Preview of NFL Draft: First take

It's the first day of April, which means when not fooling John it's time to turn our attention to the NFL draft. Word of warning, I don't watch a considerable amount of college ball so I'm going to focus on what position the Bucs should draft instead of telling which you which player the Bucs will pick in the first round.

Every mock draft I have seen has the Bucs either drafting a: offensive tackle, receiver, outside linebacker or corner.

To start out we can toss out the idea of drafting a receiver in the first round. Maybe if Matt Millen was running the team this would be a viable option, but the Bucs don't need to spend another first round pick on a receiver.

Drafting an offensive tackle is an appealing option, especially considering the dreadful play of Kenyatta Walker. But assuming Dallas does not match the Bucs offer, it looks pretty likely Torrin Tucker will compete with Kenyatta for the right tackle spot. Which leaves Anthony Davis starting at left tackle.

Davis was actually pretty servicable last season. According to Football Outsiders.com, the left side of the Bucs line was their strength (ranked 8th overall in the NFL). And considering how deep the pool of offensive tackles is this year it makes more sense to wait until the second (or third) round to draft a left tackle. Of course, if the Cowboys match the Bucs offer or Winston Justice is available when the Bucs are on the clock all bets are off.

If the Bucs draft a corner they are doing so to provide depth for this year and a replacement for Barber and Kelly in the coming years. I'm all for finding a future replacement for our aging corners, but if the Bucs end up signing Charles Woodson (and talk is they will) then there will be less of a need to draft a corner in the first round. So while I wouldn't rule out drafting a corner with the first pick, it's the next option which makes the most sense for the Bucs.

The Bucs have plenty of starting talent at the linebacker position but, besides Barrett Ruud, have little young talent. Smart, athletic linebackers have been the key to the Bucs defense since Hardy Nickelson. There are two outside linebackers which the Bucs have a shot at drafting Chad Greenway (Iowa) and Ernie Sims (Florida State). Of these two, I like Greenway better for two reasons.

First, Greenway (from what I've read) is better in pass coverage. The Bucs defense places more of an emphasis on pass coverage ability with its linebackers, especially when they drop into the Tampa 2. Sims had the better combine and has great sideline to sideline speed but it doesn't seem like he has the intagibles to replace Derrick Brooks.

Speaking of Brooks, the second reason I don't like Sims are his prior run ins with the law. Now maybe such behavior is simply par for the course at Tallahassee, but resisting arrest is never a good charge to have on your rap sheet.

Of course, this could all change in following weeks. Not only is this a deep draft but it is still fairly fluid. Reggie Bush is a lock to Houston, but after that is anybodies guess. The guys over at the Cowboys Blog already made this observation but there is much more disparity among mock drafts this year than in previous years. Which means I still have absolutely no idea who the Bucs will end up drafting.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have projected the Bucs to take Ernie Sims. However, if Greenway slides down that far, I think Tampa Bay should draft Greenway. I had the pleasure of watching Greenwway play in person a few times, and he is everywhere the ball is. If you would like to view my entire 7-round mock draft, here is the URL: