Q&A with Bruce Arians
Fred Gibson

Posted Apr 24, 2005

Are you thrilled to get Fred Gibson in the fourth round?
Oh, no doubt. This guy's talent is amazing. To be still on the board at this spot - there were about four receivers today that in year's past I could've seen gone in the second or third round. Very deep draft this year.

Are you thrilled to get Fred Gibson in the fourth round?
Oh, no doubt. This guy's talent is amazing. To be still on the board at this spot - there were about four receivers today that in year's past I could've seen gone in the second or third round. Very deep draft this year.

Isn't the deep crop the reason you wanted to go get a receiver?
No doubt. I think you see a lot of basketball players now, in college, playing wide receiver that aren't playing tight end. Because of the spread offenses in college, basketball players with quickness and speed have kind of changed the position, and you see a lot of guys, I think, which is adding to the depth, quality depth, to the draft in the last couple of years.

What do you like about Gibson?
His height, jumping ability and his speed, and his upside. He was a basketball player early in his career so I think he missed some growth in his off-season program because of basketball, and his development kind of went down. It came back up. His senior year was very productive. He had outstanding one-on-ones against the best corners at the Senior Bowl. I thought he was one of the best players in the one-on-one drills at the Senior Bowl. He showed a lot of different catches and used his height and his jumping ability.

Basketball players don't like to get hit, though, do they?
He's played every year. He's not like a one-year guy that went out and just played. And when they used him over the middle, which they didn't do a lot of, but when he went over the middle, he caught the ball fine. And he was a run-after-the-catch guy. I don't see that as any problem. He's going to have to work on his blocking a little bit, which in college there's only a few guys that like to block. That's why they play receiver.

Didn't Georgia have a short passing game? And did that leave his potential unrealized?
I think so this year. David Greene's a pretty good player. They've had a group of receivers where one guy couldn't get big numbers. I mean you've got Reggie Brown over there. There are some kids who played outstanding there. When you look at the LSU game, and those two corners who just went above the receivers, they torched those guys in that game playing bump-and-run, man-to-man, for about four or five touchdowns. You like the ability of these receivers at this point in the draft. There have been three guys who I think could've gone yesterday easily that have already gone today.

Who are they?
(Jerome) Mathis and two injured guys, one's Craphonso Thorpe. Craphonso's junior year he was outstanding then they put a rod in his leg, and you see him coming back now to full speed after his injury, a tall guy who can really get up the field vertically. (Chase) Lyman's the same way. He had a knee injury but still came back to run a 4.45, a 6-2 guy. These types of athletes are starting to come out in the draft.

Why does a 6-4 guy who can run, jump and catch last until the bottom of the fourth round?
I think it's just the quality of depth. The numbers of receivers didn't go off the board this year like they have in the past. You just saw a big run on running backs. That's how the draft goes. Now you see receivers rolling off the board. Normally in the fourth, people trade up to take linemen off the board. Positions just go. The second day is odd. Everybody starts going with their needs and they take a guy no matter what.

Is Gibson a kick returner?
I'd have to see that part. We have some outstanding return people on this team already. If (Antwaan Randle) El's our starter at X, which he hopefully is, he's so daggone good you hate to take him out of (returns). Ricardo (Colclough) did so well last year on punt returns and Cedrick (Wilson) has done some kick returns. Whether or not Fred can get into that role, that has yet to be seen. With his size and ability, he should definitely help us on teams.

Are you happy with your receivers as a group?
I don't think there's any doubt this is a highly competitive group right now. To say who gets to stay from four to six, we'll have to cut some guys that can play in this league. Zamir Cobb's coming back and he had an outstanding camp last year. He can go get it now.

(Looking at Gibson on TV replay) He looks like Plaxico Burress doesn't he?
He's got that type body.

Can he run the fade?
No doubt.

Drafting a receiver in the first round would've been a great move but you went with the tight end. Does Gibson make you breathe a sigh of relief?
No doubt, but I'm a big Heath Miller fan. I like tight ends that can go deep also because now we have all areas of the field covered as far stretching the field, and Heath is a very versatile guy. Having been a former coordinator, I would've taken that pick myself.

The tight end?
No doubt. Without a question.

Would you have overruled yourself as a wide receivers coach?
No doubt. I knew we were going to get one in this draft, it was so deep. But there was only one tight end who had that quality, and he was the hands-down pick.

Related Stories
Q&A with Pittsburgh Steelers OC Ken Whisenhunt
 -by SteelCityInsider.net  Apr 24, 2005
Steelers finish draft on high note
 -by SteelCityInsider.net  Apr 24, 2005
Gibson goes to Steelers
 -by DawgPost.com  Apr 24, 2005

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