Welcome Jerramy Stevens

Consider me in the minority but I like the Jerramy Stevens signing, especially how Bruce Allen released the news on the second day of the draft when the sports media is too busy handing out draft grades to actually pay attention to what is going on (hell, a Mets bat boy basically admitted to giving steroids to players and nobody is talking about it). But I have already digressed from the subject at hand.....

The Stevens signing is low risk/high reward for the Bucs, which has become so quintessentially Gruden. The Bucs likely didn't pay much for Stevens since nobody wanted him, yet they were able to add one of the better tightends in the league. After Alex Smith the Bucs have zero depth at tightend, which is troubling since the Bucs have been forced to play more double tightend formations that Gruden would like. With the offensive line blocking woes, especially at tackle, the Bucs have been forced to keep two tightends on the field to help block. Much like Alex Smith Stevens is a threat to block and to catch.

This isn't the first time Gruden has done somthing like this, Gruden has a history of gambling on troubled but talented players. Sometimes it works out like Chris Hovan did, and other times it doesn't work out so well, i.e. Ryan Leaf and David Boston. Either way the Bucs typically don't give up a lot.

Although on the down side, Stevens often has difficulty driving a car (he has been arrested thrice for driving offenses), is considered a dick by most other players (there's a reason he was kneed in the balls by Tyler Brayton), and needs to learn how to spell his first name.

Maybe I'm wrong on this, but assuming he's not the number one tightend Stevens could be a valuable addition.


I didn't think it was possible to have a more uninspiring draft than last year but the Bucs managed to lower the bar even further. Two picks in particular boggle me, 2nd rounder Arron Sears and 3rd rounder Quincy Black. Both picks where at positions the Bucs had no pressing need but which could have been used on a position the Bucs had a bigger need at, tackle.

For the second straight year the Bucs selected a guard in the first two rounds, which is odd because: 1) the Bucs already have two really good guards in Joseph and Buenning and, 2) you can find quality guards in the later rounds (i.e. Buenning was drafted in the fourth). Buccaneer Harbour seems to think that Buenning can be moved to center which would kill two birds with one stone, although I believe the Bucs would have been better served to draft Justin Blalock (ot, Texas). Blalock, who went to the Falcons, has a better chance of starting at left tackle, which is the bigger need for the Bucs.

Quincy Black is another odd choice for the Bucs considering they already have two very good weakside linebackers, Brooks and Cato June, and the last thing the defense needs is a project pick. An infinitely smarter pick would have been Demarcus 'Tank' Tyler, the defensive tackle out of NC State for several reasons. First, Tank would have filled the Bucs most pressing need, defensive tackle, which the Bucs are woefully thin at. Second, it would give the Bucs another great nickname to replace Booger.

The rest of the draft was fairly uninspiring. I had hoped CJ or Joe Thomas would have fallen to the Bucs but neither did and the Bucs made the safe pick and drafted Gaines Adams, who was widely regarded as the top defensive player on the board. I would have liked to see the Bucs select Amobi Okoye at four but Braves and Birds makes an interesting point that the Falcons, who have a need for a defensive tackle as well, had a shot at drafting Okoye and passed on him. What does it say about Okoye that his college coach, Bobby Petrino, passed on Okoye to draft another defensive lineman?

I like the two defensive backs the Bucs selected, safety Sabby Piscitelli and corner Tanard Jackson. The Bucs most glaring need, after offensive and defensive tackle, was safety and Piscitelli filled the need. Plus the Bucs can now claim they have the only Italian American in the league, which is good for an untold number of Soprano's jokes. And Jackson is a great value in the fourth round for a cornerback. Jackson slipped because he didn't have ideal speed but neither did Ronde Barber and how has that worked out?

All in all, I would give the Bucs a 'C' if I where to hand out draft grades. They landed only one impact player, Gaines Adams, when they could have landed three impact players. I like that the Bucs added depth to their offensive and defensive lines, which is the quickest way to turn a team around (a la the Ravens last year). And the Bucs likely picked up a good deal of starters for the forseeable future. But the question I keep going to is what impact will any of these players have on the team next year, not five years down the line? Two years ago the Bucs drafted three impact players, Cadillac, Alex Smith and Dan Buenning, and made the playoffs largely due to the contributions of these three rookies. I don't see that level of contribution from this year's crop of rookies.


So There's This Little Thing Called the Draft Tomorrow...

At this point I just want to be done with the damn thing, the hype and incessant rumors has reached unparalleled levels this year and it is only a matter of time before the hype eclipses the event itself....if it hasn't happened already.

Because I'm a good sport I will give you my pick for the Bucs first rounder, a pick which, given my history, is almost certain to be wrong. Joe Thomas will be the Bucs first round pick and will usher in a new era of peace and prosperity in Tampa while small children sprinkle flowers down Dale Mabry to celebrate Thomas' arrival.

You can find my draft preview, of sorts, at the Sticks here (althought the link won't work until this afternoon. In fact the link probably won't work at all so just click on the Sticks. But wait until this afternoon when it is published.).

And don't forget to enter the BucStats draft day contest, now with real prizes.

UPDATE: I just remembered that I made a bet with Scott a month ago where I picked CJ to be the Bucs first round draft pick and it would be so John Kerry of me to flip-flop on my pick. So nix the Joe Thomas pick. Kinda. Well, not really. Whatever, I'll be back late Sunday to mock Gruden's picks.


Yet Another Experiment in Futility: Grading Past Drafts

You now what my favorite part about summer is? Watermelon. Of all the melons watermelon has to be favorite (although melondew is a close second). Nothing beats a slice of watermelon on a warm summer day, especially if you've been grilling all day. And who ever invented seedless watermelon is a fucking genius, although one has to wonder how seedless watermelons are propagated if they lack seeds. What does any of this have to do with the draft? Nothing. I just like watermelon and wanted to make sure you were aware of that.

Few tasks are more futile than assigning grades to drafts what just happened, yet come Monday Mel Kiper Jr and the usual suspects will do just that. And we will read them. Which will lead to even more draft grades next year. Its like an endless circle jerk without a money shot.

So when I sat down to eat my watermelon tonight I asked myself if there was someway I could get in on this grading goodness and also test my theory that Gruden is one of the worst drafters in the league. As much as I love Gruden, he's also the same guy who took Sebastien Janikowski in the first round.

Warning: My theory here is that Gruden is a bad drafter so it is very likely my grades will reflect that fact, which would make this entire execise about as productive as the aforementioned draft day grades.

Few rules before we get started, I'm only looking at first day picks (rounds 1-3) since Gruden joined the team in 2002 to 2005. I'm ignoring 2006 since the players have only been around for one season, and if we only judged players on their rookie seasons Michael Clayton would be a Pro Bowler.

2002: Marquise Walker, wr, 3rd RD (#86)
We're off to a good start here en route to confirming my theory. Walker has never caught a ball in the NFL and only stayed with the team one year. Walker's current location is most likely working the deep fryer at your local burger butt. Although in Gruden's defense he had very little time to research draft picks in the offseason. You don't expect much of a third round pick but you at least expect him to contribute.
Grade: F

2003: Dewayne White, de, 2nd RD (#64)
A little better for Gruden and company although White never worked his way into the starting lineup for four years despite showing flashes of brilliance. This offseason White signed with Detroit.
Grade: C

2003: Chris Simms, qb, 3rd RD (#97)
A good test case for our little experiment, Simm has exceeded expectations but also is at risk of losing his starting job. Gruden's speciality has always been quarterbacks so it is likely Simms has done better in Gruden's offense than he would elsewhere. I'm going to give Simms a good grade but I reserve the right to change this grade if Simms bombs this season, which he probably will.
Grade: B

2004: Michael Clayton, wr, 1st RD (#15)
It's funny how time changes your perspective on players. Just a year ago everyone made fun of Peyton Manning and loved Shawm Merriman. If I was grading Clayton after his rookie season he would receive an "A" but if we're just looking at years 2 and 3 he would get a "D".
Grade: C

2004: Marquise Cooper, olb, 3rd RD (#79)
One thing I should point out here is that Gruden didn't have a lot of draft picks to work with his first three years in Tampa. The more ardent Buccaneer fans know this but for those who are unfamiliar the Bucs had to give up 2 first round draft picks and 2 second round draft picks in exchange for Gruden. Why did I mention all this? Because I honestly can't remember a single thing about Cooper.
Grade: F

2005: Cadillac Williams, rb, 1st RD (#5)
Some people might argue I should drop Caddy's grade due to his decreased production last season but I blame that more on the team constantly playing from behind more than anything. Caddy doesn't look like he has LT potential but he can be scary when he gets in the open field and is one of the more difficult backs to tackle in the league.
Grade: A

2005: Barrett Ruud, mlb, 2nd RD (#36)
Ruud looks like he'll be a really good player in the league but he has failed to move past Shelton Quarles in two years. Although in Ruud's defense Quarles has played really well the past two seasons. Like the Simms grade I reserve the right to change this if Ruud stinks up the joint this season.
Grade: B

2005: Alex Smith, te, 3rd RD (#71)
Smith has become one of my favorites players on the team, and is the best tightend people have never heard of. He was originally drafted to be a receiving tightend in the Tony Gonzalez/Antonio Gates but offensive line deficiencies have forced Smith to become a blocking tightend. If the Bucs can ever solve their blocking woes Smith could become one of the most feared tightends in the league.
Grade: A

2005: Chris Colmer, ot, 3rd RD (#91)
Colmer had a lot of potential coming out of NC State but back problems have prevented Colmer from ever playing a down in a Bucs uniform. Colmer suffers from Parsonage-Turner Syndrome which caused him to miss his entire 2003 season at NC State. I'm no doctor so Colmer may come back and play for the Bucs this season but I wouldn't bet on it.
Grade: D

Some other players worth mentioning in the later rounds who became starters are Dan Buenning, Will Allen and Jermaine Phillips, all of whom were drafted in the fourth round.

Overall, this more or less confirms what I thought of Gruden. His only really impressive picks came two years ago, i.e. Alex Smith and Dan Buenning. I'm not counting the Cadillac pick since anytime you pick in the top five you are guaranteed to be getting an impact player. Gruden has also drafted a surprising number of busts, although most of those came early in his tenure with Tampa. So I would rate Gruden at about average to below average when it comes to drafting.


Bucs Bid Quarles Adieu

Shelton Quarles back problems finally got the best of him and it appears the Bucs are going to cut ties with their former middle linebacker. Quarles joined the Bucs rather unceremoniously in '97 following a two year stint in the CFL. Quarles didn't start until '99 (5 years after he went pro), and originally started at strongside linbacker. When Gruden took over in '02 he moved Quarles to middle backer and Quarles earned his first and only Pro Bowl berth, after he helped lead Tampa Bay to a Super Bowl victory. In the last two years, perhaps responding to competition from Barrett Ruud, Quarles had excelled, and at times looked like the best defensive player on the field for the Bucs. Shelton will be remembered as a tough-nosed, smart player who overcame long odds to lead the Bucs defense to the Super Bowl.

But enough of Shelton, what happens next?

Not much actually. The Bucs were prepared for this, and have been grooming Ruud to replace Quarles. While he looked lost at first Ruud performed well, especially in sporadic starts in replacement on an injured Quarles last season. I want to say the Bucs picked up another middle backer this offseason but I honestly can't remember the guys name, so I'm going to assume he's no good. Of course, linebacker is one of those positions (as Quarles proved) where you can find undrafted free agents and turn them into Pro Bowlers so the Bucs may want to look through the rubbage and see if they can find a diamond to back up Ruud.

Oh, and this in no way impacts the draft unless you care about who the Bucs draft in Round 6.

(By the by the Bucs have already deleated all pictures of Quarles from their website. In lieu of a gameday pic of Quarles here is another one of the man in action.)

The NFL Network laughs at Mel Kiper Jr and Chris Berman

For those who have debated whether to watch the draft on ESPN or the NFL Network (assuming you get NFL Network) your decision has been made for you....the NFL Network will feature the FishCam, a camera mounted on Joe Thomas' boat. Thomas, as you will remember, will decline to attend the draft in favor of spending a day at the lake. Because, as ESPN's Bass Fishing has proven nothing kills in the ratings more than fat guys catching fish.

Gosselin's second mock is out....

1. Oakland Calvin Johnson WR Georgia Tech
COMMENT: Say goodbye to Randy Moss
2. Detroit Gaines Adams DE Clemson
COMMENT: Best pass-rusher in the draft
3. Cleveland JaMarcus Russell QB LSU
COMMENT: Browns like his 85-yard arm
4. Tampa Bay Adrian Peterson HB Oklahoma
COMMENT: Bucs need more big plays on offense
5. Arizona Joe Thomas OT Wisconsin
COMMENT: LT Leonard Davis left in free agency

I find the Peterson selection especially peculiar since the Bucs seem to have a number of backs on their roster, including a first round pick from just two years ago, Cadillac Williams. Why do I continue to focus on Gosselin? Because he has a repuation as the most accurate draft predictor.

(HT to AA)


You Give Me Cause for Love I Can Not Hide

I'm taking the GMAT tomorrow which means I've undergone self exile this Friday night. Which means you, my beloved reader, receive the benefit of my restless fingers (hurrah!).

With roughly a week to go before draft day speculation is running rampant, and misdirection has become the soup du jour. The Raiders, beneficieries of the worst record in the league, are playing games with the first overall pick, flirting with both JaMarcus and Calvin Johnson (who shall henceforth be referred to as The Second Coming in this post). Which is awfully egotistic yet quintessentially "Al Davis" of the Raiders. But fret not Bucs fans, this can only benefit our team.

File this under wishful thinking, but the Raiders are almost certain to draft the Herculean JaMarcus, who more closely resembles a tree trunk gifted with a trebuchet for an arm. Al Davis has an infatuation with the deep ball which is why he brought Randy Moss, and then Kerry Collins to town. The Second Coming may be awfully tempting but even Al Davis can not have his cake and eat it to, the Raiders pick will be JaMarcus.

In the interim, teams are a hell of a lot less likely to work a trade with the Lions if they think The Second Coming may come off the board before pick number two. It's no secret the Lions want to trade down (or up right Plugs?) and everyone wants to trade up for rights to The Second Coming. Although, on a side note, I find it interesting everyone seems to be assuming Matt Millen won't pick a receiver considering he has done so in the first round the last three years and the Lions still have a need at receiver. By comparison, if you walk past a house and get bit by the same dog three straight days, wouldn't you expect the dog to bite you the next day? But I've veered off topic....

As I was mentioning before the latest rumor mongering involving the Raiders can only benefit the Bucs, since it would likely scare away teams from giving up a king's ransom for the #2 pick. And there are, based on rumors, no lack of teams which would be interested in trading up for the rights to The Second Coming. But maybe. just maybe, the latest rumors will scare off these teams from doing just that.

Although I stand by my previous assesment that Joe Thomas is a smarter pick for the Bucs. Changing gears slightly...

Rick Gosselin's latest mock draft has the following order.....
1. Oakland JaMarcus Russell QB LSU
2. Detroit Adrian Peterson RB Oklahoma
Matt Millen has struggled with top-10 picks in his stint as general manager of the Lions. Peterson would be a safe and popular choice. Detroit had success using first-round picks on Oklahoma runners Steve Owens (1970) and Billy Sims (1980).
3. Cleveland Calvin Johnson WR Georgia Tech
4. Tampa Bay Brady Quinn QB Notre Dame
5. Arizona Joe Thomas OT Wisconsin

For those not familiar with Gosselin he is a sports writer for the Dallas Morning News who has earned the reputation as the most accurate predictor of the draft order. Gosselin, as opposed to Mel Kiper Jr, bases his mock draft on his network of NFL scouts and coaches, as opposed to scouting the college ranks himself. Although judging by Gosselin's mock pick for the Bucs I am hoping Gruden plans to unleash the first three quarterback offense ever, maybe something similar to the Emory and Henry offense. Actually, I think I'm on to something there....


But did he pass to the left?

(Whole New Meaning to Green Room) Three of the Bucs four most likely picks in the first round (Calvin Johnson, Gaines Adams, Omobi Akoye) admitted to smoking pot in college, and in other news the sun rises in the east. I'm certain the Rush Limbaugh types will attack these guys for their honesty but I think Michael Wilbon has the best take, this news should only stregthen their draft stock. EVERONE who is COOL smoked pot in college, which makes CJ, Gaines and Amobi the three coolest guys in the draft.

(Does He Use Real Bait?) Joe Thomas, the other player most likely to be drafted by the Bucs, has turned down the NFL's Draft invite, instead choosing to spend the day fishing with his family. Which is probably the way to go. Fishing beats making awkward jokes with Drew Rosenhaus while 5 million people watch every move you make any day of the week.

(Just a Free Fallin' Man) Heat seeking missile Reggie Nelson is falling down the draft charts and may even be available to the Bucs in the second round. Apparently scouts don't like it when you confuse a nickelback for a tax refund.


I'm calling shenanigans

We'll see how this plays out but I agree with BucStats on this one, don't see Bucs trading #4 and Simeon Rice for Detroit's #2. Like Scott said it doesn't make sense to trade up to #2 when you aren't guaranteed to get Calvin Johnson. Although this post could raise speculation that Scott and I are actually the same person....


This Will Be My Last Tech Post

My incompetence with html coding in the previous post aside, please consider donating to the Virginia Tech Family Fund. I have often debated internally the purpose of donating to a relief fund, questioning how much good it really does the families, and quite fairly it probably gives them little comfort in the grand scheme of things. At the same time I would like to think that if I were ever placed in the situation any of the Tech families are now placed in I could depend on the kindness of people I will never meet. So with that in mind, my check is in the mail. And I mention this not to brag but simply hope I can give the ball enough momentum to get it rolling. Anyway, as I mentioned in the title this will be my last Tech post.

UPDATE: Here's a way to donate to the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund through the internet.

Moment of Silence

And thanks to EDSBS for the help.


Black Out the Ice Palace

The Bolts come home tonight tied 1-1 with the Devils, and BoltsMag is leading the charge to Black Out the Ice Palace. If you're heading to the game wear dark colors (black or blue) to support the home team. Also, tip of the hat to DRays Bay for the heads up that the Rays drew a 1.7 television rating on FSN on Thursday while the Bolts only drew a 0.5 rating on Sunshine. I bring this up only to complain that I still can't watch any of the games, and truth be told I'm not even sure which channel I would go to watch the games. I have Direct TV so it's not as if I lack enough channels, in fact it would probably make a lot of sense to put a game involving a New York area team on national, or at least, eastern seaboard television. To quote Tony Kornheiser, for all intents and purpose hockey has disappeared.

One event which will be on tv is the NFL Draft (in fact it will be on two channels, ESPN and NFL Network). In the runup to the draft, BucStats has a contest with real prizes and everything. First place wins a gift certificate to BucGear.com and second place even gets a free hat. All you have to do is guess which players the Bucs will draft.

Finally, Buccaneers.com has a draft contest of its own and is only offering game tickets to the winner. While game tickets are not nearly as good as free swag (after all we can all watch the games on tv) it ain't all that bad.


Should the Bucs draft Joe Thomas?

With two weeks to go until the draft I feel obligated to argue in favor of Joe Thomas, the left tackle out of Wisconsin. Gruden seems to have become absolutely smitten with Calvin Johnson to the point that he likely dreams of the Herculean Golden Jacket running through opposing secondaries in those three hours of sleep Gruden gets between 2:15 am and 5:15 am. But would it be smarter to draft Thomas even if CJ is available?

Left tackle is, by most accounts, the second most important position on the offense behind the quarterback (those who have read the Blind Side will have seen this argument before). In brief, there are very few men who possess the rare combination of size and agility required to protect a right handed quarterback's blindside. The intelligent design of the blind side pass rush (starting with Lawrence Taylor) has led to the increased importance of the left side, most especially the tackle, who is often isolated on an island against the defense's best pass rusher. In fact, the left tackle is, on average, the second highest paid player on the offense.

The Bucs look especially thin at left tackle this season, which would be incredibly risky if Jeff Garcia ends up as the starting quarterback. Dan Buenning will likely still be injured when the season starts which means current left tackle Anthony Davis will be moved to left guard to replace Buenning. Which means recent addition Luke Petitgout would be the starter at left tackle. There is absolutely nobody behind Petitgout on the depth chart worth mentioning, and I shudder to think what would happen in the very likely scenario where Petitgout was too injured to play.

Drafting Thomas would not only give the Bucs depth at the position, it would finally let Gruden unleash Alex Smith on opposing secondaries. Smith is the best tightend nobody has ever heard of because he has to stay on the line to help block far more often than he should. The strength of Gruden's Raiders team was their offensive line which allowed four and even five receiver sets. With Thomas added to a rebuilt offensive line Gruden could finally recreate some of the offensive fireworks he produced in Oakland.

Don't get me wrong, I love CJ and think he will be a great player in the NFL. But fans tend to fall in love with positions players while the contributions of lineman are often overlooked (except by John Madden it should be noted). Truth is that championship teams are built on both sides of the line, offense and defense. You can have the best skill players in the world (i.e. Arizona) but if you don't have a line to match them you might as well be playing with replacement players.

Call me crazy but I'm starting to think the drafting Joe Thomas over Calvin Johnson may be the smart choice....


Go Bolts!

As you probably know by know unless you're a commie Nazi terrorist, our Bolts begin their playoff series tonight against the New Jersey Devils. Last year I mocked the canuck team the Bolts played in the first round of the playoffs, but I will refrain from doing that this year, there is just nothing about Jersey to mock. Head on over to BoltsMag for all your Lightning Playoff Fever.

Ryan Nece will be receiving a JB Award tonight in Washington DC, which is part of an annual ceremony celebrating the "good guys" in the NFL. The event was created by James Brown and will be hosted by the Better Half of PTI, aka Michael Wilbon. If you'll excuse my bit of social commentary so much press is made out of Pacman Jones and Chris Henry but what are the chances ESPN will even mention the JB Awards? Anyway, congrats to Nece for the well deserved honor.



Sun.Sept. 9at Seattle4:15 p.m.FOX
Sun.Sept. 16NEW ORLEANS1:00 p.m.FOX
Sun.Sept. 23ST. LOUIS1:00 p.m.FOX
Sun.Sept. 30at Carolina4:05 p.m.FOX
Sun.Oct. 7at Indianapolis4:05 p.m.FOX
Sun.Oct. 14TENNESSEE1:00 p.m.CBS
Sun.Oct. 21at Detroit1:00 p.m.FOX
Sun.Oct. 28JACKSONVILLE4:05 p.m.CBS
Sun.Nov. 4ARIZONA1:00 p.m.FOX
Sun.Nov. 11-- bye week --

Sun.Nov. 18at Atlanta1:00 p.m.^FOX
Sun.Nov. 25WASHINGTON1:00 p.m.^FOX
Sun.Dec. 2at New Orleans1:00 p.m.^FOX
Sun.Dec. 9at Houston1:00 p.m.^FOX
Sun.Dec. 16ATLANTA1:00 p.m.^FOX
Sun.Dec. 23at San Francisco*8:15 p.m.^NBC
Sun.Dec. 30CAROLINA1:00 p.m.^
* nationally televised game
^ subject to time change

I would love to complain about how NFL has turned what should be an otherwise meaningless act of releasing the schedules into something of a celebration by teasing us for two weeks with opening day and turkey day games, and then releasing the schedules one by one on the NFL Network akin to what CBS does for Selection Sunday. I would love to point out how we should all ignore this event and treat it for the over-hyped creature that it is, yet here I am about to give you my initial thoughts about the schedule. Soooo, since I don't want to be a hypocrite I won't tell you to ignore the release of the schedule and focus on more important things like say....Sanjaya's hair.

  • (Shiver Me Timbers) Good news, there are no cold weather games this year. The closest the Bucs have to cold weather games are San Fran and Houston in December. Personally, I think the Bucs record in cold weather games is a bit exagerrated since they were just dreadful for roughly 20 years and would have lost those games even if they had been playing in Hawaii. But, Gruden's passing offense does not tend to do well in the cold with the New England game two years ago and last year's Pittsburgh game coming to mind.
  • (At Least They Will Know How to Get Around TIA) For the 6th time in five years the Bucs will play the Skins, and for the fourth straight time the Skins will come to Tampa. Now it isn't a surprise that Tampa Bay plays Washington, we know exactly who the Bucs play from the moment the prior season ends, but I can't imagine who in DC could have so annoyed the NFL that they keep forcing the Skins to play in Tampa.
  • (No Rain in Mons) It sure is nice of Pacman Jones to get banned for a season during the year his Titans play the Bucs.
  • (Thanks NFL) This is a much easier schedule compared to last season when the Bucs had to play three games in five days (or something like that). With the exception of the early season @ Carolina, @ Indy stretch there are no difficult back-to-back games for the Bucs. Personally, I prefer front loading the tough games since it seems teams tend to have more post season success if they get hot in the second half of the season as compared to the first half. Throw in the late bye week and the fact that the final game is at home against a division rival, and I would venture the Bucs have one of the easier schedules in the NFL.


sometimes you write simply to write

It's been a week since I last updated this page (yet some how my site visits have been increasing) so I figured I would stop by with my two cents on the latest Bucs news...

For some inexplicable reason Scott, the proprieter of BucStats, has been handed his pink slip from TBO. In addition to his own site, Scott wrote for a Bucs blog at the Tampa Tribune's website, which was aptly named BucShots. Roughly a week back Scott wrote a post (and a well written post at that) joking about how he was denied entrance to One Buc Place (it's still called One Buc Place right?) despite his media credentials as a blogger for TBO.com. Apparently someone at TBO forgot that "media credentials for a blogger" is an oxymoron along the lines of jumbo shrimp or student athlete, and now BucShots has gone the way of the dodo. Which is a shame. The Tampa Tribune has sacrificed good writing for the phantom threat of decreased access.

In other news, we have a little less than three weeks to go before the draft and rumors are swirling about what the Bucs will do. Gruden is doing his best to spread misinformation about his draft pick, but it is clear by now that Gruden has his heart set on Calvin Johnson. Which is great except rumors are that CJ may not be available with the fourth pick. Supposedly the Lions are not set on any of the top four players (JaMarcus, CJ, Joe Thomas or Adrian Peterson) and wouldn't mind moving back in the draft to go after defense. In response Gruden has been telling the whole world he loves every player at the top of the draft not named Calvin Johnson, and has even gone so far to suggest he would draft Adrian Peterson.

If I'm Gruden I would quit suggesting I would love to draft a runningback or a quarterback (since nobody really believes that) and instead preach the greatness of either Gaines Adams or Amobi Okoye. It is much more believeable that the Bucs need to draft defense than it is they need to draft another qb or runningback. If you really want CJ to fall to you at four the Bucs need to convince every potential team which could trade up that CJ could fall to the fifth or even sixth spot. At this point in the game I'm not sure how believable that would be, but it could create enough doubt to prevent another team from giving up a king's ransom to move up to two or three.

And if for some reason CJ does not fall to the Bucs I have no problem with the Bucs drafting Joe Thomas instead. In fact, Thomas would be a much more valuable addition to the Bucs considering: a) the larger talent gap between Thomas and Davis compared to CJ and Clayton, and b) the greater value of elite left tackles compared to elite receivers. It would be a mistake to trade up for Johnson, which would, in effect be trading two starters for one starter. If the Bucs were close to making the Super Bowl this would be a good idea but for a team struggling to get over .500 it would be foolish.


Mock Draft Goodness

Mock drafts abound this time of the year and the Swamp has its own version of fake drafting. But this one is different, this one is special, I picked for the Bucs. The first round has finished up, and I'm on the clock for the Bucs in the second. But I'll get to that in a bit. First, the first round...

1. Oakland Raiders - Diddystyle - JaMarcus Russell, QB, LSU
2. Detroit Lions - briandtw - Calvin Johnson, WR, Georgia Tech
3. Cleveland Browns - Sabo! Sabo! - Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Ski - Joe Thomas, OT, Wisconsin
5. Arizona Cardinals - BoSoxFanatic21 LaRon Landy, S, LSU
6. Washington Redskins - gary.clark - Gaines Adams, DE, Clemson
7. Minnesota Vikings - IcyCandy2 - Jamal Anderson, DE, Arkansas
8. Atlanta Falcons - GritsGoBlue - Patrick Willis - MLB - Ole Miss
9. Miami Dolphins - EdZipper - Amobi Okoye Louisville
10. Houston Texans - TexansTragedy - Levi Brown, OT, Penn State
11. San Francisco 49ers - Mister Delaware - Alan Branch, DT, Michigan
12. Buffalo Bills - Diamond - Marshawn Lynch, RB, Cal
13. St. Louis Rams - bcg11 - Adam Carriker, DE, Nebraska
14.Carolina Panthers -eerrx - Brady Quinn, QB, Notre Dame
15. Pittsburgh Steelers - Jerloma - Paul Posluszny, LB, Penn State
16. Green Bay Packers- BigPapaC - Ted Ginn, Jr., WR, Ohio State
17. Jacksonville Jaguars -jhiphop - Reggie Nelson, S, Florida
18. Cincinnati Bengals - tennbengal - Leon Hall, CB, Michigan
19. Tennessee Titans - Tom1860 - Charles Johnson, DE, Georgia
20. New York Giants - bc3412 - Chris Houston, CB, Arkansas
21. Denver Broncos - San Carlos Kid - Joe Staley, OT, Central Michigan
22. Dallas Cowboys -redarmy - Jarvis Moss, OLB/DE, Florida
23. Kansas City Chiefs- Brontoburglar - Dwayne Bowe, WR, LSU
24. New England Patriots - Chumley - Darrelle Revis, CB, Pittsburgh
25. New York Jets - Coz - Greg Olsen, TE, Miami
26. Philadelphia Eagles - timgod99 - Lawrence Timmons, LB, FSU
27. New Orleans Saints - Oiler - Aaron Ross, CB, Texas
28. New England Patriots - Chumley - Jon Beason, LB, Miami
29. Baltimore Ravens - Kranepool - Justin Blaylock, OT, Texas
30. San Diego Chargers - SL22 and Barbaro - Robert Meachem, WR, Tennessee
31. Chicago Bears - DSafetyGuy - Ryan Kalil, C, USC
32. Indianapolis Colts - Billy22g - Marcus McCauley, CB, Fresno State

I would be surprised if the Lions DID draft Calvin Johnson but if the Yellow Jacket does not fall to the Bucs Joe Thomas is a pretty damn good alternative. The Bucs need someone to protect Jeff Garcia's blindside next season. I also considered Amobi Okoye and Gaines Adams in this spot.

Anyway, as I mentioned before the Bucs are on the clock for round two, and Arron Sears and Brandon Meriweather are off the board. I am considering Justin Harrell (DT, Tenn), Michael Griffin (S, Texas), and Anthony Spencer (DE, Purdue). Your thoughts? (And yes, this is my first real Bucs post in two weeks, but screw it, it's the offseason.)