Josh Freeman

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Let’s Talk About Trading Back Into The First Round

April 15, 2010 at 09:38am by Scott   •  3 Comments »

The drug addict and the kid that was too short to play linebacker.
In this Times article about the Glazers not putting any financial constraints on the war room team, Mark Dominik says this:

“We’re in a lot of strategic planning as we go right now in terms of how to maximize our ability to take advantage of the talent in this draft, at the same time understanding we must do so,” Dominik said.

And then in another Times article, the focus is on reflecting on the 1995 draft and how the Bucs hit pay dirt with Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks in the first round.

“I firmly believe that the 2010 draft is as critical as the ’95 draft was for the Bucs, just from the standpoint how talent-rich the draft is,” said general manager Mark Dominik, who was hired as a 22-year-old scout a few months after that draft.

“In ’95, it turned out to be a good draft, but no one took advantage of it in the first round better than the Bucs did. This draft class, to me, has more talent throughout. … It’s why we’ve spent an exorbitant amount of time preparing for this class.”

Not to go all Florio on you here, but are these hints that the Bucs are considering using their two second-rounders to trade back up into the late first round? They would be getting two players instead of three, but the second round hasn’t been so kind to the Bucs lately. Dexter Jackson was a colossal bust, Sabby Piscitelli has been disappointing, and the team currently doesn’t know if they like Jeremy Trueblood or Barrett Ruud enough to keep them around beyond this year. That doesn’t happen as much with first-round picks.

I’d really like to see them make that move for LB Sean Weatherspoon (Missouri), but I don’t think the need is great enough at linebacker for them to actually pull the trigger on it.

A move back into the first would almost guarantee getting WR Golden Tate (Notre Dame), although the third and fourth rounds should still be stocked with quality talent at receiver (Eric Decker (Minnesota), Mardy Gilyard (Cincinnati), Riley Cooper (Florida), Jordan Shipley (Texas), Mike Williams (Syracuse)) — maybe they think the draft is deep enough at receiver that they can pass on one until the third.

What about safety? Eric Berry will be gone before they can trade back up, but Earl Thomas (Texas) may still be there. Mike Mayock calls him the most instinctive safety he’s seen in years.

In case Arron Sears doesn’t come back, they could probably snag the top guard in the draft, Mike Iupati (Idaho), by trading back up into the 20s. But is it really worth making that kind of splash trade only to get a guard? Guards are important and all, but if you’re going to make the move, it should be for an “impact” player.

My guess would be a defensive end. Derrick Morgan (Georgia Tech) will likely be gone and some poor sap will have already taken Jason Pierre-Paul (South Florida), but either Brandon Graham (Michigan) or Carlos Dunlap (Florida) could still be hanging around. Everyone knows that the Bucs’ war room loves Florida Gators. Dunlap is physically gifted and when he plays to his potential is nearly unblockable with one man. But he has maturity issues and been known to take plays off and not put forth a lot of effort in practices. Graham, on the other hand, is a super-hard worker with excellent intangibles, but is a little short with stubby little T-Rex arms. He has learned to use his leg strength to gain leverage because he’s not an elite athlete like Dunlap.

If the Bucs are going to trade back into the first round, I’d put my money on one of these guys. If off-the-field issues are dealbrakers for the Bucs these days (Santonio Holmes, Brandon Marshall, etc.) then Graham is the guy. But if Morris is confident that he’s the one that can get through to him and turn his career around, they could take a chance on Dunlap. Your turn in the comments.