Some more from Bill Belichick's press conference:
How important is it that he moves down and can cover?
ďItís a plus. He does a lot of things well. Again, there are good players that just do thing one well, and thatís a plus too. His versatility is one of his strengths. Like I said, heís a smart player. He can do multiple things. He has physical skills to also be able to do those. Thatís good.Ē
How does he shore up your defense?
ďI donít know. Weíll bring our players in, teach them the system, and work with them on the field and see what their role winds up being. Heís a versatile guy. We have other players, veteran players, at the safety and corner positions. That will all be decided on the field.Ē
He seems to play with an edgeÖ
ďI think he has a physical element to his play. Heís not 225 pounds. For his size, heís certainly not afraid to get up in there and tackle and support the run, and be a physical player. But again, weíre not talking about a guy who is oversized for the position. Thatís not what he is.Ē
He does have a lot of tackles.
ďHeís around the ball. I think heís a very instinctive player that shows up around the ball and gets his hands on a lot of balls. Thatís hopefully why we took him, to be productive in that position, wherever it is in the secondary.Ē
How did that staff use him on special teams?
ďNot as much lately. Heís been playing pretty regularly. He did a little bit earlier in his career but thatís something heís going to be more involved with here than he was the last couple of years down there. Heís an athletic guy who can run and play physical. I donít see any reason why he couldnít perform those skills, but heíll have to work on it.Ē
People will see the video of him kicking the kid from Florida InternationalÖ
ďI think he addressed that.Ē
What is your take on that?
ĒExactly what he said. He ran over there and made a bad decision. I donít think thatís who he is. I spent time with him and a lot of people in that program, and I think football is important to him, he works hard at it, and heís a good player. I think thatís more representative. It happened, he made a mistake, and he talked about it.Ē
He had an off-field incident in front of his apartmentÖyou were able to reconcile those as isolated incidents?
ďAgain, weíre comfortable with the player we drafted. I donít have anything else to add about it.Ē
What is the process you go through to reach that comfort level?
ďAgain, I think all of us have made mistakes. At least I have. I think some others have in this room. Maybe there are some that havenít, I donít know. I think whatís more important is not an incident that a person had, but really who they are, what their character is, and what you think that person really is, and what theyíre about. I would say that about anybody.Ē
How did you ascertain that about Meriweather?
ďWe go through a lengthy process with every player. I donít think we have time for all that. Ö Obviously, weíre comfortable with Meriweather and thatís why we took him.Ē
Did you talk with Vince Wilfork about him?
"I would say as a normal course of conversation. We talked to a lot of the kids who are here who know kids that are at the schools that are coming out later on. That would be normal, whether it was Dave Thomas with the Texas kids or whoever. We kind of do that as part of our draft preparation, even back in the summer before their senior year to kind of get the scouts a little bit more information about those guys. We do that normally for the players that we have access to, Ellis [Hobbs], or whoever the young guys are on our team."
There are a lot of unfortunate incidents that happen around the NFL, but they donít seem to happen here in New England. Is it luck that you havenít had those problems?
"I donít know."
There was a report that the Patriots and the Raiders had trade talks regarding Randy Moss today. Can you confirm those reports?
"First of all I think there are a lot of things that get talked about at this time of year, a lot of things get thrown around. I donít really have any comment on it and I certainly wouldnít comment on a player on another team in this league. That I definitely wouldnít do."
Now that your next pick isnít until the third round and it will kind of be like watching the parade go by, how uncomfortable does that make you?
"We knew that when we put in the offer for [Wes] Welker. I think that based on whatís on the board now and certainly whatís going to be on the board at sixty-whatever that pick would be, I feel good about that trade. I like Wes as a player. I think heíd be good for our football team. Heís a versatile guy that does a lot of things. Iím glad we did that. We knew that when we did it. Weíre in a waiting mode here until we get into the end of the third and the rounds tomorrow. But for the value that we got for that pick, I think weíre all perfectly willing to do that."
When you look at the characteristics of a player, is it harder to evaluate the character of a player? How do you do it?
"I think when you look at a player you evaluate everything and it comes in one big package. You canít separate out speed. You canít separate out work ethic. You canít separate out instincts. It all comes together. So, whatever that is, you put a value on it and thatís what the value is. It all comes together. You canít take half of this player and half of that player. It just doesnít work that way."
How tempted were you to look at a linebacker with the 28th pick?
"There were a number of options. There were players on the board that we had good ratings on and we had several trade options and we made what we felt was the best decision at that time based on all of the information that we had. I donít know how else to could put it."
Was part of the reason you pulled the trigger on Meriweather there because of the scarcity that was created at that spot with who had come off the board already?
"No, we just thought that was the best value for that pick."
Did the possibility of a holdout by Asante Samuel affect your decisions at all today?
"No. We pick players based on what we think the best value is on the board."
With picks 10 through 23, did it surprise you at all how the players came off the board?
"No. I think I said this, I wouldnít have predicted that Brady Quinn would have slid as far as he did. There was a string of defensive picks there. 13 out of 17 or something like that. There was a big run on defensive players through the teens and thatís what I expected and I think thatís what most people expected. I know a couple of guys have now come back with [Ben] Grubbs and [Robert] Meachem and [Joe] Staley in these last few picks. I think that is probably indicative of some of the offensive value that was on the board at the end of the first round. In all honesty, thatís about the way I thought it would go. There were some quality players that went earlier in the draft -- the quarterback, a couple of the offensive tackles, both running backs [Adrian] Peterson and [Marshawn] Lynch at 12, he got punched in there. But between whatever it was, like eight or nine, there was a big run on defensive players and now the offensive players have kind of come back at the end of the round. I havenít seen the last couple of picks. It looked like that was kind of the way it was going there."
Why is that first round pick next year more appealing to you than the 28th this year?
"We just felt like the overall value of the trade was a good one to make based on the way we evaluated the different picks and the board and the situation."
How do you feel about this yearís draft class?
"We've only had one pick."
Do you feel like you didnít have to draft as many players because youíve had such a productive offseason?
"No, we prepare for all of the drafts the same. Itís the same opportunity to try to improve your team and evaluate the opportunities to select today and tomorrow. We try to do the same thing every year, like I said, itís like studying for a final exam. You go through all of the preparation and try to get all of the information that you can together. You donít know exactly how the board is going to unfold and what your options are going to be, but you try to prepare as well as possible to cover all of your bases and you never really know how itís going to come up. Thatís what we do every year. This is a good opportunity for every team in the league to improve itself and every team will. You just want to try to improve more than your competitors. Thatís the opportunity this weekend. Thatís the same regardless if you do or donít sign anyone in free agency. I think theyíre independent."