2021 NFL Draft: Day Two Press Conference
JOE DOUGLAS: Hey guys, thanks for being here tonight. Just briefly, great day today. It was great to have Zach (Wilson) and his family in the building, welcome them to Florham Park and show them around the facility, spend a little time with them. Alijah Vera-Tucker should be landing shortly. We’ll have him in the building tomorrow and welcome him to the family. And obviously, tonight had a chance to welcome Elijah Moore. I know when we spoke late last night, he was a player that we were all crossing our fingers and hoping that he could somehow be in position for us to draft him tonight and it just happened to come to fruition, excited about him, his play-making ability to get another player that fits the mold of a great character, great player, versatile, smart, tough. So, can’t wait to add him to the mix. So, with that being said, I’ll open it up to questions from there.
Rich Cimini, ESPN: Joe, was it tempting at all to move down and acquire more picks?
JD: I think where we were Rich, like I said last night, we really didn’t think that Elijah had any chance to make it to us, where we were picking today. So, to get a player of his caliber sitting there, pick 34, I really feel like we’re sitting here with a unique opportunity to add three players that are really top 25 players on our board. And all three first round caliber players that can be impact players for us. So, while you do answer the call, this was an opportunity that we couldn’t pass up to take Elijah.
DJ Bien-Aime, New York Daily News: Robert, could you use Elijah Moore in a similar role as what you did with Deebo Samuel in San Francisco?
ROBERT SALEH: He’s dynamic. When he gets the ball on his hands, he becomes something different and his ability to separate and routes, his ability to run the jet sweeps, get the ball in his hands to come out of the backfield. Like Joe just mentioned, he’s extremely versatile, got ecstatic that he was able to get back to us at 34. So, it was a really cool way start to the night, but for sure there’s not a lot of things he can’t do.
Connor Hughes, The Athletic: Joe, is there any consideration to potentially get back into the third round tonight?
JD: Yeah, Connor we’re always going to monitor the board. We’ve got a lot of meat left on the bones tonight. We’ll see how the board shakes out. If the right opportunity presents itself, we’ll be aggressive. But as we sit right now, we are very excited to have these six picks tomorrow, two in the fourth, two in the fifth, two in the sixth. And we feel like we can do a lot of damage tomorrow as well. So, I think we’re in good shape right now.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Joe, does it concern you at all that you didn’t address defense in these first two rounds and even possibly in the third round?
JD: This is really the way the board fell this year. Again, we haven’t taken a defensive player yet, but right now we have at least six more chances to do so. And we know we’re not going to leave coach Brick (Ulbrich) hanging. So, like I said, we’re sitting here tomorrow with six picks and there’s going to be a lot of opportunity there to add to this team.
Rich Cimini, ESPN: Joe, Moore averaged over 10 catches per game in the SEC. How unusual is that for you to see and what kind of traits does he have to have that much success against good defensive backs?
JD: Yeah, great question because obviously we all know that the SEC is the best league in terms of talent in college football. So, for him to have that kind of production, just his ability to align in so many places from slot to outside receiver to tail back, his agility in his releases, his ability to set separate at the top of the route, outstanding ball skills, while he’s not 6’5”, he has outstanding catch radius, short hands, very dangerous after the catch. He’s very strong for his size, breaking tackles, so all those things together, toughness to go over the middle, you see that on tape week in and week out at the highest level of college football.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Joe, what does the selection of Moore mean for Jamison Crowder’s future with the team?
ROBERT SALEH: Look it adds quality competition and quality depth, so much respect for Jamison as a player, outstanding player, outstanding leader, and the selection of Elijah just adds more depth and more competition to the room.
J.P. Pelzman, Forbes.com: Joe, how convinced are you that Elijah Moore’s performance in the Egg Bowl was just a one-time incident?
JD: Yeah, that’s a good question. Obviously, our scouts, we have great scouts to get unbelievable information and have an opportunity to talk to Elijah. You know that’s a one-time incident and the outcome of that game, obviously, it hurt him. And it was something that he certainly felt bad, wasn’t going to let happen again. So, we feel confident that was just a one-time incident.
Connor Hughes, The Athletic: Did you draft Moore with the vision of having both him and Crowder on the roster Week One or was he drafted as a replacement for Jamison?
JD: I wouldn’t classify it, Connor, saying that we drafted Elijah to be a replacement. We drafted Elijah to be a play maker, really to add, there’s so many different places that he can line up in every formation for Mike (LaFleur) and so, obviously the play-making ability, his versatility, it stands out.
Brian Costello, New York Jets: Robert, is there a common thread between these three guys that you’ve drafted so far?
RS: Yeah, Joe hit it. These guys absolutely love ball. They eat, sleep football and there’s a passion that they have and because of it, they work extremely hard at making sure that they protect that aspect of their lives and these guys their competitive nature, their study habits, their work ethic, all of it before everything we’ve talked about it. And when you look at the free agency class and what was brought in here, and you look at the first three picks of this draft, everybody loves ball. And that’s the characters of these individuals are second to none. You can talk about their athleticism all you want, but when it comes to character, we’re at second to none, and we’re excited to get a chance to work with all of them.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Joe, such a big deal was made about the organization’s failure just surround Sam (Darnold), correctly over the last three years. It’s easy to draw a line and say, okay, this is what they’re doing. They’re surrounding Zach (Wilson), they get a guard, they get a wide receiver right away. How much of it is that in your brain of, I just drafted a quarterback, number two, I get to surround them versus just, these are the best players available for the team?
JD: It’s really the board, how we put together the board and the process that goes into it and how things played out and look, I think I’ve said it before, when I’ve talked to you guys, this league is about creating explosive plays and then stopping explosive plays. And so, we feel good about the players that we added that can help create explosive plays. And we’re going to keep adding that and then find guys that can help us limit those plays moving forward.
Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: Robert, Mike LeFleur must be a pretty happy guy these last 24 hours, with all the new toys he got. What’s been his mood around the building?
RS: Oh he’s pumped, he was excited after two, even more excited when we moved up, especially John Benton, our run game coordinator, o-line coach, he’s excited to get a chance to coach Vera-Tucker. And then with Elijah Moore I mean, you should’ve seen him last night. Just the excitement, like holy cow, he’s slipping. And so it’s awesome the way it worked out, like I said, Joe and his staff have been dynamite this entire weekend so far, and we still got the rest of today and tomorrow, it’s awesome to see those guys work.
Andy Vasquez, The Record: Robert, Joe kind of talked about Elijah’s versatility. Can you just describe how that will fit your new offense and how it’ll work well for it?
RS: When he’s on the field, you just got to be able to expect everything and you’d be in the backfield. He can get those jet sweeps. He can win one-on-ones out of the slot. He can play the X, take the top off the coverage. He’s dynamic in the sense that you can do a lot of different things with them. You can call them a gadget guy if you want, and you can call them just a true slot if you want. He can play X and there’s a lot of things that he can do. Obviously just put the first thing, just get him in and see if he can come on in and compete and learn the offense best he can, but to be able to get a guy like him at 34 is incredible to us anyway.