GM Doug Whaley
Director of Player Personnel Jim Monos
Opening Statement from Doug Whaley: I told you we’d get a quarterback. Tired of going defense, so, we like this guy. He’s got…we think our situation’s good for him. He’s going to come in and be a No. 3, be able to develop, be able to learn under some professionals that have been at their craft for a while with EJ (Manuel) and Tyrod (Taylor). We like his skillset. I mean he’s got the talent to possibly be a franchise guy. Is he there yet? Absolutely not. He’s got a lot of work and a lot of ways to go, but this guy’s driven. This guy’s a proven winner. He’s undefeated. Everybody talks about his accuracy but look at his completion percentage; it’s over 60-percent. He had a 105 quarterback rating against ranked teams. And again, he’s undefeated. All I’m saying is we got a nice guy to work with, with a high upside, so we’re excited to have him.
Q: Doug, I got to ask you, did you guys watch college football before the playoff? You got four straight guys that were in the final four.
DW: Well, they’re in the final four for a reason, because they have talent. And again, this goes back to what we were saying when we took those other guys. First of all, they’re worthy, talent-wise where we picked them. Again, value and their talent met up. But again, we start getting guys from winning programs, that get infectious in the locker room and that brings a sense of, “Hey, this is what we need to do to win because I’ve been there before, we’ve done it before.” So they’re going to bring that type of stuff into our locker room, which I think is a good interjection of something we don’t have.
Q: Doug, clearly the inexperience in this kid, 11 college starts, some guys are starting 48, 50 games in college. Does that worry you at all?
DW: That goes into the thought process when you put a value on this guy, but we thought the upside was so big that is was something that where we were and the value, because we looked at it as basically a fifth round pick. So if you hit on this fifth round pick, we thought, “Boom.” The upside is great. We feel his floor at the bottom of his talent level is a solid No. 2. So to get a solid No. 2 in the fifth round we thought was a good value.
Q: How realistic would it be, you said he comes in as the three, how realistic though is he in pushing EJ for the No. 2 spot as a rookie?
DW: That’s all up to him. I mean, because obviously he’s going to have to come in and our system is really intricate, a lot different than what he ran in college, so his learning curve is going to be steep. But, we think with the physical ability and his drive and everything he brings to the table, his mentality and willingness to learn and want to be the best, this sky’s the limit.
Q: Did you feel there was much of a gap between him and the other quarterbacks left on the board, like Kevin Hogan and (Dak) Prescott? You know, the guys that…
DW: Well Dak went before us, so…
Q: I know that…
DW: Yeah. All of them had something different. We just felt with this guy’s upside and with where we were picking, it was a nice marriage.
Q: Going backwards, how different was he from Connor Cook, (Christian) Hackenberg, guys that went before him?
DW: I can’t give you the draft board. Let’s just put it this way. Where we were and where we had him rated, it married perfectly.
Q: You talked about how important arm strength is here in Buffalo. He’s obviously got a cannon for an arm. How much did that play into it?
DW: Absolutely. When you look at it, you guys have been in this stadium in December. We play at the Jets, we play at New England. In cold weather games, that’s very important and something we have to factor in majorly different than let’s say if we’re in LA or Tampa because they’re not going to be having that many games in cold weather where the wind’s blowing 15 to 20 miles per hour. So it’s something that we have to put a lot more importance in than maybe some of the other teams.
Q: With, I guess so little experience or so little passing attempts, is it almost work in his favor to be a little bit more moldable coming in to the pros to what you need to do?
DW: I couldn’t say it better. I mean, this guy, he’s got some stuff to work on, but he doesn’t have any muscle memory already ingrained in him that’s bad. So we got a piece of clay and we can mold him and with our offensive staff, I’m very, very happy to know that we got some qualified guys to help mold him.
Q: When you watched him at the end of last year, could you ever have imagined that he’d be a fifth round pick, or a fourth round pick, in this year’s draft?
DW: The way he ended up last year? No. Not at all. Surprised he came back, he came back and you know, it worked out in our favor. Maybe not his, but we’re excited to have him.
Q: Instead of going through free agency, you’re getting a project here in the fourth round. How comfortable are you with EJ as the No. 2 again?
DW: Very comfortable, absolutely.
Q: Why is that?
DW: Well if you just look around the league, we think he’s as good a No. 2 as most out there. He’s a No. 2 for a reason, so are a lot of other guys. But we think he can come in and hold serve while we, if Tyrod ever loses some playing time. And then, he’s a consummate professional and he’s going to try and get better and better each day. Granted, everybody’s going to say, “Look at the Jacksonville game.” But we were leading until that last drive and he came back from a 28 point deficit. If we win the game, everybody’s talking about it’s the greatest comeback victory since Frank Reich. So we think the guy has some talent and we think we’re comfortable, we know we’re comfortable with him as our No. 2.
Q: Why do you think Cardale is such a polarizing prospect? Some people seem to love him and other people seemed to be really scared off by him.
DW: Well because you have a guy that won a national championship, went 11-0, and got benched. So, we did a lot of work and I have to give credit to our scouts, Jim Monos and all our scouts that did him. We put a lot of work into this guy and I’ll actually bring Jim up and he’ll tell you some background information that he uncovered by talking to Coach (Jim) Tressel.
Jim Monos: Good day three drama.
Q: Could you just tell us a little bit about the process of scouting him? I mean like I kind of mentioned there to Doug, he seems like a polarizing guy that some people either loved or others were kind of afraid of.
JM: His background’s incredible and you guys will get to know him and talk to him about all that but Jim Tressel recruited him for his system. So I’m not sure he was a complete system fit at Ohio State with Urban Myer. But it didn’t phase this kid. He stuck there, he worked. The benching and all that, you can ask Cardale when he gets here. He really didn’t play that poorly this year when you look at his games. He didn’t have blow-up games. The guy just wants to be good and he’s going to be molded. I mean, he has a lot to learn, and he knows that, so we’re comfortable with him.
Q: The work he did with George Whitfield, how much does that matter to you guys when you’re evaluating…almost every quarterback before the draft has that QB guru?
JM: Yeah, they don’t have our playbook, so that means nothing to us. The tape means something and then when we bring him in or coaches have a chance to meet with him to see where he is at mentally, that’s when we feel comfortable. We brought him here, we had him on our visit. Our coaches felt like, “Hey, there’s something here to work with,” too. He’s a smart guy, he just needs to learn football.
Q: When you guys had all of those Ohio State guys on that visit, what was Cardale like when he was around his teammates even though he didn’t end the season as the starter?
JM: You could see why they had success, they were a tight group. They all got along very well and they all mixed in well. I mean, it wasn’t anything that stood out on the visit other than they were a tight group and all were happy to have an opportunity.
Q: With your prior draft experience, how rare is it, we talked about physical tools, for a guy, a quarterback, have that amount of tools at this stage of the draft?
JM: Right. I think you guys hit on it, he doesn’t have much experience, he did get benched this year; he’s an easy guy to write off, to be honest with you. He really is. And we put a lot of work in on him and felt very strongly that he has a chance.
Q: What does he need to work on?
JM: He needs to work on reading defenses, getting rid of the ball quickly, footwork. Mechanically, he’s got to work. But he’s willing to.
Q: So what is the gameplan? Does he get with David Lee right away and just…
JM: Just compete.
Q: What’s your general feeling on the draft so far?
JM: Oh we’re pretty excited, but I always tell you guys, every team right now loves their draft. You’re all sitting around like, “Wow, I can’t believe this guy fell.” And you’re going to hear all the clichés. But I will say we’re excited, I’m excited about the schools we got these guys from. I think there is something to that. Those schools help, they hold their guys accountable--and that’s what we want our guys to do.
QB Cardale Jones
Q: What are your initial thoughts on being drafted by the Bills?
A: I am just excited to be a part of Bills Mafia and be a part of the great organization and a great leader with Coach [Rex] Ryan.
Q: How much did you sense the Bills were really interested in you throughout the process?
A: I had a feeling they were very interested just from like I said my visit. Coach [Rex] Ryan was extremely honest with me. You know I think we had six guys up there on the visit and he kind of told us you know straight to our face he told me and Adolphus [Washington] we get a chance to get both of you guys, if you guys are around when our picks are up, we are going to grab you guys. And he was telling guys like Eli [Apple] you are going to be gone before we get a chance to get you and just being around a guy like that from the beginning you know to put it all out on the table. To let us know he didn’t bring us out there for anything, it was just a great feeling.
Q: With only 11 starts in college do you think that is a positive so you can learn and grow under the staff here?
A: I definitely do, I definitely do, because the lack of experience still put me up there with some of the top guys in my opinion as far as ability and production. I feel like my ceiling is extremely high and having a coach like Coach [David] Lee he will be out, I wouldn’t have my choice to picking another guy to really groom me than Coach Lee.
Q: How far away do you think you are from being able to run a NFL offense and be productive?
A: I feel like that is a weird question to ask. When they give me the playbook, I mean I am going to be expected to learn it and be up to speed with the guys who have already been there. Whatever it takes, in my personal opinion I can be ready whenever they need me to be ready.
Q: What was the range of emotions this weekend?
A: It was a whirlwind just not knowing, playing the waiting game. It was the longest three days of my life really, but you know it was all worth it to be in a position to play for one of the top organizations in the NFL. So I am just extremely excited.
Q: At any point this weekend did you reflect on your decision to comeback to Ohio State?
A: No, not really. I mean I reflect on it and say hey I could have been in this position last year but, being the guy I am and always honest with myself I wasn’t ready to be in this position last year.
Q: What did you learn about yourself at Ohio State this year?
A: Just that, you know, don’t let nothing keep you down, and always keep fighting back. It was a point this season I could have went into a dark place and just said screw everything when I got benched. And then the following game and half I was back to starter due to a circumstance I think if I wouldn’t have had the right mindset to you know stay locked into the game plans and doing whatever it takes for the team. Being the quarterback even though I wasn’t the starter at that point, our team wouldn’t have been successful the game I returned back as the starter.
Q: How do you think that helps you having gone through that?
A: Just being able to deal with adversity. Just knowing how to deal with, having the right people around me to know I can lean on them. And I am glad that my circle improved with Coach [Rex] Ryan and Coach [David] Lee.
Q: How important was your support system, like Ted Ginn Sr. to what you were talking about?
A: Extremely. I mean like he is one of the guys that has always been in my tight circles since high school. And kind of piggy backing off him and looking towards him for advice and how to deal with situations and trying to get through the adversity. It was great to have someone like him and a couple other people to lean on for them situations.
Q: What was the biggest factor on keeping that mindset?
A: I am just understanding the bigger goals and the bigger purpose. Not just me playing but the team success was always number one priority to me and all my teammates. So just keeping that vision and keeping my blinders on and keeping eye on the prize kind of helped with all that.
Q: Did your work with George Whitfield change your mechanics in a way you found helpful?
A: Nothing with mechanical issues. Me and Coach [George] Whitfield harped on you know touch on the ball, we switched up my grip on the ball a little bit and just getting more comfortable taking snaps under center and going through the drops that I was accustomed with coming from the type of offense we ran at OSU. So really nothing mechanically it was really more about knowing when to deliver a certain type of ball.
Q: What were your impressions of Rex Ryan and the Bills staff when you met with them?
A: Like it was so down to earth, it was so family atmosphere, it was so we are going to get our work done and we are going to have a great time doing it though. It was just kind almost an atmosphere that Coach [Urban] Meyer developed at OSU basically you know we are going to hold guys accountable but we are going to have a great time doing it.
Q: How comfortable are you sitting a few years for you to develop?
A: That is something between my coaches at this point. I am very comfortable as long as I am staying ready when my number is called. I mean whatever my coaches need me to do, whatever my team requires me to do that is what I am going to be comfortable doing.
Q: How much do you know about Tyrod Taylor and EJ Manuel?
A: I am excited because they going to, well definitely Tyrod [Taylor] when he came out he kind of faced a lot adversity as well as I did through this whole draft process. Just seeing his growth through the last three or four years and finally having his chance to start and compete at the level he did, I am excited. Like I said I have been watching him for the last two and half years.
Q: How confident are you that you can recapture that form you had at the end of last year?
A: Extremely, extremely confident, because it is all football now. This is my job, this is my career, this is my life, and nothing will get in the way of that.
Director of Player Personnel Jim Monos
Jim Monos: I’ll just open it up to questions.
Q: Do you like running backs in the fifth round that much?
A: So here’s how this one went down. You know, he (Jonathan Williams) missed this season with a foot injury. He’s right on track, people come back from this. The doctors felt very comfortable that he’d come back from this 100 percent. He’s a guy we really valued. He’s a big back, he’s going to help on special teams, battle with (Mike) Gillislee. This had nothing to do with anybody on our roster right now, just a guy to come in be a backup, special team running back and hopefully compete to start next year.
Q: What’s his style of running?
A: Oh, he’s downhill, straight-ahead, great vision instincts, inside the tackles. You’re not going to see, he’s not a 4.4 blazer, he’s a 220 pound just downhill back.
Q: Karlos Williams did some really nice things for you guys but had significant injury concerns with the concussion and the shoulder. Do you need insurance behind the top guys on your depth chart at that position?
A: No, we just felt like we were excited about him. This guy, he would have gone higher, in probably the third or fourth round, if he didn’t have that injury. So for us, it was just that the value made sense.
RB Jonathan Williams
Q: How is the foot feeling?
A: It is feeling good. You know I have been, I missed this year because of it but I have been rehabbing. Doing a lot of working out and it is feeling real good right now.
Q: How tough was it to miss a year with it?
A: It was definitely tough just because football is something that is very important to me. I have been playing football since I was five years old. Not having that in my life this year was definitely tough, but injuries are part of the game. It is about people that can bounce back from them. I am definitely ready to play again.
Q: What was the injury?
A: It was torn ligament.
Q: Do you feel like you will be 100-percent ready to go for the offseason?
A: Yeah, definitely
Q: They described you as a downhill back, how would you describe your running style?
A: I feel like I am back that can do anything. You know a three down back that can run the ball inside and out on first and second down. Can pick up pass protection and catch the ball on third down. So I think I am a complete back.
Q: What are your thoughts about coming to a team that is pretty well stocked at the running back position?
A: Just put my head down and work. You know everywhere you go you know there is going to be good backs. But you know just do my part, if it is on special teams or whatever I am just going to do my part and work as hard as I can every day.
Q: Special team may be your way in. Did you play much on special teams?
A: I don’t. I didn’t play a lot on special teams. I was one of the featured backs at Arkansas so my coach didn’t want me to play a lot of special teams. But I am willing to do it.
Q: What did you learn sitting this year?
A: Definitely got a better mental picture of the game, definitely learned a lot. And I just, I love the game so missing it for a year was definitely tough but I am ready to play again.
Q: Do you know much about LeSean McCoy?
A: Yeah, definitely, definitely.
Q: What are your thoughts on him?
A: He is a beast, he is definitely real shifty with the ball. Can score at any time definitely looking forward to being in the same backfield as him and watching him and learning from his game.
Q: Just how antsy are you to get back out there?
A: Oh man I am anxious, I wish I could be there right now to work out and start practice and everything. Football is a big part of my life, so I am definitely anxious.
Provided by the Buffalo Bills