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29 April 2017

Transcript: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2017 Day 2 NFL Draft Media Availability (4/28/17)

Below is a selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
General Manager Jason Licht
Defensive Back Justin Evans
Wide Receiver Chris Godwin
(Opening Statement)
“I know it’s late, I’ll keep it quick. We’re excited about what we did today, so I’ll open it up.”
(On linebacker Kendell Beckwith)
“Yeah, he was sitting up there on our board high enough to where we wanted to go up there and get him. Didn’t want to lose out on him, he’s a physical guy, he’s a big guy. We wanted to add some size and physicality at that position. We’re happy with the guys that we have, obviously Kwon (Alexander) and Lavonte (David) are good players. We’re also happy with Devonte Bond as well and (Adarius) Glanton. We’ve got some guys that we like, but any time you can add a guy that we feel at some point is going to compete for a starting job, in our case SAM, with Devonte, you want to go up and get him. He’s also got ability to play MIKE. You’re always looking for versatility and injuries happen, so he was a guy that we obviously wanted to go up and get.”
(On safety Justin Evans)
“He’s a big hitter. He’s a tough guy, he’s smart. We talked yesterday about guys that are the right kind of guys and we feel that he is one of those guys. [We] spent a lot of time with him during this process, had him in for a visit, workouts, combine, all that stuff. Just kept growing on us more and more. He’s not afraid to stick his head in there, that’s for sure. He’s rangy, he makes a lot of plays on the ball, he plays with a lot of anticipation. He’s got good speed, ball skills, so he’s going to be in the mix too, to compete for a starting role.”
(On if Evans gets too over-aggressive at times and simply needs some polishing on his tackling ability)
“He does. He does get a little over-aggressive but I’ll take that any day versus a guy that’s not aggressive.”
(On how he knew wide receiver Chris Godwin would be a good fit)
“We felt like he was a great addition to our depth. He’s got a big upside, he’s a tough guy as well. He’s got good hands, tore it up in that bowl game versus USC. But he also played well throughout the year, nice two-year career as a starter there. He’s got an upside, he’s going to compete for a role.”
(On if he sees Godwin playing on the inside)
“I think he’s got some versatility. From what we see, we see more outside. But, he does have versatility.”
(On how happy quarterback Jameis Winston is with the offensive additions this offseason)
“He’s got to be happy, I asked Dirk (Koetter) if we should start calling him Air Coryell. You can’t have enough speed. During this year, I know I’ve mentioned this before, that speed was one thing that we felt like we needed to add, I should say, to this team. Dirk and I talked about it numerous times, in fact in my office I have it written on my grease board and it’s been there for several months right now. Not that I need the reminder, but just kind of left it up there after a meeting and we did just that with the tight end (O.J. Howard), with the safety (Justin Evans) and Chris (Godwin). We’re excited about that, not that we’re just looking for that attribute in a player whatsoever. They have to be good players as well, but we felt like we added to our team’s speed.”
(On if there is a timetable for Beckwith to be fully medically cleared)
“Yeah, we’ve done thorough work on him. We felt good enough with him to take him where we did. This is a marathon, not a sprint. We’re not necessarily taking guys to come in and play and contribute, and it be an impact their first year. But, it’s reasonable to think that he’ll be back soon enough. But we’re going to be cautious and conservative with him, make sure that we don’t put him out there too early.”
(On if he would consider playing Evans as a slot corner)
“We’ll see when he gets in here. Right now we’re going to put him back there at safety.”
(On what he would say to fans who want the Bucs to draft a running back)
“We have to stick to our board and we have to stick to need versus value on where they meet, I say that over and over again. We like our group and since Doug (Martin), since he went through the situation that he’s been in, it hasn’t been just the last two weeks. We’ve been happy with the trajectory that he’s on. I’ve said that before, but it’s the truth. He has the right mindset right now and looks good physically. We still have some time there. Just two years ago he was the second-leading rusher in the NFL. We like Jacquizz (Rodgers) obviously, and Charles (Sims), Peyton (Barber). Sometimes people seem to think that-that’s within the building we feel comfortable with our guys and that includes Doug.”
(On if Martin’s performance since the start of offseason conditioning has influenced the team’s draft)
“I wouldn’t say just the last 10 days. He’s been great the last 10 days, but we stuck to our board and contrary to what a lot of people think, we didn’t have 28 picks in the last two days, so we can’t fill everything.”
(On if Godwin can return kicks)
“We’ll see when he gets here. I’m sure all of those skill guys, we’ll give all of them an opportunity. I think he’s got the skillset to do it. We’ll give him a shot. He’s definitely got the speed.”
(On the football characteristics of Evans)
“He’s a tough guy. Football just means everything to him. He’s very passionate. He’s got an edge to him when he’s on the field [and] in practice. He’s good in the locker room. He was a leader for their defense. Everything checked the boxes for us. He’s our kind of guy, he’s the right kind of guy.”
(On if there are still running backs in the NFL Draft that the team likes and how that might affect Martin’s status)
“With Doug, we’re just keep on pace where we’re at and keep monitoring. We’ve had great conversations with him. We still have a few rounds left here. There could be a back, there could be a wide receiver, there could be any position, really. Until you get them in here, until you get first-hand knowledge of them in the meeting rooms and then, more importantly, out there on the field and playing in preseason games, you can’t predict if anybody is going to beat anybody out right now. But I would say that right now we are very happy with the way things are going with Doug.”
(On reshaping the offensive weapons since drafting Jameis Winston)
“With DeSean [Jackson], nothing really needs to be said there. Everybody knows DeSean and what he brings to the table and his body of work since 2008. We certainly are still very, very excited about having him, but to bring in some young guys, particularly what we did in the last couple of days, bringing in young guys, hungry guys, guys that can run both at tight end and receiver, those guys can grow together. Jameis is still younger than most of the quarterbacks in the draft, or some of them. Get these guys in and growing together I think is very important and paid dividends in the future.”
(On his decision to not draft an offensive lineman in rounds 1-3)
“We are confident with what we have here and once again, it was just two years ago that we were a fifth-leading rushing team and gave up whatever it was, not very many sacks. It’s really just, [former Buccaneers guard] Logan Mankins is a great player, but we have the same group. In fact, we added, hopefully [guard] J.R. [Sweezy] stays on track where he is right now. We’re very excited about this group. Not to say that there wasn’t a point when we thought about bringing in some depth or we might here tomorrow, but we are happy. Part of the exercise you do on the draft board is you try to rank your guys into the draft of where they would fall. You have to take that into account too.”
(On who is at the top of the running back depth chart at this moment)
“Well, we don’t have a depth chart right now, so that won’t be made for a while. So, I can’t really answer that right now.”
(On whether or not safety Justin Evans’ return ability was something that was in mind when drafting him)
“Hey, it’s great to have a lot of guys that can do it. It gives you more options. I’ve been places where you didn’t know who your returner was going to be. So, it’s great to have options and it’s going to be a nice little competition there, but we drafted Justin for his ability at safety, first and foremost. It’s a bonus that he does have return ability.”
(On what he is looking for in a safety)
“You’d strive to have a guy that has the complete skillset. Some guys are better at some things than others. In Justin’s case, he’s a rangy guy that can play centerfield, he has good cover skills and he’s also a very aggressive guy which we’ve talked about. None of these guys are completely polished right now. There’s reasons why they’re not top five picks, so that’s where we feel like we can bring guys in and develop them and get them better at some of their weaknesses and try to put them in a position where they can maximize their strengths.”
(On if it matters to him that Evans is a player that did not receive any offers out of high school and worked his way to where he is today)
“That’s part of his DNA. That’s part of what we liked about him. He was a heck of a baseball player, too.”
(On having players that have experience in sports other than football)
“Well, that’s not a quality that we’re looking for, but it’s nice that they’re athletic guys.”
(On the level of interaction he had with the Buccaneers during the draft process)
“I talked to them at the combine and then I had a meeting with them, with me and Coach [Brett] Maxie and then I took a visit up there. So, I had some contact with them. It wasn’t overly aggressive, but I definitely had a lot of contact with them.”
(On his strengths as a safety)
“I definitely feel like I’m an all-around safety that’s playmaking, tackling, instincts – whatever comes with that, I feel like I’ve got all the tools for that.”
(On attending junior college and the path he took to get to the NFL Draft)
“Coming out of high school I had no offers so I went the ‘JUCO’ route. Obviously, it was a different route than a lot of kids take, but I believed in it, I trusted in myself, trusted in God and I always felt like I could accomplish my goals. So at the end of the day, that’s what I was trying to accomplish.”
(On if wrapping up with his tackles was something he tried to improve on last season)
“Yeah, definitely. I had a lot of missed tackles so that will be one of my main focuses, is being a better pursuit tackler. I know if I do that then my game will go even higher, so that’ll definitely be the main part.”
(On if he’s disappointed he wasn’t drafted in the first round)
“No. I mean, you look at yourself, you always think very highly of yourself so obviously, I would think I’d be a first rounder. But first round, second round or further, skip to the third or fourth round, on the inside I would’ve just been blessed to have had that opportunity because I’m going to give the same work ethic. I’m going to make the same plays than if I went first, second, third, fourth or fifth, so to me, it’s just a blessing.”
(On now being a teammate of tight end O.J. Howard instead of facing him in the SEC)
“He’s definitely a very talented guy. When we played them I was matched up on him a few times so we’ll be on the same team this year. We’ll still be going against each other, competing in practice, but I definitely think he’s a great, great athlete.”
(On how soon he thinks he can crack the starting lineup at safety for Tampa Bay)
“My focus point, I’m coming in right away... I’m just coming in with a humble mindset, working hard, learning the scheme, the playbook… but I definitely view myself as a starter.”
(On the level of interaction he had with the Buccaneers during the draft process)
“I had a good amount of interaction with them. They came to Penn State to work me out and then I went out there on a pre-draft visit. I spent a good amount of time with them and it was cool, it felt like home.”
(On beginning his football career on a team also named the Buccaneers)
“Yeah, that was like one of the first things I really thought about. It’s crazy how things can kind of come full circle. I’m blessed to be in this position, proud to be a Buc and I can’t wait to get to work.”
(On if he’s more comfortable playing in the slot or outside)
“Honestly I’m comfortable doing any of it, I’ve always been that type of guy. Where my team needs me to be is where I’ll be.”
(On where he thinks he’ll fit into a receiving corps that has wide receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson)
“Obviously, when you have two veteran guys like DeSean and Mike Evans you have a lot of production. I’m happy to be a Buc and I’m willing to come in and contribute in any way I can.”

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