2012 NFL Mock Draft Monday: Morris Claiborne or Trent Richardson?

As the Bucs' coaching search gets under way, the 2012 NFL Draft is creeping closer too. And as the date of the draft comes closer, we'll see more and more mock drafts coming out way. Today I'm looking at four mock drafts, with three different players being mocked to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne, Alabama running back Trent Richardson and Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon.

SB Nation's 2012 NFL Mock Draft:

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

Aqib Talib may not go to prison, against all odds. If he doesn't, the Buccaneers still need to find a more consistent corner to replace him. They could even get the double shocker if Ronde Barber rides off into the sunset. Claiborne is that rare cornerback worthy of a top-five pick. The new coach, whoever that may be, will love to have a talented guy like this anchoring the back of his defense for what he'll hope is more successful tenure than Raheem Morris' was.

CBS Sports' Dane Brugler:

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama:

One of the more disappointing teams this past season, the Bucs don't have any obvious holes, but could use upgrades in a number of areas. RB LaGarrette Blount has struggled with durability and ball security issues and Tampa Bay averaged only 91.1 rushing yards per game (30th in the league). Richardson would give the Buccaneers and the new coaching staff a much needed shot of adrenaline to that offense.

CBS Sports' Rob Rang:

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama:

With a powerful running game complementing Josh Freeman and their young receivers, the Bucs caught the NFL by surprise in 2010. A year later the Bucs saw feature runner LaGarrette Blount run for approximately 25 percent less yardage despite starting twice as many games. Running back isn't the biggest area of concern for Tampa Bay, but Richardson is among the truly elite talents in the draft and an obvious upgrade over Tampa's current stable of backs.

Walter Football's Charlie Campbell:

Tampa Bay has dire needs at cornerback and linebacker, but Blackmon is the best value at a position that is still a need. The Buccaneers lack a true No.1 receiver and are starting on the slippery slope of ruining quarterback Josh Freeman. Tampa Bay has to acquire some weapons for him to work with this offseason. Adding a playmaker like Blackmon could be a big step towards turning around Freeman. General manager Mark Dominik will be frantically looking for players that can help the Buccaneers immediately, and yield an improved record to provide him some job security. Dominik was extremely fortunate to survive this year after producing a second top-five pick in three years on the job.

The 6-foot-1, 211-pounder is a tough and physical player who can operate well in the short to intermediate part of the field. However, Blackmon has the speed to score on any reception and stretch defenses vertically. Even with constant double coverage this season, he stayed productive. In 2011, Blackmon had 121 receptions for 1,522 yards and 18 touchdowns. The junior recorded big games against two of the better teams he's faced in Texas A&M and Kansas State. He finished his career as the Fiesta Bowl offensive MVP with a massive performance against Stanford despite playing with a leg infection. Blackmon is a game-changer and looks like a young Terrell Owens.

Blackmon could have been a first-rounder in 2011, but decided to return to the Cowboys. He was a dynamite playmaker in 2010, producing 1,782 yards on 111 catches with 20 touchdowns, while being extremely consistent. Blackmon had more than 100 yards receiving in every game he played in last season. The one game Blackmon missed was because of a DUI arrest. He has also been active working with a child-cancer charity.

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