Tom Donahoe: “We think Chris is a very good athlete for a defensive end. He’s going to bring some toughness to our team, which we’re trying to get better at. He’s an intelligent football player. Plays with a lot of passion, which we’re trying to bring to our team.
“We were fortunate when (a player falls). We were lucky to get a player of that caliber. He was projected on many boards. And he was graded by our people to be a late first-round pick. Why that happens in the draft, you can’t really explain it. As we tell our draft picks when they come in, it really doesn’t matter where they’re picked. Once you’re here, everybody’s the same and everybody has to prove that they can play and they belong in the National Football League. And we think Chris will do that.
“He really can do both. He’s sturdy against the run. He’s played on the left side, primarily, which is generally where teams put their better run-stopper. But he also has a good pass rush package. He can beat you with quickness. He can beat you with strength. He has some variety to his pass rush. We feel he’s a pretty complete player.
Gregg Williams: “Very happy about Chris Kelsay. One of the things we talked about in the draft room was that five, six weeks ago we were sitting here without a first-round pick. And we got Drew Bledsoe, Willis McGahee and Chris Kelsay. That’s how I feel about Chris Kelsay. When he hits the ground here on Thursday night for the mini-camp, his motor will be running. He’s a high-energy player. He’ll jump on grenades from sideline to sideline. He lays his body on the line. He fits in with the style of player that we want here with that relentless attitude. So we’re very excited about him.
“I still believe in playing in waves (now with Marcus Jones, Keith McKenzie, Ryan Denney and Kelsay competing at left end). I still believe in that. The hardest thing to do in the National Football League is to rush the passer in the fourth quarter. And a guy that plays 60 or 70 snaps, he can’t do it. You’ve got to make sure that you’ve done a good job on rotations throughout the ball game to have that guy to continue to treat every snap like it’s precious, to be relentless when the game is on the line. The fact that I feel like I can press (a button and get somebody who’s just as good into the game), it’s the same thing as at the running back position. It’s OK that it’s stacked up. Let the best guy come out of there. Hopefully, it makes our team better.”
Tom Modrak: “By the way we had him stacked and rated, I’d have to say, yeah, if you asked me before we started, (Kelsay) would have been gone by the time we made our second pick.
“(Injuries might have cost him). I don’t know. Maybe. That could have been an issue with some teams. Sometimes when you get into the second round and late in the first, the needs in certain areas (matter). Maybe the needs didn’t fit. It could have been a combination of things. He’s a high-motor, high-energy guy. The whole level goes up when he’s around. At the Senior Bowl, everyday was a war and we knew it was an all-star game, but that’s his M.O. He’s athletic and I saw him on the clips that they showed, and he was stepping over guys to make tackles. You have to be a pretty good athlete to do that.
“We’re fine with his ligament. He passed. We wouldn’t have taken him if it wasn’t a passing grade.
“His energy is infectious. Guys like that help each other. You saw it with London Fletcher. There’s a number of guys like that. The room comes up when they’re in it. I’m certain he’s going to have to get his feet on the ground. But I don’t think it’s going to take him a whole lot of time to get running.
“I really wouldn’t classify him (as a ‘tweener). He’s 275. He’s plenty big enough. But he’s a leverage and strong player. He plays on the left side and there’s no reason he can’t play over a tight end and certainly play a 5 technique over a tackle, and still be big enough if you’re a leverage player. I could see some team doing that. He’s athletic enough to do that if someone wants a big Sam linebacker, maybe in the 3-4, I can see that happening.”