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Transcript: Mike Smith, Thomas Dimitroff News Conference


Opening Statement:

TD: "First of all, we're very pleased with our move. It was an aggressive bold move to get up from 27 to six, 21 spots. We knew that it was going to be an aggressive move and cost us and as an organization, we felt very strongly about the move up for a player that we believe truly adds the explosive, urgent athleticism that we were looking to improve on this team. We feel like Julio is a fine addition to our offense and will continue to help provide Matt [Ryan] with the tools that we need going forward as an offense and as a team."

On the process of making the trade and moving up to number six:

TD: "We've been talking about this over the last month. Mike and I have spent a lot of time analyzing the players throughout the draft, not only in the first round but throughout the draft. That's obviously one of the things that played into us being aggressive, knowing that it was going to cost us in this year's draft and in next year's draft. Again, something that we were very comfortable with as an organization. We are very fortunate to have an owner in Arthur Blank who is generous. There aren't that many owners who would be in favor of moving up as far as we did. Financially, it's a bold move as well and we appreciate that from Arthur Blank. Again, we feel like Julio is going to be a fine addition to our offense and he is going to be worth the move that we made up to get him at six."

On the official details of the trade:

TD: "We obviously exchanged ones and then we gave up our second round and fourth round picks and then a future one and a future four as well. We all work from a certain chart and as you work from these charts from team to team, it was a draw. We both feel very comfortable. Both teams, Cleveland and us, felt very comfortable with what the compensation would be."

On making this move without being able to add a player in the deal:

TD: "That's been the most innovating side of this because you are obviously trying to come up with compensation that you feel is fair. That said, you aren't able to talk and discuss trading players because it was all about draft picks in this year's draft which was obviously different from other seasons. You really had to drill down and be focused on how you were going to put together a compensation package. I think that it took a lot more conversation than it would have if you would have had players to discuss."

On the possible departure from Dimitroff's scouting background with the trading of several picks:

TD: "Not at all. It's funny because I expected that question, especially from the Boston side of the building. Our feeling on this, again, is that where we are in the draft, where we were with our team and where we are with our roster, we're still very young. We have a lot of guys that we have drafted over the last few years in the middle rounds who are still coming into their own and still developing. We felt like we needed to make a bold statement and add an impact type of player, while possibly giving up some picks in the middle rounds. We feel that we have a lot of players that satisfy our needs as backups and strong depth players so we wanted to go after a guy who we felt could be a serious impact type of player."

On whether or not they are done with moves for the day:

TD: "We definitely could get back in. There's no question about that. We'll sit up there and regroup a little and look at what we may be interested in. I think for the first round, I think we're pretty set right now."

On the team's discussions coming to fruition the way they did:

MS: "I felt really good about it. We go through all types of scenarios and this was one of the many scenarios that we tried to make sure we got our head around. I think we made a really good choice. Julio is a big, explosive wide receiver that is going to add to the explosiveness of our team. That's something that, in the offseason when we were studying, we know we've got to be more explosive. It's going to be a very competitive group now in terms of the wide receivers and you all know, we're all about the competition."

On the selection of an offense player rather than a defensive player:

TD: "I think going into this draft, we felt very strongly about and I've been very open about our need for explosiveness on the defensive side or on the offensive side. In our mind, the explosiveness that we were going to get with a player like Julio outweighed what we were going to get from a defensive player in the first round, hence the very aggressive move. We will never get away from the idea that we truly believe that if we see something that we want in terms of team builders we're going to be aggressive and go after them. We felt that Julio, in light of what we need for this team to be aggressive, explosive and playmaking that he was the guy who fit the bill in the first round."

On whether this changes the offensive philosophy from a ball-control offense to a quick-strike offense:

MS: "We're going to be explosive with the addition of Julio. Again, I think you're going to do what your talent allows you to do and what your players allow you to do and I think everybody can make their own observations in terms of that. We're going to be a team that is still going to be a physical football team and I think that is one of the traits that has been through and through in the three years that we have been here."

On the anticipated reaction from Roddy White on the addition of Jones:

TD: "We really felt that Roddy is such an accomplished football player and a through and through Pro Bowl football player. Our feelings were that he would take it as another step towards helping his offense and our offense be better and more prolific. That was our approach to this. I really believe that Roddy wants to be successful and I feel as if this move with Julio will benefit Roddy a great deal as well."

MS: "I can echo that same thing. I think the addition of a wide receiver like Julio is going to make all of our offensive players better. They aren't going to be able to defend us the way they have defended us in the past. It's going to change the way that people try to defend us which will allow us to do different things."

On Jones' blocking ability:

MS: "As you know, our receivers are going to block and Julio fits that mold. That's one of the skillsets that we look closely at when we're looking at that position, not only as a great past catcher with great speed, low 4.4 speed. He's a very competitive guy, very similar in terms of the way that Roddy competes on the field and he loves to block. There's no doubt about it. Playing at Alabama for the coaching staff over there, I know their mentality is very similar. He is going to fit right in with how we try to do things."

On adding another pass catcher with Tony Gonzalez getting older:

TD: "What we talked a lot about as well is not only is this an aggressive move to add another strike, but it is also a sustainability move for us. Julio is young. He's a three-year player. He's a guy who has a lot of upside and he's a guy that is going to be here a long time for us. That's what we're looking for and that's very important to us. We need to think long term with this guy, as far as continuing to provide production over the years to come, along with our other offensive weapons."

On the concern with Jones' injury history and history of dropped passes:

TD: "The injury, we're definitely comfortable with that. Without getting into specifics, he's healing up well from his foot injury. He obviously has played through injuries. He's only missed one game in his career. He is a tough, very resilient guy and looking into his injury background, they weren't injuries that were of concern to us. I believe that in this league, there are going to be drops. There are going to be drops at every level, if you're picked one overall or number 21 overall. A lot of the receivers who are competitive receivers in my mind who are turning up field and trying to make plays who are thinking about the next step are going to have drops. Some of the best players in the League obviously have those drops. He has 10-inch hands. He's got very big hands. He's got excellent hands. He can snatch the ball all around his body. We've seen it, we're very comfortable with that and he'll continue to work on his concentration and his getting up field and making sure that he secures the ball just like any of our receivers do. That was not a concern of ours."

On attempts to move up further in the draft:

TD: "We did a lot of research. We did research all the way up into the two area. We investigated and researched on so many levels and talked to a lot of general managers and head coaches throughout the draft, even up in the mid-teens to the top part of the draft. We just wanted to gauge where people were and what the willingness was in terms of moving. As you know, you have to find a suitor. It has to be a mutual feeling of one team wants to get back and another team wants to get up. Again, you have to agree on mutual compensation. In our mind, it was fair compensation, understanding you're going to pay a little bit of a premium to come up to where we went. We were comfortable with that as an organization. Our owner was comfortable with it. Our head coach was confident with it and obviously, I was confident with it."

On comparing Jones with A.J. Green:

TD: "I think both of those players are obviously very talented. They are players that can come into a team in the NFL and contribute very effectively right away. They are different in a sense. They are both very fast and very competitive. One's a little bit bigger in being 6'2.5'' and 220 versus A.J. who was about an inch taller but about 205 or 210. It's a little bit of a different physical makeup and we were comfortable coming away in the early part of that round with either of the two players."

On the news today regarding the ability for coaches to meet with players:

MS: "We're excited about having the guys back in the building. We know that they can start coming back in the building and we'll have our first team meeting at 8 a.m. Monday morning. We're going to go through like we normally do, with the sequencing of our offseason. We're going to spend some time in the weight room and spend some time evaluating where our guys are in terms of what kind of shape they are in and where they're ready to go. "

On whether this is the official start of OTA's:

MS: "These are the official start of the offseason program. The OTA's will come later in the month in terms of our schedule right now."

On a specific point during the past season in which they decided they needed an offensive playmaker:

TD: "I believe that we have said from 2008 when we drafted Matt third overall that we were going to continue to provide as much firepower for him and for this offense as we could within reason, obviously. We feel that this is within reason. It's about continuing to emphasize how important it is for us to be a very explosive and productive offense. We obviously went after Matt third overall and we expected big things out of him. We continue to expect big things out of this offense. As I mentioned earlier, we weighed both sides on offense and defense and we felt that the explosiveness that we would get out of Julio would outweigh what we could get out of the defensive side of the ball at this point of the draft."

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