Monday, April 26, 2010

Wade Phillips Talks About Cowboys' Six Draft Picks

from Dallas Cowboys Star Magazine

Following Saturday's 7th and final round of the 2010 NFL Draft, Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips spoke with reporters at Valley Ranch to review the team's 6 draft selections: (1st rd) WR Dez Bryant of Oklahoma State; (2nd rd) LB Sean Lee of Penn State; (4th rd) DB Akwasi Owusu-Ansah of IUP; (6th rd) OT Sam Young of Notre Dame; (6th rd) CB Jamar Wall of Texas Tech; and (7th rd) DL Sean Lissmore of William & Mary. Here are Phillips' comments:

“Akwasi (4th rd pick) is from a smaller college, but a great athlete, which we feel is a good upside. And I think everybody knows some of the guys we drafted, we had in here, but that‘s the way you find out about them. I think he can transfer to the next level pretty easily as far as intelligence and certainly athletically, so we feel good about that. And Sam Young started every game for Notre Dame for four years and I don’t think he was out any. He set some kind of record for them (Notre Dame) for number of starts and just like Jerry said, he blocks his guy. I think production on an offensive line is when his guy doesn’t make the play, whether it’s pass protection or running. Jamar Wall is a tough, athletic guy that fits our mold as far as defensive backs. And Sean Lissemore is another smaller school guy. He runs a 4.9 at 300 pounds and has a high motor. I’m not saying he is Jay Ratliff, but that’s what you look for in this area if you can find a defensive lineman that has a high motor and athletic skill, so we feel good about all of these guys.”

*On what 6th round pick, offensive tackle Sam Young of Notre Dame, needs to work on:

“I think in every offensive lineman, taking the next step is a combination of things. He actually does a lot of things well, which is the key with him.”

*On 7th round pick Sean Lissemore being a nose tackle or a defensive end:

“He can play both, and Ratliff can actually play both. If you can get the attributes like Jay’s or any of the top guys we have, then that’s what you’re looking for.”

*On how Lissemore will fit in:

“He’s a real smart kid so I think he can learn those pretty easily. But we will probably start him at end first and work him inside. But nose guard is actually easier to learn.”

*On the picks’ combination of size and speed:

“I think you always are upgrading your team in certain ways. Some of it is character, what kind of person they are. And speed is a factor. Not just speed, but also guys that can play football. There are guys that can run fast, but you can’t just take the fastest guy, that isn’t exactly what you’re looking for. You are looking for speed but also football skills.”

*On special teams:

“We are always wary of that too. The emphasis we had on special teams last year highly improved our football team.”

*On Akwasi playing safety next season:

“He’s such a good athlete, and he can really play corner. I think he could play either one. He is 207 pounds and he is over 6 feet tall. He was a big fish in a small pond. He was a lot better than the guys on his college team, but that’s what you want him to do. Those kinds of players have to be dominant and he showed it on his kick returns and things like that. He is going to have to step up to the next level but I think he has all of the skills to do that.”

*On Dez and Akwasi returning punts:

“They certainly could do that. I think they will be eager to do that. We will see, that’s way ahead of where we are, but Dez has done both in Big 12 football. And he has been one of the top ones doing that, so I think you can say for sure that he could do that. And we will have to see with Akwasi because his competition wasn’t as good, but his numbers were outstanding.”

*On being disappointed with the return game last season:

“Not necessarily, we just saw an opportunity. Any time you can get better in any area, and any time you can get quality football players who you think can be top notch, you want to do that. I think you can see that we went that direction, and it will play out well for us."

On Sam Young playing right or left tackle:

“He played right at Notre Dame, but he also started at left in ’07. So he has done both. Right now, we will start him out at right tackle, because that’s what he has played the past few years. But once he gets here, we will get a better feel.”

*On the cornerback and safety situation:

“When you play Alan Ball, you aren’t surprised by anything he does well. He has played well for us every time he has played. We have tried to get him in somewhere a lot of the time, we moved him to safety because we thought he was that kind of guy. And he actually played well at safety, especially at pass defense. We know his size and all that, but he is a tough guy and I wouldn’t count him out just yet. I always support my players so we talk about these things and try to upgrade at any position and increase the competition at every position, and the players know that.”

*On second-year QB Stephen McGee not being able to participate in rookie minicamp:

“Yes, that’s correct. When the draft is over, we will sign a free agent quarterback.”

On former Cowboys kicker, now hired by the Cowboys as a kicking consultant, Chris Boniol helping out:

“He doesn’t come every day, he comes in the days Buehler is kicking. He has taken Buehler to Cowboys Stadium, and they have worked together here. Boniol is working with Connor also, but Connor is hurt. He comes in, works with Buehler, and goes over the whole process. Boniol will continue to come in through training camp, and then we will see where we are. We are trying to get him (Buehler) to be the kicker, and I think that’s what we should try to do. If it’s not working out, there are veteran kickers out there, and they could come in late. We have all seen that. So if we have to go to something like that, we will. But I think we are headed in the right direction. We are looking at some competition. We have a young guy and we also have a great guy who kicked in college. But I think he just needs to get his rhythm down where its smooth all of the time. But he will be able to do it because he is a pressure guy. He is a football player, and we know he is mentally and physically tough.”