Here is today's transcript from Bill Belichick's press conference (following the opening statement, which was previously posted)
There was a cornerback picked next. Why did you decide to trade down?
"We did what we felt was best for the football team and thereís a lot of good players on the board. There were good players that went before us and after we picked Jerod. Itís the pick we felt was best for the football team and Iím glad we have him."
In regard to the prep work on the trade, did you feel that was going to happen today?
"Well no, we anticipated that scenario and New Orleans was certainly looking for Sedrick Ellis. I think that was no big secret and when he was still on the board that kind of led to the next step of going through and executing that trade."
Was there anyone taken before that would have caused you to decide differently?
"We didnít go through the hypothetical; we just took the situation as it came up. You know we were on the clock and we had a trade partner so we felt like it was a good trade for our football team so we did it. I felt like it was a good decision for our team. If something else was to happen, you know, I donít know."
Would you have made a different decision with a different team in regard to the trade if there were different players on the board?
"I donít know but thatís what was there. Itís not like you have another option to trade with any one of four or five teams. That was the trade and I think it worked out fine."
With the three third-round picks, have you got flexibility?
"I wouldnít rule anything out. Iím not afraid to trade one way or another. We will just see how it goes and take every situation as it comes up. Whether thatís moving up in the second [round] or picking players or picks in the next year. We have done all those things so I donít know how itís going to go what options are going to come up. We will do what is best for our football team."
When was Mayo on your radar?
"Well really after all the juniors declared. He had a very good combine workout but he was the guy, I think that everyone that scouted the SEC, our scouts that scouted that conference knew about him. He was a very productive player down there for Tennessee and has been for a couple of years now. He had a good workout and he was a productive player in every game. He is a versatile guy; we brought him up visited with him. Heís very intelligent player, heís a good football player. Heís smart, he understands schemes and concepts, he runs the defense, makes the calls, makes adjustments and all those things. I think that he has a lot to offer."
Could you see him getting better inside as the season went on?
"Well I think he was pretty good when he was outside. I think he played well at Mike and Sam and Will so those are all 4-3 off-the-line positions and in the 3-4 defense we have only two off-the-line positions but sometimes we can adjust the front and he plays in those different spots and so forth. Certainly he improved over the course of the year but think he was pretty good at the start of the year and think he was good last year and pretty good the year before that. He has been a productive player at a top program in a top conference at a couple of different spots and that includes against the run and against the pass and on fourth down and in the kicking game and I donít think there was much more he could have done."
He has had two knee surgeries and he is fully recovered but that is obviously not a concern of yours?
"No, no of course not our doctors feel fine about him. I wish my good knees were as good as his bad ones. I think he is healthy and has been a very durable guy and a very productive player."
Is your vision for him next year impact or developmental?
"Well, I will just have to see with everyone else and see how it goes."
Was he rated higher overall than linebackers in previous years?
"He is one of the better linebackers we have seen in awhile. You know we havenít been picking at this point in the draft either. But Iím glad we were picking where we were and for the right reasons but there has been other good players that have come through, guys the last couple years but we were so far away from where they were getting picked there wasnít much for consideration."
Over the years you have not drafted a lot of linebackers in the early rounds.
"It worked out that way. There were no grand plans to take him or not take him. We evaluate all the players, grade them and then when its time to pick. You take a look at the players available and pick whatís best for the football team. It worked out that way this year, it could have worked out differently in other years but it didnít and thatís the way it fell. Whenever we pick we do what we feel is best for the team and sometimes those options, you donít control them.
Did you talk to [Junior] Seau and is his status a consideration with the pick?
"Thatís not really a factor."
[Mayo] is a player that gets better each year year. Did that have an impact on your decision?
"I think everyone gets better with more experience and more play time. He is pretty good and he has been pretty good. Itís not like he was no good and then gradually got better. He has been a good player since heís been there. That is a top conference and itís against a lot of good players. The [Darren] McFaddens, the Georgias and the Floridas. They play a lot of good football teams and I donít think you have a problem finding him in any of those years in any of those games. He was there for all of them."