April 24, 2005

Rick Reiprish Interview Transcript: Draft wrapup Q&A with Saints scouting director

Q: How would you say the draft went overall?

A: "Well obviously, the draft never goes exactly how you'd like it to go, when you're sitting there looking and you'd like to have all these people fall to you. It doesn't work that way because 31 other teams are out there making choices. We took picks that were value picks for us on our board and high up on our board."

Q: Can you talk a little bit about Verdon?

A: "Jimmy Verdon is an outstanding kid. He's one of those hard working kids, an energy guy. He's a very good athlete for the position, but he's gonna have some tough competition playing that position. But you can never tell what's gonna happen with these guys. They come in with a good attitude, he's gonna be one of those guys that comes in as a hard worker, a gym rat type of guy whose always at the facility. He's just one of those types of players. He's a player that's gonna give you everything he's got. Obviously, picking him in the 7th round, he's not gonna be as good as some players taken so far ahead of him in the 1st day, but we got a pretty good value pick for the guy."

Q: I know the mold of guys you like play the run and the pass, does this guy seem that way?

A: "He's kind of a combination kind of guy. He can do both. I'm not gonna strictly say he's a great run player or a great pass player, but he has the ability to be one or the other. So, depending on the way he comes in here and develops, he could become a really competitive player. Like I said, at the position he's at, it's a tough position."

Q: One publication had him as a 3rd or a 4th round pick. What happened with that?

A: "It's like chocolate and vanilla ice cream. It's what you like in a player, what you see in a player, what your need is specifically at that point in time. It's hard to say why a guy would hang around until the 6th or 7th round. It's perception by whoever the team is, and it's just looking at the player."

Q: Can he play tackle? It says he's kind of lean.

A: "He played all the defensive line positions at Arizona St. He's a guy that's shuffled around and played at tackle, at end, he's played down inside under the center. But I think his best position is gonna be as a defensive end. He's a guy that's gonna be heavy enough, powerful enough to go down inside over the guards."

Q: Given that you were going for defensive help, do you think you could have gotten better than those two guys that you got?

A: "Probably not. On the second day, I don't think that you have the ability to look into the future so I think you're kind of waiting to see what happens on the board. You'd like to say that you're gonna help defense, but if it doesn't develop you have to take the best player available. Same thing with offense. If the guys aren't there, I think you're fooling yourself reaching for a certain player just to fill a specific need."

Q: With a guy like Adrian McPherson, how extensive do you go, and how far back do you go in his background?

A: "You can go as far back as you want to go, and the farther back you go I think it gives you a better idea of what you're looking for. The history of people who have a character situation, it usually doesn't happen until after high school or in a college situation. That's about as far back as we go. And we've gone back and made contact with a high school coach. I think I'm right in saying this that he might have sent out a letter of recommendation on Adrian. But you can go back as far as you want and try to find some things on these guys, but most of the things we hear about these kids is once they've gotten to college. I don't know how far back you can go into high school and find any things. In our interview process for instance up at the combine, these guys go back and tell us some of the things that happened in high school, but most of the time it's just a speeding ticket, a possible DWI, or something like that on some of these kids. But we don't hardly ever get that far back into a player."

Q: Do you have different people interviewing him to find any discrepancies? How interested are you in playing FBI?

A: "We do a little bit, and it kinda feels like you are doing it that way, but with a guy like Adriane we've had almost everyone within the organization present at the interview up in Indianapolis. When he had the workout down in Tampa, we had our quarterback coach, Rick Mueller went down there. We talked to his parents, a guy that coached him in the Arena league; we went over to Florida State and talked to Coach Bowden and a position coach over there, and his quarterback coach, Bobby's (Bowden's) son. We talked to as many people as we possible could have about his situation, and everybody basically gives you some sort of information. But I don't know that anyone knows the whole story, besides possibly the kid and the coach over at Florida State."

Q: Was there kind of an excitement surrounding that pick, given it was in the 5th round?

A: "To be honest there was. We had looked at this kid a lot before in our draft preparations and you watch the kid on film. Of course, you only get to see him for a short time at Florida State, in the 2002 season. You look at the kid, and you look at his athletic ability, the arm strength of the kid, and the next time you see him he's playing in the arena league. We've scouted him through arena league information, and then we see him at the combine and he's really matured. He's become bigger, stronger. So yeah, I'd say at the time he was available in the draft, and we were thinking possibly someone might have taken a shot at him the first day. But when we were looking at the kid in the 5th round, it's almost one of those risk/reward type of situations, and we really feel good about the effort that we've put in on the kid. And based on the information we have on him, we really think he'll turn out to be a good player for us."

Q: How early were you talking about him?

A: "We were talking about him in the 4th round. We've been talking about him since a couple months before the draft and a few weeks leading up to the draft and we had a lot of the film work done, and that was the process there."

Q: Is it correct that there were only five teams at his individual workout?

A: "To be honest with you, I think that's what they said, and I think that's what Rick (Mueller) told me. That's what they said on the news, so I'm guessing that's probably right."

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