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Draft Decisions

Press Conference: AFC West

by Josh Norris
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

How does a draft writer spend the first weeks after the big event? I’m not sure, but I have decided to watch ever press conference for every team after each day of the draft, so you don’t have to. The goal is to pick up tendencies, tells and specific reasoning for selections. Sometimes the coaches and general managers have a role in mind, and as I’ve learned, too often they do not.

As you can see, the notes are very rough. This is not transcribing, more so noting the important points involved in an entire thought.

AFC East

AFC North

Denver Broncos (John Elway and Gary Kubiak)

1 (26). Memphis QB Paxton Lynch - Trade up with the Seahawks… This was the target to start the day to “take care of the quarterback position”... Made phone calls starting at noon on draft day, started at No. 17 (Falcons) and moved from there… Big, athletic, strong, fits us perfectly… Great in-house visit… “Really exciting” how he extends plays, has a knack for making people miss. Difficult to coach guys to keep their eyes up, and Paxton does that. Motivated… Enthusiasm he plays the game with… “They are all going to compete”... “It was our feeling” based on info that the Jets would not take Paxton. Most worried about teams after the Broncos trading up ahead of them… “We have seen him do everything we want from a movement standpoint”... “After the first two quarterbacks were gone, Paxton was the one we had targeted”

2 (63). Georgia Tech DE Adam Gotsis - Big, athletic, strong, long. Hasn’t played a lot of football, but the amount he has played has been very good… High ceiling. A player the Broncos targeted before the draft… Should be ready to go by camp… “Our defensive line coach is pretty good” and he wanted a chance to work with Gotsis… Great interview

3 (98). Boston College S Justin Simmons - Big, rangy safety who can play center field… Measurables are off the chart… Fill a lot of roles on the football team… Flexibility with T.J. Ward and Darian Stewart. Expect some three safety looks… “We stayed true to our board” and positions of need… Repeatedly brought up experience playing corner.

4 (136). Utah RB Devontae Booker - Injury definitely factored in to Booker still being on the board. Broncos cleared his knee.

5 (144). Missouri OG Connor McGovern - Quick learner type. Very bright. Versatility. Lengthwise, does he move inside?

6 (176). Nebraska FB Andy Janovich

6 (219). Arizona S Will Parks

7 (228). Syracuse P Riley Dixon

Kansas City Chiefs (John Dorsey, Andy Reid and area scouts)

2 (37). Mississippi State DE Chris Jones - “True depth between second and fourth rounds”... Teams started calling around picks 26 and 27… There were two players John Dorsey was focused on, and then he traded out once it “didn’t work out”... Broncos jumping in front to take Paxton Lynch did not impact trade out… Player available at 28 “largely similar” to early second round player… Athletically, for a man his size, he is uniquely gifted… High ceiling, and Chiefs’ defensive linemen will keep him accountable… Has the flashes, but “begins to play high… Once you rotate these guys, he will be fine”...  “If we had picked him at 28, we would have been comfortable” but intel they had allowed them to drop back a bit… Interviewed him among 60 at the NFL Combine. Southeast scout spent considerable time at his pro day and workout facility… He can play any position along the defensive line, and all three downs.

3 (74). Notre Dame CB KeiVarae Russell - "When you combine the different studies and come up with one score, I'd say he is a red level"... Really sharp and neat kid. Well spoken, articulate… There is a degree of respect when he speaks… Spent a lot of time at Notre Dame with him… Start him outside and see what happens. Slot is possible… Outstanding person. Would have only been put in his situation (suspension) “at Notre Dame.” Handled it like a man… Has some spunk to him… Easy for the media to talk to.

4 (105). Cincinnati G/T Parker Ehinger - “We have identified players in the fourth round that we feel are great fits for this team”... Versatility of guard and tackle… Displays patience and aggression… “Will fit in our room.” Easy for the media to talk to… Up to coaches where they want to play him… Lost his dad… OL is a position of growth…

4 (106). Minnesota CB Eric Murray - “I was watching Minnesota a few years ago and asked, ‘Oh, who is that guy?”... Another top athlete… Really smooth. Good hips. First thing people talk about is his toughness… Captain. Called people out. Every teammate said he was the toughest on the team… Safety potential. Really good special teams player

4 (126). Florida WR Demarcus Robinson - Excellent athlete… Loose hips, quick footed. “He can run” Impressive after the catch... Comfortable with his maturity after four suspensions… Teammates love him. He’s not a diva… Top three round talent… Learned McElwain’s offense… Adjustment for every rookie WR… He watched Sunday games, which is important… Run after catch is what he is good at

5 (162). Stanford QB Kevin Hogan - The guy won a lot of games… Bright kid. Played in a pro-style offense… Been on the radar the entire process… Run/pass checks at the line of scrimmage. Carried three plays at the line.

5 (165). West Alabama WR Tyreek Hill - World class speed… Comparison to Devin hester in return ability… Despite issue “he’s a good person”... Emphasized over and over how much research they have done. How they won’t put the community at risk… “We see him trying to right the wrong”

6 (178). Georgia Tech CB D.J. White - Fast, tough, physical corner… Zone or man… Matched up with Tyler Boyd… People at GT loved him

6 (203). Virginia Tech LB Dadi Nicolas - Explosive. Good get off. He can bend… Passionate about football… Only a few years of football… Athletic ability… Holding on to weight gained is important. Want to play him around 245 lbs

Oakland Raiders (Reggie McKenzie and Jack Del Rio)

1 (14). West Virginia S Karl Joseph - By watching the tape, you can feel his passion… Very aggressive. Versatile… Will run and hit anything that moves… “We have loved Karl Joseph from day one”... Doctors gave a thumbs up for the medical… Can play at every level of the defense… Takes good angles. Effective and efficient tackler… Did not want to answer a question about Myles Jack… Impressive ball hawk and hitter. Playmaker. More than just a hitter… Remote basis, no visit (with a smile)...

2 (44). Illinois DE Jihad Ward - Great upside. Big, athletic… Can play multiple positions. 5-tech, 3-tech. Relatively young at the position… Chance to grow once learning technique… Does a great job finishing… More of an interior defensive lineman. Tackle and closed end… Very serious young man. Has come through quite a bit in his life. “Those type of stories are a lot better than the others you hear.”... Not a raw player. Not a big stats guy.

3 (75). Michigan State DE/OLB Shilique Calhoun - Between a defensive end and SAM linebacker… LEO, end of the line type… Understands how to rush the passer

4 (100). Michigan State QB Connor Cook - “Can you believe I traded up?”... Look at the board, player we still had rated highly up there. Good opportunity for us… Too good of a player not to try… Always important to have depth at QB. Kept three QBs in Green Bay

5 (143). Texas Tech RB DeAndre Washington - Every time you watch him play, it is difficult for the first guy to get him down. Kind of guy who can do it all… Finding open space is one of his strengths… Not worried about pass protection… You can’t go through the season with one running back

6 (194). Colorado State LB Cory James - Need to figure out where to play him. First will be off the ball, weakside linebacker. Learn inside and nickel. Make money on special teams

7 (234). LSU OG Vadal Alexander - “Big guys, they usually get taken… we like big people”... Will work at guard and tackle…

San Diego Chargers (Tom Telesco and Mike McCoy, plus Ken Whisenhunt and John Pagano)

1 (3). Ohio State DE Joey Bosa - Was on the top of the board from beginning to end, since September. Everything we did came back to Joey.  “We’ve known for a long time”... We didn’t win enough one on one matchups up front… We are in a four man front 2/3rds of the game. He can win from multiple spots… Football means a lot to him… Lighter weight not a worry. He plays big… The way he played the run in college is some of the best we saw all year… “We don’t prioritize need”... All football all the time. That is contagious… Excitement when two teams traded up for QBs… “Every time you turned a game on, you saw 97 taking a game over”.... After Combine interview he said “I can’t wait to put that Charger helmet on”... Hand use is an artwork to him. Very high football IQ

2 (35). Arkansas TE Hunter Henry - Best tight end in the draft. Didn’t drop a ball in 2015. “Complete tight end” and comes out of a pro-style offense… Balanced player, but what he can really do is catch… “Very polished” and that is tough to find now… Can handle defensive ends and outside linebackers… Accountable and a great teammate… “For us he was a first round talent”... Blocks “pretty well”... It is a position “we needed to add to, no doubt”...

3 (66). USC C Max Tuerk - “Has two things we are looking for up front: He is smart and has great feet”... Loves to prepare, was Cody Kessler’s roommate… Can get to the second level, that is what creates big running plays… “We don’t really look at the conferences all the time” with three big conference players… Would have been drafted earlier if healthy… Feel good about ACL rehab… Has good length and can leverage people… “If someone can’t keep up with Philip, he won’t stay around long”

4 (102). Ohio State LB Josh Perry - Size and speed. Ohio State spoke very highly of him. Versatility inside and size to play outside… Top of the board heading into round four… “Passing game is just different in the NFL”


5 (175). Akron LB Jatavis Brown - College linebacker, but has the versatility where he might end up as a safety… “The one player in our draft room where, if we didn’t draft him, there would be a revolt”... Excited what he can do on defense and special teams… This is a guy everyone wanted on our football team… Other NFL teams texted Telesco saying “good pick”

6 (179). Texas A&M P Drew Kaser - Called Mike Scifres before the pick, telling him the plan. “Coincidence” K and P went to same school.

6 (198). Wisconsin FB Derek Watt - True fullback. Special teams. Can adjust to moving defenders. Importance of fullback is dependent on the scheme we run… Move away from four TE approach? Incorporate a true FB… Relationship with Melvin Gordon was not a factor…  “Having a FB will not be a solution to blocking better”

7 (224). Michigan State OG Donavon Clark - “The more they can do, the more they can help us out”... Lined up on play side and also pulled

Josh Norris

Josh Norris is an NFL Draft Analyst for NBC Sports Edge and contributed to the Rams scouting department during training camp of 2010 and the 2011 NFL Draft. He can be found on Twitter .