TUSCALOOSA, AL - APRIL 17: Running back Trent Richardson #3 of the University of Alabama Crimson Tide runs for a first down during the Alabama spring game at Bryant Denny Stadium on April 17, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Dave Martin/Getty Images)
And we have another trade rumor involving the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After yesterday's rumor that teams could trade up for the Bucs' fifth overall pick to select defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, now people are speculating that the Bucs could trade up with the Minnesota Vikings for Trent Richardson. The Vikings have been desperately trying to create trade value for their pick this offseason, and so far it appears to have failed. This rumor - and it really is nothing more than that - could easily be another way for them to try to create some value, or just a few analysts playing 'connect the dots'. But let's look at the realism of the scenario.
Why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could trade up to no. 3
1. Greg Schiano wants a run-first offense
This is the main reason why the Bucs could trade up for Trent Richardson: the Bucs want a run-first offense, and they need running backs to get that offense going. There's no better running back in this draft than Richardson, and he's arguably better than any of the running backs to come out of college in the past few years. If Schiano thinks he can build an offense around Richardson, and if he's fallen in love with Richardson, you could see the Bucs do what they must to get that offensive playmaker. Something that could play a role in general manager Mark Dominik's mind could also be the failure to get Calvin Johnson in 2007, when the Bucs ended up selecting defensive end Gaines Adams instead of trading up for the offensive playmaker.
2. The Bucs have traded up for players they really wanted before
In the past three drafts, the Bucs have traded up for a player they really wanted. In 2009, they traded up from no. 19 to no. 17 for Josh Freeman, giving up a sixth-round pick in the process. In 2010, they traded up from no. 42 to no. 39 to select Arrelious Benn, giving up a fifth-round selection. And last season, they traded up from no. 116 to no. 104 to select tight end Luke Stocker, giving up a 2012 fourth-round pick to do so. When the Bucs see a player they really like, they're not afraid to give up a late-round draft pick to get him.
Why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won't trade up to no. 3
1. The Bucs have a plethora of holes on the team, and can't afford to give up many picks
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a long list of holes on the team they must somehow fill, and giving up a draft pick doesn't exactly help to fill those holes. Although the Bucs have done this before, they've never given up more than a fourth-round pick, and it would almost certainly cost more than a fourth-rounder to get the Vikings' first-round draft pick. Will the Bucs be willing to go into the season with a roster with multiple holes in it just so they can select a running back? I doubt it.
2. While the Bucs need a running back, this is not a desperate need
Yes, the Bucs need to add more bodies at the running back position, and a third-down back. But what they don't really need is an every-down back, as Legarrette Blount has proven to be a productive runner in the NFL. Giving up multiple draft picks to fill a need you could fill fairly easily in the second or third round instead is not a smart way to go about building your team.
3. The Bucs have made it very, very clear that they want to trade down, not up
Over the past few months, Mark Dominik has made it very clear that he's interested in trading down to gather more picks. The fact that the Bucs don't have a fourth-round pick must annoy him, although it's his own fault. The Bucs want more picks to fill more holes - so how does trading up fit that?