Tampa BayWatch – My Thoughts on the Bucs

Archive for the ‘Draft’ Category

Freeman Pick Divides Opinion

leave a comment »

So the #1 pick for the Bucs has certainly divided opinion amongst the Buc faithful. Words like ‘reach’, ‘other more pressing needs’ and a lot of ‘WTF’s have been thrown around like confetti in football forums. So without Johnson throwing a pass in anger for the Bucs the pressure is already on him and the Bucs management to make sure this kid isn’t the next Akili Smith or Ryan Leaf. Clearly Dominik and Morris feel that Freeman is the man for the future and it will be interesting to see how quickly he’s brought through. If the Bucs have an early season stinker, which given the schedule is possible does Freeman get his chance ?

Rumours had circulated pre draft that the Bucs were keen on Freeman, but none of the draftniks really thought that QB was a pressing need, especially when Byron Leftwich was signed during free agency. Most mocks had us taking Peria Jerry, or any number of defensive ends. Morris clearly wanted his man and decided that the cost to trade up 2 places in the first round (a 7th round pick) was worth it to ensure they got their man. The reason given for the trade up was that they felt that if we didn’t trade up to #17 another team would trade either with the Browns or the Broncos and take Freeman from under our noses. Of the teams likely to trade up, one could have been the Vikings as they are about the only team below us that wasn’t truely settled at QB. The Broncos could have taken him but having acquiring Orton in the Cutler trade that looked unlikely. My gut feel is that the Bucs could have sat tight and still got Freeman at #19. Anyway the deal was struck and the Bucs were happy to get their man.

So what does Freeman bring to the Bucs. He’s a big mobile QB in the mould of Donovan McNabb and JaMarcus Russell. Blessed with oft quoted ‘prototypical QB size’ at 6’6 and 248 he’s a big man lining up under centre. He’s a 3 year starter at KSU and has a big arm to make plays down the field. This is one of the attractions for the Bucs in their new offensive scheme. They plan to get teams to stack the box to counter the threat from Graham and Ward and then look for Bryant and the WR core to stretch the field looking for the big plays in 1 on 1 coverage. Although not electric out of the backfield like a Vince Young or fellow draftee Pat White, due to his size he’s tough to bring down.

I’m not going to get drawn on the miles of internet chatter that this pick has warranted. Id rather sit tight, trust in Dominik and Morris and go from there. Once we start to get some news out of camps then we’ll really see what we have on our hands in Freeman. I’d like to see him get a lot of reps in camp and also get some game time preseason. My gut feel is he’s got some time to learn the ropes with McCown and Leftwich fighting for the starting job for this season, and Johnson and Greise likely to be cut.  If it all pans out he’ll hopefully be the starter for next season but in the NFL if is a very big word.

Written by UK Bucs Fan

April 30, 2009 at 2:15 pm

Draft Day 2: Focus on Defence

with one comment

So the hoopla that is the NFL draft has come to an end and after the dust has settled the Bucs have chosen the guys they felt could bring something to the roster. The Bucs only had one Day 1 pick and chose to select Josh Freeman QB from KSU. On Day 2 it was clear the Bucs needed to address the defensive side of the ball.

After drafting Josh Freeman in the first round the Bucs didn’t have a pick until the middle of the third round. With it we chose a big body run stuffing DT in Roy Miller from Texas. A massively powerful player (he holds all sorts of Longhorns powerlifting records), he should hopefully provide useful rotation for the Bucs front 4. The Miller pick does seem to show that the Bucs want to get bigger up front and at 6’1 and 310 Miller is a presence inside.

Roy Miller

Round 4 also brought more size to the D-Line when we selected Kyle Moore from USC. At 6’5 and 272 he’s a big man with a massive reach. I’d see him slotting in on the LDE rotation providing situational pass rush skills.

Kyle Moore

In round 5 the Bucs drafted a project player in Xavier Fulton from Illinois. Fulton started off as a defensive lineman but made the switch to offensive tackle. In the mould of recent Buc lineman at 6’4 304 he’s another massive lineman. Reading analysis of Fulton scouts see a lot of potential but he’ll require a lot of work to get him NFL ready. Certainly he could add depth at the line positions and i’ll be following him through camps to see how the Bucs choose to use him.

Xavier Fulton

In rounds 6 and 7 the Bucs chose to round out the roster with project picks at CB and WR. EJ Biggers, a CB from Western Michigan was up in round 6. Scouts seem to think it’ll be tough for Biggar to make the roster for the Bucs as they feel he doesn’t have elite speed, but seeing as he’s a 6th rounder thats no great surprise. However we’ve seen players like Elbert Mack seemingly come from nowhere to make an impact so there is always a chance. Sammie Stroughter was the final pick for the Bucs, a return specialist/WR from Oregon State. Stroughter has had a number of problems off the field and has come back from depression and a medical redshirt to get drafted. Stroughter projects as a slot reciever in the NFL and i’ll be rooting for him to make the final 53 man roster.

stroughter

EJ Biggers

Day 1 Draft Targets

leave a comment »

So this weekend its the NFL draft, possibly one of the most hyped weekends in all of football. Will that 1st round pick change the fortunes of the franchise or will it be a bust ? This is the lottery that is the draft, some so called can’t miss talent fails (Ryan Leaf) or some late round steals become franchise stars (Tom Brady). Without a 2nd round pick the Bucs could be in an interesting position. They don’t have any real ammunition to trade up to get a player like Mark Sanchez in the first round, and there maybe no real value for the Bucs in the players that could be available at #19 so a trade down could also be on the cards.

So if the Bucs stay put at 19 who are the potential Buccaneers ? Taking into account the Free Agency pickups the biggest need for the team is D-Line, whether that be DE or DT, CB as Ronde isn’t getting any younger and at WR we really are struggling to get a partner for Antonio Bryant.

Round Pick # Overall Pick #
1 19 19
3 17 81
4 20 120
5 19 155
6 18 191
7 8 217
7 20 229
7 24 233

Defensive Line;

Looking at the D-Line, at End players  such as Michael Johnson of Georgia Tech, Aaron Maybin of Penn State, Larry English of Northern Illinois and Robert Ayers of Tennessee are all being mentioned as potential picks by the draftniks. Ayers stock appears to be rising fast and he could have been picked by the time the Bucs are on the clock. Both Johnson and Maybin, have been labelled a liability against the run by some scouts and the Bucs like their LDE to be stout against the run, and there are doubts that English has the bulk to play DE in the NFL. With their issues against the run it seems that none of the DE’s that could be available suit the Bucs current defensive scheme. Inside BJ Raji, of Boston College will be long gone if the draftniks have it right, so the only other possible round 1 talent is Peria Jerry of Ole Miss. Rumours have it that the Bucs are looking to get bigger across the front 7 and Jerry at just under 300lb could be a bit undersized for this new defensive front.

QB:

With the offseason pickup of Byron Leftwich and the contract handed to Luke McCown you could say the Bucs are set at QB. A few sites seem keen on Josh Freeman and with the Bucs looking to be able to stretch the field a QB with a cannon arm is a must. Freeman is big at 6’6, but has great athleticism. Raheem Morris has Kansas links so wouldn’t be surprised if the Bucs pulled the trigger if he was available.

LB:

Brooks and June have gone and the Bucs are looking for Jermaine Phillips to step up from Safety to try and fill #55 cleats. Can he do this ? The Bucs may look for some insurance and USC LB Brian Cushing could be available.

My gut feel is that the Bucs will look to bolster the D-Line and if their targets aren’t availble look to possibly trade down to try and pick up a 2nd round pick.

08 Draft Review: Rounds 4-7

leave a comment »

Day II of the Draft dawned and the Bucs looked to build on their Day 1 choices. The lower rounds of the draft are always a crap shoot as to how those picks pan out. Recent history shows that the Bucs struggle to find the hidden gems in the lower rounds, although there have been exceptions, Tanard Jackson was a 4th round selection last year. The Bucs through some trading had managed to stockpile a few more picks and looked to add depth across their roster.

Round IV:

The first day two pick for the Bucs was Dre Moore, a DT from Maryland. Moore has been a somewhat of a late bloomer and has only lived up to his potential in the final games of the NCAA season and through the Senior Bowl and Combine. Moore certainly has the physical tools to be a force inside but needs to find a consistent level to his game. Certainly a gamble, if he continues his level of play he could be a force to be reckoned with.

Round V:

Who would of thought it, the Bucs need another QB 🙂 Certainly Josh Johnson is an intriguing pick. A Div 1A phenom with mind boggling stats, he threw for nearly 3000 yards, 43 TD’s and 1 INT last season. Like Gradkowski of a few seasons before Johnson is certainly a developmental pick and needs time to add a bit more bulk and work on some of his technical flaws. He has a tendency to throw slightly off his back foot and deep passes can go astray, to lead the Bucs offence with speedsters such as Dexter Jackson he’s going to need to sort this one out. I think Johnson is a lock for the 53 and i’ll be keeping a close eye on his progress come mini camps.

Round VI:

The Bucs bolstered the LB core with a prototypical Tampa 2 style LB in Geno Hayes. Reliant on speed Hayes is a good open field player but lacks the physical tools to stand up inside and to make tackles and get through the trash to the ball. With his speed he could be a useful ST player.

Round VII:

The final pick of the 08 draft was Cory Boyd a RB out of South Carolina. Another intreguing pick in the later rounds Boyd is a physical runner who also has good skills out of the backfield. I think he’ll be pushing for a spot on the team and vying with Kenneth Darby for that 4th RB spot

Written by UK Bucs Fan

May 9, 2008 at 11:51 am

08 Draft Review, Rounds 1-3

with one comment

The Draft is done for another year and after the dust has settled, it’s time to look if the Bucs addressed their needs. In the lead up to the draft every mock draft had the Bucs going CB or WR. The Bucs had been listed with what seemed like every CB and WR going and come draft day I felt it was nigh on impossible to call which direction the Bucs would go.

Round I:

It turned out that the Bucs felt that CB was the bigger need and drafted Aqib Talib. Despite the obvious lack of WR talent outside Joey Galloway, (maybe lack of talent is a bit harsh, maybe underperforming is a better term), I feel that the bigger need that needed to be addressed was CB. Outside of Ronde, the Bucs have journeymen corners and the Bucs needed someone that could step in opposite Ronde for 1 or 2 seasons and then hopefully take over Ronde’s mantle. They seem to have found this in Talib.

Talib, out of Kansas, is a big physical CB and at 6’1 will be able to compete well with the bigger body WR’s. He doesn’t have top tier pace but has great ability when the play is infront of him. The major concern is his ability to catchup once the plays go behind him, this play against KSU highlights this to a tee. His lack of speed was exploited by Nelson but hoping we won’t see him give up on the plays so easily in the NFL. However, he’ll often get help over the top in the Tampa 2 schemes and hopefully we won’t see too much of this.

The things he does bring is an eye for the ball and and ability to make the big hit, 

For me the Bucs made the right call in drafting Talib and I’m looking for him to start come day 1.

Round II:

The Bucs really took a gamble late in Round 2. The next obvious pick looked to be WR, however a lot of the top tier WR’s had gone in with the early picks of Round 2. The Bucs drafted what can loosely be described as a WR, but for me Dexter Jackson will be a KR and sometime WR.

Certainly the Bucs return game has been anaemic of late but to spend a Day 1 pick on Jackson when there were WR’s with Div 1 careers under their belts does seem somewhat cavalier. Despite his off field antics Mario Manningham could have been a nice pick up or LSU’s Early Doucet was still on the board.

Jackson clearly has speed and the return skills but his catching abilities and lack of top flight competition in college make this pick a gamble for me. I hope to be proved wrong.

Round III:

Jeremy Zuttah, the RT out of Rutgers was the Bucs selection in the 3rd round. Despite being the anchor of the Rutgers line, many experts predict that he will be better inside at guard or even centre. This seems to follow the Bucs ideal that their linemen are versatile and could play a number of positions. I see this pick from 2 different perspectives. Either the Bucs don’t see Trueblood as the future at RT, (despite all the plaudits he received last season I didn’t think he played that well) or that Zuttah is seen as insurance for Joseph and Sears on the inside. 

Whether we’ll ever see him on the end of a lateral in the NFL, i’ll never know 🙂

I’d grade day 1 as a C-, I think the Jackson selection has a large element of risk attached to it. For a Day 1 pick, with the real need the Bucs had at WR, he needs to contribute on both special teams and as a receiver. Talib was a good pickup in the first and Zuttah provides the cover across the line that the Bucs need.

Next Day II..

 

Draft 08: Bucs follow up with T/OG,DT,QB,LB,RB

leave a comment »

So day 2 of the 08 Draft starts and Bucs look to build on their picks from Day 1

Jeremy Zuttah – T/OG – Rutgers.

With their first pick of the second day the Bucs picked OT/G Jeremy Zuttah from Rutgers. Zuttah anchored the right side of the Rutgers line and he didn’t allow any sacks over his last two seasons, as the line ranked second in the nation in 2007 and led the NCAA ranks in 2006 for fewest sacks allowed. So if the reports are to believed Zuttah projects better inside at G or even C. This versatility will provide nice cover for Joseph and Trueblood, and will hopefully push Trueblood for the starting RT position.

Dre Moore – DT – Maryland.

I like this pickup in the 4th round. Moore was rated the 5th best DT by Mike Mayock and should provide a big body on the interior of the D Line. He’s come throught late in his career and have decent Senior Bowls and Combine.

Josh Johnson – QB – San Diego

Yet another QB to add to the roster ! Sounds like Johnson has the stills to be a Gruden type QB, he’s got excellent athleticism and is a scrambler.

There’s some glowing praise on NFL.com and it could appear that the Bucs have found a potential sleeper in the lower ends of the draft

One of the game’s best-kept secrets, at least where the national media is concerned, Johnson has greatly impressed professional scouts that have actually seen him perform. Many will agree that he is one of the most exciting athletes to watch with the ball in his hands, bringing back memories of Michael Vick and Vince Young during their collegiate days.

That’s high praise indeed, only time will tell whether he’s the next VY or the next Ryan Leaf

Geno Hayes – ILB – FSU

Prototypical Tampa 2 linebacker, with the current depth of LB’s at Tampa it could be a struggle for him to make camp, certainly worth a training camp spot. Has good speed and because of his smallish frame would be more suited to an OLB role in the NFL. Has good open field pursuit skills and one thing the Bucs love, he’s got a great tackle technique.

Written by UK Bucs Fan

April 27, 2008 at 3:11 pm

Draft 08: Bucs go CB and KR…

leave a comment »

The draft has reached it’s halfway point and the Bucs have decided that Aqib Talib and Dexter Jackson were the players that best met their needs.

The first 2 rounds contained a flurry of trades with teams moving up and down to grab the player that they felt best suited them, at points it was hard to keep up with who was trading up or down and with who. Jacksonville traded up massively to snag Derrick Harvey and the Ravens traded back to pick up Joe Flacco.

Anyway here’s some breakdown on the Bucs first day picks

Aqib Talib.

Certainly Talib has the skill set to be a nice fit into the Bucs cover 2 scheme. He’s a decent size for a corner and plays with a lot of physicality. I’m hoping that he can improve his open field pursuit and tackling skills as this is key for the Bucs CB’s. The other red flag could be his off the field issues as he’s failed 3 drugs tests.


Dexter Jackson.

One word, Quick. Jackson clocked a 4.33 for the 40 and although he may not be an instant impact at WR he’ll add a lot to the Bucs return game. I feel this is a gamble of a pick, but if he turns out to have the return skills of a Devin Hester then it could be a great pick up. However, i’m not sure that spending a second round pick on a potential special teams star is that wise. The Bucs WR core is in need of a massive kick up the ass. With this pick there is extra pressure on Clayton and Stovall to really step up and help the evergreen Joey Galloway.

Written by UK Bucs Fan

April 27, 2008 at 8:41 am