New England Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio spoke to the media about the Patriots second and third rounds. He had plenty to share about the Patriots day in the draft.
On CB Cyrus Jones
"Cyrus - versatile player, played on the perimeter mostly at Alabama, was very effective punt returner, had four punt-return touchdowns his senior season. [He] has really good ball skills, really good with the ball in his hands as a returner, kind of has some position versatility and has additional value on fourth down."
"I think the thing that tipped the scales in Cyrus' favor a little bit was his overall versatility - punt return - that's a huge component of what we do and we thought he had the ability. So, to be a punt returner and to play, we'll see where he can actually play, in terms of corner. He played primarily on the perimeter at Alabama."
On OL Joe Thuney
"We picked [Joe] Thuney from North Carolina State. I think the thing about Thuney is his overall versatility. He started at guard. He started at left tackle this past season. Actually, when Dante [Scarnecchia] went down there to work him out, we actually snapped him, worked him at center. Whether he can actually play center is yet to be seen but the overall value he brings in terms of versatility is something that's hard to find.
"Typically you have guys that can only play one position. They're just a tackle, just a guard or just a center. But here's a player that actually played two different positions. He actually, three if you want to include right and left guard. I'd say he played guard and tackle. Very productive, very durable, very bright. Probably as intelligent as anybody at that position so that was the pick there."
On QB Jacoby Brissett
"The whole quarterback position, we only had two on the team, so we were definitely going to add a third quarterback, no question about it at some point, whether it was in the draft or however we did it. Jacoby was a guy we spent a lot of time with. We brought him in, kind of went through exercises with him.
"He started his career at Florida then transferred to North Carolina State. Two-year starter in the ACC, big guy, good size, athletic, strong, did a better job of taking care of the football this year, decent touchdown to interception ratio. He played in a couple quality programs. "
On DT Vincent Valentine
"This guy's a big guy. He's long, 6-4 or 6-5, 315, 320 pounds and the thing about him - when you watch Nebraska, you're actually watching he and Maliek Collins, who the Cowboys took there at the top of the third round. You're talking about two NFL defensive tackles. They're a little bit different. Collins is a little bit more undersized, little bit more of a two or three technique.
"Valentine actually played anywhere from zero all the way out to five techniques. He's primarily an interior defensive tackle, but very strong, very physical, good run player, well-coached, playing for Coach [Bo] Pellini. That program, we have a lot of respect for Coach Pellini, his program and what he did there."
On possibly trading up to the 1st round
"That's something that we explored and it just, let's say it never came to fruition. A lot of that is just the willingness on both teams. We look at everything - going up, going down. We ended up picking, like I said, right there at 60 and then we ended up moving back. We were actually in the process of picking with the 61st pick and then we got the call from New Orleans as we were on the phone and thought it made sense to move back and to get a fourth, so that's why we ended up doing what we did."
"You have to give up quite a fair amount [to trade up] so I think we went through the process like we normally would. It's good for our whole staff to go through the process and stay up on the trades and what was happening with the draft. In the end, we just felt it didn't make a whole lot of sense and just, there's a lot of capital that would have been involved. So we thought the best thing to do was sit it out and wait until this evening and go to work and do what we needed to do"
On Thuney's versatility and a nugget on Marcus Cannon
"I think you have to look at the player's skill set and then within the context of the rest of your group and how that fits. Some guys are better doing multiple things. Some guys are better playing one spot. Take Matt Light. We tried him at right tackle originally, I wasn't here, and we found out he couldn't play right tackle and his best position was left tackle.
"You try to figure out, look at the context of your entire line - what do you have? And we work guys in multiple spots and figure out what's their best position in the end? We tried that with Marcus, you know, Cannon - right tackle, left tackle, we tried him at guard. Really his best position is right tackle. He's more of a tackle. I think it depends on the player and the makeup of the rest of your group."
On types of players the Patriots want to draft
"It comes with the territory but you're trying to create a profile of the player within our building and then how he's going to handle everything that comes along with being a New England Patriot. Being in the program, the demands that we place on those players, so you factor everything in and some players they may check every single place both from a physical standpoint and form a football makeup standpoint and you have others that maybe they check enough of them and then you feel comfortable about that level.
"So those are decisions that we ultimately have to make so the most important thing is finding players that we feel fit the New England Patriots and however they end up getting here, then they get here, but the bottom-line is that's the most important players is give me players that we feel fit our program and what we're looking for on a multitude of levels."