COURTESY OF JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
Dave Caldwell: (opening statement) "We went on this journey, and we looked for guys that would fit our team, not only athletically, but we got two tremendous athletes. Guys that really fit the mold of what we look in a corner. C.J. (Henderson) can cover. We believe he can take a team's number one receiver [away] because of his athleticism and his speed. He's a great young man. He's all about football. Same with Mr. (K'Lavon) Chaisson. He's a tremendous, tremendous team-guy. Six-three, 265 pounds. We feel like he can bring a presence on the edge. He can set the edge as a very good run defender. You see him against big SEC tackles, locking guys out. We'll play him probably in a 2-point stance and then he'll be our rusher opposite of Josh (Allen) and Yannick (Ngakoue) and we'll go from there."
Doug Marrone: (opening statement) "I just think as a coach, you go through the draft and the situation we're in with the virus and not being able to go out, so you rely on a lot of things. A lot of our assistant coaches spoke to the coaches on both staffs at LSU and Florida. I personally spoke to assistants on both staffs and (Florida Head) Coach (Dan) Mullen and (LSU Head) Coach (Ed) Orgeron, who I have a relationship with. Coach Orgeron and I worked together. Dan was a GA at Syracuse a long time ago when Coach (Paul) Pasqualoni was there, so you have the connection that way. I think as a coach, you feel really comfortable. You can see the athlete and you can see what they do on the field and you love it with the skills that they have, but to talk to their coaches and to find out what type of people they are, what motivates them, how they are in the locker room, I couldn't be happier about where we are right now. Our team is excited. I talked to a couple of the players on our team, [and they're] excited about the direction that we're [headed] in. They're excited about their new teammates. I think that's important. Who we're bringing in, we still have that responsibility trying to create this locker room. We're going to have a young football team, but I feel like these two guys are going to be great contributors for us."
DM: (on how important these two draft picks were from a locker room standpoint) "Is it big? Absolutely. Is this something that we've stressed? Yes. But we were able to do that without sacrificing the talent or potential. I just want to make sure that we felt, when you say, 'You hit on everything.' These guys are talented. They have great potential playing in this league. They have good production, and we feel like they're going to come here and do a great job, and then the character and the way they're going to be with their teammates. I really feel like we've hit a homerun with those two, and I feel like our players – Jawaan Taylor, he knows C.J. That was a big thing for me. I can't speak for scouts, coaches or anything else. Their relationship -- and they had been teammates -- and what type of teammate C.J. is. It was great to hear from Jawaan. DJ Chark [Jr.] with K'Lavon, what type of person, what kind of teammate he's going to be. There's [some] players in our locker room that know these players, and that's important for me to get a sense of, 'Hey, are these guys going to fit? Are they what we're looking for?' They understand the challenges we have as a team. 'How are they going to be there?' I was very comfortable with that, and I think we hit on everything, like you said."
DC: (on taking players from the SEC) "I don't necessarily look at it just because they're in the SEC. They play at a high level at one of the highest, best conferences in the league. When you look at K'Lavon and who he goes against at offensive tackle and the two guys from Georgia who went in the first round and how he fared against them, and the Oklahoma game. He played well throughout the whole year. The same with C.J. The receivers that he's gone against in the SEC are second-to-none in college football this year. Both of those guys have gone against the best competition and have fared very well. On top of their physical skillset, which is very unique in terms of their size, their speed, their athleticism, their play temperament. They're all about football. They're all about team, and we look forward to having both of those guys."
DM: (On the character of the two players the team drafted and how it compares to past and current players) "I think the one thing that is clear is we are not looking at it and comparing C.J. Henderson and comparing him to anyone we have had, whether it be Jalen [Ramsey] or A.J. Bouye or comparing K'Lavon [Chaisson] to anyone on our team or anyone, like Calais [Campbell], that is not around. What I will say is we lost players at those positions, so when you look at what we were looking for, we were fortunate in my opinion … Sometimes when you get in there as a coach, and I'm talking to Dave [Caldwell] and it is, 'What are we going to do in the secondary? What are we going to do to create the pass rush that we need to be successful?' You start looking and then all of a sudden you have these guys that fill in from a talent standpoint. That is the one thing. I don't want these two players from a situation of, 'Well, you know what. Jacksonville went ahead and they took two guys that are really great guys, but they may not be talented.' We feel that we have gotten great talent, guys that can produce at positions that we needed, but we did not have to go and take them [out of position]. They were the highest rated players on our board when we were going to go and pick. We even went into it … I don't know how much Dave wants to talk about this, but we went into it thinking neither of those players might be there when we pick. We felt very fortunate with C.J. [Henderson] and then we really didn't think K'Lavon [Chaisson] would be there and then when a couple picks went before, we realized, 'Hey, we might have a chance to get him.' That was outstanding. I'm excited about that and like I said before, we're going to have a young team. Everyone knows that. I am excited about that. I think people tend to think you want veteran players and there are a lot of great veteran players that are going to come in that have relationships with players on our team and the players on our team are potential team leaders, I think that is a home run. That is a great thing for us."
DC: (On how great it felt for C.J. Henderson to be available at No. 9) "We looked it at No. 9 and No. 20 and who do we feel comfortable taking at No. 9 if we didn't take C.J. and who would be there at 20. We felt like there could be some corners at 20 that we liked, but we didn't like as much as C.J. obviously. You heard different takes across the league of some teams liking C.J. as the best corner in the draft and we certainly feel he has the upside to be that in time. When you look at No. 42 where we are picking in the second round, we felt that those guys were gone and sure enough as you saw a little run here late in the first round, all of the guys we were looking at No. 42 are pretty much gone. We are happy to get C.J. and add a pass rusher at No. 20. Historically, if you feel like the pass rusher can play the run and play the pass and in K'Lavon's case, also cover, too. This is a guy that is really multifaceted, and we can play in some 3-4 looks obviously with Josh Allen and him and I think he offers a bunch of versatility on our defense with those two guys and Yannick [Ngakoue]."
DC: (On if there was a consideration on taking an offensive tackle at No. 9 because three of the top four were available) "I think the one that we may have considered was probably gone at the time."
DC: (on if he was tempted to take a receiver with the ninth pick) "We liked some receivers there. If C.J. was gone, we kicked around possibly K'Lavon being that pick at nine but also a receiver or two would have came in play if he was gone. We just followed our board and followed the best player that we felt was available at a position of need. We've heard for the last year that this is the deepest receiver draft and we know that there are going to be receivers all across the board as the draft goes on."
DM: (on if the addition of K'Lavon Chaisson adds to defensive versatility) "The thing about K'Lavon Chaisson that I really love is that he can play that SAM linebacker position in base downs and he can rush the quarterback. He can rush the quarterback from a 2-point stance, and you could argue whether he's a better rusher out of a 3-point stance. The one thing that I see is a really good future. I see a guy that's a speed guy. Everyone knows that the best pass rush comes in waves, so we've got three guys that can rush the passer now. We have three guys that can play the zone read stuff when they're trying to really put the pressure on those defensive ends. K'Lavon can play special teams for us, too. There's so much he can contribute because of his height, weight, speed and what he can do. But make no mistake about it, I look at him and people were talking like, 'Well you know, sacks are whatever they may be.' And I'm like, 'The one thing about this guy right here is that he has speed.' He has an unbelievable spin move. I think the speed… the power is going to come and become better. I think once that comes, he can be a dominant rusher in this league. The one thing I do think is that, when you watch the film in our league, I think he can get a lot of penalties, meaning he is quick and fast, and he gets on the edge of those guys. We think he's going to be a really productive player for us."
DC: (on C.J. Henderson's tackling and speed and whether he can be a punt or kickoff returner) "I'm sure with his speed, he could do that. I think for us, if he's going to be corner no. 1 or corner no. 2, we probably won't use him in that facet. As far as his tackling goes, I think it was good at the college level. Obviously, those guys have room to grow, but his coverage ability far outweighed any deficiency he may or may not have had as a tackler."
DC: (on if the draft options at defensive tackle are deep enough to find an option on Day 2 or 3 if he felt like there was a need) "Yeah, if we felt like there was a need, I'm sure we could."
DM:(on what sold him the most on C.J. Henderson) "I really feel like you have someone that you could put on a no. 1 receiver, and the reason why I believe that is because C.J. has speed. Sometimes these no. 1 receivers may be smaller, fast guys. C.J. is big, also physical in press so you can put him on the bigger, stronger receivers, so I felt that he's a great fit, a guy that can truly be a no. 1 corner and can take guys out of the game. Because sometimes you get these corners that are really big and strong, but they get these fast guys and sometimes they don't want to press them. C.J. is big and strong and he can run, and he has a ton of range and he has a ton of makeup speed and he has a ton of burst. You see these things when you watch the tape and you realize for yourself, you say, 'OK, here's this player.' And I'm talking to [Defensive Coordinator Todd Wash] 'Washer' and I'm talking to [Secondary Coach – Cornerbacks] Tim Walton, and you say, 'Here's this guy and here are all these skills and this guy wants to be a great player and he's still going to develop.' It's not like anyone we're bringing in is ready-made. At the end of the day, we're looking at it, and not to go against anyone else that went before him or anyone else who has been here before, but we feel he has the potential to be a true no. 1."
DC:(on if there was a specific game or play that really hammered home an interest in these two players) "For me, it's the body of work, and the body of work in those two guys and the level of competition they play and the receivers that C.J. has had to go against, a lot of Alabama and LSU, tremendous receivers. For me, his coverage ability and the ability to man-up and really shut guys down, for me coming in and out of breaks and watching him stay in a receiver's hip pocket, and some of the best receivers in college football. As far as Mr. Chaisson goes, it was more about how much better he got as the year went on and how he played in those last four or five games when it really mattered. I really felt like he's just scratching the surface. He's a guy with good length, great athleticism and really watching him against Georgia and later in the year against Clemson, he really started to come on."
DM: (on if there was a specific game or play that really hammered home an interest in these two players) "I think everyone watches films or writes up prospects differently, so I can't speak for anyone else, but I usually, I like to throw away the best game, throw out the worst game and then try to see where this player is. I also like to look at games from the beginning, the middle of the season and the end of the season to see the progress that the player has made knowing that early on, there may be some things you make mistakes about, but having shown the ability to learn from those mistakes and get better. I've seen both players develop throughout the season as they went along, whether it's technique or what they wanted to do differently or playing different areas of what they wanted to do. 'Are their hands developing? Is their press technique developing?' Those are the things I looked at and I think when you're talking about taking players early, you've got to talk about production. You're going to talk about, 'Hey, has C.J. been able to shut receivers down,' which he's done at a consistent level. Is K'Lavon going to be able to beat offensive tackles at a consistent level? And that's what you have to study, because sometimes numbers don't always tell the truth. You look at how many times, K'Lavon for example, how many times he's winning [but doesn't end in results] because the quarterbacks are getting rid of the ball. For me, I'm looking at a guy that's winning. I think both those players, the irony of it is that if C.J. can cover that no. 1 receiver and K'Lavon can rush and beat that guy and make that quarterback hold that ball for one second, that can be a pretty good combination for those two guys."
DC:(on how the communication worked for the virtual draft with all the new technology and if he was surprised that there weren't more trades in round one) "I would say the virtual draft went very smooth. As far as the wheeling and dealing, I don't think [technology] had anything to do with it; I really don't. I felt like there, with how the board came off, it was kind of how we expected it, for the most part. The top 20 players we thought were going to be the top 20 players. There were really no surprises in those top 20 players."
DC:(on if he will get more nervous during the draft or if he's more comfortable after going through it) "I feel much more comfortable, as a matter of fact. I was talking and putting picks in, and we had picks in by about six and a half, seven minutes to go, and that was with talking to a few teams about trades. I felt like we should be able to get it done if we need to get it done."
DC:(on the amount of potential trade activity at the 9th and 20th picks) "At pick nine, I was getting a lot of activity before the pick, then once eight went off, I felt like teams were maybe trying to trade up for [now Arizona Cardinals DB/LB] Isaiah Simmons, it seemed like. Then once he went off, that kind of died out. At pick 20, I had one team reach out to me that had given me an offer, and that was about it."
DC:(on if the goal will be to address the offensive side of the football tomorrow after going defense with the first two of the team's selections in this year's draft) "I don't feel like there is pressure to do so. We do feel like Gardner [Minshew] does have weapons. We do have one Pro Bowl receiver. We have a former Pro Bowl tight end that we acquired [in Tyler Eifert]. We have a young tight [in Josh Oliver] that's going into his second year that we think has a high ceiling. We did have a running back that was sixth in the league in yards from scrimmage last year, and we have a really good slot receiver [in Dede Westbrook] and two other receivers in Keelan Cole and Chris Conley on the other side. From a skill position, we're better than what we had when we went to the AFC Championship Game in 2017, if you look at what we were playing with at that point in time."
DC:(on if there are any changes to the Yannick Ngakoue situation and if the report on a potential trade with Oakland was accurate) "No, it wasn't. As far as that goes, I try not to comment too much on the situation. I try to be very pragmatic about it. Truth be told, we exercised the franchise tender. We weren't able to get a trade. Actually, weren't even really able to get an offer. So, I think his options are very limited at this point in time. We'll welcome him back with open arms when he's ready to come back and we look forward to it. Yann, for the people on this call and who have been around him realize he is a tremendous player, tremendous person, has always been first-class in everything he's done here in the locker room and through his time here, the first four years of his contract. Obviously, he feels things have not gone the way he wanted and, in some aspects, he may have a point. But we put our best foot forward not once, but twice. I hope he sees the light that Jacksonville is a good spot and it could, at the end of the day, be his only option."