The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected UCLA defensive tackle Price Brice with the 35th overall pick in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-1, 303-pound Price was the second defensive tackle taken by Tampa Bay. The Bucs took Gerald McCoy with the third overall pick.
Price was somewhat surprised that he landed with the Bucs after they took McCoy, but leading up to the draft he thought he would be a Buccaneer.
“I feel great. It is a great opportunity and a dream come true,” Price said. “I’m just happy to be apart of a great organization. Yeah I was surprised with the whole waiting game, but they told me when I was out there that they’d see me again. I hoped that it would be.”
Price and McCoy fill a huge need for the Buccaneers. The Bucs were looking for defensive tackles that can stuff the run and get after the passer.
“When you are talking about the guys we’ve had in the past and the things that we’ve been able to do, you are talking about guys with dynamic pass rush, create disruption and are going to constantly be in people’s backfields,” Bucs head coach Raheem Morris said. “We were very creative last year with some of our tackles and some of our schemes and some of the things we were able to do. With these guys coming in, all kinds of thoughts and ideas start go running around your head, especially as a defensive coordinator.”
Price is a complete player because he excels at both stuffing the run and rushing the passer. He entered the NFL Draft early after his junior season. Price, 21, or McCoy could give the Bucs a dominant defensive tackle that they have missed since the days of Warren Sapp, who they drafted in the first-round of the 1995 NFL Draft. The UCLA product has the body type of Sapp, and he is excellent at shooting his gap and disrupting the offenses' play from the snap of the football. He plays behind the line of scrimmage due to an excellent combination of size and speed and will give the Bucs exactly what they were looking for at the three-technique position.
Morris and Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik will build the Bucs defense around McCoy and Price. In 2009 Tampa Bay went 3-13 with the 27th ranked defense in the NFL and the 32nd-ranked run defense. Morris can plug Price or McCoy in as a three-technique defensive tackle, the same position that Sapp played in former defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin's Tampa 2 defense. Price and McCoy are expected to jump start the pass rush for Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers have not had a double-digit sacker since Simeon Rice in 2005.
Due to their skill-set, Price projects to play nose tackle with 2009 third-round pick Roy Miller and McCoy as the three technique. All three have the ability to play different techniques on the defensive line.
“You’ve seen our rotation has been pretty much consistent,” Morris said. “It’s gone from three to sometimes four. At times, it’s as many as you can get up. Having three young players like that packaged with some of our older players that we may have as well, you can get excited. We can put these guys in a four-man rotation to keep them fresh. We do live in Tampa. It’s really hot and you’re talking about bigger men. We’re talking about creating a pass rush and trying to get back there. Our sack production hasn’t been what we want or what we need. These young men – when they are put together and play together – create a lot of disruption for people and it creates problems for protections and creates mismatches up front.”
Price said he would be happy to play nose tackle next to McCoy or Miller.
“No plan yet, I’m just coming in with a good attitude ready to give it 110 percent,” Price said. "I’ll play any position. I’ve played every position on the interior and on the defensive line."
Price had 12.5 sacks in his career with UCLA. He totaled 97 tackles, 44.5 tackles for a loss, five forced fumbles, and one interception. At the NFL Scouting Combine, Price recorded 34 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press and ran the 40-yard dash in 5.13 seconds with a vertical jump of 30.5''.
Last year, Price had seven sacks and ended the season with 48 tackles, 23.5 tackles for a loss, and two forced fumbles. Price was third in the nation in tackles for a loss. Price broke into the lineup for the Bruins as a true-freshman in the 2007 season and finished that season with a bang. As a sophomore he had 4.5 sacks with 14 tackles for a loss and 35 tackles.
One thing the Buccaneers liked about Price was that their belief that he helped his teammates produce a pass rush. Price was double-teamed a lot in 2009, and has also learned how to beat double teams. Often times he tricks linemen by dropping to a knee. This causes the extra blocker to split off because they think Price is on the ground and out of the play, but Price explodes off the ground and flies by his single-blocker to get to pressure on the quarterback.
Although Price does not have a huge sack total, he is an excellent interior pass rusher. Leading up to the draft many projected Price to be a first-round pick, but some late criticism could have hurt his stock.
“It showed up on the internet after my pro-day that I looked sloppy,” Price said. “The guy that wrote it wasn’t even at my pro day. I did pretty well at my pro day. All the coaches and scouts that were there said so. I don’t know who put it out there, but I can only control my attitude and I’m ready to play.”
Price talked about his trip to Tampa Bay, and why the Bucs led him to believe that they would draft him.
“The trip out there was great. I didn’t get to sightsee while I was down there, but I looked out on the plane and it looks like a great city and I felt like I wanted to make it my home,” Price said. “The facility was great. The coaches were wonderful, so I’m very excited to be a part of it.
“I met the owners, and the coaches were speaking highly of me. I felt in my heart that I would end up there. The staff was saying they would see me again pretty soon. I took that to heart and thought maybe they’re serious.”
With the drafting of Price the Buccaneers now have six defensive tackles on their roster. That group is comprised of Price, McCoy, Chris Hovan, Ryan Sims, Roy Miller, and Dre Moore. Miller was a 2009 third-round pick and Moore was a 2008 fourth-round pick. Veteran starters Hovan or Sims are candidates to be released to open up a roster spot and free up salary.
Andrew Scavelli also contributed to this report.