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Bill Belichick Press Conf.

Foxboro Stadium, Foxborough, MABill Belichick speaks to the press about the Patriots' first pick in the 2001 NFL Draft.



            **B:** We were pleased to be able to get (Richard) Seymour in the first pick. He was one of the players that we really liked in the draft, obviously, he was very highly rated. We had a couple of calls come in on the trade while we were on the clock, but in the end we really just felt strong enough about Seymour that we felt like that he would be the best pick for our football team. There were certainly a number of other good football players on the board and are still on the board, but in the end we just thought that he would be the best fit for us. This is a kid that is from a small town in South Carolina, has played both inside and outside for Georgia. He really played the right side with (Marcus) Stroud playing the left side at Georgia, but he also plays out at end quite a bit in some of their pass rush situations and can rush inside. So I think he has got a lot of versatility for us in terms of what he can do. Also in the fact that he has been a good, consistent, solid player, a hard worker, one of the hardest workers on their team. A very smart guy and he seems to have a lot of flexibility and versatility within our system. This pick really was a lot more about what we liked about him as opposed to any negatives with any other player and I think this is a good, young defensive lineman that we need on our front seven to incorporate into our system. I like his versatility, I like his speed, his athleticism, his football character and the fact that he has performed at a high level in very good competition. We have a number of players on our team that played with this kid and I think he is pretty well respected both in and outside of Georgia.  

Q: You said that you had calls for trades while you were, Seattle eventually did make a deal with San Francisco...

B: We had a couple of calls, we talked about it, we considered it, but in the end we just felt good about the player and there wasn't anything that was strong enough to move us.

Q: Do you project him to play the nose?

B: Again he is a versatile player. We will put him in with the rest of our team and get the best football team out there. With Seymour he is like any other rookie when he walks in here. He is going to need to establish a role for himself and then build on that and that's what he is. He is not a miracle worker, he is going to have to come in and establish a spot for himself like everybody else will and once he does that then we just build on that from there. He has got enough versatility to play a number of different spots. We will put him where we think either he is best or he best fits with everybody else.

Q: Can you compare him to anybody else in the league right now?

B: I hate to put a comparison on him because he is a little bit different. He is a taller kid for a tackle, but he does play inside and he is a pretty athletic kid. I think really the adjectives describe him better then trying to say he is this guy or that guy. We don't really have anybody and there are not a lot of people and I would say there are not a lot of people in the draft either, that are going to fit his dimensions. A lot of the people who could play inside or outside are either bigger definitely inside players or the 250 to 270 pound defensive end type that are clearly outside players. This is a 300 pounder that can play outside, has played outside and also has played inside and he is pretty athletic for that size.

Q: When you take a guy sixth overall you address crying need on the defensive line, but people are going to be expecting him to be a pro bowl player is that a realistic expectation from Seymour?

B: I think when you look back at any top ten pick in any year you are going to look back and say was the guy a good player or not, that is the bottom line. I don't know if any of us can remember who was taken sixth, seventh, eighth or nine in 1992, 1994 or 1996, but I think we have an idea of who are good players and who are not and in the end that is what he will be measured by. We took him because we think he will be a good player and I feel good that he will be.

Q: How seriously did you consider (David) Terrell?

B: Again there was a number of good players on the board. There were other players up there that we liked, in the end we just think that Seymour is the best pick for us. He brings more positives to the table for our team and also just the things that he can do as a football player. In the end he provided the most value. It wasn't about negatives for anybody else or other players on the board. I think there are a number of good ones up there.

Q: Is this more of a pick on the player or was it a pick on the player fitting the need?

B: He was one of our top players and he would have been one of our top players regardless and on that basis we really liked the guy.

Q: You said you wanted to get one of three guys...

B: Now, I never said that.

Q: You said you wanted to get two or three guys...

B: I said that I thought that we would be comfortable with two or three guys that we would really like to take at our pick, yes that is what I said.

Q: Can you divulge who those players were?

B: Again it is not about who we didn't like, or who was above who or whatever. We liked Seymour and that is why we took him and we didn't want to trade out of the pick for Richard to go to somebody else. We liked him and we had a high grade on him.

Q: Was he one of those three guys?

B: He was one of the players that we liked. I never said three, that is your number not mine. I said two or three.

Q: Was he in that group?

B: He was one of our top rated players.

Q: Was there a moment either this morning or yesterday when you decided all by yourself that this was the guy you wanted?

B: No we grade them and put them up there. You saw what happened yesterday there were deals flying all over the place. Players were getting traded, picks were getting traded in front of us and you don't know what is going to happen.

Q: But when you are walking around the house you never said to yourself this is the guy I want?

B: There are a lot of guys we would like to have. It is not about only falling in love with one guy, it is not like picking a wife.

Q: Was there any talk of trading up?

B: We did have a couple of calls about trading up, just to see what was going on there, what the asking price was and that is just normal business.

Q: Are you confident that this kid possesses the talent to step in and help out right away?

B: Again I think the measure of a draft pick is when we look back and see was the guy a good player or not, not what did he do his first game or didn't he do his first game. If the guy is a good player I think we will all know it in a certain period of time and if he hasn't performed well I think probably you guys will be the first to let me know.

Q: You talked about his versatility can he help you with pass rushing problems as well?

B: Again he is a big, rangy guy that has rushed both inside and outside. What they did at Georgia was they played him on the right side and Stroud on the left side. Then in some passing situations they moved him out to an outside position, outside the tackle where a true end would play. So there are plenty of examples of him on film against the SEC competition where he is rushing over a guard or where they move him out and put him out there on the tackle and again he shows the versatility to do that which frankly not a lot of guys do.

Q: Does the cost of defensive players in free agency put more of a premium high in the draft on a guy like this?

B: I think with the value of players both in free agency and the draft you are going to see consistency in. The fact that most of the guys who are making the most money or get picked highest in the draft are guys that can score touchdowns and guys that can rush the passer. In the end that is what it comes down to. Whether that's a lineman or a linebacker, whether the touchdown guy is a quarterback, a running back, a receiver, those historically are the positions that are the highest in demand and offensive tackle. Most of the players are going to come in that group, the highest priced free agents, the highest drafted players, the most sought after guys, they are usually going to come form that group. I don't think that this year will be any different.

Q: Once the first five players were taken was the consensus right away Seymour or were you guys back and forth about it?

B: Yes just procedurally we always talk through what our options and again we fielded a few calls during the time that we were on the clock, but in the end I think it was a pretty easy choice.

Q: When you were watching film on this guy, on the field what struck you about this guy?

B: He is big, he's athletic, he plays hard. He is a high effort player and again his versatility. You see the guy making plays at the point of attack, being able to handle himself with size and power, he is a 300 pounder. You can also see him run and making plays down the field. Again he is a good effort player so he makes some plays in pursuit. Rush the passer inside, rush the passer outside and again played at a high level of competition. You can see him against a lot of players in the SEC who are either going to be drafted this year or were draft last year. He is really a two and a half year type starter there against a lot of teams that really throw the ball like Florida and people like that so there is plenty of film of him doing most of the things you want to see him do.

Q: Over the years this has been one of the toughest positions to evaluate, why is it so difficult to rate a player at that spot?

B: I think anytime a player comes from college football to professional football it is a big jump no matter what position it is at. I think we can look back through college draft choices and see plenty of guys that do or don't make it in all positions. So I don't know that that one is any greater or any worse than any were else. It is a big jump. Guys are playing against bigger, more physical people. They are playing against more of a passing game, a more efficient passing game then what most of them saw in college. In some cases it is harder to evaluate college pass rushers just because of the quality of passing game that they are competing against, but that is true of every position not just defensive line. It is true of all the skill positions too, there is just more passing in the NFL.

Q: Anything that happened ahead of you that surprised you?

B: This has been one of those drafts where a lot of names have been thrown around and I think all of the people that would pick, those names had been put in those spots at one time or another in the last few days. If we looked at all of the mock drafts in the last week or so you could probably take nine or ten players and put them in those first few spots. None of the names really surprised me.

Q: Did you believe that if you didn't take Seymour there he would have been gone at seven?

B: I don't know what would have happened at seven, I really don't know. We talked about it, but in the end nobody really knows so we had to decide whether we either wanted to take him there or move down and take the risk that he would be gone. I think you have to expect the worse case scenario when you go through that exercise and then decide whether or not it is worth it and we just didn't feel it was.

Q: Was he one of the twenty players that brought in here?

B: He was not one of the twenty players that we brought in.

Q: Why not?

B: We didn't feel like we needed to.

Q: Where did you scout him and who scouted him?

B: Again he has been a two and a half year starter at Georgia so this isn't a guy that came out for the draft early or was any type of a late entry or that type of thing. He was one of the highest rated players going into the season and one of the highest rated players coming out of the end year. There has been a lot of scouts, a lot of cross-checks on him. This guy is no sleeper in the draft, I think everybody knew about him. I am talking about all the way from last year when everybody went out to do their fall scouting this was one of the top seniors.

Q: Did you have a good visit with him at the combine?

B: I did talk to him at the combine, yes. He was coached last year, of course the Georgia coaching staff, a lot of the people who are there now weren't there last year because of the change, but Gary Gibbs was his defensive coordinator and Gary was formerly a head coach at the University of Oklahoma. He has had a lot of good players through the course of his career and a coaching associate that I have had a good relationship with. Talking to Gary about Richard and also some other players that he has coached, just to talk to the scouting it came from a number of different sources. A number of guys have seen Richard.

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