Here are some excerpts from the Raiders press conference with general manager Reggie McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen after the draft. I’ve cut and pasted some of the questions and answers that were about the defensive line or Christo Bilukidi, who became the first Georgia State player to be drafted when Oakland took him in the sixth round on Saturday.
Q: Reggie, you drafted a couple of D-linemen who got into football late and some people see them as projects, do you see them as projects? And are they people you can be patient with to try and bring along?
McKenzie: Yeah, with all these guys, to a certain degree, are going to have to be brought along, but yes the D-linemen did get into football late but they are very good prospects. Even though they are a little raw we feel like we can coach those guys up and they will eventually be pretty good players.
Q: How do you, when you look at a guy like Bilukidi, who has not had a lot of football experience, he is pretty raw and he goes to Georgia State, how do you evaluate a guy like that? And you had said that you look at small school guys and how they face upper-echelon talent, was he able to show you that?
McKenzie: Well, for one, it is not his fault who he plays against, but with that being said, he is a big man with a great deal of athleticism and he hustles to the ball and you can see that type stuff when watching him play. You can see his ability to move laterally, you see his ability to play hard, but yes, playing against some SEC, PAC-12 type players, he did not have the chance to do that. But what you look for is, did he dominate at his level? And that he did. Bottom line, he is a big man with really good athleticism, and he plays like he loves to play the game, so we were down there in the draft and we felt like we needed to take a look at him. You know we had brought him in for a visit and interviewed him, spent a lot of time with him and we felt like we needed to take a further look and get this guy in.
Q: Today it was heavy in the defensive players. Did you go in today, did you want to address the defensive side or was that just how it shook out?
McKenzie: Well I think we went into the draft from day one to address defense. You’ve got to understand we have a defensive head coach and a defensive-minded general manager. Let’s win on defense. As the day went, the defensive players were the players that were on the board so we didn’t intentionally just go defense, defense.
Q: With the two defensive linemen, Christo [Bilukidi] and [Jack] Crawford, I know they both mentioned versatility, being able to do different things. Do you have positions that you think they’re going to get at? Will one be an end, one be a tackle? Will they both be ends?
Coach Allen: Yeah, right now we’re looking at Christo going inside and playing inside, and we’re looking at Crawford as a defensive end.
Georgia State has broken ground on the sand volleyball arena, which will be located beside the Sports Arena.
Construction is expected to be completed later this year and the team will play its first season next year.
From GSU: “The venue will feature a tiered, three-court structure with permanent seating for 340 spectators and additional berm/sand seating around each court. An additional feature is lighting for night competition ….
“The facility entrance will be located off Piedmont Avenue.”
– Doug Roberson AJC. Be my twitter friend @ajcgsu