The Buccaneers said they were targeting Alabama safety Mark Barron all along and would have taken him at No.5. General manager Mark Dominik and Greg Schiano spoke to the media shortly after selecting Barron, and below is the entire transcript of their press conference.
Buccaneers general manager Mark DominikWhat sold you on Mark Barron?
“Well, character was one of the reasons. Obviously Mark Barron was a two-time captain at the University of Alabama, a two-year National Champion, and a very productive player at a very important position in the National Football League now. Safety has become a very important position and a position we value. We felt like we got an extremely productive guy, who has a lot of leadership intangibles to him that we think are needed on this defense to continue to build this defense into what Coach Schiano wants it to be.”Is Barron going to come in and start immediately?
“I would hope so, that’s the goal. Certainly the coaches are excited to work with him and mold him into a Buccaneer man.”Was Barron in mind when you moved back or was he always in mind?
“He was in mind at five. It’s something that coach and I spent a lot of time going over on the phone prior to the draft. All I try to do is call around to every general manager in the National Football League and try to figure out and anticipate what trades could happen and what we could do. I certainly spent some time on the phone with Gene Smith prior to the draft to see if there was a possibility. We targeted Mark Barron at five, but felt that there was a chance to move back a bit and still get the guy we wanted. We were actually a little nervous when the Dallas Cowboys traded to six, but we’re very excited and we’re excited for our guy and that we was there, and we’re happy to get a fourth-round pick that we think is going to be another very valuable member to this football team in this draft class. But to answer your question at five, we’re excited about our value with Mark Barron.”
Can you talk about the rumors circulating throughout the day about the team moving up to the third overall spot in the draft?
“I like rumors to be everywhere, and I mean that in the sense that I’m going to call and find out what it takes to get anywhere in this draft class. That’s just how I do it. So if I call and check with the St. Louis Rams to see what it takes to move up or if I talk to the Cleveland Browns or the Minnesota Vikings, I just want to know what’s going on because I just want to value what trades are going for in the National Football League. We always look at trade charts but sometimes they’re obsolete to what the trades are actually going for. You have to stay involved with those teams and at the end of the day we’ll say we’re not in on this, but I need to know going ahead.”Was the price too high to go up?
“No, we did not want to...inquisitive questions.”What is it physically on the field that you like about Barron?
“I think you will see an athletic range, speed, up to physical. I think if you saw highlights of him, that is just a clip. You put on any football game of Mark Barron playing in Alabama this year you are going to see a guy that is a physical football player, has range, wraps up—I love the way he tackles. He is force. He has great size to him [and] a smart football player. All those things as people that…know him know him as the captain and why he is the leader on that football team. See the toughness. The dedication that he brings to the football team [and] that is really important to us.”Do you see any traits of John Lynch in Barron?
“I would say that he is physical like John (Lynch). If I have it would be a heck of a nice compliment because John Lynch is one of the greatest Buccaneers of all time and hopefully he is in the hall of fame. I would likely be able to say that he is a physical football player and a guy that guy and I really spent a lot of time watching and discussing and talking over the last few months about a guy we thought we could bring to this organization. We are excited today he is a Buccaneer.”Can he play in coverage?
“Yes, I feel he can and I think you will see that. If I am not mistaken he has got 12 interceptions already in his college career so he has been a productive player that can play the ball. Has hands [and] ball skills. He has the range and understands the angles to play coverage. I think that’s what makes him attractive. And a lot of things coach will talk to you about in terms of using our safety in this defense. How we will use um and that’s why we thought he would be great for this football team.”Didn’t he have hernia surgery in February?
“He did have hernia surgery. He had a workout at the end of March that was important to make sure that we saw his workout and make sure he moved around and everything like that. So yes, he had some hernia surgery and a lot of players have those surgeries, but that was not a concern for us. That was just something that certainly a player—he got it cleaned up right away right as soon as he could. He is healthy and ready to go and we look forward to him being a part of our rookie mini-camp and certainly right into our offseason program when he is available.”Head coach Greg Schiano’s opening statement:
“We spent a heck of a lot of time talking about a lot of prospects. My being in those meetings for the first time as a head coach, I can’t tell you how impressed I am with the personnel people and how hard they work and the information they gather. I am really excited about this player. I think he fits into what we do defensively perfectly. You couldn’t draw it up better. As Mark said, we spent hours and hours watching tape and making sure. But I can tell you the first video I watched of Mark Barron, I thought I had selected his best game. This guy he plays at a high level, even though he plays in arguably the best football conference in the land. I thought he was a dominant player at his position. I can’t tell you how excited I am to get him down here. I was talking to him on the phone. He’s fired up. He said, coach, can you send me a playbook. I told him he’s going to be down here tomorrow and I’ll get you a playbook. I promise you. That’s the kind of guy he is. He lives it, he loves it, he studies it. I can’t wait to coach him.”How much difference can a safety make?
“A ton. Especially the way the game is now. Someone asked, do you think he can cover. I know he can cover. He has to be able to cover in our defense. He’s a big, physical punishing player but he also has the speed and range and the ability to play man to man coverage.”What do you mean when you say he fits perfectly in your defense?
“I think our safeties have to be more dynamic than most teams. They have to be able to play man to man on a wider receiver, play the deep half and come down in the box. That’s a challenging position and I think he’ll really be able to do those things He’s a young guy, he’ll have to come in and learn it. But we drafted this guy to come in here and be our safety for a long time God willing and I’m excited about him.
On playing in the box: Our safeties are going to do a lot of different things so it takes a great athlete and it helps that Mark is such a big physical guy who does come down. He’s the mismatch, not the other way. I don’t’ think it’s fair to do that to a kid. I do believe the way he works, he’s able to stay healthy, this guy has the ability to do some special things. It’s going to be a long process, but he has got what it takes in all areas to be something special.”When did you know he was your guy?
“The first film I watched of him, Mark and I watched it together, and I was like, wow. Then you go back and try to find problems. That’s what you do but we just continually fell this kid is a fit for the Bucs. He’s a leader, he has a physical presence and he loves it. This is a guy that loves it, studying tape, studying the defense, the opponent – he’s our kind of guy.”Can he play anywhere other than safety?
“We’ll figure that out. All I do know is, he has to be able to do a lot of things and he’s capable of doing.”Does this mean the Ronde Barber at safety experiment is over?
“I don’t think it’s an either or situation. We’re just trying to figure out how the get the best 11 on the field. Conceivably it could be Mark and Ronde back there.”How was your first meeting with him?
“It was at the combine, and in that atmosphere, with 15 minute interviews, you could tell he really was sharp with that stuff and really enjoyed being with him and he’s just really a guy, he fits who we are and what we are. It’s great to have him as a Buc.”
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