The Bucs' Draft Board Has Been Set
Believe it or not the Bucs' draft board was finalized before they acquired Darrelle Revis. If you listen to former general managers and coaches that appear on NFL network or ESPN most teams finalize their draft board a week to ten days prior to the NFL draft. What teams have been doing since then is what the military community or intelligence community would call red cell operations.
That is wargaming, as if you were picking against the other NFL teams. From there teams start to develop a list of players in each round they want, or developing a list of players they really want to trade for(either up or down). In other words a group of scouts and position coaches surround Mark Dominik. DominiK picks for Tampa and everyone else takes a group of other teams. He has not "mocked" this draft once, he’s done it 2 to 3 times a day for the last 10.
Most Teams Consider Consensus Value
Mark Dominik certainly does. With the exception of Freeman, Dom has largely stayed "just above" consensus value. Last season Doug Martin looked like a very early two and he traded one slot above the Giants to take him. Mark Barron looked to go 10-15 range while Dom snagged him at 7. He’s also shown a willingness to be aggressive making trades and to take "falling stars", most notably Brian Price and Da'Quan Bowers.
Most teams do strongly consider consensus value. For example, Pittsburgh had a first round grade on Mike Wallace coming out of Mississippi but waited till just before his consensus value and secured him with the 84th pick in 2009, the Patriots had a 3rd round grade on Tom Brady, but waited until round 6 and the rest is legend. However a few teams and their current general manager do not give a fig for consensus and will run a strict draft based on their own board (also note 8 new GM shot callers who we may find as Mavericks):
· Buddy Nix, GM Buffalo – None more so than Nix who appears ready to take a QB this season and appears ready to choose between Ryan Nassib and Matt Barkley as the Bills next QB, beyond that Nix has not stuck to value at all. He also very rarely moves to value so it may be Nassib at 1 or take Barkley in round 2 in his mind.
· Trent Baalke , GM San Francisco – This used to be Tom Gamble, but San Fran has been "Maverick" extraordinaire the past couple of seasons. AJ Jenkins was woeful last season as a #1 pick, Colin Kapernick as a very early two worked, Chris Culliver three rounds early didn’t.
· John Schneider, GM Seattle – No team has surprised more the past two seasons than the Seahawks, no one saw Carpenter two years ago or Bruce Irvin last season. The bottom line is they don’t care who ranks who where.
· The Newcomers. Two good winners above but lots of other guys have tried to be bold and it hasn’t worked for them. Gene Smith, formerly of Jacksonville, comes to mind. Mike Holmgren as a GM comes to mind, as does the late Al Davis. One of the newcomers may try to break the mold as well.
Who Is "Special Enough" for Tampa to move up into the first round for?
If Tampa is to move back up into round one the player will need to be both a special player and a perfect scheme fit for Tampa at an instant impact position. That largely limits the selection to cornerback, a blitzing middle linebacker who can play coverage, a one technique nose tackle, or a tight end(more on this in a bit). This depends on Tampa also finding a trade up partner (more on this in a double bit).
#1 DJ Hayden CB Houston
This is not "confirmation bias" on my part simply because I had him as my choice in the second round for Tampa a while back. He has been getting hype but several factors may push Hayden into range for Tampa to trade back.
· As mentioned most teams have had their boards set a week to 10 days some of the late "pub" may not hit; going beyond that Hayden’s "consensus value" is almost impossible for teams, making it likely that only a Maverick team (above) would take him before pick 20.
· Tampa is legitimately interested. I mentioned in my draft guide Hayden would be cleared to play a few days before the draft, he’s now been cleared medically and worked out (AGAIN) at the University of Houston for 15 teams on April 22. Of those 15 teams, only 6 sent a coach to see it (most coaches are working on the mock, so to peel a coach out 3 days before the draft means you have an interest): Jets head coach Rex Ryan and defensive backs coaches sent by: Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Baltimore, New Orleans, and San Francisco.
Some GMss will shy away from Hayden, as none have seen the results of tearing the inferior vena cava because it’s a car wreck type injury. It’s going to take an aggressive GM to pull this off and Mark Dominik is nothing if not aggressive.
#2 Tyler Eifert TE Notre Dame
I’m not wasting a bunch of space noting this because I see almost no chance that Eifert gets past 13. If he does he enters an area where a lot of teams have no hole at tight end, but I’m pretty confident he actually goes #12 either to Miami or to Cleveland or Arizona trading back with Miami.
#3 Sylvester Williams DT UNC or Star Lotulelei DT Utah
There are a lot of 1 technique nose tackles in this draft, but there is only one with disruptive penetration ability and the low pad level of Sylvester Williams. He’s an ideal fit with a unique skill set for a man of his size. I can’t see Star falling that far but it's feasible to think he may hit 18. At that point, would you give up a 1 and a 2 for him…it’s a 1% possibility.
#4 Kevin Minter MLB LSU, Arthur Brown ILB-OLB Kansas, Manti Te’O MLB Notre Dame
I know I’ll hear it for Te’o but if you look at his junior tape you see plenty of A gap blitzing and much better work in zone pass coverage than what Foster brings. At Rutgers Schiano attacked the A gap with his mike linebacker on a regular basis and asked him to play down the middle coverage in a 3 deep zone. All three of the above players show either the production or propensity to do both of those; this is not a knock on Mason Foster but lets not forget we did have an interest in Luke Kuechly last season – had we been "snaked" for Mark Barron its highly likely we would have gone Claiborne or Kuechly.
Potential Trade Partners
#18 Dallas Cowboys – Dallas is trying to peddle this pick to anyone who wants it. They're probably targeting a safety and want to move down; BIG HOWEVER moving from 43 to 18 is likely to cost a #1 in 2014.
#20 Chicago Bears – The Bears have multiple needs and only 5 picks, I doubt they are interested in going all the way back to round 2, but for the right price – a big one as well they’ll move.
#22 St. Louis Rams – This is the first legitimate shot I could see Tampa taking. The likely price would be steep but not insurmountable. The Rams need a WR but are more strict value drafters and may not value a WR as a first rounder that is not named Tavon Austin. They might be willing to move for a two, two in 2014, and a day 3 pick this year. Steep but viable.
#25 Minnesota Vikings – They likely want a linebacker with this spot but are "in love" with all of them. That’s rich but a 2 and a 3 gets you this pick from Minnesota, probably.
#26 Green Bay Packers – The Packers are trying to auction this pick to about any taker who wants it, but to outbid everyone else you're likely talking the #43 overall along with #73. If there is no "buy pressure" you could possible get it for #43, swapping #73 for #88, and #112.
#28 Denver Broncos – The Broncos are in "win now" mode with Peyton Manning but need to fill holes at both MLB and find a pass rusher – there are no elite pass rushers at #28 but they could fill both in round 2 by moving back.
#29 New England Patriots – The Pats would like to move back…big shocker.
As I’ve often said, you can throw out the charts for pick values, but those things are about meaningless except for studying trends. However economics still rules the realm. If a QB run starts in the late first round you could see 3 to 5 teams trying to move up for QB’s that will cause the Bucs to have to outbid them to move up. Teams looking at QB in the tail of round 1:
· Buffalo Bills. If they pass on Ryan Nassib at 7 don’t be surprised if they don’t trade back in their high on him and I imagine they come up for him.
· Jacksonville Jaguars. Originally their new staff had hopes of rehabbing Blaine Gabbert, but film study has shown what I could have told them in 2010. He’s about the worst 3rd down passer I’ve ever seen in the NFL and those jitters are not likely to be fixed. The Jaguars connections to Matt Barkley are hard to ignore and they are apparently high on Ryan Nassib as well.
· New York Jets. Don’t be surprised if the Jets don’t take 3 1st rounders when all is said and done. The Jets worked out just about every QB Nassib, Geno Smith, Barkley, and Tyler Bray are said to be high on Idzik’s board. He got skewered for dumping Revis even though it’s really Woody Johnson’s fault for killing his trade value. Virtually dump Sanchez and maybe Jet fans will forgive you.
· Philadelphia, If Cleveland does not trade back and take Geno Smith, the Eagles have an interest and while they won’t mortgage the farm for Geno they may part with some picks to move up and grab him.
Our Needs and "Scheme Fits" Rounds 1-6
1- Cornerback. Eric Wright is not long for Tampa, he has one season left in him in Tampa probably and while he’ll be motivated he was inconsistent at times. Beyond that the appeal of having a second starter ready corner is simply too good. Also consider for all those who consider us as "missing" a starting OLB, your third cornerback plays more than your strong side linebacker these days in the NFL, so your nickel corner is more of a starter than your SAM Linebacker no matter what the game day program says. Fits (For this I went with quality press man-corners):
Late Round 1: DJ Hayden CB Houston (as above)
High Round 2: Johnthan Banks CB Mississippi St./Jamar Taylor CB Boise St. (Wasn’t that long ago that Banks was the CB Tampa wanted so don’t be surprised if we move up in round 2 to secure him - - - there should be a run on CB at the end of round 1/start of round 2). As for Jamar, he plays press man and our mid western scouts seem to have a lot of influence on Dominik.
Round 2 (Standing Pat) : Blidi Wreh-Wilson CB UCONN. Didn’t play press man at UCONN but showed it off in the post-season and looked good doing it, beyond that Schiano is familiar with him.
Round 3: Logan Ryan CB Rutgers. We’ve covered him enough and everyone knows the deal.
Round 4: Leon McFadden CB San Diego St. Team Captain and good length who is a developmental guy for Tampa.
----After round 4 I don’t see a CB that fits that style and is not actually too short to be considered a legit outside starter. If we take a diminutive cornerback its likely for return skills.
2- One Technique Nose Tackle. Needs to be able to anchor at the point of attack while also providing some push if the offense deigns to double team him.
Round 1 (Trading In): Sylvester Williams (above) The only one with great upfield and anchor skills.
Round 2: Kwann Short Purdue, Jesse Williams Alabama, Brandon Williams Missouri Western., All three give the ability to anchor with some upfield disruption.
Round 3-4: Akeem Spence DT Illinois, Bennie Logan DT LSU. Really an ideal 1 technique with some minimal upfield movement.
Round 5: Josh Boyd Mississippi St. Point of attack run stuffer. No disruption ability but slight forward surge to be a poor mans 1.
Round 6: William Campbell Michigan. Motivation issues at Michigan and is raw having shuffled positions multiple times, if the position coach likes him someone may convince Dom he can be motivated.
---Poor fits who get talked about a lot: Sheldon Richardson, Shariff Floyd (Both high in round 1, both 3 techniques only); John Jenkins, Kwame Geathers, Montori Hughes (Zero technique guys who lack the endurance to play in a 43- Not many guys at 330 plus have that sort of enudrance)
3- Tight End. The Bucs could really use a receiver who can block and catch, the biggest liability in our offense right now , is probably tipping our hand run or pass prior to the play. If he can split out as a Y that’s a bonus.
Round 1: Tyler Eifert TE Notre Dame (above)
Early Round 2: Zach Ertz TE Stanford. Versatile TE not surprised to see him in round 1
Round 3: Gavin Escobar TE San Diego. Not an ideal guy for me but I couldn’t argue he’s not a scheme fit
Round 4: Vance McDonald TE Rice. Again not a TE I’m fond of but he does well split as a Y and as a blocker so there is some possibility here to add McDonald to the mix.
Round 5: Nick Kasa TE Colorado. Developmental type TE for us who just moved to TE after starting out as a defensive end.
4- Running back. We’re taking one, as we have no legitimate backup for Doug Martin and actively trying to trade Blount says that he’s not the man.
Round 3: Johnathan Franklin RB UCLA. Very versatile and quick likely to take some serious time from Martin which should extend the career for both; intangibles are off the chart.
Round 3-4: Montee Ball RB Wisconsin. One of the all time most productive runners in college football. He’s solid and steady though not likely to draw "sizzle points" from other teams.
Round 5-6: Mike Gillislee RB Florida, Mike James RB Miami. Both have good enough versatility to serve as Martin’s backup come at a low price and certainly won’t threaten Martin.
5- Middle Linebacker-Outside Linebacker. It’s not surprising to me, he’s a tough physical guy and probably looking for a tough physical player. He’s very likely to be interested in someone who can blitz and play zone coverage in the middle or a later round outside linebacker.
Late Round 1 / Early Round 2 (Trade Up): Manti Te’O MLB Notre Dame, Kevin Minter MLB LSU, Arthur Brown MLB-OLB Kansas, Alec Ogletree MLB Georgia. I can’t see Ogletree he is a perfect scheme fit but I doubt we trade up for someone who is clearly not a "Buccaneer Man", Te’O is possible based on what we make of catfish; but the most obvious fits are Minter and Brown.
Round 3: Khaseem Green OLB Rutgers. Obvious reasons here with scheme fit.
Round 4: Kevin Reddick MLB North Carolina. An ideal scheme fit, Reddick can get maddening at times because he’s underachieved somewhat but also clearly has the ability to blitz the A gap and play zone coverage. A.J. Klein OLB-MLB Iowa St., Klein is not going to bring much of a rush but is a very good run stopper, team captain and all around hustle player.
Round 5-6: Vince Williams LB Florida St. Will Compton MLB Nebraska, Phillip Steward LB Houston, all three are missing some key aspect but should also bring enough to the table from intangibles, production and measurables to draw some interest from Tampa.
6- Offensive Lineman. Dom’s been on the record saying he doesn’t want to draft offensive linemen in this day and age; his reason for it is even more interesting: he’s concerned about the evals because of all the zone read offenses. However, when you look at our 2014 cap situation, if Freeman breaks the bank Davin Joseph or Donald Penn would seem to be on either the cap cut list or pay cut list. (Joesph even more so he’s had some injury history and for 6.5 million per year he needs a Pro Bowl season in 2014 to merit that paycheck, add in the fact that Zuttah is on the roster and….)
End of Round 2: Barrett Jones C/G Alabama. If you really want to save on money Jones can upgrade the center position and kick Zuttah back over to guard. The versatility he brings is well worthwhile, please stop with the "he can play all five positions" – Not in the NFL but he can really handle starting at any of the interior 3. If we trade down from the 2nd or up from the 3rd this would be my #1 guess as to where and why.
Round 3: Brennan Williams RT North Carolina, Dallas Thomas G/T Tennessee. Both from primarily pro schemes where Dominik can get his evals done without risking the dreaded zone read effect that throws him off.
Rounds 4-6: David Bahktari T Colorado, Ryan Jensen G/T Colorado St. Pueblo, Ricky Wagner T Wisconsin, all three really come from pro blocking schemes and give you enough versatility position wise that we might want to unleash them on Bostad.
7- Backup Defensive End. The Bucs coaching staff is apparently higher on Daniel Te’O Nesheim than others. They also clearly think they are set at starting DE (otherwise why let Michael Bennett walk). Outside of those 3 players though, not much meat on the bone for the Bucs.
Round 3-4: Sam Montgomery DE LSU, William Gholston DE Michigan St. Both come from major programs and have some talent but also limited upside. I’d give the nod to Montgomery based on the higher motor.
Round 4-5 : Joe Kruger DE Utah, Malliciah Goodman DE Clemson. A little less upside a little more risk.
Round 6: Mike Catapano DE Princeton. Really nice scheme fit. Quite frankly I’d take him in round 4. Diamond in the rough type guy.