Posts Tagged ‘draft talk’
February 20, 2013 at 12:33am by Scott • 4 Comments »
I have no desire to delve any deeper into the Da’Quan Bowers thing because not a lot has happened. He posted bail and his attorney thinks he’ll be exonerated — congratulations, you’re all caught up.
What I do want to talk about is the Bucs’ first-round pick. They are slotted at #13 and, assuming they stay there, they have a few different directions they could go. The obvious one is Dee Milliner (Alabama), the cornerback who actually reminds me a lot of Aqib Talib in his aggressiveness and playmaking ability but is unlike Talib in that he hasn’t been arrested. He takes a lot of chances but is exciting to watch. If the Bucs wanted a right tackle, they could go after Eric Fisher (Central Michigan) who is getting a lot of comparisons to Joe Staley. One long shot would be Tyler Eifert (Notre Dame), the best tight end in the draft, but I would think the Bucs could slide down a few slots to grab him.
Now, here’s an interesting question. Quincy Black is hurt and may never be the same. Grabbing a strongside linebacker in the first round to go along with Mason Foster and Lavonte David would solidify the linebacking corps for a long time and strengthen an already potent run defense. Jarvis Jones (Georgia) will be long gone and Barkevious Mingo (LSU) won’t be too far behind (and I don’t know if I would put Mingo at the sam spot anyway). So who is generally considered the third-best linebacker in the draft? Manti T’eo (Fantasyland). His physical gifts and on-field production can’t be disputed and the Bucs do need a young strongside linebacker. Do they take him? Do they even look at him?
Personally, I say no. Greg Schiano is no bullshit kind of guy and T’eo is FULL of bullshit. Like… tons of it. For at least his first season, T’eo won’t be able to escape constant questioning about his imaginary girlfriend, his practice and play will be intensely scrutinized and he will bring the kind of attention to the Bucs that they really hate. Maybe he plows through it and becomes an excellent linebacker and all his weird lies are relegated to a footnote in his biography. But that’s a long way out, and on the flip side there’s no guarantee that T’eo doesn’t just go completely fruitcake on whatever team picks him and gets caught dressed as Betty White and fucking a Cuban male prostitute in Ybor City. Hey, weirder things have happened. Not many, but a few. Remind me to tell you my story sometime.
April 30, 2012 at 10:42am by Scott • 9 Comments »
With the Bucs having traded away their second-round pick in order to move back into the first to take Doug Martin, most people thought Mark Dominik would stand pat and wait for his third-rounder to hit. But Dominik is a sniper who sees what he wants and just fucking takes it. And what he wanted was LB Lavonte David out of Nebraska and he didn’t think think David was going to be there in the third for him. Someone in the chat on Friday called David as the next pick. I forget who it was, but bully for him. Nice call.
David is 6-0, 233 and runs a 4.65 40. Most people would call him undersized for a linebacker, but that would be his only drawback. He was super-productive at Nebraska and made all-conference after transferring from a junior college. He’s smart, athletic and closes on the football quick. It’s going to be tempting to compare him to Derrick Brooks because he’ll probably play the same position and because Brooks had the same “undersized” knock against him when he was drafted. This kid obviously has a long way to go, but just keep it in the back of your mind. This is why the Bucs felt comfortable passing on a linebacker in the first round. Dominik knew David was going to be there in the second and that freed him up to do what he did in the first.
I feel the need to point this out since there was so much Dominik bashing on Friday. Dominik traded down two spots to #7 and picked up a fourth-rounder, a price most people said was too low. Dominik took that fourth-rounder and used it to trade back up in the first to grab Martin. But all he did was swap fourths to do it. He still had a fourth-rounder going into the second. He then took that fourth to trade back into the second round for David. He used one fourth-rounder to trade up twice. That’s some expert wheeling and dealing, and if you don’t think so you’re just hater who enjoys being miserable and should pick another team to root for or bitch about as you please. But leave my Bucs out of your sphere of depression.
The rest of the draft I found underwhelming, mostly because I didn’t know any of the players. The Bucs took LB Najee Goode in the fifth and CB Keith Tandy, both from West Virginia. In fact, Goode and Tandy were roommates in college, so they should give the second-team back seven some continuity walking into camp. Greg Schiano played both these guys several times while at Rutgers (both WV and Rutgers are in the Big East), so he obviously spent some time scouting them even before he got to the Bucs.
“Obviously, I know a lot about both the West Virginia kids playing against them for four years,” former Rutgers coach Schiano said. “They were both a royal pain in the rear. As I told them, it’s good to be on the same side now.
“Those two guys are football maniacs. I mean, they love the game, and they play it with such passion.”
With his first seventh-round pick, Dominik grabbed Michael Smith, a running back from Utah State. Smith’s pick is all about speed and he is a true change-of-pace back. In fact, another team liked him so much that they offered Dominik a sixth-rounder next year for Smith right after he was drafted.
“I never had that happen before,” Dominik said.
Smith claimed to run a 4.26 at some point, but he was clocked at 4.32 at his pro day. That probably translates a few hundredths higher at the combine, but is still faster than anyone the Bucs currently have. Smith is 5-9, 207 and had a recent groin injury, so there’s going to be some talk about his size and durability, but for a seventh-rounder, he sounds like a steal. So I won’t hold it against Dominik for not drafting Tauren Poole out of Tennessee with this pick. Poole, by the way, went to Carolina on a UFA deal, so we’ll be seeing him soon enough.
The Bucs’ last pick was Drake Dunsmore, a tight end out of Northwestern who probably projects as a fullback. Erik Lorig and Luke Stocker already have the jobs of “white guys who can block” filled, so I’m going to say Dunsmore doesn’t make the team. Everyone else, though, I think has a real shot of sticking.
With nearly 48 hours passing since the draft ended, it seems like a good time to look at draft grades. Of course that’s dumb, but people do it anyway. SI gives the Bucs an A-, Ira Kaufman gives them a B+, Mel Kiper gave them something good (I’ll never know because I won’t pay for it, but the Bucs did well enough to be the team they push on the home page), and CBS gives them a solid B. All the draft reviews have the same complaint, though: that the Bucs should have just taken Morris Claiborne. But without the trade down, the trades back up don’t happen. Barron is a solid player at a position of huge need for the team. And again, if the Bucs thought Claiborne was better than Mark Barron, they would have taken him. But the Bucs were in a unique position to know a lot about Claiborne and they went ahead and picked Barron anyway. That’s the last time I’ll beat that horse, but it seems so obvious that I don’t know why more people aren’t realizing it.
April 27, 2012 at 10:41am by Scott • 14 Comments »
Some videos from last night and a couple highlight reels to give you something to look forward to.
(These top two videos are out of sync with the audio, so it’s fun to imagine them in a dubbed Japanese movie.)
Mark Barron highlights:
Doug Martin highlights:
April 27, 2012 at 10:13am by Scott • 9 Comments »
Well, that went a little different than I thought. With the new rookie salary cap, teams aren’t afraid to do some trading high in the draft for non-quarterbacks. And trade they did. The first round is over now and the Bucs are the proud owners of the best safety in the draft and arguably the second-best running back draft, both from slots they didn’t originally own. And yet I’m hearing a whole lot of bitching about the picks.
The Bucs traded down from #5 to #7 after Trent Richardson got snagged at #3 by the Browns, who traded up one slot with Minnesota. The Bucs were said to also want this slot, so evidently the Browns offered more for it. Once the Bucs realized they couldn’t get the guy they coveted (Richardson), they apparently weren’t in love with Morris Claiborne enough to hang around at #5 to get him, so they made the move down with Jacksonville and got a fourth-round pick in the process. Keep in mind that everybody knew there were six total elite players in this draft, so the Bucs knew they would very likely not be getting one of them if they made this move. Dallas made a move to #6 to grab Claiborne before the Bucs made their pick and the Bucs seemed okay with that. The Bucs hung at #7 and took Mark Barron, the safety out of Alabama and far and away the best safety in the draft.
From what I’m reading on message boards (where everyone knows everything), people think Mark Dominik got played by Jerry Jones who they’re portraying as expertly navigating his way in front of the Bucs to steal Claiborne. But if the Bucs had really wanted Claiborne, they could have just stood pat and taken him at #5. They obviously didn’t want him enough to spend that kind of pick on him. The Bucs have Ron Cooper, Claiborne’s DB coach at LSU, on their staff. It’s safe to say no team has more information about how good Claiborne is at his job than the Bucs. And if they didn’t think he was worth the #5 pick, I’m inclined to believe them. And this shit about Barron not being worth #7 is silly, too. Barron was rated as the seventh-best player in this year’s draft by Mike Mayock, and that’s exactly where he was taken. According to the league’s draft expert, the Bucs got the perfect value for their pick. I don’t see the controversy here.
The only thing you might be able to argue that Dominik screwed up is only getting a fourth-round pick for moving back two slots so high up in the draft, especially considering what Minnesota got for moving one slot back (a fourth, fifth and seventh). But as I said above, both the Bucs and the Browns wanted to move up, so Minnesota could start a bidding war. If no one else wanted to move up to #5, the Bucs had to take what Jacksonville was offering. The old trade value chart is history and you just get what people are willing to pay. It’s the free market, baby. Love it or leave it. Anyone who argues that Dominik didn’t get enough for his trade is a Communist.
The Bucs moved back into the ass end of the first round by trading with Denver. In exchange for moving up five slots from #36 to #31, the Bucs moved down in the fourth round from #101 to #126. And with that pick, they took RB Doug Martin out of Boise State. Martin isn’t someone I really considered the Bucs taking because there’s nothing truly exceptional about him. He’s not particularly fast or athletic and is not what I would call a “change of pace” back just because he’s short. What he is is a super-solid every down back, exceptional pass-blocker and strong leader with top intangibles. People keep comparing him to Ray Rice, which is fine. I also hear comparisons to Maurice Jones-Drew, which would be pretty damn sweet if he turns out like that. Martin is also an exceptional and aggressive special teams player. He’s actually a four down back.
What this likely means is the end of LeGarrette Blount as the primary tailback. This kind of pissed me off when the Bucs made the pick because I’m a Blount fan and just think he needs some solid coaching to reach his potential. But then it crossed my mind that Earnest Graham is gone and probably isn’t going to get re-signed. What if they are planning to transform Blount into a fullback? A fullback who can beat the shit out of linebackers and every now and then carry the ball with the potential for a breakaway run? Remind you of anyone? Blount has had issues with short yardage situations, but if the coaches can help him with that, he’s an ideal short-yardage back who may still be able to jump over a safety and take it 60 yards down the field dragging defenders behind him. The combination of Martin and Blount has some real potential.
So, I’m a lot more excited about the picks than I was last night. Safety was a serious need and the Bucs got the best one. This may mean the end of the Ronde Barber era at safety, but they also need help at corner, so there’s still plenty of work for him to do there. And we knew running back was a consideration and I like the idea of a Martin/Blount backfield. I’m pretty stoked. Back in the 90s, the Bucs had three straight years of double first-round picks. One of them turned out awesome (Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks), one of them blew (Regan Upshaw, Marcus Jones) and one of them was half and half (Warrick Dunn, Reidel Anthony). Although this pair may not both be getting into the Hall of Fame like Sapp/Brooks, I think this is much closer to being one of the good ones than one of the bad ones.
April 26, 2012 at 03:40pm by Scott • 10 Comments »
There has been talk today about the Bucs’ interest in trading up with the Vikings to the #3 slot so they can secure Trent Richardson since it’s very likely that he’ll be gone by the fifth slot. And of course, what’s the best place to find current and relevant information about the Bucs? Cleveland!
The Tampa Bay Bucanneers at No. 5 are very interested in Richardson and might consider trading up to No. 3, league sources said.
“League sources” are full of shit, and probably so are the Bucs at this point. My guess is that they would like to have Richardson more than Morris Claiborne, but they aren’t going to cry if they stand pat and have to take Claiborne at #5. The Bucs’ secondary is fucking weak and in need of a talent injection. And they’re weak enough elsewhere to know they don’t want to give up premium picks they could use to fill those other holes. Mark Dominik traded up two spots in 2009 to be sure they could land Josh Freeman, but that was from #19 to #17 so the price was a lot lower than it would be here and, also, it was for the centerpiece of the franchise. This would be giving up a lot more for (sorry, Trent) someone not nearly as important. Doesn’t make sense.
And as long as we’re dumping on Richardson, Jim Brown, still probably the greatest running back of all time (sorry, Barry, I still love you though), is not impressed.
“I’m not overwhelmed with it,” Brown said of the idea that the Browns could take Richardson. “The problem is that he’s ordinary. I think he’s ordinary.”
Asked what about him is ordinary, Brown said, “the size, the speed, his moves.”
If Brown is comparing them to himself, then no, Richardson isn’t impressive. But Brown isn’t really impressed with any running backs these days. He says because it’s a game of quarterbacks now, but it is equally likely that Brown is grouchy old fucker who will never be impressed with anything that happened after 1970, so take it with a grain of Metamucil.
The chat room will be open (as it is all the time anyway) during the draft tonight and I’ll pop in and hang out for a while
April 23, 2012 at 11:07am by Scott • 7 Comments »
One of the good things about having a draft pick so high is that the speculation goes way down because there are so few realistic possibilities. If you’re sitting at slot 20 or so, there are a dozen different directions you can go not even including trade possibilities. But at #5 this year, the Bucs are going to be choosing between one of four guys, and a couple of them are highly unlikely. Stephen Holder explores one of the less likely ones in Matt Kalil because there is really nothing better to do right now.
There are strong suggestions in NFL circles suggesting that Kalil is not a lock with the Vikings’ No. 3 pick, creating a scenario where he could wind up with the Bucs.
We covered all this on this site last month, but it’s worth updating. Even though the rumors are starting to fly about the Vikings not taking Kalil, they’re taking Kalil. They just are. It makes too much sense. The rumors that I do put a little more credence in are the ones that say that the Browns aren’t sold on Ryan Tannehill at #4, which is good news for the Browns because it shows they’re not hopelessly retarded. I mean seriously, Tannehill at #4 is a HUGE reach — he makes much more sense at #22 which the Browns also have. He makes even more sense in the second round, but that’s not going to happen. He’s just not any better than Colt McCoy who they already have under contract. So the Browns will probably take Trent Richardson because he’s a better player than Justin Blackmon. That puts Morris Claiborne in Tampa Bay where we all knew he’d be.
The possibilities really haven’t changed since last month. The Vikings do have a need at corner but they spent a first-round pick last year on Christian Ponder and need to protect him before anything else. They added a couple (shitty) corners in free agency and will likely spend a second or third rounder on the position, but I don’t think they pass up Kalil.
April 16, 2012 at 11:16am by Scott • 9 Comments »
Now that Tanard Jackson has been cut (and subsequently gobbled up by the Redskins where he will be under the eye of Raheem Morris), the Bucs have to get some help at safety. Roy Cummings breaks down the possibilities.
One, of course, is to promote from within, where the Bucs are still high on Larry Asante and intrigued by the playmaking ability of Ahmad Black, the former Gators defender they drafted in the fifth round last year.
The Bucs who were most intrigued by Asante and Black last year have been fired and this new group has nothing but mediocre tape of these guys right now to make heir determination, so I’m going to guess that the team will hedge their bets and bring in some new talent. Trusting important positions to kids who hadn’t proven anything may have been the strategy last season, but I don’t think that’s flying anymore.
There is also free agency to consider. Though the top-level safeties have been gobbled up, the potential to land a serviceable starter such as O.J. Atogwe or Melvin Bullitt is still there, and the Bucs are still shopping.
Atogwe or Bullitt would be good competition at the position. Neither is a long-term solution, but either is better than, say, Sean Jones. Cody Grimm is the most senior vet with two years of experience behind him. Regardless of what else they do to add depth, they do need someone with some years.
Finally, there is the draft. Though, most analysts agree this year’s safety class is not an exceptional one, there are couple of players projected to go in the top three rounds the Bucs could be targeting.
One Tampa Bay fans might want to get to know a little better is Harrison Smith, a chiseled 6-foot-2, 213-pound Notre Dame product who most scouts rate as a second-round talent and some see as a top-50 pick.
Safety is one of the weakest positions in the draft and Smith is starting to rise up draft boards. Smith is a really solid safety prospect, great speed and range, effective against the run and great leadership and intangibles. He’s an excellent athlete, well-built and strong and a hard hitter. He is not a “playmaker” — not a lot of interceptions or splash plays. He can run hot and cold sometimes and will miss tackles from time to time. His big weakness is man coverage, so free safety would be tough. Because he’s a clean cut white boy, he’s going to get compared to John Lynch, but it’s about three years too early for that. In any other draft, Smith would be a mid to late second, but he could easily get pushed into the first this year. If he’s still there when the Bucs pick in the second, they’ll have to take him then if they want him because there’s no way he lasts much longer than that.
Brandon Taylor (LSU) is a better cover safety but not as hard a hitter as Smith. Otherwise they’re pretty similar. Taylor will be available in the second or third. George Iloka (Boise St) is a more raw prospect but is a former cornerback with great height and leaping ability and could really excel as a cover safety with the right coaching. He is not a good tackler and takes poor angles, but I bet Greg Schiano and his crew could get him up to speed in that department. Iloka will be available in the third and possibly the fourth.
I think if most teams were to draft Morris Claiborne in the first, they wouldn’t be inclined to spend their second on a safety, but the Bucs aren’t most teams. They’ve spent the last two drafts picking back to back DTs and DEs in the first and second. They need help in a lot of other areas, but Claiborne/Smith would be a nice 1-2 punch. But one more draft with back to back defensive players in the top two rounds and expectations are going to be pretty high for this defense. And rightly so. Personally, I would take Claiborne and a second-round linebacker and sign Otogwe and pick a lower-round safety. Linebacker seems more important.
March 26, 2012 at 02:26pm by Scott • 10 Comments »
Speaking of positions of need, with Kregg Lumpkin‘s move to the Seahawks, the Bucs have exactly one running back on the roster under contract, Mossis Madu. I suppose Erik Lorig counts as one too since he’s technically a fullback, but he’s not going to carry the ball. LeGarrette Blount is an exclusive-rights free agent so he can’t negotiate with other teams, but he also has no contract and can choose to sit out of any portion of minicamps or training camp or whatever he wants. It wouldn’t be a smart move on his part and he really has very little leverage, but sometimes what’s “smart” doesn’t matter so much.
So this begs the obvious question of whether or not the Bucs should use their #5 overall pick for Trent Richardson (Alabama), assuming Cleveland doesn’t use their #4 pick on him (which would be bullshit since Montario Hardesty is an awesome back that just needs to not be injured). And let’s not rehash the tired old arguments of whether you can get a good running back later in the draft. Of course you can. You can get a good player at any position later in the draft. There are examples at every position of excellent late-rounders and undrafted free agents that went on to have great careers. But the chances aren’t that great. The point of the draft is that the higher up you are, the greater the chance that you get one of those awesome players. And let’s also put the brakes on running back being an “undervalued” position. I don’t see too many teams going with an empty set in the backfield, and if there’s a guy back there, he needs to be good regardless of what he’s doing. Can you have any old schmuck back there if all he’s doing is picking up blitzes? Of course not. You need the right, high-quality player regardless of what the position is.
Having said all that, is Richardson good enough to justify picking him at #5? In one year of being the full-time starter, Richardson ran for 1,679 yards on 283 rushes (5.9 YPC) and 21 touchdowns. He also caught 29 balls for another 338 yards (11.7 YPR) and 3 touchdowns. The Crimson Tide played the #1 ranked team twice last season including the BCSNC and played a total of five game against ranked teams. It wasn’t the easy schedule people have made it out to be. And Alabama ended the season 16th (out of 120) in rushing offense, due mostly to Richardson. This is a guy who can get the job done.
Is he Adrian Peterson like some people are saying? I don’t know. But a lot of draft analysts didn’t know Adrian Peterson was Adrian Peterson when he was in the draft. Based strictly on watching him play for the last three years, my opinion is that he is worth taking the chance on with the #5 overall pick. I don’t necessarily think it’s the best move for the Bucs because I think that Blount can be an every down back with the right coaching. Blount is capable of pounding the ball up the middle, breaking it out on the outside, breaking tackles and turning five yards into 30 right now. He needs coaching to be a better pass-catcher and pass-blocker, but it’s not like he’s incapable of learning it. It’s frustrating to see analysts dogging players because they’re not perfect at their jobs after their first season. The pick would be better spent on Morris Claiborne (LSU) at corner or even Matt Kalil (Southern Cal) to solidify the right side of the line and spending a lower-round pick on a shiftier, speed back like LaMichael James (Oregon) or Chris Rainey (Florida). Of course, if the Bucs take Richardson, I wouldn’t bitch. He’d be a great asset to the team. But there are so many needs in Tampa, I’d hate to spend such a valuable pick on an area where I think the Bucs are okay.
March 20, 2012 at 09:32am by Scott • 8 Comments »
Most mock drafts have it as a given that the Bucs will select Morris Claiborne (LSU) with their first pick and then sit back and puff cigars and feel all happy with themselves that they got some good quality at cornerback that won’t punch anyone at the rookie symposium. This is because those mocks have the Vikings taking Matt Kalil (Southern Cal) at #3 and the Browns selecting a handful of magic beans at #4. But according to this article, Vikings GM Rick Spielman is leaning more toward Claiborne than Kalil.
After listening to the Spielman spiel, this much appears certain: If he keeps the third pick and passes on Kalil, Spielman will draft LSU cornerback Mo Claiborne. He raved more about Claiborne than Kalil.
With each passing day, the argument builds that Spielman prefers Claiborne over Kalil. For one thing, the Vikings haven’t pursued a cornerback in free agency. For another, they have expressed interest in offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz, who is nothing special and missed all of last season after hip surgery. Presumably, he fits the type of lineman Spielman thinks you can win with in the NFL.
Before you start all that Florio bullshit about how you can’t believe anyone at draft time, keep in mind that since the Colts and Redskins already know who they’re picking, the Vikings hold the first negotiable pick in the draft. They have no reason to lie or be coy in any way since no one can jump ahead of them to select the player they truly want. I guess by the same logic they also have no reason to just go and blurt out who they want either, but I don’t see any reason to play spy games here.
If the Vikings hold the pick and select Claiborne, I’m going to go ahead and say the Browns take either Ryan Tannehill (Texas A&M), which is ridiculous at this slot, or Trent Richardson (Alabama), a much wiser pick. The Bucs could draft Kalil and put him in at right tackle in place of Jeremy Trueblood, who got flagged for a false start pulling out of his driveway. Assuming Kalil lives up to expectations, that’s a hell of an offensive line.
If they don’t do that, do they select Justin Blackmon (OK State) even though they just signed Vincent Jackson? Probably not. You don’t pick a wide receiver #5 to make him a #2 option, and Jackson isn’t going anywhere for at least a couple years. Ideally, you’d love to have all that talent available to Josh Freeman, but after half a season of someone not getting the ball enough, one of them is going to have a hissy fit at practice or in front of the media or something. That’s just the way most wide receivers are wired and I don’t think Jackson or Blackmon are exceptions.
If the Browns actually do select Richardson and leave Tannehill on the board, the Bucs will be in a good spot to move down a few slots and let one of the remaining teams desperate for a quarterback make an offer. Even moving down to #7 so some team can jump ahead of the Dolphins and select Tannehill, that is a better place to take someone like DT Fletcher Cox (MS State), who in my opinion is the best DT in the draft this year. It would take some real balls to take yet another defensive lineman this high in the draft, but Gerald McCoy and Brian Price haven’t become the dominating force inside that everyone thought they would, mostly because of injuries. And I honestly like Cox better at this point in his career than I did McCoy a couple years ago. Of course it’s too soon to call it quits on McCoy and Price, but you can never have enough good pass rushers, especially in the NFC South. This would be a tough pick for fans to swallow because of all the high picks spent on the defensive line over the past couple years. But pocketing an extra pick — say, a third or fourth-rounder to make up for the lost fourth-rounder they gave up to get Luke Stocker — would make it go down easier for them.
In the end, it makes too much sense for the Vikings to take Kalil. I’m pretty sure that’s what will happen. But here are a few five-team mocks to consider:
1) Luck-RGIII-Kalil-Tannehill: Best possible scenario for Bucs. Claiborne or Richardson.
2) Luck-RGIII-Kalil-Richardson: Claiborne slam dunk.
3) Luck-RGIII-Claiborne-Tannehill: Richardson, Kalil or Blackmon, in that order of possibility.
4) Luck-RGIII-Claiborne-Richardson: Worse possible scenario for Bucs. Kalil, Blackmon or trade down.
Your thoughts in the comments.
March 08, 2012 at 09:47am by Scott • 4 Comments »
Michael Bennett is a restricted free agent, and that’s as far as his association with free agency will go this season. The Bucs slapped a first-round tender on Bennett yesterday, meaning that while Bennett will be free to negotiate with other teams next week, the Bucs will have the right of first-refusal in matching any offer he gets. And if they don’t match it, the other team will have to give up a first-round pick to the Bucs to sign Bennett. And that just isn’t going to happen. Despite a couple highlights during prime time, Bennett is still under the radar in the NFL. And that’s good for the Bucs.
It’s a great move to keep a good, versatile player on the defensive line. The starters on that line are likely going to be the first and second round draft picks from the past two years, but they need to retain some of the quality depth they have. Along with Bennett, they’ll have Roy Miller, Frank Okam, George Johnson and Tim Crowder under contract, all solid players. Plus they already have some camp meat under contract. Seems like they have the defensive line taken care of.
The thing is that this draft is pretty deep at defensive tackle. And Mark Dominik knows how to take advantage of a draft’s strengths. No DT is worth the #5 overall pick and I don’t see the Bucs trading down, but I could see them spending their second, third or fourth rounder on a DT. A guy like Kendall Reyes (UConn) might work. He’s moving pretty quickly up the draft boards because of his good combine, but he’ll still be available in the second round (possibly the third given the depth of the position). Great athleticism, but needs technique coaching. He’s not necessarily a penetrator and would probably play nose and give Miller some competition. Or if the Bucs wait until the late rounds to go after some DT depth, they could look at Akiem Hicks (Regina). Yes, I said he went to the University of Regina, which is in Saskatchewan (it’s in Canada — look it up you lazy shits). Hicks started off at Sacramento Community College but transferred to LSU. The trouble was that he may have (read: definitely) accepted money from the school, making him ineligible. So he transferred again to Regina where he has been playing the Canadian game. He had a fantastic East-West Shrine Game (got off the ball really fast) and has all the measurables. He’s a project, but could develop into some solid depth with a year or two of NFL coaching.