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Mike Tannenbaum Press Conference Transcript 4/29/11

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Late Friday night New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum addressed the media regarding the team’s third round pick.  Here is the transcript courtesy of the Jets.

Opening Statement…

MIKE TANNENBAUM: I just want to recap the day and go over what we accomplished. The first guy (played) just one year of college football but had a great workout, has great ball skills, has great man-to-man skills and is going to help us in the return game. That’s (Antonio) Cromartie. (Laughter). Obviously, the (second rounder was used to acquire) Cromartie and again, you never get the benefit or psychological pop of that, but we did feel great about that trade and Cromartie did a lot of great things for us last year. Obviously, in the third round, taking Kenrick (Ellis), we are excited to get him. He’s a bigger man. He started off his career at South Carolina and was dismissed from there. He enrolled at Hampton and played well this past year. He is a very big man who is a good athlete for his size. We really feel that with him and the addition of Muhammad (Wilkerson), we have added youth and athleticism up front to a group we thought was good and now, hopefully, we have made that position better. We may move Marcus Dixon to tackle, as well, and now we have two young guys we can rotate through. Over the last few years, and we talked a little bit about it with Muhammad, we thought that we were just a little short and a little concerned about the depth up front so both these players are going to help us and we expect them to play and we are excited about them.

On the pending legal situation involving Kenrick Ellis…

TANNENBAUM: With any player we take, we are comfortable with them and based on all the information we have, we were comfortable with taking him.

On the pending trial of Ellis and what plans the team has if he’s found guilty…

TANNENBAUM: Based on all the information we have, we feel good about the player. We feel that it was appropriate to take him where we took him and we will move forward from there.

On if he will have a short leash due to his character issues…

TANNENBAUM: Organizationally, we have a good support system and resources that Mr. Johnson provides and the people that work in the building, not only the coaching staff but the support system. We feel like he has an opportunity to come in here, Marcus Dixon was a teammate of his, and under Coach Ryan and the staff, have a fresh start and a chance to be successful.

On reports that if he was forthcoming with his past issues where meeting with NFL teams…

TANNENBAUM: I would agree with that. I think it is a fair characterization, very transparent, very honest. He was very accountable. Overall, he has very impressive attributes. He is going to come in here with a clean slate and we are going to move forward together.

On the situation of his pending trial…

TANNENBAUM: Again, I can’t get into the details of the legal situation, but with all the information we have, we are comfortable where things are at. I just can’t go into the details on that.

On where Ellis was slated…

JOEY CLINKSCALES: I believe he was the 38th or 36th player on our board, so we felt like he would be able to come in and contribute. He could play nose. He’s one of the two true nose tackles that were in this draft this year.

On if Phil Taylor was the other true nose tackle…

CLINKSCALES: That’s one of the other guys, yes.

On how much Ellis will play…

TANNENBAUM: How much he plays, that’s hard to say on draft night, but we expect him to contribute.

On if Ellis is a risky pick…

TANNENBAUM: Any pick has risk, but we did a lot of research on the player. We met with him several times. Our staff looked into him. Based on all of the information we have, we were comfortable taking him. Does every pick have risk? Absolutely. I understand what you’re saying, perhaps his has more than others, but again, if we didn’t feel like there was a path to have him be successful here, we wouldn’t have taken him.

On if they spent more time researching Ellis than other players…

TANNENBAUM: We have a really good process, led in part by Steve Yarnell, our Vice President of Security. He looks at players that have had some issues in the past and he and our scouts and our coaches share their input. There are a lot of people involved. We take all of that information and make the best decision.

On if a team can have too many at-risk players in your locker room…

TANNENBAUM: I think he’s going to have an opportunity to prove to be a good person and a good player and do things our way and help us. If that’s not the case, then we’ll assess that situation at the appropriate time. I think our locker room is filled with a lot of character people. To win back-to-back road playoff games, to go to the championship game two years in a row, that’s not easy to do. I think our locker room is filled with a lot of great people and good players that care a lot about each other and that’s what helps breed success.

On if having Rex Ryan as the coach allowed them take risks…

TANNENBAUM: I think that’s really more of a referendum on why we hired Rex. He has the ability to reach all different constituencies and, in pro football, there are people from all over the map geographically and Rex has an innate ability to relate to all different types of people. That just doesn’t mean about Kenrick in the third round, but just generally, and I think that’s why players gravitate toward him and he has the ability to relate.

On if Ryan’s ability to connect allows them to make this pick…

TANNENBAUM: Yes, and I think when we discuss players just generally, what’s the vision, how they fit in the locker room, how they fit on the depth chart.

On who they talked to during their research…

TANNENBAUM: Everybody. It was pretty thorough. And again sometimes you’re going to have to bear it out. We wouldn’t have made the pick. Based on all of the information we have, we feel comfortable making the pick where we did.

On whether Ellis’s challenges made this a more difficult decision…

TANNENBAUM: When we take a player, we have to take everything into account. Taking him where we did, we feel comfortable doing that. There were other players on the board, obviously, but we felt where we were, it was the right pick to take.

On how involved Mr. Johnson is in selecting a player with Ellis’s background…

TANNENBAUM: I have final say on everything. It’s up to me and I’m accountable for everything. Obviously, draft day, every decision we make, we talk about everything and weigh out the pros and cons. We have great communication, (Head Coach) Rex (Ryan), Woody (Johnson) and I. We saw him most days, at least once, sometimes twice a day, so he was aware, but obviously, I am accountable.

On Ellis’s attributes…

CLINKSCALES: He’s a big, strong kid. He’s 6’5”. He played this year at close to 350 (pounds). When he was here on his visit, he was 333 (pounds). Again, (he is) another guy with long arms. He plays really hard. Any tape you watch, you see a guy hustling all over the field. (He is) more of a run-stopper, but again, he was very productive. He was also a guy that had 94 total tackles this season. He injured an ankle in the second game of the season, so basically he played with a bum ankle part of the season and was still very productive.

On what makes him believe that Ellis is a good person…

TANNENBAUM: I think just what he’s done over the past year. Just talking to a lot of the people around him, his teammates, his coaches, we just feel, based on all that information and our scouts, that he’s going to come in here with a fresh start and be a productive player. The proof is going to have to be in the pudding, obviously. Again, there’s a lot of information and a lot of effort that goes into it when you make a pick like this. It’s based on everything.

On whether they have any information leading them to believe that Ellis’s trial would be dismissed…

TANNENBAUM: Again, it’s a pending legal matter. Based on the information we have, we feel really good about the pick. That’s really all I can add to that.

On whether the trial could possibly interfere with his preparation for next season…

TANNENBAUM: The offseason and things like that, I can’t really comment on right now. We would defer to the league.

This Article Was Written By Tyson Rauch

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