The dust has not yet settled - and the Unrestricted Free Agent rookies not yet signed, cmon get a good TE out of that, Dom - but here I am willing to do a quick biased and uninformed review of the Bucs' draft weekend for 2013.
As you all know - I force you to read these things because I offer a tempting poll to insult me back - I have certain rules reviewing the team's draft. Rule 1) Did the Player fit a need and Rule 2) Will the player make the team.
I will also note Moves I Liked and Moves I Didn't Like. I'll even provide a grade, but with the caveat that Yes, we really can't tell if a draft is good until we see the rookies prove themselves over the next 2-3 years.
This draft is a little different than most because the Bucs used some of the draft picks to make serious trades before and during said draft that requires some commentary. So while the Bucs didn't make a First Round pick, they certainly USED it...
First Round (Traded to New York Jets) - Trade made for CB Darrelle Revis.
The primary thing I was screaming about - and threatening people with NAPALM over - during this off-season was the need to boost the talent levels in our Cornerback roster. The guys we had at the start of the Free Agency period were not the best of the bunch: about half were UFAs cut from other teams and sometimes for good reasons. We had no reliable No.1 and a questionable No.2 in Wright returning. I called early on for the Bucs to make at least ONE savvy move in FA for a solid starter and STILL use the First Round pick to snag best-available CB at the 13th spot (or at least trade down a few spots to a place where a value CB could be had).
Our FA period opened with NONE of the top CBs available signed. On the bright side, we did sign S Goldson from San Francisco and he is set to improve our Safety coverage immensely. But we weren't even sniffing at guys like Sean Smith, and the reason quickly became clear.
The Bucs wanted to trade for Revis. The Jets were cleaning house, clearing up cap room, and while Revis was coming off a serious knee injury if he came back even at 85 percent of his talent level Revis would still be the best CB in the league (okay, at least Top Five). Revis' contract did not do the Jets any favors and here the Bucs were practically begging to take Revis off their hands.
It all came down to bargaining. Rumor had it the Jets wanted half the Bucs' 2013 draft picks: the Bucs were willing to part with the First this year (or next) and some additional 2014 picks, but that was about it (the value of this draft was going to be the Mid-Rounds, and the Bucs have serious depth needs). (NOTE: My problems with the trade talk were that it went on too long, I was unaware of Revis' locker room demeanor and had concerns since resolved for the better, and that the Jets were asking for too much)
Finally a deal got done... and all it cost really was this year's First (and next year's Third or Fourth, but right now is right now) which should have gone towards getting a CB starter anyway. Instead of getting a rookie CB, we're getting an All-Pro starter still on the right side of 30. And still with Picks Rounds Two Through Sixth that would still help the team elsewhere.
While CB depth is still a concern at this point, this was a good deal in the end.
Does He Fit A Need: Duh. Revis fits the need at cornerback big time.
Does He Make The Team: (beat) No, actually the Bucs are gonna cut him tomorrow and eat the $16 million a year deal they just signed with him, effectively destroying our cap, ruining our defense, and forcing the team to be downsized by an angry NFL front office who will also use this as an excuse to put Cleveland out of its misery as well. OF COURSE HE MAKES THE TEAM. Sheesh, I gotta work on my sarcasm...
Second Round (43rd overall) - CB Johnthan Banks, Miss St.
My other part of my pre-draft ranting was that not only did we need a veteran CB we also needed to draft at least one rookie CB who can challenge as a starter or at best improve a CB roster filled with busts like Myron Lewis and UFA guys who got cut from other teams for good reasons.
The draft this year had only one sure-fire guy to have - Milliner - but was filled with a large number of guys who could easily get drafted in the First Round and not look like a foolish move by GMs. Guys like Rhodes, Hayden (who came back from a near-death injury as a late arrival to the scouting), Trufant, Poyer, Ryan and Jamar Taylor. Also on that list was Banks, someone early on scouted as second-best behind Milliner but coming off of injury woes late in the season, and then hurting with a poor combine run time to slip down on most boards.
Banks' talents are not eye-catching but he's solid and fits the Bucs' press cover scheme. With Milliner, Rhodes and Hayden off the boards Banks was the best possible choice for the Bucs at that value point in the draft. He may not start right away but he should challenge Wright for the No.2 spot and is at least a vast improvement over Lewis.
Does He Fit a Need: Yes. Depth at CB is atrocious, we needed more than just Revis to make the backfield better.
Does He Make the Team: At this time, Banks is penciled in as the No. 3 guy. He's here for the next 2-3 years for sure. :)
Third Round (73rd pick overall) - QB Mike Glennon, NC State
Give me a minute.
(runs outside of the room to scream his damn bloody head off) (runs back to the computer)
Okay, where were we? Oh right. A reach of a pick for QB in the Third Round.
Glennon started out in this draft's early scouting as a relatively high pick, between third or seventh in the QB talent pool. Problem is, this year's QB talent pool is the weakest in NFL history. Being the third-best QB on a D-grade list still means you shouldn't be getting drafted anywhere near Day Two of the 3-Day Draft cycle.
Glennon is coming into the Bucs' roster with the physique of a QB, the arm of a QB, and the scatter-shot accuracy of a blind grandmother. We're talking about a guy who throws above, ahead and behind his WR targets on a regular basis. While some of that may be due to NC State's woeful WR corps - they lead the nation last year in dropped passes by all accounts - Glennon had way too many boneheaded throws to ignore or excuse.
If Glennon's talents sound familiar, it should: he's basically what the Bucs have right now with starter Josh Freeman, whose accuracy is roughly better - he aims like a 47-year-old with a beach towel wrapped over his eyes - and at least has the benefit of being in the NFL for four more years experience.
Why did the Bucs draft Glennon, and why draft him in the Third Round when there were very good chances he'd still be there in the Fourth (or even Fifth) Round? The key is that Coach Schiano scouted this guy out of high school, which explains it as a personal vouch. But why the Third? Was there a serious threat of a QB draft run at that point? Not really. The QB drafting could well have waited until the Fourth Round this year - and it did where four QBs went - and even if another team took Glennon there were still guys like Dysert and Sorensen with near-equal value that the Bucs could have taken and not feel bad.
The Bucs at that point in time had needs at key positions - Tight End (my personal desire as TE lacked depth and needed starter upgrade), Defensive End (depth and pass-rush need), and Defensive Tackle (depth and NT need) - that could have been easily answered in the Third with guys like Damontre Moore, John Jenkins, Corey Lemonier (whom I had at Third in some mocks) or Brandon Williams.
My earliest concern was that Glennon is coming in as "Schiano's Guy" and that given Schiano's ambivalence about Freeman that we were in store for a contested QB controversy that would do nobody any favors (while you can have sensible camp battles at some spots, QB is not one of them). While Sander and Draft Phantom have gone out of their way to soothe concerns there, I'm still not convinced that all it will take is for Freeman to have one bad game and BOOM we're stuck with a starting rookie who has all of Josh's weaknesses (poor accuracy, questionable decision-making) and none of his strengths (veteran experience, good roll-out, being in-sync with the WRs Jackson and Williams).
I know I gotta live with this pick. But I don't like it. I'm not keen on the QB (I preferred Dysert) and I'm not keen on where the pick happened.
Does He Fit a Need: The Bucs' backup QB situation was pretty meek with just Orlovsky as the potential No.2. If anything Glennon gets to be No.3 for awhile and holds the clipboard learning stuff. This would usually be under my old category of "Good Old Fashioned MAYBE".
Does He Make the Team: He's Schiano's Guy. That's how I see him and that's why he got drafted. He's making the team unless he does the same stupid things Blount did that got LeGarrette into Schiano's doghoue.
Fourth Round (traded UP costing a Sixth Rounder, 100th overall) - DT Akeem Spence, Illinois
All the bad anger I had from Day Two post-Glennon washed away the second I got back home from a sad attempt to blog from a Lakeland Hooters (their wifi and my tablet refused to shake hands) and found out the Bucs traded up to ensure snagging one of the DTs I had on my radar.
Sander compares him to Roy Miller, essentially replacing the guy who left via FA, which should be a good thing. Miller wasn't a jaw-dropping beast of a guy but he was solid and one of the few Raheem-era draft picks to actually pan out well for the Bucs. While Spence has two veterans ahead of him - including FA signee Derek Landri who may be the most underrated guy signed this off-season - Spence can compete for a solid back-up spot and could even work into the starter role if not this year than hopefully the next.
Does He Fit a Need: D-line depth and even Defensive Tackle starting job needed looking at. This is a serious Yes.
Does He Make The Team: Everything about this guy suggests this was a smart pick for the Bucs and he's got his chances to prove himself. Yes.
Also Fourth (126th overall) - DE William Gholston, Michigan St.
I really think some of the chatterers on the Open Thread today had an orgasm when this guy got drafted. Partly because getting a guy who looks like he can blur past an OT and eat the QB before the passer can even look down-field is nice, but mostly because after all the ranting nearly everyone made about getting help for the D-line... the Fourth Round delivered for us.
Gholston is one of those guys who has First Round talent but questionable habits that knock him down into the Third and Fourths. His talent's high: his motor and skill sets are not. This is a guy in dire need of coaching up in terms of learning the moves a good DE has to use against NFL-caliber blockers. The good news is that as a Fourth Rounder, backing up solid starters like Bowers and Clayborn, Gholston is gonna get his chances to learn up. If he gets his motor going to the fifth gear and learns a few more helpful moves - the Watusi, at least - we're talking about a guy who compares to Simeon Rice.
Does He Fit a Need: DE depth took a major hit when Michael Bennett fled via FA. Gholston fills that spot.
Does He Make The Team: He's got to get motivation and show up every day to impress, otherwise this is gonna be a long winter for both him and the team.
Fifth Round (147th overall) - DE/OLB Steven Means, U of Buffalo (just to make sure you guys learn he's NOT from the Bills in a trade, okay?)
Draft Phantom is a guy who knows the draft a little (okay, A LOT) more than I do, and he saw Means coming a mile away listing him as a personal diamond in the rough he'd like the Bucs to take. So having the Bucs really take him really made DP's day (I know the feeling when the Bucs took G Dan Buenning years ago and I called it in a mock beforehand, I still haven't gotten down from that high).
Based on what I'm reading from DP's scouting review, Means is a bit undersized to fit comfortably at a DE spot and he envisions Means to slide to the OLB spot to fill the SAM position (with Lavonte David at the weakside giving teams nightmares of his own devising). Thing is, Schiano at his press conference kept referring to Means as a DE. So we're just gonna have to see what the pre-season camp shows us.
Does He Fit a Need: Maybe both at OLB, where we've got a veteran in Casillas taking Quincy Black's spot but could use more depth review, and at DE even with the Bucs just drafting Gholston and with Teo-Neshiam still on the roster after a half-decent job filling in for Bowers here and there
Does He Make The Team: right now he's Special Teams fodder, fitting into either an OLB spot or DE spot with solid veterans ahead of him. The scouting videos found for Means show a serious pass-rush machine, and DP is earnest about this guy being above-and-beyond the talents coming from the major programs. I'd like to say Yes but right now he's a Maybe.
Sixth Round (traded up in a complicated scheme that make Ponzi deals look simple, 189th overall) - RB Mike James, UMiami (FL)
This gets a bit wonky, so bear with me. The Bucs had two Sixths but traded one to get Spence in the Fourth, leaving us with the 29th in that Round. Just as the Sixth Round got underway, the Bucs struck a deal with the Pats to trade over RB LeGarrette Blount - a solid veteran RB whose star faded at Tampa under Schiano, I still think Blount was caught dating the coach's sister or something - and got a Seventh Rounder and RB/KR Jeff Demps in return. Packaging the Seventh with the low Sixth, the Bucs traded that over to Minnesota to draft a little higher in the Sixth in order to snag this guy, RB James out of Miami.
What James brings with him is a jack-of-all-trade RB skill set: not overly impressive but good enough at every aspect of being an RB you'd want in a back. He's okay at pass-blocking, okay at short screen receptions, okay at running the ball. As a third-down back option opposite starting RB Doug Martin, James is a slight improvement over the rotational options we've had the last 4-5 years. He can run like Blount but with the added value of catching the ball and making himself useful in the passing game.
Does He Fit a Need: Even with Blount on the roster there was some room for a running back...mostly because Blount's tenure with the team was really over and everyone was just waiting for a trade to happen. And even with other RBs on the roster - especially last year draftee Michael Smith looking to contribute to special teams at least - James takes care of making sure we've got at least one solid back-up to Martin.
Does He Make The Team: the RB camp competition will be fierce this year. Unlike the competition at QB that makes me queasy, I'm okay with RB competition because running backs are easy to "plug and play" as it were moreso than other need spots (one of the reasons why RB drafting has slipped so low in recent years). James can make the team, but the value of having speedsters like Smith and Demps for special teams is gonna make it hard. I'd say Maybe.
* * *
What I Liked About This Year's Draft:
Taking care of the Secondary by securing a solid starter in Revis and drafting for youthful talent as starter/backup with Banks.
Taking care of depth needs along the Defensive Line. We have good starters but depth and development needs were major concerns after losing Bennett and Miller to Free Agency.
Finding an interesting pass-rush talent like Means who flew under everyone's radar except Draft Phantom's.
What I Did Not Like:
Drafting Glennon. Quarterback depth need may have been there, but Glennon is not the guy i like for that, and I really feel we drafted too high for him (or any of the other viable alternatives).
Not drafting higher for a Defensive lineman (THIRD ROUND. YOU WASTED THIRD ROUND ON GLENNON, COACH).
Failing to draft for depth need, or even for starter need, at Tight End. Stocker is the only talent we've got, and he's still not proving himself.
Failing to draft a Right Tackle for depth/development needs. Yes, I know Dominick refuses to draft offensive linemen, but DAMMIT MAN open your eyes and take care of the team needs.
Teams drafting punter. Minnesota, Detroit, can you two come into my office please? (hits both with NAPALM).
Grading the Draft:
Yes it is too early to tell. But this is a time for expressive thought not contemplation. Getting Revis bumps the value of this draft up... but in my mind the wasteful pick on Glennon and the failure to take care of TE needs is gonna hurt this team in the long run.
I may have graded last year's a solid, underrated B grade when I should have graded it an A- considering the value we got out of Martin and David (Barron still needs to step up). This year's - where we took care of depth but barely got any starting rookies - I'd have to grade it a C. Unless Banks and Spence - the most likely guys to earn starting jobs - step up, this is most likely going to remain a C.
You can comment away. I know you will.