Has there ever been an more anticipated draft that this one for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? Say what you will about the hell that was Greg Schiano's tenure as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he did pretty decently in the draft.
It remains to be seen whether L & L have the same success rate. Hoping for the best, here's what I'd like to see from Day One of the NFL Draft.
1. The Bucs DO NOT trade up for Johnny Football.
Don't do it. Not for Johnny, not for anyone. This year's draft is overflowing with talent - its why the teams at the top of the draft are so desperate to trade down and the ones below aren't interested in moving up.
Look, I'm a Manzealot as well. I've loved watching Johnny Manziel dominate the nation's best conference and send Nick Saban whining to the NCAA to try to get the rules changed so his teams don't get "Manziel'd" anymore.
If Johnny is there at 7 and the Bucs select him, I'll be overjoyed. I'll also be okay if they went with Carr or some other offensive player. Johnny is a gamble for any GM and Coach. He's like Brett Favre's mini-me.
I'll sacrifice one pick on the chance he can be great - but I'm not willing to sacrifice multiple picks.
2. The Bucs do not draft Mike Evans.
Mike Evans has been continuously mocked to the Buccaneers ever since they jettisoned Mike Williams for a low round pick. From everything we've heard about coach Tedford's offense, Evans isn't the guy they should be drafting. Speed in Space is not something Mr. Evans has an abundance of and if the Bucs draft him, they are simply acquiring a younger version of Vincent Jackson. I don't see how he helps a team that is desperate for speed to run Tedford's offense. Certainly, Tedford is a good enough coach to incorporate Evans' talents into his system but GM Jason Licht looks for the best fits for the offense. To me, Odell Beckham, Jr. or Brandin Cooks are better fits than Evans.
3. The Bucs go offense.
Be it quarterback, offensive line, tight end or wide receiver, the Bucs must help the 32nd ranked offense in the NFL. A lot of money was spent to shore up the defense in free agency but the offense that was already bad has some glaring holes that need to be addressed.
Some have mocked Aaron Donald to the Bucs at 7th overall. If that happens, I'm throwing my remote at the television. While he's a talented player - he's an under tackle/3-tech. The Bucs already have one of the best UT/3-Tech's in the game in Gerald McCoy, who certainly isn't moving to nose tackle as one scribe absurdly said. So where would he play? You don't use the 7th overall pick as depth or play him out of position.
Corner or Linebacker? Sure, they would help but they aren't the big honking holes Tampa Bay has at it's WR2 and guard positions.
4. The Bucs don't freak out if Johnny Football comes off the board before them.
Look, it's the worst kept secret that Lovie is enamored with Johnny Football (or maybe not, based on what Jay Glazer reported). Hell, most coaches are intrigued by him. It's possible he'll fall to Tampa Bay but it's also quite possible he could go to Jacksonville at 3, Cleveland at 4, Oakland at 5 or see Minnesota or even Dallas trade up in front of them to grabbed.
If he's gone, there's other alternatives. I really like Derek Carr out of Fresno State. Carr is a fiery leader, has accuracy and is extremely intelligent. He's knocked for the style of offense he played in, but earlier in his career he played in a Pro Style offense and did so very well. Besides, Tedford has known this kid all his life, if anyone knows his flaws it's Coach Ted.
I'd take Carr at 7 if Manziel is gone. If not Carr, Aaron Murray, Jimmy Garoppolo, maybe even Teddy Bridgewater could be options for a trade up in the late first round or even in the second round.
5. Seeing the L & L plan in action.
Jason Licht has been in a lot of winning organizations and has seen how its done. Lovie has been a consistent winner in the NFL as a head coach. How they come together to pick the best players for the Bucs will be fascinating to watch.
There's been so much smoke about who the Bucs like and don't like - we're not sure what to believe anymore. In a few hours, we'll find out.