Bucs Q&A with Mark Dominik

What is the "Hot List?" It's the list by which the Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft by each year, and it never dies. That's a big reason why DT Jovan Haye is in Tampa Bay and is the leading candidate for the under tackle position. BucsBlitz.com's Matthew Postins sat down with Bucs Director of Pro Personnel Mark Dominik for a candid conversation about the process that brought Haye to Tampa Bay.

Matthew Postins: How do you find a guy like Jovan Haye? I know he's someone you had on your radar in the 2005 draft, but Carolina got to him first. How do you keep tabs on somebody like that?

Mark Dominik: What we do, in working with (Director of College Scouting) Dennis Hickey, each draft we assemble something we call "The Hot List." These are guys that we're willing to take in that draft. It's a really pared down list. The draft is like twelve hundred names. We pare it down to like, 150 maybe. We put a red tag on them. Dennis Hickey and I, we sit down and talk about them after the draft and what we do is queries of everyone that was drafted fourth round or lower that was a hot list guy, or a college free agent that was a hot list. We talk to our scouts and when we go out to preseason games — either myself or (Personnel Executive) Doug Williams or (Pro Personnel Assistant) Justin Sheridan — we go to preseason games and we watch the guys that were fourth round or lower that were hot list guys to see how they're doing with other clubs, because we did like them enough to consider them in the draft. Jovan was one of those guys, so last year we watched him at Carolina, or really the last two years because he spent both preseasons with Carolina. He was a guy we always had our eye on because we thought he was a good fit for what we do. That's how it happens. We take what we've learned from college about these kids and keep track of them through boards we have at the office and sheets we have and through the computer so we don't lose track of these guys."

MP: So Jovan had been in your computer for two years before you picked him up last year?

MD: That's correct. He's always been a hot guy out there and he continues to hold onto his hot status, even when he's with another club. So when he comes free, if you want to run a query of him, you can. We have emergency boards and we look at the wire every day and we say, ‘OK, this guy got cut.' We have systems that if you want to run queries on guys that are on the street and were hot list guys, you can do it that way. But Jovan, every time he's been released, he was always a guy that we were like, ‘OK, is this the time to try to make the move to get him or not?' And it worked out well for us last year halfway through the season last year when we picked him up off (Cleveland's) practice squad."

MP: When I saw Tampa Bay pick him up last year — and you had a need a defensive tackle because you had traded Booger (Anthony McFarland) — most people were probably like, ‘Who is this guy?' But you've known about him for two years and you know that he might have been a good fit for what you wanted to do. You check the personnel wire every day, but how often did you check Jovan over the last couple of years?

MD: We watched him specifically. When we go to a game we target about six or eight guys on each team and we really focus on those guys. We really don't care where the ball is. We're watching these specific guys in case they get cut. So I would say we've had our eye on Jovan, just as we have our eye on two other guys that are with other teams when I go to Carolina this year. There's already about four or five guys I know that I want to watch on their team, and we'll see if they make it or don't. Sometimes injuries make you cut a good player, sometimes it's just not the right fit. For Jovan it was just a bad fit, it wasn't a bad player. So we've been following him for a while."

MP: What was it about him?

MD: He worked hard. He's a good worker. He is smart, he's well spoken (and a person) who can figure things out well. He's got some good leverage technique. He's a powerful kid. He's not the tallest kid, but he's got longer arms and heavy hands, and that's a big part of why we thought he could play inside, where a lot of people thought because of his weight that he had to be an outside guy. But leverage plays such a key in our Tampa 2 system that we thought he could fit into it."

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