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Everything Zac Taylor, Lou Anarumo and Dan Pitcher Had To Say After Draft Night 2


Head coach



Defensive coordinator



Offensive coordinator

During this process, what stood out about Jermaine Burton? We saw your reaction after you got the pick in, and clearly you were excited ...

Taylor: "Yeah, we think he's a great receiver. Both these guys we're about to talk about, we used every exposure we could to get to know them better. Top-60 at the Combine, 30 visit here in our facility — we wanted to get a chance to talk to them face to face, learn more about them, and felt really comfortable with these guys. Specifically about Jermaine, the tape jumps out at you. We love the tape, we got to know the person and we feel really good about the pick."

There's a background with Jermaine and the incident that happened with the Tennessee field storming. What was your discussion like on that, and how did that get talked down in the room?

Taylor: "Yeah, it went straight. It was something that we talked about with him just to hear what he had to say about it. Again, we did our research on all these guys that we've talked to and made sure we're aware of every incident they've been a part of. There's certainly maturity things that come with some of these guys coming out of these colleges, and that's one of the things he'll continue to grow with."

What about the answers he gave you throughout the process made you comfortable with the pick?

Taylor: "We felt good. We picked him today. We felt good about our interactions with these guys."

What about McKinnley Jackson stood out and why'd you like him here at this spot?

Taylor: "He's a guy we've talked a lot about. He fits a good spot for us. Three hundred thirty-pound nose guard — there's not a lot of those in the draft. He's a guy that we had rated highly, and he was sitting right there for us in the third round, so it was the right spot to take him. That was a guy we felt really good about getting in here."

You were thinking you might get two defensive tackles in this draft, and you get them both tonight. How big of a surprise is that, and how does it change you?

Anarumo: "You add a big nose (tackle) that we needed. You added the athletic guy in (Kris) Jenkins earlier, so we just really added some depth to that room, which we needed, and feel good about both players. They both have different skill sets, but they fit us very well."

Is McKinnley Jackson he a pure nose tackle, or is he a guy that can move around?

Anarumo: "He's played a little bit of everything, but he's really a two-down nose, is kind of what he is. But he has played across the board, but his home is closer to the ball — shade, nose, zero nose — those type of things."

How does Jermaine Burton fit alongside Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins?

Pitcher: "He'll fit great. He's explosive. That's really our job now, is how do we mix and match those skill sets, but what he brings to the table with regard to the threat that he's going to pose to the defense, how are they going to have to respect all three of those players and the explosiveness they bring. We'll figure that part out, but he'll take care of the hard part which is separating from defenders and catching the football."

Can he play inside?

Pitcher: "Sure, absolutely."

Taylor: "I think really with both these picks, they've allowed a lot of flexibility in those rooms — receiver room, D-tackle room. We've got a lot of guys that can play football. Even outside of the guys that we talk about as starters necessarily, now we've got an opportunity to find roles for a lot of different people and we feel like we've got a lot of talent in both those rooms, which is exciting."

With the explosion of Jermaine Burton, was it a lot of over-the-top stuff, or is he kind of a catch, break a tackle, and YAC guy?

Taylor: "All of the above. Well-rounded tape, super competitive, plays with a lot of energy. I didn't have any drops on his tape this year. (He )goes and fights for the ball, shows a lot of different things that he can do outside and inside, finishes plays in the end zone. I really like his competitiveness and his energy, and I'm excited to get him in that receiver room with us."

It was a deep receiver class. How many receivers put out that type of film that he did?

Taylor: "We've had a high like for him since the start of this process. We go through a process, especially with these receivers, where we've got a lot of former quarterbacks and receiver guys, so there's as many opinions on these guys as possible, I think in any position we've got. We extensively watch these guys many, many times and came away with a lot of love for his game."

Jermaine Burton averaged over 18 yards per catch in four years in the SEC. How rare is that?

Pitcher: "He's a legitimate 'take the top off' deep threat, but that's not all he does. He's a threat over the middle of the field, he separates on abrupt breaking routes, he finishes on the football in difficult situations. He's a complete player."

Can Jermaine Burton play in the slot?

Pitcher: "He's played in the slot. He'll have an opportunity to do that for us here. As I mentioned before, we'll mix and match those guys. That's the fun part. We'll create mismatches and he'll be a good player for us."

How much comfort is there having Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins show Jermaine Burton how to be a pro considering some of the off-the-field questions?

Taylor: "I think we've got a really good setup for any of these guys coming from college that need a chance to see how a pro handles themselves and what they do, and that's why we built it the way we can. Again, I have high expectations for these guys we just drafted to come in and be a pro immediately, but I've also got so much respect for Troy Walters. I could go through, as I think in my head, every receiver in that room is going to impact guys the right way and affect them in a very positive way. I think that's pretty rare to be able to say that, but I can go from top to bottom. It's turned into one of the deepest receiver rooms in the league with talent and with character, so I'm excited about that group."

Why was getting a true nose tackle important?

Taylor: "I don't think you ever go wrong adding to your defensive line. As a head coach, as an offensive play caller that faces these guys every week, and you have to prepare for them, depth at defensive tackle, defensive end is critical. If you don't have it, if all of a sudden you come up short, it doesn't matter what's going on behind it. I think that's the number one thing to take the pressure off the back seven, is to add to your defensive line and we had the opportunity to do that today. It makes me sleep a lot better at night."

Some years you draft more developmental players. Through these first three rounds, how do you assess their potential to come in and contribute right away?

Taylor: "They all have the potential to do that. They all have to compete. They're not leapfrogging anybody. Again, I feel really good about the position groups we're adding them to, and the guys in those rooms are going to fight like crazy. We've got guys who are starters in those rooms, and guys who we've drafted and developed that are still going to compete to beat these guys out. I think it's going to be tremendous competition for us. That's the best way to build your team is through competitiveness at the position."

How do you feel about your depth at cornerback? Will that be a position you'll look to add to tomorrow?

Anarumo: "We'll look into everything. I feel good about it right now. We've got multiple picks tomorrow, so we'll see how it all shakes out. But I'm excited about what we've done so far, for sure."

McKinnley Jackson was a two-time captain. Talk about those intangibles that he and Kris Jenkins bring ...

Anarumo: "Anytime you're getting these guys that come from major universities and their teammates pick them as a leader, it says a lot about them. It's another piece to the puzzle and we're glad that we're able to get both of those guys that are both, as you mentioned, captains."

Nick Saban seemed excited on the ABC broadcast about the Jermaine Burton pick. Did you talk to him?

Taylor: "No, I did not talk to Coach Saban. Tommy (Rees) works for Cleveland. I don't think he was going to give me great insight."