Tag:Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Posted on: April 21, 2010 9:06 am
Edited on: April 21, 2010 9:07 am

Impact on top five if Rams took Suh

As I mentioned in my last blog posting, St. Louis' trading of veteran defensive tackle Adam Carriker to the Washington Redskins opens the door for the Rams to take either of the top-rated defensive tackles, Ndamukong Suh or Gerald McCoy, over quarterback Sam Bradford with the top pick.

Though I still believe the most likely scenario has St. Louis taking Bradford, here is what could happen if the Rams did so. For the sake of argument, I'm focusing on Suh, because, quite frankly, based on conversations I've had with members of the Rams organization and others throughout the league, I believe him to the higher rated player on their board. I will say this on Gerald McCoy's behalf, however. Suh is not the consensus choice as the top DT in their organization.

Assuming that the Rams took Suh, however, the Detroit Lions would then be in terrific position. While they would have lost out on NFLDraftScout.com's No. 1 rated player, they still would have the option of another penetrating defensive tackle in McCoy, taking an offensive tackle in Russell Okung or Trent Williams to protect their investment in Matt Stafford or looking to trade out to a team wanting Bradford.

In this scenario, I believe the team might switch things up and go with Okung, based on conversations I've had with league sources.

Tampa has similar needs at DT, OT and could also trade the pick. McCoy is such a perfect fit for their defense, however, that I still see them as taking him... if they stayed at 3.

The Bucs would almost surely get some interesting trade proposals, however, as most believe the Washington Redskins, despite the addition of Donovan McNabb, would surely take the suddenly slipping Bradford with the fourth overall pick.

Kansas City's need along the offensive line and Scott Pioli's focus on "safe" players likely would result in his still taking a tackle. Trent Wiliams, though not quite the established pass blocker that Russell Okung is, would make sense, though Iowa's Bryan Bulaga would remain a possibility.

While the players drafted in the top five might remain the same regardless of who the Rams took at No. 1, the order in which they came off the board would change dramatically.

As a recap, here is how things could go if the Rams took Suh first:

St. Louis -- Ndamukong Suh
Detroit -- Russell Okung
Tampa Bay -- Gerald McCoy
Washington -- Sam Bradford
Kansas City --  Trent Williams

And as I see it most likely happening tomorrow night: 

St. Louis -- Sam Bradford
Detroit -- Ndamukong Suh
Tampa Bay -- Gerald McCoy
Washington -- Trent Williams
Kansas City -- Russell Okung
And that, my friends, is why predicting the topsy-turvy first round is such a inexact science -- even the top five.

Posted on: February 24, 2010 10:43 am

Don't buy all the trade talk... yet

With a couple dozen head coaches and front office executives set to take questions from local and national media this week at the Combine, you can expect the early trade speculation to be a constant source of "news."


While trading up or trading down in the NFL draft is popular on talk radio, rumor sites and around the office watercooler, the reality is that no NFL is going to invest the time or energy to exchange picks without first getting a better idea of how things are going to shake out. NFL teams don't trade up or down just to do so. They target a specific player, identify his farthest he might drop on draft day and attempt to make a deal with the club one pick ahead of that spot.

So all of the talk of the Rams trading down, Bucs trading up, Jaguars trading down, etc. is all purely hypothetical, at this early time. Even when coaches and GMs speak of it during interviews, they're just broadcasting through the media what every team already knows.

That every pick, from every team, is for sale at the right price.

Posted on: February 24, 2010 10:20 am
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Posted on: October 8, 2009 9:06 pm
Edited on: October 9, 2009 12:52 am

Dominance tonight expected of Suh, Witherspoon

Many mid-major teams have taken advantage of the nationally televised Thursday night games in an effort to boost their image with fans and recruits. Tonight's game on ESPN features two Big 12 powers in Nebraska and Missouri, including two of the most high-profile defenders in the country.

Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (#93) is NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated senior overall. How anyone can not be rating him as the elite senior prospect I don't know, as he has been dominant this season, plays a value position and has the work ethic and athleticism necessary in making an immediate impact at the next level. In fact, fellow senior analyst Chad Reuter and I have spoken of the fairly significant drop-off from #1 Suh to "everyone else" after him. As he did last season, Suh is leading the Cornhuskers in tackles (26) and has chipped in 6 tackles for loss and 2 sacks, as well. One of the aspects I like most about him is that he's a heady, intense player who isn't satisfied with just rushing the passer or clogging running lanes. When he can't get to the quarterback, he gets his hands in the air. Suh leads the team with 6 pass breakups. I featured him as our Player of the Week following his last nationally televised action (against Virginia Tech) and expect him to be similarly dominant tonight, though Missouri's focus on the passing game may limit his tackles at the point of attack. Expect to see him active in pursuit and creating some pressure up the middle.

Missouri has a potential first round prospect of their own in linebacker Sean Witherspoon (#12). I'm admittedly not as high on Witherspoon as others seem to be. There is no arguing with his production. He led the Big 12 in tackles last season with a gaudy 155 total stops and proved to be a force as a pass rusher (5 sacks) and in coverage (8 passes broken up, 3 INTS -- 2 of which he returned for TDs). So, what's not to like? Despite his impressive frame (6'1, 245 pounds), Witherspoon almost relies on his agility to defeat blocks. I'd like to see him take on more blockers, shed and make the play in the hole, rather than chase the ball-carrier down. Of course, as some have argued with me in the past, similar concerns were the primary reason the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were able to find outside linebacker Derrick Brooks with the 28th pick of the 1995 draft. Against Nebraska's offense, Witherspoon should enjoy a strong game. He certainly has the speed to make some impressive plays in coverage, is a big hitter, and will have opportunities to impress scouts like me who have questioned his willingness to take on blockers. This may not be Tom Osbourne's Nebraska, but Witherspoon and the rest of the Tigers will still have to respect this running game.

It should make for a highly interesting game for fans and scouts, alike, to watch. The game begans at 9 pm EST on ESPN.

Posted on: August 23, 2009 1:48 pm

Rookie Impressions -- Josh Freeman, QB, Tampa Bay

Prior to Mark Sanchez's stunning Pro-Day performance, Kansas State junior Josh Freeman was viewed by many scouts as a better, safer prospect. Blessed with rare size and a strong arm, Freeman had earned comparisons throughout his career to other big-bodied, big-armed quarterbacks like Daunte Culpepper, Byron Leftwich and JaMarcus Russell. Freeman showed off that big arm and flashed some athleticism when visiting the Jacksonville Jaguars Saturday night.

Freeman was the team's starting quarterback out of half-time, playing the majority of the 3rd quarter against the Jaguars second and third team defense. He finished 3 of 5 for 47 yards and led Tampa to a touchdown in his initial drive. The touchdown, which came with Tampa leading 17-14, came via Freeman's legs. Taking the snap and making his progressions, Freeman sensed backside pressure. He stepped up and slid left out of pocket and recognized that the Jaguars' defense had flooded right, opening up an avenue. Freeman only showed average speed and balance when rumbling for the 28 yard score, but read the defense and his blocks accurately on the play.

Josh Freeman, QB, Tampa Bay #5
Developing footwork from under center. Gains good depth, but still appears a bit unsure of his steps. Threw at least one pass without his feet set. Struggled, at times, with high throws downfield and to the flat as a result.
Best passes came on timing routes.
Hit undrafted free agent Mario Urrutia on his two most impressive passes of the night -- a deep out and a quick slant -- placing the ball accurately and swiftly on each. Good zip for the intermediate areas. Seemed meek in the huddle, but flashed good poise in the pocket, consistently stepping up as he felt it collapsing. Developing comfort and coaches' trust to audible. Went to check down options and seemed relatively comfortable reading the defense for his experience. 
Posted on: April 12, 2009 8:14 pm

Easter Bunny Brings LB Thomas, QB Leftwich


 The first round of the draft might be getting a little clearer with the news of two interesting free agent signings Sunday.

The Kansas City Chiefs signed veteran inside linebacker Zach Thomas to a one year deal Sunday. While it is only a one year deal, the move signals to me that it is all the more unlikely the Chiefs will be drafting Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry -- at least not if they plan to play him on the inside.

Of course, I've been arguing for weeks that Curry's best fit remains outside in the 4-3 anyway...

On the other front, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed veteran quarterback Byron Leftwich Sunday. Leftwich, who reportedly signed a two year deal, gives the Bucs four quarterbacks: Luke McCown, Brian Griese, Josh Johnson and Leftwich.

Again, the addition of an aging Leftwich will not necessarily keep the Bucs from drafting a quarterback in the first round, if, say, Kansas State's Josh Freeman, were to be available.

However, if the draft unfolds like I anticipate; with both Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez being long gone by the end of the top ten, don't be surprised if Freeman isn't taken soon afterward. Tampa head coach Raheem Morris, who was on the Kansas State staff and knows Freeman as well as any coach in the NFL, may have wanted to reunite with the young star, but in signing Leftwich, he likely is waiving the proverbial white flag in acknowledgement that there is no way Freeman will remain on the board when the Bucs pick at 19.

Posted on: April 6, 2009 6:27 pm

Matt Hasselbeck's mini-camp key to Top 10?


 The Seattle Seahawks own the 4th pick of the draft and are thought to be considering using the pick on the eventual successor to Matt Hasselbeck. Some have theorized that if the Detroit Lions were to select someone other than Georgia's Matt Stafford with the top pick that the Seahawks would end his "fall." Others believe the Seahawks may take USC's Mark Sanchez at #4 regardless of what the Lions do.

Through savvy decisions in free agency and trade, Seattle general manager Tim Ruskell has put the team in position to take the best available player with the fourth pick of the draft. The team entered the off-season with clear needs at receiver, offensive tackle, and defensive tackle but filled those with the signing of TJ Houshmandzadeh, re-signing of Ray Willis and trade for Cory Redding. They could look to fill their greatest remaining need at outside linebacker with Aaron Curry, if he was available, or look to the future with OTs Jason Smith or Eugene Monroe, receiver Michael Crabtree, or one of the quarterbacks.

Ruskell will be able to make a much more informed decision after this week's mini-camp.

The 33-year old Hasselbeck is expected to participate in the mini-camp, after missing 9 games last season with a bulging disk in his back.

Though there won't be anything even remotely resembling the physicality of a regular season game in this week's mini-camp, how Hasselbeck performs could be a critical component in the Seahawks' decision on draft day.

Sanchez is one of the real wildcards of the 2009 draft, with his projected team ranging from Seattle at #4, Jacksonville at #8 or San Francisco (#10) all the way into the deep teens with the Jets (#17) and Bucs (#19).

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com