Rick Smith Interview Transcript Rick Smith was interviewed today on Movin the Chains on Sirius NFL Radio by Ross Tucker and Pat Kirwan. I tried to transcribe it as best I could. MTC: Brian Cushing I would guess hes going to SAM, which seems to be his natural position? RS: Youre exactly right, thats his natural position. We feel he can be an immediate contributor. We love his versatility, and feel that he can play all three positions. Weve heard people say that hes not valuable in the passing game, but on film he showed great instincts in underneath zone coverage. Hes athletic enough to be a nickel. We love his athleticism. MTC: I feel that he has Romanowski-type skills. RS: Yes, his temperament and size are similar. Hes very intense that way, has long levers. MTC: You used Romanowski (in Denver) as a great force player, turned him inside. I could see Cushing in some form of tilt, rushing the passer. RS: Yes, he could be in that force position and is athletic enough to stack off the line. He has versatility that way. MTC: A guy I loved coming outConnor Barwin. Talk about an athlete! Where do you see him fitting in schematically? RS: Hes going to come in and go behind Mario at the RDE position. Im excited. Hes extremely athletic, explosive, long, has great pass rush ability. He played basketball at Cincinnati. You have to be a great athlete to do that, but hes not just a height/weight/speed guyhes a football player. He was highly productive in one year at DE and has shown some great instincts. Schematically, its going to allow us, on third down, to put a package on the field where Antonio Smith kicks down inside, with Okoye, and Connor and Mario chasing the QB from the outside. MTC: I could see Connor dropping into coverage and have Cushing come off the edge too. RS: Yes, we have some flexibility that way. MTC: CaldwellI love a guy coached by Nick Saban. You know hes been coached hard and can handle criticism, and he has a ton of starts at Alabama. RS: We like those attributes as well, and those things are important to us. Hes a smart guy, versatile, a captain, graduated in 3 ½ years. We were fortunate last year that our starting OL group was relatively healthy the entire year, which is usually not a reality. Its great to have a versatile guy who can back up a couple of interior OL positions. We feel like he can come in and be a versatile guy that way for us. We believe he can be a productive starter in this League at some point in his career. MTC: Theres a lot of speculation that you wanted to get a RB in the draft to pair with Steve Slaton. It didnt happen. You signed Arian Foster as an undrafted free agent from Tennessee. Where do things stand right now at the RB slot? Are you in the market for a free agent? RS: Well be looking. Arian had a productive career. Hes a bigger back, 6-0, 225 lbs. We also signed Jeremiah Johnson, 5-9, 210 lbs. Good feet shifty runner, good hands out of the backfield. We feel great about adding both of those guys. We let our process run itself. There was a need at running back, but we had guys rated with higher value in those rounds, so we went in that direction. Chris Brown is also here. He was injured last year, but he can be a contributor as well. MTC: Do you ever get tired of taking TEs [LOL]? Anthony Hill is a big inline blocker. Casey played five different positions. RS: Anthony can be effective at blocking 3-4 OLBs, anchoring that edge. You need a TE who can block and control those edges if you want to be successful in the running game. Hes a big man who can do that. You can do so much with James in the offense. Gary and the offensive staff have been working hard to figure out ways to get him onto the field. MTC: You took three DBs. Were any of those a reaction to Dunta Robinsons contract situation? RS: No, Im an ex-DB coach. I think that its an important position. You can never have too many guys who are tough, fast, who can run, cover and hit. Some projected Quin as a safety, but we see him as an edge guy who can play the nickel back. Brice McCain is a little undersized, but very fast and tough, and he can tackle and run. The final pick (Nolan) we like the way he operates. He has good ball skills, good size, and will tackle. We feel they can come in and compete. MTC: The Draft is over. Tell the listeners about your schedule for the next few weeks. RS: Were cleaning up the whole draft process. The scouts are about to take off again. Now were taking a look at the roster and looking toward training camp, looking to see if we have enough numbers at each position, looking at other teams and what theyre doing, looking at our process, how we improved from a year ago, and how we can keep growing as a group. Its a constant grind. Youre always trying to make sure that youre evaluating yourself and trying to get better. MTC: What is the situation with DeMeco Ryans and Owen Daniels? Where do they stand? I guess a byproduct of drafting well is that, in a few years, those guys are going to want more money. RS: Its a part of the philosophy of building through the draft. Success leads to having to lock players up long term. DeMeco is back working with his teammates. Were happy that he decided to come back in. DeMeco has another year left on his contract. Both Ryans and Daniels are here working hard, and we expect them to continue to do that.