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papz 05-01-2011 06:54 AM

Payton's Final Draft Press Conference
Opening Statement: “With the two seven round draft selections, starting off with the defensive end from Pittsburgh, Greg Romeus, he’s a player who only played two games this past season. He had a back injury, but really more recently, an ACL injury. He’s in the middle of rehabbing right now. And then middle Linebacker, Nate Bussey from Illinois, he’s a guy that has versatility. You see him playing a lot of nickel-will for Illinois. We think he will be a guy that can contribute right away in the kicking game. In regards to Greg at Pitt, he’ll be a guy we have to take through the rehab and follow step by step to see where he’s at prior to training camp. We’re pleased with both of those selections as we try to took at not only position needs at this point in the draft, but some critical factors and really a projection to where we see these players.”

At this point how do you keep up with Greg’s rehab?

”You find out…fortunately his surgery was performed right there in Pittsburgh, where the Steelers’ medical facility is. You’re able to, at least, just touch base and get updated information prior to the selection, but we’ll have a pretty good handle on where he is at. We felt pretty comfortable prior to the selection of knowing where he was at with his rehab. Who did the surgery, etc.”

Is the policy the same as with rehabbing veterans, where you can be updated on their progress through a third party?

“It would be similar to that. It would be identical now that he is a New Orleans Saint.”

Can you talk about getting quality guys? Did you come in this morning thinking defense, that we have to get defense?

“Coming in this morning, I would say there was a long wait with the selections that took place prior to us picking. I think our feeling with the seventh round, would probably be the same at the sixth round. Our feeling was, is there a player that stands out? Greg’s grade was uniquely different than the rest of the board at that point. Probably and mainly because of his injury. It was really trying to find guys that we think that would make our football team. At that juncture, we discussed a receiver, we discussed a few other positions as we got into the seventh round and then after the first pick, prior to the last pick we made. There was a handful of discussions and they centered around some traits that maybe we felt would give someone an edge.”

So five out of six for defense?

“I think a little bit, these last two, I think we did feel this. We felt in this Draft that there was a pretty good clump in the middle rounds of running backs. We also felt that there was a pretty good group of graded linebackers in there. What happened with the selection of Mark (Ingram) in the first round, kind of got us off that middle group of linebackers and we really didn’t think Martez would be available in the third so when he was we selected him. Johnny Patrick, shortly there after. All in all, we say this every year, but we’re excited to add new players. We’ll see where they are at. Certainly, the challenge for this group, differently than any years past is that they will be possibly behind with the fact that we are kind of in a holding pattern, waiting to see when we can begin the process of teaching them and getting them up to speed.”

Full interview below.
Payton's Final Draft Press Conference

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