Hey Buc's Nation. I am a long time reader, but a first time poster. I figured its about time I joined in on the fun.
To begin, I see a lot of conversations on the site about the teams first 3 picks. Seeing as we don't have a 4th, the first 3 seem to be all the rage (especially the 1st...). I believe it is a consensus that the team needs a CB, LB, and RB with those picks. However, I don't believe those three positions will be our selections.
The recent news of Stephen Tulloch's deal with the Lions changes some things for us. As stated in some other stories, the down to Earth contract will most likely bring a signing of Curtis Lofton (hopefully) or another free agent LB. This would most likely make the starting LB core being Black, Foster, and the FA. Two of those players, Foster and the FA, aren't going anywhere anytime soon. However, Quincy Black is still up in the air as far as his future with the team. Black will most likely have at the very least a short-term future with Schiano's "clean slate" policy.
This situation would change the team's needs within the top three picks. Linebacker would no longer be a second or third round choice, but most likely a 5th or 6th. This brings me to the next question. What is the Bucs need after that? It could TE with the recent news on Winslow, a defensive lineman because of the injury issues (or for the simple fact that good DL rotations are killer), Safety, but the position's depth early in the draft is missing, or where I believe the glaring issue is, RT.
Our current situation with the offensive line has recently been a very favorable one; short term and long term. Donald Penn and Jeremy Zuttah are signed through 2015, Carl Nicks through 2016, and Davin Joseph through 2017. However, the black sheep on the line *cough* Jeremy Trueblood *cough* is signed for only one more season and I'm very happy for that. Regardless of what anyone thinks of his production, he is not worth the money. He is currently on a base salary of 5 mil a year. That's 100k less than Penn (disregarding his 2 mil signing bonus). To resign Trueblood would be a nightmare from both a production and financial standpoint.
Fast-forward one season. Trueblood is out the door and someone has to step into his somewhat small shoes. Is it Ted Larsen or one of the other 3 "camp bodies" we have on the roster? I don't believe so. Drafting an OT and expecting him to start in that same season is a hard thing to do. Mostly, only first round lineman will do that. Some of those first round lineman don't even start their first season in the league. Going by Dom's model of drafting to success, we will not be taking a RT in free agency either.
This leads me to the point of this entire post. The Bucs are best served drafting a RT this year, and in a very high round at that. This is the moment where I begin to leave the mostly factual zone for my opinions. Bare with me.
To point a finger at a specific player, it very well may be Bobby Massie from Mississippi in the second round. He is a massive 315 pounds (he reportedly even had to shed weight for the combine) and is a nasty run blocker. While I'm not going to give a full scouting report on him, he fits the teams new offensive mold very well.
Some of you might be thinking something alone the lines of "RT isn't a need right now, its CB and RB. Those will be our first two selections." I would agree, but very much disagree in the order they are picked. This is where I'm going to pull some hairs. I apologize.
Note: there is more than two scenarios, I'm very well aware.
Scenario 1: Trent Richardson is our first pick. This forces us to go corner in the second. Third round corners are not the type to come in and potentially be our #1 or #2 corner. Even after a year of experience, its not very likely. RT would be taken in the third.
Scenario 2: Claiborne is our first pick. This gives the team options to go several directions. Mainly RT, RB, or even BPA in the scenario someone might fall to us which is a very big possibility. I believe however, this pick should be a RT. This leaves RB in the third.
Scenario 1 leaves the team with a starting RB, potentially a starting corner (second round corners are very hit or miss), and a RT that could potentially start after a few seasons of coaching.
Scenario 2 leaves the team with a starting CB, a RT that could very potentially start after season of coaching, and a RB that would split carries with Blount.
The point I'm trying to drive home is that picking a RT beyond the second round and expecting him to start after one season is very tough. However, taking one in the second gives the Bucs a good shot at having a solid starter after Trueblood leaves the building in a year. With the glaring needs at corner, we are forced to take one in the first or second round. If RB is our first choice, CB is then almost guaranteed to be our second. This leaves RT in the third which doesn't help us much in a years time.
The scenario that gives us 3 players to fill 3 needs (the RT fills next years need as stated) is the second. Drafting Richardson in the first leaves the Bucs in a very odd situation in the second round. The front office is metaphorically pushed into the (not purposely a pun) corner and the only way out is to draft one in the second. What happens in the situation where this is a run on corners before our pick? The colts, rams, vikings, browns, and patriots all have the real possibility of drafting one. This could leave the team in a very very peculiar situation. Knowing that front offices like to play it safe, I believe they would want to avoid this at all costs.
To summarize, RT is a big need for this team coming into next season. With Dom's build through the draft policy, FA is out of the question. To draft a RT and expecting him to start in the same season is very rare. However, drafting one high enough and expecting him to start in the next season is not that difficult. To get a tackle this high, it will most likely have to be in the first or second round. To take a tackle this year in the second means taking a corner in the first. This leaves a RB to split carries in the 3rd.
It is 2 am so I apologize for any errors in this post and any hairs I might have pulled. I look forward to having fun and arguing many of you in the future.