Bucs head coach Jon Gruden on drafting three offensive players on the first day of the draft
“Three players. We try not to get into the addressing of needs so much as let’s take the best player that’s there. And if we can address a need that we feel we have in the process, that’s a bonus. But at the end of the second round, Jeremy Trueblood, a guy that we really thought helped himself tremendously in the Senior Bowl, where he went from left tackle to right tackle. He’s a very good athlete, basketball player, Cathedral High School in Indianapolis and he’s got a very good ability to pass protect. We think he’s a good player. We really like the upside that he has. Him and Davin Joseph will come in here on the right side initially and we’re eager to get those two big guys started.”

Gruden on drafting or the right side of the offensive line
“Yeah, I think so. I mean to start with, obviously, we’ll adjust as time goes on, but Jeremy will move over and compete initially as right tackle. Davin will start his pro career as a right guard and we’ll see what happens. But these are two good collegians that love football, that have the size, strength, I think, the stamina and the production. The inner drive and self-motivation that we want to put together here on this offensive line. Stovall, where we got him, he’s just a real physical guy. A couple of years ago we lost Keyshawn [Johnson] and [Joe] Jurevicius. Size is a big part of our receiving corps. Michael Clayton, a very physical flanker that we have right now, with Stovall, Ike Hilliard and a speedy [Joey] Galloway, we feel like we have improved ourselves, obviously.”

Gruden on the pro-style offense that Notre Dame WR Maurice Stovall played in last year
“All of these guys really played in open-style offenses, multiple sets, Oklahoma, Boston College, Notre Dame. Certainly, Charlie Weis coming to Notre Dame has exposed Maurice, I think, to an offense that much more resembles a pro game. It paid off for Maurice. He had a great senior season. He’s a leader on their team. He’s a great young man. He gives us not only a guy that can catch the ball and make plays down the field, but he gives us a physical presence. He’s an outstanding blocker, and that’s a big part of having a good running game.”

Gruden on the offensive line and depth
“Well, again, we were talking about defensive players every time we picked. I won’t say that we ever went into the draft exclusively to add players to the offensive line. At the end of the first line, the guy that we selected, we felt, without a doubt, was the best player on the board at the time Tampa Bay selected. At the end of the second round, we felt the same about Jeremy Trueblood. And that’s kind of how we went about the process, not specifically to address a need or perceived need but to just try and get better and try to find guys that can make the football team and become players here. Good players, hopefully for a long period of time.”

Gruden on Stovall’s visit to One Buc Place this offseason
“I think we all clicked with him. Richard Mann, Rich Bisaccia. He’s going to be a big wide out that can cover kicks, block kicks, go out and make some tackles on special teams, and contribute as a wide receiver. And to get a guy at that position that can make a contribution on special teams is very important to us. He’s a big mammoth target and a very productive one inside the 20 (yard line). He’s a guy that had 11 or 12 touchdowns this past season and a lot of those catches were over the top of the defender in tight, congested areas. He’s just an outstanding leaper and a very physical football player. To put him in the huddle with Michael Clayton in a slot formation is something that excites me a little bit.”

Gruden on Stovall’s production during his senior season
“They ran the option a little bit the year before. They weren’t as open, in terms of their attack. They threw the ball more. Obviously, if you are a wide receiver, the more you throw it, the more opportunities you are going to have to catch a football. He played not only for Charlie Weis, but he played with a great quarterback. Brady Quinn’s an outstanding football player and I think those two things really helped him.”

Gruden on Stovall’s ability to lose some weight
“Yeah, he did. I think when the new staff at Notre Dame came in, they changed Maurice’s role. With that being said, he got his weight down. Not that he was an overweight player, he’s just a naturally big guy. He looked good on films that we saw.”

Gruden on if the Bucs should have drafted any defensive players on the first day
“Well, maybe the defensive coaches feel like that. We want to get good players. I think that’s what the draft is. You want to try to get a player when it’s your turn to pick, that you think can come in and not just be a part of a depth chart, or be an offensive or defensive player. But a guy that can make the team better. And hopefully make this team, make it better and compete and be a positive force for us. We had a lot of guys last year that not only started but played a lot of football. Key snaps for a division championship team. The guys we picked particularly today we wanted to be the kind of guys that love the game, that are durable guys that are into it. That can handle the pressure and the change of scenery they are about to go through here in the next six months. And certainly Boston College, and Notre Dame, and Oklahoma, and the types of careers, and the types of people that we drafted today, regardless of positions. they I think we’ll help them do that.”

Gruden on his thoughts on other teams and the first day of the draft
“I’d like to see it be five minutes per pick, each pick, all the time. You know it’s a long day. I think the teams in the [NFC] South obviously improved themselves. There were a lot of good players picked the first day of the draft as you know. I think tomorrow is the key to this draft. We’ve got seven selections, maybe more, maybe less. When it’s all said and done, we’re going to wear Tiger Woods’ clothes tomorrow. We’re wearing a red shirt, and the black pants. Finish strong is what we are going to try to do.”

Gruden on if he thought the draft went as he thought it would
“I wouldn’t say we were totally shocked in any round. There’s always a couple surprises here and there. But we’re in range. I think we were in pretty good range in terms of who we thought we would be choosing from at the end of the first three rounds. Once again, picking where we were this year was a lot different than last year. But we managed to get three big, very big, physical football players that are great kids, that love to play this game. And for that, we are very excited.”

Gruden on the addition of running backs to the NFC South
“You’re talking about great backs. DeAngelo Williams is probably a little bit overshadowed today with the addition of the great Reggie Bush. But, this DeAngelo Williams is a great back himself. And they already have DeShaun Foster. I thought Atlanta helped themselves getting [Jerious] Norwood out of Mississippi State to go with [T.J.] Duckett and certainly Warrick Dunn. And Reggie Bush, [New Orleans] just traded to get Michael Bennett. They got Deuce McAllister in town. There are a lot of good backs in this conference. We’re proud of the ones we have. But I think most teams in this league understand that it’s a vital position. There were certainly some big backs to go today in the [NFC] South.”

Gruden on if he plans to take the best player available at the time, or one that meets specific needs
“We have 80 guys on our roster. More than 80 players on our roster before the draft. So, we feel like we’ve got enough numbers to go to camp as we sit right now. Again, we want to try to draft a player that we think has what it takes to come in here and compete, and make this football team. We like to not just address needs, we like to address who is good, who is better, and who can make a team that can move on in the playoffs. That’s what we’re looking for.”


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