TAMPA — Bucs general Mark Dominik said Thursday his future is tethered to the success of the team's 2010 draft class.
"If this draft class doesn't succeed, I probably don't, either," Dominik said.
The Bucs own 11 picks, including No. 3 overall and three of the top 42.
It's likely that either Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh or Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy will be available when the Bucs make their first selection. Dominik said the number of players that have received a first-round grade from the Bucs is "into the 40s." A year ago, he said it was 22 or 23.
"It's a very talented class, and I think everybody feels that way," Dominik said. "I think it would be unfair for me to say this class (won't) have a big impact on our football team going forward. Because we're going to build this through the draft."
Dominik amped up that commitment by hiring former NFL scout and UCLA recruiter Bill Rees to evaluate the roster and the draft.
"We just wanted to make sure that we weren't judging our team incorrectly because we're staring at these players every day," Dominik said. "And (Rees) gave me that unbiased opinion that we wanted, because all he's done is watch the tape. And after that I asked him to evaluate 100, 150 players in this year's draft."
Dominik said Rees — who he said isn't involved in draft meetings and won't be around on draft day — concluded the Bucs have a talented core that figured out how to win games late last season.
Presumably, Dominik didn't need much convincing to bypass an opportunity to trade for Steelers receiver Santonio Holmes or Broncos receiver Brandon Marshall this offseason.
Holmes, who was suspended for the first four games of next season for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, was traded to the Jets for a fifth-round draft choice. Marshall, a talented but troubled star, was traded to the Dolphins for a second-round pick this year and a second-rounder in 2011. He was signed to a five-year, $50-million contract.
"I think the role of a general manager in any football team is to have a pulse of what's going on around the National Football League," Dominik said. "Did we have a pulse of what was going on? Absolutely. I know there was a report out there that we were one of the four finalists for Brandon Marshall. That's not true."
In the end, Dominik said, the Bucs' decisions on those receivers were based on character and compensation.
"I'd rather not get into (details) because those players are in new organizations now and they're getting a new opportunity," he said. "What I'll say is that we dug into both of them the same way we do a college draft prospect, because you're giving up something that you consider to be valuable, which is draft choices."
Speaking of compensation, Dominik attempted to end speculation by saying the Bucs' draft day decisions will not be based on finances. "I would say money is not an issue with anything that we're doing in this draft at all," Dominik said. "I hope that answers that."