Bucs Draft Tracker
First round (No. 4 overall) — DE Gaines Adams, Clemson
Second round (No. 35 overall) — OG Arron Sears, Tennessee
Second round (No. 64 overall, from Indianapolis) — S Sabby Piscitelli, Oregon State
Third round (No. 68 overall) — LB Quincy Black, New Mexico
Fourth round (102nd overall) — xxxx
Fifth round (141st overall) — xxxx
Seventh round (214th overall) — xxxx
Seventh round (245th overall, compensatory pick) — xxx
Seventh round (246th overall, compensatory pick) — xxxx
Notes: Adams is the first defensive player the Buccaneers have taken in the first round since 1999. … He's also the first defensive end the Bucs have taken in the first round since Regan Upshaw in 1996. … The last Tennessee product the Bucs took in the draft was current wide receiver and punt returner Mark Jones in the seventh round in 2005.
Jon Gruden said Tampa Bay was happy to stay at No. 4 and see who fell to them.
It turned out to be Gaines Adams.
Tampa Bay selected the Clemson senior defensive end in the first round on Saturday, despite the fact that a highly-coveted quarterback — Notre Dame's Brady Quinn — became available after the Cleveland Browns passed on him at No. 3.
But the Buccaneers' desire to improve their pass rush trumped any thought of adding a sixth quarterback to the depth chart.
"We think he's the No. 1 defensive player in this draft," Gruden said shortly after the selection. "There are other players we would have loved to have, but we can only pick once. We think we got outstanding player and he'll fit in our scheme nicely."
Tampa Bay selected Tennessee OG Arron Sears with their first pick of the second round (No. 35 overall). At the end of the second round the Bucs selected Oregon State safety Sabby Piscitelli. And, at the beginning of the third round the Buccaneers selected New Mexico linebacker Quincy Black, another player they hosted at One Buc Place.
Gruden said after the final selection on Saturday that the Buccaneers walked away satisfied with their haul.
"We felt good with four picks in the Top 68," Gruden said late Saturday. "We were tempted to move up but we wanted to walk away with four of the top 68 players in the draft. This team needs an injection of youth. There were chances to trade down, but the best thing to do was to stay put and take our player."
For two months speculation centered on the Buccaneers either selecting Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson — or trading up to get him — in the first round. But Johnson went No. 2 to Detroit, and Gruden said his phone never rang. Gruden did, however, make the call to led Adams know that his name was on the Bucs' draft index card.
Adams fills an immediate need on a defense that has three ends that are 33 years of age or older. He's the Bucs' first first-round defensive selection since 1999 (Anthony McFarland). Both Gruden and Adams agreed the Greenwood, S.C., native was the draft's best pure pass rusher.
"Monte's (Bucs defensive coordinator Kiffin) jumping through the ceiling," Gruden said. "He said we haven't drafted a defensive player since 1974. To go with Caddy (RB Cadillac Williams and Davin (Joseph), Gaines Adams and Mike Clayton a few years ago (in the first round), we've not only drafted good people, but good football players, and hopefully a couple of them can become great."
Kiffin was definitely animated after the selection, saying that he had dinner with Adams the night before his pro day and spent a day and a half on the Clemson campus trying to figure out if Adams was the guy.
"I came away thinking, ‘This is the guy," Kiffin said.
Adams, in a conference call with the Tampa Bay media, said his visit with Tampa Bay had gone well and that he felt comfortable going to the Buccaneers if he was their pick.
"I talked with coach Gruden and coach Kiff and they showed a lot of interest in me and we had a good time together," Adams said. "I felt that I would fit in great with them."
Adams was unquestionably the No. 1 defensive end in the draft. He had 12.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss — nearly half of his tackle production — as a senior at Clemson. The 6-4 ½, 265-pound end should be able to bulk up to 280 pounds, say most scouts.
Bucs head coach Jon Gruden said after the selection that their reasons for selecting Adams were pretty straightforward.
"You want to take what your team needs, and we need to look at who the best football player is on the board," Gruden said. "The pass rush he brings, we felt it was the best pick for us."
While Adams has gotten largely good marks from scouts, some reports said that Adams doesn't always play hard and can disappear for stretches. Adams didn't feel that was an accurate portrayal of his play, which scouts admit has improved every year he's been in college.
"There's no truth to that," Adams said. "You're the last man on the line so there's many things you have to read. So unfortunately it may look like I take a play off, which I don't feel I do. I'm glad to get the chance to get down to Tampa and show those people that they're wrong.
"Scouts said the same things about him (coming out of Illinois) and look at him?"
Another major debits against Adams were his admission of marijuana use.
Gruden didn't express much worry about the marijuana use, saying that he believed Adams knows what's expected of him in the NFL. Kiffin had no comment.
Adams said he made the admission under the NFL's confidentiality shield, which was broken when the information was leaked to Pro Football Weekly. He made the admission in an effort to be up front with teams.
"I was just being truthful," Adams said. "That's the kind of guy that I am. I just wanted the teams to know that, if they draft me, that they'll be getting a truthful guy."
As for taking plays off, Kiffin said the Bucs looked hard at his tape and found a player that takes off no more plays than any other college player at his position.
"People are going to take plays off," Kiffin said. "(Larry) Coyer studied him hard, as did I . He took a few plays off, but not many. We talked to him about that. It's important that when you take someone that high they don't take plays off."
Sears, who is 6-foot-3, 317 pounds, was ranked in some circles as the No. 1 guard on the draft board, and he was only the second guard selected on Saturday, after Auburn's Ben Grubbs, who went No. 29 overall to Baltimore.
Most scouts point to his size and hand-punch ability and believe that he can be an immediate contributor on the offensive line. He's also considered an intelligent prospect that can play either guard (his natural position) or tackle (where he played as a senior).
Sears came to One Buc Place for a visit last month and also played in the Senior Bowl, where the Buccaneers' coaching staff worked coaching the North team the entire week.
One area scouts found to pick on was Sears' weight, but he said his weight has never been a problem, and won't be in Tampa Bay.
"My weight is not a struggle," Sears said by phone from a family cookout in his hometown of Russellville, Ala. "I can get to any weight the Buccaneers want me to get to. It's never been a problem in my career. I got up to about 335 my sophomore year after some surgeries that I had at Tennessee. But it's not a problem."
Gruden said late Saturday night that the Bucs would move Dan Buenning to center and allow Sears to seriously compete for the starting left guard spot.
Piscitelli is considered one of the harder-hitting safeties in the draft, and at 6-2 ¾, 223 pounds, he had great speed at 4.45 in the 40. While Piscitelli never visited One Buc, he said his agent told him the Bucs were very interested in him. The selection also affords him the opportunity to come back to Florida (he's a Boca Raton native) and to play for a team that influenced his desire to play pro football.
"(Former Buc) John Lynch is one of my all-time favorite safeties and I always watched John Lynch play," Piscitelli said. "The Tampa Two is always something I've loved to play. In high school, I played Cover Two."
Piscitelli finished his senior year with 75 tackles and five interceptions. Gruden said he not only liked Piscitelli's hitting ability, but also his ball-hawking prowess.
"Watching him play in that game against USC, when they beat then when the Trojans were No. 1, and he's a big reason they won," Gruden said.
Piscitelli had eight tackles and a pass deflection in that game.
While Gruden acknowledged that one of the knocks on Piscitelli was the perception that he was a below-average tackler, new defensive backs coach Raheem Morris saw it another way.
"The kid missed one tackle in one game last year and it stood out, so they (scouts) said he had a problem tackling," Morris. "What I saw was someone who can tackle and made some nice form tackles last year."
Black (6-1 ½, 226) may be the most intriguing player of the first day for the Bucs. Black played the same position in New Mexico that another former Lobo, Brian Urlacher, did. He set up farther from the line of scrimmage than most linebackers and the system allowed Black to make plays from sideline to sideline.
Additionally, he ran a 4.4 40-yard dash during the scouting period and had a 42-inch vertical leap. That unusual mix for a player at his position had Gruden excited.
"With his traits and athletic ability, we'd be hard pressed not to put him on the field," Gruden said.