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2014 NFL Draft: Jim Caldwell, Jeremiah Washburn discuss Travis Swanson pick

Here's a look at what the Detroit Lions' Jim Caldwell and Jeremiah Washburn had to say about the team's pick of Travis Swanson on Friday night.

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Below is a recap of what Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell and offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn had to say about the team's pick of center Travis Swanson on Friday night. (Quotes provided by the Lions.)


Opening statement: "Martin hit on most of the things with Travis, and I'm going to give you just a quick, little interlude, then obviously Jeremiah is going to come up and talk a little bit more in detail. Besides, he's obviously from the same school. Jeremiah went to Arkansas as well. He happened to play the same position as well. I know that story well because I tried to recruit him. But nevertheless, (he is) really a fine young man. He has some size and girth to him. Typically, in the middle, particularly when you're dealing with centers, oftentimes you'll find guys that maybe are just a little bit slightly undersized. But in this particular case, we got a big guy who is physical and can play the game smart, which is what you like. He has grit. Anybody that obviously plays consecutive games like that, it's not because of the fact that he didn't suffer any injuries or anything of that nature. Typically, what that tells you is he played through them. That's a great sign because you want, obviously, the centerpiece of your offensive line, whether he's playing guard or center, is very, very important for us, particularly keeping that pocket nice and solid. So, I think he's going to be just an outstanding acquisition for us. I think he's going to be the kind of young man that's going to come in and fit right in. He's got great character and I think he is going to play for a long time."


Opening statement: "Not much to add on to him. I am excited to get an Arkansas guy in here. For us, he fits the profile of who we want in our room. He is experienced, tough, smart and versatile. He has all those things and we are very excited to get him."

On if he is grooming Swanson to replace C Dominic Raiola down the road: "We would like him to be, but we have to get him on campus first to evaluate what he can do for us. That is a positive for him. He played guard at the Senior Bowl and that's one of the nice things we saw down there in Mobile. He was a center for 50 games at Arkansas, but he does profile as a guy that can play guard. I don't know yet, but that will get narrowed down when he gets on campus."

On how valuable the Senior Bowl is for the draft process: "It's different when you're not coaching it. When we coached it last year with Larry (Warford), that was very valuable because we got to know the kid. With Travis it was valuable because we got to see him pick up an NFL offense, which he had played in an NFL-type offense with (Bobby) Petrino and (Bret) Bielema. That has value because he is going against top-notch competition at different positions, so it does make him predict a little bit easier."

On his conversations with Raiola as he enters his 14th NFL season: "He's great as you would expect. He is excellent. It is nothing that he hasn't said to you guys. It is all the same thing. I will let him speak for himself, but he is great. He is unbelievable in our room as far as being a mentor for our young guys, so I would expect him to continue to do so."

On the value of playing against SEC competition: "Yes, there is. I did play guard and center at Arkansas, and my last game in college I played against Shaun Rogers and Casey Hampton. So, I walked off the field and told my wife that I'm not good enough to play in the NFL, so I didn't. With that, yes there is. I am an SEC guy and I make no apologies about it. It is a litmus test for offensive linemen. Yes, Larry (Warford) played against the best and Travis played against the best. I would expect them to be a little more ready."

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