Head Coach Sean McDermott
Obviously, we went ahead and traded the first round pick – the tenth pick overall. I really felt like the value that we were looking at – very rarely can you do that when you can cash that into a first round pick in 2018 and then add a third round on top of that. [It was a] very unique situation for us. Felt good about that, and then really felt good, also, about the pick a few minutes ago with Tre’Davious White. A solid person, a solid football player, a guy that we had on our board – we felt like if we could get him, it would be a good pick for us and there we saw him at [pick] 27. He’s a guy that wore number 18 at LSU, and we know what that means in terms of the tradition of wearing number 18 at LSU. So you know what type of person we’re getting, what type of football player. He’s versatile – he plays inside, he plays outside, he’s also a returner in terms of the special teams value – so we feel good about it.
Q: Coach, how soon do you see a guy like him starting?
A: Well, like everyone, they’re going to have to come in – Tre’Davious is going to be no different than everyone else. He’s going to have to come in and earn the spot. Obviously, we lost Stephon [Gilmore] in free agency, so there was certainly a need there. Overall, I really like the quality of the football player – absent the need – at this position. He’s going to come in and compete right away.
Q: Sean, can you discuss the decision to trade down? What went into that decision?
A: Again, there were a lot of things that were on the table. You look at all the options available to us, and this was a situation that we spent, really, the last week looking at – trades in general – and we felt like it was a unique situation, like I said a few minutes ago really, to get a third round pick this year and then also, obviously, swap firsts and then that first [round pick] next year. You don’t find those every day in the NFL, in particular in the draft. We felt good about it.
Q: Did that run on receivers impact what happened [at pick number ten]?
A: Well, you’re always looking at what’s available and your situation. You’re talking when we traded back in the first, right?
A: You know, you look at it, but we felt like we had a good feel as to how things were going to play out early in the draft and felt like this could be a situation that could come our way. Low and behold, Kansas City came up and we got out.
Q: Sean, was there any significance to make the trade in your first year as coach in the first round with your mentor, Andy Reid?
A: Obviously, there’s a relationship there so you feel that the trust factor is there. No doubt about it. It makes the communication a little bit easier, but I’ll give credit to Doug Whaley and the scouting staff and the work that they’ve put in behind the scenes as well.
Q: Sean, it doesn’t seem like a move like this could be made in a five-minute window. What kind of discussions did you have, and when did they kind of start to evolve?
A: Whenever free agency started thinning out, we were having these conversations. A lot of ‘what if?’ scenarios. ‘What if we did this? What if somebody wanted to move up? What if we wanted to move up ourselves?’ You look at every option available and that’s, again, the methodical approach that I’m used to taking and we took in this situation.
Q: Extra first round picks are like gold nuggets no matter what. But, especially now, you’ve got this extra pick with this football team, how much versatility does that give you as you look forward and prep the course for how you want to build this team?
A: As far as, at this point in time, having two first round picks next year? Yeah, I feel really good about it. That being said, we wanted to make sure that a player that we valued would be there at our pick and, in fact, he was, with Tre’Davious White. I feel really good about the end of the first day. We’ve done our homework and we’ve put ourselves in a position, moving forward, to have two first round picks next year. We added a third [round pick] this year, and then we picked up Tre’Davious White. I’ll be able to sleep fairly well tonight, until tomorrow rolls around.
Q: Next year’s quarterback class – there’s an assumption that with next year being a very good quarterback class, that move helps you have more currency if you want to move up next year.
A: Yeah, all options that may be on the table. We’re looking to do what’s in the best interests of this organization – short term and long term. We’ve got to be responsible with the pick and I felt real good about it. Doug and myself and Terry and the communication that ensued – I felt real good about it. We did our homework and again, this was something that we felt like would help us and would put us in a [good] position next year, obviously, with two first round picks.
Q: Are you a little worried – I mean, Andy Reid is no slouch of a coach – that he saw something in [Patrick] Mahomes that you didn’t?
A: Does it worry me? Look, you look at things and you say ‘what’s in the best interests of this organization?’ That’s what I have to do. Andy’s got his own situation. We’ve got our own situation here. That’s the nature of the draft. You stick by what’s important and what’s right for us, and that’s what we did.
Q: Did you consider moving down at [pick] 27, and did you have any offers to?
A: We looked at a couple things and we just didn’t feel like it was right at this time. We looked at a couple situations that were on the table as well – at [pick] 27 – but we had a chance to get a good, solid football player and I wasn’t passing that up.
Q: Did you personally speak with Andy Reid and what was that conversation like, if you did?
A: We’ve had some conversations as this process got going and then really – I give Doug Whaley credit on this, and John Dorsey on their end – they really did a nice things of working things out here.
Q: How much consideration did you give to how this guy compared to passing up on [Marlon] Humphrey, [Marshon] Lattimore – the guys who were higher ranked corners?
A: Fair question. You have to do that. You have to look at what you’re potentially passing up on. Whenever you trade, whether you go up or you go down, you have to look at what could be there and what you’re either gaining or what you could be trading away from. We had those conversations and we did our homework on it.
Q: Sean, how did your experience in Carolina – because I know you guys had some fairly inexperienced cornerbacks – how did that kind of play into this decision to wait to grab one?
A: Well, you know, I guess more so than anything, having experience drafting a corner in the first round and starting a corner like we did two years ago, you look at everything. You learn from experience and so, if it helped, I would just say having gone through it before, maybe.
Q: How much consideration did you guys give to drafting a quarterback?
A: Just like every position. We looked hard at every single position and looking at how we can help this team – short and long term – and no different than any of the other positions. And let me just say this, I understand how important that position is. I absolutely understand that and that’s important for us.
Q: Sean, you started the week with six picks, and then the [5th round pick from the Patriots] comes and this one. You said you’re going to sleep good tonight. Do you feel pretty good about what’s happened this week, so far?
A: Yeah, I feel good about it but not satisfied. When I say that, I mean every waking hour that our coaches and our personnel and Terry and Kim [Pegula] – this is what we live and breathe. We’re looking to put this organization in the best position to be successful so every minute that we’re up at that draft board until I came down here, even after we picked, I’m looking to see what we can do next to get better.
Q: Sean, as excited as you are about what you got today and what you got accomplished today, there seems to be a cloud hanging over part of this team with reports about your scouting staff, and possibly Doug Whaley’s job, being in jeopardy. Do you foresee changes happening next week, immediately after this draft?
A: I am absolutely, 110 percent focused on what is going on right now upstairs with the rest of the first round, and then the second and third round. That’s what’s in front of us right now. If we were focused on anything else, we’d be making a mistake. That’s where our focus is.
Q: Tre’Davious was a valedictorian in high school and just seems to check a lot of the boxes on character. Obviously – not an accident. But can you reiterate how that is really factoring in the trend that you’re bringing to this team?
A: We want to know what we’re getting. I think that’s big. There [are] a lot of unknowns in the draft. There [are] a lot of unknowns in life, in general, and so you try and close that gap as much as you can. Certainly, with the character in this case that Tre’Davious White has, we felt good about that person off the field. Again, wearing number 18, what that means at that school, a four-year starter, Valedictorian – I believe two-time Valedictorian in high school – that doesn’t happen every day and in particular at the corner position. That was definitely factored in, but then you go to the skill set on the field and you’re talking about a versatile player. He plays outside, he plays inside, and he’s a returner. He’s going to have to earn the right, just like all of our players. Just like myself. I feel good about it.
Q: Sean, you said you were going to build the defense around corners who could tackle. There are some who are saying that he’s not really that physical of a guy in comparison to some of the other corners in the draft. Could you tell us how comfortable you are with his physicality and his tackling ability?
A: Right. Our corners are going to tackle, and Tre’Davious no different. That was part of the evaluation process. We were able to check that box and that’s an identity that will be shaped as we continue to move forward as a defense and as a football team.
Q: Coach, how does it feel to have the first player of your era as head coach selected and it’s done and in the books?
A: I feel good about it. I feel real good about it. Like I said, again, first day in the books – I feel good about it. I feel like our homework has paid off. Our research and our time that we put into it put us in a good position. Now I’m ready to start thinking about, again what I said, what’s going on upstairs right now and how we can get better tomorrow. Another situation, another opportunity for us to get better tomorrow and that’s what we’re looking forward to right now. But I feel good about it. I’ll be able to sleep a couple more hours tonight, and you feel good about when your hard work pays off. That’s not only mine, but the staff upstairs, the coaches, and everyone – from cafeteria staff to the whole organization. This is good for the Buffalo Bills organization and so you feel good about it from that standpoint, for sure.
Q: Sean, you’ve talked about character a bunch. Were there any guys that just weren’t on the board because of red flags in that area?
A: There’s guys that, yeah, you’d say weren’t on our board. There [are] guys that were not on our board. I’m not going to get into those names, specifically. I would just rather not at this point, but our board may be different from other people’s boards. We’re looking for certain things, and so character is part of our evaluation process.
CB Tre’Davious White
Q: Can you tell us when you first maybe knew that the Bills were very interested in you, how far back that went?
A: I really didn’t know. I knew that they needed a corner but I didn’t know they were going to pick me but I didn’t know they had that much interest in me at all. It wasn’t until my phone rang that I knew who it was. I knew it was a New York number and their pick was coming up, so I knew it was them.
Q: Did they have any meetings with you at the Combine or anything like that?
A: Yes we did. We had one of those 15-minute interviews at the Combine. It went well. It was a great connection between myself and the coaching staff but you never know how this draft may shake up. You never know where you may end up.
Q: Did you meet with Sean McDermott or meet with him elsewhere and if you have, what are your impressions of him and his emphasis on character given your background?
A: He’s a defensive-minded guy and that’s what I’m looking forward to the most, just to get in and get coached hard and get coached well. I feel like with the type of guy I am, I can fit in that locker room great. They already have an LSU guy in the locker room in Kyle Williams that I know is an LSU legend. I feel like if I take the mindset in, just go in and try to earn the respect of your vets and guys that are already on the team, you’re going to be in the right spot and you’re going to be great.
Q: What do your attribute your success and respect you’ve gained at LSU, with being able to wear No. 18 for the past two seasons, to?
A: It’s just shows the type of person I am. I’m a genuine guy. I’m a guy who really genuinely cares about my teammates and cares about pretty much everything they have going on. I pretty much put my individual goals on the backburner for the team. I’ve always been that way and like I said, I’m a genuine guy. Those guys know that. They know I’m a guy you can pretty much talk to about any problem that you have, on or off the field. That just makes me feel great that younger guys can come to me and even guys my age can come to me with personal problems or anything. I’m the guy that they feel they can come to and trust me with any type of information.
Q: How important are grades and being a well-rounded person to you, given you were a valedictorian and college graduate?
A: It was the number one thing. I didn’t want to just be known as an athlete that plays ball. I wanted to be known as a guy that did both and took both seriously. My academics has always been a serious thing to me and once I got to college, I didn’t want that to waver just because you’re in college and football is more demanding. I didn’t want that to take away from my school and all of my abilities to learn. That was one of the reasons I came back for my senior year – I wanted to earn my degree and show people you can play football at a high level and also graduate.
Q: What part of your game did you really want to hone in on in coming back for your senior year?
A: It wasn’t much on the field, it was everything about the film room and becoming a more knowledgeable guy, a guy that can pretty much go into a game and know formations and know what guys are going to do before they do it. That was my biggest thing, just becoming more of a student of the game.
Q: LSU is known for producing top defensive backs in the NFL. How does it feel to follow in the footsteps?
A: It’s a great feeling, man. It just shows the type of coach that we have down at LSU. I was very fortunate to have a great coach in Coach Corey Raymond that pretty much molded me into the defensive back that I am today. But it just goes to show – it’s like a fraternity. When you play defensive back at LSU, the guys that already left here, they come back and it’s a standard. It’s a privilege to play there.
Q: You talked about the extra time in the film room. How prepared do you feel to step in and make an immediate impact?
A: I feel 100 percent confident. Like I said, I was fortunate to have great coaches that coached me up and I feel like with my work ethic, once I get to Buffalo and get coached well and pretty much get comfortable in the scheme, that I’ll put myself in a great position to make a lot of big-time plays for the team.
Q: You’re from the south. How familiar are you with the weather in Buffalo?
A: I’m really not, but I plan on – a lot of people have been telling me that it’s going to be cold and it’s going to be snowy. I never let weather dictate the way that I approach the game.
Q: What’s your favorite part of your game and playing corner?
A: Just probably how quick my feet are and pretty much my ability to play inside and outside corner.
Q: Any familiarity with anyone up here on the Bills?
A: I never met him but I know Kyle Williams is up there. He’s a guy that played at LSU and he’s one of the legends back in Baton Rouge. A guy that you always talk about when you talk about work ethic and a guy that puts it all out for the team. I also got a guy, Ronald Darby that I’m very familiar with, that I watched, when he was coming out of Florida State. I’m looking forward to it.
Q: It looked like you took a big step forward last year. What was the biggest difference between your junior and senior years?
A: It was just, like I said, it was my ability to get in the film room and get comfortable with the scheme because we had a new defensive coordinator coming in. It was just getting in the film room and getting comfortable with the scheme and studying my opponent more and more so I can become familiar with tendencies and formations and things that those guys like to do.
Q: You’re a versatile guy. Do you like man, zone? What do you prefer?
A: I’m fortunate to have been through a lot at LSU. I’ve had three different defensive coordinators in the last three years so I was able to adapt to any type of schemes that those guys had. I can pretty much play in any scheme and adapt to any system.
Provided by the Buffalo Bills.