We’ve heard from the players, their fans, and their opposition; now let’s hear from the coaching staff and general manager as to how this NFL Draft turned out for them:
G.M. Mark Dominik on drafting a QB
"I was very aware [of the ramifications of the pick]. I have been part of this organization for 14 years. I got my start with it when Brooks and Sapp stepped in the door, so I understand this town and how important defense is to it. The year before I got here is the last time we took a quarterback in the first round (Trent Dilfer). I knew there was going to be some reservations about that, considering what this town is used to and what they are about. I am excited about what we did in terms of the direction and long-term plan for this franchise. It was an important position for us to address and we felt like we did that." - per the Pewter Report
That had a hand in the shock as well for this fan base; the fact that a QB was drafted period. It could have been Stafford or Sanchez and the reaction would have remained the same. We’re hell bent on keeping that defense as well oiled as possible as that’s what’s kept this team relevant over the past decade. We saw the defense struggle down the stretch and from that point it was defense in the first round of the draft or bust, unless the weaknesses were addressed in free agency (which they weren’t). That’s why I continue to go back to the blind faith; maybe this is a turning point in the franchise. After all teams attempt to field a serviceable offense and defense. It’s just tough to stomach knowing the hardships we endured with the defense as-is last season.
Dominik on Raheem’s familiarity with QB Josh Freeman
"Last year, we went to play the Kansas City Chiefs and I had the opportunity to see Josh Freeman play live. That was another part of the evaluation. I saw KU play K-State. That was a great tool. I walked on the field in pre-game and I was amazed at his size, his arm strength and his delivery. With all the pre-game stuff you were thinking, ‘Wow. This guy has a lot of talent.' But there were some questions with him that you just couldn't answer. When we walked through him and started the draft preparation to taking him with the first pick this year, he continued to check the boxes on things that were important to us. The nice thing was having Raheem Morris and the insight to the things you don't know. Does he love football? What time does he show up every day? What time did he show up at K-State? Is he a leader? Do the guys in the locker room like him? Do they respond to him? Raheem was able to address some of those big questions you are worried about at the quarterback position. That's why we were confident in taking him." - per the Pewter Report
I think that opening statement tells us all we need to know about the QB’s that were on the roster prior to Leftwich/Freeman arriving. The Bucs had a rookie QB on the roster who by all accounts has a ton of ability (granted he’s raw) yet the teams Director of Pro Personnel was out scouting another college QB. Think about that for a second. Sure his Aunt Irene could have asked Marky to attend an alma mater game with her, but that says a lot in my eyes. It also rings true as to why the Bucs let Gruden and Allen go. If they had Dominik at K-State why did they draft Johnson in the 5th round? I know I’m going off topic here a bit, but his statement above really interested me. This revelation is a bit more obvious but Raheem’s familiarity with Josh Freeman can’t be overlooked when we rationalize the pick. Raheem had no idea he was going to be a Head Coach, of the Bucs muchless, and be in a position to add Freeman, yet he had an honest relationship with him back at K-State. I don’t know why we ever did a Mock Draft on who the Bucs were going to take, it was obvious from day one.
Head Coach Raheem Morris on 3rd round draft pick DT Roy Miller
"I definitely think Roy can step in and play right away. He definitely has the ability to. I don’t see why not. I think his attitude and work ethic is going to carry him through. That’s the difference between the pros and college game. The guys that come in ready to work harder than everybody else usually play. We are kind of a right and left team now. He’ll play both. He’ll hold up in any gap you put him in, take on the double teams and provide a cushion against the run. He can cause some havoc in there to free up the ends to get around to the quarterback. It’s a good fit for us. It's a nice compliment with Roy Miller and what he brings as a defensive tackle, a run-stuffing, tough, physical, brings-it-every-down run-stopper. " - per the Pewter Report
This may be the steal of the draft. We could look back on this draft selection and think ‘how did he fall to us’? He and Moore’s versatility could potentially pay dividends. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Miller start right out of the gates. He brings a winner’s mentality to the trenches and a non-stop motor. That’s about all you can ask for.
Dominik on 4th round Draft pick DE Kyle Moore
"We're excited about having Kyle Moore on the football team, competing with Jimmy Wilkerson at left end. Kyle's going to be a versatile player for us. He's 270; I think he has the ability to get bigger. Our coaches were excited about him as well because he has the ability to go inside at his size to rush the passer possibly on third down. So he's got that versatility that we're looking for in this defense. When you meet the young man you’ll notice a swagger. He’s very confident. He went to USC and had a lot of success. When you have a chance to add him to your team and D-line it’s got to help you and you have to feel good about it." - per the Pewter Report
I know some of you didn’t like this pick, UNFNOLE (ha!), but I love it. Reading the kids quotes he appears to have a drive to better himself. The winning tradition he brings with him from USC can’t be overlooked either. It’s not so much that he expects to win, it’s the bare minimum of work he knows he has to put in to be successful. Confidence breeds’ success and I think Moore has an opportunity to rub off on some of his more complacent teammates. By the way, Roy Miller is wearing #93 this season, that’s the number Free Agent Kevin Carter wore. In other words, thanks for playing Kevin. No disrespect meant by that, it’s just time to move on.
Raheem on 5th round draft pick Xavier Fulton
"You get this guy and you possibly have a swing tackle that can play some guard. He’s a big, strong athletic guy. We’re fired up to get a guy like that. He can go out and play some left or right tackle for us. We could move him to guard. Our team is better, and our depth is better." - per the Pewter Report
I wasn’t enamored with this pick when his name was called. I was thinking Wide Receiver all the way, but it’s hard to argue with adding depth to your offensive line. Especially if he can swing and play both tackle positions as well as fill in at guard, what an addition. If anything he provides insurance in the event that Trueblood kills somebody out there or Penn goes AWOL because he’s not compensated enough financially.
Raheem on 7th round draft pick E.J. Biggers
"We had him projected a little higher and rolled the dice a little bit. You’re talking about a 4.3 guy in the 40. He shows a lot of bump-man skills on tape. He came inside the building pumped up. He’s a good kid. Great character and presence. We’re fired up to get a 6-foot corner that can run 4.3. He can come in and compete. I’m excited about E.J. Biggers." - per the Pewter Report
I’d like to see this kid make the squad for no other reason than he has the coolest name of any current Buccaneer. BIGGERS! Somebody will be wearing his jersey to Ray Jay, guaranteed.
Raheem on 7th round draft pick Sammie Stroughter
"We had a chance to get him and we did. To get him where we did with as much production as he’s had in his career is great. He’s excited. I talked to Sabby Piscitelli, who was raving about this kid, telling me how he can help us and create some excitement in the slot. Stroughter is probably a 4.5 guy, but he’s got that Peanut about him because he’s a lot faster than that on the field when he sticks his hand down on the ground and moves." - per the Pewter Report
I love hearing a former teammate petition a guy onto the squad like Sabby did. Most times they tend to pan out as the player petitioned on tries harder as to not embarrass or let down the former teammate who stuck his neck out there. If Stroughter can catch on via special teams at the bare minimum that would greatly help us. It would reduce the stress on Clifton Smith and Dexter Jackson to a lesser extent. It would also allow the Bucs to use Clifton within the offense more, knowing they have a valid return guy in Stroughter to pick up the pace.