Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera and general manager Martin Mayhew addressed the media after the conclusion of the 2022 NFL Draft. Here's a look at some of the top quotes from their press conference.
On their overall thoughts on how the draft went:
Mayhew: "I thought it went very well. Again, our process was very good. I can't say enough about the great job that [Director of College Personnel] Tim Gribble did as far as leading our area scouts, getting them out there on the road and managing our meetings and then getting together with the coaches. When we got here, the coaches did a lot of work on the evaluations as well. They did an outstanding job, so very, very smooth process. Very good group of guys that we're working with, myself, [Executive Vice President of Player Personnel/Football] Marty [Hurney], working with Gribbs [Tim Gribble] and [Senior Director of Player Personnel] Eric [Stokes] and [Director of Pro Personnel] Chris [Polian], there's a very good feel of where we are right now and how we're functioning as a personnel department. So very, very smooth process. We're excited about the guys that we're able to draft over the last couple days. [WR Jahan] Dotson, we have really big expectations for him. He's gonna fit right into what we're doing offensively.
On how he felt the trades worked out for the team:
Mayhew: "I thought it worked out well for us overall. I mean, you don't always get what you want every single time. You know, sometimes you're moving back and you're looking at different charts and values and it's not exactly what you want, but it's what you need to do as a football team to try to get better. I'm happy with the process and the way things worked out."
On how important it was for them to get players with a lot of college experience in this draft:
Rivera: "Well, you'd like to think that the early on picks that you're anticipating that they're gonna be able to contribute one way or the other and more so when you get into your top four, you want some sort of impact from them. We feel like we've got guys that can come in and help impact what we're doing on offense or defense and that they can also contribute on special teams of they had to. Looking at what we did, we have guys that we think that are gonna come in, be part of some rotation, be part of some opportunity to play for us and truly contribute. And if we get anything from the guys later on, that we feel would be an extra bonus. Probably the guy that I think is very intriguing to us more so than anybody is [TE] Cole Turner. This is a dynamic pass catcher. He's played in a spread style offense. He's a guy that's a big target, he's got a tremendous catch radius, runs good routes and knows how to separate at the right time. It's gonna be very intriguing as we watch the development and growth of these players from this point until we get into the season."
On what kind of a role he envision for S Percy Butler:
Rivera: "Well, I think the biggest thing as far as his role is here's a guy that's gonna get an opportunity to compete. He'll compete at a couple spots. Nickel will be one of them and safety will be the other one because of his skillset and the things that he does. He's a guy that has a specific skillset that we really feel is very intriguing. First of all, he has got tremendous speed and quickness. He's a guy that's gonna not just help us as a defensive player, but he will also contribute on special teams. I think this is a guy that can help make an immediate impact for us."
On if he sees a theme for this draft:
Rivera: "Well, I think more than anything else, it's just a combination of filling the needs that we believe we had, but also developing and grabbing guys that are gonna help us develop the rest of the way. And again, guys that you can put on the field. Like I said, we're anticipating the number of these guys, especially the first four are gonna get an opportunity to come out and contribute and play. So, it's exciting to know that we feel comfortable and confident with those guys."
On adding UDFA's:
Rivera: "No, we're working on that right now. This was as Martin talked about yesterday, just how, how good the situation looked in the middle rounds. There's a little bit of a spillover from the COVID situation. Knowing right now that you know, our Scouts are grinding right now, trying to pull a couple of guys that are undrafted as soon as it ends, we'll be ready to roll. So, we're trying to get ourselves ready to go and see if we can pull in, you know, five, 10 more guys."
On the biggest surprise:
Rivera: "That Sam [Howell] was sitting there in the fifth round. I mean, to me, it really was. And again, we just felt really comfortable, but this is one of those things. And it kind of goes back to the philosophy that if you get an opportunity to draft a quarterback later on, you should always consider that."
On guys that are from smaller programs, how important is it to see those guys at the Senior Bowl that helps with that process:
Mayhew: "Yeah. It's always good to see those guys that don't come from the top programs at the Senior Bowl and competing against a higher level of competition. That's where you learn, you learn quite a bit, you can learn quite a bit watching those guys. Sometimes you're watching tape of smaller schools. And you're wondering like, who was this guy really playing against? He's playing really well, but who was this guy who was across from him? So when you get to see him match up with some of the SEC guys and some of the ACC guys and guys from the power five conferences, it gives you a better measure of kind of where they fit in."
Take a look at wide receiver and No. 16 overall pick Jahan Dotson's first trip to the Washington Commanders' facility in Ashburn, Virginia. (Emilee Fails/Washington Commanders)
On if they thought that QB Sam Howell would slide in the draft:
Rivera: "No, we didn't think he would slide to us. It's interesting because once we got [QB] Carson [Wentz] as our starter, we got off the quarterback train for the most part. We did know that as I said, there was an opportunity for us to take one as a backup and a guy that you could develop for the long term. We most certainly considered that. But to have Sam fall to us was something we had to jump on. We had a very good grade on him. He was at that point, the highest guy left on our board. He was a guy that we most certainly as we dug into initially and was a guy that if we were still in that situation, would've been somebody we considered very seriously, so we feel this is a home run for us. It was a good opportunity to grab a guy. I had an opportunity to talk with Carson before we made the pick, I wanted to make sure he understood that this is just all about developing a young guy more so than anything else. He's our number one going forward, and he just appreciated the fact that I gave him the heads up, which I thought was really cool. He was actually pretty excited because he just thinks that there are a lot of good things about Sam."