CHAPEL HILL NC - NOVEMBER 13: Head coach Butch Davis of the North Carolina Tar Heels reacts to a play against the Virginia Tech Hokies during their game at Kenan Stadium on November 13 2010 in Chapel Hill North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were hamstrung in their assistant coaching search this offseason. Almost every NFL coach they wanted to hire was denied the right to interview with the Bucs. The result was the hiring of many college coaches in Tampa Bay. While those coaches in many cases weren't the team's first choice, they will come in handy in two weeks, during the draft.
On draft day, Bucs will have the advantage of having coaches in the building who have worked extensively with many of the college players the team could select. It's not overly hard to evaluate players based on game film. While there will always be disagreements, I believe most teams get that part right. Where they fail is in evaluating mental issues. How will this player react to being a multi-millionaire? Does he have the ability to transfer what he did in college to NFL schemes? Or simply something as basic as: is he a hard worker?
In come the Bucs' many former college coaches. First and foremost, there's head coach Greg Schiano himself, who could give the Bucs an honest evaluation of every Rutgers player in the building. Former Rutgers coaches P.J. Fleck, Bob Fraser and Brian Angelichio could be of help with the receivers, linebackers and tight ends respectively. Bob Bostad will give the Bucs an inside look at the Wisconsin offense, and specifically its well-regarded offensive line. Former North Carolina head coach Butch Davis should give the Bucs insight on the Tar Heels' many quality NFL prospects, which would certainly help them make their choices. Finally, former LSU defensive backs coach Ron Cooper will help the Bucs evaluate the ridiculous amount of NFL prospects from LSU, and Morris Claiborne in particular.
Let's not forget the recruitment angle: many of these coaches extensively recruited different prospects who never ended up with their college teams. But they did get to spend time with those players, which gives them even more information on those players' mindsets and how they're built - information that is otherwise hard to get.
Expect the Bucs to pick up a few players from those coaches' former teams at some point in the draft, or as undrafted free agents. Coaches love to work with players they can feel comfortable with, and in this case many of those players come from college.