The Buccaneers are in possibly the most envious position in the 1st 3 rounds of this year's draft I firmly believe, and we have 2 very decisive routes to take to vastly improve this team. I'm gonna give my thoughts (and what could possibly happen to steer us either one way or another after the jump)
Pick #5 overall - Trent Richardson, RB Bama
This is the pick most have us snatching in almost all the recent mocks. The fact is that Trent Richardson might be the most complete back in the draft since Peterson and he brings a certain level of toughness at the RB position that Coach Schiano wants to operate the offense with. Probably one of the most important aspects Trent brings are the little things like his outstanding blocking, and receiving, as it stands now Blount is a big bruiser with some agility and a lack of skills in these 2 areas. The down field PA game will suffer because of the "tell" so to speak of Blount coming out, this won't happen with Trent. Bottom Line: If we are looking for the most complete RB and a player to bring the level of toughness to this offense, he is our guy.
The aftermath: It causes Morris Claiborne to fall to the next team needing a CB, pushing the whole group down, and the chance Tampa finds a 1st round talent at their 2nd round pick
Pick #36 overall - Stephon Gilmore, CB South Carolina
While it is absolutely true that you are possibly getting a phenomenal coverage specialist with Claiborne, there isn't much drop-off with Gilmore, and the BIG reward is his added physicality. He is a high football IQ guy who I firmly believe MIGHT end up as the best CB coming out of this draft class. He excels at blitzing as well, block shedding, has a keen nose for the ball and will get physical with QB's and RB's alike in the box. He also adds the aforementioned toughness factor we are missing, much less raw than Claiborne in my opinion.
Now for the 2nd route:
Pick #5 overall - Morris Claiborne, CB LSU
Lets Face it, we need serious help in our secondary, and it is a VERY real possibility that Cleveland's sweet talk of Tannehill might be bogus and they are very inclined to pick Richardson instead of Tannehill or Blackmon. This in turn would leave us with the CB who was primed and trained under our own new CBs coach, and the CB who many feel (not me, as stated above, but I digress) is the best overall in this draft. He is a coverage specialist with a knack for swallowing #1 WR's, has great vision and athleticism, still a bit raw and lacking physicality that I would like for this high a pick, but for some CB's who have tremendous ball skills that doesn't matter. Deion Sanders he is not, same style though, just a tad slower. If TRich is gone though, we couldn't go wrong with the top player at our #1 need position.
The Aftermath: Either Trent was taken, or if we pick Mo over Trent (I would be absolutely pissed, but ah well) it causes Trent to slip and all the subsequent RB's to fall and we still would need a RB, someone complimentary because not taking Trent means we are sold on improving Blount and making him #1.
Pick #36 overall - LaMichael James, RB Oregon
Some would call this a bit of a reach, but not at all for me. He is projected as 2nd - 3rd so nothing wrong with taking him early since he is the ABSOLUTE perfect compliment back, reminds me a LOT of a shorter Chris Johnson, or a little bit Brian Westbrook. He is a tough guy for his size and weighed more at 5'8 194 than I expected. He is good friends with Blount and what impressed more than his speed and quickness are the little things, above average pass blocker in a tougher passing scheme as primarily shotgun with a tiny QB who had to trust him A LOT. His hands and route running skills are very impressive, and the way he attacks the hole and breaks through tackles allowing a lot more yds his whole career. All these factors stood out in his film a lot more than guys like David Wilson, Lamar Miller, Martin, he is still inferior to Trent of course, but if we go Mo 1st, I hope we take a SERIOUS look at LMJ in the 2nd, he is very impressive regardless of the offense.
I leave you with this highlight really showing how tough he is, this is against LSU toughest run D he played all year and still able to attack the hole and make a few good plays - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMz-O7PQoEI
We CAN NOT GO WRONG with either of these scenario's, now on to the 3rd round, & I think we should target 1 player with this pick
Sean Spence LB Miami
GREAT player on film, a little undersized, knows really how to overcome it with technique and IQ. Fast and a GREAT blitzer and terror to a QB when a play breaks down. He would be a great 4-3 OLB, can roam and cover some of the best I've seen on film, and delivers pop as well, I watched a few films on Lavonte David (way more stiff, great in the box, but not nearly as athletic) and Zach Brown (GOD please NO, lots of push tackles NO technique, gets run out of plays very easily with leverage). Spence is one of the fastest most athletic LB's in this draft aside from Keuchly (sp?) and plays with a lot of football IQ and instinct. I got film on him as well for those interested, he's #31, around the ball A LOT, play recognition skill at 00:40 play - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhu1SAboTwU
We are in a VERY enviable position in this draft
P.S. I obviously didn't add the "all hell breaks loose and Kalil falls to us" route some of you are hoping for, which is still a possibility, very low though, & in that case we would have to go best CB hopefully Gilmore, and MAYBE LMJ in the 3rd