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In The Draft, It Only Takes One Team

In the NFL Draft, only one team needs to like a player for that player to be drafted highly. We've often seen this in years past, when a player will be drafted extremely highly because one team fell in love with him. Darrius Heyward-Bey may be the best example of this, as the wide receiver was drafted 7th overall by the Oakland Raiders while he wasn't rated nearly as highly by other teams. We could see the same thing this year, and this could help or hurt the Buccaneers

Da'Quan Bowers has been dropping in the eyes of the media because there are some significant medical concerns about his knee. There have been plenty of reports that some teams have dropped him on their draft board because of that. But if, say, the Tennessee Titans think he'll be fine medically, he'll still go 8th overall. Even if all 31 other teams think his knee is totally shot, if one team doesn't he'll be drafted highly. If the Buccaneers happen to think his knee is good enough to draft him 20th overall, then this scenario would obviously hurt them. Similar remarks can be made about other defensive ends in the draft. Some teams may not like Ryan Kerrigan because of his limited athleticism, but if one top 10 team falls in love with his hustle and production he could go very early. Teams may be scared off by Aldon Smith's lack of developed skills, but his raw potential may sway other teams to draft him highly. It will only take one team to draft a player. 

But this can also help the Buccaneers, specifically by pushing up quarterbacks. It's pretty clear that both Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert will be drafted in the top 10 come draft day, though you never know for certain. But there are also a lot of second-tier quarterbacks who could catch someone's eye. There are concerns about Ryan Mallett's mobility and character, but if the Vikings think they can handle those problems he'll be off the board at #12. Jake Locker was inaccurate in college and had trouble reading defenses, but if the Redskins think they can correct those issues he'll be off the board at #10. Christian Ponder doesn't have the strongest arm in the draft, but if the Jaguars think his arm can improve or he's good enough to win with, he'll be off the board at #16. Colin Kaepernick is raw and underdeveloped, but if the Titans think they can develop those skills quickly he could be off the board at #8. Because each team evaluates quarterbacks differently and because quarterback is such a need position, this could push a lot of quarterbacks into the first round. And lots of first-round QBs means defensive ends will get pushed down - good news for the Bucs.