General manager Mark Dominik and head coach Greg Schiano said they have drafted coveted key contributors so far in the draft, and told the media and fans to add former Cornhusker linebacker Lavonte David to that list.
Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik’s opening statement:
“Always moving, doesn’t mean we’re done. I’m making you stay all the way to deadline tonight. We haven’t picked in our spot yet, have we? Obviously, the reason we’re talking half an hour early is because we wanted to make another trade to get another player that we think will be an impact player and a good player for this football team, a player that was ultra-productive at Nebraska, a guy that had hundreds of tackles, was able to create turnovers, interceptions, fumbles, sacks and a guy that we really felt confident in, another of the type of men that we want to have here and the type of players that we want to bring here. Another thing that’s important for us as an organization is, from the time we made that first trade and picked up that fourth-round pick, we were able to use that pick last night to move down to the bottom of the (first round) and get Doug Martin and we used that same fourth round pick now to get Lavonte David, so we’ve been moving the board and moving around a lot in this draft to be able to maximize what we feel is a good draft, and so far we have three men and four more picks remaining.”What do you like about David?
“We’re very excited about him. You see the tape and the production speaks volumes. He had 285 tackles at Nebraska. He was a captain and here was a guy that I think was one of the best coverage linebackers in this entire draft. I think that’s important, too. He has great movement skills, athletic ability, speed and he can run and is a good tackler. We’re really excited to bring him here.”Do you have any concerns about him?
“No, sometimes you can look at it as three or four teams didn’t have him as high on the board. For us he was a really good fit for what we want to do here. He’s a great kid, he loves and breathes football. This is a guy that you’re going to have to kick out of the building to keep from watching football and trying to be a better football player.”Where does he fit for you?
“He’s a linebacker for us. He’ll come in here and compete at the linebacker spot.”Were you surprised he was there?
"All GMs say, ‘I can’t believe he was there.’ But I was excited he was there and that’s why we went and got him. And because I was really trying to hold that fourth, I didn’t want to give up a lot more because I wanted to take that fourth and maximize that fourth so we had to hold out water and wait a little longer than we wanted to, but we did that in hopes he was going to be there and it worked out for us. That’s the way you have to play it. You have to use your gut and use the resources you have around you and again, we were playing a little bit with house money today, but that allowed us to get a guy that we coveted in this draft.”Is his situation similar to that of Jason Pierre-Paul?
“To speak to that, what he did when he was thrust into the starting lineup and took the bull by the horns and playing Division I football at an ultra high level and being productive with all the tackles, all the turnovers, all the stats you’re looking for at that position. So coming from a junior college and going to Nebraska and being a team captain and being productive speaks volumes to this guy and what football means to him.”Is David’s size a concern?
“Sometimes you can get hung up a little on the weights. It depends on how he plays with the weight. Whether you’re 250 or 230, I just like to watch the tape and decide how he carries the weight and at 233, he’s physical on tape. You can watch him wrap up and make a lot of plays.”Greg Schiano on Lavonte David:Where is David going to fit into the defense?
“I think he can play all three linebacker positions. I think we’ll put him at one of the outside linebackers, Sam or Will. I think the way he runs and hits, we’ll utilize his speed. As Mark mentioned, he’s a really good cover linebacker and can do some things out in space as well – he’s that athletic.”Does this selection help you to get closer to making a decision on the starting linebackers?
“I think we can keep moving forward all the way through our veteran mini-camp in June and then we have to lock in and get to at least where we think it’s going to be as we enter training camp. We’ll see, again you never know what’s going to happen. There are a lot of variables but I know this, when you have good football players who really love the game and are leaders, they’re going to play somewhere. We’re going to figure it out.”Was there some discussion about moving up earlier in the draft to get David?
“I’ll tell you what, I was really impressed as probably you guys know, Mark’s a pretty good poker player. He kind of waits and is patient and then when it’s time, he went and did it. I was anxious because we all wanted the player, but having been in that draft room a number of years, I thought he played it perfectly. I’m glad we got him, I’ll tell you that.”Were you surprised at how the draft has gone for your first NFL draft?
“I really like it and I’m learning every second, just kind of watching how we do it, being part of it and hearing how things go down because it does happen quickly when it does happen. It’s been fun, very exciting. Something that as an assistant coach, at least in the organization that I was part of in the National Football League, I wasn’t privy to that. So I didn’t really ever see that, other than on TV like everybody else. But to be in there and be part of it, it’s a lot of fun.”Is there something in particular that you looked for when selecting David and your other draft picks?
“Guys that love the game, and everybody says they love it, but guys that live it – this guy lives it. You have to kick him out of the facility, he trains, he’s all about football – those guys are generally…I’ve never had one that wasn’t tough. That’s so important to them so they’re going to do whatever it takes to win that football game. That’s what I mean when you talk about these three guys. They’re clutch players and coach Paterno taught me that a long time ago. You watch tape and you watch plays in the first and second quarter and guys make plays, but when the game’s on the line, who makes those plays? I think there’s a lot to that when you’re evaluating, and all three guys we have on this football team that we’ve added in the last 24 hours, they make plays.”
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