Q to Vitt: Last year the defensive tackles had 1.5 sacks. Is that acceptable and is that one of the reasons this kid is coming in?
Vitt: “Again, we took the best player on the board. Our tackles know they have to perform better. We feel we have a really good player in Sedrick Ellis and we’ll have improved play from that position and again this was the best player. When it got down to it, Mickey turned to Spags on Friday and we all agreed on this. This was the guy.”
Spagnuolo: “What would be interesting and I don’t have the stat in my head is what 4-3 teams what the numbers were for inside tackles. It’s tough for inside tackles on first and second down to create sacks from inside. I hope we do it, but it is hard.”
Q to Spagnuolo: Did you have nicks graded a little higher?
Spagnuolo: “He was about right.”
Vitt: “We had a group of players stacked that we felt would have a chance and he was at the very top of the list. Mickey (Loomis) had some phone calls and entertained trading down. He said we’ll move down if he gets picked before us. He fell to us and we took him.”
Q to Spagnuolo: Although he came here from a small school, the fact that he was recruited to the SEC that sends a lot of good linemen to the NFL shows that people saw the potential in him?
Spagnuolo: “I think you’re accurate about that. That would be correct. I forget the whole conversation that we talked about at the combine, but coming out of high school he had some opportunities, a couple of things ended up differently and he ended up in Canada.”
Q to Vitt: Can you address what the priorities are heading into tomorrow?
Vitt: “(We pick) the best player. That’s what we’ve done here and it just so happens that this was somewhat of a need. We want to stick with the discipline of the board and if we like that player like we think we will, we’ll stay there. If not, Mickey will entertain some phone calls, but we’re going to take the best player that’s going to be best for our football team.”
Q to Spagnuolo: Do you think the number of sacks from this team last year requires a talent upgrade or do you see that with the guys here with tweaks here and there that this can be a team that can be disruptive and cause turnovers?
Spagnuolo: “This defense here in New Orleans has traditionally been a disruptive defense. I’ve seen that in the years I’ve been in the league. I don’t get too wrapped up in stats, but I do know and we all recognize that one of the stats that most directly relates to winning and losing than anything is turnovers, takeaways and giveaways. That’s always a focus. I know it has been here. It will continue to be. I remember Jim Johnson saying one time that really with these turnovers sometimes they come in bunches one way or another. Hopefully we’ve saved them up and we’ll get a bunch this year.”
Q to Spagnuolo: Do you expect Akiem to come in to create depth or to come in and create competition?
Spagnuolo: A little bit of both. Probably depth first and then when he gets his feet underneath him and gets used to the speed of the game, which probably won’t even happen until a preseason game with the way the schedule goes.”
Q to Spagnuolo: Is Greg Romeus healthy now?
Spagnuolo: “He’s getting there.”
Vitt: “He’s had a great offseason. Two days ago I saw him out back running the hills. He has put in the time. He’s been dedicated. He’s worked hard with the trainers. Now he’s in the strength program. We’re excited about this player. We really are. We got a glimpse of him last year when he was on PUP and watched him practice a little bit and participate in our practices and we’re excited about this player.”
Q to Vitt: How tough is it going through the draft and not knowing about potential player discipline?
Vitt: “Again that’s hypothetical. We’re going to play that hand when we get to it. We can do all the guessing and speculating we want. We’re not going to know until it’s handed down, if it’s handed down.”
Q to Vitt: If you had to guess, what would Sean Payton’s reaction to this draft pick be?
Vitt: “That’s why we (he and Spagnuolo) came together. He’s looking at that TV right now and he’s mad. At the end of the day, Mickey (Loomis) and Sean have really developed this system of grading that we have for our college prospects and we stuck to the discipline of the board just like Sean and Mickey always have. There wasn’t a reach. It came right down to what we wanted and what we thought might be there and that’s what happened.”