The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will select a player in the 2012 NFL Draft, and everyone's wondering which player that will be. The debate has so far centered on Alabama running back Trent Richardson and LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne - a rematch of the National Championship Game, it appears. Will Mel Kiper and Todd McShay buck the trend in their latest mock drafts?
Short answer: No.
We'll start with Mel Kiper, who hands the Buccaneers Trent Richardson. He does make one interesting observation: a team could trade up for Trent Richardson, if his workouts at the end of the month go well. The Bucs could do with more draft picks, and they'd do well to accept any trade offer.
This is one more I'm sticking with. Richardson could land here despite the presence of LaGarrette Blount, and depending on how his workouts go, I can see a team trading into this position to take him. Great running teams need more than one good back, and Richardson is superior to Blount. Further, if the Bucs are going with a best player available at this spot, Richardson fits the bill. I can also see the Bucs taking a close look at cornerbacks, which brings the next guy on the board into play, but I like Richardson here until I get a clear signal they're going another direction.
Todd McShay gives us another opinion, as he thinks the Buccaneers will take Morris Claiborne. In fact, he has Trent Richardson falling all the way to the Kansas City Chiefs at the 11th overall draft pick. However, he does note the Bucs would consider Richardson with the fifth overall pick.
This could be a tough call for Tampa Bay, which would strongly consider taking Richardson in this scenario. However, Claiborne is also among the five elite talents in the 2012 class, and he plays a position of greater value with a longer shelf life. He's clearly the top cover corner on the board, and with Ronde Barber turning 37 before the draft and Aqib Talib carrying off-field baggage, Claiborne makes plenty of sense.