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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript

Posted Apr 26, 2012

New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media following the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft at Gillette Stadium on Thursday, April 26, 2012.

BB: I thought we had a good day today. As usual, the draft always takes some interesting twists and turns. You just never know how it's going to go, but as the players came off the board we were able to execute a couple trades there and still hang onto our two second round picks, which I thought if we moved up I wasn't sure that we would be able to do that, but it worked out that way. Nick [Caserio] really did a good job of handling those. I felt like we got good value for them. [We] took Dont'a [Hightower] and Chandler [Jones]. Probably could have been in either order, but we felt like we would have a better chance to end up with both players if it went that way, not that we were sure we would get the second one but we thought we might have a shot at it. Looking forward to working with both guys. Chandler is a little younger and has a little less experience coming out early; he missed part of the season last year. But very talented player, smart guy, works hard and really did a good job against some good quality players he faced in the last couple years at tackle in the Big East and in there on Syracuse's schedule. Of course, Hightower has been in a great program for a great coach; won a couple of national championships and has been the signal caller, leader of that defense. I think both players have some versatility, we'll work with them and figure out what works best for us and them. But excited to work with them; glad we have them on our team. I think they'll represent us well both on and off the field, at least that's our expectations. I'll take a couple questions and then that will be it.  

Q: How surprised were you that Dont'a Hightower was still there at 25?  

BB: You just never know how the draft is going to go. There were a lot of good players up there; a lot of players that we had very high opinions of got taken. So you just never know what other teams are going to do. They all can't go.  

Q: How important was the versatility in the two guys you took?  

BB: Every player has his own individual package, whatever it is. Some guys do one thing very well, other guys have some versatility, other guys can do a lot of different things. Whatever their deal is, it is and that's what they come with.  

Q: Safe to say that you went in targeting defensive needs?  

BB: We looked at the board and took the value that we thought was best when we picked, like we always do.  

Q: What surprised you the most about the way the first round unfolded?  

BB: I don't know. We just try to prepare for it. We can't predict what's going to happen so we just watch the players as they come off. When we have opportunities, we take advantage of them. We didn't know we would be able to trade up to where we were for the cost we had to pay. But it worked out that way so great. If it hadn't then we would have done something else.  

Q: When you look at the things that Hightower does, is he versatile within the linebacker group? Can he play weakside in the 4-3 or middle or inside or outside?  

BB: I don't know. I can just tell you what he did for Alabama. I don't know what he'll be able to do.  

Q: In that context, did he do a number of those things for them?  

BB: Yeah, well he played middle linebacker really, or inside linebacker off the line for Alabama in their base defense and their nickel. But he also played defensive end in their nickel opposite [Courtney] Upshaw and they were the two defensive ends in their nickel package. He rarely came off the field defensively.  

Q: How did Syracuse utilize Chandler Jones?  

BB: He played defensive end.  

Q: Did he ever drop back in coverage?  

BB: In some of their blitz zones he dropped off occasionally, but that wasn't their big thing. When they did, he did it.  

Q: Do you think have you to address the secondary with your two second round picks?  

BB: I don't know. I don't know. We'll see what happens. We don't pick for a while now, whatever it is, like 15 or 16 picks or whatever it is. We'll see what's there when we pick and we'll do what's best for the team at that point. Maybe we'll pick sooner than that. Maybe we'll pick there. Maybe we'll pick later than that. I don't know. We'll just have to see how it goes.  

Q: How rare are Jones' measurables?  

BB: I'd say they're good. I'd say they're good.  

Q: Are we going to have to come back here on Saturday?  

BB: I have no idea. You guys are the experts, you tell me. I don't know.  

Q: Do you feel like Jones has room to grow into that frame?  

BB: Well yeah, I think, you know, any player at that age still has room to develop and mature as an athlete. I don't know. We'll see. He's a pretty well put together kid. I don't think he's going to be 295 [pounds] if that's what you're asking. I wouldn't say that, but could he gain five or 10 pounds? I don't know. We'll see. Put him in the program and work with him. He trains pretty well. He's a pretty well-conditioned athlete. I don't know. We'll see.  

Q: When you made the first trade today, did you have a sense that you'd make a second one?  

BB: They had nothing to do with each other. We made our first pick and… we don't know if a team's going to trade or not. They might. As usual, there were teams we called that didn't want to trade and teams that called us and we didn't want to trade and there have been times when we've been called and did want to trade. You can't count on that. We were focused on our first pick. After we made it, then we looked at what was on the board and what other teams are doing, made some calls, fielded some calls, whatever it was. I don't know. There's a lot of communication in the draft room. Like I said, Nick [Caserio] handled most of that. So, that's how it worked out.  

Q: Were you surprised to see [Alabama Safety] Mark Barron go as high as he did?  

BB: He's a good player.  

Q: Do you think you improved the team in the first round?  

BB: Yeah, I hope we've improved, but we'll see. We haven't put them in a Patriots uniform yet, so we'll see how they do once they get into our system and learn what to do and we'll see how they develop. I think both guys have been good players in their systems. They're both smart. They're high quality guys. They've been productive in their systems. Hopefully they'll be able to do that for us too. We have a lot of good players they have to compete with and we'll see how it turns out.  

Q: Was Chandler Jones your highest-rated defensive end going into the draft?  

BB: We don't talk about the individual grades for each player. There are a lot of good players up there that are good players that got drafted. There are still some up there that we think highly of and are still on the board.

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