Joe Vitt and Steve Spagnuolo

New Orleans Saints Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Joe Vitt & Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo

Media Availability

Friday, April 27, 2012


Vitt Opening Statement:

Vitt: “We’re really excited about our pick, Akiem Hicks.  It’s a guy that we really studied.  As late as Friday, I would say we spent an hour and a half to two hours on this player.  We felt that it was a guy that would be there for us.  Height, weight and speed, he’s the kind of guy we’re looking at for our defensive system.  We love his tenacity.  We know he’s raw.  He has to be coached, but that’s the fun part.  He fits the character of our football team.  He has good work habits.  We love his resiliency.  I think everybody kind of knows about his story.  He was a junior college transfer that couldn’t qualify at LSU.  He stayed out of school for a year, worked at DIRECTV and then went to Canada, played and then qualified for the NFL Draft.  We’re excited about having this kid.  It’s a big body player.  Coach Spagnuolo and I are happy Sean (Payton) isn’t here because we’d probably have an offensive player.  We ganged up on everybody and got a defensive player so we’re excited.”


Q to Vitt: How long before you expect him to have an impact on your defense?

Vitt: “I don’t have a crystal ball.  He passes the eyeball test.  He passes the commitment test.  He passes the resiliency test.  He wants to be a good football player, so we’re going to integrate him in (our system) and see how long it takes.”


Q to Vitt: Have you seen him in person?

Vitt: “Absolutely, at the NFL Combine.”


Q to Spagnuolo: Were there any other players that stood out that you were thinking about drafting?

Spagnuolo: “There’s always a couple there.  Mickey (Loomis) and Rick (Reiprish) tossed around a couple of things, but when it was all said and done, Akiem stuck out.  We’re pretty glad we got him.”


Q to Spagnuolo and Vitt: Were you focused on defense for this pick?

Spagnuolo: “I wouldn’t necessarily say that.  We were, but it could have gone either way.  I’m glad that it went this way.”

Vitt: “We tried to get a group of players that we thought would be there at this time in the draft.  I know you’re going to think that I’m making this up, but he was at the top of the list of our board when it was our pick.  If he wasn’t there, Mickey was entertaining some phone calls to move down.  But this is the player we covered and the one that we wanted and the one we studied the most on Friday.  It worked out well.”

Spagnuolo: “Mickey mentioned the other day that a lot of the guys that we thought would be there, there were a lot of defensive names.”