The 2008 NFL Draft officially concluded on Sunday evening.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Bruce Allen shared their post-draft thoughts on their seven draft selections, which are listed below:

First Round Kansas CB Aqib Talib

Second RoundAppalachian State WR Dexter Jackson

Third RoundRutgers OL Jeremy Zuttah

Fourth Round
Maryland DT Dre' Moore

Fifth RoundSan Diego QB Josh Johnson

Sixth Round Florida State LB Geno Hayes

Seventh RoundSouth Carolina RB Cory Boyd

In addition, Gruden and Allen discussed Tampa Bay's interest in Miami defensive end Jason Taylor, potential trades and roster moves between now and the start of training camp on July 25.

Pewter Report shares the thoughts of Gruden and Allen below.

GENERAL MANAGER BRUCE ALLEN

(Opening statement)
“We are pleased with the way the draft turned out today and yesterday. If you look at our draft it is very unusual, in the fact that we filled a need in every position of our football team. We got an offensive lineman, we got a defensive lineman, we got a defensive back, we got a quarterback, we got a running back, and a receiver. At all the key positions on a football team, we got someone we think will come in and help us compete. Obviously, we feel good with the kicking situation, we didn't do that.”

(On why they chose a quarterback)
“We like the talent of Josh. He has not good statistics, not great statistics, he has spectacular statistics. He has been coached by coaches that we are very familiar with, Johnnie Morton has said some very positive things about him, and Coach [Jim] Harbaugh has said some great things about him. We want to give him a chance to see what he can do in the NFL.”

(On the timeframe to compete for Johnson)
“I think it is a little early to say he can compete. I don't want to put any expectations on anything, we are going to give him an opportunity to compete in the NFL, and we will see how he develops during training camp.”

(On what this means for Simms and Gradkowski)

“I have said to you before, and I will say it again, we will bring five quarterbacks to training camp. That is what we planned on doing and that is what we will do. How that works out, we have until July 25th to go to training camp, we will make those determinations.”

(On getting the guys that they wanted)

“We were fortunate. There is always a gamble when you trade down. We traded up once to make sure we got Dre Moore, and we got the guys that we wanted.”

(On if there were conversations about Jason Taylor)
“There were no conversations about that.”

(On adding speed)

“There are very few players that will add what we already have. If you look at this draft we did add Michael Bennett in the sixth round, and I don't know other than the young man from East Carolina that there is a running back faster. We have Joey Galloway and I don't know if there is anyone faster in this draft than Joey Galloway. Dexter Jackson will give this team what coach likes to refer to as juice. So we feel that we did add to it. Cory Boyd is a very productive running back, and that is what we like on this football team.”

(On if he made a promise to Mike Jenkins)

“No. First of all there were other people at the dinner that can confirm that. I would never tell anyone I was going to draft them. When we drafted Carnell Williams at number five, he didn't know. When we drafted Gaines Adams at number four, he didn't know. You know why, because during the draft everything changes. Quite specifically, no one can count on anything on draft day. Derrick Harvey did not expect to go where he did to the Jacksonville Jaguars on draft day. That doesn't happen and I would never do that.”

(On why they chose Aqib Talib)
“We like him. He is a playmaker; he has all the speed and agility that you are looking for. He has great ball skills and his persona fit into our organization. We think he is a guy that can excel in our defense and help our football team.”

(On TalibÂ’s off-field issues)

“It is not only our discussions with him, which were extremely positive, and when you meet the young man tomorrow you are going to like him, it is his coaches that stand by him 100 percent. It is also his teammates, as you know we talk to teammates. That is one of the things that we spend an extraordinary time on is talking to all the players on the team to find out who is the best teammate, and everyone spoke very highly of him.”

(On where the team shifts its focus now that the draft is over)

“We are shifting our focus to the undrafted free agents right now. After that, there are players that we are having dialogue with about doing contract extensions that we feel can be a key component to our future.”

(On if QB Jeff Garcia is a player who might get an extension)
“I have had dialogue with his representative.”

(On the team)
“We can live with this situation. We feel like we have a good core of players here that will help us this year. We really like the core of the players that are going to help us down the road. Jeff’s performance last year was one of the keys to us winning the division, there's no doubt about it. That's why he has a contract for this season. We will deal with those things at the appropriate time.”

(On the new draft format)
“It was interesting, because they quizzed all the teams before they changed it. The first thought was, ‘I don't know how it will affect anything.’ There aren't many people around the league that sleep this entire weekend anyway. So, if you had three rounds last night or two rounds last night, it really didn't matter. You did feel it a little bit, in the second round, the time crunch. You felt like there was more dialogue that could have been had, but we will see what the T.V. ratings were.”

(On roster limits)
“Actually, we are over the roster limit when you include the draft choices. We will sign a few (guys), but we will bring in a couple dozen for the tryout this weekend, save some spots for guys who have performed well. Then we will get a better feel for it.”

(On if there will be a second wave of free agency as it approaches training camps)
“Teams are going to adjust based on who they drafted. There are some teams that may have drafted one or two players at the same position, that's the way their draft worked out. Someone else may be available on their team. There was quite a bit of talk about veteran trades over the last two days. I'm not quite sure, there were three or four veterans that got traded in the last two days. I think there will be quite a few more in the upcoming months.”

(On if Jackson has a chance to impact the passing game)
“He is a playmaker. When we brought him in here for one of the interviews, what I liked about him is, he's a national champion. He's a great competitor who wants to involve himself into the team in many different ways. Knowing Coach Gruden’s imagination, he’ll be in the offense.”

(On the wide receiver group)
“It was interesting. We must have had the same grades as everyone in the league. It was a very unique year at that position. I think because so many of them had that similar grade is probably why so many went in the second round. It seemed like quite a few went in the second round. That’s where they had everyone clumped together, and you had to make sure you got your receiver that fit the specifics of what you were looking for.”

HEAD COACH JON GRUDEN

(Opening statement)
“Just to sum up our draft, we started today taking Jeremy Zuttah, an offensive lineman out of Rutgers. A guy that played tackle, he is also a guy that we think has a lot of versatility. We are really excited about Jeremy Zuttah. A big defensive lineman that really impressed us, Dre Moore. Quarterback Josh Johnson, from a smaller school in California, a very productive athletic guy. Geno Hayes, a linebacker out of FSU. Who has versatility as a weakside linebacker, as a middle linebacker. We think he is going to grow and be a fine football player; he is a contact guy with range. We just finished our draft with Cory Boyd, a big back, a runner that excelled at South Carolina. So most of our coaches will have a new player to coach. We will fly in all of our rookie players and some free agents for our mini-camp this weekend. We are excited with the draft.”

(On where G Jeremy Zuttah fits in the offensive line)
“You are only allowed to have seven guys most of the time active on Sunday. Whoever the sixth and seventh man are, have to have versatility. We lost John Wade, we lost Matt Lehr, two centers, you know we lost Luke Petitgout for 12 games, and Arron Sears got hurt on the first play at Carolina. You have to have that sixth and seventh guy that is capable of playing tackle and guard or guard and center, and Zuttah we think can do that. Great test score, great football demeanor, football IQ, tough as heck, and we think he can play tackle, guard or center. That is why we were very ecstatic to see him there towards the end of the third round. He will add to our group a good bit.”

(On DT Dre Moore)
“I really like the size, a middle push, a middle pass rusher, a guy we think that can collapse the pocket. When he is on, he is really on, he is a flash player. Didn’t play a lot of high school football, a late starter if you will. When you watch the Senior Bowl, individually you can see tremendous talent. I think he is a good kid, and he can give us a different dimension inside in terms of size. He is a long, linear guy with power. He can chase, he can run extremely well for a big guy. He has a tremendous upside if we can get it all out of him.”

(On QB Josh Johnson)
“He is a late fifth-round pick, and we did a lot of work on the quarterbacks. You can’t deny that he comes from a small college. You certainly can’t deny that he was very productive, he dominated statistically. 115 touchdown passes and15 interceptions, 68 or 69 completion percentage, and 2,000 yards rushing. When you do the individual make up of this kid you see a 6-3, 215-pound youngster that has 4.5 speed. I think he is a heck of a kid. Some of the coaches at San Diego I am familiar with, they were on my staff in Oakland, and so we have known a lot about this kid for some time. Is he the quarterback of the future, I don’t know, but he will compete and he will be very interesting.”

(On the offense gaining explosiveness)
“Well you can’t just look at the draft. We added Warrick Dunn, he has 10,000 yards, I saw him playing, he is getting older but I still see great quickness. We are hoping Cadillac Williams comes back; he is in the bullpen right now. We think Ben Troupe can do some things athletically. We have a Pro Bowl quarterback here. Our offensive line is going to be older and more experienced. I think Antonio Bryant can come through, Michael Clayton comes back, I guess that is it. I make no promises in April, I will just tell you this, and we are very enthused. We are adding a 4.3 wide receiver that has home run potential and legitimate return ability. We are excited with Talib, we think he is going to make life interesting on the other side of the ball.”

(On adding competition at wide receiver)

“There is a lot that will be done yet before training camp. Good teams have competition, and it will be competitive at training camp this year at a lot of positions. There is a lot unsolved at the wide receiver position. [Maurice] Stovall is going into his third year. Michael Clayton, can he put it all together again, I am confident he can. We will see what happens with Antonio Bryant, it may be a Cinderella story, or it may flicker out, Antonio will have a lot to do with that. I do think Dexter Jackson to go with Galloway can give us some guys with heat that can run down the football field. As you know I really like Ike Hilliard, and I like some of the things some of our young receivers did late last season, so it will be interesting.”

(On if heÂ’ll take six quarterbacks to training camp)

“No, we won’t take six to camp. There will be obvious decisions that’ll be made. There’s been a lot of people saying we’ve had six quarterbacks. I haven’t seen [Jake] Plummer, and Chris [Simms] unfortunately hasn’t played in the last couple of years. We have had a tremendous amount of injury. We’re not like some of these teams that have enjoyed good fortune of having the same starter for five, six, eight, 12, 15 seasons. We’ve had three different starters play, I think, in four out of the last five seasons. Here in Tampa, we have a different perspective, I think, on the position, but we do have a Pro Bowl returner at quarterback, and we’re really excited about [Jeff] Garcia. We think [Brian] Griese’s proven he can play here, and if statistics mean anything, he’s backed that up. Luke McCown came on last year and did some good things, so here comes a youngster in here. Bruce [Allen] will address that with you here shortly. The roster is reduced. You’re only allowed to take 80 to camp now, so there’ll be some very difficult decisions on every coach in the league before camp starts.”

(On if heÂ’s surprised more veterans didnÂ’t get traded this weekend)

“No, not really. I think sometimes a trade doesn’t just involve the parties that are trading. It involves the agent and the contract demands, etc. Things have to be worked out and normally those things don’t happen within 15-minute phone call. It’s a process that takes time and there weren’t many that happened today, that’s for sure.”

(On Geno Hayes)
“We haven’t even had a mini-camp yet. We want to go into training camp and have a mentality that you better have seven or eight or nine pretty good linebackers. We play four preseason games. We saw a couple of our guys go down last year in the preseason, guys like Antoine Cash and [Sam] Olajubutu, before we played a game. There’s a lot to be decided yet. I will say this though – he can run, he can hit and he’s 20 years old and he’s had some real good experience at a high level at a place where they’re relatively famous for producing linebackers. So we’re excited to put him in the same room with Derrick [Brooks] and Barrett [Ruud] and Cato [June] and see what happens.”

(On Jeremy ZuttahÂ’s position and possibly switching Jeremy Trueblood to left tackle)
“There’s been some thought of that. Jeremy’s been comfortable over there. At this point in time we’re pretty excited about the return of Luke Petitgout. We’re optimistic, according to Todd Toriscelli’s information. Donald Penn is a young guy that did some good things. Zuttah has the capacity to back up [Jeff] Faine, to become the backup center, become the backup right guard/left guard and possibly a tackle. So we’re going to zoom in on where and how we do this starting this weekend, but the plan right now is to leave Jeremy at right tackle.”

(On the back-up center spot)

“It’s a concern with everyone in the league. It’s a tough position. The center makes all of the calls, and delivers the ball on every snap. Dan Buenning is doing a good job. We think Arron Sears is going to be able and be a center, if need be. But we would like to find a guy that has the special traits to play a couple different positions and be trained that way from the very beginning. Bill Muir does as good of a job at that than anyone else I’ve been around, and that process will start soon.”

(On Doug WilliamsÂ’ influence on picking QB Josh Johnson)
“Doug has been in my ear about Josh for a while and we don’t want to make any predictions. We have a long way to go. But Doug is very good at evaluating players and seeing what is going to happen in the next couple of years in this environment. He’s confident that we have an environment here, with Garcia, Griese, some veteran guys, with Doug walking around the building and guys like Greg Olson to help him, and the fact that he doesn’t have to get rushed into playing right away. We have a chance to do some things with this kid, over time, if he does what he’s supposed to do with the ball and makes good decisions.”

(On if Johnson is more of a project than Chad Henne and Brian Brohm)
“Those guys played in the big Division I, they played in a higher level of competition, but they also had pretty good players around them. I’m not saying San Diego didn’t have a lot of good players, but until you do it at the next level, you will be subject to question. It will be a faster pace. He will be hit harder than he has ever been hit and he’ll be challenged more than he has ever been challenged. He dominated at his level because of his talent. But he is going to be at a level playing field now and I’m anxious to see how he handles it.”

Some transcribed questions and quotes courtesy of the Bucs public relations department.


 

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PEWTER REPORT DRAFT RECAP THIS SUNDAY ON ABC Watch Pewter Report's Scott Reynolds on Sunday night at 11:30 p.m. on Sports Zone with Al Keck and Tom Korun on ABC Action News in Tampa Bay for a recap of the Buccaneers 2008 draft. And for the best local coverage of Tampa Bay sports and Tampa Bay news, check out ABCActionNews.com

 

 

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