ML: “Picking Carlos (Dunlap) gives us another player to add depth on the defensive line. He has an ability to be both an outside rusher and an inside rusher. He’s a tremendous athlete. He’s had good production. He’s had 19 and a half sacks the last two years at Florida. He’s done a lot of the things you do in National Football League defenses, as far as understanding blitz-zones, and then the base defenses. We’re really excited about him. He’s a tall, angular guy with great speed and athleticism.”
Q: A lot of people are saying the same sorts of things — both strengths and weaknesses — about him as they were about
ML: “I don’t want to characterize that in comparison with Michael. Since we’ve had Michael, we’ve found there to be other things. We had Carlos evaluated right in this area (in the draft), and we were able to pick him right about in the spot where we thought he should go. So we feel good about that. The good thing is, as I’ve said many times, the guys that are being picked are going off the board kind of how we expected.”
Q: Did you guys look into his DUI arrest? Were you satisfied with what you found?
ML: “Yes. That was thoroughly investigated. Obviously it was not a good time to have a DUI arrest (before the SEC Championship Game) — there’s never a good time to have a DUI arrest — but particularly this one.”
Q: Do you guys think the arrest was a one-time thing?
ML: “That’s what the research has told us.”
Q: So that was the only real off-field knock on him?
ML: “Yeah. But a lot of guys have been going off the board today with knocks.”
Q: He seems a little bulkier than Michael Johnson:
ML: “He’s a little thicker than Michael. Yes, no question. He has big size. He’s a big man. He’s a very intelligent guy. He has great athleticism and speed. As Mike (Zimmer) and Jay (Hayes) will get up here and say, now we get a chance to do it our way.”
MIKE ZIMMER Defensive coordinator and JAY HAYES Defensive line coach
Q: The first comment the ESPN crew had after Dunlap’s selection was that he looks physically like a top-10 pick , but lacks a motor. Is that a fair assessment?
MZ: “Sometimes it has disappeared a little bit in some of the games. But I’ve been watching a lot of tape — way too much tape this time of year — and there are a lot of guys that have already gone off the board that take a lot more plays off than this guy. But that’s our job as coaches, to make sure they’re not taking plays off.”
Q: It seems like we said the same thing about Michael Johnson at this time last year …
MZ: “Yeah, and he (Johnson) played good. Hopefully we’ll get this guy to play good, too.”
Q: Do you see him as having a little more versatility because he can play both outside and inside?
MZ: “One of the reasons we liked him so well was because he has some versatility. He has stood up and rushed. He’s rushed as a defensive tackle, and you all know one of the things I’ve talked about in the offseason is having to get more pressure in the quarterback’s face from up the middle so our ends could go a little bit more. We felt like, at this point in time, he was the best option for us.”
Q: Compare and contrast
JH: “The similarities are they both are very tall, long people and they both can run. You’re talking about a guy who runs a sub-4.7 (40-yard dash) at 280 pounds. He’s as tall as I am, and he’s a lot better built — and probably better looking — and all that. These are long guys that can run, and like coach says, ‘It’s our job to get them going.’ And that’s what we’re going to do.”
Q: What convinces you to take a chance on a guy with some red flags?
MZ: “I think all coaches think they can get stuff out of guys; that’s the ego in all of us. Quite honestly, the position coaches — the research that they do, the people they talk to. He (Jay) talked to somebody about him (again) today before the draft, which was a good conversation. When you’re sitting there and you’re thinking, ‘This guy might be here when we pick; we’ve got him rated really high if he ends up staying there,’ there are a few factors that override things. Some of the things that Jay did between last night and today are those factors that solidify our thoughts.”
Q: Was there any talk about trading up and getting a certain guy you liked?
MZ: “You’d have to talk to Marvin about those things. I’m not privy to those conversations.”
Q: With what you have now, where does Dunlap fit into your schemes?
MZ: “We need to get a better pass rush. That’s one of the areas where we hopefully can get him worked into — in pass-rush situations. One of the things that sold us on him was that he is a guy that has so much position versatility. We think he might be a 290- to 300-pounder someday. If we can use him in pass-rush situations and let him adapt to where we can find the right position for him a year from now, then we’ve really got something.”
Q: Is he stout against the run?
JH: “He’s adequate. What you see with this guy — with a lot of long, tall guys like this — is he has good leverage. He plays with good pad level, knee bend, things like that. There’s no question that he needs to get stronger. But he plays at a different level than a shorter, smaller guy. John Madden always said, ‘Always give me a big guy.’ We definitely have that in he and Michael (Johnson). Like Mike (Zimmer) is saying, when you go back and look at this man at 280 pounds right now, you relate him to Calais Campbell, who plays at Arizona and came out as a 295-pound guy. He was 6-foot-7. This kid (Dunlap) is not as heavy as him, but he could eventually be a 305-pound guy that has a lot of versatility to be a left end on first and second down and a defensive tackle on third down. If he keeps growing, we could have ourselves a really exceptional three-technique player with great athletic ability. He has a lot of things ahead of him, and it’s exciting to have guys like this come in.”
Q: Will you start him out at defensive end?
MZ: “Yeah, we’ll probably start him at end right now — probably left end — and then go from there. What’s (Gerald) McCoy from Oklahoma — 6-5, 285? We think this guy, hopefully, will look like that someday.”
Q: What do you think about coming to Cincinnati?
CD: “I feel like it’s a really good fit for me. I love the way their defense plays.”
Q: What do you love about the way their defense plays?
CD: “They get after it. They come out and play with tenacity.”
Q: How much of the Bengals did you see last year?
CD: “I saw two or three games, and their defense always showed up.”
Q: How did the meeting go with coach Zimmer and coach Hayes?
CD: “It went really well. Everyone is excited to get me there and get started.”
Q: You had the DUI charge back in December. The Bengals seem to be convinced it was a one-time mistake. What have you done to ensure them that is the case?
CD: “That was the only incident I’ve ever had on my record. I never had anything before that, and I won’t ever have any more. I feel like I learned from it, and I’m ready to move forward and turn that negative into a positive.”
Q: Did you worry about your draft stock as a result of the DUI?
CD: “I thought it might affect my draft stock, but right now I’m just happy to be a Bengal.”
Q: Do you think it’s fair that some say you take plays off and don’t always give maximum effort?
CD: “They are going to say a lot of things. I know I need to work on a lot, so I’m just using the talk as motivation and I look forward to proving a lot of people wrong. That’s all I can do.”
Q: How much do you think playing at a big-time program like Florida will help you in the NFL?
CD: “I feel like it will help a lot. I’m excited to see what the coaches have planned for me, and I’m ready to get started.”
Q: The Bengals have another tall defensive end named Michael Johnson. Are you excited to see how you guys compliment one another?
CD: “I’m excited to get there and get to know my teammates and coaches.”
Q: Where are you more comfortable, playing on the end, or inside as a tackle?
CD: “I like being on the end, but I can play both, so it doesn’t really matter to me.”
Q: You came out early. What convinced you that it was time to leave Florida?
CD: “I talked with family and the (Florida) coaching staff, and the consensus was it was time for me. My goal is to become the best professional athlete there is, so in order for me to do that, I had to get to the professional level.”