Here’s an NFL press conference you will never see: The GM steps to the podium, squinting as a few flash-bulbs go off, about to address a roomful of media, maybe he’s even at a draft party or a fan-event. He has to comment on the pick he just made and he starts with, “we didn’t get our guy today, we were hopeful he would be there at our spot, he wasn’t. This wasn’t our day… Anyways, here’s our pick.”
Yeah, no NFL GM is going to throw their newest player under the bus, every player is the guy you wanted, every GM had a great draft day and every team is “better” for the pick they made. We all know that’s not the case, but it’s all appearances. It’s the same reason almost every player says he’s happy to be with his new team. They’re not all happy, but it’s about appearances. I don’t think it was about appearances last night for Raheem Morris and Mark Dominik. I think they actually did get their guy.
“We had hoped that he would be there. With as much research as we could do, I feel like I didn’t want to have to trade up to select him. I thought I could play my cards to the vest and hope that he would be there at 20 with all the research. It was a unanimous choice within our building. I know that sounds cliché, but it’s not cliché at this moment. Both defensive line coaches, our defensive coordinator, who is also our head coach, our director of college scouting, the area scout, our other pro scouts that help oversee the draft and myself all felt like he was the right pick at 20. It was great to hear from his agent afterwards that Adrian was hoping and praying that he would be a Tampa Bay Buc. That’s three-for-three with [Gerald McCoy and] Josh Freeman.”
Dominik was effusive in his praise of Adrian Clayborn. Stating that the Bucs remained faithful to their board and that he was the best player on it, independently of need.
“It’s an acknowledgement that I felt like he was a great fit for us, but it didn’t mean that it was the only position we were going to take. I was being sincere and still will be sincere that our board is wide open right now. We’re going to continue to stick to our board. That’s why we took Adrian Clayborn. He was absolutely the highest-rated player on the board.”
When asked how Clayborn helps the team Dominik admitted the choice as much about stopping the run and being physical as it was getting to the passer.
“He’s a physical player. He’s really explosive inside with his hands. He is able to control tackles and shed and make tackles. He’s going to help us in the run game as much as he is in the passing game. He’s one of those guys that you want to finish a game – whether we win or lose – we want people to remember that we played the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. We feel like he’s one of those types of players that after you are done you are going to know you have played Adrian Clayborn because it’s been a tough 60 minutes.”
Raheem Morris was also quite excited when asked about the prospect of adding Clayborn to his roster. The Bucs head coach and defensive coordinator loves Clayborn’s mentality and aggression.
“I’m really excited about getting Adrian Clayborn. He brings a Rambo-type mentality to your football team. A boy-dog so to speak. A guy that is not only going to go out there and hunt the quarterback, but hunt anybody that has the football. Also, he falls right in the line of doing whatever is best for Josh Freeman. He’s on defense, but you stop people and get the ball back for Josh. That immediately helps with what you do with your quarterback.”
Interesting logic, Morris mentions helping Freeman several times.
“You know I don’t like to put any emphasis on any particular thing. Peyton Manning has been great in his division for a long time and people try to stack up defensive players to stop him and they’re still trying. That’s not what is going to be the case, and that’s not what’s going to happen. What happens is we’re going towards an offensive league, and right now we had the ability to add a defender to our football team that gives us a chance to get the ball back and score, which is the ultimate goal for us. That’s what he’s going to do for us. In our locker room we also mentioned he’s a two-time captain, and what he’s going to bring as far as the competitive toughness to his room and the beast that he can be and he is going to be a force on the football field for us that’s what I want and why we got him.”
Morris thinks the pick will make Gerald McCoy a lot better too.
“He got a lot better. Not only Gerald McCoy, but Michael Bennett, Brian Price, Roy Miller, and all of those guys will benefit from having another guy in their unit to go out there and rush the passer with those guys as one. That’s one of the biggest things I’ve learned and I’ve had the ability to sit back and watch, grow, and develop this young defensive line. They just have to get together and come up with their plan to support that.”