Coach Bill Belichick
Following First Round Pick Daniel Graham
April 20, 2002
BB: We didn't catch you all sleeping did we? Obviously we saw some value as we went through the teens there and we were able to execute the trade with Washington to move up to, I think it was 21, to pick Daniel [Graham] who we had rated significantly as one of the better players on the board for us. We thought that was good value and we were able to move up and get him and that gives us good competition at the tight end position. We will put them out there and let them play, maybe we will use more than one or maybe we won't, I don't know. I think that he is a player that runs pretty well for his position. He has got pretty good size. He has had a lot of production in the passing game and we feel like he has got a good future with us, but he will have to start from scratch like everybody else and establish his level of play in the league, but we are looking forward to working with him and feel like he can get down the field, he runs pretty well for his position so…that's what we did.
Do you see him as a player that makes an impact and helps your offense immediately and get more offensive production?
BB: Well we hope so. I mean that is why we took him. How soon it happens I don't know. I don't know if you can ever predict a rookie's progress, but we will put him out there and hopefully see what he can do whether that is the first week, the middle of the season, the end of the season, next year, you know I really don't know. I don't have any timeframe, but we will start working him in as soon as we can and try to get him ready and see what roles he can help us with.
How actively did you seek a trade? Did you target a specific pick?
BB: We called a couple of teams and actually Scott [Pioli] had talked to Washington a lot earlier about moving down not knowing who the players would be at that point and then the way it worked out Washington was the team that we ended up working with that we would have probably tried to just shop it down the line if they had stayed and selected, but it looked like they were trying to move down in the draft after a couple of things happened early. So that's how it fell.
Did you have him in?
BB: Yeah he visited here early in April.
Were you impressed with his pass catching ability as opposed to his blocking skills?
BB: I think he has done a pretty good job. You know he has played at a good school, he's been in a good program. He went back to school, he could have come out last year as a junior, there was some talk about that, he went back to Colorado had his senior year, had another productive year. I think he is a pretty good all-around player. He does run well. He runs well for the position and that's…I don't think anybody would call him slow, but I think he does an adequate job in both areas, both pass catching and run blocking.
Given that it is a position that is tough to find and when teams do they rarely give them up is there more value in getting them in the draft and is that why you moved up?
BB: Well we just moved up because we saw that the value was there. We have moved up in the past for other players where we thought the value was there and we thought it was there with Daniel. It could have been a different position, but you know we are happy to get a young one that looks like he has some skill at that position. I mean I am not saying that we wouldn't do it for another player, but you are right it is hard to find tight ends. It is particularly tough to find them in the passing game that can go deep and still have enough quickness to block and do the things on the line of scrimmage that aren't wide receiver types playing tight end, so hopefully we have found a guy that can do a little bit of both.
You said you saw the value there and you moved up, but were you looking for this particular guy or were you looking for a bargain?
BB: Well we were looking for a player that we thought would be worthy of the pick if we were going to move up and take somebody, someone that we thought…and obviously he was there. Other players had gone earlier and when you are at 32 you can only move so far. You can't move from 32 to 10. I mean you would be giving up this year's draft, next year's draft and the year after that. It is just unrealistic.
Well say he gets taken a round earlier, but the trade is still available?
BB: Yeah well I don't know. It would depend on what else…I mean each pick is its own unique entity. You see what the board looks like and the trade is and all of that. We just felt like the value was there and that is why we did it.
Did you feel like tight end was your glaring weakness on offense?
BB: We are looking to try to improve wherever we can. We thought we could improve it there so that's…I wouldn't say that is the only thing we need to do or the biggest thing, but it was, we felt, an opportunity to try to create competition. We have some other guys there that have played and are good players and as I have said maybe we will use multiple tight ends if that is the way that it turns out. I don't know. We will put them in there, let them compete and see what we've got.
Do you see yourself being in a position where you feel like you are going to have to restore the third round pick?
BB: We will look at each opportunity and see what it brings. If we think that we can pick up value by moving down we have seen that before and vice versa, if we feel like the value is there and we want to try to move up and get it then I think we can still do that. We have multiple picks in the fourth and fifth round so we may have some flexibility to adjust our position a little bit, but not necessarily. It is not like we are going to do that, but we will just evaluate the situations as they come up and try to make the best decisions.
What did his coaches tell you about him that would make you like him and want him as a part of your team?
BB: Well you know Coach [Gary] Barnett, his son worked for us here last season, I think we had a good relationship with him and Gary is a real hard-nosed coach. He has got a great program out there. They have done a great job at Colorado and Daniel comes highly recommended personally as well as a football player.
Have you spoken to Buffalo at all today?
BB: Have I? No.
Has Scott [Pioli]?
BB: Scott has probably been on the phone with everybody.
You talked about all of the tight ends you have brought in, can you talk about how important that position is to the development of a young quarterback?
BB: Well the tight end usually lines up in the middle of the field and then to be able to threaten the middle of the field, take some pressure off some of the perimeter people. Sometimes that is hard to do. Sometimes you need to bring receivers in and have them threaten it or do it with the backs so I think you want to try to have balance in the passing game at all areas, outside and inside, and hopefully a tight end can put that kind of pressure on a defense and keep a secondary back a little bit from ganging up on you on the line of scrimmage.
When you met with him one-on-one what impressed you about the guy?
BB: I think he is a good, solid kid. Again, he has been in a good program, performed well there. I think he is a solid, mature guy. Again, he went back for his senior year and has had a good career there at Colorado. I don't think he has any real major weaknesses.
Having added [Donald] Hayes, Graham and the other tight ends, do you think that on paper that this team is significantly better in terms of offense?
BB: Well I don't think anybody really cares what a team looks like on paper. The only thing you care about is what it looks like on the football field, so that is how it will be judged. We can't make paper airplanes and fly them out there and against the other teams paper airplanes. It is all about what you can do on the field, how the players function together and what kind of production each guy can put out there and the team can put out there. That's really all it is about. So what a team looks like on paper doesn't really mean anything and what a team looks like on paper in May and what it looks like on paper, or more importantly on the field in November are always two different things.
Has Scott had many discussions with other teams about [Drew] Bledsoe?
BB: Not that I know of.
You've had none with anybody?
BB: I don't know. Scott has talked to everybody in the league. I mean that is the way it is on draft day, you talk to a lot of different people. So who Scott's talked to, I mean I couldn't keep up with him even if I wanted to.
He never came to you and said…
BB: No we are concentrating on the draft. That is what we are concentrating on. Trying to maximize our picks and that's what we have been doing today.
You drafted two tight ends last year, signed two and then you drafted this guy, do you feel like this is an area that has to really improve to be more of an offensive threat to get into the end zone?
BB: Yeah, well we hope so. I mean we hope so. We have got numbers at that position and again it could be more than one in the game at a time and hopefully we can get production out of that position and wherever it comes from, however they mix together and Charlie [Weis] and I have had a lot of experience in using multiple tight end sets and using tight ends in different roles and however we can use them that is how we will try to use them. Whether it is one, two, three that are on the field or whatever the deal is.
Does Graham remind you of anyone you have seen?
BB: I don't know, again, he is 6'3" so some tight ends are probably taller than he is. He runs well and is probably a little faster than the average tight end in the league.
In your conversations with other teams today has Bledsoe even come up?
BB: I haven't talked to any other teams today.
In your team's conversations?
BB: Well Scott has talked to them. The trades we have talked about today have involved draft picks and our positions in the rounds and that kind of thing. That is really what we have been talking about.