Bucs Draft Summary

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2004 Draft Class <br> <br> 1 WR Michael Clayton Louisiana State <br> 3 LB Marquis Cooper Washington <br> 4 S Will Allen Ohio State <br> 5 G Jeb Terry North Carolina <br> 6 Nate Lawrie Yale <br> 7a WR Mark Jones Tennessee <br> 7b FB Casey Cramer Dartmouth <br> 7c CB Lenny Williams Southern <br>

Some Quotes on the Draft... GM BRUCE ALLEN (Opening comments) "I think the room is pleased. I think we've added a lot of players that not only will give us some depth, but some players that will help us get better this season." (On how long it takes to evaluate a draft) "Sometimes you draft someone and you're not patient enough and they go somewhere else. In Oakland, we drafted a guy named La'Roi Glover. I was talking to the Cowboys today when we were doing the trade. We had drafted him in the fifth round and then released him and he became a Pro Bowl player. It works differently for each player, but I think with this coaching staff there was a great enthusiasm at the position we were drafting. Bill Muir was excited, for example, to get a Jeb Terry. He fully embraced him and we felt there was a right fit for us. I know he'll get excellent coaching. Right now, we're trying to sign whoever Rod Marinelli thinks is his best free agent out there." (On the flow of the draft) "It really flowed off of our board this year. I'm not accustomed to that but I think we did a good job with all of the scouts and the coaching staff, of rating the players and putting a true grade on them. If you went based on particular positions, I don't think it would have come out this way. The best players on the board were generally taken in each round. Sometimes there was a decision between two players that had the same grade, but generally we went right off the board." (On second day picks and second round picks) "There's really less activity in the second day. You're hoping to get more players in the first day, usually. Not having a second round choice, it really prevents you from moving up or moving down and acquiring more picks for the second day. The second round draft choice has become the move pick in this league that allows you to have more flexibility." (On the trade to move up in the seventh round) "We thought in the seventh round, Mark (Jones) was absolutely the kind of player that would come up early. He's got such rare speed and flexibility. From talking to people in the league, certain people were going to play at him at corner, others were going to play him at wide receiver. We're at a full roster with 86 players going into the draft. We're going to have to make some decisions of players to remove from the roster in order to fit in new players. We felt confident we were going to get Casey Cramer later in the draft and that's why we made that move. (On if he factors in playing in the NFC South into the draft) "Absolutely. We watch and we plan and strategize why the other teams in our division are drafting. When we look at players, we're considering match-ups all the time, whether it's free agency or the draft because that's how you get into the playoffs. You got to win your division." (On what he noticed the most about the NFC South's drafts) "I noticed that Atlanta got a dangerous punt returner. They got a dangerous punt returner. In fact they got a back up punt returner really in Michael Jenkins as well. That had Rich (Bisaccia) quite excited. He wanted to make sure we knew we needed some more cover people." (On the Buccaneers not having a second round pick and his experience on being on both ends of the trade) "I don't think there is any doubt (that) three quarters of the owners in this league would give up two firsts, two seconds and eight million dollars to win a Super Bowl. If that's what it would take to win a Super Bowl this year, we would do that right now. As you can see, this staff did a tremendous job with the talent that was here and motivated properly. They all show me their rocks all the time about winning that Super Bowl, so I can't feel sorry for the last few years, what has been in Tampa." (On dealing with Bill Muir and later the personnel staff) "First of all, we got to see (Bill) Muir in action during free agency and we got to see Muir in action in draft meetings. But I thought the college scouting staff, led by (Director of College Scouting) Ruston (Webster) did a terrific job. Very professional. It doesn't need to be said, but obviously it's been difficult having a new person come in with some new thoughts and maybe some new ideas. But they've been terrific to work with and very professional and I thought they did a good job. HEAD COACH JON GRUDEN (On the players selected on the second day of the NFL Draft) "It was a long day. We have some draft selections to announce. We started the day and we got a guy who was the starting nickel corner for the (Ohio State) Buckeyes two years ago. He is not only an outstanding cover man, but he has the ability to be cross-trained to strong safety. He is also a very good special teams player. We like Will Allen. In the fifth round, we took Jeb Terry, a big offensive lineman out of North Carolina, who has also been a good short snapper and a guy we're going to look at to become a long-snapper. He's got athleticism and very good size. We took Nate Lawrie in the sixth round and he came to our facility 10-12 days ago. He's a big tight end, a productive tight end from Yale. He is the son of a football coach. He is a very productive pass receiver and has real interesting range in terms of his growing potential. We're excited about getting him and he's an interesting prospect. At the start of the seventh round, we selected Mark Jones, who we call the "Ice Cube" and he reminds me of Gerald McNeil, a returner from the Cleveland Browns years ago. This guy plays offense and defense. He's a leader at the University of Tennessee and we're starting him as a situational player offensively. He can also find a role as a punt returner like he did at Tennessee. He has 4.3 speed and averaged 15 yards per return. He is a guy who caught 36 passes in the SEC. We went back to the map and took Casey Cramer, a 245-pound tight end/fullback, who we will use as an H-Back player. We will place him in a three-point stance in the backfield. He will also work on the line of scrimmage as a tight end. He was a very productive player from the Ivy League and he left a real good impression at the East-West Shrine game earlier this year. And with our last selection, we selected Lenny Williams from Southern. Doug Williams has a lot of hands-on experience dealing with Lenny. He is a very good cover corner. He is built very similar to Dwight Smith. He's got unique play-making ability amongst other things." (On the trade of FB Darian Barnes to the Dallas Cowboys) "We wanted to get the rights to Mark Jones. We targeted him in the latter part of the draft and we got Casey Cramer on our mind a little bit. We like what Greg Comella has shown us during the off-season program. We have Mike Alstott returning to the fullback position this fall. It was an opportunity to give Darian a chance to be reunited with Sean Payton, continue his career and move up and get a guy that we feel like we need here, a punt returner. We feel like we must try to create playmaking from that aspect of our football team." (On the draft class making an impression on special teams) "That is what the draft has to be designed to do, not just exclusively, but a lot of times your rookies don't come in and start, but they are still on your football team and active. They have to be able to participate on special teams. That is an area in the last three or four years, no matter how you slice it that we have not done a very good job in terms of players making it in a reserve role and being key contributors in special teams. We think a lot of Michael Clayton. We know he can run down the field, he's proven that. Marquis Cooper and Will Allen can be a force, and we're hoping Mark Jones can contribute to the kicking game as a return man. I think for Casey Cramer and Lenny Williams to make it here and to be active here, they need to contribute on special teams." (On developing the rookie draft selections) "We pick these guys because we feel like they have the ability to make this team. But we have to be realistic and if you have five rookies come in and start for you, well you're probably not going to be that very good of a team. You have to develop players and teach them your system of football. You have to get them acclimated to the grind and hopefully some of these guys will get to work with Garret Giemont in the strength and conditioning program and maybe they can one day become starters here." (On if the Bucs accomplished everything they wanted in the draft) "You never get everything quite accomplished. We still working on some interesting things and I'm sure that will continue to the opening kickoff." (On the Bucs depth at running back) "I think with the addition of Casey Cramer today, you have added a potential man to your fullback unit. A player that had an outstanding preseason last year for us was Earnest Graham out of the University of Florida. Once again, we have added Jamel White, Brandon Bennett, Charlie Garner and Michael Pittman, and we understand his situation. We have Mike Alstott who returns to the lineup, so we have a bevy of backs and some real good ones." (On G Jeb Terry) "He is going to start at guard. Obviously, he is a swing guard who (Bucs offensive coordinator/offensive line coach) Bill Muir and I will visit about this in determining how we will start him in terms of right or left guard. We liked the way he handled himself at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. He is big, tough and had athleticism to redirect. We think he is a guard that can pull and come through and also become a long-snapper to a point where we could create a roster spot on game day for a creative player like Mark Jones." (On the quarterbacks available in the draft) "We always talk about the position. There was a guy there that I liked a lot and (Bucs quarterbacks) Coach (John) Shoop liked a lot. He went a little bit earlier than we were ready to take a player. We have a dynamic second year player in Chris Simms, and hopefully, he has a great training camp." (On Nate Lawrie) "He is going to be a tight end. He's a little bit over 6-6 and he has some work to do in the weight room with Garrett Giemont, but he carries 263 pounds easily. He runs around 4.8 and he's a very productive pass receiver and a guy we need on the line of scrimmage and as a blocker. We need that considering Ken Dilger and Rickey Dudley are coming off injuries and we will see where Dave Moore is in the pads this fall. We felt like we needed to add a young tight end to the mix." (On the job the Bucs organization did on the draft) "I was really pleased. I think (Bucs general manager) Bruce Allen and (Bucs director of college scouting) Ruston Webster did an outstanding job. There was a lot of interaction between scouts and coaches and we added some interesting guys. We added an explosive playmaker in the first round, a guy who is going to be outstanding when it is all said and done. Marquis Cooper, who gives us some versatility and depth at the linebacker position, where we have been depleted now in the last two or three seasons. Will Allen will come in right away and compete with John Howell and we think some of these down the line guys we selected today have the intangibles to one day be players for us, so we have to get to work this weekend at our rookie mini-camp." (On WR Mark Jones) "He intercepts passes. He made some big plays in big games against Florida. He made a key reception on the offensive side of the ball against Auburn. He also delivers clutch plays in the kicking game as well. We will start him initially as an offensive player, and as we move forward we will teach him some of the basic principles of our defense. Hopefully, on game day he one day becomes the ninth defensive back, the fifth wide receiver and a return guy. But before we get there, we are going to teach him our punt return system and how to line up and play the split end position in Tampa." (On when it is fair for teams to assess their draft) "I think in fairness to players and the reality of football, you sometimes have to wait three or four years and look back. It will be a draft we look back upon with seven receivers going in the first round, who was the best one and who was a guy that didn't pan out, if there was one. It will be exciting to look back at it one day and see what it represents." (On the linebacker depth) "We only play three (linebackers) here and sometimes when there is a nickel situation we only play two (linebackers). We added Jeff Gooch and Keith Burns and we brought in Marquis Cooper and I wouldn't say we are completely done yet. And once again, there are still a lot of days before we head to training camp. We did add a very good prospect in the third round this weekend." (More on the preparation for the draft) "We didn't have any conflicts. We prepared hard for the draft. I think we had two great weeks of meetings with all the coaches from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the evening and a lot of guys stayed later in the evening. We took a consensus with Bruce and Ruston working hard on our selection to be placed up there and then we put up our decision."

QUOTES IN REGARD TO THE BUCCANEERS 2004 FIRST-ROUND DRAFT CHOICE WR MICHAEL CLAYTON GENERAL MANAGER BRUCE ALLEN (On the possibilities of the Bucs being involved in a trade) "Well, we're still talking and having discussions with people on a number of issues, on a number of issues." (On the possibilities of a player being traded instead of a pick) "There hasn't been that much talk yet, in the league, about particular players that you are hearing things about. I think as the day goes on, and tomorrow, you'll hear more names thrown around. But right now, people haven't been doing that." (On if he feels there have been any surprises in the first round) "No. There's obvious, after you see a trade happen and a team select a player, you sometimes say, ‘Wow, they really wanted that guy.' I think it has fallen pretty much as we anticipated, and it has worked out well for us. We are happy with Michael, obviously, and we had an option to move out, but it would've prevented us on getting several players we would've wanted." (On what the possible deal/deals were) "It just wasn't going to work. We had targeted two or three players, and when Michael was there, he brought everything we wanted to the table. So that's why we didn't really want to take phone calls after that." (On what the "Wow" factor was with Michael Clayton) "The ‘wow' comes in when you watch the Cotton Bowl and you watch him playing safety, and you watch his physicalness on the first play of the game, whether it's a pass or a running play. His intensity. There is one play, I don't know if coach Gruden mentioned it to you; he's holding, it must have been a windy day, but he's holding the ball for the kickoff and he ends up making the tackle on the play. His physical presence will be felt on the football field and that's what we want." (On if Michael Clayton will intimidate defensive backs) "You can feel that when you meet him, and I think you'll meet him on Monday. He's a great person, but he wants to win. I think coming from one of the best programs in the country, and coming off of a national championship, it brings a certain energy that's exciting." (On Michael's maturity) "He comes from a great family and has been fortunate in life. His desire to be the best is very contagious." (On if his college experience in LSU's offense helped Michael) "Absolutely. I don't know if you have talked to (LSU) coach (Nick) Saban yet, but when you do talk to him, you'll find out this is someone that is very special to him. Coming from that kind of success, playing for a national championship, is very important to us." (On the trade talks that happened in the first round) "When Cleveland made that trade that they did with Detroit, I think that froze it for a while. It was such a large price to move one spot, I think that froze everybody for a while. It kind of slowed down the activity, but obviously, later in the round it's personal preference right now as far as where you want to be and what type of player you're looking for." (On if he felt coming into the draft that they would use the 15th pick) "We really tried to keep an open mind and be flexible If someone was going to offer us something that we felt would have been better, we would've looked at it. We really had a plan where we track out the draft different ways and where it was going to go. So right after seven and eight, it was falling like dominos really. We felt we knew where it was going to go, it was just whether or not someone was going to buy our pick. Like I said, right after that Cleveland pick, it really slowed things down for a while." (On the Cleveland/Detroit trade) "They (Cleveland) got a special player. They wanted that player and that's what it's about. It's about getting the player that you feel can help your team the most. They are happy for it, so good for them. And Detroit got a running back and that's what they wanted." (On if Michael Clayton will be more of a special teams player, rather than an offensive player) "I wouldn't say that. We are not going to put any ceiling on the expectations we have for him. We think he has a chance to be a special player and help this football team in a number of ways. We have gone out in free agency and tried to shore up a lot of the areas in special teams and with the rest of the draft we feel we can do that as well." (On who Michael Clayton's agent is, and if there might be any problems signing him) "His agent is the same agency that represents Eli Manning, IMG and no, I don't think (signing him) will be a problem." (On why Steven Jackson fell to 24) "Well we scouted him and looked at him, but the reason he went 24 is because 23 other teams chose a different player, prior to wanting him. That's the way the draft is. It's not an insult to go 24, it's not an insult to go 124. It means you're one of the greatest college football players in this country, and there are going to be players who become stars in the 6th and 7th round. I wouldn't call a knock on somebody. There's a lot of people who would love to be a first-round pick." (On if he thought coming in that the Bucs would get an offensive player) "Once the draft started falling the way it did, it appeared, and from people maneuvering for the same people we wanted. It felt like we could get Michael. If something else happened, maybe we would have gone a different way, but that part is over it. But that part is over, we are just looking at the second round." (On how tough it will be to wait between picks) "There are a lot of other things you can do during this time and we are trying to accomplish them." HEAD COACH JON GRUDEN (Opening Comments) "Good afternoon, we are very excited, obviously about our first-round selection Michael Clayton. He's a big, physical wide receiver that has basically done everything at LSU, a national championship team. He's held extra points and field goals, he's run down and covered kicks and played free safety in a Cotton Bowl. But he's here in Tampa to play wide receiver. We are very excited to add a man with his character, a team captain at LSU, and a very exciting prospect." (On where will he fit in) "We are going to play a lot of different personnel groupings, use a lot of different receivers. Michael Clayton gives us size, speed and gives us some playmaking (ability). He gives us a real physical presence on the offensive side of the ball that we are very excited about." (On if the Bucs were entertaining trade offers) "Yeah, obviously, we had 15 minutes to send your pick in, so you never know what can occur. Obviously the (Eli) Manning and (Philip) Rivers trade that occurred earlier in the day, you never know what could happen. Bruce (Allen) was on the phone the entire time and entertaining offers to trade the pick or stay where we were, but our player was there. And if we would have traded that pick Doug Williams would have beat the hell out of me, I could tell you that." (On if the Bucs had a small group of players they were looking at) "You've heard it before, you have rankings of players. Clearly he was the highest ranking player on our board. Some of our coaches have felt that Michael Clayton was as good of a receiver as there was in this draft. He is an explosive, hard to deal with man on the perimeter. He's physical. When you meet Mike Clayton yourself, I think you'll find out how special he is. He has a certain charisma about him that is very unique, and something we feel we need here in our organization, and certainly in our offensive huddle." (On Michael Clayton's speed) "He runs 5.48 in a football game. Some guys run fast at the combine, run fast in shorts, this guy runs fast in a football uniform. It adds speed with Joey Galloway, we are hoping Joe Jurevicius can return to health, we still feel Keenan McCardell has a lot of football left, and we have added some players I think, a nucleus of receivers that we can compete with and threaten people with. Obviously you saw the Lions take Roy Williams and Charles Rogers a year ago, you have to have explosive playmakers to move the ball and make big plays. This guy, I know, will help our running game. He is one of the best perimeter blockers I've ever seen in college history, that I've been looking at film. So he's going to add a lot to our team." (On what stood out the most about him) "I've never seen a wide receiver run down on the opening kickoff, in his final year of eligibility, splatter a man, make the tackle on an opening kickoff, then turn around play offense, hold for kicks, play in a national championship. The guy does it all and I do believe he is going to fit in great in this locker room. These players here love football. They enjoy the preparation. He's going to help the staff and make his own niche here soon." (On if he will run back kicks) "There's a good chance of that. He's here to compete. One of the things that makes him unique is that he competes. He competes on the football field. I think we might have a hard time finding enough for him to do. We are going to use him. We are going to be creative on how we use him. I'm quite eager to get going." (On his big game experience) "When looking at Chris Simms, when we researched Roy Williams in last year's Cotton Bowl, Chris and Roy Williams hooked up on a couple of touchdowns, and as we are looking at the film, low and behold there's Michael Clayton playing free safety, playing wide receiver. He just shows what kind of true football player he is. We weren't alone as there were a couple other teams that were trying to move up to get the rights to Michael Clayton. But fortunately for us, we have the opportunity to coach him and work with him." (On if Steven Jackson was a consideration) "We considered just about seven or eight guys. You have to do that with the possibilities of someone engaging in a trade. But again, Michael Clayton was the number one guy on our board at that time, and we didn't feel like parting with the rights to him. As the ninth, 10th, 11th, and 12th players were selected, there are always considerations that have to be made, at linebacker, in the secondary, in other positions. When it was time for the Buccaneers to pick, there was no doubt where we were heading." WR MICHAEL CLAYTON (On being prepared to play under Coach Jon Gruden) ]"Coach (Nick) Saban really teaches his players about how to be successful in football and how to apply everything to your everyday life. We try to learn everything we can from him because we know that it will pay off in our lives outside of football." (On being on the Bucs want list) "Being in the situation that I was, a few teams were interested, but you just can't pinpoint where you will be picked. It was very hard to say which team was going to pick me up, but I am just thankful that Coach Gruden chose me like he did." (On playing for an offensive-minded coach like Gruden) "It will be a great opportunity as a receiver to go in there and catch some balls. I am the type of person who will come in and give leadership to my teammates. I just want the best for my team and will play whatever role I can. I think that Coach Gruden is big on being a leader and bringing what I learned at LSU, in how to be a champion and how to be a leader, to the NFL level and to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers." (On what attributes he brings to the table) "The best thing I bring to the team besides leadership is my mentality to do whatever it takes to win, whether it's playing special teams, defense, or blocking. I am a guy who can come out and make positive plays for the offense, yet can also play on special teams and do whatever it takes to win a game. This affects a lot more guys to want to do what it takes and it becomes a chain reaction. Everybody on the team then works 110 percent and does whatever it takes to win a national championship." (On wanting to play special teams) "When I came to LSU my freshman year, my mentality was to do whatever it took to get on the field. My best opportunity was to play special teams where there were a lot of spots open. The wide receiver spot was taken as I had four All-SEC players in front of me for two years. Playing on special teams, I made my name known and let them know that I wanted to win. I started off doing special teams and when I got in the offense, I did what I was supposed to do. Three games into the season, the coaches realized that I was the guy who was giving all my effort. They started to give me the ball a little bit more, and everything worked out perfect." (On where he felt he would get selected in the draft) "I think it was a situation where there were a lot of receivers but a lot of the guys have very different playing styles. Depending on what team picks you and what that team wants, whether it's a smaller, quick guy or a faster, bigger guy makes it very hard to decide where you are going to get picked up in the draft. But Tampa Bay was obviously looking for a guy who could come out and show leadership, make big plays, and give 100 percent effort, and that is why they picked me." (On draft day and the moment of being chosen) "It is an overwhelming feeling. I have been through a long road at LSU, winning a (SEC) championship my freshman year and losing right before we got to the (SEC) championship game my sophomore season. I used those two years as a stepping stone for my junior year. Being successful my junior year leading my team to the national championship was the pinnacle of success. After deciding to go to the next level, you know where you want to go but you don't know where you are going to go. You just have to have confidence in where you rank yourself among your peers in the nation, and I felt personally that I was ranked as a top wide receiver. I gave myself the benefit of the doubt that I would get ranked in the first or second round, and would be productive playing in the NFL. It was a great opportunity and so I took it." (On what current NFL players have been role models) "I always looked up to Jerry Rice, as my whole family is from Mississippi and played football in the SWAC (Southwest Athletic Conference) and he was from the SWAC. I also have a personal relationship with Steve McNair, who is one of the toughest guys in all of football. My uncle was a coach at Alcorn State while he was there, and he (McNair) took the time to throw the football to me when I was a ball boy. Being in the locker room with those guys and seeing his (McNair) toughness allowed me to see what it takes to be a football player. Every receiver looks up to Jerry Rice, and I think that it was very beneficial to spend time with Steve McNair when he was at Alcorn State." (On making an impact in the Buccaneer receiving corps) "I think I have a lot to offer to Tampa Bay and any talents that I have won't go untold. If there is any way that I can be productive out there, I will. I am a guy who can catch a ball in any situation, and am not afraid to go across the middle. I will basically do whatever it takes to get open and catch a ball. I am just going to be real positive, and I think that I will fit in there somewhere." (On his family) "My uncle was the offensive coordinator at Alcorn State, and his son and I played football on the sidelines and on the field in front of all the fans when the teams went in at halftime of the Alcorn State games. I really don't have anyone in my family who made it to the NFL or the NBA. I just have a bunch of really great mentors and a great support group. My family being so close-knit has allowed me to be so successful." (On speaking with Booger McFarland) "I was able to meet him in New Orleans when we played in the National Championship. I also met him at an FCA meeting where he was the guest speaker, and I talked to him briefly there. I wasn't looking at going to the NFL, as I was a sophomore at the time, but we talked about what it takes to play in the National Football League. I will try to get in touch with him, because it is always nice to go to a team where you feel like you have a family. I know what kind of guy (Anthony) Booger McFarland is, and I know that it will be a good situation to go out and have a mentor like that." WIDE RECEIVERS COACH RICHARD MANN (On Michael Clayton's toughness) "When you see his toughness on the field, that means you know he has it. It's something you don't have to worry about once you get him here. He definitely shows toughness in all aspects of the game, as far as a receiver is concerned, both in the run and the pass. He probably could come in and be a good special teams player, if we need him to do that. With that said, I don't think you can go wrong with a guy that has good toughness, shows good receiver skills and is also willing to block in the running game. We felt it was an excellent choice for us because he would fit the things we need our receivers to do." (On whose game Michael Clayton's is most like) "The guy that comes to mind is the big receiver that played in Green Bay a few years back, Sterling Sharpe. (They are both) big guys, maybe the body types are a little different but he (Michael) does have size on him. He is a tough guy and it shows on the field. He's capable of making plays down the field. He is capable of running with the ball, and he will smack you. With that said, all phases. That's what we are looking for." (On how he feels about drafting a player he will work with directly) "I think it fires me up. Like I said, you get a lot of receivers that basically are just receivers. They don't want to get into the running game part of it. Here, we run the ball and ask a lot of our receivers, as far as blocking. A lot of times you can see that on tape and know that you have a guy that will do it. A lot of times you can project guys to do it, but once you bring them in here and you find out that blocking isn't their cup of tea, it's too late. So with this guy, we know what we got coming in here. There are no holes with him that we feel concerned about." (On if the Bucs felt that they had a good chance to draft Clayton with the 15th pick) "I think a lot of times, with the amount of receivers that were there, depended on the way people had all the different receivers, depended on who other teams took. We felt that we might have a shot at him, along with several other guys and we knew we were going to have to make a decision. If I had to be thrown into that mix, I would've jumped up on the table for this guy. Like I said, a lot of times, when you have guys that are close, you take the tougher guy. We just feel like we have a good football player."

QUOTES IN REGARD TO THE BUCCANEERS 2004 FOURTH-ROUND DRAFT CHOICE S WILL ALLEN DEFENSIVE BACKS COACH MIKE TOMLIN (On the team's need for a safety) "Just from a pure numbers standpoint we needed another guy to go into the mix. Will (Allen) more than meets the criteria. He is a versatile guy, a man-coverage guy, active, he shows natural instincts and plays hard. (He's a) program guy, of course. The success that that program's had speaks for itself, but you like guys who have experienced some success and know what it's about, know what it's about to compete for championships. He can call on that life experience, because that's going to be our standard. So we're excited about him." (On taking over for other strong starters at safety at Ohio State) "He was behind (Mike) Doss and (Donnie) Nickey and he excelled on special teams. He was a nickel back for them, and that speaks to his versatility. He was a backup safety that they played at the nickel cornerback position when they had two older guys who were good players. You could tell that they had an emphasis on getting him on the field. He was versatile and he made himself valuable by being able to do a lot of things. He was able to get on the field, and then when he had the opportunity to be the man, he was." (On Allen playing on special teams) "No question, no question. If you look at any safety, if he's not a starter than he's got to be one of your core special teams guys. This guy has the versatility to do that. Speed and body control…he's a nice pick for us." (On if he was surprised that Allen was still available) "I never really get into how other people see it. I knew that we liked him, and if the opportunity presented itself we were going to jump on him. Thankfully, he was there." (On if being just a one-year starter made Allen drop in the draft) "No, I wouldn't necessarily say that. There are examples of guys who are one-year starters. There are a bunch of those kinds of stories. The thing is, he's played a lot of football. He made the big interception on the goal line against Michigan State the year they won the national championship to keep them unbeaten. The guy's been on the field, not necessarily as a starter, but he's been a player for them. And, of course, the nickel situation – in crunch time, people have three wideouts on the field, so he's played a bunch of football for them. He was just not necessarily one of the first 11 that ran onto the field." (On the team's relative inexperience in the secondary) "It's always a concern. You can't dwell on it. Guys have to get their start some time. We like these guys and we know what they can potentially bring to the table. Now it's just about making that potential a reality. And they're all prepared to do that." (On what Allen has done on special teams) "He's done a lot of things along those lines, in terms of rushing the punter, being a coverage guy on punt team, being a kickoff return guy. He's done it all from a special teams standpoint." (On how much Tomlin scouted Allen) "I spent quite a bit of time on him, actually, leading up to the combine. I did a four or five-game study on him. Then, after the combine I went to the Ohio State workout and visited with him there, visited with his position coach and watched his workout. It was a no-stone-unturned deal." S WILL ALLEN (On being drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) "It's a blessing. It has been a long time. Tampa Bay was one of the teams that showed a lot of interest. I thought that I was going to go a lot sooner, but everything happens for a reason and I feel like that I can come to the Tampa Bay system and fit right in. Ohio State played a similar defense to Tampa Bay, when we studied the Tampa Bay Buccaneer film. It is totally a blessing and I'm excited to play for the Buccaneers and Coach (Jon) Gruden. I'm just ready to go. It's an opportunity for me to come in and step up and I'm excited." (On playing behind S Mike Doss and S Donnie Nickey at Ohio State) "It taught me a lot. I was able to see their mistakes and also the good things they did as players. Michael Doss was a three-time All-American and Donnie Nickey was a freshman All-American and a first-team All-Big Ten (player). I was able to learn from some of the best (players) in the country, to see how they operated and just to see how they cared. I was able to implement that in my game this year and I think I played extremely well in my first year starting. I was a Consensus All-American. That just says a lot about those guys ahead of me and how they pushed me, and what I learned from my coaching staff at Ohio State." (On playing in the Cover 2 Defense) "I was a nickel back, so I was able to cover. We played a lot of Cover 2. We blitzed a lot and blitzed our safeties a lot. When I was in the nickel package, I came off the edge. We got some of our blitzes at Ohio State from Tampa Bay. We studied their films and I think it's a great fit. I feel that I can fit in with their system.' (On playing special teams) "Coach (Jim) Tressel stressed special teams tremendously, whether you're a senior, walk-on or a freshman (at Ohio State). This is definitely important. I can understand the importance of the next level, so I'm just ready whether it is kickoff or punt returns. I ready for anything and I did everything at Ohio State from my freshman year to my senior year. Whatever is going to get me on the field, I'm excited about it." (On what yesterday was like after not being drafted) "Well, yesterday was a little crazy for me. I expected to go in one of the first three rounds. After the first three rounds happened, I was a little anxious, but I wasn't worried. I knew that I would eventually get drafted. Like I said, everything happens for a reason and this seems like the perfect and right situation for me. It's hard trying to understand that, when you're seeing other guys go and you are wondering when your turn will come. But when it does, it's a great feeling and I'm just blessed. I'm glad that I'm going to Tampa Bay. It's a great city and I have played at (Raymond James) Stadium for two straight years at the Outback Bowl. I'm real familiar with it and I'm real happy." (More about Will Allen and his family) "I have two younger brothers – Christopher is a freshman corner at Ball State. My other brother, Steven, is a 4.3 student who is extremely talented and also plays football. My father (Keith Allen) instilled good moral values and beliefs. He pushes and encourages us in everything that we do. He coaches my younger brother at high school. My mom (Monica Allen) gave us the world and nurtured us. We also had everything that we needed. My family has definitely been supportive, which includes my grandparents and my cousins. This is just the next step of my life and I'm really excited about it."

Bucs Blitz Top Stories