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Ron Rivera and Martin Mayhew press conference | April 29, 2023

On the draft class:
RR: "I think the priority kind of showed itself a little bit where you saw we went with the two defensive backs and then the two offensive linemen. Pretty much just kind of sticking to that. That was one of the things that we wanted to continue with in terms of the depth. At cornerback I think we filled a need that we were looking for a playmaker and I think Emmanuel does that for us. With Quan, we got a guy that has the ability to come in and play buffalo nickel as well as free safety and again, adds more depth. On the offensive line, getting Ricky Stromberg and then following that up today with, with Braeden, that was good for us. Again, we continue to add some more depth and guys that have played a lot of football and hopefully that'll transition into them being the kind of pros that we hope for. And then we finished off with some guys that we felt that would add some more depth to some of the positions we're looking at."

On filling the needs:
MM: "I think we filled a lot of needs in free agency and today. I think we keep looking, we keep trying to get better. The draft is not a finish line. We're not done. It's April, it's a lot of time before the season starts and we're gonna keep trying to make our roster better."

On the guys that were picked today including Braeden Daniels:
RR: "Well, I think there's a guy that comes in that's gonna have some depth for us on the offensive line position, flex at guard and tackle and playing both tackles as well. We feel good about having what we did there. KJ Henry is a dynamic outside edge player. It's interesting because the guy that played on the other side, a lot of people watched that guy. I think KJ was overlooked. I really do. The tape that you watch and you repeatedly watch, he's there making plays and so he's a guy that we wanted to add. Running back, got another big physical guy, with some of the things that Eric [Bieniemy] wants to do. This is a guy that Eric was very high on. He's a guy that Eric thinks will most certainly have a role for us on the offensive side. Andre Jones is just an explosive player. We've gotta find a role for him and, and in talking with Jack [Del Rio] and seeing, how positive our defensive coaches were about his potential as a play maker. So this is gonna be about a role and a fit as far as how we use him."

On if Andre Jones is a developmental guy and if his age factors in:
MM: "Yeah, well for me, the age comes into play obviously, but for a lot of these guys, it is really how much football they've played. This guy has a lot of upside, a lot of developmental potential despite his age. So we're looking forward to working with him. I mean, he's got a lot of athleticism. He's got a great first step, he's got a lot of traits that you want. And he has some tools and our coaches can develop those tools."

On how confident he was in trading up:
MM: "Yeah, well, I mean, trades were a rollercoaster. I mean, I'm really excited to be able to make that trade. But then we lost out on some really disappointing, I wish I was more aggressive in a couple situations but it was an up and down thing with the trades. We felt confident that was something that we had talked about earlier. Obviously, the, GM in Buffalo has a relationship with our staff. We have tuned into that pretty much really the round before that we talked about that trade. So it worked out. It went pretty smooth. We were really glad to have him."

On Chris Rodriguez:
"Feel very good about what we have with AG [Antonio Gibson] and we continue see the growth and development with B-Rob [Brian Robinson]. I mean, those are two young guys that we like a lot. Adding a physical player in Christopher is a guy that, talking to Eric and what Eric wants to do and how he wants to use him, in Eric's mind, this is a guy that will fit what he wants. And so we're pretty excited about being able to pick him. We had a higher grade on him too as well. So we thought we got a lot of value here."

On how Daniels fits into the left guard mix:
RR: "Well, he'll compete in it. Both Chris [Paul] and Saahdiq [Charles] are gonna get a great opportunity to show us what they're capable of. Would Braden have an opportunity? Yeah, but you know, we're gonna see where he fits as far as tackle is concerned. And then we'll take a look at the guard stuff, but tackle is something that we really like. A lot of athleticism there. Very raw talent. Listening to Travelle, one of the things Travelle felt is that this is a young man, if we can get his footwork straight, we think he has a chance to, to be a contributor."

On how nice it is to have two defensive ends under contract beyond this year:
RR:" Well, I mean, it, it is fine. It helps us obviously going forward in terms of that. But, you know, we still aren't done as Martin said. Everything we do right now is to continue to make our roster better. We're going to continue to look at the development of our players on our roster, development of these young guys that we have and what's still out there. I mean, there's still a lot to come and we want to put the best group out there we can come September. And so we're not done by any means thinking about, you know, the possibility and then going out and doing things."

On why does he wish he was a little more aggressive at times with trades:
MM: "Yeah, we talked to teams throughout the process. We did a lot of talking about trades over the last couple days. There were several that we almost made today and they didn't come together for various reasons. And sometimes you call a team has a guy already lined up or they've got a trade already lined up, so you just start calling, try to make it happen. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't. So, it's a very fluid process and we just missed out on a couple. I'm really happy with the guys that we ended up getting though. And a lot of times the trade you didn't make is the one youre glad you didn't make. We end up getting one of these guys that ends up being a real difference maker for us we'll be glad that we have 'em."

On if he wishes he traded up or down:
MM: "A little bit of both. There were some both ways, like I said, I'm on the phone as coach can tell you, I'm on the phone, I'm talking, I'm texting, I'm calling people throughout. Sometimes we're trying to go up, sometimes we we're open to moving back or trying to move back."

On if the plan coming into the draft was to not take a QB:
MM: "Again, it was about value and we felt we got really good value today with the players that we ended up getting and we're not done yet. We're working right now and there'll be more signings between now and tomorrow."

On if there is a consensus on what picks are worth:
MM: "It's very muddy. It's very muddy. Some people are still using Jimmy Johnson. Some people have other trade charts. We have two, we have two different ones that we end up using. When I was in San Francisco, we had two charts there too. So, it is about what feels right. It's about what feels good to you and what you're happy with, what you can be happy with and the chart is really more to sort of measure to make sure you're not overstepping value-wise or under offering and insulting somebody."

On Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy's involvement in his first draft with Washington:
RR: "Well, I think it's funny because, I remember being a coordinator and you always want and sometimes when you don't get what you want, it's hard to in terms of, I'd love to have that guy. But you know, and you see him go in front of you and then you just know, oh, because then if your guy goes that we go to the next guy and that next guy just happened to be a defensive guy, well, you lose out. But he was involved, he was engaged. Every time there was an opportunity to discuss, he'd come in, we'd talk about it and we'd show him, Hey, this is a stack. There he is right there. We'll see what happens. And sometimes, you know, his guy was there and we are able to get him. We got C Ricky Stromberg and Ricky was a guy that we're thrilled, just a guy that came in and had a really good visit. In fact, he spent a lot of time, as I said, with Martin, but he else spent a lot of time with EB and EB was very positive about that. [OL] Braeden [Daniels] a guy that we were looking at, a guy that we felt there was a need for especially at tackle. And that was another conversation we had. And then with the running back, he came in, he was emphatic about it. He said, Hey, here's a guy that we all had good grades on. He's sticking out like a sore thumb. That's an opportunity and maybe some people only view him as a first and second down back and initially that's kind of how we talked about it. But when you listen to him talk about coaching him up to become a potential third down guy, you get excited for Martin's vision. So that's one of the things too that he does very well. He explains himself and explains what he's looking for."

On if this draft is more subjective on player ratings than others:
RR: "I would think so. I mean, this was a difficult draft in terms of just, you look at guys and people are all over the place. I mean, it really is. I mean we took a couple guys and right away my phone just blows up and Oh, great guy, great job, great job, great job. You know, and then we take another guy later on, it was like, wow, that was really a nice move because you sit there and go, are they talking to this guy's a value pick for them and we're sitting there thinking this is right where we had 'em all along. You know what I'm saying? So yeah, I I felt it was, I mean, just looking at the board, our board, the way it was set. And then you listen to guys and you see where people take other people and you go, wow., they had a little higher than we did. So you never know until two, three years down the line."

On if he went throughout this process with any additional urgency compared to other year:
RR: "I would say no. Just because of what we did, what we've done. I mean, we had a plan coming out of the season, you know, we mapped it out with the current ownership. We had gone through, discussed it and this was where we were. We stuck to that plan, go into free agency and come out of it with the depth and potential starters that we really like. I mean, if you go through it and you look at what we did on the offensive line, we took a starter off a Super Bowl team. We took a starter off a play a playoff team, we took another start on defense off a playoff team and inserted him into our offense and our defense and feel really good about it. We got a backup quarterback coming off of one of his best years as a player. And you feel really good about that, I should say backup, but a guy that's gonna compete to play for us, And you look at those different things that we've done and you feel positive, then you turn around and you feel like you got the positions you wanted to, especially early on in the draft. The first four picks were exactly what we talked about doing. Adding some more guys in on the offensive line, trying to see if we can add in into secondary and we did. I'm just glad he's not up here because if you had [Defensive Coordinator] Jack [Del Rio], Jack would be going on and on and on about the positivity coming from the defense and you know for what we did. So, do I feel, no. I feel we did what we talked about doing starting in February all the way on up through to where we are today. And as Martin says, and I agree with Martin, we're not done yet. Because when we go into the season, we want to make sure we have the best 53 ready to roll."

On if they get into a rhythm as the draft goes on or if it is hectic:
RR: "It's both. When you watch Martin and Martin starts on, shoot, he starts on probably Monday. He starts on Monday making calls. He's making connections and he's taking notes and then as each day comes in, I always ask him what he got going and he'll go through it. And then when Thursday starts in earnest, as the round as we get to that stack of guys that we have, he's working the phones. Marty [Hurney]'s pulling the stack out, we're discussing it and if we need to bring a coach in, we'll go get the coordinator and the coach and we'll bring him in, we'll talk about it, Hey, we still comfortable with this. And then as each pick gets closer and closer and it's like, Hey, here's our guy, he's still there. If he's there, well what happens? He's not there. Hey, we got this guy ready to go. And then, you know, once we call the pick, we make the pick, we get it to Rob [Rogers], Rob gets it ready to send it to the league, we call to make sure he's okay and everything's fine, and that he's ready to go. After I talk to him, we send the pick in and we're rolling and then we start all over with what do we wanna do in the second? And as Martin said, you know, as soon as we finish that pick, he's on the phone again and it just happens over and over and the rhythm just keeps going."

On what has been the biggest lesson they have learned since their first draft

MM: "I would say really just to be really thorough and to be really patient with the process. I think that's the most important thing. You can't overlook anything. I sit and I watch our process when we get ready to draft a guy. First thing happened, Marty walks over to the trainers, even though we've already had the medical meeting and talked about the meeting stuff. He gets the medical information, then he walks over to security, we get all the background information. So just being extremely thorough throughout the process."

RR: "And then Martin will check his list as well. We'll take a look at the sports science aspect of it and we'll take a look at the analytics as well. Again, we try to make sure we're being very, very thorough as we go through that process. That's probably the biggest thing and I agree with what Martin said."

On DE Shaka Toney's suspension:
RR: "Well, it's, it's unfortunate and a little disappointed for the young man. I mean, he's a guy that really came on for us last year at the end of the season and with what's going on, obviously it's something that he's dealing with on his own with his agent and the league. So for us, we've just gotta be able to move forward and hopefully in a year's time, we'll see what happens."

On how instrumental the 30 visits for the first four draft picks was in making their selections:
MM: "Everyone is a little bit different. Every situation is a little bit different but frequently those guys are coming in because we want to get more information about them. And in this case, those guys were exemplary in terms of their football knowledge, in terms of how they dealt with our staff. We were really excited to add those people to our team. Coach has done a great job of developing culture here and we talk about culture all the time, and these guys that we drafted fit into our culture. They're gonna fit into our locker room very well because of the time that we spent with them, whether to combine, whether it's at, at the pro day or taking guys out to dinner or whether it's on the 30 visits. We spend time with them to get to know who they are as people and for them to get to know us."

RR: "You know, and I echo that because there are a lot of times when you go through that something does come up and or something verifies or validates who the young man is. That's probably the most important thing for us is that we can come in, come into the room together and just say, Hey guys, he's exactly what we thought, or, you know what, I got concerns. We've gotta dive a little bit more into it and just to make sure, so it serves a purpose. It is important. It just worked out this time it was our first four. I will also say too, that in some of these situations like some of the undrafted free agents that we'll be will be trying to sign shortly. Hopefully they'll remember the opportunity they have when we brought some of them in as well because not all of 'em will get drafted. There's some of them that you have a little curiosity about and say, shoot, if he has a good visit, maybe you don't draft him and then just try to recruit him once the draft is over."

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