Director of College Scouting Max Paulus and Area Scout Dan Zegers (4.29.23)

Opening statement:

Paulus: “We just took (QB) Dorian Thompson-Robinson here in the fifth round and also (CB) Cam Mitchell out of Northwestern. Very excited about adding two talented players to the mix here. Dorian Thompson-Robinson will leave UCLA as one of the most-prolific passers ever to come through there. Cam Mitchell is versatile player, who has inside-outside flex. He has very good man cover instincts. So, very excited to add both of these guys to the group.”


On liking Thompson-Robinson’s mobility:

Paulus: “Absolutely. I mean, we all know the game has changed a lot, where mobility for the quarterback position is crucially important. That’s one of the pieces of Dorian’s skillset that is admirable. He’s very quick, he can escape, create plays with his legs. That is one of the things we really liked about his skillset.”


On how early they became interested in Thompson-Robinson:

Paulus: “Our west coast scouts, both Zach Ayers and Josh Cox, did an outstanding job identifying him early. Both as a guy that we feel has a very strong arm. Somebody, again, that is very mobile. He had a great year leading UCLA to a 9-4 record and he has really stuck the landing throughout the spring process here. He had a great week out at the East-West Game in Las Vegas. We met with him in Indianapolis. Had him here on a visit. He’s really somebody that we kind of liked every step of the way and we are very fortunate that he was there at 140.”


On Thompson-Robinson being a high school teammate of WR Cedric Tillman:

Paulus: “To be honest, it really didn’t play a big piece in it at all. It’s just a crazy coincidence. But it will be great that both of those guys have familiarity with one another. The first thing that Dorian said on the call was, ‘You all got my guy Ced out there.’ So, they know each other, they’re friends. Obviously, quarterback-wide receiver relationship is important, so it’s another feather in each of their caps.”


On what stands out about Mitchell:

Zegers: “First off, thank you to the Northwestern staff. I mean Coach Fitz (Pat Fitzgerald), Darby (Darby Dunnagan) and Johnny (Jonny Kovach), they have been great every time that we go through there. I don’t think the good schools with good pro liaisons that help us get enough credit. I just want to say thank you there. For Cam, I mean, him and (CB) Greg (Newsome II) are tight, they’re boys. He learned first hand from Greg. He’s a good leader, sets the example for the team, good worker, he’s smart and he can do a lot on the field for us. We’re excited to add him to that room, as well.”


On Mitchell as an inside or outside CB:

Zegers: “We’ll see where the coaches shake him with that, but he’s versatile player. He can do both. He’s fast, athletic, quick, so he’s got the skillset to do both. We’re excited to see what he can do on the field.”


On picking RB Jerome Ford last year and if it was a hit:

Paulus: “I think we’re very fortunate where we got Jerome last year. I think he showed a lot of flashes in Year 1, both as kick returner and limited carries as a ball carrier. We are very much looking forward for him to take a big step here in Year 2. Just like any other guy in Year 2, we’re really hoping that he takes a big step here and looking to see what he can do on the field.”


On bringing in Thompson-Robinson: 

Paulus: “I think we all know how important the position is and we are always going to be looking, especially for that position. I think it’s just like any other position in the locker room, where the more competition you can add, the deeper you can be is a great thing. Every year A.B. (Andrew Berry and Co. will make it a priority to do our due diligence on the quarterbacks. We’re just fortunate that D.T.R was here at 140.”


On Thompson-Robinson showing his improvment:

Paulus: “I think that’s an excellence point. If you look at how he played last year versus the big step forward he took this year, I think that was a big piece of the puzzle. Then, how he performed at the East-West game, how he performed at the combine, how he was in carrying himself in interactions with us. Those all played big pieces of the puzzle. I think that all comes together and makes us excited about taking a player like that at 140.”


On Thompson-Robinson coming to the team as a developmental player and how much QB Deshaun Watson may help him:

Paulus: “Absolutely. I think especially at that position, when there’s not a lot of pressure to play right away, you can take your time with players like that. I think it helps to get out there, see the bullets flying. I think especially at that position, when you can crawl before you walk, it’s a huge thing. We have a great staff here. (HC) Kevin (Stefanski) and company are great developing quarterbacks, so we really feel confident about where he’s at right now and where he will be in the future.”


On what the staff saw in Thompson-Robinson’s growth:

Paulus: “Yeah, I think the big two things that we saw specifically from 2021 to 2022 was decision making and accuracy. We think in both of those areas, he took a big jump forward in 2022.”


On if they talked to Newsome II about Mitchell:

Zegers: ”Through the whole process, we hit every source we can. Greg made sure to let me know when we go into the school, ‘Hey, give my boy  some love’ or ‘Tell him to take the ball away.’ We made sure to do that when we went through there. It’s all love with that staff and you know what you’re going to get with players from Northwestern and the culture they have. Excited to get him in here.”


On how Mitchell fits in on special teams:

Zegers: “He’s tough. He’s got the speed, quickness, he’s built. He’s physically built. He’s got the speed to run down there and he’s a willing tackler. He’s got the mindset to do it. I don’t think there will be any transition issues there.”


On Mitchell’s areas of growth over his career:

Zegers: “Probably confidence, just the more he was out there. He is a confident player. He may not have taken the ball away a lot, but he’s got a lot of PBUs. Just because, they’re not throwing his way. He’s a confident player, he’s got the speed, quickness, athleticism and he’ll bring that to the field for us.”


On what DC Jim Schwartz wants in a CB:

Paulus: “I think one of the things that Jim has hit on is instincts and play speed. Specifically for that position (CB), being able to identify players that can play man and have ball awareness is crucially important there. Obviously, speed is one of the most important factors at corner, right? Not just the 40 time at the combine. How fast they play. When they’re running alongside fast receivers. Those are really the things that Jim drives home. Honestly, once you get to this point in the draft, the more you can do is vital. With Cam, we really feel confident that he is a player that can provide inside-outside flexibility. like Dan said, provide some depth on special teams. Really, just a very versatile, well-rounded player overall. Excited to see where he lands here.”


On if they are typecasting quarterbacks to have similar traits:

Paulus: “You know, I would say that Dorian  is similar to Deshaun in playstyle and athleticism, but that is not–I wouldn’t say there’s any typecasting going on. Really, we’re trying to evaluate what every player does well. Just in this situation,  I would say that their strengths are similar, but I wouldn’t say that is something we’re looking for moving.”


On how crucial the quarterback room is and if they felt like there was a hole there:

Paulus: “No, I wouldn’t say that. I think we really like the two other guys in the room, as well. Obviously, signing (QB) Josh (Dobbs) back and picking up (QB) Kellen (Mond) after cutdown day last year. We think both of those guys are very talented, as well. Like I said, I think there comes a point where that position is just so important to get it right that we’re always going to be looking to add to it. In this situation, the opportunity presented itself and we pulled the trigger.”



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