New England Patriots Director of Player Personnel Scott Pioli
Following Round 3
April 20, 2002
SP: Well I know that we ended probably about maybe a little over a half an hour ago and then what we do at this point of the night is kind of take a look at the whole board because what happened is people selected from all different points so there is a lot of separation, a lot of different places people took players relative to where we were. This is a time where I think everyone in the league is doing the same thing. You just kind of sit back, look at the board, have an order of how they were stacked and we sat and discussed the number of players and you kind of get a view of where everything is at and you'll come back the next day. We will get a couple hours of sleep here and then come back and try to look at it with a fresh mind. That is where we are at right now and like I said we will sleep on it a little bit tonight and come back in the morning and readdress where we are at on the board.
Q: Can you take us through the Washington negotiation?
SP: The Washington negotiation? Actually what we did is different times there are different teams you talk to you, you talk to most of the league and say, 'Hey if you are interested in moving up or moving down' and we had been in touch with them and I am not sure what their strategy was, but we got to a point where there was a player that we liked who was dropping down, was in an area where we felt we would like to pick him up and thought it was a good value where it was and they were looking for extra picks and again I am not sure what their strategy was, but there was a player up there that we liked and we wanted to move up and try to get so we got him.
Q: Any discussions about Drew [Bledsoe]?
SP: I am going to talk about the draft tonight. I mean that is really what we are working on. That's top of the list right now that is why we held you guys up a little bit longer here.
Q: Before you picked do you give much thought did you give much thought to taking Napoleon Harris?
SP: Again we moved up because of a specific player. Napoleon is a really good player and we talked about him at length before the draft. He's a very good player. A lot of speed, but I think that the reason we moved up was for a specific player and fortunately we were able to get him.
Q: Were you trying to get [Jeremy] Shockey before that, is that part of the reason the Giants moved up?
SP: No we had nothing to do with that.
Q: Did you want to move up because you thought Oakland would pick a tight end?
SP: We weren't sure who was interested and it is funny that is one of those things at this point in time when you are sitting at 32 you have an idea of who might be interested in certain things, but I think a lot of things happened today in every round where teams did things that we weren't anticipating so we didn't know who the specific team was that might have been looking at him. We heard that Seattle might be interested in a tight end and we knew that there were a couple of different teams that were interested in a tight end. We spent quite a bit of time and work and energy looking at Daniel.
Q: Bill [Belichick] said last week that you guys had about 20 guys with a first round rating, was he [Daniel Graham] one of those guys?
SP: With a first round grade? He was a player that was rated pretty highly for us.
Q: Considering that you had five tight ends on your roster already, was he that much better than anyone else that was up on the board?
SP: Well I don't know…because of where we picked him in the first round I wouldn't say he's better than people that we have, but we certainly think he is going to be a guy who can compete.
Q: Was he that much better than anyone else, to take another tight end?
SP: We think he is a player who can certainly upgrade the team. He can upgrade us.
Q: What does he do well?
SP: What does he do well? He one of the players, one of the tight ends, we thought that does a real nice job on blocking, running and catching. He's a combination tight end. He's an explosive player. In terms of his blocking ability, there are a lot of tight ends that come out and are strong, but not necessarily explosive. We think he has some explosive ability where he'll have a chance to be a combination guy. He has good hands. As a matter of fact I was out at the University of Colorado this year. I got to see him in practice. I got to see him play quite a bit and we spent organizationally quite a bit of time doing some work on him.
Q: What tipped the scales in [Deion] Branch's favor for you? He's not overly big, but then again neither are two of your more productive receivers. Was it the fact that he was very productive player?
SP: Very productive. I mean he had over 140 catches in only two seasons at Louisville and he's a return guy as well. He can return punts. So we thought we had, we saw an opportunity for a guy who can line up in the slot, can line up outside, can play multiple positions as a receiver and can also return punts and brings us some value there. So he's a guy that we think has very good special teams ability as well.
Q: Did you come in with a preconceived idea of getting offensive skill people in these first two rounds?
SP: I don't think we sat there and, again because we had no idea what was going to be sitting there in front of us when it came time for us to pick or where we could move up or whether or not we could move up. The big thing was we went into it saying we had to get better as a team, get players that we think will upgrade us or have a chance to upgrade us in the very near future. I don't think we, honestly, I don't think there was any point in time where we said, 'Ok we've got to get offensive players or defensive players.' It was just making sure we upgrade the team. Which, I mean that's our approach to everything, whether it is free agency or the draft, is try to find players that make us better.
Q: You lost your third round pick to get Graham. Was there any thought of trying to get back into that round later on?
SP: You know we were looking at the board. We weren't sure if it was necessary or not. We didn't actively try to get back into the third round at all.
Q: I talked to one of Graham's teammates tonight and he described him as sort of a mean football player. Is that an attitude you got from him?
SP: I don't know if mean…we prefer the word aggressive. He's an aggressive football player.
Q: Is that something that especially attracted you to him?
SP: We like his style of play. And again, Bill and I have talked about it a lot, we like aggressive football players. We like a tough style of football and Daniel certainly fits that mold. Deion fits that mold as well. He's a tough, feisty player.