The selection process of 2015 NFL draft is officially over as teams now shift their focus to undrafted players, those whom they’ll try to bring in for rookie mini camp. But before the frenzy began, Buccaneer’s general manager Jason Licht took the podium for the third time since selecting Jameis Winston No. 1 overall on Thursday. Tampa Bay drafted four players on Saturday, starting with LSU linebacker Kwon Alexander in the fourth round. Tampa Bay then added a pair of wide receivers in Nebraska’s Kenny Bell and Utah’s Kaelin Clay in the fifth and sixth round, respectively. The latter is also expected to compete as the team’s kick return specialist. The seventh round ended with a running back, selecting Hawaii’s Joey Iosefa, the third Hawaii product the Bucs have drafted in team history. Moments after their seventh round selection, Licht spoke to members of the media. Here’s the transcript of Saturday’s press conference.

(Licht’s opening statement)
“Our staff did an unbelievable job this year, I just have to say that. This was probably, and you never know how things are going to go but I’m probably more excited about this draft than I ever have been on any staff. Today we started off, moved up, wanted to make sure we got a guy that we had ranked as one of the top outside backers in the draft. And we were surprised and obviously excited that he was there for us. We moved up, we thought we had to, just to ensure a little bit of getting Kwon Alexander, an explosive, fast player that’s going to get a shot at starting outside for us. The next pick was an easy one, because it was Kenny Bell and I’m a Nebraska guy and while we were sitting in the draft room my dad texted me and I showed it to Lovie and he said we have to draft Kenny Bell, so that was easy, we turned the card in right then. My Dad Ron, he’s had season tickets there since 1962 so I get all the Nebraska intel that I need. But he’s a fast player, ran a 4.34 (40) for us, he’s 6-foot-plus, almost 20 pounds, one of the best receivers ever to come out of there in a long time, the most productive and he’s also a kick returner, a team leader, captain, all that. Really excited to get him and have him compete for a role in the rotation and hopefully a starter eventually.

“And then we need a returner on this team and with Kaelin Clay he was a guy that we targeted early. We were hoping to get him right about where we did, so it worked out for us. Another fast, explosive guy. Great background in terms of his speed and his production but he was I think third place in California in the 100 meters. They have fast guys, and that’s pretty fast. So right now it’s his job to lose probably, combo punt and kickoff returner. He’s got value on offense as well. And then we finished up with Joey Iosefa out in Hawaii. Big running back, big thick kid, runs well for his size, 240-pound-plus guy, has really good hands, a really good athlete, we’re going to give him a shot at the starting fullback role, he’ll compete for that, and we’re excited for him, too. Now the eighth round comes around and it looks like a trading floor up there right now, getting ready to start calling guys and hustle guys from other teams. So this is the fun time until we crack open the cooler for some beverages.”

(Licht on the plan being to get more athletic up front)
“It was. We talked about it for a long time this year, during the year, Lovie and I. One of the things we needed to do was get faster, more athletic up front, but we also needed to get tougher, we needed to get more physical and we needed to get more mature guys. And we accomplished that, that’s for sure.”

(Licht on if the team is better now)
“Tremendously better, remarkably better, starting with the hire of Dirk Koetter. That alone made us a lot better. And we have been able to add pieces as we’ve gone here that we’re excited about, to say the least with the quarterback we added the other day.”

(Licht on sixth round pick, Kaelin Clay)
“It helps our offense, helps our defense, helps our entire team. He’s going to be a fun guy to watch here in training camp and OTAs. He’s a guy that, you know, you have a chance every time he gets it in his hands.”

(Licht on not drafting a defensive end, plan to surround and protect Winston)
“By the time we addressed some of the needs. And we had them where we picked them, it wasn’t like we just drafted for need, but by the time we addressed that, for lack of a better cliché, the well had dried up on the guys that we thought could really make an impact. We can’t solve everything, we know that. But we do know that we can compete, we can compete for this division with what we’ve got and we’ll continue to add those pieces here incrementally, but as we’re seeing some of these guys get drafted that we liked in the later rounds at any position we also know we’ll get the first shot at them when their team lets them go.”

Nebraska WR Kenny Bell went to the same school as Bucs GM Jason Licht – Photo courtesy of Nebraska(Licht on how he sees fifth rounder, Kenny Bell, fitting in the receiving corps)
“His best skill-set is for outside. He can stretch the field; he also has experience playing inside. We see him really making a push for contributing and playing a big role for us this year, but he’s got upside to be a starter as well.”

(Licht on fourth round pick, Kwon Alexander, having a chance at strong side linebacker)
“Well he’s certainly not going to beat out Lavonte.”

(Licht on Alexander competing for strong side, what does it mean for Danny Lansanah)
“We’ll do what’s best and I’m sure that Leslie and Lovie will, obviously, and Hardy will find the best fit out there, the pieces to the puzzle. Whatever works out best. And we’re excited that we have Danny, too. Danny’s certainly in that competition as well.”

(Licht on Alexander having the speed for special teams)
“He does, he plays very fast. He’s a very serious guy; he loves football. We really enjoyed our interviews with him. He mentioned in one of our interviews how he prepares. He’s very diligent about everything and he just loves football. How he’ll just pack his suitcase on Monday for the weekend road trip. I mean he’s an interesting guy and fun to talk to; it’s just all business. That’s what this football team needs.”

 (Licht on if Alexander can block kicks, experience off the edge?)
“He’s got experience on special teams. If he can block kicks that’s even better.”

(Licht on if there are still weaknesses that need to be addressed)
“We do see some areas where we still need to get better. We’re always looking for pass rushers. And if I were a guy that doesn’t get drafted, that can rush the passer, I would certainly want to come here. We could certainly use depth at linebacker, and we can use some completion in the secondary, all areas. We could use depth and guys that want to push and compete.”

(Licht on how he feels about the running back situation)
“Feel good. We like Doug, we like Bobby; we haven’t come off Charles by any means. He came on strong towards the end of the year and he’s going to be even healthier now. Mike James is going to compete in there, too. We feel good; we feel a lot better because we feel like we got a lot better up front. And like I said, Dirk Koetter, he’s a very good coach.

(Licht on possible outside interest in Mike Glennon, calls from teams?)Bucs QB Mike Glennon threw 2 TDs at New Orleans last week - Photo by: Getty Images
“Did not, mostly because of the combine when we start talking to other teams, we let it be known that Mike Glennon is an important part of this football team.”

(Licht on if they’ve talked to Glennon since drafting Winston)
“We have. We’ve talked to Mike. He wants to do whatever he can to help this football team, but we’ll keep most of the context of that conversation between us. But he’s a team player.”

(Licht on approaching this draft as a way to grow around Winston, 2 OL and 2 WR)
“You can say that, and I said the other day, it really is true that you bring these guys in together. They’re young and they have each other’s backs. They just get used to the environment here together, and it will just be fun to watch them ascend. We’ve got some young players on that offensive side of the ball now. I think we’re going to prove to a lot of people that we’re a lot better than what we were last year.”

(Licht on Koetter being a big reason for hopeful turnaround)
“Dirk’s going to have a big presence, a big part of this team this year. It’s been great working with him every single day.”

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About the Author: Zach Shapiro

Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders. Contact him at: zshapiro12@gmail.com
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EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy
6 years ago

Wow, what an awful draft….after JW it was all down hill….why no Orchard, why no Grassu, why no Kendricks, why no Lockett or Crowder, why no Free Safety, no late chance on Ekpre-Olomu….I mean not even one of these guys….it seems clear that missing out on OT in FA the last two years was a killer that led to the Smith pick and that seemed to doom everything I guess from there….well at least we got a QB and I guess Marpit is a big upgrade over Gilkey (so is my neighbor – you should see my neighbor)….

BucWild02
BucWild02
Reply to  EastEndBoy
6 years ago

Do the Bucs really need another DE? Another LB? Another Safety? Another injured guy that might recover in a year? This was a GREAT draft! My only criticism might have been to draft another OL in round 4 instead of WLB. Otherwise, it really couldn’t have been better. ZERO question marks surrounding Smith or Marpet and their talent. Picked up two WR that can also return punts or kicks. That was a huge need. Plus the Bucs need more WR’s. I don’t know about you, but I definitely don’t trust Herron to contribute after the drops and inconsistent play last… Read more »

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy
Reply to  BucWild02
6 years ago

I think my view of our DEs does not match yours – I see Johnson as the 4th best DE in Detroit, and Smith as a 3rd down DE only…which adds up in my view to us having a pair of DEs that score in the top 50 of the league….and I feel pretty strongly that the Tampa-2 will not (and has never in the NFL) been successful without a top 10 DE…so, yes I think we need another DE….I also think we need a Safety and I don’t think Conte is it….not sure who the other injured guy is… Read more »

jshumaker
jshumaker
Reply to  EastEndBoy
6 years ago

EastEndBoy, we all have our opinions but unless you are employed by the NFL you are a Monday morning quarterback just like the rest of us and haven’t spent hundreds of hours reviewing tapes and statistics. So really what insight do you have that makes you an expert?

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy
Reply to  jshumaker
6 years ago

Not claiming to be an expert – just my opinion/view…I will happy to be proven wrong and see Johnson and Smith in double digits with sacks…guess we’ll see soon enough.

wbfresh1
wbfresh1
6 years ago

I like every pick. I believe in the way they are going. Getting hard working guys that fit what we are trying to do

76Buc
76Buc
6 years ago

Very solid draft!

deeznuts
deeznuts
6 years ago

Im hoping we bring in MLB Jeff Luc from Cincinnati and MLB Chris Grant from OSU. These two guys are FREIGHT TRAINS playing linebacker…two physical branded nickerson clones that run in the 4.6’s and absolutely punish ball carriers. I’d also like to see us bring in RB Z. Zenner and FS kurtis drummond. I liked the DE Ryan Delaire signing. Looking for big things from kenny bell and kwon alexander

deeznuts
deeznuts
Reply to  deeznuts
6 years ago

Luc ran a 4.57 40 at his pro day… Bench presses 430+lbs. 6’3 250lb bodybuilder playing MLB. . There’s a video of him racing Ike Taylor in the 40…Ike doesn’t win. Sorry to be repeat myself but this guy is certainly worth an UDFA contract

Garv
Garv
6 years ago

EXCELLENT draft all around. The Buccaneers got who they wanted when they wanted them. MUCH improved on offense starting with Dirk Koetter and ending with speed at WO AND two possible starters on the OL. Very pleased and find the criticism from disgruntled message board posters funny or kind of pathetic depending on my level of elation.
Well done Licht and Lovie!

macabee
macabee
6 years ago

GOOOOOO Bucs!!!!

Horse
Horse
6 years ago

Good Draft! Go Bucs!

e
e
6 years ago

90% of this draft, for me, is a potential franchise QB. No guarantees, but you can’t win if you don’t take a shot at one. If Winston pans out and give Bucs fans that “Bridgewater” feel by the end of the season, then everything will come together in time with this team. I know it’s been an endless rebuilding process for the last decade, but never with the most important piece in place. For the first time in a long time, I feel like it might be the Bucs turn at the front of the line for a while?

SOXX
SOXX
6 years ago

One of our best drafts. O-Line, QB and WR position in good hands now. I thought picking Kwon and Bell was huge for us.

scubog
scubog
6 years ago

Following this team’s drafts for nearly 40 years has taught me that at least today, we all need to just accept that the staff who does the choosing knows far more about their selections and those on whom they passed than the so-called “experts” and us. Might prove out to be wrong, but a look back at the records of the bloggers and TV personalities work shows they are not the all-knowing sage in the cave they try to make us believe. History shows that some of these guys will make it and some won’t. There will be surprises and… Read more »

Horse
Horse
Reply to  scubog
6 years ago

Amen

martinii
martinii
6 years ago

I thought overall we had a good draft. Alexander and Bell were pleasant surprises, I didn’t think either would be available in the 4th or 5th round. Clay was unknown to me, but it appears he was a Koetier favorite and I think losefa will push Lane. This time of year is always perplexing. I drew up so many mocks and with the exception of Winston and Smith none come close to the actual draft. It only supports the idea that the team experts ( not the talking heads) actually have a realistic idea of what the’re doing. I’m pleased,… Read more »

georgehicks
georgehicks
6 years ago

Well Guys and Gals A lot of surprises in this Tampa Bay 2015 NFL draft. I give it a Aplus grade.They achieve alot of surprises. I can’t wait to see the Rookie FA they sign.I hope they are all defensive gems whose teams missed. Go Bucs

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy
6 years ago

Okay, guess I’m in the minority (a minority of 1 it seems)…I will keep my fingers crossed for these guys to pan out. Go Bucs.

Horse
Horse
Reply to  EastEndBoy
6 years ago

EastEndBoy; it’s good to have difference. glad to know you are giving it the wait and see. Most teams fail consistently and are lucky to have a dozen or so players still on their team after 5-6 years. It’s pretty obvious we have done some poor drafting and coaching the past several years; hopefully this is the turning point.

magoobee
magoobee
6 years ago

Bucs better not lose the first game of the year.

1. Winston vs Mariota – Advantage Bucs
2. Home Game – Advantage Bucs
3. Really the Bucs were better than TEN last year (we had to tank the last game, TEN did not) – Advantage Bucs
4. TEN had a O Coordinator, we didn’t – Advantage Bucs

macabee
macabee
6 years ago

Listen EEB, There is no harm in speaking about your opinions on this draft. Let me speak for myself. There are clearly some things I would have done differently, but I would do more harm to voice them now than to get behind the team and hope for the best. Jason Licht is not going to get a pass from me beyond this season. I’ve already read some of the so-called expert grades on our draft and they are not good. I expect to get hammered even when we do something good and we’ve done some things that are good.… Read more »

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy
Reply to  macabee
6 years ago

Thanks Mac – let’s hope this is the beginning of the turnaround at the least – go Bucs!

magoobee
magoobee
6 years ago

I’m not trilled with the overall draft as the 2 second round picks are projects and the 6th & 7th round picks were a waste.

But I do like the UDFA they are picking up. I like the concept of picking up small school players. There is probably gems there with better coaching and better competition.

Caushaud Lyons may not make it but man he look like a football player.

surferdudes
surferdudes
6 years ago

I liked the draft, but what do I know? It takes at least two seasons to know how good or bad these players will turn out. A reason I hate stating how I feel before they step between the lines. All I know is we have a real quarterback, that alone makes this draft an A in my book.

Horse
Horse
6 years ago

I’m with surferdudes.

tjhuth
tjhuth
6 years ago

Not enough OL help for me. I will accept the Winston pick, and rely on mgmt to have made the right choice — although I felt his tweet with the crab legs was in bad form and thumbing a nose at those of us who feel he was wrong to steal crab legs.
I find it really hard to like this kid, but he is now MY QB, so I will try to root for him. I sure hope I am wrong about him!

stlbucsfan
stlbucsfan
6 years ago

Like Smiths potential once he cleans up his technique. Harpet I must do more research on but the fact that NE and Seattke had him highly rated bodes well. I also agree that no DE was worth taking when we were on the clock, I think DAL taking Gregory the pick before us was the closest we came to taking one. The DEs in this draft were more high motor run stoppers which isn’t what best fits in this defense. If we get 2 OL starters, a KO/PR, a short yardage back, solid LB depth and a franchise QB I… Read more »

fredster
fredster
6 years ago

Won’t know how we did until the players actually hit the field. That’s the bottom line. As far as addressing needs I am fairly satisfied, but I really would liked to see a DE taken. Have to see what happens I guess. I’d overall give them a C+ Maybe B- on the draft. First three picks were B+ or A-.

buclover1988
buclover1988
6 years ago

I love all our picks. Marpet is a physical specieman thats extremely well spoken and plays with a great mindset. marpet will be a fixture on this team For a long time. I love drafting bell. What a steal. He. The perfect slot for now and i believe he is jacksons eventual replacement. kwon alexander is gonna get coached up by nickerson and smith. They wil. Make him into an household name before you know it…and go watch the highlights of joey iosefa. this guy is all muscle. HEs got really good acceleration for his size and his speed is… Read more »

plopes808
plopes808
6 years ago

I have to say I am very pleased with this draft. Surprised we didn’t address DE but I’m sure there’s more to that decision than the rest of us know. We got our potential franchise QB, a few pieces to protect him, a few additional targets/returners, and a freight train of a FB. We still have first dibs on waivers and UDFAs to go but things are DEFINITELY looking good for us. Go Bucs!