McCarthy sees playmakers in draft class
Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy spoke to the media after the team made the last of its picks in the NFL draft on Saturday. Here are some highlights:
On quarterback Brett Hundley:
I like Brett Hundley. His interview was impressive. To watch the way the draft unfolded and for him to still be there, we felt fortunate to have the opportunity to select him.
On looking for tools in a quarterback:
There's always a lot of talk about the offense they play in. I still feel a football player is a football player, and I felt strongly about that at the quarterback position. If he has something you can see that he can develop, that excites me. That excites (quarterbacks/wide receivers coach) Alex Van Pelt, (associate head coach/offense) Tom Clements, (offensive coordinator) Edgar Bennett, even (offensive quality control coordinator) Luke Getsy. We're excited to get him in our room. Aaron will be an excellent mentor like he's been.
On Hundley's tools:
Athletic ability. I look for the things you can't teach. Everyone wants to talk X's and O's, but the reality is it's a game where it's 11-on-11. Things happen. The ability to play beyond the designed play. The 2.3 seconds everything is designed and get into extended plays. He's a tough guy. That stands out. Everybody wants to be critical. We felt like we had very good video.
On the philosophy of drafting Hundley:
I view it just like the rest of them. Every position coach, every position is trained a certain way. As a coaching staff, we really challenged ourselves the higher the football IQ and applied it to the players. Quarterback position is toughest position to play in football. Opportunity to take four into camp, I like that.
On Hundley throwing only five interceptions last year:
There's a lot to like. You also have to look at what he's done in his career. He takes care of the football. Took UCLA up a few notches.
On the top three draft picks:
Playmakers, athletes, multi-dimension athletes. The ability to not only play corner, but the ability to play receiver. We talk about it a bunch as a team. Here in Green Bay you have to start the season better. 2-2 is not going to cut it this year. We have to build our team all the way up as you go into the playoffs, handling football in December and January is important. We train differently today than we did 10 years ago. All three of those young men have those skills.
On special teams:
I don't know if Hundley is going to be special teams, but the whole draft. I think every one of these guys help us on special teams. Talking with (special teams coordinator) Ron Zook, he and (assistant) Jason Simmons are already building a depth chart.
On linebacker Jake Ryan:
I really like Jake. Captain of the football team, productive. He definitely fits what you look for in the core of your football team. Young man has the reputation of being the same guy every day. He has the ability to play all four downs and that's the highest compliment you can give to somebody.
On Ty Montgomery as a kickoff returner:
Kickoff return is an opportunity for a big play. It's one of the top variables to win a championship. We'll be better on kickoff returner and Ty will be a part of it.
On the theme for the draft:
The theme is the same every year. Best player available. Don't get too far away. Same thing I heard as a young assistant coach back in 1999. Don't get carried away with need pick.
On inside linebacker and Clay Matthews' role there:
Clay is an outsider linebacker. He's a pass rusher. That's his premium position. His productivity went up after moving him inside. Studies say his production was among the highest of all inside linebackers. Credit to him. Clay is going to both meetings. He's getting ready to play wherever he needs to play. Biggest thing is creating opportunities.
On being more flexible with the coaching staff:
I love it. Being around other areas I haven't been involved with for some time, I'm really enjoying it.
On cornerbacks being only 5-foot-11:
They can jump. That's all part of it. You look at it. I think you have to get a look at the whole picture. You have to throw the measurable out the window. It's time to go play football. I don't buy into fact you have a bunch of 6-5 receivers, you have to have a bunch of 6-2 corners.
On assistant coach Joe Whitt working with young cornerbacks:
Joe Whitt is excellent. His reputation with our young corners speaks for itself. It's really a format for our whole football team. We have tremendous faith in Joe and just the way he coaches the positions.
On Montgomery as a running back:
We'll see. He'll get here Friday. He'll train as a receiver. I think anytime you have a four-down player it excites you. He's dynamic. What he does with the ball, it's impressive. Being built like a running back, that's what I favor in the return game.
On veteran defensive linemen Letroy Guion and B.J. Raji being back:
It's awesome. That D-line room. I was with those guys Thursday. That's as good as it's been. B.J. is dialed in. We're pushing these guys day 1. We're not going back to zero and starting over. We're pushing the envelope in our meetings.
On the sixth-round picks:
(Tight end Kennard) Backman, seen him on film. We brought him in here. I like that he sticks his face in there, too. He has the ability to play displaced and in on the line. (Defensive end) Christian Ringo, what jumps out at you is the 11 sacks. I don't like to compare people, but Mike Daniels' name is thrown around. That's a comparison you love to have as a young player. I think (fullback) Aaron (Ripkowski) is an excellent fit. He pours it up in there.
On undrafted free agency:
It's our path. It's our plan. Draft and develop, we've been doing this since Day 1. You have to have it. The personal department and the coaching staff are in place.
On changes with the offseason program:
I've done complaining about it. It's been five years. We have two weeks to get these guys ready to go on the field Monday. We have a 90-minute workout planned then. Feedback has been great. Clearly the changes we've made in our program. We've made some adjustments again this year. We're always trying to get better. Anytime you do less on the field, players are happy about that. You have to be creative. We teach better today than three years ago.
On his role in the draft:
Format is really the same. Speaking with (general manager) Ted (Thompson) before, it's amazing how much work goes into this draft. The appreciation you have for these scouts, the trust continues to grow. Our format and process works, Ted, rightfully so, the way we go about it we feel very confident when we select a young man.
On Thompson in the draft room:
He's very consistent. I'm sure you appreciate when he stands in front of the podium. He's got a lot of bigger, fancier computer screen than he used to. It's all pretty similar. The access of information is available quicker. Really, the format – if Ron Wolf walked in today, they'd see a lot of similarities.