TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 22: Trent Richardson #3 of the Alabama Crimson Tide breaks out in open field away from Malik Jackson #97 of the Tennessee Volunteers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 22, 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
When your football team finishes the season with only four victories and were losers of their last ten games - there's a lot of holes to fill. The Buccaneers made an impact in free agency on offense by signing two regular attendees at the Pro Bowl in WR Vincent Jackson and guard Carl Nicks but there's still some glaring holes on the offense that need to be filled.
The Bucs may want to look for a better option at right tackle, Kellen Winslow isn't getting any younger at tight end and Eric Lorig may not be good enough at fullback for coach Schiano's power running offense.
After the jump, I'm going to give a list of ten players that I believe would fit the Buccaneers on offense. Rather than give you a top ten list of the best players at their position (you can get that anywhere) - I'm going to try and keep this to players I think the Bucs genuinely have interest in not only early in the draft but in the later rounds.
This isn't intended to be viewed of as a mock draft - just a collection of players - any of which would contribute to the Buccaneers offensively. If the Bucs add two or three players from this list, it could be a very good day for Josh Freeman and his offensive teammates.
1. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama - First Round
Few running backs come into the league with the universal admiration that Richardson is afforded. Considered the best back to come into the draft since Adrian Peterson, Richardson is really Mr. Everything. He can run with power, has the speed to get outside and can outrun linebackers and defensive backs to the end zone. He's a ferocious blocker and an excellent past receiver.
Off the field, Richardson is known as a team player who takes special interest in his community. In fact, the only negative on T.R. is the position he plays (running backs have been devalued in the NFL) and his medical history. With minor work done on his knees, some are concerned that he may not last.
Still, few players come into the league with this universal approval. Some call him the best player in the 2012 draft.
We know Greg Schiano covets a power running game and no player fits the mold for this style offense better than Richardson.
If Richardson is available when the Bucs are on the clock, it's my belief he will be wearing Pewter and Red this fall.
2. Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford - 2nd Round
If the Bucs do go Richardson in the first round, they may want to complete the remodel of the offense by selecting Jonathan Martin in the second round.
Martin is a solid athlete who is a terrific pass blocker and solid against the run. With tremendous quickness, he can get to the point of attack and uses good pad level to gain leverage against his opponent.
Martin should be available when the Bucs select in round 2.
3. David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech - 2nd Round
Assuming that Boise State running back Doug Martin is selected at the bottom of the first round as most pundits predict, the next running back on the board for Tampa Bay (if they don't select Richardson) would be the Hokie work horse David Wilson.
Wilson is dynamic in the open field with excellent vision and solid balance. While possessing superb speed and the ability to make-you-miss, he has only adequate hands and is an average pass blocker.
Wilson also is a try-hard type runner who battles with second and third effort which gets him in trouble as he often got the ball stripped away from him, leading all the top draft prospects with seven fumbles in 2011
4. Isiah Pead, RB, Cincinatti - 3rd round
Running backs continue to dominate my list as I consider yet another player that head coach Greg Schiano is very familiar with. Pead has a nice combination of size and speed with just the spice of elusiveness that makes you raise eyebrows.
Pead has excellent ball skills with solid hands and is dangerous when he gets into the open field.
He's not a good pass protector.
5. Colby Fleener, TE, Stanford - 2nd Round
The NFL is a copycat league and everyone saw the dynamic split end offense of the Patriots featuring TE's Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. Fleener is certainly in the mold of those two pass receiving tight ends. A tremendous receiver with enough speed to split a secondary, Fleener can be a top flight weapon in the NFL.
Don't think of him as one dimensional though, as he's more than adequate as a blocker.
6. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon - 3rd Round
If the Bucs feel comfortable with LeGarrette Blount as their feature back, LaMichael James may be an excellent Lightning to Blount's Thunder in the third round. LG's Oregon teammate is a special threat with blazing speed and top end elusiveness. He is also a tremendous receiver in the passing game and would add value as a kick or punt returner.
Because of his 5' 8" size, he doesn't offer much in pass protection. He also needs to be careful about not trying to be Barry Sanders and dance too much. James also has some off-the-field marks against him as he had a domestic violence issue in December 2010, accused of menacing, strangulation and assault.
7. Brandon Mosely, OT, Auburn - 4th round (the Bucs currently do not own a fourth round draft pick)
Mosely is an interesting prospect. Not great at any particular area, he is solid in pass pro and is a driving run blocker. An above average athlete who played tight end and linebacker in high school, Mosely uses his 6'6" 314 lbs frame to his advantage.
He can get a little lost in his block, standing a little too high and not getting good pad level.
8. Robert Turbin, RB, Utah State - 4th round (the Bucs currently do not own a fourth round draft pick)
Turbin is just a kid I really like. He has a great heart and is blessed with speed, vision and shake. At a young age, he had to take care of his sister who suffered from a debilitating disease that robbed her of speech and movement under the neck.
Turbin is solid in pass protection and possesses adequate hands. He does have some medical red flags, missing two seasons of his collegiate career with a foot injury and a torn ACL, respectively.
9. Keshawn Martin, WR, Michigan State - 6th Round
A receiver blessed with tremendous speed and elusiveness, Martin is a dynamic playmaker with make-you-miss type talent. He struggles looking the ball in and has too many drops to be a top rated receiver. He can be an excellent special teamer and a player who can threaten opposing defenses deep with his 4.4 speed.
10. Joe Martinek, FB, Rutgers - 6th round
A Schiano pick all the way, an unselfish player who has solid blocking skills but the athletic ability to contribute as a runner and pass receiver.
Whose not on this list?
Justin Blackmon - Even if disaster strikes and both CB Morris Claiborne and RB Trent Richardson are off the board when the Bucs select, I find it hard to believe the Bucs would add a receiver this high with Vincent Jackson in the fold. The Bucs may look for a speed receiver in the second half of the draft, though.
Matt Kalil - He could definitely be the pick but frankly, I think Minnesota is full of it. I believe Kalil will be a Viking a few hours into the NFL draft.
Doug Martin - I love Martin and he'd absolutely be number two on this list if not for the fact his draft stock is soaring. He's unlikely to be available when the Bucs pick in the second round and with only six picks in this year's draft, I don't know if they'll want to surrender a pick or two or a high pick in 2013 to move back into the first round to get him.
LaMar Miller - A skilled football player, I'm just not a fan of projects - especially with early round picks. Miller could turn out to be a tremendous pro but he was just a two down back in college - I don't see him being much better than that in the Pros and the Bucs have one of those already in LeGarrette Blount.
Which Offensive Draft Prospect would look the best in Pewter?
Trent Richardson (191 votes)
Jonathan Martin (13 votes)
David Wilson (12 votes)
Isiah Pead (6 votes)
Colby Fleener (12 votes)
LaMichael James (43 votes)
Brandon Mosley (1 vote)
Robert Turbin (3 votes)
KeShawn Martin (1 vote)
Joe Martinek (5 votes)
Other (14 votes)
301 total votes