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NFL Combine 2013: Titans GM Ruston Webster Transcript

The media carousel kept spinning today, as Titans GM Ruston Webster took to the podium to address his thoughts during the scouting combine.

Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

What do you consider top priorities in draft?

"Kind of what we have been saying all along, we want to improve our offensive line and just overall defensively. I think those are the keys for us moving forward."

The Univ. of Tennessee guys on your radar?

"We are looking at all those guys. They have some very good players that are here, some interesting players. It’s just a matter of those guys fitting our needs, but they are definitely talented."

On Dallas Thomas from UT?

"I have seen Dallas. Dallas is a good football player, he is athletic. He can play inside or out, and he has some nice traits. So we are definitely taking a good luck at Dallas."

On whether the team will be more active, early in free agency?

"I think you really have to assess the market and really find out who is going to be out there. I don’t think anyone knows for sure just yet. It is that in conjunction with where the depth is in the draft and where your needs are."

Your philosophy on drafting a guard in the first round?

"I think it can be a value. It needs to be a player you see coming into your team and making a difference, upgrading you and possibly being an outstanding player at the position. I have never been one to say you don’t take a guard in the first round or whatever, or some people say don’t take a receiver in the first round. I have never looked at it that way. If there is somebody there that is a special player then we take a look at it."

Jared Cook situation? Want to keep him?

"We’ve always wanted Jared, that hasn’t changed. And I don’t see that changing. We are on the same page with the coaching staff that way. I would think he would be with us next year. He is a big part of our offense. How it gets done, we’ll just have to see."

One question inaudible…

Your evaluation of Jake Locker

"I think Jake has done a good job, and he has all the talent to be a fine player. One of the things we have to do is have more consistency around him. When your offensive line is in flux and you are changing coordinators and doing all those things, and he gets hurt. I don’t think that does anything to help a quarterback’s development. Jake is doing good and we expect him to be a fine player for us."

On Locker needing to be more careful…

"There are times I wish he’d do a better job protecting himself for sure. That is not his nature, as you guys know. But that is something we are working on. Also, if we can help him offensive line-wise, run game-wise, that might keep him healthy as well."

Did he learn from last year from that standpoint?

"I think he did learn. He doesn’t have to necessarily have to turn into a free safety when the ball gets picked off or a fumble gets picked up. But you saw him as the year went on – and he was banged up – protecting himself a little more. But we have to do our part protecting him as well."

Cap dollar spending last in NFL on defense.

"I would think that would change some, but we were very young. And I think that was a big part of it. I think there are some places on our team where we have to get better and improve overall and help our coaches that way. We, from a front office standpoint, need to do a better job helping our coaches."

"The problem you don’t to get into is being injury-plagued. We were injury-plagued last year and you have to be careful when you bring in older players that you are not getting injured older players."

On needing a back to complement Chris Johnson.

"I think that's something that we'll look at, maybe a situational-type guy who can come in in certain situations and close the game in short yardage and just give us a change of pace, something different."

On if door is closed on Ringer?

"Not necessarily, but just like anybody else who has been injured, you have to take precaution there and you can’t rely on guys who have missed time."

On Gregg Williams hiring.

"I think Gregg is going to add a lot of knowledge and experience to our defensive staff, and help us."

Any hesitation?

"There was hesitation in we had to do our research. We had to do our background work, and fortunately him having spent so much time in Tennessee, we had a lot of people that knew him well and felt comfortable bringing him in."

If you lost Bironas in free agency, what’s the plan?

"There will probably be some good free agent kickers out there, and there’s some young talented guys. I think this year you saw where some young players could come in and do that for you."

On not wanting to use a pick on a kicker?

"When you are in our situation and you have so many… I feel like we have several needs we have to get better. If you have to take a kicker. When I was in Tampa we had to take Martin Gramatica in the third round and at this point with us, I don’t know if that is something we’d want to do."

Safety and defensive end biggest needs. Rather have rookies or veterans?

"Just good players. Guys that can make an impact and improve us."

Rank which is best? Guard, safety and defensive end…

"They are all pretty deep. I think probably the top two would be guards and safeties, but they are all three pretty deep. Those are needs for us, and that is important. But that is how free agency and the draft work together. If you are heavy in free agency, and not heavy in the draft, then you might go out and sign somebody and spend some money on somebody, otherwise you wait for the draft."

On play of Andrew Luck this year.

"It was impressive. Andrew went through some growing pains, but he just continued to come, continued to play well and continued to be aggressive and never lost any confidence. I hate he is in our division and it is going to be tough for years to come."

What scares you about prospects?

"For me, it is certain traits in a guy. For me, if I feel somebody is immature. The biggest thing that hurts players when they come into the league is their inability to handle the time on their hands and the money they have, so maturity I think is a big part of bringing guys in."

On whether team can make a quick turnaround in 2013.

"I think it gets done every year, and that’s exactly what we’re going to try and do."

Darius Reynaud...

"He took advantage of a great opportunity with us, and when Marc Mariani went down with an injury it opened up a spot for him and he took total advantage of it and was a big factor for us. We would like him back. Marc is still rehabbing, and for me, I look forward to the day when Marc can stand on that field again."

On talent level on team.

"I definitely think we have talent, and that is why I think we can improve. I think we have young talent and guys who are still reaching their potential and have shown they are going to be good players. We just have to continue to add to that."

What looking for on defense?

"It is a group thing, a philosophical thing. It is what are we going to do scheme-wise and hoe does this guy fit with us? I think we could probably get bigger, all over."

Potential for cuts?

"I would say we don’t have to cut anybody for cap. We are not in that kind of situation fortunately. Now if we improve on a guy, or find somebody better than a guy we have, then there could be cuts. It depends on who we have and who we sign, so it might be as we sign guys."