WPI: How hard are you looking at offensive line and cornerback right now?
Herm Edwards: When you look at the draft I think it’s heavy in those areas. You just have to be diligent in looking for the correct guys that you feel can come in and fit your system and help you to be successful. When you look at this draft it’s pretty deep on offensive line and pretty deep on defensive backs, receivers. There are some guys out there that will have a great opportunity to come in here and compete for a starting job.
WPI: Talk about the approach you’re taking with free agency.
Edwards:We said we were going to build our team through the draft and be selective in the free agency market. There’s some guys we had targeted to go after, but it didn’t come to fruition. We got one of them and signed our punter back, at this point, but there’s a lot of things that will happen between now and the draft and even after the draft. I realize this and I think we realize this as an organization.
There’s a lot of things that’s going to happen between now and opening day. There’s always going to be some players all of a sudden in training camp, somebody who could be a veteran guy that they lose favor or someone young that’s playing pretty well and all of a sudden they want to get rid of the guy. So you’re going to have opportunities to pick up players. You just have to be patient enough and know that right now our real emphasis, we’re excited about the draft.
WPI: Does Darren McFadden intrigue you at all?
Edwards: He’s an excellent player, there’s no doubt about it. He’s a home run type of guy. I think a lot of people, they’re going on last year, what Adrian Peterson brought to the table with Minnesota. A young guy, coming out of college, had a Pro Bowl year. This kid has a lot of potential, so any team that looks at this guy might feel like they’ve got a guy that can make the big play.
On the other side of it, you’re looking at the possibility of, if the partner is right, you can get out of that pick, too. You might have the ability to do that and pick up some more picks. This draft, for us, there’s a lot of good players who are going to be selected in the second and third round. It’s deeper than in the past because 47 juniors came out. You’re talking about another class of draft-eligible players, so that helps you too. But when you look at all these things, it’s who’s available when you draft. What players are still sitting there? We’ll have the ability to pick up some good players.
WPI: What has it been like working with Chan Gailey as he reviews offensive talent?
Edwards: His system and what he believes in doing, I think he understands the players he needs for him to be successful and for them to be successful. I think you want to create an environment, which we’re going to try to do around here, where players can come in and it’s not going to be too difficult for young players to come in and start and play. We’re going to create competition at a lot of different positions. Going into this training camp and the offseason, a lot of our players are going to realize, there’s going to be competition every day. That’s good for your football team.
WPI: Where does DeMorrio Williams fit in on defense?
Edwards: The thing we have with those four guys, especially the three, they’ve all played inside. [Derrick Johnson] played inside, too, in college. All of those guys are athletic enough to play inside. That’s no knock on Napoleon. He’s the starter, he’s penciled in as the starter on this football team at this point. All of those guys have their starting positions, but what they have to do is compete to keep their positions. And that’s every year in football.
When you bring in a guy like this, the thing he brings to the table right now, he’s a young player, a guy we had targeted. He’ll help us on special teams, but he’s played. You’re talking about a linebacker who’s played in a lot of games, and been a productive player, so that helps you, too. You’re always look for the fourth or fifth guy. Can he eventually be a starter? Yeah. Is it this year? I don’t know that, but we gave him a contract to say if you do that, you’ll be compensated for it.
WPI: Talk about the rookie quarterback class.
Edwards: There are some guys out there that have potential. The one guy right now leading the pack is the kid from Boston College. Most people have him as the number one guy to go off the board. When that is, no one really knows. There’s a lot of speculation about where he’s going to go. Then you have about three or four other guys that different people feel different about. Some could go later in the first round, some could go in the second or third round, but they all have potential. There are some questions on the first guy – is he the franchise guy? Who knows.
We have three quarterbacks at this point in time, really four with Greene. Brodie played a lot for us last year, played in six games, showed some signs of what we think he can be as a quarterback. We like Thigpen. He got hurt, but showed a little bit of a flash in the one game he was in. We liked him coming out of college. And then we have Damon.
Am I saying we won’t look at quarterback? We’re going to look at every position. If we think we can upgrade or create more competition at that position, and a guy’s available and we’ve got him rated, we’ll take another one.
WPI: The draft process is changing to a shorter time period between picks. Do you like that?
Edwards: What happens is you overanalyze things. For us, it’s going to happen real fast in every round, because we’re picking early.