The Tampa Bay Buccaneers picked defensive tackle Brian Price at the top of the second round, but are still in the process of determining how the UCLA product will fit along the defensive line with first-round pick Gerald McCoy.
In a video interview with Scott Smith on Buccaneers.com, Tampa Bay's West Coast scout Jim Abrams talked about the selection of Price with the 35th pick in the draft. Abrams scouted Price at UCLA and had an important role in bringing him to Tampa Bay.
"Brian's a true junior from UCLA," Abrams said. "He was the All-Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year this year. He's a very quick, explosive player and has natural strength. He bench pressed 225 pounds over 30 times at the combine. He plays with a lot of energy and patterns his game off of Reggie White. He plays with that kind of quickness and explosion."
When asked if Price fit into head coach Raheem Morris' defense as a three-technique under tackle or a nose tackle, Abrams said nose tackle was a good position for Price, unlike many scouting reports that had Price best suited to play the three technique in a one-gap scheme.
"He fits with us as a nose tackle," said Abrams. "He plays inside. He has the strength and the natural leverage with his size and his lower-body strength to be able to play inside for us."
Bucs GM Mark Dominik thinks Price is versatile enough to play any position along the defensive line. Price is expected to be in the long-term rotation plan at defensive tackle with McCoy and Roy Miller.
"We spoke to him about being a nose tackle, a three technique, and rushing the passer," said Dominik. "We're very excited about Roy Miller, Brian Price, and all of our defensive tackles. We play in Florida, in the heat. We have not had a good pass rusher on this team. When you look at Brian Price's statistics and production and the way he played in college, you have a very powerful, explosive young guy."
Price, 21, said he would be happy to play nose tackle next to McCoy or Miller.
"I'm just coming in with a good attitude ready to give it 110 percent," Price said. "I'll play any position. I've played every position on the interior and on the defensive line."
Abrams, like the rest of the Bucs war room, was surprised when Price fell to them in the second round after putting a first-round grade on him.
"We were really excited as an organization to see Brian there," said Abrams.
"You try to stay to stay true to the board," said Dominik. "Brian Price was very high on our board. It made sense and that's why we were trying to be proactive in terms of bringing him in."
With the drafting of Price the Buccaneers now have six defensive tackles on their roster. That group is comprised of Price, McCoy, Chris Hovan, Ryan Sims, Roy Miller, and Dre Moore. Miller was a 2009 third-round pick and Moore was a 2008 fourth-round pick. Veteran starters Hovan or Sims are candidates to be released to open up a roster spot and free up salary.
"[McCoy and Price] both are young," said Abrams. "They both bring athleticism and play-making ability inside and I think they'll co-exist really well."