On the second day of 2019 NFL Draft, the Bucs started off Friday with the 39th and 70th pick. They later went on to trade their 70th pick to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for their 94th and 99th picks.
The Bucs selected Central Michigan cornerback Sean Bunting with the 39th selection, Auburn cornerback Jamel Dean with 94th, and finally Kentucky safety Mike Edwards at pick number 99. This meant three consecutive defensive backs were chosen in rounds two through three, and four defensive players have been selected so far in this draft.
General manager Jason Licht had a press conference with the media after the end of day two to discuss his latest draft selections. Here is a full transcript of his responses:
On drafting nine defensive back since 2016, if he’s not comfortable with some of the selections he’s made
“You’re just always trying to get better and it’s not an indictment on the guys that are here. It’s a long season and you’ve seen first hand throughout the last couple years when injuries start stacking up and our depth wasn’t where we’d like it to be, we needed to infuse some talent in the secondary. I wasn’t really happy with the play of the secondary last year as a whole, just because the lack of depth and just the way the board fell, at this point we still felt like we have guys that can move into starting roles or have the talent to do it. Competition is a beautiful thing in this league.”
On what he would say to fans that were hoping that they would address the defensive line with some of their top picks
“Well I would just say that it’s just the way the board fell. We still have another day of the draft and that draft isn’t the only way to acquire players. The new staff, Todd, Bruce, myself, we love JPP and Carl Nassib. We think we signed Shaq Barrett for a reason, and Noah (Spence) has been really a pleasant surprise so far for the new staff and for us with what he’s been showing. We’re happy with Via (Vea), you know, right now, I know there’s always every team has areas where they would like to upgrade and you can’t necessarily always do it. The board fell the way it did and we’re excited about the way it did.”
On if what he’s seen at mini-camp affected his draft board
“Well it was great that you can always take advantage of the fact that you start a little bit earlier and we can see them out there. I wouldn’t say it really affects the board that mich, we have a pretty good resume of every player that’s been on our roster, but it certainly helps to a degree.”
On where he thinks Sean Bunting, Jamel Dean, and Mike Edwards will get their first look in the secondary
“With Bunting, what we liked about him is, first of all, a superb kid, locker room guy, teammate. We compared our meetings with him with that of Devin (White) in terms of just his infectious personality and I think he’s got a lot of leadership qualities in him. He can play outside, he can play inside, he’s a tough guy, very smart, so he’ll get his opportunities at all those spots. Jamel, Jamel is a big guy, obviously all the talk is how he blew it up at the combine, ran very fast, but he plays a physical game, he’s a really good press guy, he’s a really good tackler, and he’s a really sharp kid as well. Then with Mike, he’s a playmaker from the safety position. He’s moved around, he’s played a little in the nickel position,we see him more as a safety for us, he as well has good speed and a tough guy, and just finds his way to get his hands on balls and intercept balls. Any Kentucky guy that we’ve talked to in this process, you ask him who you want to bring with and it’s just Mike Edwards, it’s simple.”
On with the volume of DB’s means the defense will play more dime than nickel in packages
“The more versatility like we just talked about, and the more sheer number of players helps with injuries and things like that. But Todd runs multiple schemes, he’s going to infuse a lot of different looks and if you have guys like this with different skill sets, it can put an offense off balance.”
On if it was important to get faster in the secondary
“We didn’t stack the board by speed, we stacked them by talent, but it just so happened that those guys are fast and we did want fast guys that were good football players. Speed, you can’t coach, and is speed is something that is very important in the NFL.”
On Jamel Dean’s previous injuries but remaining healthy now
“He had one in 13’ and one in 16’. There’s a lot of players that come back from that now, obviously we did our due diligence and we’re okay with him and feel like he’s 100 percent. We were fine with it.”
On if it was a concerted effort by everyone to draft all defensive players so far to make changes
“Yeah, that’s one of the many things I love about Bruce. When he first came on board we both knew that we needed to address that side of the ball. Being an offensive guy that he is, I was a little afraid that he would say ‘screw it, let’s go all offense.’ He really understands the concept of building the team, he’s been around a long time, and he knew that defense, special teams, are really things we needed to upgrade.”
On what was it that made him trade out of the 70th pick
“We got an offer that we liked. We thought that we were going to be able to add an extra player in that round the way the board was falling. We had an offer with our first pick today too, but we thought there was going to be a run on corners, and there was, and we were afraid of losing out on Sean. But then we were able to pick up a couple extra picks and it worked out the way that we wanted it to, that we were able to get the secondary that we liked.”
On if the report is true that Bruce Arians called someone in Pittsburgh and said “You got my guy” when it came to Diontae Johnson.
“Yeah, but we talk about that like I’ll general managers after they take a guy and say ‘You got my guy.’ It doesn’t necessarily mean it was the guy that we had. We all have our favorites that we watch throughout the process, but you got to rank them the way that you hope by talent and they’re going to help our football team.”
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