Friday, April 29, 2011

2011 NFL Draft - Best Available Day 2

With day one in the books and the Bucs set to pick 19th in R2, here’s how I narrow down the options for their next selection:

At least two from Andy Dalton, Ryan Mallett, and Colin Kaepernick will go before the Bucs pick at #51. Buffalo (34), Cincinnati (35), Washington (41, 49), San Francisco (45), and Oakland (48) are the teams to watch there.

Defensive tackle is another position the Bucs aren’t looking at, so Marvin Austin being a likely early day two pick doesn’t hurt them.

Benjamin Ijalana is someone I’ve mentioned multiple times a guy I like at RT but don’t see falling to the Bucs. Arizona, Minnesota, Cleveland, Detroit, and Oakland could all get to him before Tampa.

Mikel Leshoure and Kyle Rudolph will go before the Bucs pick, so that takes it down to 13 players to key on.

With this next pick I’m looking for a LB, WR, RB, CB, or DE. Who are the 13 players from those positions?

RB - none
I love Ryan Williams, but I’m not confident he’ll go in the first 19 picks of R2. I don’t think the Bucs will take him, Kendall Hunter, or any other back in this round.

WR – Randall Cobb and Torrey Smith
While neither is likely to be the Bucs pick even if they were on the board at 51, I’d love to add Cobb to the slot between Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn. I still think Cobb goes before Smith.

LB – Bruce Carter, Mason Foster, and Akeem Ayers
Carter and Foster would be potential upgrades at WLB while Ayers would play SLB in Tampa. I’m not a big fan of the latter, but if he happened to fall to 51 (doubtful), the Bucs could do a lot worse.

CB – Ras-I Dowling, Davon House, Aaron Williams, and Brandon Harris
Someone could sneak ahead of these guys, but I think these are the four corners most likely to be drafted early. Dowling and House likely have a better chance of being there for the Bucs, but I’d also prefer them to Williams and Harris.

DE – Da’Quan Bowers, Justin Houston, Brooks Reed, and Jabaal Sheard
The Bucs passed on both Bowers and Houston in R1. Would they do it twice? Will either make it that far? Houston is most likely to be there, but is he off the Bucs board entirely or just bumped down it?

I believe the Bucs’ decision will come down to the highest rated player at those last three positions – LB, CB, and DE. A lot of the teams that need linebackers need corners too – Cleveland, Tennessee, Washington, Minnesota, and Detroit – so that clouds things up a bit. Mark Dominik has said that Clayborn will play RE for the Bucs, so that tells me that Bowers would be a more likely target than another weak side rusher.

I see two scenarios here. One, Mark Dominik deals up a few slots for Da’Quan Bowers if he continues to slide, say to Minnesota at #43. I do not want that guy on the board when the Lions pick at #44. Could Detroit really get both Bowers and Fairley to line up with Suh? Wow.

The other scenario is that they take the top corner on their board. Because I have a hard time seeing Bowers slide another 19 draft spots, my choice for the Bucs at #51 remains Ras-I Dowling. Pairing Dowling with Clayborn would be a solid 1-2 start to the draft, giving the Bucs two prospects considered by many to be top 10 picks prior to the start of the season.

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