Initial comments:ML: "With the selection of (Geno) Atkins (DT, Georgia), we add depth and ability as an interior pass rusher. He's very explosive in his play. He plays hard and chases the football. With Rod Muckelroy (LB, Texas), it's the same thing defensively. He adds depth to the outside linebacker position and will help us in that area. Both guys have been very productive college football players and played hard. It's a good fit for us."
Q: There's going to be some competition in training camp at D-line and linebacker:ML: "We've added some competitive depth, and I think that will help us. We've got some fresh young guys and an opportunity to make us better as a team. Now we'll try to address some concerns on the other side of the ball."
Q: You seem to be keeping with the big school theme:ML: "That's kind of the way that it worked out, particularly with (Roddrick) Muckelroy. He started at the University of Texas for three seasons and was very productive."
Q: He seems to have a very serious approach to the game:ML: "Yes. He's been a good player that way. Entering the NFL, he has a lot of opportunity to get better. He's an unfinished product."
Q: To your point of being an unfinished product, Roddrick has room to grow physically and improve:ML: "I think he can transform his body a little bit. He's 235, almost 240 pounds and can continue to grow that way. He's got good measurable. He'll continue to get better."
Q: In order to fit him into your system, you probably don't want him (Roddrick Muckelroy) to come in as finished product:ML: "We want to fit him into the way we play. He'll have some versatility position wise. Coming into the NFL, particularly where we picked him, you want him to have some versatility. He'll bring an ability to compete and show that he can be a core player on special teams and at the linebacker position."
JAY HAYES Defensive line coach
Q: Geno (Atkins) is kind of a small who plays with a chip on his shoulder:JH: "He's not small. He's short. He's a 298-pound guy who runs a 4.8 and benched 34 times at the combine. He's strong. His father was a heck of a player in this league. This kid has a legacy behind him. He's known what the NFL is like from an early age. He's quick and uses his hands well. That's why we project him of being a guy that can help us in that area."
Q: Since sophomore year, from a numbers standpoint, his production hasn't been there:JH: "It hasn't, but their team has been down a little bit and I don't know particularly why that is. When we saw him at the Senior Bowl, and he was very productive and had a very good week of practice. You see that on film throughout his career. At this point in the draft, we thought he was a great buy."
Q: How much did his Senior Bowl help him in the draft?JH: "It helped."
JEFF FITZGERALD Linebackers coach
Q: Muckelroy played very well during his time at Texas:JF: "Yes, he has. He's a good player. The qualities that have been mentioned about what he is – I agree with every one of them. He plays primarily off the line of scrimmage, in the box. He's been a MIKE linebacker. He's played WILL for them. He really runs the show. The thing I was impressed with was the fact that when I interviewed him at the combine, we were talking football and I was trying to get a feel for his football knowledge. And that really lit him up. He was really excited. He was a guy who, all I had to do was ask a couple of questions and it was, 'Hey, time's up.' It was one of those deals (laughs). He went on and on, and told me about how the defense worked at Texas, and the calls that he made and what he was responsible for. He laid it out pretty completely.
"So I felt very good about his football knowledge, and of course the workouts at the NFL Combine. I didn't have an opportunity to work him at Texas. But the combine work and everything that I've seen in my tape evaluations of him have been very positive. He's going to be a good guy in terms of the person to fit into our meeting room with the linebackers that we have on campus, at this point. I think it's going to be a good mix. Again, the versatility plan is going to be good. You want a guy that can do some different things, as Marvin mentioned earlier. He's a guy that's going to be capable of playing a couple of different positions."
Q: You always talk about how the mental part is so crucial for a linebacker. What part did that play in the decision of picking Muckelroy?JF: "No doubt, with the responsibility that the linebackers have. We're right in the middle of the defense, so we're as heavy as we can be in the pass game, as well as the run game. But it's the calls and adjustments that start to weigh guys down sometimes, mentally. You have to have guys that are savvy enough to be able to do that. When I say savvy, I mean once they learn how to do it, they have to do it. What I mean is they have to be audible about making the calls. They have to be correct. They have to be able to do these things, and still be able to do their job when the ball is snapped. So yeah, it's a big part of what we do. And we rely on the inside linebacker – the MIKE, specifically. Dhani (Jones) has taken a lot of that role for us. He's taken a little bit of pressure of the outside linebackers and all the calls they need to make, as well. So he's helped out a great deal, there. So again, he's a veteran, and the young guys we played with last year are young and learning, and will be able to do those things, in time. So yes, it's a definite factor."
Q: With some of the linebackers facing free agency one or two years down the road, did you take that into account when picking Muckelroy?JF: "Yeah. I think that's always a consideration. If you're looking down the road and looking on the long term, which everybody should be — not to give up the immediate — you do want to try to build your group so it stays perpetual. Here's a quick story: when I got here in '08, we had a lot of injuries at linebacker in '07, and we lost a lot of guys came in midstream. When I got here, we lost a lot of guys to free agency, and we had a lot of guys who hadn't played very much football here. And some of it was just temporary. So you can kind of see that we've had a really good rebuilding process going on here for the past three years, in terms of putting that group together. It's come together quite nice. Now, hopefully, if we continue on and be mindful of adding a quality guy as we go through the draft or free agency, it'll be a group that with the right type of guys we can carry on with, who aren't just the momentary stop-gap kind of guy."
Q: What do you think about being a Bengal?GA: "I think it's an honor and a privilege. I'm excited to get there and show what I can do."
Q: Did you expect to be picked today or yesterday?GA: "I expected to go today. That's what I've been hearing — that I was going to be on the borderline from the third round to the fourth round. I really expected to go today."
Q: Do you feel like you have something to prove?GA: "I do. A lot of people think I'm undersized and not a prototypical defensive tackle. Coming into the NFL, I think that I have a little chip on my shoulder."
Q: Your numbers these past two seasons weren't quite the same as your sophomore numbers:GA: "My sophomore year was a pretty extraordinary year for me. I tried to do a little something my senior year, but I guess I really couldn't get to those numbers again."
Q: Was there something different? Can you explain that?GA: "I don't think that there was anything different. Sometimes you are able to make a play and sometimes you're not. It's just how the game works, really."
Q: What do you think are your strengths as a player?GA: "My speed and my quickness — I'm pretty strong for my size — and my leverage."
Q: How much did the Bengals talk to you and work you out?GA: "They really didn't work me out. I didn't make any visits. It's not a surprise, but it felt like a surprise, really. I knew they needed a defensive line player, but I didn't talk (extensively) to anyone from the Bengals."
Q: Congratulations. How do you feel about being a Bengal?RM: "It feels good to be a Bengal. It has been a long process. It was a long journey for me. I'm glad to be on an NFL team."
Q: With former University of Texas teammate Jordan Shipley (Bengals third-round pick) here, will you two scout for apartments together?RM: "I don't know about that, but it will be fun to be together with two people (Shipley and second-year player Quan Cosby) that I have spent the last four or five years with. It will be a great experience."
Q: Do you know Jordan Shipley very well?RM: "Oh, yes. Jordan and I have spent the last five years together (at Texas). We are close friends. We always talk."
Q: Coach Jeff FitzGerald spoke about the conversation you had at the NFL Combine. What do you recall about that meeting?RM: "It was a great conversation. We were supposed to sit and talk for five to 10 minutes. We talked for 45 minutes. We talked about football. We talked about family. We talked about everything. It was the start of a pretty good relationship."
Q: How would you describe your game?RM: "I'm a player that's going to give it 100 percent on every play. I am not a two-down linebacker. I can play all three downs. I don't like coming off the field. I'm going to bring this same attitude to Cincinnati and put it on the field."
Q: What do you know about the Bengals linebacker group?RM: "There are a lot of good guys there. I had a chance to watch 'Hard Knocks' last year, and I had a chance to watch a couple of games (on TV). There are a lot of great guys up there that I can learn from."
Q: What did you think of defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer on "Hard Knocks"?RM: "He's a great guy. I'm pretty excited. I'm ready to get down there and learn the playbook, and learn from him."
Q: What did you enjoy the most about "Hard Knocks"? What stuck out the most to you?RM: "I was watching two-a-days. I got a chance to go inside the organization (through NFL Films/HBO) and to see what's goes on. I'm ready to see and feel that as a first-hand experience."
Q: Did you have a chance to talk with Zimmer at your pro day?RM: "I don't think I had a chance to talk to him during my pro day. There was a lot going on, and I didn't have a chance to sit down. I was ready to compete and show everybody that I was capable of getting the job done."
Q: How did you develop and grow during your three years as a starter at Texas?RM: "Getting into the playbook — learning not only what I was doing, but everything else that was going on defensively. Will Muschamp came in prior to the 2008 season and brought a new defense to the table. We knew he came in from having a chance to coach in the league (2006 Miami Dolphins). He brought that NFL mentality to it. I had an opportunity to learn a lot under him. He prepared me a lot to make this next job in my career."
Q: Was there anyone you shadowed or studied under when you came in as a freshman to Texas?RM: "When I first got there, one of the guys was Aaron Harris (2005 3rd team AP All-American). When I came in, he talked to me. He helped me understand what was going on when I was fresh out of high school. I really didn't know much, especially about how to practice in college. He was one of the guys who helped me out in that process."