Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz and linebackers coach Matt Burke met with the media to discuss Doug Hogue, their fifth-round selection in the 2011 NFL Draft. Via the Lions, here is a transcript of the media session:
"Doug Hogue - linebacker from Syracuse; former running back; a little bit under six-foot-three, 235. He ran well at the combine; a 4.6 guy; has an NFL skill set. Inexperienced at the position, but he's got a lot of potential and he's shown a lot of things when he's played linebacker at Syracuse. A little bit of a work in progress, but we think a guy that we can work with that fits exactly what we're looking for in a linebacker and has a chance to really develop for us; can be a special teams player and has the possibility to develop into a linebacker role also."
On reports that he is extremely raw:
"I don't think he's extremely raw. You can watch him do just about everything that you need him to do playing linebacker. Is he consistent? Probably not, but everything that you need him to do, he can do and has done in the last couple years. We think a lot of him. In order to draft him in the fifth round, we think a lot of him."
On if this is more of a need:
"No, not really. We were still sitting on the board as we looked. We had a group of about two or three guys that we talked about and he was the guy that made the most sense for us. He matched the profile that we were looking for; had the skill set that we were looking for; had some plays on tape that we were looking for. We'd done a lot of work with this player and I think the opportunity matched up with his availability."
On LB Doug Hogue:
"The biggest thing about Doug is that he fits our profile: size, weight, speed and all that stuff. He's a really athletic kid and he's only played linebacker for two years, he was a running back when he went to Syracuse, so we felt that transition... he's still a little bit raw, but that profile is exactly what we look for at that position and we feel that he can develop into a player for us. He's over 6-2, he's 235 and he can move. He plays in space a lot, he's walked in the slot, he covers ground, he can cover running backs and does all the sort of things that we look for in that position."
On whether he sees Hogue as a special teams guy first:
"I think that was another factor. I mean, I think we felt that he could come in and due to his athletic ability step in right away on (special) teams. Whether he develops sooner than that and helps us on defense or not, obviously remains to be seen. That's definitely a factor in bringing him in here."
On whether he still struggles with pass drops:
"No, he's a good space athlete actually. He's got a pretty good feel for some of the zone drops and as you're watching him on tape, as we were scouting him out, it was actually one of his strengths. He partly still needs to work on his physical play, again he just hasn't done a lot of that stuff. He played (strongside) for them his junior year and then switched to a (weakside)-type position where he's walked a lot at space this year; so he has a lot of work at that stuff, which again for the type of athlete we're looking for in that position, he actually fits pretty good."
On whether they worked him out:
"He worked (out) at the combine and I spent a lot of time with him there. In the unofficial interview I spent a lot of time with him, just talking football with him; so I got to know him a little bit that way."
On Hogue's weight:
"His combine weight I believe was 235. He's been maintaining that for much of the offseason, we've kind of been in touch with that. He played a little bit lighter - he was a running back and as he progressed he (increased weight). He worked out at the combine at 235 and literally ran a 4.60 at the combine."
On whether Hogue will play on the strong-side or weak-side:
"We play left and right, that's sort of our philosophy, partly because of looking for multi-dimensional players. If you train a guy who plays a SAM, and that's all he does, if something happens in a game - even tight ends shift in motion - now all of a sudden he has to play in that other spot.
"He has to practice a lot where it's probably a little bit harder initially because when you're playing right linebacker sometimes you're playing the SAM, sometimes you're playing the will, it depends on what formation comes at you, so it takes a little bit more learning early on in the process, but I think over the long haul it helps us out because the guys are a lot more diverse in terms of where they can play and what they can see. We don't have to worry about if one tight end flips and all of a sudden guys are running across the field. You've seen that we've had to deal with injuries over the years and had to plug guys in different spots, it helps our coaching and training a little bit."