I definitely feel that Clayborn and Bowers are great picks (nothing new there). If we get the 2009 version of Clayborn and if the regression of Clayborn in 2010 really was because of a change in scheme then I'm excited about the possibilities. Bowers? 51st overall? Horrible pick. He only had 15.5 sacks on one leg last year. Where's the production??? lol. But seriously, now that I think about it, Clayborn has played his whole life with one arm. Raheem is telling the league that OUR D-line is going to be better than YOUR D-line with one arm tied behind our back hopping on one leg. That's gotta be demoralizing.
So what does it mean when a coach drafts two 280 pound ends, another 240 pound running back and gives up a 4th round pick to move up and get another tight end? It means, he wants to beat the Saints and the Falcons.
I think Raheem is looking around the division and sees the Saints and the Falcons loading up on offense and he's building his team to beat them by using ball control on offense and a 4 man pressure system with the back 7 running various exotic combinations of zones to cause the quarterback to hold the ball that extra half second that will allow our one-legged Bowers or one-armed Clayborn to either get the sack or hurry the throw. You always build your team to beat your rivals, because if you can't beat the teams in your division, you aren't going anywhere ANYWAY. We're not going to outgun Atlanta or the Saints, so we have to play keep away with the ball. Raheem wants to be the 4-3 version of the Ravens and Steelers. Hence, the 280 pound D-ends. We're not going to run around Offensive tackles, we're going to stop the run and push the pocket into the quarterbacks lap from the ends and get pressure in the quarterback's face from the 3-technique (McCoy). It's not ALL about sacks, it's about PRESSURE. Make the guy making decisions make bad ones. That's all pass defense is really about. Sacks are great, but interceptions are even better. Will it work? It better, otherwise we're gonna have to outgun the Saints and Falcons cause we're sure not gonna cover them, especially if we cut Aquib (which I'm almost sure we won't do now that Atlanta has Julio Jones too. Let's be real, this is the NFL, not the Boy Scouts. You don't cut players that 20 other teams would sign no questions asked. This is still a business, an 8 billion dollar one at that. You don't give away your best assets unless you're getting something valuable in return. But that's another post).
Now, by drafting another tight end who can block (arguably), the Bucs are in a position to run more 12 personnel (1 back, 2 tight ends) and 22 personnel (2 backs, 2 tight ends) or even 23 personnel in short yardage situations. The beauty of running two tight is that you are much more balanced in what you can do at any given time. What I mean is you could easily play smash mouth football by running right at people, you can go play-action (since 2 tight is a running formation) and find your tight ends behind the linebackers (who are presumably crashing hard to stop two 240 pound bowling balls at running back) and in front of the safeties. You can also play fake and keep one or both tight ends in as extra pass protecters to allow Mike Williams and Regis to work deep. OR you could simply use both tight ends to chip on the D-ends before releasing into their routes and extend the edge by making the D-ends line up much wider. Also, it's much easier to run an even front (no strong or weak side) with 2 tight ends which theoretically keeps the defense from cheating to one side or the other. Can you tell I like dub tight? lol
On to Bradford specifically. I've seen a few of his games and I've been watching a little film of him on youtube (for whatever that's worth) just to make sure I had a somewhat decent idea of what we are getting. Basically, there is no way Allen Bradford is a poor man's LaGarrette Blount. I'm not saying he's going to necessarily be a star, but I think he can be good in his own right. I think a lot of people saw his measurables and automatically thought he is just a carbon copy of Blount. I know I initially did. Then I found out he ran a 4.53 at 242 pounds at the combine. That right there tells you he's faster than Blount, who ran a 4.7 (4.69). Keep in mind that Mark Ingram ran a 4.62 at 212 pounds at the combine. So Bradford has decent speed (relative to his size). Even if you were to take his worse 40, it's still a 4.58 which is plenty fast for a 240 pound running back. He only had a vertical of 29 inches, which was the worst among the running backs. This means that he probably doesn't have a great initial burst.
Having said that, because he has a decent 40 for his size doesn't mean he's gonna be better than Mark Ingram. There's more to football than running around in tee-shirts and shorts. I admit that I have limited knowledge of Allen Bradford as I've only seen him play sporadically over the years, but what I can see is that he has quick feet which is VERY important for the position. He has to gear down to change direction (like Blount) but most backs his size have to. He doesn't seem to run guys slap over like Blount (although he does occasionally) but he has a great stiff arm and can run away from guys better than Blount. Basically he's not as physical but he's quicker. Also, a point to remember is that a certain former coordinator for the Bucs works at USC and may have vouched for the guy. He seems like a great teammate and also he can play special teams at a very high level. He was a 5 star linebacker coming out of high school, so the kid can tackle. Never underestimate the value of field position when you have a ball control offense and want to win with defense.
But why get another 240 pound back? Simple. Raheem. Wants. To. Beat. You. Down... Period. What better way to do that than with not one, but TWO 240 pound battering rams? The truth is that 190 pound/200 pound scat backs who catch the ball out of the back field are a dime a dozen. You can always get one of those in free agency (whenever it starts). 240 pound running backs who run a 4.5 are MUCH more rare. Because he shared carries, he still has a lot of tread on his tires. Plus, a running back like Blount who doesn't avoid ANY contact could very well break down at some point during the season. Having a spare 240 pound back who is actually... GOOD... is a necessity for a grind it out ball control team, which is what we are trying to be.
I could say more about the rest of the draft (Ahmad Black = Ronde Barber reincarnate? Yes? No?) but I wrote enough to last until rapture. Pretty good for a first post EVER. lol. Enough of what I think, what do YOU guys think?