GM Doug Whaley

2015 NFL Draft: Post-Draft Presser

Saturday, May 2nd, 2015

Q: In kind of a big picture assessment in how you came out of this with the six picks…just your general thought with the fits and your general thought of this class meeting this team?

A: Well the first two picks, like we said, we think they’re going to contribute early and if they don’t start, start in the near future within the next year or two.  Karlos Williams gives us an option in the backfield that also brings a tremendous option on special teams and that’s valuable.  You know as well as I do, when you have bad special teams, that can put you in a tremendously difficult situation in some games and we just wanted to continue the success we had last year in the special teams category so we’re excited about that.  Another special teams guy that will add some depth is Tony Steward and that’s what we were looking for with this last day is finding guys that will give us special teams and some depth that will be in a system a year or two from now be able to contribute at a higher level.  Nick O’Leary: tight-end with offensive coordinator Greg Roman.  We’re going to add as many as we can there and he gives you versatility not only as an on the line guy but also as a move type of guy, but I think we’re going to concentrate right off the bat with him being that Y tight-end. Then Dezmin Lewis–it gives us a dimension in that wide receiver position room of size and we don’t have that so we’re excited about him.  All in all, we think we accomplished our goal.  Obviously time will tell of adding two contributors/starters early and a lot of depth/special teams guys in the later rounds.

Q: In regards to Karlos Williams, his name has been involved in some pretty serious allegations.  I know he hasn’t been charged or anything, but do you worry about the optics of that?

A: We do take it in serious consideration, but like everybody we talked to before and everybody we talk to from now on, we do our research and get as much information as possible and we let the information make the decision.

Q: Is that sort of topic in any way similar to the discussion you had as a group with the Pegulas and such before signing Richie Incognito?

A: Correct. Like I said before, we like to sit down with those people and look the people in the eye and hear what they have to say about their side of the story.  There’s always, what do they say? Three sides of the story. So we like to hear their side of the story and see if they have a plan in place to make sure that something like it won’t happen again for them.

Q: Is it fair to say because you said it earlier that it would be tough to make this team, do you come away from this draft satisfied because you lived up to that level of expectation that it’s going to be hard for these guys to crack the lineup and you knew that going in or is there any level of dissatisfaction of it?
A: I think it’s satisfaction because I thought about it when was talking earlier. We thought, “Yeah, it’s going to tough to make this team,” but with the guys we’ve picked and that added value of that special teams essence and their play, it gives them a more favorable odds to make the team and it helps us on the back end with the depth. So I may have misspoke and I hope I have.

Q: It is difficult to overlook the Florida State pipeline.  Six guys on the roster currently and three out of your six picks.  Could you have saved money by just scouting Florida State?

A: Well, shortly after the Pegulas bought the team, they came to me and said, “Doug: we spent 1.4 billion on this so we’re going to have to cut somewhere and there’s the scouting department,” and they said, “You can go to two schools…three and Penn State’s the other one.”  (Laughs) No.  They lost one game in two years.  There’s talent there.  It just happens that we picked a lot of it and deservedly so.  That doesn’t mean that’s the only place we scouted but it just happens to fall that way.

Q: Do you worry about the reputation of the organization at all when you’re bringing in players such as Williams, Incognito, to a lesser extent maybe Darby, but he’s had some questions as well.  Does that factor in? Do you worry about that?
A: The optics of it: we’ll let you guys debate that, but for us, the support system we have in place not only in the locker room, but the options we have with support around outside that we provide as an organization and the lack of any incidents that have occurred here since people have joined the Buffalo Bills.  We’re pretty excited and happy that we can foster an environment to make sure things like that are not a topic once they get to Buffalo.

Q: What was it like having the Pegulas?  It’s the first time the draft was held without Ralph Wilson or at least under new owners.

A: I understand what you’re saying.  For us, it was business as usual…We wanted to be the same way we would be anytime because that’s the only way we know how to do it.  In the last couple of years, we think we’ve been successful in doing it that way and we wanted to show the Pegulas, “This is how we do it.”  Now you’ll have to ask them what they thought and I’m sure we’ll convene after this week and talk and see if they have any ideas and that’s the one benefit of having the Pegulas; they haven’t been around so sometimes we’re in this cocoon and we see certain things in a narrow way. Them being from outside and being their first time, they might point out things that we could better and more efficiently so I’m excited to sit down and talk to them and see what they felt about the process in totality.

Q: Terry seemed to be very knowledgeable as to what the draft board was and who the players were coming up; he was familiar. What are your thoughts on his knowledge and what was going on?

A: I mean he’s the smartest man in the room, no doubt about it, hands down, but he is also a guy that likes to do the work and that’s refreshing. And you know he came in and he told us, you guys have worked and you’re the professionals in this, and you guys put in so many hours, it wouldn’t be smart of me to come in and say well you guys think this guy’s good, well I don’t so we as a staff appreciate what he contributes to us but also what he keeps reserved for himself.

Q: Jim mentioned that 3 or 4 running backs would make the team. I assume LeSean McCoy is probably going to be one of those, does that mean that the spots beyond him are all up for grabs?

A: Talking to Rex [Ryan], we’re not going to limit ourselves and stick ourselves in a box and say we are only going to carry X number of  running backs or x number of wide receivers. We’re going to fill the team with the best players available and if we have to keep an extra running back or extra receiver or less DB’s we’re just going to get the best 53 players we think can get out there and get us W’s on Sunday’s.

Q: Was there more focus on [Karlos] Williams because of domestic violence which is the hot issue button of the league?

A: No doubt about it, but we do that on any issue be it domestic violence, any indiscretion we’re going to dig as deep as we can. And again sitting down and looking at someone in the eye for me is a tell tail sign—is this guy remorseful, did he do it, does he have a reason why he did it or not do it, does he have a plan in place to not put himself in a situation like that again, that’s some of things that we like to try to figure out.

Q: Are there indiscretions that are non-starters for you or you would just not consider a player?

A: For me, the one that I would not even want to sit down and talk to a player would be if a guy stole from his teammate. To me that is stealing from your family and that to me is just not something I can deal with for what we’re doing. We’re trying to build a team and a family and that locker room is sacred. And for that, I have a hard time with that. Obviously there are some other things that if they’re guilty for murder and all that stuff, of course, but the indiscretions we’re talking about, yes that would be it.

Q: When you do your due diligence, does it ever go beyond sitting eye to eye with these guys?

A: Absolutely, there’s a bunch of avenues and ways we can gather information so it’s not just with the guy’s we do some research in and around, as much as we can do with people that come in contact and also with our security department.

Q: Did you speak with the Wilhelm woman?

A: We did not, but we did some research to see what was going on from her version.

Q: Are you interested at all at signing La’el Collins as an undrafted free agent?

A: Right now we haven’t thought about it. We still want that process to continue out. I know from what I understand he’s got something on Monday so I think we would reserve judgment until we get some more information, it’s too cloudy at this time.

Q: How much consideration did you give to drafting a quarterback at any point and is that something they will look at in the undrafted guys?

A: We gave it tremendous consideration, obviously we talked to some guys and then we went to see Bryce Petty it just didn’t fall the way we wanted it to. We were a little hand strong without some of the picks with the ammo to move around and get some guys or have some guys fall to us and compared to the value we put on them so all options are open. Like I say, if there’s somebody out there we think can come in and help us we’ll definitely pursue him.

Q: Does the fact that you didn’t draft one make any statement relative to the confidence you have in the quarterbacks you have?

A: I’ll let you debate that. I just think that as I said before, we put value on guys and the value and where we were picking just didn’t match up.

Q: With the Pegulas in the draft room did you have to run it by them when you were picking some of these guys with character red flags?

A: Absolutely, they were in the process. When we got close to our pick and even before the draft started when we stacked our players we went over every aspect of the players so they were fully aware.

Q: How does it change your research when you’ve got a police department down in Tallahassee that people don’t really trust? Do you have to do more work off to the side?

A: We do everything we can and we use every resource we have available. And I can’t comment on the department in Tallahassee. I just can comment on what we try to do to extract as much truthful and pertinent information as possible.

Q: As for Lewis, he mentioned that Buffalo was his only visit how long was he on your radar?

A: He’s been on our radar since the fall and we were excited about him. And again it’s obvious you guys know we’re pretty deep at that position but something we don’t have is that size wide receiver. So we followed him and tracked him throughout the fall and when he did get invited to the Combine we did feel it was a necessity to get him up here and take a closer look at him not only from a physical standpoint taking in the physical and medical aspect, but also to sit down with the coaches and see his mental aspect and aptitude for the game.

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