Skins Quotes: Ron Rivera, Kyle Smith, Post-Draft Round 1

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Marine Corps Virginia


April 23, 2020


Head Coach Ron Rivera and Vice President of Player Personnel Kyle Smith


On when they decided on DE Chase Young:
RR: “We’ve always felt pretty good about Chase. It was just a matter of us doing our due diligence going through the process, obviously. But when you look at the draft order and you look at what Cincinnati needed, you always kind of felt that Chase would be the guy. But again, we had to go through the due diligence of it, you know, [Vice President of Player Personnel] Kyle [Smith] and his guys have been working through this for the last few years. Obviously, you know each year is kind of its own little entity, so once we got started, we went through the process. It really was honestly something that was just a formality really going into it.”


On how Vice President of Player Personnel Kyle Smith felt about overseeing the Draft in his new role:

KS: “It was good. I mean that part of the process, not much has changed that way as far as February meetings and the Draft part of it. The big change came from free agency and being involved in that part. But obviously leading up to this point in the Draft, it’s really the same kind of process. When [Head] Coach [Ron] Rivera came in, he wanted us to keep our process and keep everything that we’ve been doing from the last few years and just carry that on. And obviously the difference being that Coach and I would get together like we did leading up to this point and kind of decide on what we’re going to do, and that’s what we’ll do with the rest of the draft. Not much as far as day-in and day-out process has really changed, you know what I mean.”


On potentially trading T Trent Williams:

KS: “We’re working through it. You know, right now that’s something we’ve been doing. You guys know, it’s been in the media for a while now. It’s something we’ve been working through and we will continue to work through. Obviously, nothing has happened yet, and we’ll let you guys know if something does happen. It’s hard to tell. You go into it hoping that something happens whenever you’re trying to get something done, but it could happen in five minutes, it could happen tomorrow, it might not happen in the next few days. It’s just something that we’re trying to work through and we’ll continue to make calls and we’ll go from there.”


On Day 2:
KS: “Well, obviously as we get into tomorrow, it’s just a matter of letting the board speak to you. You see the picks that are going off, the players that are available. We have in our minds on what positions to focus on and needs – if you want to call them needs – that we want to fulfill. If the best player available matches needs, then that makes it easy. Obviously if it’s not, then we’ll look at the board and kind of look at what player is there – is it offense? Is it defense? And make a decision there. Really it is best player available, but also that fits a role that we might have.”


On ruling out picking a quarterback at No. 2:
RR: “Well again, the biggest thing I said about picking a quarterback, I said we were going to do our due diligence. That’s the biggest thing. You have to because you just never know what’s going to be there. You never know what the offers are going to be. It was talked about that we did have some people talk to us, but nothing was enticing enough to even consider that. Again, our situation more than anything else was just going through the process, doing the things we were supposed to do, doing things the right way. Kyle said, one of the things that they did that I told Kyle, once he explained the way that he did things in the past, I thought it would be something that would be really good for us. I do like the way that this has mapped out so far, so I’m excited about it.”


On Young being able to improve the defensive line:
RR: “I believe one thing that will happen more so than anything else, we’ve transformed our front to a 4-3, 40 front, it gives us a four set rushers. I think there’s an impact getting to the quarterback has on the other rushers – the linebackers and the secondary. And if we can create that type of immediate disruption, it’s going to help the back seven. And I think, again, if we can get to that point, create the takeaways, create the three-and-outs, it’s going to help the offense. So, to me, when you draft a guy like that, that’s what you're trying to do. You’re trying to impact the team. I’ve been involved with the first pick, and now I’m involved with the second pick. In both cases, I believe we’ve taken the guy that will impact not just his position group, not just the linebackers, not just the [defensive backs], but I think the entire football team. That’s why we did what we did. To the earlier question about fielding questions and considering positions, one of the things I really appreciate that came out of this was there were three guys we felt were immediate-impact guys. If you could have got any of those three, you’d feel good about them. And that’s how we felt, especially seeing Chase available.”


On who the other two players were:

RR: “We felt good about who the third was. [Bengals Quarterback Joe] Burrow and Young were right where we thought they would be.”


On if the team is looking to trade into the second round:
KS: “We’ll wait and see. If the opportunity presents itself and what it will take. I think that’s the big thing. Obviously, who’s there [in the draft]. We’ll start going through that and see what the board says to us. If there’s a player there that, No. 1, if we have the ammo to do that then we’ll absolutely talk about it, but the offer has to match what we feel about the player.”


On if he thinks Young is the most talented player in the draft:

RR: “I believe so and feel very fortunate to be able to get him. I really do. I think there are a couple other guys who were very good at their position, but I think for what we would love to do going forward for us, I most certainly believe he was the best one.”


On if they feel the team needs to add another receiver or tight end:
KS: “We’re always looking to add any type of offensive weapon or defensive weapon. I don't think we’re going into it, like I said earlier ‒ I don't know if you were on earlier ‒ as far as what we think our needs are, positions of focus, when we get to our next pick, [No.] 66, or if we decide to trade up into the second [round], offensive, defensive weapon, whatever position. Whether it’s a tight end, wide receiver, running back, quarterback, on defense a corner or another pass rusher, anybody that can impact you. I think you’re always willing to look at that.”


RR: “Now, that being from his perspective. From a coach’s perspective it depends. If you’re an offensive coach you want offensive playmakers and if you’re a defensive coach you want defensive playmakers. And that’s the truth. But Kyle hit right on the head. We drafted Chase because we believe he can impact our team. He can help us on the offensive side as well if he can create the energy up front that we need and get the pressure on the quarterback, we can get the ball back to our offense and get it back to them quickly.”


On how much of a feel they got for his mentality and how that fits into the locker room:

RR: “Well, we most certainly do judge his character, and again, I thought the presentation and listening to Kyle and his guys talk about who Chase was and getting to meet Chase, they hit the nail on the head. He’s an easy going, soft-spoken young man, but then you watch him on tape and you see the energy level in which he plays with, you see the desire, the drive, the push. Then, you sit down and talk to him about those things and watch his eyes light up when he talks about being on the field, so there were a lot of positives. Unfortunately, we only had a couple of brief encounters through the Combine. The best though was getting the opportunity to talk to him away from everybody in person. He had kind of a little glitch in his schedule where he had an extra 15 minutes, so I went over and kind of nestled up to him away from everybody and we had a nice personal conversation just between the two of us. That 15 minutes really helped me in terms of just solidifying who he was for us.”


On what stood out about Young’s mental ability:
KS: “For me – and off of what Coach was saying – it’s the school call and it’s the way that everybody around that building talks about him. It’s the personal character, it’s how he’s wired, it’s his makeup, it’s how he was raised, all those things he checks all the boxes in. Take away the talent and the pass rusher and the skillset – which you can check all the boxes – but again, talked and touched base with [Ohio State Head] Coach [Urban] Meyer last night and he was raving about the kid. He just continued to grow and mature since he stepped foot on that campus. He’s a perfectionist, he’s a self-starter, all the things you look for in a football player he’s got and he’s wired the right way. So that part of it made me more confident. And then when you go to these postseason things, the Combine, and you get a chance to talk to the kid and meet him, that just kind of solidifies it for you.”


On whether he addressed the team during the virtual workout period:
RR: “No, I didn’t get that opportunity to do it. What happened was they were split up in offense, defense, special teams at different times and I popped in and out of the meetings. That’s the hard part with that because to get 70-some odd guys on and tell them ‘alright, get off now, get reconnected to your guys” for your coaches I didn’t think that was very prudent, so I’m saving that for an opportunity to see these guys in person. But popping in and out of the meetings has been really cool. Just kind of watching the coaches interact with the players. I really appreciate the guys being on and it looked like the attendance so far has been really solid, so that’s a huge plus for us.”


On how the team plans on implementing Young:
RR: “Well, in talking with [Defensive Coordinator] Jack [Del Rio] and [Defensive Line Coach] Sam Mills, you know you want to be able to put the kid on the field and have him make an impact every time he’s on it, but you have to be realistic about that and know that there are certain times and situations where you’ve got to rotate him out. So, what we’d like to do is get him out there, get him going, see where he’s going to fit and then from that point use him, but use him the right way. Use him to where if there’s 70 plays in a game, he’s not playing all 70, he’s going to play somewhere between 40-45 because we’re going to rotate guys. We have a good core of guys. One of the things that was attractive to me when I took this job was the front. Based on the drafts that have happened the previous three seasons, I felt very good about that group, I think that’s a dynamic group and I think [Defensive End] Chase [Young] is probably one of the big pieces that you need – a dynamic outside edge guy, couple that with another young dynamic guy, some quality other players around them, and then you have tackles that create a push so the quarterback can’t step up. So, again, it’s not necessarily just about the one guy as much as it is about putting the final piece in place, and you feel really good about who those four guys are going to be that are on the field at that time. Again, as I said, we’re going to rotate guys, so Chase could be in there with one group of guys and rotate, and the next thing you know he’s in with another group, but we’re going to use him to be a dynamic player.”


On whether another team could have created a trade package enticing enough to not draft Young:
RR: “For me personally, no. Like I said, I felt that Chase was the one guy that would really carry the load for us as far as that pick. You know, I don’t want to speak for Kyle, Kyle’s done a tremendous amount of work and I know in going through this he has opinions and they’re very good, so I’m not going to speak for him. But from my perspective, it’d have been very hard to convince me that somebody else would be as impactful as the guy we drafted.”
 

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