow of things and I think you have to do that to keep your guys fresh. He obviously gives us a young player at a position where we have two players Gary Walker and Seth Payne 30 years of age or older and defensive interior lineman are hard to come by. They are a premium. You do not get them in free agency, you have to draft them, and normally they are drafted fairly high. That is one of the reasons I think this is a premium position and we like what he adds to our football team."

Capers: (on the competition with other lineman re-signed from last year) "Every year, as we move forward, we are trying to create more competition because that means you are getting better as a football team. There is no doubt in my mind that we strengthened our football team and added competition on our defensive line just as we have added linebackers and defensive secondary. It has been one of the priorities in our off-season and we think we took a major step forward with the addition of Travis Johnson."

Capers: (on Travis Johnson's strengths) "He is very active and plays with great effort, he has the strength and ability to stop a block, yet the explosiveness to come off a block, pursue the ball, and make plays down the line of scrimmage."

Casserly: (on Travis Johnson) "We felt Travis Johnson was the number one interior defensive lineman in this year's draft. In normal drafts, that player is not available at the 16th pick. In past drafts, there has been a run on defensive lineman by that point in time. This draft is unique because of the number of running backs, cornerbacks, and wide receivers taken in the top 10. Getting a starting interior defensive lineman at pick16 does not happen a lot."

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