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First-round fits: GMs, coaches talk about incoming Day 1 rookies

Every coach and every general manager professes to be ecstatic with the player they drafted. (Hey, if they're not, they shouldn't have drafted him.)

Here's a quick team-by-team look at how each first-rounder was viewed by either his GM or his new coach.


GM Dennis Hickey on Louisville WR DeVante Parker: "Obviously he's got size, he's athletic, he has length, he has excellent body control, very good in the red zone, a jump-ball target. He's a guy that can stretch the field, who can give you yardage after contact. He brings a lot of things as an outside receiver that we value."

Coach Bill Belichick on Texas DT Malcom Brown: "He's a guy that's played inside, on the nose, all the way outside to the five-technique, kind of everywhere in between. He's been moved around a little bit. ... He has plenty of snaps in a variety of spots. (I) look forward to working with him."

GM Mike Maccagnan on USC DL Leonard Williams: "He can be, in essence, a three-down player because he was big, athletic and physical versus the run, but also is very quick and active and agile player to be effective as a pass rusher."

The Bills had no first-round pick.


GM Ozzie Newsome on UCF WR Breshad Perriman: "He brings an element to our offense that plays into Joe's (QB Joe Flacco) strength in that he can be a vertical threat, but he also has the ability to run the full route tree."

Coach Marvin Lewis on Texas A&M OT Cedric Ogbuehi: "He's played both sides of the line -- both tackles and guard -- so there's a lot of flexibility in his play in the past. He's just a huge man, with big, long length and a huge (wing) span. You watch how he protects all the time, and he's violent as a run-blocker." (Bengals offensive line coach Paul Alexander said Ogbuehi -- who suffered a torn ACL in late December in a bowl game -- could play all five line positions and that when he is healthy enough to play this season, "He'll jump in there and be like a big tight end or something to start out. And where he goes from there, who knows? It's hard [to predict] in his particular case. Almost every guy I've had, we've thrown him right out there in the starting lineup, but obviously you can't with this guy.")

GM Ray Farmer on Washington DT Danny Shelton: "We liked the fact that as an interior run-stopper, he had girth, quickness, agility, strength to clog up the middle and be an impact player and press the pocket from the interior."

Farmer on Florida State OL Cam Erving: "The versatility that the guy provides is unique. I will say that it is a staple for us that we like players who are non-scheme dependent; they can play in anybody's scheme, whether it's a gap scheme, a power scheme or a zone. We like guys who can play in that capability, and he is one of those guys. ... The guy has a skill set that allows him to play in any of those schemes and at a variety of positions." (Coach Mike Pettine said Erving will begin his NFL career on the right side at either tackle or guard, a position he never has played.)

GM Kevin Colbert on Kentucky OLB Bud Dupree: "He is very, very strong at the point (of attack). ... He can surely play the point. He can power rush. He can speed rush. He can put moves together. He can rush off of two feet or out of a three-point (stance). And he can cover." (Coach Mike Tomlin said Dupree will begin his Steelers career at left outside linebacker.)


GM Rick Smith on Wake Forest CB Kevin Johnson: "He's smart, he's tough, he can cover, he's versatile, he plays on, he plays off, he's got great instincts, and great play on the ball. ... We're talking about a guy who we saw do all the things that we're going to ask him to do, and we think he can do it in the slot and we think he can do it on the edge."

GM Ryan Grigson on Miami WR Phillip Dorsett: "When you've got (a player who runs the 40 in) 4.25 on grass that actually shows up that fast on film, somebody's going to take a stab at him -- especially when he has natural receiving skills on top of it. He can return punts, he's got lateral elusiveness as well and can really stick his foot in the ground, too, and he runs good routes. ... We feel like this is a game-breaker because of that speed and because he's not somebody that is really looking for the sideline every time he catches the ball or going into the fetal position. He's a tough nut. He will lower his shoulder. ... He's kind of unique in the fact that usually guys that are this fast, usually they're straight-liners, usually they don't have clean hands or a lot of times they lack toughness. This guy just really happens to have all those things."

GM Dave Caldwell on Florida OLB Dante Fowler Jr.: "He's a three-down player. He has special get-off. He can rush the passer. He has long arms. He's a good fit in our scheme and we need an edge rusher. We need a young edge rusher. Not only is he a young edge rusher, but he's flexible in that we can play him in a lot of positions. He can play inside. ... I would say on first and second down, he'll be on the edge. In nickel and our fast nickel, we'll probably move him around and see where he goes."

Coach Ken Whisenhunt on Oregon QB Marcus Mariota: "That's the plan (to have Mariota start from Day 1). That's what we anticipate being the case. We have to work hard and push him to try to get him prepared."


Coach Gary Kubiak on Missouri OLB Shane Ray: "You have to be able to go get the quarterback, regardless of how well you cover. ... The game is played in nickel a lot nowadays, probably more than 50 percent in our division we'll probably be in some form of nickel defense; that's just the way it is. You look at him as a starter. Even though we talk about rotations, you look at him as a starter."

GM John Dorsey on Washington CB Marcus Peters: "I think that he has probably got the best ball skills of any defensive back in this draft. I think he is incredibly physical in run support. I think he's got an incredible feel for the game of football. ... He can be very physical in press. He can instinctively turn and mirror routes with receivers. On run support, nice, strong run support, sheds the receiver's blocks. He's a square tackler. I just like the way he plays the game of football."

Coach Jack Del Rio on Alabama WR Amari Cooper: "He has been lined up all across the board -- outside, both sides, inside the slot, moving around, even lined up in the backfield some. So he's been exposed to a lot, been utilized a lot of different ways. He's run the entire route tree. It's rare when you find guys that come into the league and they have that kind of polish on them."

GM Tom Telesco on Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon: "Wisconsin runs a pro-style offense, which helps, but he's very well-rounded. He's got size, speed and strength as a runner. He can lower his pads and run through some people, and spin and bounce. He can pass protect, which is hard to find in college running backs these days, and he can catch the ball."


Owner Jerry Jones on Connecticut CB Byron Jones: "A combination of things happened here as it really did address ... the (lack of) numbers at corner, but it also allows us to possibly do some things at safety. ... The place we did not think that we would feel good or sleep right is if we didn't do something there in our secondary at corner in case (Morris) Claiborne doesn't come back, but also at the same time maybe give us a chance to do something special for our defense at free safety."

GM Jerry Reese on Miami OT Ereck Flowers: "He can play left or right tackle. That's up to coach (Tom) Coughlin where he plays, but we think he can be a long-time tackle. ... I think he can play guard. I think he's naturally a tackle, but I think he can play guard. ... You would think he can play left tackle. He could play right tackle. We project him as a really good football player, first, and where he ends up, that's up to our coaches."

Coach Chip Kelly on USC WR Nelson Agholor: "He's a great fit for what we're doing. ... An outstanding punt returner along with an outstanding receiver -- can play both inside and outside receiver. Has got excellent speed, outstanding hands, catches the ball away from his body. Outstanding route runner. ... He lined up everywhere. He lined up in the backfield. Really versatile guy, smart guy, understands the game. So I think in his situation, you could line him up anywhere, and I think he can handle that from a mental standpoint. But where they're going to play and all that other stuff, we're a ways away."

Coach Jay Gruden on Iowa OT Brandon Scherff: "He's very versatile. Heck, he could even play center if he wanted to. But I think Day 1, we start him out at right tackle. Obviously, we have a Pro Bowl left tackle, and we'll start (Scherff) out at right tackle, see how he does, and I'm sure he'll pick it up quickly."


GM Ryan Pace on West Virginia WR Kevin White: "I like his size. We've got two big wide receivers (now), with Alshon (Jeffery) as well. Eddie Royal can play the slot. Don't forget Marquess Wilson. This guy can play all over. Really, I see him as an outside receiver."

GM Martin Mayhew on Duke G Laken Tomlinson: "He's a good run blocker. He's 6-3, 320. He's a big, physical guy. He's a good pass-protection guy, too, but he can definitely help in the run game."

GM Ted Thompson on Arizona State FS Damarious Randall: "We'll probably line him up as a corner. In Dom's (defensive coordinator Dom Capers) system, those guys are all over the place. ... We think he's a very versatile player."

GM Rick Spielman on Michigan State CB Trae Waynes: "When you look at his physical traits, the length, the speed, the ability to play man coverage fits exactly what we are looking for in corners in this scheme. ... There is no question about the athletic skill set, there is no question about his ability to play press-man. We haven't seen him a lot in off coverage because they play a lot of man coverage (at Michigan State) and they play a lot pressed up to the line, so some of that may be a little new to him."


GM Thomas Dimitroff on Clemson OLB Vic Beasley: "What he adds to this team is athleticism and an ability to get up and around the corner. ... This is a guy who has a full package for us. It's nice to know we're adding a pass rush to this defense."

GM Dave Gettleman on Washington LB Shaq Thompson: "He's going to allow us to put three very fast linebackers on the field. I think he's going to be a great fit with Thomas (Davis) and Luke (Kuechly). He gives us matchup abilities that we don't have, and there are some different things that we can do with him. We think he's going to be a terrific fit."

Coach Sean Payton on Stanford OT Andrus Peat: "Offensive tackle we viewed as a position that wasn't a high priority in the draft but was certainly a need position. Maybe not a must, but a need. .. I feel like we've got a real good offensive lineman coming in." (Payton was asked if Peat would play guard: "I don't see that. He's a tackle.")

Payton on Clemson ILB Stephone Anthony: "We like the makeup, his size, his flexibility, position flexibility; I think he can play either inside position. I think he is probably most suited to play 'Mike,' so he has that body type."

GM Jason Licht on Florida State QB Jameis Winston: "We're so excited to get a guy like Jameis to be our future -- start a new era. Any time you get an opportunity to get a franchise quarterback, that we believe and are very confident is a franchise quarterback, it excites you. ... He's a champion, he's a leader, he's a winner, he's got tremendous football character and tremendous intelligence and work ethic. His work ethic was one thing that really, really put him over the top for us. Combined with his leadership and just his -- you know I hate to say it, lack of a better word -- 'it' factor."


GM Steve Keim on Florida OT D.J. Humphries: "He's got the positional flexibility to play left and right (tackle). He's got great feet, he's got bend, he's got athleticism, he's got tremendous range for an offensive tackle. ... We did think he was the most athletic tackle in this draft." (Coach Bruce Arians said he expects Humphries to play right tackle as a rookie.)

GM Les Snead on Georgia RB Todd Gurley: "Obviously, we felt he was a unique talent. That's subjective, but definitely thought he was a unique talent that only comes around once in a while. ... I think it was a consensus that that player helps everybody: our defense, it helps our offense, our offensive line, our wide receivers, our QB."

GM Trent Baalke on Oregon DL Arik Armstead: "He is unique in the sense that he is 6-7. He's 295-plus pounds. He runs in the five-flat range (in the 40). He is a tremendous athlete for his size and for that position. Four techniques are hard to find in the National Football League. True four techniques are guys that can two-gap, play with leverage, leverage blocks and control the line of scrimmage. That is a big part of what we do here. ... He's a young man that we identified that has the traits, has the skill sets, has the want-to to play it the way we want to play it."

Seattle didn't have a first-round pick.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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