Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman
Very excited about our selection with Mr. Treadwell. Spent a lot of time with him through the process. I personally went down there to his pro day workout. We spent time with him at the Combine, we brought him up here on a Top 30 visit. We feel what he's going to bring to our offense is just that large catching radius, a guy that's very physical, maybe the best run blocker that I've seen in years coming out, but also can make big-time catches with his large hands and catching radius. Great kid being around him, very humble, yet very driven. And playing in the SEC at such a high level and being so productive down there in the SEC against probably the top athletes in the country speaks volumes of what his physical ability is. I know we went back and watched him in 2014, every play he had in 2014. Saw the devastating injury he had against Auburn, came back this year. Probably was a little rusty at the beginning of the year and then you see him start to get back to his form what he was in '14 the second half of '15 and finished with a bang in the bowl game this year – I think he had three touchdowns that game. Just looking at what was on the board, we had a lot of calls. It's amazing how the phones start lighting up because there was a run on receivers there, but we felt that was our right guy and the guy we wanted to take. Questions?
Q: How did you have the different receivers rated?
A: I won't give you how they were rated, but I know we thought very highly of him and not only what he does on the field but also what he represents off the field. But the thing is when you watch him play on the field, he has an edge to him. He's a heck of a football player and loves to play the game and those are the type of players we're trying to get in here.
Q: Teddy Bridgewater slipped a couple of years ago because of his pro day and Laquon Treadwell might have slipped because of his 40 time. Do you see any similarities there?
A: I can't speak on what other teams saw, why potentially he slipped. I know coming out of the '14 season, probably without the injury, was probably the top rated receiver. We felt very strongly that he was one of the top receivers in this draft. I think the 40 time may have knocked him some, but you have to go off what you see on tape, too. And we try to make estimates on speed, on what we see on tape and I felt very strongly that he plays faster than what he ran at his pro day.
Q: How did you come to the conclusion that the injury was just a speed bump for him?
A: Just that it tells you what type of character he has to come back from that devastating of an injury and to play at the level he played at this year. And I just expect being a year removed from that and heading into next year, he's even going to be that much better, where he's going to be back to definitely his old form.
Q: Was the fact that he is a young prospect make him more appealing as well?
A: Yeah, I think he's 20, but we've been pretty fortunate taking young guys, especially with this coaching staff and the way they take these guys and develop them at this age. We expect a lot of things from him as we go forward.
Q: Is there a current NFL wide receiver that he projects similar to?
A: There's a thousand projections out there. You hear all of the analysts out there comparing him to the Michael Irvins and to the Anquan Boldins, receivers like that. I even went way back and thought he reminded me a little bit of Eric Moulds in Buffalo, who we used to play against and who I thought was a very good player. He plays with a chip on his shoulder, like he has a point to prove. I think he had a point to prove coming off that injury that he can be the same type of player he was before the injury.
Q: Did you consider Myles Jack at all?
A: I'm not going to comment on that.
Q: Playing in the SEC against the corners he faced, does that give you a better idea about how he'll be able to handle physical corners in the NFL?
A: Just like all of these receivers when they come up from college to the professional level, they're going to have to learn technique and the speed of the game. But with his strength and his quickness for his size, I think he can potentially create some mismatches at this level.
Q: Did you make any calls about trading after some of those receivers began coming off the board?
A: No. As you sit there and watch the board fall, I knew we were going to get a good football player, especially when there are three or four players on our board with two picks left that we really liked. I'd rather keep all the picks.
Q: You've typically placed an emphasis on athleticism. Do you fear that without his injury he would have been one of the more athletic receivers in the draft?
A: I know what I saw in '14, and the type of plays he made in '14. I think he's a tremendous athlete for his size and I think you saw that athleticism coming back as the more confident he got on his leg after that injury, especially toward the second half of the year. I think for 6-2 1/2, 220-pound receiver, he's a tremendous athlete.
Q: What's the hope of what Laquon Treadwell can do for Teddy Bridgewater?
A: As we sat there and talked with the coaches, the biggest thing is the catching radius, the ability to catch in traffic, to go up and get jump balls and the physicality of him as a receiver, getting in and out of his cuts. I went to a lot of pro days this year and watched the receivers, you can just see he generates a lot of power when he's getting off the line of scrimmage. I could put a highlight reel together and I know Adrian Peterson's going to be very excited how this guy plays the game and blocks at the edge, but he's a receiver that just plays with a chip on his shoulder in all phases of the game.
Q: Did you consider trading down? Were you satisfied with your slot and the ability to go get Treadwell?
A: No, we went through that scenario and like I said, I had four teams call, but we didn't think the value that they were offering at our pick was worth trading back or trading down. If I thought there was some value, it would have to be pretty rich to pass up a player like Treadwell.
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
You all thought we were going defense didn't you? Well, almost. Alright go ahead, fire away.
Q: What do you mean almost?
A: I always fight for defensive guys, you know.
Q: Maybe another UCLA linebacker?
A: I don't know.
Q: How involved was Coach Stewart in the Treadwell pick?
A: Well everyone was involved. Coach Stewart, Coach Turner, I had Pat Shurmur look at all the wide receivers, the scouts, Rick [Spielman], myself. It is always a collective effort.
Q: How does this pick help Teddy Bridgewater to "let it loose"?
A: A lot of the routes that we throw, is exactly what Treadwell does. After the season got over, and you go through your year-end review, one of the things we talked about was that we wanted to get a big receiver with a big catching radius. We just felt like with this football team that was important for us to get some size out there. We have [Stefon] Diggs, Jarius Wright, kind of smaller guys, so that was part of it. Honestly this kid is really a lot like I am trying to build this football team. He is a tough, physical player that is a heck of a competitor. We obviously took him because of him as a receiver, but he is the best blocking receiver that I have ever seen. I can't remember one that blocks as well as this guy does that I have seen on tape. That was another added bonus with him as well. I know there is a lot about his 40 [yard dash] time, some guys play fast on the tape and that is what he does. He was the number one rated receiver coming out of high school. He was the number one receiver in 2014 and then he got hurt. He was a little slow coming out of this year, but I think he is going to help us in a lot of ways.
Q: Houston moved up one extra pick, were you trying to move up into that spot?
Q: Was there anxiousness waiting to see if he was still going to be available?
A: It is always anxious when it gets to be around your pick. You know you have your guys that you want, and obviously you have to have a few guys in case something happens. We spent a lot of time on him. We talked to a lot of people and we had him up for the Top 30 visit. We did our due diligence.
Q: Was he the one receiver that you were after? Or was there a group?
A: We looked at a lot of them. He was the one that had all the intangible things that we were looking for and he was the one that stood out to us.
Q: How do you feel he recovered from that injury?
A: He did and he started out a little slow when he first got back but as the season progressed he continued to get better and better. It shows a lot about his fortitude and the things that he does.
Q: How important is him being a good run blocker in the final evaluation?
A: It is an added bonus. It is by far it is not the number one thing, but we are a running football team. That does help our run game.
Q: What do you think Pat Shurmur could bring in looking at these wide receivers?
A: I just asked him to because he has done a lot of work on offense with receivers and quarterbacks. I just asked him to look at them. Just a little extra work I gave him.
Q: How much did it help his stock playing against cornerbacks in the SEC?
A: I think it is important, especially when you are picking in the first round and high, that you go against good competition and you see people against good competition. The bright lights don't affect them when they get out there. Sometimes smaller school guys have a little harder time with that.
Q: You visited with him several times, what stood out about him?
A: He is a big time competitor. I like competitors, I like tough guys, I like physical guys. It doesn't just have to be on defense, it can be all over the football field. It is an attitude that we are trying to present here with the Vikings and he has an attitude about it.
Q: Were you able to have a hands-on workout with him like you did at TCU?
A: I was supposed to go down there for the workout and something came up and I wasn't able to make it.
Q: How does he help the growth of Teddy Bridgewater?
A: I don't know that was why we selected him to be honest with you. We felt like he was the best player there. We felt like we needed a big, strong receiver. I think the development of Teddy is up to Teddy.
Q: What do you think the learning curve for him is like? Does he need work before he is an NFL-ready kind of guy?
A: I think everybody will. He is an outside receiver and we can do some other things with some of the guys we have to help some of that too.
Q: Now you just added a good receiver and you still have some pretty good ones left in the fold, how do you look at this competition that you have?
A: It is great, I love competition. I think it is good. The players understand we are going to pick somebody and hopefully he is a good player and whether it is another defensive player or a corner or whatever. All NFL players understand that every year the draft comes up and they are going to have competition.
Q: Michael Irvin comparisons are a bit premature, but is he able to run some of the routes that Norv has used in his offense with Irvin or any of the other guys over the years?
A: That is kind of what I was eluding to earlier, a lot of the good routes that we run are a lot of the routes that Laquon runs the best and so I could probably see the resemblance. But, that is a long ways away from where it is.
Q: So who does he remind you of?
A: I don't really like to compare players honestly; there are some guys on some other teams in the league that reminds me of him yeah. One of the things when we were looking at all of these receivers, you know a lot of times it came up, "How would you defend this guy? What would you do to try to take this guy out of the game? Can you single him, do you double him, different things." This guy is a big, physical guy that little guys are going to have a hard time defending.
Q: Besides being a competitor, what are those intangibles that perhaps you liked the most in him that may not have been everyone else's ideal thing?
A: The competitor is huge but he has a huge catch radius, he works extremely hard, he is all about football, he is a good leader, so all of those things.
Q: The offense seemed to struggle sometimes in the red zone last year, how does having a big-bodied guy like this help you in that area?
A: It will but I don't want this guy to be just a red zone receiver, I want him to be an all the time receiver. We did talk about his ability in the red zone to use his size and strength and that is another added factor. We take receivers because they are receivers, not because they are blockers or red zone players. Those are added bonuses, yes.
Q: You discussed that Treadwell likes to run a lot of routes that your offense likes to run, do you see him bringing anything to the table that can help enhance the offense or have you discussed that with Norv or any of the other offensive coaches?
A: I kind of said that earlier with the fact that we felt like we needed a big receiver that can go up and get the football that can battle in some of the areas and that is why he intrigued us so much right from the start. I felt like it was important for our team to have a big guy and we talked about it. I guess it was in January when we got done that this was one of the guys we were looking at. He wasn't specifically it, but a big, physical receiver.
Q: Do you see him helping make your cornerbacks better working with him everyday, going up against a big, physical receiver and helping with their improvement as well?
A: Yeah I guess so. I didn't really think of it that way. We thought about it as how can he help our football team and really more about our offensive football team than anything.