The Tampa Bay Buccaneers don't particularly like Vernon Hargreaves III, Shaw Lawson or DeForest Buckner -- three of the most popular choices for the Bucs in mock drafts, along with tackle Ronnie Stanley. That's according to Scott Reynolds of Pewter Report, who dropped a few nuggets in the middle of an elaborate trade scenario in his weekly Fab 5 column.
So why didn't I mention Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves, who could be available with the ninth overall pick, or Clemson defensive end Shaq Lawson? From what I understand, neither one is worth a top 10 pick in Tampa Bay's eyes - unless something has recently changed in the war room. The Bucs will do their due diligence and bring in Hargreaves for a pre-draft visit because he's a local product as a Tampa native, but I get the feeling the team likes Apple better.
Apple being Ohio State's Eli Apple, who's generally seen as a later second-round pick. Apple has much better size and (timed) speed than Hargreaves, but he's more of a man-to-man shutdown corner than the Ronde Barber-style turnover machine that Hargreaves has the potential to turn into.
The more salient point is that the Bucs don't particularly like Hargreaves or Lawson, at least not at number nine. It's not hard to see why: both have shown limitations -- Hargreaves in size and athletic tests, and Lawson on tape. They're good players and they have the potential to be very good, but they're closer to the mold of the solid-but-not-difference-making prospect you're looking for later in the first round. See, for instance, Adrian Clayborn in 2011. In the top 10, you'd much rather get an impact player -- they're a lot harder to come by.
Another note from the same column: the Bucs see DeForest Buckner as a 4-3 defensive tackle in their scheme, which almost certainly means he's out of the running for the ninth overall pick as well. Not that he was particularly likely to fall that far, and not that he looked like a good fit before this report, but it's always nice to get some confirmation.
As always, though, keep in mind that it is lying season and team sources will frequently mislead reporters, intentionally or no. Pewter Report is of course generally reliable, but no team flat-out tells people what they're about to do -- not unless there's no chance of the plan changing or being thwarted.