Gruden on the draft

Bucs head coach Jon Gruden addresses the media during the draft's first round.

By Special to the Times
Published April 28, 2007

Opening statement:

“We’re excited to have selected DE 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 if the Buccaneers would trade DE Gaines Adams to Detroit:

“There’s a lot of speculation, honestly, about us trading up or trying to trade our pick. We’re happy to have Gaines Adams. Unless something drastically changes, we fully expect him to be a Buccaneer for a long time. There were a lot of rumors and speculation that weren’t true, but there is a lot of hype at the top of the first round and obviously that is the case again this year.”

On Gaines Adams:

“I’ll say that he is a guy we think is the number one defensive player in his draft. There were some other players, honestly, that we would have loved to have had. But you only get to pick once, unfortunately. We got a guy that we think is an outstanding player and he has a chance to be a great pro football player. He’ll fit in our scheme nicely and I think he’ll have the talent to update our pass rush immediately.”

On which end of the defensive line DE Gaines Adams will play:

“He can play right end.”

On if he is surprised the Cleveland Browns did not take QB Brady Quinn:

“I’m surprised Brady’s still on the board. He’s a heck of a quarterback; someone is going to get a fine football player and a great young man, no question about it. He’ll get his time here in the sun shortly and he’ll have a great career as well.”

On the temptation to draft QB Brady Quinn as an offensive-minded coach:

“I’m a football coach. I want to win games. Obviously, you want to take what you think your football team needs. At the same time, we have to take a good look at who we think is the best football player on the board. We took Carnell Williams two years ago, I would have loved to have a rocket backfield with [Adrian] Peterson and Cadillac (Williams), no question about it. You look at Gaines Adams and the pass rush that he brings to our football team, we thought it was the best move for us at this point.”

On Adams during the interview process and what impressed him above other players:

“Gaines doesn’t talk very much; he’s a quiet guy. He’s a man of few words, I think you’ll sense that quickly. I think he just gets your attention when he hops over those bags and runs through the drills at the combine. If you watch his tape, he is a problem. He’s a very good pass rusher and he’s had some good training. To get Kevin Carter, a veteran player in free agency and then to add a guy like Gaines Adams, we’ve added two big men that will give us a lot more versatility in some of the things we want to do defensively.”

On the situation at right end with DE Simeon Rice:

“We’re going to work that out. Obviously, when you draft and when you acquire free agents, you have to do some things with the depth chart. We’re going to play the best player, whoever it is. Simeon is making a recovery from an injury. It’s an injury that I think has proven to be healthy now. We’ll address all of those things as time unfolds, but we did acquire a heck of a football player today.”

On if the Buccaneers received an offer from the Miami Dolphins about trading picks:

“There, again, is a lot of speculation that we would trade up or that someone would trade up to our pick. But we sat right there quietly in a room with no telephones ringing, so it was a pretty routine selection for us.”

On if there any talks with Detroit about swapping picks:

“Again, no talks. I really don’t know of any talks that we did have. I know there are a lot of people who are trying to stir up interest in a pick or player. Sometimes it’s an agent trying to stir up interest in whatever we’re talking about here. But no, we were pretty content on sitting here at number four. We knew we were going to get an outstanding player, and we feel like we did today.”

On how Defensive Coordinator Monte Kiffin reacted to the selecting of Adams:

“Monte is jumping through the ceiling right now. He said we haven’t drafted a defensive player since 1974 or 1986 or something like that. I said, ‘We haven’t had a lot of number one picks around here, Monte, in the last seven or eight years.’ The bottom line is, to go with Cadillac [Williams], to go with Davin Joseph, Gaines Adams – hoping Mike Clayton comes back healthy – I think the three or four first rounders that we have brought in are good people, good players and hopefully a couple of these guys can prove to be great at their position.”

On if the team was content to sit at the fourth pick:

“I was surprised that people really speculated that we would sacrifice a lot of picks and move up. Honestly, we feel like with the four picks that we do have here on the first day we’re going to be able to acquire some players. We had a top five pick; we knew we were going to get an excellent player. Now we have a chance to get a couple more players here in the second round and an early pick in the third round, and we need to address some areas on this football team for the immediate future and for the long-term future, and I think that’s perfectly obvious.”

On if he was surprised on how the first three picks went:

“I’m really surprised sometimes that it takes the whole 15 minutes. You know you’re going to take your guy. Just send a pick in, send a pick in. I think that’s the thing. There are so many analysts; so many rumors flying around that you just start looking at your own people in your own building, thinking, ‘Hey, are we trading this pick? Who said that?’ You know, we’re pointing fingers at each other, saying we’re going to beat the heck out of each other if we don’t make our pick pretty soon (laughing). That’s really been the case over the last 10 or 12 years that I recall – there’s not a lot of real trading going on on draft day while you’re on the clock. Normally, those things happen before the draft, but that’s just my opinion.”

On drafting help and addressing team needs as the draft goes on:

“It all depends on who’s there when we pick. There might be some depth at certain positions before the draft or during the draft. But as the draft unfolds, if the players who you want aren’t there, you have to adjust. And that’s what we’ll do. Fortunately, we have an early pick in the second round, and there are some areas on the football team that we would like to address. But we also want to make sure we do all we can to get a good football player who can back it up for a long time.”

On if he is surprised based on what the Bucs defense has done over the past 10 years that this is the first time since 1999 that a defensive player has been taken by Tampa Bay in the first round:

“Yes, it’s not really surprising. We’ve had cornerstones in place who have stayed healthy and played great for a long time. And we have gone into free agency and done some good things for the defense – Greg Spires, Simeon Rice, Chris Hovan. There have been a number of players on defense added through free agency who have come through for us. And we’ve had some guys really enjoy long, healthy productive careers. That’s what’s rare, and it’s afforded us, I think, an opportunity to be competitive and fight through some lean years where we haven’t had any picks to speak of, really on the first day. There’s been six or seven out of the last 10 years where we haven’t had a first-round pick or a second-round pick, so it’s somewhat of a luxury to have two seconds and first round pick in the draft.”

On the benefit to Adams of having veterans such as Simeon Rice around:

“I think we’ve got a great room for him to really flourish in. You talked about Simeon Rice – the addition of Kevin Carter, who’s one of the truly great pro football players in the league – he’s in great shape, he plays every Sunday and he’s a great leader. Chris Hovan, Greg Spires – there’s a real good environment for him with good quality pro football players to learn from. And not just playing the game but how to prepare to play the game on and off the field. And I think from a role model standpoint he’s in a great environment to really take off and flourish. Larry Coyer is going to do a great job with him, and as you all know, Monte Kiffin is one of the best in football.”

On what separated Adams from the other defensive linemen:

“It’s tough. Amobi Okoye is a guy we coached in Mobile, and we liked him a lot. We certainly did, and to get a disruptive inside presence is something that you’re always looking for when you’re running a 4-3 defense. But the pure pass rush separated Gaines Adams just a little bit. And it was a tough call. But again, we got a guy we really think has a tremendous upside and a great future as a pass rusher. And we need to improve our pass rush. I think we all know that.”

On if S LaRon Landry’s name came up:

“Yes, his name came up a lot. And had we traded back, or had we traded with Detroit and acquired a fourth round pick next year, we could have sent it up for a second round pick this year. I don’t know what could have happened to get LaRon Landry. Everybody’s name came up, honestly. We picked number four, so we kind of limited the guys who we were looking at there, and Gaines Adams was a primary target. And that’s where we are, and we’re very excited.”

On the learning curve for a defensive end:

“I’m never going to call being a defensive lineman easy. There are a lot of schemes and a lot of things that they have to see to really get a full feel for how it truly is on Sunday. He’s going to see some different tackles that I don’t think he ever dreamed existed. He’s going to see a lot of different blocking schemes, ways of obviously neutralizing a great pass rusher. There are a lot of stunts, and there are a lot of different aspects of our defense where he’ll be dropping in coverage. There will be stunts and things of that nature involved, a lot of checks and calls that we like to use that he’s got to obviously learn. It’s a difficult position, and when you’re a very good pass rusher the opposition knows it and they try to make your life tough. There are some things that he’s really going to have to learn on the run. Fortunately, we’ve got some veteran people in our building to help him.”