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Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik admits to iffy drafts

TAMPA — If it's true it takes three seasons to properly evaluate an NFL draft class, Mark Dominik's first try at picking talent for the Bucs as general manager, 2009, didn't make the grade.

Only quarterback Josh Freeman, the first-round pick, has developed into a starter.

Two players — fourth-round pick Kyle Moore, a defensive tackle, and fifth-round pick Xavier Fulton, an offensive tackle — are no longer with the team. The other three players — cornerback E.J. Biggers, defensive tackle Roy Miller and receiver Sammie Stroughter — have limited roles as backups.

"You have to go back and look at your draft classes," Dominik said. "Our fourth-round pick was Kyle Moore. He's in the league (with the Bills) still. He was on a practice squad last year, so he's still playing. But you would want more.

"Xavier Fulton didn't make it for us. So you've got to step back and look at that. You go back, and you have to learn why are those two players not on our team anymore."

Dominik said he has spent a lot of time looking at the Bucs' past three drafts and tried to learn from his mistakes. This year's three-day draft begins Thursday in New York.

"And I do that for 2010," Dominik said. "And I've already done it for last year. If you don't look at your mistakes, you're bound to create them again. So you really try to dig deep and look and say, 'What was it about that that I missed on? What was it as an organization that we didn't make the right selection?' "

After the 2010 draft, when the Bucs used the No. 3 overall selection on defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (one pick ahead of Lions Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh) and the 35th pick on UCLA defensive tackle Brian Price, Dominik said he hoped it would be a "defining class," like 1974 for the Steelers.

From that draft, Pittsburgh got four future Hall of Famers: center Mike Webster, linebacker Jack Lambert, and receivers John Stallworth and Lynn Swann.

"You can always find that class with the great championship teams," Dominik said. "And I'm optimistic that 2010 is ours."

But McCoy has played in only 19 games over two seasons while producing only four sacks. Both seasons ended with McCoy on injured reserve with torn biceps (the left in 2010, the right in 2011). Price played in only five games as a rookie before pelvic surgery and procedures to reattach both hamstrings. He has 27 tackles and three sacks.

Taken in the second round that year, 39th overall, was Illinois receiver Arrelious Benn. He tore an ACL in his 15th game as a rookie and has 55 receptions for 836 yards and five touchdowns in two seasons.

Dominik said the sand is running out of the hourglass for players such as McCoy and Price.

"We don't have much more time and nor do the players," Dominik said. "They have two more years remaining on their contract, except for Gerald, who has three. Certainly, the reality is it's disappointing that our defensive tackles have been hurt. It's extremely disappointing, and they're frustrated and disappointed as well.

"I still have hope, but … there's only so much time left. I'll be my harshest critic. I know we have a lot of them out there, but I'll be my harshest critic to look at that class and see what they do. But I still have a lot of hope in that class. Time will tell, but the clock is certainly ticking."

Dominik and the Bucs seemed to right the ship a bit in the 2012 draft. First-round pick Adrian Clayborn proved to be a high-motor pass rusher who led the team with 71/2 sacks. Second-round pick Da'Quan Bowers, a defensive end, started the final six games but finished with only 11/2 sacks and 30 tackles. Third-round pick Mason Foster struggled at middle linebacker (and its play-calling responsibilities) without the benefit of an offseason because of the lockout but still led the team with 126 tackles.

Fourth-round pick Luke Stocker, a backup tight end, produced 12 receptions. Fifth-rounder Ahmad Black, a safety from Florida, spent 12 weeks on the practice squad. Sixth-rounder Alan Bradford, a running back from Southern Cal, was released after five games and has hooked on as a linebacker with Seattle. Cornerback Anthony Gaitor (seventh round) was inactive for eight games, and tight end Daniel Hardy (seventh round) was released and has since signed with the Vikings.

So what has Dominik learned?

"I'll let the new general managers figure that out on their own," Dominik said. "But I truly feel like I've learned a lot from those selections that have not panned out for our team."

Bucs drafts under GM Mark Dominik and director of player personnel Dennis Hickey:

2009

Round 1 (No. 17) Josh Freeman QB, Kansas State

The 6-foot-6 Freeman is 17-23 as a starter. Led the Bucs to a 10-6 mark in 2010, his first full season as a starter, throwing 25 touchdowns and six interceptions. Took a step back in 2011 with 16 touchdowns and 22 interceptions.

Round 3 (No. 81) Roy Miller, DT, Texas

Hasn't progressed as a starter. Has just three sacks in as many seasons, none in 2011.

Round 4 (No. 117) Kyle Moore DE, Southern Cal

Former Trojans captain was plagued by knee injuries and released before the 2011 season. Signed by the Bills and had only three tackles last season. Has 22 for his career.

Round 5 (No. 155) Xavier Fulton, OT, Illinois

Spent his rookie season on the reserved injured list. Had practice squad stints with the Colts and 49ers. Recently signed a futures contract with the Redskins.

Round 7 (No. 217) E.J. Biggers, CB, Western Michigan

Spent his rookie season on injured reserve. Developed into a nickel cornerback and has 117 tackles and two interceptions over the past two seasons.

Round 7 (No. 233) Sammie Stroughter, WR, Oregon State

Reserve who has 59 catches for 625 yards and one touchdown in 31 games. Also a punt returner.

Total picks: 6

Starters: 1

Backups: 3

Other teams: 2

Out of league: 0

2010

Round 1 (No. 3) Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma

Selected one spot after Lions Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. Tore his left biceps in 2010, his right biceps in 2011, landing on injured reserve each time. Has only four sacks.

Round 2 (No. 35) Brian Price, DT, UCLA

Played only five games as a rookie before pelvic surgery and needing both hamstrings re-attached. Had 24 tackles and three sacks as a starter in 2010.

Round 2 (No. 39) Arrelious Benn, WR, Illinois

Tore an ACL with one game left in his rookie season. Has 55 catches and five touchdowns.

Round 3 (No. 67) Myron Lewis, CB, Vanderbilt

The 6-2, 203-pounder has not developed into the physical, press cornerback the Bucs hoped for. Was inactive for six games last season and made four tackles for the season.

Round 4 (No. 101) Mike Williams, WR, Syracuse

Led all rookies with 11 touchdowns in 2010. Had a sophomore slump and was plagued by dropped passes. Finished with 65 catches for 771 yards and three touchdowns.

Round 6 (No. 172) Brent Bowden, P, Virginia Tech

Released after his first training camp and is out of the NFL.

Round 7 (No. 210) Cody Grimm, S, Virginia Tech

Emerged as a starter before injuries in each of his two seasons. Broke his leg blocking during an interception return in 2010. Tore knee ligaments after three games last season.

Round 7 (No. 217) Dekoda Watson, LB, Florida State

Explosive athlete who excels as a pass rusher in three-point stance. Premier special teams player in kick coverage.

Round 7 (No. 253) Erik Lorig, DE, Stanford

Converted from defensive end to tight end then to fullback, where he starts when the Bucs are in the I-formation.

Total picks: 9

Starters: 5

Backups: 3

Other teams: 0

Out of league: 1

2011

Round 1 (No. 20) Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa

High-motor pass rusher who led the Bucs with 7.5 sacks as a rookie.

Round 2 (No. 51) Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson

Led the nation in sacks as a senior but fell in the draft after knee surgery. Primarily a backup to Michael Bennett but started the final six games. Finished with 1.5 sacks and 30 tackles.

Round 3 (No. 84) Mason Foster, LB, Washington

Struggled as a middle linebacker without the benefit of offseason workouts. Led the Bucs in tackles with 126 and had two sacks and an interception.

Round 4 (No. 104) Luke Stocker, TE, Tennessee

Backed up Kellen Winslow. Had 12 catches for 92 yards.

Round 5 (No. 151) Ahmad Black, S, Florida

Spent 12 games on the practice squad before being activated for the final four. Had five tackles and a fumble recovery.

Round 6 (No. 187) Alan Bradford, RB, Southern Cal

Released after five games and picked up by Seattle, who moved him to linebacker.

Round 7 (No. 222) Anthony Gaitor, CB, Florida International

Inactive for eight games but contributed on special teams and saw some action at cornerback.

Round 7 (No. 238) Daniel Hardy, TE, Idaho

Released at the end of training camp. Signed with the Vikings in January.

Total picks: 8

Starters: 2

Backups: 4

Other teams: 2

Out of league: 0

Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik admits to iffy drafts 04/19/12 [Last modified: Friday, April 20, 2012 11:00am]

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