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Kubiak's draft wrap-up

** Head coach Gary Kubiak

(opening statement) ** "First off, let me just say that we're very excited about the way the weekend ended up for us as a football team.  We had many positions that we need to get better at.  We had players targeted, and we had the type of players that we were looking for; not only as football players, but from a character standpoint. As I've said all along, I think the key to our football team getting better is that we surround ourselves with great competition on our team and with depth on our team, and when you do that, and you go out there and you compete through the offseason, and you compete through training camp, we're going to be a much better football team.

"That is the whole key to what we're doing.  I've said all along is that the one thing that I know after being in this league for many, many years, and the one thing that I've conveyed to our players from day one since I got here was that there wasn't one single issue, or one single player, or one single thing that was going to all of a sudden flip the switch.  It was going to take many pieces to the puzzle, as we have said all along.  It's going to take us filling many needs and everybody doing their job for us to get better and become better week-in and week-out and I think we've done that.  We feel very good about it starting with Mario (Williams), which we have talked about over the last two days.  The impact he'll have on the defensive side of the ball, and the way we can build our program around his presence.

"DeMeco Ryans, as I told you all, was a wonderful player at the University of Alabama.  A tremendous young man, a leader there, a captain there.  His presence on our football team will be felt immediately, in my opinion.  The two tackles, of course, (Charles) Spencer and (Eric) Winston; we could not believe they were there at that time in the third round.  We have to get better up front, and we have to create depth up front.  We have to do a better job protecting the quarterback.  These two young men, we feel, both have an opportunity to play tackle in this league for a long time.  They also have the flexibility; I think they can go inside, and we talked about that.  We feel very good there.

"Today, we started with Owen Daniels.  This is all a matter of progress for this young man.  If he'll keep making the progress he's made the last two years; making the conversion from quarterback to tight end with his athletic ability; and can stay healthy, which he's had a few nicks a long the way.  The last two years have been very positive for him and if we can keep him going in that direction, we think he has a chance to be a three-down tight end.  What I mean by that is I think he can play on the line of scrimmage and can stretch the field.  He'll be on the field for all the downs on the offensive side of the ball.

"The last two picks, which we haven't talked about Wali Lundy, running back out of Virginia.  What I see here is a guy that fits what we do.  He's his own runner.  He had three very impressive years his first three years at the University of Virginia.  He got nicked up and missed some time this past year and had a problem with his foot.  He is fine now, and I think he fits what we do very, very well.  He's a very smart young man, and I think he's his own type of player, and that is what we want in the backfield.  We felt very fortunate to get him in the sixth round.

"And the last player, I've actually known for a long time, is David Anderson, out of Colorado State University.  A very productive college player.  Plays the game full-speed with one motor.  Should have a big-time presence on our team on special teams.  A tremendous worker and a great young man.  We feel very good about all those picks, and we're looking forward to getting them all in here and getting started here in a couple weeks.

(on making the defense a priority) "As I said before, we had to start someplace, from the standpoint that there was going to be an impact player for us.  We had to make this decision, and there was going to be an impact player for us on one side of the ball, either on offense or on defense.  And after going through and doing all our homework on these players and having to make a very, very tough decision, we came to the conclusion  that the player that best fit our situation and direction we were going with our team and that we wanted to build around was Mario (Williams).  It's an immediate impact on the defensive side of the ball.  We can build our program and can build our defense and what we're doing defensively with Richard (Smith) around this young man for a long, long time to come.

"Really, DeMeco (Ryans) that happened in a lot of ways because of the way the draft panned out.  As we told you before, we had him as a first-round player.  We felt like he'd be gone and had no idea he'd be there and we get to the first pick of the second round and felt that this was the top linebacker on the board and we're in need of that.  Going to a 4-3 is a different type of scheme for these linebackers.  There are a bunch of 3-4 players around here, but we think this young man is a three down linebacker, which I mentioned yesterday, that will never leave the field in nickel and third down situations.  We think he should be an impact player for us right away.  The Mario situation, how that panned out, but, DeMeco in a lot of ways we kind of fell into a great player right there with the first pick in the second round."

(on the Texans' zone blocking scheme in the last two years compared to how it will be now)  "I don't know.  I can go back a couple years and what they've done here.  But I know at the end of last season they started to do some of the things we've done at Denver.  But zone is zone.  It is what it is.  You're passing people off, you're not in man schemes when you're getting stunts from a defense and you're getting blitzes from a defense and you're caught in man schemes a lot of times you get picked off and stuff.  We teach zone schemes which in a lot of ways you're talking about three or four plays that are run many, many different ways.  To say that we were the same, I think that we're somewhat different from that standpoint, but I do know that the last four or five weeks last year the Texans were beginning to run some of our stuff."

(on if he's doing the exact scheme they did in Denver)  "We're doing it exactly.  The exact same things.  We'll teach the exact same schemes; wide zone, tight zone and do some variations off that. We won't run a lot of plays, but we'll do them from many, many formations."

*(on having the lightest line and drafting a larger lineman in Charles Spencer) *"He's not that big now, but he was at one time.  I think the last time we went to work him out he was in the 330 range, 335 somewhere right in there.  That is a factor.  That is something we're talking to him about every day.  We want to get him down.  But as a box player, when you watch this young play in the box, there is no doubt he can do the things we want him to do.  We have played with some big players in Denver also; we played with George Foster, a very big young man.  We have been a little lighter, a little quicker, but if we have got that player with that size who can still do the things and bend and have the speed, we want him to have; there is no problem there."

(on building the offensive and defensive lines during the draft)  "That'd be easy for me to say today, but the message that we're trying to send out to our players, from the day I walked in there and the first day I met with them, is that we're all going to have to play well to win.  There's not one particular player or one particular situation that's all of a sudden going to flip the switch here.  It's going to be about the group all the time.  It's going to be about us getting better as a team at every position, every player for us to get to where we want to go.  It's going to be about team around here.  That's what's going to be preached day-in and day-out.  That's the way we're going to go about building throughout free agency, via the draft, this year, next year, and that concept's not going to change.  If we are all doing our jobs, we'll put together a good football team, and I think everybody in this town's going to be very excited to come watch us play.  I want to put together the best possible team we can."

(on the decision to not draft a cornerback)"We actually felt like that's kind of a strength of our football team.  We were a little worried at safety about three weeks ago and then we were able to sign Michael Stone from New England, so that helped us. Going into the draft, we didn't feel the pressing need to fill that spot.

"At corner, we feel pretty good.  We are actually going to sign a couple of guys here in free agency—with the free agents at the end of the draft—but as we approached the draft, I wouldn't say that was a top priority.  We were thinking defensive end, linebacker, and corner third.  On offense, we were thinking tackle, running back—in that order—as we started the draft process."

(on whether Antwan Peek or Jason Babin can play right and left defensive end)  "First off, they're both putting their hand down, so that's a little different for them.  The strength of these two young men is rushing the passer, so you like them on the open side.  You'd like them away from the tight end, doing those types of things, so they can get up the field.  To say that they can't play either side, I wouldn't say that, but we want them on the open side; we want them in space, because that's what they do well."

(on the possibility of moving Anthony Weaver to defensive tackle)"First off, can Weaver play inside?  Yes, Anthony's done that in the past.  He's played all across the front, so we definitely have flexibility there.  Also, when you look at Mario, when it's come to getting after the quarterback, Mario has come from all over the place on the defensive line.  They played him inside; they played him outside.  We should have a lot of flexibility there from that standpoint.  Be it with Antwan, be it with Anthony, be it with Mario, we should have a lot of flexibility just as a group."

(on why Eric Winston was still available in the third round)  "I think coming off that knee, I think he might have been a first-round pick had he not hurt that knee a couple years ago.  Then he comes back this year, and I think it was a slow process for him early in the season, and started to play really well toward the end of the season.  His was due to injury.  I think Spencer's was due to inexperience, but both young men, at the end of the day, in their senior seasons were playing extremely well.  That's usually the way this works.  When you have a talent like that, you try to figure out, 'How is he still there in the third round?'  You go back to something like that, be it an injury, be it experience, making a position switch, or something of that nature."

(on drafting high-character players)  "There's no doubt, this guy right here (Charley Casserly) thinks that's extremely important, and I know that Bob [McNair] does, too.  This a tough business; this is a man's business.  This is a marathon, not a sprint—y'all have heard me say that—and when you've got people with great character that show up every day and do it the way you want to do it and are accountable for what they're doing, it's going to make your team better in the long haul.  So yes, that's very important to me."

(on how the draft turned out versus the staff's expectations before it started)  "All I can say is that we felt good about that.  To say that they were exactly where we thought they would be, I couldn't go into our draft board with you from that standpoint.  Just like everybody else in the league today, we feel good about what happened, and we're going to find out.  It's time to go to work now and put all these pieces in place and start putting the football together.  Boy, I'm excited for that, I tell you.  I've been three months, now, here, and I can't wait to get on the field here in a couple weeks and start getting after the football a little bit."

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