Dawson, Kroft, Fisher News Conference Transcript

NFL DRAFT
Saturday, May 2, 2015
at Paul Brown Stadium

Cincinnati Bengals
news conference transcripts

ROUNDS 2, 3a AND 3b
FISHER/KROFT/DAWSON VISITS

JAKE FISHER
Offensive tackle, Oregon
and
TYLER KROFT
Tight end, Rutgers
and
PAUL DAWSON
Linebacker, Texas Christian

So ... do you guys like your numbers?
    Kroft: "Oh, yes."
    Fisher: "Absolutely."

Paul, anyone who plays football dreams about this moment being here holding up a jersey after being drafted. What has this moment been like for you so far?
    Dawson: "This moment is special for me. I'm blessed to be here and I'm ready to work. Did you hear me good (laughs)?"

Do you know former TCU and now Bengals starting quarterback Andy Dalton well?
    Dawson: "We hung out when I visited here. We sat down and chatted a little bit. He usually comes back to TCU to work out sometimes, so we just chat it up every time we see each other."

What's some of that conversation been like? What has he said to you?
    Dawson: "(We've talked about) just small things like workouts ... Making sure you're on the right track."

The way college offenses have evolved, you're facing so many different types of offenses on a regular basis. How do you think that's changed for linebackers and made them adapt?
    Dawson: "You've got to be able to open up and move in space, really. You got to be able to run from sideline to sideline. You've got to be that three-down player."

Tyler, how much does it helped you that your role at Rutgers changed last year in showing teams you could be versatile?
    Kroft: "I think it helped a lot because, in the offseason, I had to focus on blocking, and also, my goal is to be a three-down tight end. That's something I really want to do. So having that experience, especially being in the Big 10 and being able to hold my own against some of the bigger, stiffer competition, it paid dividends for me this year."

You seemed to really hit it off with Bengals tight ends coach Jonathan Hayes. What was the connection like?
    Kroft: "I don't know — I just feel like he's a great coach, and when I feel like a great man is talking, I feel like I should try and take in whatever he is saying. I think we hit it off pretty quickly, and I'm excited to be here. He's got the experience there too, which always helps."

Jake, you're coming into a situation where there were a lot of tackles taken ahead of you including your new teammate in Bengals 2015 first round pick Cedric Ogbuehi. How do you view this competition so far?
    Fisher: "It's a competition in (and of) itself, but our group is unique where we have to work together and have a mind of one (unit). So coming in, just earning trust or earning respect, putting your head down and working is all you can really do."

Have you talked to Cedric Ogbuehi yet?
    Fisher: "We just introduced ourselves in the back. I met him at the combine and spoke with him there, and I'm excited to have a guy I go into this thing with and have a brother there (in the locker room), too."

What was your visit like here?
    Fisher: "Very exciting. We talked about football, did the visit as usual. But to have a team excited about you as a player and a person makes a difference. Coming into a different program where it's kind of basic (and) they're not telling you much information, it makes for a dull moment. But it was exciting here, and I'm happy to be here right now."

Did you get to meet any of the other tackles that are on the roster here?
    Fisher: "No sir. No, they were not around."

Do you like the idea of unlike other high draft picks having to have to show up here on day one and be thrust into playing right away?
    Fisher: "Not really. I'm going to show up on day one and take it as it is — take it a day at a time — but whatever happens, happens. I'm just (going to be) working with the guys that I'm with, be coachable and be a good teammate. That's all I can do."

Jake, how would you describe your personality?
    Fisher: "Personality-wise, it's kind of hard to describe yourself, huh? I'm quiet when I need to be quiet. I'm loud when I need to be loud. I get the job done. I'm a worker. I think that's what this coaching staff liked. I'm versatile. I can do anything that they want me to do, and I'm a good teammate. I think that's what really matters."

Paul , is it a little bit different for you being on defense personality-wise at all?
    Dawson: "Being a defensive player, you've got to be the aggressor. You have to be real confident, and then you can mix it up. I feel like I'm very confident, and I'm going to work, too. I'm going to be quiet when it's time to learn, and I'm just going to come in ready to work."

Tyler, you had a year of eligibility left in college. What made you decide to come out early and enter this year's draft?
    Kroft: "I kind of evaluated everything I had done throughout my career at Rutgers. I was a fourth-year junior, so I did still have one year of eligibility as I redshirted when I got there. But I think my experience of being more of a flanker tight end moving all over the field — not last season, but the season before — and then last year ... I really moved into a true wide position. I think having the experience with both tight end styles really helped me. I also evaluated the class and myself and where I thought I would stack up against them, and I had a lot of people that I talked to — old coaches and friends and teammates I'd been around for a while. I really weighed all opinions."

You were rather light in terms of your weight when you first got to Rutgers, right?
    Kroft: "Yeah, I was around 210 when I got there, and I've steadily put on about 10 pounds every year (since)."

Your stock seemed to rise since December. Do you think the scouting combine or your pro day helped in that?
    Kroft: "Yeah, I think it was a combination of both. When I was at the combine, I didn't get to work out because I was recovering from a high ankle sprain, so being able to really meet the teams and interact, I think that part of it really helped me — being there, being able to show kind of who I am and not just (relying) on the tape. And then on my pro day, I felt I did pretty well. I feel I ran well and did the drills well also. So the combination of the two really helped."

Paul, you were projected to go a little higher in the draft. Are you mad about that, and will you use that as motivation?
    Dawson: "I'm not mad. Every team has their guy that they want, or the guy that they feel will come in and fulfill their needs, so everything worked out. I feel I'm going to be a great fit here. I feel I could be a day-one starter here. I'm just blessed to be here."

Paul, there were some people on TV last night who said you might be the best linebacker in this draft. Do you feel that you are the best linebacker, and if so, why?
    Dawson: "Absolutely."

Why?
    Dawson: "Well, numbers don't lie, and just based off the stats, compared to the other linebackers like the second highest drafted (guy at my position), I think my numbers are double his, and I just have the confidence. I played with that confidence in my last year, and I just feel like I'm that guy."

What do you think your best position is out of the three linebacker spots?
    Dawson: "I'll say probably WILL, which I'll probably be playing here — being able to roam and chase the ball."

The Bengals have a pretty good guy in that spot already ...
    Dawson: "(I'll enjoy) great competition."

Jake, were you surprised the Bengals drafted you, considering they had just drafted a guy that plays your position a round earlier with their first selection?
    Fisher: "A little bit. We had talks and conversations about me going at No. 21 (overall) and Cedric got that (spot), and I was just hoping for an opportunity after that, whichever team picked me up. But God has a plan for me and my family to come here, and once it happened, I was extremely blessed."

Is it true you drive a Volkswagen Bug?
    Fisher: "For three months of college, I had to, yeah (laughs)."

What do you mean you "had to?"
    Fisher: "Financially, it was the smart decision."

Did you fit in that thing?
    Fisher: "No, which is why I got rid of it (laughter)."

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