Director of Player Personnel Jerry Angelo gave insight into just what went on in the Bucs' war room in April
Jerry Angelo is worried about security.
The 2000 NFL draft is just a few weeks in the rear view mirror and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 'war room' at team headquarters is still being dismantled. The rating boards are being returned to the personnel offices, the computers and phones are being hauled out and the extra locks are being taken off the room's two doors. Everything appears to be in order, but Angelo can't help but wonder if there was some breach in the perimeter, some spy hiding the corner.
That's the feeling the Buccaneers' director of player personnel was left with after answering questions submitted directly by Tampa Bay fans in the latest installment of the 'Your Turn' interview series. Angelo's kidding, of course, but he was sincerely amazed by how accurate the fans' assumptions about the draft were. During the nearly 30-minute interview, Angelo answered questions about the players Tampa Bay did take in the draft, some of the ones they didn't, how he came to his current position, how the Bucs approach personnel decisions, and much more.
The 'Your Turn' interview series originated in March with an interview of new offensive coordinator Les Steckel. Since then, Head Coach Tony Dungy, General Manager Rich McKay, Defensive Coordinator Monte Kiffin and now Angelo have all shared their insights directly with inquiring Buccaneer fans. Buccaneers.com users may submit questions for Your Turn interviews using the Your Turn console on the site's home page. During each interview, the first name and home town of the fan submitting the question is identified.
In the latest installment, Angelo, who is in his 14th season with the Buccaneers, spoke on such topics as…
…what does the team see in newly-drafted tight end James Whalen?
"Well, we hope, just the way he fit into the Wildcats' system," said Angelo. "We feel strongly that he has very good talent, great football character, as I alluded to earlier. We feel that, again, Coach Steckel has a tight end-driven offense and we feel that (Whalen)'s going to find his niche here. He's more of an H-back than he is a true tight end. We saw that role with (Frank) Wycheck in Tennessee, so we hope James comes in and in a year or two time finds that same niche here."
…did the team consider taking RB Shyrone Stith instead of Joe Hamilton in the seventh round?
"(Buccaneer fan) Pete must have been the fly on the wall," said Angelo, "because it really came down to Joe and Stith. We really liked Stith, we thought he was a great pick. I felt that we would have been very competitive if Jacksonville had not taken him when they did just a few picks ahead of us in the seventh and he would have been a free agent. We would have probably signed him like we did Earthwind (Moreland). Stith was one of those three or four players we were considering with that pick. So, yes, to answer your question."
…have salary cap restrictions forced teams to focus more on need than 'best player available'?
"I would say that's a pretty astute observation," said Angelo. "Yes, team's are becoming more need-conscious. I think team's always have been need-conscious, but when a real top-flight player would be there they would go that way. It's really gotten to that point. We've been able to discipline ourselves, and I use the example of Anthony McFarland. We really didn't need to take Anthony McFarland last year from LSU when we had the 14th pick. We had Brad Culpepper on board, we had James Cannida, and both of those players we liked, but we felt that Anthony's value was too great, and because of that, we didn't want to leave a level. Coach Dungy, again, is understanding of that. We do have needs, we do want to address those needs whenever we can, but we don't want to leave levels. When we have a player on Level A, to take a player on Level B because he's a need – we don't do that."
…and much more!
Now that Buccaneers.com has provided unprecedented access to the highest-ranking members of its football operations, Your Turn will turn its attention to the team's talented roster. The next Your Turn guest will be a player, as determined by site users. In the current Your Turn console, fans are encouraged to send in their choice for the first player guest on the interview series. Buccaneers.com will begin taking those suggestions immediately.