Youth leads to hope, and hope leads to promotions and contract extensions. Mark Dominik is quite familiar with this concept.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager received a four-year contract extension Monday morning. The franchise’s confidence in Dominik after two years on the job is his reward for inserting the right pieces that led to 10 wins last season. That total was Tampa Bay’s most wins since 2005, and by Week 5 the Bucs had matched their win total for all of 2009 (three wins).
Dominick has slotted young talent into all three key offensive positions. He drafted quarterback Josh Freeman with the 17th overall pick in 2009, and then selected Mike Williams in the fourth round last spring, who led all rookie receivers in receptions and receiving yards, and was nominated for the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award.
As a whole, Dominick’s 2010 draft received high praise, with all but one of his seven picks making notable contributions throughout the season. Aside from Williams, defensive tackle Gerald McCoy was tied for third on the team with three sacks, and second-round receiver Arreilous Benn also showed some promise. Combined the rookies on Tampa’s roster made 52 starts in 2010.
But perhaps his best move last offseason was signing LeGarrette Blount, the running back who wasn’t drafted because of character concerns after a fight during his time with the Oregon Ducks that resulted in a suspension. Dominick did enough homework to place his trust in a changed Blount, and was repaid when the undrafted rookie rushed for 1,007 yards and six touchdowns even after waiting until Week 7 to be given the starting role.
When we speak of “homework” in reference to Dominick, we don’t mean it in the usual clichéd sense. As JoeBucs Fan writes, Dominick really digs deep.
No general manager in the NFL has had a more profound positive impact on his team the past two years than Dominik. He has proved to be an uncanny draft guru who apparently puts in loads of hours into research, going so far as to interview Little League coaches of potential draftees and query agents about other players.
His next hurdle could require some serious interview skills as Dominick sifts through the mess created by cornerback Aqib Talib.