Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden addressed the media at the end of the first day of the 2007 NFL Draft. Here are some of Gruden's thoughts after the Bucs' first four selections.
On the selection of Clemson defensive end Gaines Adams with the fourth overall pick:“We’re excited to have selected defensive end Gaines Adams. We said earlier, as the offseason began, that we wanted to upgrade our pass rush. We feel like we did that today. He is a fine football player. We’re eager to put him in our colors and get him started. He’s a good football player with a chance to be great and it certainly addresses an area that we want to improve at.”
On Tampa Bay’s draft picks in the second and third rounds:We started the second round with Arron Sears, an offensive lineman from Tennessee, a guy we really like. It’s been well documented; [he’s] a very versatile guy. He’ll start off playing at left guard for us. Later in the round we took a safety man. We’re very happy he was there – Sabby Piscitelli, Oregon State. He’s a good hitter, productive player and has a knack for the ball. I think he has 15 or 16 career interceptions, and a lot of those plays came in critical situations. And he’s big and he’s fast and he’s a playmaker, and we are excited to have him. He’s a Florida native, so I think he’s ecstatic to be coming back to familiar territory. We just took a guy, Quincy Black, an athletic player from New Mexico who plays in an unorthodox scheme, but he is very fast, very physical. And we’re excited to put his talents to use here. We’re not quite sure where he’ll line up yet, but we will get him started this upcoming weekend at our mini-camp. He can rush the passer as a blitzer. He’s a guy who has played in space and been very effective at times, and we got a very fast, explosive athlete who will be a linebacker for us.”
On if Dan Buenning will move to center with the drafting of Arron Sears, who will likely start at left guard:“Yes, that will be a possibility. Arron Sears has played left tackle at a high level at Tennessee. He’s a guy who could become a back up potentially, should something go wrong with Luke Petitgout, so he gives us some versatility in that regard. But the idea he and Davin Joseph, Jeremy Trueblood – three key anchors on an offensive line that we’re excited to be putting together – is encouraging. And Dan Buenning will be given an opportunity at center, as will Matt Lehr and John Wade – and it’s going to be a heck of a battle. We need to make some strides, and hopefully the addition of Luke Petitgout and Arron Sears will help us do that.”
On if he feels better about the offensive line by drafting Sears and moving Buenning to center: “I feel better. I feel like there’s an offensive line in place right now. The right side was revamped last year with guard [Davin] Joseph and tackle [Jeremy] Trueblood; I think they’ll be better. I am counting on Joseph to be the leader of this offensive line. I’ve told him that and I expect him to do that. He did it for [Bob] Stoops [at Oklahoma], he’s got to do it for me. We brought in tackle Luke Petitgout because he is an NFL left tackle. He’s a guy that’s a first-round draft choice who has performed well there. Arron Sears is a Jacobs trophy winner and an [All-] Southeastern Conference [selection]. I have a lot of respect for Phil [Fulmer] having worked for Phil in the past. I know he is a heck of a line coach. We have real good, quality players. We’re young at some positions. We’ll have great competition at center. We don’t want the Cadillac hit. We didn’t do a good enough job last year. We want to take care of [Jeff] Garcia, Chris Simms or whoever our quarterback is. We need to pick it up there and personnel sometimes is the best way to do that.”
On if his concerns over Buenning’s knee injury is a factor in this selection:“A little bit. I think Buenning’s potential to be a center played into this also, and the simple fact is Sears is a heck of a lineman. He’s intelligent, he’s a good drive-blocker, he’s good on the second level and he’s instinctive. He’s without a doubt the leader of the Tennessee program at this point. To get a little personality, a little pizzazz in an offensive lineman is going to help us.”
On if Tampa Bay drafted defensive players deliberately or if it was a case of selecting the best players available:“It’s a combination of both. We knew we needed to address some areas on defense. We tried to do that to a degree. We also don’t want to take a player who isn’t deemed worthy of that selection. Our scouts did a great job laying out the board. We got players who were rated highly on our board at the time we selected, and we did add a defensive lineman, a linebacker and a safety man, which I think will help our overall defense.”
On the frequency of trades that happened in the second round and why the Bucs didn’t elect to trade on the first day of the draft:“We felt good having four of the top 68 players, that meant we were going to get four pretty good players. We were tempted to move up, but we wanted to walk out of the first day, if possible, with four players. We feel that this team needs an injection of youth; guys that can play. We feel like we did that today. There were some opportunities to trade down, but I think the picks where we were, in terms of who was on the board, the best thing to do was sit quietly and pick our player.”
On what the Buccaneers will try to accomplish on the second day of the draft:“That’s always a great pick because after you sleep on it after a long day, the phone will be ringing. That’s always been a heavily traded pick, those first five or six picks the second day of the draft. We’ll meet later tonight when the draft is over and isolate seven or eight names, put them on the board and go from there. Once again, we want to try to take advantage of where we pick in the draft and take players who we have rated high, not just draft for need.”
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Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]
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