What is your philosophy on the wonder Wonderlic test and does it matter to you very much?
“I would say this [and] I think this way there are a lot of different factors that obviously go into the evaluation of a player. Certainly the tape is where it all begins. You do the interview to get to know the young man. See how he learns. What he can do. You certainly get the medical information. You look at the pro day and how he has worked out. There are lots of different pieces that go into it. That is a piece of the puzzle no doubt about it, but you have to know the entire picture of it and make sure you get an accurate understanding of where the Wonderlic is scored and how it correlates to any individual player.”Does that change by position?
“A little bit, but the reality of it is it is all about the interview and talking to him about football. How much can he retain and recollect. That was a big thing about Josh Freeman when we made the selection with him. His ability to retain and recollect was really important to us in that selection. So to me it is all about the relevance of what the player does. How does he learn the position? How much can he retain? How much can he regurgitate when you have a chance to sit with him one on one whether it be at the combine or individual visits?”How do you think the NFL draft has evolved over the years?
“I mean obviously it wasn’t even online if I can remember right. So I don’t remember online. I remember cell phones when it first started. Rosenhaus had a cell phone. He was the only person I think I knew who had a cell phone. No it has obviously evolved, but that’s the beauty of our game. I think that’s what makes what the NFL draft has become such a great event and such a great spectacle in New York. For everybody because it makes players [and] certainly players watch it, fans, [and] everyone around the league gets excited about this opportunity. Opinions are great. I just think it is fun because everybody gets to look and see [and] everybody is excited about how is my team going to get better over the next three days. I actually enjoy it. I think it is a part of the whole thing. I think that’s what has been really good about the format of the NFL draft now. I think that’s the biggest probably change is Thursday night, Friday night, and then Saturday. I think that has been really beneficial for everything.”
Do you look at the mock drafts at all?
“Just a couple. Will I look at some? Yes. You will look at some just to kind of see because in a way you can challenge your mind to say if that all happens who do I take? So there is value to that. That you can sit there and say if this really happened this way who is your selection? So there is real value to that.”The highest rated player on your draft board and it is your pick, but guy with highest rated doesn’t represent position of great need do you stick with your board at that point?
“We try to. As much as you can. I think that’s what everybody says [that] we are going to take the highest guy, but the reality is you can be a team that takes seven straight quarterbacks and everybody is going to look at you. Why did you take? Well I took the highest guy on the board. So that’s not reality. You try to balance it as much as you can and make sure that you make the right selection for your team at that point in terms of relativity of the other players that are around.”If two guys are close then position?
“It can. Absolutely can, but in my feeling it shouldn’t be that close. You should be able to eliminate even further that that.”Can you look at the past drafts and what have you learned and how do you think you have done through process?
“I think it is a fair question for myself. You have to go back and look at your draft classes. You got to look I mean our fourth round pick was Kyle Moore. Kyle is not—he is in the league still [and] he was on a practice squad last year so he is still playing, but you would want more. Let’s just be honest Xavier Fulton didn’t make it for us. So you got to sit back and look at that Stroughter is still here. Biggers is still here. They are still trying to contribute to the football team. But you go back and you have to learn why are those two players not on our team anymore. You know obviously we made the trade for Kellen Winslow who has still been a productive player for us as a second round pick, but you have to look and I do that for 2010 and I did it last year look at last year and you have to. If you don’t learn from your mistakes you are bound to create them again. So you really try to dig into it deep and you really try to look at it and say what was it about that that I missed on? That as an organization we didn’t make the right selection.”What have you learned or as an organization learned about those other drafts?
“I will let the new general managers figure that out on their own, but I truly feel like I have learned a lot from some of those selections that have not panned out for our team.”On the advantage of having so many college coaches on the staff:
“We’ve had a lot of advantage in terms of getting to know these young men before they even went to college. They sat in their living rooms. I know where this kid grew up. He was from Miami-Dade or wherever it was. Because we have a lot of coaches that were with Rutgers, because we have a Bob Bostad and guys that were with very successful programs as well. LSU, they know who these young men are inside and out as well, on and off the field, and that’s an important element for us. It’s been a great benefit and I hope to be able to use that for the next four or five years as those guys are still going to know the incoming freshman class as they come into their current university.” What are the strengths of this draft?
“I think there’s value throughout. I don’t like to get into this position is strong, this position is weak. But I do think there is good value throughout this draft that I think fits the needs of our football team and what we want to accomplish in this draft before we actually go into it. I think it’s a good draft class and that some impact players will come out of this draft class that we’ll talk about for a long time.” Will the last three days of mini-camp had any bearing at all on the selection process?
“I don’t truly believe a draft board is every officially set. From when the first pick comes, everything is in motion and if you take a position that adjusts your board. You go into a draft saying this is our board right now, but for me, there is always one more tape you can watch, there is always another phone call you can make, a little more information you can gather, so you’re always tweaking. And if you’re not tweaking your board, that 173rd player might be your 150th player and you need to keep working at it. It’s a 12-month process and you want to be correct. Not only in the first round but in the other six rounds as well. I learned that from the best. Whether it was Gil Brandt, Ron Wolf, Bill Polian. They always talked about there are seven rounds to the draft, not one, and you have to do as much work as much as you can to get your board in the right direction.”How will this be different with Schiano around?
“We’re still running the same type of war room. It’s a very quiet war room, or draft room. Greg has the same philosophy that way. It’s a business atmosphere in there and we’re talking about football players. That’s going to be the same. And Coach is going to have just as much say as always. I’ve really been impressed with Coach Schiano. He has worked hard. He talks about 1440, the number of minutes you have in a day. He puts in an unbelievable number of minutes a day to get himself to where he is already with his draft knowledge, which is impressive. I mean, you’re trying to put together your staff, this minicamp, now trying to get ready for free agency and then the draft. He lives by 1440, and he works a lot of them.” So if it comes down to he wants this guy and you want this guy?
“We’ll choose the player together. I know what you’re trying to ask and I love that question, but the reality is, I’ve just never seen where that happened throughout the 18 years I’ve been in war rooms I’ve never seen it happen where two people just fight through it. If we can’t make a decision together we’ll make one that we can make together.” How much do you think you’ll know about what will play out at the start of the draft?
“You don’t know but you try to do all the recognizance that you can. You watch other people’s web site and how this day is going right here and you try to figure out as much information as you can, anyway you can. And it’s not just focused on the first pick. I’m looking past that and looking deeper.” On the Wonderlic again:
“I said it’s an element. I never said it doesn’t matter. I don’t know where the disconnect, you might need to take the Wonderlic. It’s a big part of it. It’s a part of the evaluation process. It really is. But you have to frame into not only what the score is but how does the guy learn football as well. To me, there is a lot of retention and to me the Wonderlic tells you of the education, whether it’s reading or just basic, what’s actually asked on the Wonderlic. And if you see a low score you have to dig deeper into that player to find out, is that an issue or is that something he can handle. I came to Kansas City, where I started my career, and we had a great defensive end there who scored a three. He played a long time in this league and scored a three. I know why he scored a three but I also saw how he was as a football player.” Will the first pick be the easiest for you?
“I think it’s a rare year where you know the first two picks. I think we all probably know the order, too, but I think it’s rare that you know the first two picks in the draft, so that does make it a little different, but I don’t think it makes it easy. I mean, there’s a lot of work that goes into that to make sure you make the right pick. And the reality is you have to be prepared to not only move up, but to move back and what’s that pick look like. So you have to think about not just what are we going to do at 5, but at six and 18 or 24 if you wanted to. So a crazy as it may sound, there’s not any easy pick ever.”Do you think those trade-down opportunities may be there?
“It depends. Again, I’m preparing for it with the reality that it may not happen at all. But I am preparing for it. We as an organization are thinking about what would it take, putting together our charts for, if we moved to 22, what does it take. What would we be comfortable with and then who would you take. So we’re doing that but if no one calls, then we’re ready to pick.”You could be sitting there with a classic choice between RB Richardson and CB Claiborne, offense/defense … what's going to drive that decision if it's down to those two?
“I would say that whoever we pick at five, of the amount of players that we're discussing at that 5th pick, you just have to look at the overall picture. I know that's kind of a vague answer, but I don't want to pigeon-hole us either because that's not the way we're looking at our draft right now.”You only have two RBs. Will that be a priority in the draft?
“We're looking at that position, certainly, in the draft, and that's something that we're going to consider. You have to; the guy touches the ball a lot in a game . . . but I don't think we're going to want to push that potion because we only have two under contract. And we had a tryout here today with the minicamp, and we had a couple kids in for a tryout. We're going to sign one of those young men, so we'll be at three by the end of the day. We’ll continue to look at any avenue to address that position further if we don't address it in the draft.”Are you looking at a new type of player?
“Character has always been important. The type of players are important. But it's been great to have time to sit not only with coach Sheridan on defense, obviously talk with Butch Davis, certainly with coach Schiano and then Mike Sullivan on offense, and just kind of learning what they want.”What does this player look like? What does your X look like? What does your right tackle look like? What does your left guard look like?
“Those are the questions we go through with our staff and make sure the scouts are in there to listen to the coaches talking about the specific positions, offensively and defensively, that we're looking for to make sure that we fit the right players as we talk about players in the draft, into drafting the right kind of men that we want on this football team going forward.”Will it be different from in the past?
“It's going to be a little different because this is a new staff ad they have different philosophies. Obviously Coach Sullivan has his philosophy that he's developed and maintained and grown through his years of being a coach in the NFL, and so offensively his players can look a little different or be asked to do different things. But I have liked the way our players currently under contract fit into both sides of the ball.”Morris Claiborne, what's the quality that jumps out?
“I'm not going to get into individual analysis of football players. I don't want to help the Minnesota Vikings, the Cleveland Browns or the St. Louis Rams or whoever. I just don't like doing that because to me, all I'll say is there's a lot of talented players in this draft class. I do think it's a good draft class, and at the top I feel like its really talented spots. So I'm excited about it and I'm comfortable at five, and willing to explore in case there's something that does develop.” Is moving back a possibility, or is top 5 so good?
“We will take the player that we think fits, and whether that's in that top 5 or not, if we don't think so, I have no problem making that selection. So although the public perception might be these are the 4 or 5 players we're considering, certainly we have evaluated other positions and there's guys we like at other positions.”Is it fair to evaluate 2010 Bucs draft?
“We don't have much more time, nor do the players. They have they 2 years remaining on their contract, except for Gerald who has 3. The reality is it's disappointing that our defensive tackles have been hurt. It's extremely disappointing, and they're frustrated and disappointed as well . . . I still have hope, but here's only so much time left. I know we have a lot of them out there, but I'll be my harshest critic to look at that class and see what they do. But I still have a lot of hope in that class in terms of what Arrelious was going to do; I know that Mike Williams did not have the season he wanted last year … I still have a lot of love for Cody Grimm and Dekoda Watson and Lorig, those 7th rounders have been good players for us . . .time will tall, but the clock is certainly ticking. There's no debate about that.”
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