RE: JONATHAN DWYER
Running Back - Georgia Tech
6th Round – 188th Overall
This guy seems to have more going for him than a sixth-round pick. Why did he last so long?
That's up to the decision makers on the other 31 teams, but we saw enough in him that we liked and interests us. And we're going to give him a chance to fulfill his dreams.
He's got some confidence, doesn't he?
Yeah, he's a good kid. Not often do you find 230-pound halfbacks with his ability with the ball in his hands. He's an interesting guy. And we're going to give him every opportunity to fulfill his dreams, like I said.
We asked him about his style and who would he remind us of. He said he didn't really have a style, then said Walter Payton.
Well, what he is, is he's a 230-pounder. With the ball in his hand, he has good plant strength. He's aggressive when he has the ball in his hands. And he's got some savvy to him in terms of, he's had a lot of opportunities to run the football in college. He's a workhorse-type of running back, and he should excel at the next level as a runner. He's got some other things he's going to need to work on, but he does have some natural running ability. Again, when you are 230 pounds, that is a plus and that can't be taught.
What are the things that he needs to work on?
He's like most running backs. He'll have to learn the passing game and the protections and blitz pickups and things of that nature. He's going to have to learn a two-point stance all over again. He's been down for so long. I think I went back over a two-year span and he's got six snaps where he's lined up in an I-formation. So, it's going to be relearning for him. It's like getting back on a bicycle and starting all over again.
Were you surprised he was here this late in the draft?
No, not really. I think that most people had him projected somewhere in this area. I think that some of the earlier reports had him going much higher. But I think as the evaluation period went on, you started to see the things that he needed to work on; that he was not a finished product. Because when you talk about taking a guy in the first round [or] second round, that guy has to be darned-near a finished product, and is able to step out on the football field from Day 1 and probably be your starter.
When you take a guy who worked in an option offense, does it make it harder to judge what he can do?
That's a very good question because just like [when] a quarterback is in a spread formation and he has some things that he needs to relearn and adjust to, the same goes for a running back that comes from that type of offense. In this particular offense, he's in a three-point stance 97 percent of the time and your reads aren't the same. You are going to be given the ball and told "run here." And then, after that, the instincts take over. As opposed to when you are in an I-formation [in a] two-point stance, seven yards back, you are able to get the ball, read the defense, have a key and then make an initial movement off of that first key. So it is a big difference. And it will be an adjustment period for him.
In their offense, did he have to block a lot and catch passes a lot?
No, he did not have those opportunities. They were very limited and very [few and] far between. But that's not a knock against him because that was the offensive system that he came from. You saw some of those things down at Indianapolis in the combine. He is capable. As I said earlier, he will have to have some work and develop like most running backs coming out of college. But, him, more so because of the offense that he's coming from.
Can you talk about your running back situation in general? You have Rashard [Mendenhall] and Mewelde [Moore], but not a lot of experience behind them. Would you like to see another veteran come in, or are you comfortable letting the young guys slug it out?
We've talked about it earlier. We're going to carry seven running backs, it sounds like – fullbacks and halfbacks combined – going into training camp. We like our room. We like the potential that's in our room. There is some concern because you lost a player of Willie [Parker]'s high ability. So you're looking at, how do we replace that production? That's where the scouting department comes in and that's where the evaluation process of good runners like this kid. You hope that he can come in and just pick up right away from that standpoint and then develop into those other things that you need him to do.
Do you have a fullback right now?
Right now, we have Frank Summers that is going to be the fullback in my room. And in addition, we've also used in the past D.J. [David Johnson] and we've also used Sean [McHugh] in those roles as well. So we think we've got enough pieces. Heath Miller has done that over the last 2-3 years.
Is Frank [Summers] doing both, or is he strictly a fullback?
He's doing both and that's what he's practicing right now; both fullback and halfback.
He mentioned that he has ADD and he flunked a drug test, but everything was okay. Is there not worry about his health issue that he's had?
No concerns at all. The scouting department and Kevin Colbert sat us down a few days ago and by detail and very thoroughly went through that process and what that medication was for. He has been cleared. There is nothing to look into that. So he's ready to go.
Last year in camp, [Isaac] Redman was a camp sensation in many ways. What are your thoughts on him?
First of all, he came from a program that really didn't have the facilities and the resources to get him prepared to where he needed to be as an NFL player. So, therefore, he struggled early in camp and throughout the preseason with his conditioning and football awareness. But, I think since he's been in the program now and gone through this offseason, he's going to be where he needs to be – and that is at a professional level, to prepare to play running back in the National Football League. So I think we'll see a different player and we'll see a guy that is capable of running the football in this league, as well as possibly doing some spot fullback work for us.