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SHIVVER

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: April 17, 2009, 11:58:35 PM

Dominik has been down that path before. He won't say when it was, but he remembers distinctly a draft in which the final decision-maker had made up his mind on his first three selections seemingly before the draft even began.

"All I'll say is that it didn't work out,'' he said. "It didn't work out for the team and it didn't work out for the player. You just can't set the board to be so firm.

"When you do, you run the risk of becoming so fixed on a guy you might want to take in the third round that you miss on a guy who you had rated in the second round who has slipped down the board.

"I mean, you do have to be strong in your convictions. But you can't be too strong because it puts the player in a difficult spot, especially if the coach isn't motivated to work with him. Then there's a separation.


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#1 : April 17, 2009, 10:00:21 PM

TAMPA - The most important lesson Mark Dominik ever learned about running a successful draft was taught to him on his first day inside the Bucs' draft-day war room.

The year was 1996, and while Dominik looked on from the sideline as a first-year pro personnel assistant, the men running the Bucs draft slowly became fixated on a running back. His name: Leeland McElroy.

As long as the New York Jets passed on McElroy, the Bucs could get him in the second round, most thought. But the Bucs were surprised when the Arizona Cardinals scooped up McElroy with the final pick of the first round.

"Everybody in the room was like, 'Oh, no,' because we had become so focused on him,'' Dominik said of McElroy.

Everybody but then-director of pro personnel Jerry Angelo.

"I'll never forget Jerry Angelo and how he reacted to that. He was just very calm and he said, 'Hey, it's OK; let's take this guy - Mike Alstott; I really like him.' Jerry was really prepared for anything that might happen that day, and that has really stuck with me.''

Thirteen years later, as Dominik prepares to direct his first draft as the Bucs' general manager, it seems a lot has stuck with him. And well it should have. Since he entered the league as a scout with the Chiefs in 1993, he has worked alongside a host of standing and future general managers.

In Kansas City, he worked with then-GM Carl Peterson and future Jets GM Terry Bradway. During his first 14 years in Tampa Bay, he worked with GMs Rich McKay and Bruce Allen, plus current Seahawks president Tim Ruskell and Bears GM Angelo, the guy who liked Alstott.

From each mentor, Dominik learned something different. When blended together, those lessons form the philosophy and approach Dominik will use in running his first draft next weekend.

"A good example,'' Dominik said, "is that Rich was very compartmentalized in his approach, whereas Bruce would have 20 or 30 guys involved. So, what I'll do is have a mid-range of guys working with me.''

From that list of confidants, two will be leaned on more than the others. One is head coach Raheem Morris. The other is scouting director Dennis Hickey. In the end, though, Dominik will make the tough calls.

"I'll turn in the card, right on through to the seventh round,'' Dominik said. "But you can't be bullheaded about it. Once you get bullheaded, you can be led down a really difficult path.''

Dominik has been down that path before. He won't say when it was, but he remembers distinctly a draft in which the final decision-maker had made up his mind on his first three selections seemingly before the draft even began.

"All I'll say is that it didn't work out,'' he said. "It didn't work out for the team and it didn't work out for the player. You just can't set the board to be so firm.

"When you do, you run the risk of becoming so fixed on a guy you might want to take in the third round that you miss on a guy who you had rated in the second round who has slipped down the board.

"I mean, you do have to be strong in your convictions. But you can't be too strong because it puts the player in a difficult spot, especially if the coach isn't motivated to work with him. Then there's a separation.

"So what you want is a guy everyone in the building feels comfortable about. You want a guy that the scouts like, a guy that the coaches like. Then you've got a much better chance of being successful.''

A successful draft is not determined solely by the success of the first-round pick. All the picks are weighed in the final determination and, in each case, Dominik has an idea of what he wants.

With every pick, but mostly with the first, he doesn't necessarily want the best player available. Rather he wants the best player for the Buccaneers. In the middle and later rounds he looks more toward the future.

"You have to take into account who can come in and help your football team, but not just on first, second and third down,'' he said. "You also have to concern yourself with who can help you on fourth down.

"I've always been a big believer in what you do on fourth down, on special teams. That's how the guys you take on the second day of the draft impact your football team right away. They help you on special teams.

"You don't want to take a guy there that you see as a perennial backup. You want him to compete at some point. But until they get to that point, you want them to be able to help you on special teams. That's very important.''

LINK: TampaTribune.com

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#2 : April 17, 2009, 10:20:26 PM

Leeland McElroy over Alstott?? I am starting to believe that only fate guides the success of any franchise...the reality is that outside of a small handful of players, the GMs and scouts are just guessing.

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#3 : April 17, 2009, 10:51:10 PM

Leeland McElroy over Alstott?? I am starting to believe that only fate guides the success of any franchise...the reality is that outside of a small handful of players, the GMs and scouts are just guessing.

Of course they are always guessing. They have no clue whether or not a player is going to be good or not. If they did they would have a crystal ball. Of course some players are easier to choose than others. Thats why there is preparation.

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#4 : April 17, 2009, 11:48:52 PM

Or maybe even Michael Clayton.




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#5 : April 17, 2009, 11:03:03 PM

Leeland McElroy over Alstott??

If you're able, read Dungy's book. He speaks on how that all went down.

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#6 : April 17, 2009, 11:08:42 PM

Could be the M. Walker pick as well...Wasn't Westbrook available surprisingly and we went with the Michigan receiver?  

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#7 : April 17, 2009, 11:12:35 PM

I'm sold.

FRG is the most logical poster on this board.  You guys just don\'t like where the logical conclusions take you.

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#8 : April 18, 2009, 12:57:20 AM

I really wish GMs would tell us more about what goes down on draft day. Intresting to hear about how our FO was in love with McElroy, and we ended up with a Buc legend instead.

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#9 : April 18, 2009, 12:58:06 AM

Leeland McElroy over Alstott?? I am starting to believe that only fate guides the success of any franchise...the reality is that outside of a small handful of players, the GMs and scouts are just guessing.

Like any GM "KNOWS" what they are doing? It's all guesswork imo. Look at caddy as a prime example. Wonderful stats as a college player, played more than awesome in his first few outtings at the pro-level, but NO GM would've ever "guessed" that he had glass-knees. Another example would be the mighty Brady himself. Picked in later rounds, the guy turned out to be the gem out of the past 10 seasons (maybe). You could even throw in good 'ol Canadian Kurt Warner in the same convo? Honestly, the best way I could phrase it would be "Organized chaos." I feel like the teams who have done the best in the draft, have either lucked-out, or have had more higher Draft picks at one time (atl-last year). I also believe it matters a great deal to have a coach-player relationship, crazy McDaniels knew that when reaching out for Cassel. I'm NOT saying he was right, but it does look like he would've been more happy with Cass than Cutler because of the familiarities with eachother.

I look for denver and Cleveland to have good drafts (I know, I'm nuts). I think the Lions could have a good one too, but whatever they touch turns to poop so nevermind.. But our #19 isn't all that bad, we did get Talib last year with same pick (the over-hyped players are off the market by then imo.) The way I look at it we win either way next year. We either stink up the place this year and get a high draft pick the next offseason, or we do well (and know that we found a good team), but won't really need the high picks anyway at that point (if we are doing that well). Win-win imo.

Everyone in our div has a really-bad schedule, so we may have a better chance than everyone gives us credit for.




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#10 : April 18, 2009, 01:12:14 AM


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Calvin Johnson vs. Gaines Adams?
Laughable.

When did Clavin (yes I said Clavin...I disrespect my foe) get picked?


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#11 : April 18, 2009, 04:29:42 AM

it is a crapshoot, plain and simple. every year you get people saying we could of had this guy over this one. as soon as that argument presents itself, i go to the tom brady/ryan leaf argument. the truth is, teams can review every game tape and scout evaluation for every single player and still know no more than when they started. guys like chris johnson live up to there draft status, and guys like clifton smith go undrafted. you never know about any player until they step on the nfl field.



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#12 : April 18, 2009, 07:11:46 AM

   And the "X" factor is injuries... Just because a guy had an injury in college doesn't mean he'll have problems in the NFL. Or a guy who was perfectly healthy in college may get the injury bug in the NFL and never have a productive career. That too is a crap shoot.

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#13 : April 18, 2009, 08:37:43 AM

its all a crap shoot for sure. it comes down to the players heart and love for the game, look at Dex Jackson, great speed but a chump on the field.

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#14 : April 18, 2009, 02:29:36 PM

'Dominik has been down that path before. He won't say when it was, but he remembers distinctly a draft in which the final decision-maker had made up his mind on his first three selections seemingly before the draft even began.'

VERY interesting comment.

I know I've had the feeling the Bucs have made decisions about picks beforehand - instead of letting the draft come to them. Thus the reaches.

Hmmm. Wonder which draft he's talking about here?
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