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2012 NFL Draft: Martin Mayhew, Jim Schwartz Discuss Ronnell Lewis, Tahir Whitehead, Chris Greenwood Picks

Via the Detroit Lions, below is a transcript of what general manager Martin Mayhew and head coach Jim Schwartz had to say during a press conference following the Ronnell Lewis, Tahir Whitehead and Chris Greenwood picks on Saturday.


"We picked up some defensive guys, some special teams guys; all these guys have a defined role with our team.

"Ronnell Lewis, very physical guy; highest rated player on our board. We thought he could be a four-phase special teams guy for us. He's played some linebacker and some defensive end - Jim will talk about how we plan on using these guys.

"Tahir Whitehead, also a solid outside linebacker; solid kid, captain, leader, all of that stuff. Very good special teams player also.

"Then Chris Greenwood is more of a developmental prospect but also a very good special teams guy who's built that way and plays the game that way from what we've seen."

"So we feel good about all of those guys as far as helping our defense and special teams."

On whether they first saw CB Chris Greenwood at the local tryout here in Detroit: "Rob Lohman, who scouts that area, came back and raved about his physical talent and skill. We had him in for the private workout and he was just phenomenal; great guy. He had transferred to a couple different schools, but just really, really physically gifted.

"In talking with Gunther (Cunningham), he's one of those guys that, you know, we all go through this process and we have several guys in the draft who we like, everybody liked Chris Greenwood as a Lion. The guy just has some real skill set. Gunther was in Kansas City when they drafted Brandon Carr and he thought that this guy kind of reminded him of that process. Brandon Carr, obviously a Grand Valley kid. So he's a guy we really like."

On how the interest in Whitehead came about since Detroit hadn't had much contact with him: "We obviously scouted him throughout the season and we had really good grades on him. We did not meet with him at the combine, but he was a guy who we knew his football character and his background from the area scout. Like I said, he was a captain and leader on that football team and now he's going to fit in really nice here."

On how Greenwood's measurables stack up with other cornerbacks in the draft: "His measurables were off the chart. He's got height, he's got speed; his athleticism was something that really attracted us. A lot of guys are big and fast. This guy's movement and his skill level, his feet, quickness, all that stuff, this guy is a really, really good athlete.

"When you watch him on tape, you watch Albion, they don't challenge him very much, so it's sort of a projection and a developmental project, but we really like this guy's skills."


On where he plans on playing Ronnell Lewis: "The ‘hammer' position (laughter).

"He's a productive football player. He's a little short for our defensive ends, but that's where he played and he's been very productive. He's a good special teams player; he's been an impact special teams player at Oklahoma. Probably more of a defensive end, but he might find a hybrid-role somewhere. He's a really productive, really strong football player. He's got good straight-line speed."

On the impressions they got when talking to Lewis: "He played 8-man football in high school; we're talking about a guy from a small high school, but he was very highly recruited at Oklahoma. He's a little bit of a tweener when it comes to linebacker/defensive end, but the one thing he's not in-between on is being able to make plays. He's very good at that and he's very strong and we're very glad to get him."

On the importance of giving Lewis a defined role: "It's a little too early to really go too much with, but I think with all young players, that's part of their profile, limiting what's on their plate and letting them develop. So I think we'll do the same thing with him."

On where he sees Greenwood fitting in: "He's a size-speed corner. He runs real fast. When I first saw him, down at the East-West game, and you see right away that he has physical attributes, he can run quick, he's got great length.

"That was a big step up in competition for him but we stayed with him through the process. He worked out at - I can't remember if it was Michigan or Michigan State's - I think it was Michigan's pro day. He obviously didn't look out of place there either. He looked good at the East-West game, he looked good at the pro day we brought him here. We looked at a lot of college film on him. We've got a good feel for him and think he is a good developmental corner."

On where he sees Tahir Whitehead fitting in: "He played like a 3-4 outside linebacker role at Temple. He's a guy that has very good skill set. He's quick, he's got a little bit of size but he's a little bit more of a speed player. He makes a lot of plays on the field. It's a little bit of a projection with him, you know, sort of moving him back and making him an off-the-ball linebacker. But I like what we saw, I like his skill set. Again, Martin had mentioned him having a chance to play special teams; he was another guy that we thought highly enough of to move up for him."

On whether Whitehead is a player like LB Doug Hogue who's viewed as a developmental player: "I think you want everybody to develop; I think everybody we go in with an open mind and see where they are, but they have a skill set that if they do develop, we'll be happy with him."

On Lewis having been academically ineligible for the Bowl: "He self-admittedly is not a real good student. It's a good thing we don't have any classes here. It was something that came up; it's part of his resume so to speak. But we felt we had a good role for him; we felt he could fit that role and we were excited to get him."

On whether they're consciously focusing on defense today: "You're reading too much into it to say that we're focusing on it.

"Just get good players that you have a role for that fit your philosophy. That's the focus. It's not defense, or offense or any particular position. It's having the opportunity to get those guys and taking them where they make the most sense on the board and sticking to the discipline of keep trying to get talent."

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