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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript

New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media after the close of the 2012 NFL Draft at Gillette Stadium on Saturday, April 28, 2012.


BB: It's a long day but hopefully a productive one. We can close the books here on the 2012 Draft. We started out the day in the fifth round; had an opportunity to move back and we felt like draft three players instead of one so we felt that was a better place for us to be so we did that in the fifth round. Nate [Ebner] is a guy that is a big, fast safety that has been very productive in the kicking game, relatively inexperienced player that we think has a lot of good football in front of him. Of course, we have some good connections at Ohio State, people that have worked with him that obviously that played a part in it too, just in terms of his overall development and where we think he can be. And then Alfonzo [Dennard] is a guy that we spent a lot of time on. Obviously the incident affected his draft position but certainly we're aware of it. We researched it, we found out as much as we could about it. Obviously, as an organization we're comfortable making the selection where we did. [Jeremy] Ebert is a guy that we kind of got onto late; worked him out this past week. He's an impressive guy; does a lot of things well. We feel like he's versatile and be able to compete at that position for us as one of the younger players obviously that we have at that position. We have a lot of experienced guys there, we felt like adding a good, young player like him to that group would be good. We've been banging away on the free agents now after the draft. We're working our way through that process, but hopefully we'll be able to add some players there that will be able to compete for roster spots and give us depth on the roster. We've been able to find a guy or two there pretty much every year, undrafted guys that have come in and made our team and contributed for us. Hopefully, our efforts there after the draft will be productive in some fashion as they have been in the past. We're working hard at that. Scouts have done a good job. I think that Nick [Caserio] and his staff and of course Jon Robinson on the college side of it have done a very thorough job all the way around in terms of the information that they've gathered and the way it's been presented, the way we're able to work through it. I thought we had an efficient operation. Like I said, those guys have worked very hard and done a great job and getting us all the things that we could possibly ask for in terms of being able to make decisions and having a fairly smooth flowing three day process. We'll clean up the free agent stuff today, tonight hopefully and then move on to putting the team together and getting everybody out there, start the real formation of the team working on the field next week and in the coming weeks when the rookies come in.  

Q: Did you look at Nate Ebner's rugby tape at all?  

BB: No, I personally didn't. He's a heck of an athlete and tough. I don't think there's any question about that. You can see that on his football tape too.  

Q: What's the roster stand at before starting with the undrafted free agent signings – 80 or 81?  

BB: Yeah, we're in that range there – whatever it is we'll be in compliance with the league rules on that. Again, obviously there's some roster juggling going on. We'll see exactly how that turns out. We're right around that number.  

Q: Why were you so comfortable taking Alfonzo Dennard?  

BB: Just for the reasons I said. We researched it and in the end we felt comfortable at that position.  

Q: Did the incident Alfonzo Dennard was involved in alter your decision over the last week?  

BB: Nothing altered it. We researched it. There's really nothing else I can say about it. There's obviously some other things that are currently out there from a legal standpoint that I can't comment on.  

Q: You said you got into Ebert late. How does that happen late – what makes that?  

BB: Well it's just a lot of guys to go through. Sometimes it works out that way. It's not the first time it's come up. It's not that we didn't know about him but as far as the workout and spending time with him and all that. Sometimes with all the people you go through and all the people and all the visits you have in the spring, you just can't get to everywhere and I don't know, we just followed back up on it and we felt good about him.  

Q: There was a similar situation last year with Ryan Mallett where his value to you guys was obvious to you. Was it the same situation with Alfonzo Dennard today?  

BB: Yes. Marcus [Cannon] last year was similar.  

Q: Was Alfonzo Dennard a consideration earlier?  

BB: We consider different people at different points in every round, every pick. We talk about our options there.  

Q: When something like that happens, do you actually move a player or do you leave the player where he was rated and discuss it when you get to it?  

BB: It works the same with every player. You get the information that you have. If you get new information, you add to it and when it comes time to make decisions, you talk about all the information you have and put it all together and figure out what you feel like your best option is and what the best value is for your team.  

Q: What does Alfonzo Dennard do really well?  

BB: He's strong. He's a physical player. Obviously he played at a high level of competition, particularly in the 2010 season where they played so much in the passing conference – a lot of spread out offenses, a lot of nickel, dime coverage and that type of thing. Then this year, when Nebraska went to the Big Ten, they saw really a whole different schedule, a whole different style of offensive football from those teams that they played so it was interesting to watch all that. I think you can really see him play against – or anybody from Nebraska for that matter, whether it was Lavonte David or Alfonzo, whoever it is – see them play against – two different years, really two different style of offense. He's gone up against a lot of good players and competed well.  

Q: You placed Matt Light on the reserved/retired list. Is that to free up salary cap room for the rookies? What's the timing on that?  

BB: The timing on it is when it was done. It really affects the roster spots; it's not really a salary cap thing.  

Q: It seems like you have versatility all over the defense now after the draft and free agency. Do you think you'll be able to do a lot of different things this year with that versatility all over the defense?  

BB: That's a great question. We'll see. Until we actually get out there and start doing it, we'll see how much versatility we actually do have. I do think that with some of the players we've added on the defensive side of the ball, guys have different skills and maybe they will be able to do some different things for us. It's hard to say exactly what that will be until you actually get them doing it and putting it all together to see how effective we are individually and collectively as a team doing different things, changing things up and how versatile the players are. But on paper, I think there're some possibilities for that. We'll see how it actually goes, what we're actually able to do with it. It will be interesting to see how it goes with some of those players.

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