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Replay: Best of Radio Thu Feb 22 - 02:00 PM | Tue Feb 27 - 11:55 AM

Bill Belichick Conf. Call Transcript - 4/24/04

Vince Wilfork is a guy that is coming from a real good program. He played with a lot of good linemen down there last year.



BB: How is everything going? I am sorry that I couldn't get up there, we are just plugging along from one deal to the next here. It has been a no trade day for us so far, so that in itself is probably news-worthy for you.

Q: Can we get a quick snap-shot on each guy?

BB: Vince Wilfork is a guy that is coming from a real good program. He played with a lot of good linemen down there last year. Mostly all of those guys were drafted. He stayed another year. He had a tough personal situation last season. He is a big, strong, powerful guy that we think will fit in well in our system at nose. Obviously, we like a lot of his whole make up as a player and as a person. He is a good fit for us all the way. [Ben] Watson is a smart guy who has a lot of versatility. We do a lot of formationing with the tight ends. Charlie [Weis] and I have talked about that. I think we will be able to utilize him within our system well. He comes from another good program. He is good in the receiving game. He had a real good Senior Bowl. He is a big, strong, physical guy that runs well and catches well. I think that is why we liked him. Marquise Hill is a guy that played defensive end in a system similar to the one that we use as everybody knows. He gives us depth on the defensive line. He is a tall guy with long arms. He has been disruptive in the passing game and has played at a high level of competition there in the SEC. Again, based on the fact that he has been at LSU and has been in their program and been in that system, we can evaluate and see him do a lot of things similar to what we are doing. That is where we are.

Q: How much weight do you attach to the way a guy responds to the adversity that Wilfork went through?

BB: I thought it was obviously a tough situation. Let's put it this way, he missed very little time given all that he went through. Football is very important to him. He worked through a tough situation to still do all he could for the team. I think that speaks a little bit to his commitment to the team. I think that he did what unfortunately anybody would have to in that situation, that forced him to grow up in a hurry.

Q: How surprised were you to see Wilfork still there and available at 21?

BB: I would say it was a little bit of a surprise. But there are always surprises on draft day, you just never know how they are going to come off. We were happy that he was there. We had some trade opportunities on both of our first round picks but we decided to stay and select the players [that we did]. We thought there was good value there.

Q: What kind of options does this give you in terms of flexibility in the coming year?

BB: We will see what they can do. We will see how the competition develops. There are some new faces there that we haven't worked with before and haven't been in our system. We will see how they compete and how it unfolds. When we have good defensive players, we seem to find a way to get them on the field and utilize them and try to make them productive. We will just see how that unfolds. I don't have anything specific I could give you on that. We will have to wait and see how all of those guys all do in our system. But we like all of them and I think that we will find a way to give everybody a chance and do the best thing for the team after we get a chance to see how it all fits together.

Q: Will it make it easier to switch from three man to four in front depending on either injury situation or whatever?

BB: Well, we will see. Again, a lot of those guys are new to our system. [Rodney] Bailey is new [Keith] Traylor is new. The two guys we drafted are new. We will just have to see how it all fits together. I don't have any preconceived notions at this point. We will just put them out there and let him play and then try to do what we think is best.

Q: Did you get any phone calls leading up to the draft or today regarding a trade for Ty Law?

BB: I don't have comments on him.

Q: The way things broke in the draft, are you surprised that you would have had a chance at Stephen Jackson?

BB: You never know how they are going to come up on draft day. We don't try to predict it. We just try to evaluate the situations as they unfold. We are extremely happy to have added Corey [Dillon] to the team and looking at the board at 56 when Cincinnati was picking and I think everybody at the Patriots was happy that Corey Dillon is on the team relative to what the options were at that point. We are happy to have Corey. We are looking forward to putting him into our system and I think he will be a productive player for us. I think Kevin [Faulk] will continue to be productive too.

Q: What is the one spot today that you had hoped to fill by now that you haven't been able to?

BB: We just go into the draft and take a look at the opportunities. If we had three or four more picks in the first and second round, we would have used them. There were other good players there and teams got other good players. You can't get everybody but we tried to do the best we could with the opportunities that we had. That is really all you can do. I am not really worried about where we didn't draft. The chances that we had to pick, we feel like we have improved our team. That is what is important.

Q: You mentioned you had a couple of offers for those first couple of picks from other teams, how close were you to potential moving one of those?

BB: We considered them. But in the end, we decided to just stay and make the picks because of what we thought the value was at that point. We wanted to get younger on defense and we did. Again, it wasn't a one year thing. It is going to take more than that. Adding [Rodney] Bailey and Marquise Hill and Vince, that is younger on defense and I think that Watson will hopefully give us an ability to improve our offensive production.

Q: Did you have any thought of staying younger at 32 by going defense maybe at linebacker?

BB: We thought that Ben was the best value on the board. We are always looking to add players offensively at the skill positions that can help us there. I think that he gives us a lot of versatility, again, formationing, red area, third down, his ability to catch the ball and play in the passing game. He had good value for us at that point. There were other good players there. There are always other good players on the board. We thought he was the best for our team at that point.

Q: Without mentioning any names, is there anybody in the upper part of the draft, if they had fallen to a certain level that you would have had your eye on to try to go and get?

BB: I don't know. We have gone through a lot of guys. You just evaluate the situation as it comes to you and that is what we did today. I can't get into a whole lot of hypothetical situations.

Q: You were on the clock for just about the whole 15 minutes at 21, what were some of the scenarios that you were considering and who were you on the phone with?

BB: I don't want to get into all of those. I can't even remember what they all were to tell you the truth. Like I said, in the end, we liked the value that we had and made the pick and felt good about it.

Q: Did Ted Washington, the way he played one year ago at the nose tackle position, did that affect the way you looked at the position and maybe drafted Wilfork at all?

BB: I don't follow you. We evaluated Vince based on the way he played at Miami and in our system and all of that. I don't think we changed our evaluation procedures based on any other player if that is what you are asking.

Q: More of the nose tackle position and what he did one year ago, you hadn't had that in the previous couple of years, did that have any affect, Ted's play, what he did, maybe drafting Wilfork?

BB: No, I don't think that was really a deciding factor. No. I think that we have been evaluating the position for a long time and we will continue to evaluate it the same way. Not all players have the same set of skills, that is obvious. You just have to take the ones that you feel are the best fit for your team at that particular point. That is what we did last year when we traded for Ted and that is what we did this year based on the options that we had that were available to us this time.

Q: Ben suggested he had a good Senior Bowl week and that is really what had his stock rising. Is that something, a good Senior Bowl week, if indeed that was true, that got you toward him a little bit more?

BB: Well, I think it helped him. There is a lot of other film. There are plenty of other games you can watch Ben play. The Senior Bowl week, it is more of a pro offense, say relative to what Georgia did. I think you can see Ben, like you could see a lot of players in the Senior Bowl, sometimes doing things either that they weren't asked to do in their college schemes that are more similar to the NFL or you see them against a competitive level that is sometimes a little bit different from what you see in college. In Ben's case he played in the SEC so there is pretty good competition there against their schedule. Sometimes you get a little different look in those all-star games and I do think he had a good week there but that wasn't the only thing that he did that we liked. Again, he is a smart guy that has played at a high level at Georgia. He does a lot of things well and those showed up in the Senior Bowl

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