Saturday, April 27, 2013

2013 NFL Draft - Day 3 Targets

With one day remaining in this year’s draft there are quite a few talented players still available.  Here are the ones that stand out to me as desired options for the Bucs in today’s opening round –

1) Quinton Patton (WR, Louisiana Tech)
I’ll admit my bias.  Patton is my favorite receiver in this year’s draft class and my preferred option for the Bucs in round four.  I’m shocked he’s still available after three rounds of drafting.

Patton may be the most well-rounded receiver in this draft class.  He’s an excellent route runner who is very quick out of his breaks.  This is evident in his ability to get open whether it’s on short or deep routes.  His primary knock is that he doesn’t have blazing deep speed, but what does stand out on the deep stuff is how he does a really nice job of using body positioning and huge wingspan to beat defenders to the ball.  Patton doesn’t have any issues with drops and was a team captain.  He’s easily my #1 day three target.

2) Johnathan Franklin (RB, UCLA)
I didn’t mention Franklin in any draft previews due to the fact that I thought he’d go a lot earlier than the Bucs would be ready to draft a back.  Well he’s still there as we enter the fourth round, and with my preferred back, Christine Michael, having been taken by Seattle, Franklin is an attractive option should he make it to #112.

Franklin has impressive speed and vision and is patient yet decisive as a runner.  He’s not as strong of a runner as Doug Martin, but he’s more powerful than his size would have you believe.  He’s an accomplished receiver as well.  Franklin would be a sound upgrade over the talent currently backing up Martin and gives them a quality lead back should something happen to the starter.

3) Cornelius Washington (DE, Georgia)
There are a couple of available pass rushers that interest me, and Washington heads the list.  He was an under-the-radar player on a Georgia defense that featured several ’13 draft prospects.  He’s doesn’t look like much of a run defender at this point but shows plenty of potential as an edge rusher.  Washington shined at the Combine demonstrating impressive speed and athleticism.  Was he an under-performer, did he get lost in a sea of talent, or did the scheme not call for him to make a ton of plays?  Washington’s upside is worth the gamble this late as the Bucs have yet to address the need at defensive end. 

Others –

Alex Okafor (DE, Texas) – somewhat similar to Washington, may be limited as a pro; lack of elite athleticism and slow read-react may be reasons for his slide; not very high on him but did expect him to go earlier

Ryan Swope (WR, Texas A&M) – tremendous concentration as a receiver; can line up in multiple spots; love him in the slot; better long speed than given credit for

Ty Powell (LB, Harding) – productive pass rusher with impressive change of direction in coverage; safety experience; looks like an ideal SLB in Tampa

Quanterus Smith (DE, W Kentucky) – more accomplished pass rusher than some who have been taken before him; small school background certainly impacting his stock

Montori Hughes (DT, Tennessee-Martin) – athletic space occupier who excels against the run; notable off-field issues

Dion Sims (TE, Michigan St) – see a lot of value in him, underrated; raw as both receiver and blocker but has ideal pro body; not an elite athlete but could be matchup nightmare for defenses

Thursday, April 25, 2013

2013 NFL Draft - Buccaneer Big Board

Here’s a list of players, position by position, from which I’d like to see the Buccaneers select their newest members:

EJ Manuel (FSU)
Matt Scott (Arizona)
Zac Dysert (Miami OH)

Christine Michael (Texas A&M)
Kenjon Barner (Oregon)
Mike Gillislee (Florida)
Marcus Lattimore (South Carolina)

Quinton Patton (Louisiana Tech)
Stedman Bailey (W Virginia)
Ryan Swope (Texas A&M)
Markus Wheaton (Oregon State)
Kenny Stills (Oklahoma)
Da’Rick Rogers (Tennessee Tech)
Tavarres King (Georgia)

Tyler Eifert (Notre Dame)
Zach Ertz (Stanford)
Gavin Escobar (San Diego State)
Dion Sims (Michigan State)
Vance McDonald (Rice)
Chris Cragg (Arkansas)

Menelik Watson (FSU)
Jake Long (Oregon)
Brennan Williams (North Carolina)

Tank Carradine (FSU)
Bjoern Werner (FSU)
Margus Hunt (SMU)
Cornelius Washington (Georgia)
Quanterus Smith (Western Kentucky)
Armonty Bryant (E Central Oklahoma)

Sylvester Williams (North Carolina)
Johnathan Hankins (Ohio State)
Jesse Williams (Alabama)
Brandon Williams (Missouri Southern State)
Montori Hughes (Tennessee-Martin)
Bennie Logan (LSU)

Alec Ogletree (Georgia)
Arthur Brown (Kansas State)
Sio Moore (Connecticut)
Ty Powell (Harding)
Sean Porter (Texas A&M)
Vince Williams (FSU)
Jelani Jenkins (Florida)

Xavier Rhodes (FSU)
Jamar Taylor (Boise State)
Darius Slay (Mississippi St)
Desmond Trufant (Washington)
Will Davis (Utah State)
Robert Alford (SE Louisiana)
Dwayne Gratz (Connecticut)
Logan Ryan (Rutgers)
Terry Hawthorne (Illinois)


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

2013 NFL Mock Draft 2.0

In my second and final mock of the 2013 NFL draft, I’ve done something I’ve never done before – I’ve predicted trades.  I had some fun with this, and hopefully I get at least one of them right.  Here’s how I think things will go down Thursday night:

1) KC – Luke Joeckel (T, Texas A&M)
No change.  They could take Fisher instead, and it wouldn’t surprise me. 

2) JAX – Dion Jordan (DE, Oregon)
This one is reportedly down to Jordan and Eric Fisher.  I’m not saying they won’t take Fisher at #2 to play RT, but it would surprise me a little.

3) DET (via OAK) – Eric Fisher (T, Central Michigan)
Raiders get #3 for #5 and R3 pick
Our first trade has the Lions moving up two spots to secure the second tackle in the draft.  Fisher has the shortest college-to-pro physical relocation of this year’s class.

4) ARI (via PHI) – Lane Johnson (T, Oklahoma)
Eagles get #7, R3, and future late round pick
The Cardinals have been pretty quiet on the trade front, but I’m thinking their new regime will look to move up with Johnson in mind.  The cost to, finally, obtain a solid LT is relatively cheap. 

5) OAK – Ezekiel Ansah (DE, BYU)
Floyd gets the mocked to the Raiders 99.99% of the time, but I’m going with an anticipated swerve.  DE is in about as bad a shape as DT, so I’m thinking that taking an end who can move inside to tackle in pass rushing situations like Ansah would be a wise way to go.

I’ve gone through a few scenarios with the top five, and the only other players that I think have a chance of going this high are Lotulelei and Floyd (big lean to Lotulelei). 

6) CLE – Dee Milliner (CB, Alabama)
Milliner and Joe Haden make a strong pair of corners.

7) PHI (via ARI) – Star Lotulelei (DT, Utah)
Chip Kelly would love to get a guy who can man multiple positions up front defensively.

8) CAR (via BUF) – Tavon Austin (WR, West Virginia)
Bills get #14, R3, and R4
The Panthers make the first bold move of the weekend, moving up 6 spots to take the draft’s most explosive offensive talent.  They’re still looking for another receiving weapon, and they won’t do any better than Austin

9) NYJ – Jarvis Jones (OLB, Georgia)
With the first of their two (for the moment) first round picks, the Jets add the mercurial

10) TEN – Jonathan Cooper (OL, North Carolina)
Pairing Cooper with free agent signing Andy Levitre should pretty much shut Chris Johnson up. 

11) SD – DJ Fluker (OL, Alabama)
The Chargers need OL help about as bad as anyone, and Fluker gives them a guy who can play RT and probably RG if needed. 

12) MIA – Tank Carradine (DE, FSU)
In what might be the biggest surprise pick so far, the Dolphins take the “other” pass rusher from FSU.  I’ve already mentioned that I’m bigger on Tank than Werner, and it really shouldn’t surprise folks if he does indeed go this high.  Vaccaro would be my other choice here as a Patriots TE neutralizer (not that that’s the only reason to take him).

13) SF (via NYJ) – Sheldon Richardson (DL, Missouri)
Jets get #31 and #34
The Niners make the second bold move of day one, moving up in the draft to address possibly their biggest need.  Here they get a guy who can play alongside Justin Smith for now and replace him in the future. 

14) BUF (via CAR) – Ryan Nassib (QB, Syracuse)
He’s not that much less of a reach here, but the Bills probably won’t want to mess around and risk someone else moving up to take him. 

15) NOR – Kenny Vaccaro (S, Texas)
New Orleans needs to get with the program and get better on the back end.  Whether or not it’s Vaccaro, they’re definitely going defense with this pick.

16) STL – Sharrif Floyd (DT, Florida)
Yes, I know this looks extremely low for the guy that seemed to be cemented into the third overall slot, but shit happens.  Just ask Brady Quinn.  Floyd would look great next to Brockers on that DL. 

17) PIT – Tyler Eifert (TE, Notre Dame)
He’s a perfect Heath Miller replacement, and it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he’s already taken by now. 

18) DAL – Chance Warmack (G, Alabama)
Dallas has quite a few needs, and they address one of them while getting great value.

19) ATL (via NYG) – Xavier Rhodes (CB, FSU)
Giants get #30, R3, and future pick
Atlanta is rumored to be big on moving up for a cornerback, and they strike here. 

20) CHI – Arthur Brown (LB, Kansas State)
Great fit on a team with few immediate needs.

21) CIN – DJ Hayden (CB, Houston)
The Bengals did draft Dre Kirkpatrick last year and do still have Leon Hall, but they’re reportedly smitten with Hayden and realize you need more than two corners in today’s game.

22) STL (via WAS) – DeAndre Hopkins (WR, Clemson)
Bradford finally gets a viable weapon on the outside.  Hopkins is my second favorite receiver in this draft. 

23) MIN – Sylvester Williams (DT, UNC)
As Kevin Williams’ career winds down, the Vikings must find another difference making defensive tackle. 

24) IND – Barkevious Mingo (OLB, LSU)
I mistakenly yet inexcusably left Mingo out of my first mock.  Damn.  This may still look low for Mingo, but reviews on this guy are all over the place.  It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he goes a lot higher or even lower than this.

25) MIN (via SEA) – Cordarrelle Patterson (WR, Tennessee)
They dealt Harvin the Seahawks, but adding Jennings and Patterson this offseason upgrade the passing game.

26) GB – Margus Hunt (DE, SMU)
The Packers are reportedly looking to get bigger and more physical across their roster, and Hunt is right up their alley. 

27) PHI (via HOU) – EJ Manuel (QB, FSU)
Texans get #35, R4, and future pick
Again I mock Manuel to the Eagles, but this time they have to move up for him.  I think there’s a really good chance he goes on the first day. 

28) DEN – Bjoern Werner (DE, FSU)
He has no business going this low in the draft, but he could slide quite a bit given that he’s likely solely a 4-3 end and those teams picking in the middle of round one have several higher priorities.  Great get for Denver.

29) NE – Jamar Taylor (CB, Boise State)
They’ve reportedly long been big on Taylor and would be happy to see him here.  I also see this or the 28th pick as the spots the Bucs will target for a trade back into R1 with an eye on a pass rusher.  Should either Hunt or Werner still be in play when the Patriots go on the clock, don’t be surprised if the Bucs acquire this selection.  I clearly prefer Werner to Hunt.

30) NYG (via ATL) – Datone Jones (DE, UCLA)
Even with Kiwanuka moving back to end, they only have the fading Justin Tuck to pair with JPP.  Jones is the versatile defensive lineman the Giants love.

31) NYJ (via SF) – Geno Smith (QB, West Virginia)
I have never been a believer that Smith belonged in the top part of this draft, and it seems like NFL teams agree.  The Jets get a passer with the first pick acquired from the Niners.

32) BAL – Quinton Patton (WR, LA Tech)
The Ravens end R1 by taking my favorite receiver in the draft.  I think Patton would be a great fit with Flacco and across from Smith.

Round 2

33) JAX – Matt Barkley (QB, USC)
Whether it’s Barkley being selected or the Jaguars doing the selecting, I think a QB will be the first pick of day two.  I’m not a Barkley guy, but if he’s who scouts think/hope he is, he should have no problem taking Gabbert’s job.   

34) NYJ (via SF) – Zach Ertz (TE, Stanford)
They address the loss of Keller with the draft’s second best TE.

35) HOU (via PHI) – Menelik Watson (T, FSU)
Watson replaces Winston at RT, and the Texans acquire a R4 pick for a guy I think they’re targeting at #27.

36) DET – Justin Hunter (WR, Tennessee)
They still have nothing across from Calvin Johnson.  Hunter gives them a playmaker who will actually require defensive attention. 

37) CIN – Jonathan Cyprien (S, FIU)
I tried for find a spot for him in R1, but I just couldn’t.  Great value here.

38) ARI – Damontre Moore (OLB, Texas A&M)
If they don’t take a passer like Barkley or Glennon, my money is on a pass rusher.  I think Moore is much better off as a pass rushing linebacker rather than 4-3 end. 

39) NYJ – Larry Warford (G, Kentucky)
After adding Jarvis Jones, Geno Smith, and Zach Ertz, the Jets address a weakness on the OL.

40) TEN – Desmond Trufant (CB, Washington)
This may seem really low for Trufan, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Hayden and Taylor go ahead of him and force him down the board a bit.

41) BUF – Justin Pugh (OL, Syracuse)
With Levitre leaving, guard is a need, so why not get your new QB’s collegiate mate?

42) KC (via MIA) – Kevin Minter (LB, LSU)
Dolphins get Branden Albert
I’ve got the Chiefs picking up this pick in exchange for the disgruntled Branden Albert.  Minter addresses the hole next to Derrick Johnson.

43) TB – Darius Slay (CB, Mississippi State)
Yes, I’m aware he reportedly has a meniscus issue at the moment, but I’m not scared off.  Along with Ertz, Slay was one of my two R2 options in my first mock.  What I think I know – NT and TE are secondary or even tertiary considerations in the second round.  The Bucs don’t appear to value these positions highly.  That would tell me they’re not going to trade up for Ertz, and they’re unlikely to draft Hankins or Williams. 

I think I can safely narrow this one down to CB, DE, and LB.  I like Ogletree, but I’m not sure Schiano does.  He and Arthur Brown are the only LBs I’d be interested in here.  I don’t see a pass rusher worth on the board worth this pick, hence my supposition that the Bucs may indeed move up into the back side of R1 for Werner or Hunt. 

Ideally they move down 5-10 picks here, still get Slay, and add recoup a draft pick.  Slay gives them another starting caliber corner to pair with Revis.  Wright restructured and looks to return for at least one season, but I’m not convinced he’ll play like a starter after last season’s craptastic performance and missed time.  As much as I like Leonard Johnson, we need to have another corner on the roster capable of consistently beating boundary receivers. 

Remaining Buccaneer Picks
I have a couple of slight changes with these remaining picks.   

R3 – Stedman Bailey (WR, West Virginia)
I still want a third receiver with more upside than the talent on the current roster.  Bailey also gives them a presence in the middle of the field that is lacking due to the Bucs’ lack of urgency at the TE position.  Again, DT Brandon Williams is my fallback option with this pick. 

R4a – Christine Michael (RB, Texas A&M)
As we saw at Rutgers and last year with the Bucs, Schiano is very committed to the ground game.  Martin is the unquestioned starter, but you know Schiano wants to have someone behind Martin capable of handling the load should the situation present itself.  Sucker Punch and Leonard don’t fit that description.

R4b – Ty Powell (LB, Harding)
Powell was one of my R4 picks last time, and I’m still buying.  He played DE at Harding but has the skill set to shine at SLB in this scheme.  I’m very impressed with his agility and footwork for a guy who’s 6-2, 250.  He has experience as a safety, and it shows with his impressive change of direction in coverage.  Powell had 8.5 sacks as a senior and would give the Bucs another needed pass rushing presence.    

If the Bucs don’t go CB in R2 or R3 then I would go back to my previous R4 selection of Will Davis from Utah State in one of these spots.  I’m still high on Dion Sims (TE, Michigan St), but as I mentioned above, I’m not convinced the Bucs value the position all that highly. 

R5 – Montori Hughes (DT, Tennessee-Martin)
I had Hughes as a R6 pick in my first mock, but his stock is climbing.  He has all the measurables you look for in an interior difference maker, but he’s yet to put it all together consistently on the field.  I’d like to think professional coaching can help. 

R6a – Quanterus Smith (DE, Western Kentucky)
R6b – Armonty Bryant (DE, E Central Oklahoma)
We wrap things up by grabbing two pass rushers.  Other than Cornelius Washington (Georgia) I’m not big enough on any of the mid-round options to address this position sooner.  Like a couple of current Bucs, Smith is coming off an ACL injury, so he’d fit right in.  This is the only reason he may go this late.  I like him cutting his teeth as a situational pass rusher.  As I mentioned last time, I see Bryant fitting the Michael Bennett role of a strong side end with the ability to move inside and apply pressure from the tackle position. 

R1 – Darrelle Revis (CB, Jets)
R2 – Darius Slay (CB, Mississippi State)
R3 – Stedman Bailey (WR, West Virginia)
R4a – Christine Michael (RB, Texas A&M)
R4b – Ty Powell (LB, Harding)
R5 – Montori Hughes (DT, Tennessee-Martin)
R6a – Quanterus Smith (DE, Western Kentucky)
R6b – Amonty Bryant (DE, E Central Oklahoma)

The haul –
Two starting corners
A third receiver and missing middle of the field weapon
A compliment to Martin with the talent to be “the guy”
An athletic, pass rushing SLB
Three defensive linemen with a lot of upside

Go Bucs!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

What's Revis Worth?

The Bucs, not the Jets, should be dictating the terms of this deal, but if you’re to believe the rumored offer(s), the Bucs are falling all over themselves in an effort to land Darrelle Revis.  From my vantage point the Jets, not the Bucs, are the team that will lose (arguably) the game’s best corner for a supplemental pick next offseason if they can’t deal him sooner. 

One rumor has the Bucs willing to offer the 13th overall pick in this year’s draft, but the Jets want more.  I could be wrong, but I believe a lot of the specifics we’re hearing on this situation are originating from the NY area.  I have a hard time believing the Jets are playing stubborn in negotiations with the one team willing and able to deal for Revis if there’s a first round pick on the table. 

Another rumor, one mentioned on Pewter Report, has the Bucs not yet committed to giving up their first round pick in this year’s draft.  If true, good for them.  After all, the Jets said they wanted a comparable package to what Minnesota got for Harvin, and our #13 pick trumps the entire package Seattle surrendered (’13 – R1, R7 and ’14 – R3). 

If I can use the draft pick value chart as a guide, here’s what Minnesota received –
’13 R1 – (25th overall) 720 points
’13 R7 – 4 points, if that
’14 R3 – 145 points

That’s a total of 869 points.  Again, using that chart as a guide, the 13th overall pick is worth 1,150 points or 281 more points that the entire package Minnesota received from Seattle.  A more than fair offer would be a second round pick in both this and next year’s drafts.  The 43rd overall pick is worth 470 points.   

We don’t know what it’s going to cost in picks, but we do know that it’s going to cost the Bucs between $12-$15 million a year to (at least at the moment) please Revis.  That’s the cost of a top flight QB.  Both Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees have base salaries just shy of $10 million for the ’13 season. 

Not many teams can afford to pay two premium QB salaries.  That might not be a problem for the Bucs if Freeman continues his unspectacular run.  On target to be a free agent after the season, Freeman needs to take a couple steps forward this year in order to earn a long term commitment from Schiano and company.  If things play out as most of us expect them to, the Bucs will need to start the QB search again next offseason.  With Revis’ $12-$15 mil on the books, the Bucs may be forced to focus on the draft to find Freeman’s replacement, and with a potential class whose potential headliners put this year’s to shame, holding onto that ’14 first round pick should be priority #1 for the Bucs. 

So I’m fine with trading for Revis, but these preposterous offers being floated around in the media cannot be the selling price.  Tell NY that the offer is two second round picks, take it or leave it.  The Jets may balk at first but when they realize they won’t get a better return for Revis, they’ll accept, and the Bucs will have their guy and their first round picks. 

If the Bucs can pull that off, I’d spend day one of the draft looking to move down with someone like Dallas at #18 (who may want to move up for Sheldon Richardson, Kenny Vaccaro, or Jonathan Cooper) in an effort to recoup a pick or two.  If San Francisco is looking to one up Seattle, the 31st and 34th overall picks are attractive talking points. 

The Bucs can still make out like bandits by acquiring Revis, but they must be careful not to be outbid by themselves.