Head Coach Jay Gruden
On what he liked about the players selected on Saturday:
"We liked something different about all of them. Obviously, we got Jamison [Crowder] – we liked his big play ability. He can return punts, obviously. That's obviously exciting. Very productive college football player, very tough, and he's going to be an instant playmaker for us. So, that's going to be a good one. [Arie] Kouandjio from Alabama, big, physical offensive guard. You talk about offensive line depth, you can never have too many big guys that can move the pile – powerful people. Knowing him and talking to him at the combine, he's a very good person who works very, very hard. Very detailed in what he does, and he'll be a good fit for us. Martrell [Spaight] the linebacker from Arkansas, very productive player. A one-year player who really did some things in college as a linebacker, physical linebacker. Makes a ton of plays. Very, very productive in the games that he played. Very exciting. He likes to hit, you can see that. He doesn't back down from any contact. He'll be a player to be reckoned with. I promise you that. Very tough player. And Kyshoen from Virginia Tech, the safety, similar type. A little bit undersized for a safety, he's 5-foot-10 but when he brings it he brings it. He's a tough guy. I think he's going to be very good on special teams and he's going to have to try to work his way into the lineup. But, very physical player, very productive player at Virginia Tech, and we like what we saw on tape. And we like his demeanor and the way he plays. Physically tough, makes up for not being 6-foot-2 or 6-foot-1 by his physical toughness and his ability to play special teams. And Tevin [Mitchel] at Arkansas, did a lot of work on Tevin. He had an excellent pro day, has excellent measurables, 6-foot tall. He was relegated mostly to playing nickel at Arkansas. But, I think with the measurables that he has, there is a role for him. He can run and did some good things at the nickel position. And Evan Spencer, you know obviously he's Cole's brother, who works here. We know a lot about him obviously, but he brings a different type of mentality to the receiver room. He's a different type of player, he's a physical player. Excellent special team player – excellent, excellent, excellent – and he's going to make that room better. Very, very good, positive, tough football player. And Austin [Reiter] with the last pick at South Florida, you watch him on tape and he does some really good things. He's a good solid center. He'll come in and fit in the mix and come in and compete like the rest of these guys. I think the motto of this draft really is that these are all good football players, proven football players, very productive in college. Tough, love to play, and we're excited to get to see them."
On not taking any defensive linemen and if that is what he expected:
"No, that's not what we expected. When we got Preston, you know he's kind of a tweener. We addressed defensive linemen in free agency obviously. We have some good guys in house and we wanted to take maybe one or two of those, but we just felt the players that were available that we did take were a better fit for us at that time."
On why it was important to select players with strong special teams experience:
"Well, our special teams has not been very good the last couple years and it's an area that we have to improve. You really only improve special teams by improving your depth and when your depth becomes improved then your special teams becomes improved. And the type of mentality that these guys have to have that Evan Spencer has, that Spaight has, that Kyshoen has, I think these are good fits for us and they're going to come in and they know on Day 1 and know that [it is] 'special teams one, position number two,' that's the way you crack into the lineup. That's the way you crack into the NFL is by dominating special teams, making your mark in Coach [Ben] Kotwica's room, and then when your opportunity is called out there at your position, you make the most of it. But, they all have to be good on special teams."
On if the draft philosophy changed from last year:
"You know, obviously Scot was the lead dog. That's the biggest change, but really we all had input. Obviously, he took everybody's input, but not a lot of changes. It was just a matter of who was making the final decision. That's really it. There weren't any head-butting issues. Everything went along really smooth. Once the pick was made, we were all in and we were all really excited about the players we got. So there wasn't any animosity, no bickering or any of that stuff. There was some conversation. When the pick was made, it was final and we all respected it and we were all fired up about it."
On the type of player the Redskins coveted this year as opposed to last year:
"I think really the motto is he [Scot McCloughan] really preaches he likes tough football players, physically tough football players. You see that with the guys that we got. Matt Jones, obviously Brandon Scherff, Preston is tough guy, Kouandjio is tough guy, Martrell is very, very tough, Kyshoen is tough, they're all tough football players. Evan is a tough guy and you want to have a physical toughness when you're drafting football players, guys that love football and have a strong passion for the game. And you have to visualize a role for them. What's their role going to be for your football team? Is it special teams year one? Develop them into a core starter? Is it competing for a starting job? Is it a nickelback, is it a safety, what is it? But, we do have a pretty good vision for all these guys. We are excited to get in the building and see what they can do."
On if Jamison Crowder could start as a returner in Week 1:
"Oh yeah, I could envision it. He's been productive at it when he's had the opportunity. He's such a good receiver at Duke that they probably didn't use him as much they would liked to have because he was such a key weapon for them on offense. But he's the type of guy did a lot for them and he's got the great, quick first step and he is a natural at punt returner. We'll see how he does at kick returner, but he will definitely compete."
On trying Crowder as a kick returner as well as punt returner:
"We'll try and we'll see. We'll see what he has in store, but definitely punt returner and we'll go from there."
On the possibility of using a larger variety of defensive looks:
"Yeah, that's always the intent. You know, you have your standard, base package, and then from there you branch off, depending on what type of players we have and what they can do and what they can learn and all that stuff. But you have to have a good foundation in place, a good sound foundation in place, and that's what we're working on here in Phase 1, with teaching them a new defense. From there, once we get the players in and Coach [Joe] Barry and Coach [Perry] Fewell and Coach [Robb] Akey and [Kirk] Olivadotti get to see what we have, and then they can branch off from there. But we like versatile players, obviously, and we have a number of them that can do different things, which is always a good thing. Safeties that can play nickel, maybe, you have defensive linemen that can play outside backer, and so on and so forth. Should be an exciting time."
On how much information the staff gets from player visits during the evaluation process:
"A lot of times they [coaches] spend a lot of time with the guys. If we didn't bring somebody in, they spend a lot of time with them either at a bowl game or the combine or what have you or their pro day. They feel good enough about visiting with them at those that they didn't have to bring them back here. The guys that we did bring in here, we mainly just wanted to check out the medical, get to know them a little bit – guys we didn't know. I think we surrounded the area pretty good as far as getting enough people in here, getting to know enough people via bringing them in for a visit or going to combines or pro days. I think it was a very thorough deal and I think we did a good job."
On his level of excitement to start Phase 2 of the offseason program:
"Oh, we're excited. Obviously last year didn't turn out the way it is, but this is a brand new year, and everybody has got high hopes, as everybody does in the league. But we're champing at the bit to get out there and see these guys run around, get outside, get out of this building for a while, get some sunshine, and get a good sweat outside. They've been really working hard, though, in the meeting rooms, which has been very impressive to me. And, of course, with Coach [Mike] Clark in here, they're grinding it out pretty good. So to get them out of a different phase will be good, it's perfect timing. We'll get three good weeks of this, and then get into our practices."
On General Manager Scot McCloughan's plan for this draft:
"You like to try to think you have a clear plan going in and you have certain targets, but a lot of that changes. You know, I think the best thing that he did and we did as a group was adjusted on the fly. If we had a guy targeted and all of a sudden he gets picked two or three before us, then you have to have your alternate plan. I think just being thorough with all the guys we had on the board, the scouts did a tremendous job. Scot did a great job. I felt good about the guys that we picked, knowing enough about them that it was a sound pick. So just moving forward I think it was a great system and a very smooth approach."
On acquiring more picks:
"We don't have that luxury of sitting back and trading a bunch of our picks away. You know, we need our picks and the extra picks are very beneficial to us. You can see that we picked up some pretty good players late that can do some good things for us. Hopefully someday maybe we'll get to a point where we won't need as many draft picks like some of these teams, but really this is the way you develop a football team with these draft picks, free agents and trying to develop in-house where you don't have to shop around every free agent period. There's always going to be some free agents that you want to get but to develop guys that you draft from day one as a Washington Redskin and watch them grow up in your strength program and work with your assistant coaches and go through that process with fan base and living here. It's very beneficial to everybody."
On if there were concerns about players with histories of injury:
"They all go through a pretty stiff medical process. They get checked out pretty well, so we felt good about it moving forward. We are very careful with that process. We feel like they've recovered fully. Nowadays with football the way it is, a lot of these guys in the draft have had some form of injury before that you could probably have an issue with just about everybody in this draft as tough as the game is. Both those guys have rehabbed extremely hard and to get themselves back to 100 percent and we feel good about them."
On if there was a conscious effort to draft players with no history of off-field issues:
"We know about all that going in. You know, it's just so happens that these guys are all good guys and have been fairly clean for the most part, which is exciting. We do keep an eye on all that stuff and that's a very important part of the draft process. We got some good sound football players, good people too, if you look at all of them – Brandon, Matt and Crowder – they're all good people. Everybody we drafted we feel good about, not only their physical makeup but their mental makeup. They're good positive human beings that are going to be good for the community and good for this football team."
On drafting Evan Spencer, the brother of Redskins scout Cole Spencer:
"We just wanted to make sure he wasn't like his brother Cole [laughter]. We let Cole make the initial phone call and that's a big deal for both of them, and Evan earned it, you know? When you watch him play, you look at his stats, you're like 'Why would they draft him?' But this guy is a very tough football player. He's big, he's fast, he's physical. He's going to be a demon on special teams. He's going to make it hard on everybody to make a move with him but I think he's going to be here for a while just because of his mental makeup. He's a heck of a person. He's going to work extremely hard and when you have a guy who's that big and that fast, loves the competition, loves to play the special teams, loves to block safeties and corners and all that, you'll find a spot for him on the football team."
On his impressions of meeting Brandon Scherff, Preston Smith and Matt Jones:
"Had a chance to meet Brandon at the combine and all that good stuff and the initial impression with him is you're just impressed with him. He's a big, physical guy. He's a big, good looking kid with a good look in his eye who just loves the game of football and his eyes light up when he walks in the weight room, you know? He's one of the those guys that gets equally excited about seeing the weight room as anything else so he's fired up. Coach Clark is fired up about getting his hands on him some more. Very well-schooled kid and excited to be here. Preston is a baby face, man, but he's got a big long body and he is what we thought. You know, we got a chance to meet him also. Great kid, smart, picks up the game effortlessly and he's an exciting prospect. Matt, he's a big boy. He's 6-foot-3. When you look at him, you'd be like, 'I don't know if I want to tackle this one.' He runs hard. He's physical. Loves to play, and, you know, we're excited about all three of them obviously."
WR Jamison Crowder (Round 4, No. 105 Overall)
On the feeling of being drafted by the Redskins:
"Oh it's great, man. I just wanted an opportunity to get in the league, and I wouldn't want to play for a team other than the Redskins, so I'm excited. This right here is a stepping stone for my career, just to get in, and I'm ready to start winning some ball games."
On ways he can help the Redskins:
"I feel like I can help out in multiple ways. For one, I can come in and be the return man, punt return guy and be able to help set up the offense with good field position, score touchdowns. Otherwise, come in and be a good slot receiver as well. I can come in and make plays, and do whatever is necessary to help the team win."
On what makes him effective as a slot receiver and a return man:
"Those are just areas that I've been successful in to this point. Special teams, that was something I had great success with in college, and I feel like that's a way I can get on the field and be able to display my talents and ability in the open field. That's one of the main areas that I always loved to play. And at wide receiver, I feel like I'm one of the top receivers in this draft, and I can go in and make an impact on the offense.
On how he has developed to become an effective punt returner:
"The main things I always work on are just the little things. Making sure I deal with the ball first, make sure you take care of the little things first, make smart decisions. Be a great decision maker back there. I don't want to have any fumbles or get hit, because you don't want to make a fair catch when it's too tough. Just make great decisions. That's the main thing I always think whenever I go out on the field for punt returns. Be a great decision maker first, field the football and after that, just make the first guy miss. The rest is just natural ability, running ability.
On having any idea the Redskins were interested:
"They called and they just told me they were going to select me. I really didn't speak with the Redskins much throughout this whole process, but I just knew a team was going to take a chance and give me an opportunity. So, right now I'm just overjoyed. I'm just happy. It's kind of hard to talk, but I'm just happy man, that I'm going to be playing for the Redskins and that I get an opportunity at the next level.
On diminutive size motivating him to prove something in football:
"Most definitely, it's been like that pretty much all my life since I've been playing sports. I've never been the biggest, but when I step out on the field, I've always one of the top as far as talent. So, I always went out on the field and played with that chip on my shoulder. Whether I had the football or whether I was blocking a guy, I always wanted to go out there and feel like I'm the best person on the field. That just my mentality and my attitude, ever since I was a young kid, so I'm definitely going to take that same mentality to the next level."
On if he patterns his game after anyone in the NFL:
"One guy that I watched was Antonio Brown. Definitely, a smaller guy, but, one of top receivers in the league this past season. He's a guy that's feisty, that's going to make plays. That's the guy I always try to look at and kind of pattern my game after because we have similar size."
On what he learned from Duke Coach David Cutcliffe on being able to turn around a football team:
"It's just a mentality of hard work. All the offseason, the long summer training, we went out there at Duke and we just put in work, extra work. When it was time to practice we made sure that we got good quality work, so that it was time to go on the field we were ready. All that hard work paid off. Coach Cut [Duke Head Coach David Cutcliffe], one thing I learned was never practice a mistake. So, every rep that you do in practice, make it like a game. Whether its routes versus air, catch the ball, burst up field for ten yards, in a game, you're never going to catch the ball and just stop. In a game, you catch it and run. So, never practice mistakes. Practice everything like it's a game."
OL Arie Kouandjio (Round 4, No. 112 Overall)
On being drafted by his hometown team:
"It means everything in the world. My house has exploded. Everybody is super excited. It is just so awesome to go back home, it's been a while."
On the family members around him during the selection:
"My mom, my dad, my younger brother, Cyrus, flew in from Buffalo. My older brother came in from Antigua, my little sister, my girlfriend; I got a lot of people, and my brother's girlfriend."
On where he is currently:
On interest from the Redskins and communication prior to draft:
"We had some communication since the Senior Bowl. We had some communication at the combine. We kind of connected right off the bat at the Senior Bowl. I felt a connection with them and I think they felt a connection with me. Stuff like that you really don't have to talk about it, you know?"
On what he feels he does well as a guard:
"I feel like I have improved well, I am powerful, I feel like I'm very balanced and have great pass protection. I feel like I'm tenacious and I feel like I bring a lot of energy, fearsomeness and a warrior mentality in everything that I do. "
On if he grew up a Washington Redskins fan:
"Yes. Actually, my older brother was always a big Redskins fan and it kind of just rubbed off on me growing up a little bit. Gosh, I mean, I couldn't imagine that I would be going back to D.C. Gosh, it feels so awesome, I get to play at FedExField. The only practice I've ever been to for an NFL team a few years ago was at the Redskins. So, it's awesome to be back there. Gosh, it's a blessing. I appreciate God and I thank him for putting me here right now."
On how he can help the offensive line:
"My tenacity , my mentality, I carry that wherever I go. My dependence on leaning on God and I just come with that, where ever I go."
LB Martrell Spaight (Round 5, No. 141 Overall)
On his reaction to getting the call from the Washington Redskins:
"It was unbelievable just to get that call and know I am putting on that burgundy and gold is just a dream come true. I'm ready to go to work."
On if he feels comfortable playing a 3-4 scheme:
"I feel comfortable. I know I just have got to be able to use my hands well and it is an area that I was really working on during my senior year to use my hands to get off of blocks. I feel comfortable playing a 4-3 or a 3-4. Just ready to go out there and prove I can play in that scheme."
On what he brings to the table for the Redskins:
"I'm a great leader. I go out there and every time I play, I just go out there and be productive. I feel like I can just elevate the defense every time I am out there on the field."
On how much communication he has had with the Redskins:
"I haven't had a lot of communication with the Redskins as a matter of fact. But just to get that call, I was excited and just ready to go to work for them."
On if there is anyone in the NFL after whom he models his game:
"I model my game after a lot of Danny Trevathan. He's not really that big of a guy, besides myself. He'll go out there and give a hundred percent every play and just try to make plays all over the field. We just try to be the best we can possibly be at our position and just help everyone else's game around us. So, I would say Danny Trevathan."
On what clicked for him last season:
"Having a new defensive coordinator, Coach Robb Smith, he just came in and made sure everyone believed. I got an opportunity to go out there and play the weakside position. I just felt comfortable playing in that scheme and everything just went well for me. I felt it was more of an opportunity for me to take advantage of."
On where he wants to be used:
"I feel comfortable playing outside but as well as inside. I actually started off my career playing linebacker at inside backer and I did that. Once I went to college, they transferred me and put me at outside backer. So I feel comfortable playing at each, whether it's outside or inside. But whatever the team feels is best for me for their scheme, I'm going to go out there and give it my all and just go out there and just try to make plays."
On playing in junior college:
"Junior college really was a real grind. I learned a lot… My coaches taught me to stay focused and no matter what's going on just continue to handle my business, and everything went well for me. I felt like junior college really prepared me for the Division I life and everything after that. A lot of people might not know, but there are a lot of great athletes coming out of junior college and just playing in that system out in Coffeyville, Kansas, I got to firsthand be one of the young guys who able to go out there and play with grown men and just try to go out there and make plays. I felt like just being out there at a young age and just getting that experience from Coach [James] Lott – I believe he coached in the NFL for a few years if I'm not mistaken – getting that experience from Coach Lott and he's just teach me things about the game that really helped me. And with me going to the University of Arkansas under Randy Shannon, he really taught me a lot of things about being a linebacker. That's where I feel like I made my most growth."
On his role on special teams:
"I started out playing – I always played kickoff and kickoff return and R4, L4 depending on the team we were playing. I did punt. For the most part, I was more of a backup guy on punt and punt return but I always did all those special teams."
S Kysheon Jarrett (Round 6, No. 181 Overall)
On assuming he is familiar with the Redskins:
"Yes, yes I am. Going to Virginia Tech, you are not too far away, so yes I am."
On if he knew he would be selected by the Redskins:
"I wasn't 100 percent sure. I was just being really patient throughout the whole draft and, you know, I was pretty much at peace. The Washington Redskins are giving me this opportunity, all glory to God. It is truly a blessing."
On what it means to share this moment with his family:
"It is amazing. My brothers are here and I'm able to spend this time with my brothers. It's definitely an amazing time right now. I am really close to my brothers and it was a great feeling. My one brother, he is excited and screaming my name. This is going to be a blessing for him. He's going to be able to go to some more games throughout his lifetime."
On how would he describe his game:
"I feel like I have many strengths. I can play in the box. I can play the post. I have range as a free safety, play in the box as a strong safety. I can be a nickelback, a cornerback. I can return punts. I could do any type of special teams. I feel like I'm a very versatile player coming out of Virginia Tech and I'm happy that the Washington Redskins are allowing me to display those talents within their system."
On what he likes about special teams:
"Growing up I always played offense, so this gives me an opportunity to get the ball in my hands when I'm not making plays on defense. If I am a punt renter or a kick returner, I can do stuff like that. I just loving running down and attacking the ball. Being able to make plays, I can change the game. I believe I have the ability to be a core special teams guy. Whatever I do, I'm going to attack that head on."
On what made him relish the role of special teams:
"Like I mention, at Tech I was able to do punt return. It just allowed me to get the ball in my hands because I wasn't playing offense and I really cherished that – being able to make a play on the offensive stand point. Coming out of Virginia Tech and the term 'Beamer Ball' means so much there, Coach Frank Beamer, he loves his special teams. You begin to grow a passion with special teams. Anybody who comes out of Virginia Tech will do special teams automatically because it's something that's instilled in you when you first walk in the door."
CB Tevin Mitchel (Round 6, No. 182 Overall)
On what he knows about the Redskins:
"They told me our rivalry is the Dallas Cowboys and Philly, our colors are burgundy and gold, our stadium is at FedExField, the Head Coach is Jay Gruden. [Reporter replies, 'You're ready] Yes, sir."
On Arkansans teammate Martrell Spaight, a fellow Redskins draft pick:
"It was weird, we were talking yesterday and we [were] like, 'What if we ended up on the same team?' It's crazy that it just happened. So I just finished talking to him earlier and that's a great teammate. I'm real happy to play with Martrell Spaight again. Real happy."
On what stood out to him about Spaight:
"Everything, from his leadership to the way he talks to people, his heart, he's just a dog on the field. And off the field he is just a great man. His locker was actually right beside mine. We talked every day, you know, 'Let's get better, let's do this, let's do that.' He was just a great to have by my side. I'm real happy and excited to play with him."
On his style of play:
"I play both inside and outside. This last season I played inside. Kind of a quick corner, speed corner who loves to fly around to the ball and make plays."
On after whom he patterns his game:
"I watch Joe Haden a lot. I love watching his tape, his film. He's a great corner, he's real energetic and he gets to the ball as well. So I try to watch him a lot."
On how his father helped him through this process:
"He got drafted in the sixth round as well to the Patriots, so he kind of knows the ins and outs of how things go. You know that it's a business, so he talked to me all the time about, 'Keep your nose clean, stay focused, do your job. This is a business so you have got to go to work and you've got to do what you have to do for your family. So he's helped me a lot throughout the process."
WR Evan Spencer (Round 6, No. 187 Overall)
On his familiarity with the Redskins, for whom his brother, Cole, is a scout:
"I may have an inside connect there."
On if his brother called him to tell him if he was picked:
"Yeah, he was the one that actually called me. I was sitting here on the couch and then I picked up the phone and notice a Virginia area code. I picked up the phone and heard Cole's voice, and he was like, 'Hey man, we're getting you.' I didn't know how to react and I didn't even know what I said, honestly, but I probably started freaking out."
On his family's reaction:
"My mom's sitting here still shaking."
On what aspect of his game appeals to the Redskins:
"Honestly, as far as the toughness that I bring and the leadership that I bring, I feel like I'm one of the tougher receivers out there that are willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done and win football games. Whatever that entails, that's what I'm willing to do, and I think that's one thing that I think probably appealed very well."
On if was frustrating to try stand out for a highly talented Ohio State team:
"I say maybe it was a little bit frustrating at first, but once we all kind of got together as a team and kind of got rolling and we all saw what we could do, we all saw the great things that we could accomplish. It was really easy get on board and just to do whatever I could to play my part. Yeah we had a lot of weapons and yeah we a lot of people to get the ball to, but at the end of the day we knew we had to do our parts in order to win football games. And I was one of those key parts and I just tried to do everything I could."
On revealing his ability to throw to Coach Jay Gruden:
"I think he may know that one already."
On playing with three different quarterbacks:
"I learned to adjust quickly."
On if there will be significance to playing against the Buccaneers, for whom his father, Tim, is a coach:
"Yeah, just a little bit, yeah."
On the talk he had with his father regarding the draft process:
"Yeah, I was actually on the phone with him just before this call, so he's all happy, congratulating me and stuff. I look forward talking to him a little bit more after this."
C Austin Reiter (Round 7, No. 222 Overall)
On his reaction to being selected:
"I got the call from Coach [Jay] Gruden. Honestly, what a dream come true. All my hard work has come to fruition. From college to the end of the offseason to doing those regional combines trying to set myself apart. It's just been a dream come true – the phone call, passing the phone around to all the coaches and the GM. You can't describe it, I'll put it that way."
On his skillset:
"You guys know I play center. I like to pride myself on being a consistent player. I think that is extremely important at my position. You want to get the ball to the quarterback every single time. You want to do your job every time. I feel like he center position is one of the most important positions on the field to be the most consistent at."
On how smaller centers can compensate for their size:
"I think athleticism. I think the NFL is getting faster and faster. I think something I bring to the table is my athleticism and speed."
On if there is anyone in the league he studies:
"There's plenty of guys. Centers that I watch are probably Chris Myers, [Maurkice] Pouncey. It depends on what type of plays I'm trying to watch. If it's more zone or more power… coming from USF the past couple of seasons that I was there, one year we ran a lot of power, one year we ran a lot of zone plays. I would go back and refer to different film on different teams depending on what we were trying to do. If it is a zone team, I really like the way Chris Myers played for the Houston Texans. I think he is a great zone blocker, exceptional. I think [Maurkice] Pouncey does some really great things at the Steelers."