Wednesday, April 28, 2010

2010 Fantasy Football - Rookie Projections

Those of you draft geeks who are even bigger fantasy geeks might enjoy this. Here are my thoughts on how each of the offensive skilled players from this year’s draft class will impact this coming fantasy season.

QB
Sam Bradford (R1, #1, Rams)
With AJ Feeley as his only competition, Bradford will have look really bland in the preseason to start the year on the bench. Although Mardy Gilyard was added, his receiving corp is unimpressive. Donnie Avery didn’t improve in his second year and is really missing a reliable #1 across from him. Keenan Burton and Laurent Robinson aren’t threats. Bradford looks to easily be the class of this class, but he’s not even bye week backup material in 10 team leagues just yet. I’d expect similar numbers to what Matthew Stafford produced in his first season (2,267 yards passing, 13 TD, 20 INT).

Tim Tebow (R1, #24, Broncos)
Kyle Orton is on a one year deal, and the newly acquired Brady Quinn has a very inexpensive contract, so it looks like it will be Tebow’s offense sooner rather than later. Teow has quite a ways to go to be a threat as an NFL passer, so while I do expect the Broncos to involve him offensively in wildcat-type packages, I don’t believe he’ll be used much as a passer in his first season. Undraftable.

Jimmy Clausen (R2, #48, Panthers)
Behind Bradford, I think Clausen has the best chance of making the biggest impact among this year’s class. Matt Moore finished out ’09 as the starter, winning 4 of his 5 starts, and was seemingly handed the offense with the trade of Jake Delhomme to Cleveland. I expect Moore to begin the year as a starter, but the Panthers aren’t heavily invested in him. Clausen enters the league as the most NFL-ready QB of this class, and he’ll get to throw to the still explosive Steve Smith whenever he’s on the field. The Panthers also spent a few picks on receivers, so they’re improved at the position. I wouldn’t be surprised if Clausen starts 5 games this season and if the job is his this time next year. I don’t think he’s draftable unless he wins the job during the preseason, even in dynasty leagues.

Colt McCoy (R3, #85, Browns)
With veterans Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace brought in this offseason, McCoy certainly won’t be rushed into action. I think that both Delhomme and Wallace would have to flop as starters for him to see any action. They didn’t do much to improve the receiver situation aside from Carlton Mitchell in R6, so even if McCoy was thrown in there, I wouldn’t expect much in return. I don’t think he’s draftable in any format yet.

Mike Kafka (R4, #122, Eagles)
Kevin Kolb takes over for Donovan McNabb, and Michael Vick is still a part of the team. I think that a Kolb injury is the only way Kafka sees the field this year. Undraftable.

John Skelton (R5, #155, Cardinals)
Keep an eye on this guy. I was high on him going into the draft and think he’s got a shot at being a legit NFL passer. I don’t think it will happen this year, as I expect Matt Leinart to be given every chance to be the guy at QB after Kurt Warner’s retirement, but if he struggles, I expect Derek Anderson to be given first shot. I don’t think Skelton is draftable, but I’m not sure I’ll be saying that again next year.

Jonathan Crompton (R5, #168, Chargers)
Behind Philip Rivers and Billy Volek, Crompton won’t see action.

Rusty Smith (R6, #176, Titans)
Will have to beat out Chris Simms to earn a spot on the depth chart behind Vince Young and Kerry Collins.

Dan LeFevour (R6, #181, Bears)
I don’t believe it will happen this year, but I think LeFevour is in a great spot to develop as a reliable backup QB. Jay Cutler is firmly entrenched as the starter, but behind him on the depth chart are Caleb Hanie and Brett Basanez. LeFevour needs time to develop, but the opportunity is there for some lengthy job security. Still, he’s undraftable.

Tony Pike (R6, #204, Panthers)
I think Carolina was an unfortunate landing spot for Pike, but it was a wise use of a 6th round pick by the Panthers seeing as how you can’t have enough accomplished passers. Pike will be behind Moore and Clausen, so I think he’ll be waiting a while to make a difference.

Levi Brown (R7, #209, Bills)
The depth chart isn’t threatening (Brian Brohm, Trent Edwards, Ryan Fitzpatrick), but I think it would be asking quite a bit of Brown to contribute as a rookie passer. Non-factor in ’10.

Sean Canfield (R7, #239, Saints)
With Mark Brunell currently an unsigned free agent, Chase Daniel is Canfield’s competition for clipboard duty on Sundays. If something happened to Brees, I think the Saints would scour the trade market for a passer. Non-factor.

Zac Robinson (R7, #250, Patriots)
Non-factor.

RB
CJ Spiller (R1, #9, Bills)
Spiller enters a crowded backfield with Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch already on the roster. Jackson seems set to start next year, and I think the Bills will eventually deal Lynch. That means Spiller should see plenty of action in a backup role as a runner, a versatile receiving threat, and return man. I don’t see a highly productive ’10 for Spiller, but he’s certainly draftable and has to be given preferential treatment in dynasty leagues. He’s drawn comparisons to Chris Johnson, but I don’t see Spiller replicating Johnson’s rookie year numbers (1,228 yards rushing, 43 receptions, 10 combined TDs). Someone will overdraft him based on these lofty projections, but don’t be that guy. I don’t think he’s going to be a player you start on a weekly basis until 2011.

Ryan Mathews (R1, #12, Chargers)
Here’s the guy who’s going to see the football a ton in his first year. Mathews has already been anointed the starter on a highly productive and title contending offense. I’m guessing he’s going to go in the round 5 range in most draft and will be plugged in as a flex option in most starting lineups from the start of the season. I think he’s a fine bet for 1,000 yards in that offense and is going to be a good fit in that backfield with Darren Sproles.

Jahvid Best (R1, #30, Lions)
Call me crazy, but at this point I’m expecting a bigger year from Best than Spiller. Part of it is the fact that the incumbent starter, Kevin Smith, is recovering from a torn ACL sustained late last year. Best’s top competition is Maurice Morris is 30 and didn’t overwhelm Lions’ staff last year taking over in Smith’s absence. Best will play early and often, even when Smith returns. He brings a dynamic their offense is lacking, and I think he makes for a smart pick after someone takes Spiller a round or two earlier. He’s my early sleeper for the 2010 Offensive ROY.

Dexter McCluster (R2, #36, Chiefs)
I’m not sure about this one. With Jamaal Charles establishing himself at the end of last season and Thomas Jones brought in as a free agent, there doesn’t seem to be a ton of carries left over for McCluster. He should be utilized quite a bit in the passing game since Dwayne Bowe and Chris Chambers are their only threats at receiver. Barring a special preseason, I don’t see him as a draftable player in ’10.

Toby Gerhart (R2, #51, Vikings)
With Chester Taylor in Chicago, Gerhart is a must have handcuff for Adrian Peterson owners. He shouldn’t have any value as a starter unless Peterson was to miss time with injury.

Ben Tate (R2, #58, Texans)
Tate is certainly draftable, and with the way Gary Kubiak is talking him up, I expect Tate to see more carries than Steve Slaton or Arian Foster. I don’t think he’ll be someone you feel good about starting on a weekly basis, but he’s got a potent passing game helping him as well. He’ll probably be a mid-round selection in most drafts and should have you thinking bye week fill in.

Montario Hardesty (R2, #59, Browns)
I expect the Browns to run the football a lot this year, and James Harrison is the only other back on the roster with any experience. He shined last year, but I could envision some sort of split in backfield duties. If Hardesty wins the job outright in camp, he’s in Tate territory on draft boards, but if he’s relegated to backup duty, he’s probably a late round pick if that.

Joe McKnight (R4, #112, Jets)
The Jets like to run the ball, but Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson figure to handle 90% of the carries. He should contribute a bit in the passing game, but given the current situation, I don’t think he’s draftable.

John Conner (R5, #139, Jets)
Non-factor.

Anthony Dixon (R6, #173, 49ers)
At a minimum, Dixon is bad news for Glen Coffee’s chances of making a difference in San Francisco. Frank Gore is still the man at RB, but Dixon has a great opportunity this preseason to win the backup job and the corresponding fantasy status of Gore’s handcuff. I think he’s going to be a good fit for what they do in San Francisco and would spend a late pick on him as a Gore owner.

Deji Karim (R6, #180, Jaguars)
Maurice-Jones Drew is obviously going to get 99% of the carries in Jacksonville, but Rashard Jennings (a guy I liked a lot in last year’s draft) isn’t unseatable as MJD’s backup. He’s an explosive player, but I’d like Jennings’ chances to take over carries should something happen to MJD. That said, I don’t think Karim is draftable.

Jonathan Dwyer (R6, #188, Steelers)
If he’s healthy (there has to be some reason he dropped as far as he did in the draft), he’s an intriguing option in fantasy leagues. Rashard Mendenhall is the starter, but he’s had bouts of inconsistency during his time atop the depth chart. Dwyer would likely be in line for a lot of carries should something happen to Mendenhall, but backup Mewelde Moore is the far more accomplished 3rd down back. Dwyer will probably be considered a more valuable handcuff than Dixon in fantasy drafts.

James Starks (R6, #193, Packers)
I’m biased because I like this guy, but he’s in a good situation here. Brandon Jackson hasn’t been able to establish himself as a running threat in his three years in the league. With Ryan Grant set to dominate carries once again and Jackson likely to hold onto the backup job for at least a little while, he’s probably not draftable. I think that changes a year from now.

Charles Scott (R6, #200, Eagles)
The Eagles brought in Mike Bell this offseason to be LeSean McCoy’s backup, so I don’t see much value in Scott. Undraftable.


WR
Demaryius Thomas (R1, #22, Broncos)
With Brandon Marshall now in Miami, Thomas comes into a perfect situation. Jabar Gaffney, Brandon Lloyd, and Brandon Stokley aren’t threats to anyone’s secondary, and Eddie Royal was heavily underutilized last year. Royal figures to be more prominent this season, but no one is standing in Thomas’ way for the bulk of the targets. He’s the rookie you’ll probably have to watch most this preseason to gauge just how much of an offensive factor he’ll be in ’10. I don’t think he’s someone you’re going to start early on, but if he does end up Denver’s #1, he’s got a good shot of being a regular fantasy starter.

Dez Bryant (R1, #24, Cowboys)
Unlike Thomas, Bryant enters a crowd of talent. When the ball isn’t being handed off to one of three capable backs, Tony Romo is looking for Miles Austin, Jason Witten, and for some reason, Roy Williams. They’re also high on Kevin Ogletree, so expect him to see the field as well. Williams is a candidate to be dealt/dumped prior to the season, and Bryant is too talented to sit on the sidelines. Still, I think those expecting him to be a weekly fantasy starter will be disappointed. It’s an explosive offense, but there’s only one football to go around. He goes way up in dynasty leagues, but those in year-to-year leagues probably won’t have in their lineups on a regular basis this season.

Arrelious Benn (R2, #39, Buccaneers)
Here’s the guy who probably fell into the best situation of this year’s class of receivers. In Tampa Benn has very little competition for snaps with Michael Clayton, Reggie Brown, Maurice Stovall, Mark Bradley, and Sammie Stroughter on the roster. I expect Benn to step in and be Josh Freeman’s #1 receiver from the start. He’s absolutely draftable, and an impressive display of chemistry in the preseason could have Been selected high in a lot of drafts. I expect him to lead the Bucs in receptions this season.

Golden Tate (R2, #60, Seahawks)
I’m not sure I love Tate’s fit here in year one. He has a first year coach, a first year QB, and what looks to be setting up as a run-heavy offense. TJ Houshmandzadeh should see the majority of Hasselbeck’s or Whitehurst’s targets, and John Carlson is a reliable tight end. Deion Branch is still around and may stall Tate’s development. I don’t like him as a significant contributor this year, and right now, I think he’s borderline draftable.

Damian Williams (R3, #77, Titans)
It’s an unimpressive stable of receivers he’s joining, but the Titans also don’t have Joe Montana throwing the football to them. Kenny Britt looks to be their #1, and Nate Washington and the uninspiring Justin Gage will see plenty of snaps. I think the best Williams can hope for this season is to be their #2, and when you factor in the QB situation and the fact that Chris Johnson will probably be their most productive receiver, expectations for Williams should be tempered. I don’t consider him draftable in 10 team leagues at this point.

Brandon Lafell (R3, #78, Panthers)
It figures to be a run-heavy offense once again, especially with the inexperienced Matt Moore at the helm. Still, Dwayne Jarrett is the only one standing in Lafell’s way at the moment for a starting job. Steve Smith will obviously be their #1 receiver, but Lafell should be a regular contributor. I think he’s more draftable than Williams at this point, but he’s got a long way to go to be a weekly fantasy starter.

Emmanuel Sanders (R3, #82, Steelers)
I don’t see him being much of a factor in ’10. Ben Roethlisberger is suspended for the first several games of the season, they’re going to run the ball a lot with Rashard Mendenhall, and Hines Ward, Mike Wallace, Antwaan Randle El, and Heath Miller all figure to see more targets. I think he’s undraftable.

Jordan Shipley (R3, #84, Bengals)
Shipley will compete with Andre Caldwell for snaps in the slot between Chad Ochocinco and Antonio Bryant. I can’t see Shipley keeping pace with Ochocinco and Bryant for targes, and there’s also Cedric Benson and his 250-300 carries to consider. I don’t think Shipley is a fantasy factor in ’10.

Eric Decker (R3, #87, Broncos)
He’ll have Demaryius Thomas, Eddie Royal, and Jabar Gaffney ahead of him at the start, but he’s got what it takes to be a #2 this year. I don’t think Decker will be a widely drafted player, but I could see him as a hot waiver wire claim at some point after a couple of productive weeks. He doesn’t have a high ceiling, but I think Decker is pretty NFL-ready.

Andre Roberts (R3, #88, Cardinals)
Even without Anquan Boldin, the Cardinals are pretty stacked at receiver. Larry Fitzgerald is still one of the game’s best, and Steve Breaston and Early Doucet are two of the more promising young targets in the game. Factor in a lowering of offensive expectations by going from Kurt Warner to Matt Leinart at QB and the likelihood of Beanie Wells being a bigger part of the offense, and there doesn’t appear to be room for Roberts to be a fantasy factor this season.

Armanti Edwards (R3, #89, Panthers)
Too raw to be counted on early. Undraftable.

Taylor Price (R3, #90, Patriots)
Wes Welker’s injury opens the door for someone to step up and get some targets opposite Randy Moss. Torry Holt was brought in, but his better days are behind him. Julian Edelman has impressed in limited action, but how will he do under a consistent spotlight? I like Price as a sleeper, and while I don’t think he’s draftable, I think he’s going to finish the season on a lot of fantasy rosters.

Mardy Gilyard (R4, #99, Rams)
Gilyard doesn’t project as a #1 receiver, but he has little competition for catches in St. Louis with Donnie Avery, Keenan Burton, and Laurant Robinson making up the top of their depth chart. Gilyard brings explosion and big play ability, but he’ll also likely be catching passes from a rookie QB. I don’t think he’s draftable right now but is certainly someone to track throughout the year.

Mike Williams (R4, #101, Buccaneers)
See Arrelious Benn. While I think Benn will lead the team in receptions, Williams might produce the bigger plays and more scores. Depending on your league’s scoring, Williams could be the bigger fantasy factor.

Marcus Easley (R4, #107, Bills)
There’s little competition at receiver aside from the inconsistent Lee Evans, but there’s also not a ton of talent at QB. Whether it’s Trent Edwards, Brian Brohm, or Ryan Fitzpatrick under center, no Bill receiver looks to be much of a fantasy threat in ’10. The Bills added CJ Spiller in the draft to go with Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch (for now), so expect the run game to be Buffalo’s offensive focus once again. Undraftable.

Jacoby Ford (R4, #108, Raiders)
Since it looks like a QB and not an out of position RG will be under center for the Raiders in ’10, the fantasy projection of every Oakland receiver gets a little boost. Chaz Schilens, Louis Murphy, and Zach Miller (TE) figure to see the most targets, and Darrius Heyward-Bey, last year’s #7 overall pick, will log plenty of snaps. There doesn’t look to be room for Ford to flash in ’10.

David Reed (R5, #156, Ravens)
Anquan Boldin, Ray Rice, and Derrick Mason. Undraftable.

Riley Cooper (R5, #159, Eagles)
DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and Brent Celek. Undraftable.

Kerry Meier (R5, #165, Falcons)
The Falcons are lacking consistency opposite Roddy White, but I don’t think Meier projects as a terribly productive pro. Undraftable.

Carlton Mitchell (R6, #177, Browns)
Josh Cribbs was their only real threat in the passing game in ’09 with rookies Mohamed Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie breaking into the league. I think Mitchell has the skill set to be a #1 in this offense, but he’s at least a year away from doing so IMO. I’d keep an eye on him this preseason, but I really don’t think he’ll be draftable.
Dezmon Briscoe (R6, #191, Bengals)
I like this guy, but he doesn’t figure to factor in fantasy-wise in ’10. Undraftable.

Will be fighting just to make the team:
Antonio Brown (R6, #195, Cardinals)
David Gettis (R6, #198, Panthers)
Kyle Williams (R6, #206, 49ers)

Unlikely to make the team:
Terrence Austin (R7, #219, Redskins)
Marc Mariana (R7, #222, Titans)
Tim Toone (R7, #255, Lions)


TE
Jermaine Gresham (R1, #21, Bengals)
He’ll be their #1 TE, but I don’t think he’s a starter in 10 team leagues. I do think he’s draftable if you play two TEs or have deep rosters.

Rob Gronkowski (R2, #42, Patriots)
I think he’ll be the most productive rookie TE in fantasy football. Alge Crumpler doesn’t pose any threat to his targets, so I like his chances of emerging as a borderline fantasy starter in his first season. Definitely draftable.

Ed Dickson (R3, #70, Ravens) & Dennis Pitta (R4, #114, Ravens)
Todd Heap is past his prime and will probably begin being fazed out, but I think the presence of both of these rookies will limit their individual production. They’re both reliable receivers, but Dickson is the better blocker. He’ll probably see more snaps, but I doubt either is draftable.

Tony Moeaki (R3, #93, Chiefs)
Brad Cottam and Leonard Pope aren’t formidable depth chart obstacles, so Moeaki could see significant action as a rookie. Still, I don’t think he’s a draftable/reliable option this year.

Jimmy Graham (R3, #95, Saints)
Intriguing for dynasty purposes, but he’s raw and stuck behind a ton of other offensive weapons at the moment. Undraftable.

Aaron Hernandez (R4, #113, Patriots)
I think something would have to happen to Gronkowski for Hernandez to be fantasy relevant. Undraftable.

Garrett Graham (R4, #118, Texans) Dorin Dickerson (R7, #227, Texans)
I don’t see how Graham is relevant this year if Owen Daniels is healthy. I’m not a big fan of Graham’s and don’t think he brings much to the table as a pro. Dickerson has the athleticism to contribute early and could see a bit of action in the slot between Andre Johnson and Kevin Walter. I don’t think either is draftable, but Dickerson has a better chance of making an impact.

Clay Harbor (R4, #125, Eagles)
Brent Celek. Undraftable.

Michael Hoomanawanui (R5, #132, Rams)
He’s more of a blocker than a receiver. Undraftable

Andrew Quarless (R5, #154, Packers)
Jermichael Finley. Undraftable.

Brody Eldridge (R5, #162, Colts)
Dallas Clark. Undraftable.

Fendi Onobun (R6, #170, Rams)
Practice squad. Undraftable.

Dennis Morris (R6, #174, Redskins)
Chris Cooley and Fred Davis. Undraftable.

Nate Byham (R6, #182, 49ers)
Vernon Davis. Undraftable.

Anthony McCoy (R6, #185, Seahawks)
I like his game, but John Carlson has a firm grip on the starting job. Undraftable.

Will be lucky to make the roster:
Mickey Shuler (R7, #214, Vikings)
Jim Dray (R7, #233, Cardinals)
Dedrick Epps (R7, #235, Chargers)


My dynasty league top 5 at each position would be:

QB
1) Bradford
2) Clausen
3) Skelton
4) McCoy
5) Tebow

RB
1) Mathews
2) Spiller
3) Best
4) Hardesty
5) Starks

WR
1) Bryant
2) Benn
3) D. Thomas
4) Price
5) M. Williams

TE
1) Gresham
2) Gronkowski
3) J. Graham
4) Moeaki
5) Dickson

Sunday, April 25, 2010

2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Draft Class Analysis

It was quite a three day haul for the Buccaneer brass in this year’s draft. They went into Thursday with twelve selections and turned them into nine players, including two significant additions on both sides of the ball. Here’s my pick-by-pick analysis of this year’s class with a grade assigned to each one.

1 – Gerald McCoy (DT, Oklahoma)
Round 1, #3 overall
With Ndamukong Suh going #2 to the Detroit Lions as expected, McCoy was the best player on the board and also filled our greatest need. Regarded as the best three technique tackle in the draft, McCoy brings quickness and penetration the Bucs have been missing at the position since Warren Sapp was in his prime. McCoy seems to be the type of person Buccaneer fans will enjoy cheering for. Without an overwhelming offer to move down, taking McCoy was a no-brainer. He instantly starts and improves both our rush and pass defenses.

Grade – 5 out of 5


2 – Brian Price (DT, UCLA)
Round 2, #35 overall
As day one of the draft ended, several round one talents found themselves available at the top of round two. Having filled their primary need at UT, the Bucs were expected to focus on a pass rusher, corner, or receiver with this next pick. After Rodger Saffold and Chris Cook went to the Rams and Vikings to start things off, the Bucs pounced on Price and got themselves two of the draft’s three best interior penetrators with their first two selections. I preferred Sergio Kindle, but with questions about his knee and the draft grade/rank of Price, I certainly understand the decision the Bucs made. Price provides another penetrating presence in the middle and, in my opinion, is a better run defender at this point than McCoy. My only concern with this move is if Tampa is limiting the Buccaneer career of at least one of these players. Will they be able to afford both of them when they need to sign each to their second professional contract? It’s a bit into the future, I know, but it’s something worth mentioning.

Grade – 5 out of 5


3 – Arrelious Benn (WR, Illinois)
Round 2, #39 overall

I felt all along that the Bucs needed to emerge from the second round with a receiver, and Benn is the player I targeted with this pick. The Bucs moved up three spots from #42 to get him and surrendered their 5th round pick in order to do so. I like the physicality that Benn brings and his ability to go over the middle and make the catches that extend drives. He doesn’t have the plus deep speed of #1 guys like Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson, but Benn was also drafted 39th overall compared to Fitzgerald and Johnson who were selected 3rd overall in back-to-back drafts. If I were to question anything about this selection, it would be the cost of the move up to get him. Just a few selections later, the Patriots jumped up from #44 to our original pick at #42 and only surrendered a 6th round pick to the Raiders. You want them to get their guy, but you also want them to be economical with their draft picks.

Grade – 4 out of 5


4 – Myron Lewis (CB, Vanderbilt)
Round 3, #67 overall

After (assumedly) missing out on Jerry Hughes by five picks in round two, I got a worse dagger in this round with the Lions taking my pick, Amari Spievey, at #66. The Bucs stayed at corner and drafted the large Lewis to address another defensive deficiency. I hadn’t focused much on Lewis leading up to the draft, looking for a little more speed, but if we’re going to be playing a good bit of zone coverage, Lewis’ length, physicality, and ball skills should be huge assets. With Ronde Barber on his last legs, we’re barren at the position behind Aqib Talib. Elbert Mack fell off last year, and while there may be high hopes for EJ Biggers and other young cover guys, drafting a corner with starter potential was a priority. Don’t be surprised if he sees action at safety at some point. I’m liking this pick the more I think about it. Morgan Burnett and Chad Jones were enticing options here at safety, but talent at the corner position began to dry up, evidenced by the fact the next corner did not go off the board for another 27 picks.

Grade – 4 out of 5


5 – Mike Williams (WR, Syracuse)
Round 4, #101 overall

As day three of the draft kicked off, several of my top 10 for the Bucs were the first players off the board. Mardy Gilyard (#2) went first to the Rams, and Everson Griffen (#4) was drafted next by the Vikings. Realizing that despite the addition of Benn in round two that the receiver position was still in need of special talent, the Buccaneers drafted the controversial pass catcher from Syracuse (#3 on my Saturday board). Few doubt that Williams has round one talent, but having quit on his team, red character flags were everywhere. With an emphasis on bringing in leaders and guys with character, Williams must have interviewed well with the Bucs. If his Syracuse drama is behind him, Williams brings plus hands, the speed to beat defenses deep, and the ability to create after the catch. I’m not complaining, but I’ll want to track how he does vs. the career of Bruce Campbell, my #1 pick for the Bucs on day three who went five picks later to the Raiders.

Grade – 4.5 out of 5


6 – Brent Bowden (P, Virginia Tech)
Round 6, #172 overall

He punts the football, and we weren’t good at doing that last year (25th in net punting average). If he kicks it far and keeps it out of the endzone, that will be a good thing. I’m about out of stuff here, so I’ll say they hopefully filled a need. They did pass on pass on name players such as Greg Hardy and Jonathan Dwyer to take the kicker, so it certainly wasn’t a popular move amongst most fans. I would have preferred James Starks (RB, Buffalo) with this pick to give our backfield a talent boost and wonder just what the drop off would have been to the next punter on their board. I understand the pick, but would have liked to be a little more economical with the draft choice.

Grade – 3 out of 5


7 – Cody Grimm (S, Virginia Tech)
Round 7, #210 overall

Grimm made it back-to-back Hokies for the Bucs and was a bit of a head scratcher to me. Yes, it’s only a 7th rounder, but is a backup safety special teamer our best use of a pick at this point? What does he bring that Corey Lynch doesn’t? He’s a bloodlines guy (Russ Grimm’s son) who makes up for his lack of measurables with aggression and consistent fundamentals. I think Grimm will have to be a big contributor on special teams to make the final roster, but he should be fun to watch in the preseason. Kyle Calloway (OL, Iowa) went several selections later, and I had some interest in him as RG/RT depth. Syd’Quan Thompson, George Selvie, and Dorin Dickerson went three picks in a row a little later on, and any of them might have made a bigger impact on this roster than Grimm.

Grade – 2.5 out of 5


8 – Dekoda Watson (LB, FSU)
Round 7, #217 overall

Nole bias aside, this was one hell of a selection by the Bucs. Here they get a perfect fit for this defense, a well-liked leader who had trouble standing out some porous FSU defenses. I think he’ll be a perfect back up to fellow Nole Geno Hayes, but Raheem Morris says that Watson will see some time at SAM as well. Watson is reliable in open space and can hold his own in vertical coverage, so that would benefit him on the strong side. He’ll be an instant contributor on special teams and will push for playing time early on. Watson is a steal this late and provides the Bucs with versatile depth and a potential eventual starter at linebacker.

Grade – 5 out of 5


9 – Erik Lorig (DE, Stanford)
Round 7, #253

With their last selection of the draft, the Bucs finally took a pass rusher, albeit a relative unknown to most. Lorig was a fifth year senior who really only had two and a half years of defensive production. He came in as a tight end and moved over to defense his third year into the program. Lorig missed most of this past season with a groin injury, so he doesn’t come in with a ton of production. I admittedly don’t know much of anything about the guy, but he apparently has some size and quickness to work with. He’s going to be understandably raw, so maybe some time on the practice squad will help him develop as a pass rusher. I would have preferred Brandon Lang (Troy) or Lindsey Witten (Connecticut) with this pick. Lang signed with the Chargers, and Witten went to the Steelers as undrafted free agents. Both are far more intriguing to me as situational pass rushers. Maybe Lorig can eventually develop the better all-round game, but he’s got a ways to go.

Grade – 3 out of 5

So after totaling the score, I come up with 36 out of a possible 45 points, or 80%. This is all based on what I think of these selections today and what I feel the Bucs could have done differently with those selections based on the talent/opportunities available to them. Hopefully Grimm, Lorig, and Bowden pan out better than I graded their selections.

My Buccaneer draft grade = B-

At the completion of the draft, the Bucs acted quickly to acquire additional talent that went unchosen. Among those brought in were Jevan Snead (QB, Mississippi), Rico McCoy (LB, Tennessee), Sergio Render (G, Virginia Tech), Preston Parker (WR, N. Alabama), Hunter Lawrence (K, Texas), and Jeron Mastrud (TE, Kansas State).

I love the Snead pick up. I was big on him going into the year and watched him stink it up for the most part. Maybe Greg Olson and Alex Van Pelt can maximize his skills because he's got some. He has the arm, mobility, and sufficient size, but he’s really frustrating to watch/support at times. His head is his biggest problem, so hopefully going somewhere he can focus on becoming a better student of the game and learning the mental responsibilities as a professional passer will allow him to maximize his talents. If you had told me on Thursday that we could get Snead for nothing, I would have said you were nuts.

Render is a really strong dude with sloppy fundamentals. Guys like him are worth a look. Having already seen this show, I'm not holding my breath on Parker. McCoy is small even for us and seems to have peaked a couple years back. He does have the skill set to play in this defense if he can make weight. I’ll want to see what he can do in camp and preseason action. I don’t think much of kickers, but I like the move to bring in the strong legged Longhorn. Lawrence is an accurate kicker who has converted his share of crucial attempts and shows some length on his kickoffs. Mastrud is the guy I had projected as the TE most likely to be a Buc. As I mentioned, he had nice chemistry with Josh Freeman at Kansas State, so his acquisition wasn’t a big surprise.

Complete list (courtesy of NEPatriotsdraft.com):
Hunter Lawrence, K, Texas
Brandon Gillbeaux, DE, Delaware
Jevan Snead, QB, Ole Miss
Rico McCoy, LB, Tennessee
Sergio Render, OG, Virginia Tech
Ryan Reeves, LB, Wayne State
Preston Parker, WR, North Alabama/Florida St.
Jared Zwilling, C, Purdue
Derek Hardman, OT, Eastern Kentucky
Jeron Mastrud, TE, Kansas St.
Jamar Bryant WR, East Carolina
Abdul Kuyateh, OG, Louisville
Torrey Davis, DL, Jacksonville State

In Summary
For me the draft breaks down as follows. The Bucs came away with two studs at DT, putting a huge stamp on the position. McCoy and Price will work in a promising rotation with second year nose man, Roy Miller. The Bucs are now younger, faster, and stronger up front with the addition of the two rookies, and veterans Chris Hovan and Ryan Sims are being shopped as a result. The Bucs then came back and got their franchise QB two major weapons at receiver. Both have #1 talent and should see the field early and often. They’re huge additions to the top of the depth chart, and I’m intrigued to see how the two play together with Freeman as the years (hopefully) go by. I don’t think they could have done any better at the receiver position than the two selections they made.

Lewis might be the swing vote of this draft depending on how his career pans out. I’m intrigued by his potential in this system, and it might be a safe assumption that he’s Morris’ attempt at Ronde’s replacement. Grimm and Watson are special teams picks, but I think Watson has a far better shot of developing into a starter on defense. Bowden doesn’t need to be Ray Guy or anything, but if he can earn and keep the job throughout his contract then he was worth the draft pick it took to get him. Lorig needs at least a year to develop, in my opinion. I think Snead has a great shot at making the team as the third QB, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a couple from Lawrence, Render, McCoy, and Mastrud stuck as well.

I penalized the Bucs a little for the price of the trade up for Benn, not the trade up itself. I’ll give them back those points since they traded two 7th rounders (picks #225 and #232) to Denver for a 5th round pick next year. I think the Bucs could have signed at least seven of the top ten on their board at that point as undrafted free agents, so getting a future 5th round pick for basically nothing was a great move in my opinion.

As I mentioned throughout, I wouldn’t have done much differently myself but really would have liked to come away with a RB and versatile offensive lineman. The talent at those positions wasn’t terribly deep, and the Bucs must like what they have in Cadillac Williams, Derrick Ward, and maybe even Kareem Huggins. I don’t know who is going to come available between now and when the season starts, but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if the Bucs made a deal to acquire a pass rusher before we set a final roster.

Considering the acquisition of a future selection for what I saw as basically nothing and the signing of Jevan Snead alone as an undrafted free agent, I’ll bump my final score up half a grade. I think Snead makes this roster along with seven of our nine draft picks. Grimm is a question mark to me, and I think Lorig’s best chance is the practice squad. If this is what ends up happening, it’s a significant upgrade in talent and potential from last year’s roster. I like our direction.

My final Buccaneer draft grade = B+

Go Bucs!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

2010 NFL Draft - Undrafted Free Agent Options for Tampa Bay




Here's who I'd like Tampa to look at (favorites in red):

QB
Jarrett Brown (West Virginia)
Jevan Snead (Mississippi)
Tim Hiller (Western Michigan)

RB
LeGarrette Blount (Oregon)
Joique Bell (Wayne State)
Lonyae Miller (Fresno State)

WR
Danario Alexander (Missouri)
Jeremy Williams (Tulane)
Seyi Ajirotutu (Fresno State)
Freddie Barnes (Bowling Green)
Brandon Long (WR, Louisville)
Blair White (Michigan State)

TE
Colin Peek (Alabama)
Jeron Mastrud (Kansas State)

T
Tony Washington (Abilene Christian)
Ciron Black (LSU)
Drew Davis (Alabama)

G
Brandon Carter (Texas Tech)
Thomas Austin (Clemson)

C
Jeff Byers (USC)

DT
Vince Oghobaase (Duke)
Malcolm Sheppard (Arkansas)

DE
Brandon Lang (Troy)
Lindsey Witten (Connecticut)

Kevin Basped (Nevada)
Antonio Coleman (Auburn)
James Ruffin (Northern Illinois)
Jeffrey Fitzgerald (Kansas State)

LB
Keaton Kristick (Oregon State)
Simoni Lawrence (Minnesota)

CB
AJ Jefferson (Fresno State)
Patrick Stoudamire (Western Illinois)

Rafael Priest (TCU)
Donovan Warren (Michigan)
Devin Ross (Arizona)

S
Terrell Skinner (Maryland)
Barry Church (Toledo)

K
Aaron Pettrey (Ohio State)

2010 NFL Draft - Day 3 Buccaneer Top 10

Here's my top 10 for the Bucs on day 3 of the 2010 NFL Draft:

1) Bruce Campbell (T, Maryland) – Deciding whether or not to take a player at his position with his upside is a near no-brainer at this point. I don’t see how you pass on him at this point.

2) Mardy Gilyard (WR, Cincinnati) – He’d be a great pairing with Benn. Arrelious brings the physical threat, and Gilyard is really quick. He’s explosive in and out of his breaks, and I think he has the best vision at the position in this class.

3) Mike Williams (WR, Syracuse) – If he interviewed well with the Bucs, you’d have to think he’d rank pretty high on their board at this point.

4) Everson Griffen (DE, USC) – We need a pass rusher, and Griffen was a supposed R1 talent that’s now available at pick #99. The Bucs must not be terribly high on the guy to have passed on him three times.

5) Corey Wootton (DE, Northwestern) – He’s been discussed a bit in the last 24 hours. I would have preferred Jerry Hughes, but we’re now in the 4th round. I’d be fine with the selection. He has great size with room to grow.

6) James Starks (RB, Buffalo) – He’s still the back I want to draft; underrated with a really nice all-round game. Starks is also a high character guy which has to be factored in when figuring who the Bucs will draft. I can’t see LeGarrette Blount as a player the Bucs would be interested in.

7) Marshall Newhouse (OL, TCU) – I think he brings some versatility on the left side of the offensive line. He’s a tackle who will probably be better off as a guard. Looks pretty strong off the snap and does a good job of using the defender’s leverage against him. He’s also a very high character, leader type which will appeal to the Bucs.

8) Marcus Easley (WR, Connecticut) – He’s one of, if not the best, size/speed prospects in this draft. Easley doesn’t have a ton of production, but his apparent raw skills have him rising up boards.

9) Jonathan Dwyer (RB, Georgia Tech) – I’m shocked he’s still available. I had him going late R2 and wouldn’t have been surprised to see him slip into R3, but to go through the whole thing undrafted is odd. There’s really not much left at the position of any significance other than McKnight, Dixon, and Karim.

10) Austen Lane (DE, Murray State) – I probably have him too high, but I like what little I know about the guy. He’s a player who’s going to take a little while to develop, but he has really impressive length with the ability to fill out a bit more. Reports of his explosiveness vary, but he appears to be a competitor with potential as a pass rusher.

Friday, April 23, 2010

2010 NFL Draft - Day 2 Buccaneer Projections

The first day of the draft has passed, and to the surprise of virtually no one, Gerald McCoy is now a Buccaneer. Tampa Bay addressed their huge weakness at DT and obtain a player who is projected as the disruptive force the Bucs have been missing in the middle of the front line since the departure of Warren Sapp.

Unfortunately Jerry Hughes was snatched up by the Colts at #31, five picks before I had him going to the Bucs. Time to adjust.

Here is my top 10 available for the Bucs at the top of R2 (if anyone is paying attention, this won’t match my overall rankings since they are not Buc-specific):

1) Sergio Kindle (DE/LB, Texas) – One of top 5 favorites in this draft, at worst, Kindle would be a situational pass rusher in this defense. I think it’s worth noting that the Eagles traded way up to #12 in order to draft Brandon Graham, a guy I like, but someone they themselves described as a situational pass rusher. Well, if you can take a situational pass rusher at #12, I think #35 would be acceptable value-wise. More on Kindle later.

2) Arrelious Benn (WR, Illinois) – This shouldn't be a surprise. Given that Benn, Golden Tate, and Taylor Price are all still on the board, there’s a tremendous chance that they could sit tight at #42 and still get one of those three (although I do expect to see somewhat of a run on WR once we get near that area, 40-45).

3) Rodger Saffold (OL, Indiana) – With Jerry Hughes and Kareem Jackson gone and the remaining depth at WR, Saffold jumps up my list. I admittedly don’t know a lot about this guy other than what I’ve read, but he looks a heck of a lot like what the Bucs need on the offensive line, skill and character-wise. (See the detailed write up here.) The biggest question on our offensive line is the LG position, and Saffold would seemingly be right in the mix there for a starting job. If things don’t work out with Penn, maybe Saffold becomes the eventual successor at LT. He would give us options, and teams in situations like ours need options. I’m really starting to like this idea if they don’t go with Kindle.

4) Taylor Price (WR, Ohio) – He’s a high-riser with a very appealing all-round game. I love his projection as a pro.

5) Nate Allen (S, USF) – He’s not the biggest need at the moment, but one more flub by Tanard Jackson has us exposed at FS. Allen could step in there day one and is also physical/big enough to play SS in Tampa’s scheme.

6) Toby Gerhart (RB, Stanford) – The first word that comes to mind when I think about our RB sitiation is “old”. Cadillac has seen his best days IMO, and Derrick Ward (his fault or not) was an expensive disappointment in his first year as a Buc. Earnest Graham looks relegated to FB with BJ Askew, and I’m not counting on Clifton Smith or Kareem Huggins in the backfield. We need production out of the backfield and getting a powerful runner with great vision would be a fine addition.

7) Golden Tate (WR, Notre Dame) – I still like him, but with the way the draft board has shaken out, I’d prefer Benn or Price as our pick at WR in this round.

8) Everson Griffen (DE, USC) – I like him, but reportedly the Bucs don’t. I’d list him higher if I thought he had a serious shot at being a Buccaneer.

9) Charles Brown (T, USC) – He’s an athletic tackle who is going to need some time. Unlike Saffold, he doesn’t provide versatility at guard.

10) Chris Cook (DB, Virginia) – I list Cook over Brandon Ghee due to his versatility. He’s a corner with the possibility of FS, and see above for why I like that skill.

For what it’s worth, Brian Price should be one of the first few players off the board in R2, but given that we drafted McCoy, I can’t see the Bucs spending back-to-back picks on defensive tackles.

What I think the Bucs will do:
#35 – Corey Wootton (DE, Connecticut)
#42 – Nate Allen (S, USF)

According to Pewter Report, the Bucs are high on both of these guys, so if I had to guess what Tampa will (not should) do, I think they take Wootton as a pass rusher and Allen as safety depth/insurance. I wouldn’t complain about Allen, but I’m not in love with Wootton as a Buccaneer. I think he’s a fine player who is going to be a bargain for someone since his 2009 season was basically a rehab year. I simply feel that he’s best as either an end on the left side of a 4-3 or as a end in a 3-4. I think playing on the right side in a 4-3, which is what we need badly, would be the worst spot for him.

Back to Sergio Kindle. Here’s what I said back on November 18

If I’m still looking at LB, the guy at the top of my list would be Sergio Kindle (6-4, 255) from Texas. Regardless of the scheme, I think he can come in and be a big time producer. He’s a SLB with tremendous blitzing ability and a knack for making plays in the backfield. His versatility would be a huge asset here in Tampa where he would have the opportunity to line up as a DE on passing downs and give the defense another capable pass rusher. He’s what the Bucs were hoping Quincy Black would be. He’s quick and decisive, closes well, and has the strength to make open field solo stops. Last year Kindle averaged just under 1 TFL per game (12.5 in 13 games), totaled 10 sacks, had 5 QB hurries, and recovered 2 fumbles. Playing at DE this season, he’s accrued another 14 TFL and 3 sacks. Aggression is his game, and I’d love to pair him with Suh as our first two picks in the draft. I have a feeling opposing defenses would feel a bit more pressure by adding those two.

Well, I’ve convinced myself.

My picks:
#35 – Sergio Kindle (alt – Rodger Saffold)
#42 – Arrelious Benn (alt – Taylor Price or Toby Gerhart if they don’t go WR)

We miss on Hughes, but with Kindle they get their pass rusher as well as someone I feel can provide help as a playmaking linebacker. Again, worst case scenario has him as a situational pass rusher, and I can handle that at #35. Benn is still my pick at #42 as the first answer to our problems at WR.

Quickly, with our R3 pick, I still like Amari Spievey (CB, Iowa), but that may need to be adjusted depending on what happens in R2.

Go Bucs!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Last Minute Draft Notes - Predictions


Here are a few things that wouldn't shock me this weekend:

- I’m giving it a 25% possibility that the Bucs trade down with the 49ers for picks #13, #17, and #113. This only has a chance if Suh goes to Detroit.
- Ben Roethlisberger will not be traded.
- Osi Umenyiora is traded to the Rams for their R4 picks this year and next.
- Jason Campbell is traded to the Panthers for a R3 pick this year and a R5 pick next year.
- Albert Haynesworth is traded back to the Titans, not the Lions.
- Saints trade Jamal Brown to the Colts for pick #31, giving New Orleans the last two picks in R1.
- Five other players I see changing jerseys over the weekend: Alan Faneca, LenDale White, Marcus Spears, Marshawn Lynch, and Kirk Morrison.

Projected Destinations of Non-R1/R2 Players


Quarterback
Jarrett Brown – Bills
Dan LeFevour – Bengals
Jevan Snead – Vikings
John Skelton – Eagles
Tony Pike – Patriots

Running Back
Joe McKnight – Rams
Anthony Dixon – Redskins
Montario Hardesty – Broncos
Ben Tate – Browns
LeGarrette Blount – Bengals

Wide Receiver
Dexter McCluster – Jaguars
Mardy Gilyard – Titans
Carlton Mitchell – Ravens
Brandon LaFell – Falcons
Damian Williams – Rams
Jordan Shipley – Cowboys
Dezmon Briscoe – Texans
Jacoby Ford – Browns
Andre Roberts – Seahawks
Mike Williams – Chargers

Tight End
Aaron Hernandez – Chiefs
Dorin Dickerson – Bengals
Jimmy Graham – Dolphins (no, it’s not a Miami thing)
Dennis Pitta – Saints

Offensive Line
Jared Veldheer – Lions
Kyle Calloway – Eagles

Defensive Line
Greg Hardy – Titans
Jermaine Cunningham – Giants
George Selvie – Falcons
Lamarr Houston – Bears
Geno Atkins – Seahawks

Linebacker
Navorro Bowman – Raiders
Eric Norwood – Bills
Ricky Sapp – Dolphins
Dekoda Watson – Bears
Roddrick Muckelroy – Titans
Brandon Spikes – Steelers

Cornerback
Javier Arenas – Jaguars
Dominique Franks – Texans
Akwasi Owusu-Ansah – Panthers
Donovan Warren – Packers

Safety
Major Wright – Jets
Reshad Jones – Ravens
Darrell Stuckey – Chiefs
Larry Asante – Saints
Myron Rolle – Lions

Mock Draft 4.0 - Final Draft Thoughts

Here’s how I see things working out in what should be the best draft in recent memory. Due to the abundance of talent in this year’s class, I expect to be wrong an awful lot. Most teams have multiple urgent needs, and talent is stacked early on across the board. Ok, one last time here goes.

Round 1

1) STL – Sam Bradford (QB, Oklahoma)
With their need at QB and his strong offseason, I can’t see the Rams taking another player or trading this pick. I don’t think they deal for Roethlisberger, and I think the Suh ship has sailed.

2) DET – Ndamukong Suh (DT, Nebraska)
Their offseason actions tell me Okung isn’t the pick. The Lions continue to put an emphasis on getting stronger up front defensively. If they pick up Albert Haynesworth at the last minute, then my wishes have come true and House of Spears falls to the Bucs.

3) TB – Gerald McCoy (DT, Oklahoma)
If the Lions shock me and don’t take Suh, the Bucs will. Otherwise, it’s probably McCoy. Although, I’ve read/heard nothing that would convince me that he’s a slam dunk here. I don’t think we can absolutely rule out Dez Bryant or Russell Okung. Coach Morris has often remarked about the importance of building around Josh Freeman, and both of those guys would aid in that area. Still, I think they end up going DT. Now if San Francisco gets a little froggy and wants to jump up the board, I’d deal down for picks #13, #17, and #113 (R4). I’m not going by a trade chart, but I would think that in addition to the two R1 selections, the Bucs could get a mid round pick in the deal as well.

4) WAS – Russell Okung (T, Oklahoma State)
They have their QB in McNabb, and now they need to get someone to protect his backside. Trent Williams is getting buzz due to being a better immediate ZBS fit, but I think Okung grades out much higher at LT and won’t have trouble in that scheme. I’m going with the highest rated player at the position they need help the most. With LaRon Landry bulking up and likely to play SS this year, don’t be surprised if Eric Berry is the pick here. I’m sticking with Okung due to the urgent need, but Berry wouldn’t shock me.

5) KC – Dan Williams (DT, Tennessee)
If things didn’t fall apart with the Redskins’ pick, it’s going to happen here. The Chiefs have been linked to Okung, Trent Williams, Eric Berry, Rolando McClain, Bryan Bulaga, and Jimmy Clausen. Okung is off the board, and despite the addition of Charlie Weis, I don’t see them bringing in Clausen to crowd things under center with Matt Cassel. Same thing with the Kirk Ferentz / Scott Pioli connection as it relates to Bulaga. Is Trent Williams good enough at LT to move Branden Albert inside to guard or over to RT? I don’t think so. I’d list McClain as having an outside shot, but I think it’s a long one. Berry gets all the buzz here, but I’ve seen several things that say he’s not as high on their list as the public thinks. As the Chiefs showed last year with Tyson Jackson, they’re not afraid to take need over value. Their NT situation is horrid and is a reason they finished with the second worst run defense in the league last year. (Want to guess who was worst?) It’s definitely not a popular pick, but I’m going with Williams. I’ll grudgingly go with Berry as my alternate pick. Oh, this is also the spot where I think he have our first serious shot at trade.

6) SEA – Trent Williams (T, Oklahoma)
Switching from Bulaga here due to Williams’ supposed climb up the board and the fact that he’s a better fit for what they do.

7) CLE – Eric Berry (S, Tennessee)
The Sheldon Brown acquisition solidifies this one for me.

8) OAK – Bruce Campbell (T, Maryland)
The acquisition of Quentin Groves from Jacksonville might nudge them away from a pass rusher like Jason Pierre-Paul with this selection and towards an offensive tackle. I picked Campbell here at the Combine, and I won’t change it now. If he doesn’t go here, Campbell might be waiting a while to hear his name called.

9) BUF – Bryan Bulaga (T, Iowa)
I don’t think they’ll take Clausen and will instead go with their highest rated tackle. They’re weak on both ends of the line, and Bulaga might have L/R versatility.

10) JAX – Jason Pierre-Paul (DE, USF)
I’ve had Derrick Morgan here, and while he’s the guy I’d take, the Jaguars supposedly like JPP more. I’d consider Haden, especially given the conference in which they play, but they reportedly don’t have him graded that high.

11) DEN – Jared Odrick (DL, Penn State)
Brandon Marshall is gone, and while Dez Bryant is still getting a lot of buzz here, I just think that’s too easy of a pick. Rolando McClain would tie up a ton of $ at ILB, corner (Haden) isn’t a need, and Dan Williams is off the board. I still like Odrick in this spot.

12) MIA – Earl Thomas (DB, Texas)
I think it’s S or OLB here, and Thomas gives them versatility and the best value here IMO. If Derrick Morgan is available it will be interesting to see if they take him given how much they’ve been tied to him this offseason.

13) SF – Jimmy Clausen (QB, Notre Dame)
They’re reported to have interest in Clausen, and given their QB situation, he would be a very wise pick. I like this fit with Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree, and Vernon Davis. There’s talk that they might be eager to move up to get him, and if Bradford and Suh go 1-2 and I was Mark Dominik, I’d be on the phone with the Niners as soon as the Bucs go on the clock. I’d take picks #13, #17 and #113 and turn them into Morgan/Graham, Weatherspoon, and Marshall Newhouse. Then I’d take Tyson Alualu in R2 or Lamarr Houston in R3 to address DT. That grabs me a lot better than simply McCoy at #3.

14) SEA – Derrick Morgan (DE, Georgia Tech)
I still have them going T and DE in R1. If Morgan goes to Jacksonville and JPP makes it this far, I think they take him. A lot of folks still have Spiller going to Seattle, but if Pete Carroll truly wants to get bigger at the position, Spiller wouldn’t seem to be his target.

15) NYG – Rolando McClain (LB, Alabama)
I’m staying with McClain. I think it’s going to be either him or Spiller.

16) TEN – Joe Haden (CB, Florida)
No change. If JPP or Morgan is available, one of them might be the pick, but I’m not sure Brandon Graham is in the conversation. The Titans need to line up a reliable corner opposite Courtland Finnegan, and I think they’d be happy to take the draft’s first with this pick.

17) SF – CJ Spiller (RB, Clemson)
I think talent trumps need (OL) at this point, and I’m guessing they’d take Spiller over Anthony Davis.

18) PIT – Kyle Wilson (CB, Boise State)
Maybe I’m alone, but I think this would be an interesting 10 minutes if Clausen was still on the board.

19) ATL – Sean Weatherspoon (LB, Missouri)
No change. I’m leaning really heavy to Weatherspoon here, and the only other players I see as options would be Maurkice Pouncey and Brandon Graham.

20) HOU – Ryan Mathews (RB, Fresno State)
No change. They go with a RB instead of a DB.

21) CIN – Taylor Mays (S, USC)
I’m back on Mays. FS appears to be their biggest need, and they have an affinity for USC guys. I think the Gresham mockers will be wrong.

22) NE – Dez Bryant (WR, Oklahoma State)
He may not end up falling this far, but who’s going to take him? I still think Denver won’t work. Right or wrong, there’s a bunch of negativity around Bryant, and I doubt the Broncos will be eager to go down that road with a receiver at #11. Miami has Marshall, and I don’t think SF, NYG, TEN, HOU, or CIN take him. Maybe Seattle with pick #14, but DE is a huge weakness. I wouldn’t rule PIT or ATL out completely, but I think they’ll address more urgent needs; especially since the talent is still very high at this point. If Bryant does fall, I feel comfortable taking him over a pass rusher here. Randy Moss is on the down side of his Patriot career, and there’s no one on the roster remotely capable of filling his shoes. If Bryant is gone I think Sergio Kindle is the pick.

23) GB – Anthony Davis (T, Rutgers)
I had them taking Charles Brown last time, but I think they’d take Davis since he’s on the board in this version; more versatility, instant impact.

24) PHI – Maurkice Pouncey (OL, Florida)
No change. I really like him here.

25) BAL – Brandon Graham (DE/OLB, Michigan)
I’m sticking with Graham over Devin McCourty. I like his projection to a hybrid scheme like theirs. I think it comes down to one of these two guys here.

26) ARI – Kareem Jackson (CB, Alabama)
Word is he’s creeping up boards, and with Dan Williams gone, I think Arizona will go with their highest rated corner.

27) DAL – Mike Iupati (G, Idaho)
Demaryius Thomas would be my surprise pick here, but I think they like Iupati too much to pass on him. Safe to say it won’t be Tebow.

28) SD – Terrence Cody (DT, Alabama)
Easy pick for me with Ryan Mathews off the board.

29) NYJ – Sergio Kindle (LB, Texas)
Huge talent fills huge need. Yes, they just signed Jason Taylor, but he’s not a long term solution. His is a one year deal, and then they’re back to square one again.

30) MIN – Brian Price (DT, UCLA)
Williams Wall insurance.

31) IND – Charles Brown (T, USC)I’m guessing they take him if he’s there. They want to upgrade Peyton Manning’s protection, and the athletic Brown is a guy with potential.

32) NO – Everson Griffen (DE, USC)
I don’t love back-to-back picks from the same school, but that’s how it worked out here. Adding Alex Brown doesn’t solve the DE need IMO, and I think Griffen is good value at the bottom of the round.

END ROUND 1

Round 2

33) STL – Jermaine Gresham (TE, Oklahoma)
I still like pairing Bradford with his collegiate TE.

34) DET – Jahvid Best (RB, California)
They need playmakers and someone to split carries with Kevin Smith.

35) TB – Jerry Hughes (DE, TCU)
He’s still my top option with this pick, but if he’s gone or they choose to go in a different direction, I’d prefer Kareem Jackson or Golden Tate.

36) KC – Golden Tate (WR, Notre Dame)
He fills a need, and they’re familiar with his work.

37) PHI – Devin McCourty (CB, Rutgers)
With one of the picks they obtained for Donovan McNabb, the Eagles take a corner.

38) CLE – Tim Tebow (QB, Florida)
Tebow would be in great hands with Mike Holmgren. I also think they’re going to be looking for a new HC in a year, and there’s this guy working for ESPN who would love to develop this young QB.

39) OAK – Carlos Dunlap (DE, Florida)
Again with the back-to-back universities. If Al doesn’t take JPP in R1, then I like Dunlap here, even with the Groves trade. If he does, then maybe Saffold is the pick.

40) SD – Toby Gerhart (RB, Stanford)
I still like them going NT and RB with their first two picks. Gerhart is a nice pairing with Sproles. This might be a little high for Gerhart, so maybe they get him by dealing down a bit. I don’t think he’ll be there when they pick again (#91).

41) BUF – Linval Joseph (DT, ECU)
The fast-rising DT fills a need at NT for the Bills.

42) TB – Arrelious Benn (WR, Illinois)
Freeman gets a reliable, physical #1 receiver. My alternative pick here would be Patrick Robinson.

43) DEN – JD Walton (C, Baylor)
One of the Brandon Marshall picks goes to addressing the offensive line.

44) NE – Rodger Saffold (OL, Indiana)
The Patriots would be wise to add OL depth, and Saffold appears to be good value at this point.

45) DEN – Demaryius Thomas (WR, Georgia Tech)
Here they address their need for a WR. He may not fall this far, but I’m just not impressed with him enough to find a place for him any higher.

46) NYG – Tyson Alualu (DL, California)
No change. I like his fit with their defense.

47) NE – Koa Misi (OLB, Utah)
If they don’t get a pass rusher in R1, I expect one of their three R2 picks to focus on the position.

48) CAR – Taylor Price (WR, Ohio)
No change. Steve Smith has asked for a young playmaker across from him, and I’m high on Price.

49) SF – Patrick Robinson (CB, FSU)
If they go QB and RB with their first two picks, I think this next one is either a corner or lineman. I chose Robinson over Ducasse.

50) KC – Jason Worilds (OLB, Virginia Tech)
I think one of their R2 picks goes towards a pass rusher, and with the Bucs taking Hughes right ahead of them at #35, they settle for Worilds.

51) HOU – Nate Allen (S, USF)
I’m guessing they’d take Allen over the available corners in this spot.

52) PIT – Vladimir Ducasse (OL, Massachusetts)
Versatile depth.

53) NE – Corey Wootton (DL, Connecticut)
Youth is needed up front.

54) CIN – Brandon Ghee (CB, Wake Forest)
TE might be a more likely pick, but I’ve got Ghee breaking in as a nickel guy here. Dorin Dickerson seems to be high on their list, so that might be a surprise selection.

55) PHI – Morgan Burnett (S, Georgia Tech)
The Eagles add to the secondary once again.

56) GB – Chad Jones (S, LSU)
No change. They need to upgrade at SS.

57) BAL – Rob Gronkowski (TE, Arizona)
If they don’t get one in R1, I like a TE here.

58) ARI – Sean Lee (LB, Penn State)
I’ve now got him jumping into R2 attempting to fill their need at ILB.

59) DAL – Cam Thomas (DT, North Carolina)
If they can’t get a safety here, I think they’ll look to beef up the defensive line.

60) SEA – Jonathan Dwyer (RB, Georgia Tech)
Pete Carroll gets his physical presence.

61) NYJ – Jon Asamoah (G, Illinois)
After missing out on Pouncey and Iupati in R1, they get their replacement for Alan Faneca with this pick.

62) MIN – Chris Cook (DB, Virginia)
If they don’t get a corner in R1, I think they’ll focus on one here. Cook might also give them needed FS versatility.

63) IND – Austen Lane (DE, Murray State)
I’m going back to this pick. I like him developing with Freeney and Mathis.

64) NO – Colt McCoy (QB, Texas)
I think he’s a really safe pick for this team. There’s absolutely nothing behind Brees, so one Bernard Pollard knee shot could ruin the Champs’ season. They’d be wise to invest in a talented backup. If someone was to take McCoy before this, I like Darryl Washington as a WLB on that defense.

END ROUND 2

With the Bucs’ first three picks, I’ve got it down to:
1 – Suh or McCoy
2a – Hughes, Jackson, or Tate
2b – Benn or Robinson

These are three huge decisions for Bucs brass to make, and how they fare with those picks could go a long way in determining the tenure of this current regime.

I think getting a DT in R1 is pretty much a lock at this point, and McCoy looks much more likely. The only way I see the Bucs getting Suh is if the Lions trade for Albert Haynesworth. That would then, seemingly, have them addressing another position besides DT with the #2 overall pick, which would then have Suh falling into Tampa’s lap. Unlikely, but it’s a scenario nonetheless.

After that, I still want to come away with some combination of CB, WR, and DE with the next two picks. I think the value at pass rusher and corner is noticeably better at #35 than it will be at #42. That being the case, I’d lean towards Hughes or Jackson over Tate if either was there. Then at #42, I get my receiver. Here it’s Benn, and I think there’s a pretty good chance that Benn, Tate, or even Taylor Price is a Buccaneer after all is said and done on day two of the draft. They need to emerge with a serious threat at receiver, and I don’t think they can do it if they wait past this pick. There are fine complimentary players later on in the draft like Jordan Shipley, but the Bucs are desperate for a #1 receiver. Mike Williams is a mid round guy I think has the best shot of that bunch of being a #1, but will the Bucs take a chance on a guy who quit on his team?

With DT, DE, and WR being addressed, I’m looking for a CB with the next pick. Given the depth of talent at the position this year, the Bucs shouldn’t have a problem emerging with an eventual starter at pick #67. Moving on…

My remaining Buccaneer picks stay nearly the same (1 change):

R3 – Amari Spievey (CB, Iowa)
If they have yet to get a pass rusher and CB and WR have both been addressed, I’d look at either Austin Lane (DE, Murray State) or Jermaine Cunningham (DE, Florida) with this pick. If they haven’t chosen a receiver, I’d take Mardy Gilyard and Damian Williams over Jordan Shipley here.

R4 and R5 – James Starks (RB, Buffalo) and Pat Angerer (LB, Iowa)
I keep flip flopping these guys round-wise, so I’ll lump them together here; order doesn’t matter. If the Bucs were to wait until now (let’s hope not) to draft a receiver, Dezmon Briscoe (Kansas), Andre Roberts (Citadel), and Mike Williams (Syracuse) might get looks. Brandon Lang (Troy) is the pass rusher I’d be most likely to consider, and I still like Marshall Newhouse (TCU) as a versatile offensive lineman.

Through 5 rounds I have the Bucs addressing each of their primary needs, and from here on out I’m simply looking at the best talent on the board regardless of position.

R6 – Corey Peters (DT, Kentucky)
I’ve mocked Marcus Easley (WR, Connecticut) here before, but it looks like he’s climbing and someone might snatch him up a little earlier based on his potential. If that’s the case, the Bucs should have their choice of some talented players who had the misfortune of falling; possibilities like Jason Fox (T, Miami), George Selvie (DE, USF), Larry Asante (S, Nebraska), or Syd’Quan Thompson (CB, California). Even with the addition of Gerald McCoy in R1, the Bucs would be wise to get another DT at some point.

Round 7
The Bucs now have 5 selections in the final round – their original choice, JAX’s for Luke McCown, BAL’s for Marques Douglas, PIT’s for Byron Leftwich, and a compensatory pick at the end of the round. Here’s how I would spend those picks:

Barry Church (S, Toledo)
Patrick Stoudamire (CB, W. Illinois)
Drew Davis (T, Alabama)
Kyle Williams (WR, Arizona State)
Keenan Clayton (LB, Oklahoma)

If one of these players isn’t available, I’d go to my list of undrafted free agent possibilities listed below.


Undrafted free agents:
Danario Alexamder (WR, Missouri)
Seyi Ajirotutu (WR, Fresno State)
Aaron Pettrey (K, Ohio State)
Freddie Barnes (WR, Bowling Green)
Crezdon Butler (CB, Clemson)
Brandon Long (WR, Louisville)
Thomas Austin (OL, Clemson)
Antonio Coleman (DE, Auburn)
James Ruffin (DE, Northern Iowa)
Malcolm Sheppard (DT, Arkansas)

Finally, here’s the Tampa 12:

1) Gerald McCoy (DT, Oklahoma) – penetrating franchise DT

2) Jerry Hughes (DE, TCU) – accomplished pass rusher

3) Arrelious Benn (WR, Illinois) – all round talent with #1 potential
4) Amari Spievey (CB, Iowa) – underrated future starter

5) Pat Angerer (LB, Iowa) – depth and potential replacement

6) James Starks (RB, Buffalo) – impressive speed, vision, and hands


7) Corey Peters (DT, Kentucky) – proven player, athletic penetrator, nice added depth


8) Barry Church (S, Toledo) – still on my radar even with the Jones signing


9) Patrick Stoudamire (CB, W. Illinois) – another needed cover man


10) Drew Davis (T, Alabama) – right tackle competition


11) Kyle Williams (WR, Arizona State) – he’s fast


12) Keenan Clayton (LB, Oklahoma) – a true Tampa type; production makes up for missing measurables

Position breakdown:
WR – 3
DB – 3
DL – 2
LB – 2
RB – 1
OL – 1

GO BUCS!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Big Ben on the Move?


Thanks to his own moronic and possibly illegal behavior, a two-time Super Bowl winning QB might be changing locker rooms this weekend. If Ben Roethlisberger was to be moved, which team would be the best fit? Before you get to that, just how many possible destinations are there? The NFL isn’t littered with Elways, Marinos, and Montanas, but there don’t appear to be many teams in search of a franchise passer, whether it is due to the existing talent at the position or money already committed to it.

Here are teams we can eliminate due to talent:
Indianapolis – Peyton Manning
New England – Tom Brady
New Orleans – Drew Brees
Houston – Matt Schaub
San Diego – Philip Rivers
NY Giants – Eli Manning
Dallas – Tony Romo
Cincinnati – Carson Palmer
Green Bay – Aaron Rodgers
Washington – Donovan McNabb

Here are the teams we can eliminate due to $/picks committed:
NY Jets – Mark Sanchez
Miami – Chad Henne
Baltimore – Joe Flacco
Kansas City – Matt Cassel
Philadelphia – Kevin Kolb
Chicago – Jay Cutler
Detroit – Matthew Stafford
Tampa Bay – Josh Freeman
Atlanta – Matt Ryan

That’s 19 teams right there that I think can be safely eliminated.

Of the remaining candidates here are the ones who, while they may not have fixtures at QB, I believe have situations that will prevent them from pursuing Roethlisberger.
Tennessee – Vince Young
Arizona – Matt Leinart
Seattle – Matt Hasselbeck / Charlie Whitehurst

Vince Young showed promise again last year, and I don’t see Bud Adams putting his personal favorite back on the bench. In Arizona, the Cardinals don’t seem terribly thrilled to kickoff Leinart Era II, but would they squelch it from the start by acquiring Roethlisberger? Ken Whisenhunt was the OC in Pittsburgh when Ben came on board and won his first Super Bowl, so there’s obvious familiarity. Everything I’ve seen tells me that Arizona doesn’t have interest in him, and they publicly backed Leinart and Derek Anderson (yes, that Derek Anderson) when Donovan McNabb rumors heated up. Matt Hasselbeck won’t be a Seahawk much longer. Heck, he could be dealt this weekend as well. Even so, they have put a decent commitment into Charlie Whitehurst, and acquiring someone like Roethlisberger doesn’t seem likely.

That leaves 9 teams:

Minnesota – Brett Favre
I think they’re only an option if they find out tomorrow that Favre was done with football for good. Done laughing yet? It’s silly to write anything further since we know this isn’t happening, but if Favre was out of the picture, you’d have to think that Minnesota would be interested seeing as how they have a pretty sizeable Super Bowl window right now.

Carolina – Matt Moore
They’ve gotten behind Moore who closed out the season impressively, winning 4 of the 5 games he started. Why go to plan B now?

San Francisco – Alex Smith
Yes, I believe this team would become a legit contender with Roethlisberger behind center, but this doesn’t seem like a Mike Singletary type move. I think they address QB in the draft, but I’ll get to that later.

St. Louis – AJ Feeley
Sam Bradford at #1, or a suspended Roethlisberger on thin ice for probably the #1 pick and more? I’d take Bradford, keep my other picks, and let someone else gamble on Ben.

Cleveland – Jake Delhomme / Seneca Wallace
Within the division? To Cleveland?

Can we rule out those 27 teams, at least 99.99%? If so, you’re left with Oakland, Buffalo, Denver, and Jacksonville.

Jacksonville – David Garrard
The Jaguars may need to turn the page on the Del Rio / Garrard era, but is acquiring Roethlisberger getting them anywhere? They don’t have a R2 pick this year, so dealing for Ben would likely wipe out any other ammo they need to upgrade other weak areas like the FS, MLB, WR, and DE positions.

Denver – Kyle Orton / Brady Quinn
Orton is returning as a restricted free agent at a cheap $2.6 million, and Quinn is extremely cheap over the next two years, as his guaranteed money has been paid by Cleveland. Neither one would seemingly prohibit Denver from making an upgrade. When you consider the aggressive personality of a guy like Josh McDaniels, I’ve got to think he’d be at least a bit interested in Big Ben. Sure they fizzled at the end of ’09 and yes they traded away their #1 receiver, but would/does McDaniels think Roethlisberger is the guy to get them over the hump?

Buffalo – Trent Edwards / Brian Brohm
They self-admittedly need to upgrade under center, and Ben would do that. He’d give Buffalo an identity, a face of the franchise for the first time since the Kelly-Smith-Thomas era ended. Does Ralph Wilson want to make Roethlisberger’s rehabilitation the final part of his legacy? I certainly think they would be in the running.

Oakland – Jamarcus Russell / Bruce Gradkowski
Russell has two years at over $9 million each. He’s voidable in 2012, but will anyone want that contract? Will Al eat it? Sure Jamarcus is Al’s golden boy, but doesn’t Roethlisberger look like a Raider? A bad boy with a big arm? Davis is having fantasies as I write this.

Have I mentioned Ben’s contract? Well, in addition to the suspension and risk of future lengthier ones, any team acquiring Roethlisberger will take on a player who signed an 8 year, $102 million contract two years ago. Still due on that contract are yearly totals of $8 million in 2010, $11.6 million from 2011-2014, and another $12 million in 2015. Turned off yet?

Given all that, I think that Oakland, Buffalo, and Denver are the most likely destinations. Story-wise, I’d like to see him in Oakland, but of these teams, Denver could include the best QB in return in any deal for Roethlisberger. Would Pittsburgh want Orton, or would they be satisfied going with Dennis Dixon, Byron Leftwich, and Charlie Batch? I’m making this up here, but would Pittsburgh be intrigued by a #1, a #2, and Orton in exchange for Ben? Denver does have that Brandon Marshall R2 pick to work with and another one next year for that matter.

As a point of reference, Chicago gave up two R1 picks, a R3, and Orton in exchange for Jay Cutler. No, Cutler isn’t as accomplished as Roethlisberger, but he doesn’t have the legal/league issues that Ben does. Roethlisberger might get cheap in a hurry. With R1 picks at #11 (Denver’s) and #18, Pittsburgh could come away from Thursday with some combination of Jared Odrick, Dez Bryant, Rolando McClain, Brandon Graham, Joe Haden, Mike Iupati, CJ Spiller, Dan Williams, and Kyle Wilson.

I’m sure that dealing their knuckleheaded QB wasn’t in the initial offseason plans, but that might just be the best move for the Steeler franchise. Pittsburgh fans have voiced their displeasure in droves, and as evidenced by the Santonio Holmes trade, the Rooneys aren’t going to tolerate these distractions any longer.

Never before have I seen a player that is such a winner on the field and as equal a loser off of it.

2010 NFL Draft - Final Rankings - Top 10 By Position

Here are my final top 10 players at each position in this year’s draft. I expanded a few of the positions based on the high number of players I expect to be drafted fairly early at them. These rankings are intended to reflect my projections for the level of success each will attain in the pros, not the order in which I believe they will be selected.


Quarterback
1 – Jimmy Clausen (Notre Dame)
2 – Sam Bradford (Oklahoma)
3 – Tony Pike (Cincinnati)
4 – Jevan Snead (Mississippi)
5 – Colt McCoy (Texas)
6 – Jarrett Brown (West Virginia)
7 – Tim Tebow (Florida)
8 – John Skelton (Fordham)
9 – Dan LeFevour (Central Michigan)
10 – Levi Brown (Troy)

Most likely to be a Buc – none
With the Bucs drafting Josh Freeman last year, it doesn’t appear that a QB will be high on the priority list this year. If we had picks to waste, I’d love to get Snead or Skelton in the middle rounds, but unfortunately we have too many other holes to fill.



Running Back
1 – CJ Spiller (Clemson)
2 – Jahvid Best (California)
3 – Ryan Mathews (Fresno State)
4 – Toby Gerhart (Stanford)
5 – Jonathan Dwyer (Georgia Tech)
6 – James Starks (Buffalo)
7 – Joe McKnight (USC)
8 – Montario Hardesty (Tennessee)
9 – Anthony Dixon (Mississippi State)
10 – Ben Tate (Auburn)

Most likely to be a Buc – Toby Gerhart
None of the backs stands out as a real obvious choice for the Bucs, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bucs drafted Gerhart with one of the R2 picks in order to give Freeman a reliable ground game weapon with the futures of Cadillac, Ward, and Graham in question.



Wide Receiver
1 – Dez Bryant (Oklahoma State)
2 – Arrelious Benn (Illinois)
3 – Golden Tate (Notre Dame)
4 – Taylor Price (Ohio)
5 – Mardy Gilyard (Cincinnati)
6 – Damian Williams (USC)
7 – Demaryius Thomas (Georgia Tech)
8 – Brandon LaFell (LSU)
9 – Eric Decker (Minnesota)
10 – Mike Williams (Syracuse)
11 – Dexter McCluster (Mississippi)
12 – Dezmon Briscoe (Kansas)
13 – Jacoby Ford (Clemson)
14 – Jordan Shipley (Texas)
15 – Andre Roberts (The Citadel)
16 – Marcus Easley (Connecticut)
17 – Jeremy Williams (Tulane)
18 – Emmanuel Sanders (SMU)
19 – Danario Alexander (Missouri)
20 – Riley Cooper (Florida)

Most likely to be a Buc – Jordan Shipley
It’s not the route I’d go, but having learned from Pewter Report that Josh Freeman has the staff’s ear about Shipley, I wouldn’t be surprised if they took him. They need to surround Freeman with weapons, and they may go with his personal request when doing so.



Tight End
1 – Jermaine Gresham (Oklahoma)
2 – Aaron Hernandez (Florida)
3 – Dennis Pitta (BYU)
4 – Rob Gronkowski (Arizona)
5 – Anthony McCoy (USC)
6 – Jimmy Graham (Miami)
7 – Dorin Dickerson (Pittsburgh)
8 – Tony Moeaki (Iowa)
9 – Ed Dickson (Oregon)
10 – Colin Peek (Alabama)

Most likely to be a Buc – Jeron Mastrud (Kansas State)
I question whether or not they’ll draft a TE with Winslow, Stevens, and Gilmore on board. I wouldn’t call Stevens and Gilmore locks, but is spending a pick on an upgrade here the best use of resources? Maybe they take Mastrud, a former target of Freeman’s, as an undrafted free agent. The two did have nice chemistry together during Freeman’s time at KSU, so it would make sense to pick him up after the draft.



Offensive Tackle
1 – Russell Okung (Oklahoma State)
2 – Bruce Campbell (Maryland)
3 – Anthony Davis (Rutgers)
4 – Trent Williams (Oklahoma)
5 – Bryan Bulaga (Iowa)
6 – Charles Brown (USC)
7 – Rodger Saffold (Indiana)
8 – Jared Veldheer (Hillsdale)
9 – Kyle Calloway (Iowa)
10 – Jason Fox (Miami)

Most likely to be a Buc – Jason Fox
Like the RB position, I don’t see a tackle standing out as an obvious fit for the Bucs. I don’t see any in the top 5 being our choice at #3, and with all their other dire needs, I’m not sure that Saffold or Brown (unlikely to be there) should be the choice in R2. I pick Fox because he’s a guy likely to fall due to medical questions, and the Bucs haven’t shied away from that kind of player in the past (see Xavier Fulton, shoulder, last year).



Center / Guard
1 – Maurkice Pouncey (Florida)
2 – Mike Iupati (Idaho)
3 – Vladimir Ducasse (Massachusetts)
4 – Jon Asamoah (Illinois)
5 – John Jerry (Mississippi)
6 – JD Walton (Baylor)
7 – Marshall Newhouse (TCU)
8 – Matt Tennant (Boston College)
9 – Mike Johnson (Alabama)
10 – Mitch Petrus (Arkansas)

Most likely to be a Buc – John Jerry
I don’t have him going to the Bucs in my mocks, but I think he’s a guy the Bucs will/should be looking at in the middle rounds as someone who can help you out on the right side of the line either at guard or tackle. Even though I have Jerry rated higher, I still prefer Newhouse because I think he’s a better value; can probably be had at least a full round later than Jerry.



Defensive End
1 – Derrick Morgan (Georgia Tech)
2 – Brandon Graham (Michigan)
3 – Everson Griffen (USC)
4 – Jerry Hughes (TCU)
5 – Jason Pierre-Paul (USF)
6 – Corey Wootton (Connecticut)
7 – Carlos Dunlap (Florida)
8 – Austen Lane (Murray State)
9 – Jermaine Cunningham (Florida)
10 – Brandon Lang (Troy)
11 – CJ Wilson (ECU)
12 – Lindsey Witten (Connecticut)
13 – Greg Hardy (Mississippi)
14 – George Selvie (USF)
15 – Kevin Basped (Nevada)

Most likely to be a Buc – Jerry Hughes
I think they’ll have a shot at him with pick 2a, and given our need for a pass rusher combined with his ability to do just that at a high level, he’s a perfect match. I don’t think he’s too small and has a chance to follow in the footsteps of guys like Dwight Freeney and Elvis Dumervil as undersized edge rushers.



Defensive Tackle
1 – Ndamukong Suh (Nebraska)
2 – Gerald McCoy (Oklahoma)
3 – Brian Price (UCLA)
4 – Jared Odrick (Penn State)
5 – Tyson Alualu (California)
6 – Dan Williams (Tennessee)
7– Lamarr Houston (Texas)
8 – Geno Atkins (Georgia)
9 – Terrence Cody (Alabama)
10 – Linval Joseph (ECU)
11 – Al Woods (LSU)
12 – Cam Thomas (UNC)
13 – Corey Peters (Kentucky)
14 – Arthur Jones (Syracuse)
15 – Torrell Troup (UCF)

Most likely to be a Buc – Gerald McCoy
I think he’s our pick at #3 overall because Suh won’t be there.



Outside Linebacker
1 – Sergio Kindle (Texas)
2 – Sean Weatherspoon (Missouri)
3 – Eric Norwood (South Carolina)
4 – Darryl Washington (TCU)
5 – Ricky Sapp (Clemson)
6 – Navorro Bowman (Penn State)
7 – Koa Misi (Utah)
8 – Jason Worilds (Virginia Tech)
9 – Dekoda Watson (FSU)
10 – Roddrick Muckelroy (Texas)
11 – O’Brien Schofield (Wisconsin)
12 – Thaddeus Gibson (Ohio State)
13 – Rennie Curran (Georgia)
14 – AJ Edds (Iowa)
15 – Keenan Clayton (Oklahoma)

Most likely to be a Buc – Sean Weatherspoon
I don’t see any of these players as future Buccaneers, but if I had to choose one, I’d say Weatherspoon. The Bucs would have to deal back up into R1 to get him (seemingly ahead of Atlanta at #19), but if the Bucs are in an aggressive mindset, I could see them trading up for Weatherspoon and possibly expediting Barrett Ruud’s departure.



Inside Linebacker
1 – Rolando McClain (Alabama)
2 – Sean Lee (Penn State)
3 – Brandon Spikes (Florida)
4 – Pat Angerer (Iowa)
5 – Micah Johnson (Kentucky)
6 – Jamar Chaney (Mississippi State)
7 – Reggie Carter (UCLA)
8 – Boris Lee (Troy)
9 – Kion Wilson (USF)
10 – Phillip Dillard (Nebraska)

Most likely to be a Buc – Pat Angerer
I expect that if the Bucs draft a LB that it will be someone to play the middle. Would they take Spikes if he was available in R3? What about Sean Lee? If they don’t spend a R6-R7 pick on someone like Johnson or Carter, Angerer makes a ton of sense in the R4-R5 range.



Cornerback
1 – Joe Haden (Florida)
2 – Patrick Robinson (FSU)
3 – Kareem Jackson (Alabama)
4 – Kyle Wilson (Boise State)
5 – Devin McCourty (Rutgers)
6 – Amari Spievey (Iowa)
7 – Brandon Ghee (Wake Forest)
8 – Chris Cook (Virginia)
9 – Perrish Cox (Oklahoma State)
10 – Walter Thurmond (Oregon)
11 – Akwasi Owusu-Ansah (Indiana PA)
12 – Dominique Franks (Oklahoma)
13 – Javier Arenas (Alabama)
14 – Alterraun Verner (UCLA)
15 – Syd’Quan Thompson (California)

Most likely to be a Buc – Patrick Robinson
I want to say Kareem Jackson here, but I think he’ll have trouble getting by Arizona at the bottom of R1. Robinson should be there, and Nole bias aside, I like his projection at the next level. I think he’d be a great pairing with Aqib Talib, and there’s a good chance that one of the Bucs’ R2 picks is spent on a corner.



Safety
1 – Eric Berry (Tennessee)
2 – Earl Thomas (Texas)
3 – Chad Jones (LSU)
4 – Nate Allen (USF)
5 – Taylor Mays (USC)
6 – Morgan Burnett (Georgia Tech)
7 – Reshad Jones (Georgia)
8 – Darrell Stuckey (Kansas)
9 – Barry Church (Toledo)
10 – Major Wright (Florida)
11 – Larry Asante (Nebraska)
12 – TJ Ward (Oregon)
13 – Terrell Skinner (Maryland)
14 – Myron Rolle (FSU)
15 – Quentin Scott (Northern Iowa)

Most likely to be a Buc – Larry Asante
With the signing of Sean Jones, I don’t think SS is high on the Bucs radar. It looks like he’ll compete with Sabby Piscitelli to start there next to Tanard Jackson. Speaking of TJ, he’s one strike away from a lengthy suspension, so maybe the Bucs do indeed bump this back up the list of needs. I’m not terribly high on him, but someone like Asante (or Reshad Jones if he fall far enough (R4)) would make sense in the R4-R5 range.