Buccaneers general manager Bruce Allen answered questions from the local media Sunday regarding the 10 players the team selected in the 2006 NFL Draft. Did the Bucs attempt to make a draft-day trade? Why did the Bucs select Oklahoma guard Davin Joseph in the first round? Get answers to these questions and more by reading Allen’s Q&A session with the local media, which comes courtesy of the Bucs public relations department.
Allen on his overall impression of the 2006 NFL Draft as it pertains to the Buccaneers “As I’m sure you’ve heard from others, we’re pleased. We have added 10 players that we feel can help the Buccaneers in 2006 and beyond. We are still talking to a few undrafted free agents we feel can also help the Buccaneers. The way this draft developed is much like a football game. Each draft takes on its own identity based on what happens in front of you, what happens after you select. We were able to accomplish most of the goals that we set out before the draft. For that, we’re pleased.”
Allen on keeping all 10 draft picks and not making a trade “Ironic, I know we were just talking about that in there. For all the phone calls made and for all the cell phone batteries that died, it’s unusual. It really, [after the second round] had the most action. There were a lot of conversations going on with us and other teams, as there was in the league. But after that, it died out quite a bit, except for the top of the fourth round. I think where our draft choice selections were, which is based on your record, is the reason. At the bottom of the round, there’s less action. That was interesting. We liked the players that were falling to us at that particular time.”
Allen on some of the goals he wanted to accomplish in this draft “In the positions that we acquired players, the two offensive linemen that bring a physical [nature] to them, some size. We were looking for something like that. The two corners bring something that we were looking for. [Maurice] Stovall, the size and the production, it brought what we had hoped to gain out of this draft. Everywhere we went we were able to say, ‘That fits in a real critical area for this football team.’ So we felt good about that.”
Allen on what he meant by most of the goals being accomplished “We thought Reggie Bush would fall to us (laughing).”
Allen on if he was surprised about Reggie Bush falling to the Saints “That was surprising.”
Allen on if Alan Zemaitis was a pleasant surprise to see still there in the fourth round “You know, it’s interesting and I’m sure teams tell you that they don’t try to follow the mocks and all of that. But if you get a consensus and you see where people are. We have our own version of mocks that we do that we have been preparing for a week or so based on scouts, and all of the notes we have taken from a year really, and talking to people. Players go where they should go, usually. But the position need, last year, I believe 19 corners went in the first three rounds, and this year everyone felt that there was going to be a high number of corners in the first round. So it seemed that he could fall to us because it was a decision, earlier. We were happy, extremely happy, because he was part of the conversation around before.”
Allen on if adding a quarterback was an objective “A quarterback is an objective. I think with Coach Gruden and Coach Hackett and the system we are running, it is great anytime you can add somebody like that to your team. Last year, I came here to talk about Luke McCown as a young player that we liked and we traded a sixth rounder in order to acquire him. Bruce [Gradkowski] is so productive in his game and he fits a lot of the criteria that we have for quarterback.”
Allen on Tampa Bay’s lack of tight ends before Sunday “We keep four tight ends on the roster. One of them has been Dave Moore. So we really had only two veterans coming back. I think we are going to have some great competition there at the tight end position. It’s clearly part of our offense. It’s who we are. I would say both tight ends played over 60 percent of the plays last year. It says a lot about the effectiveness of those players but also the importance in our offensive scheme of that position.”
Allen on 21 of the 22 starters from last season returning and if it is unusual “It is, but I think you saw the results of that in free agency. We weren’t looking to add a lot of players to the team through free agency. However, this team needed another infusion of this youth that we brought in and I believe the players we brought in are going to compete well with all of our veterans. Going into this draft day weekend, we were at 83 players under contract and that was more than anybody in the league. Right now we are at 93 under a commitment, it’s not really a contract, because they were just drafted. We hope to sign four or five guys this afternoon, evening, to the roster. We will be at 100 players committed to this team.”
Allen on G Davin Joseph and the offensive linemen that entered the NFL this weekend “It’s exciting. Davin jumped off the screen to us in many ways. His personality is what we’re looking for. You all are going to get to meet him soon, he come in tomorrow. His qualities are phenomenal; his strength and all that you can check out. But the energy he is going to bring to the team, his desire to be great, to be a champion, I think is exactly what we wanted.”
Allen on if the Bucs intended to pick more offensive players than defensive players, or if it just happened that way “It was six [offense] and four [defense]. The undrafted free agents, I bet, will tilt the other way. It was fitting guys for our team and giving people an opportunity to make the team. On the second day of the draft, it’s easy to say you are going to take the best available player, but there were a couple quarterbacks who were interesting after we took Bruce. But we feel that would have been unnecessary at that point.”
Allen on Davin Joseph and how guards are not perceived as “sexy” picks in the first round “I think Carnell [Williams] will think Davin’s the most sexy guard he’s seen in a long time (joking). And wait until you see him with his shirt off. He is beautiful. I don’t think there’s any doubt that Chris [Simms] and Carnell will think this is a beautiful, unbelievable draft choice. When they get to see Jeremy [Trueblood] they are going to be drooling as well. The difference in drafting late, the biggest difference is, if the trade possibilities aren’t there, you know you aren’t going to get your player with your next choice. It’s such a long wait, there are so many choices. Last year, as I am sure we mentioned, getting Alex Smith in the top of the third. It feels good that you had the high pick in the third round because you are getting such a great talent who’s not a ‘third-round pick’ but an exceptional player. So that’s the biggest difference. A player that you are getting later and you know you have no chance to get in the next round.”
Allen on if Joseph was a good fit for the Bucs “I think that fits for any round. In the sixth round it fit for a quarterback and for the fifth round it fit for a defensive end. It doesn’t matter which round if you like the player. If people aren’t trading, they’re not trading. You want to make sure you get the player you want. Davin is somebody that in our room we were excited about. We were holding our breath as the picks were going in front of us, who was going to select who in the draft. The same thing with Jeremy Trueblood, who is someone we rated extremely high. We were pleased when we were waiting for that round to develop and to have these players fall to us.”
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