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Mailbag: Miami’s QB Plans?
Posted Mar 12, 2012 by Luke Easterling
Updated Mar 12, 2012 at 02:37 PM
Q: If Miami doesn’t land Peyton Manning, what do you think the chances are that they would trade up in order to take Ryan Tannehill? - Bobby, Riverview
A: At this point, it doesn’t look like Manning will end up in Miami. That being the case, I still think it’s more likely that they make a serious play for free agent QB Matt Flynn, rather than trading up for Tannehlll. It’s been rumored that the Browns might take Tannehill at #4, so if the Dolphins wanted to move up and get him, it seems they’d have to move up to that pick to do it, and I just don’t see them giving up what it would take to move up that high. If there was a scenario in which Miami would end up with Tannehill, it would have to be with the #9 pick that they already own. If he’s somebody they’re really high on, it’s possible they could try to move up a couple spots to grab him, but I think that’s unlikely.
Impact of Rams-‘Skins Trade on Bucs Pick
Posted Mar 10, 2012 by Luke Easterling
Updated Mar 10, 2012 at 02:09 PM
The Redskins have agreed to trade the farm for a franchise QB, trading two first round picks and a second rounder to the Rams to move up four spots in this year’s draft. Their mission: take whichever franchise QB the Colts don’t, either Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III. The Redskins gave up more than the Giants did to land Eli Manning, and more than the Falcons gave up to get Michael Vick, while the Rams have put themselves in a great position to load up on young talent over the next few years.
We’ve known for at least a week now that someone was going to trade up to #2 to take RG3, since prevailing opinion still has Luck going to Indy at #1. But now that’s happened, and we know who will be picking at #2, will it have any impact on the Bucs’ plans at #5? It very well could.
Now that it’s assured that Luck and Griffin III will go 1-2, that confirms that the Bucs will be in a position to take either Trent Richardson, Morris Claiborne or Justin Blackmon with the #5 pick, since one of those players will be available. Throw in a name that not many have mentioned on the Bucs’ radar, USC left tackle Matt Kalil, and the Bucs have to be thrilled with the options they’ll have at that pick (for a look at why Kalil coming to Tampa makes sense, check out this article by Bucs Central’s James LoPresti: http://www.bucscentral.com/nfl-draft/why-the-bucs-should-draft-ot-matt-kalil). The Vikings have been most consistently linked with Kalil, which leaves Cleveland on the board at #4 with Richardson, Claiborne and Blackmon still available. The Browns will need to replace Peyton Hillis, so Richardson would make sense, Blackmon and Claiborne are still just as likely if Cleveland simply wants to draft the best player available. Also, don’t count out the possibility of Cleveland reaching for a quarterback, since their attempt to trade up to #2 fell short. If the Browns don’t land Peyton Manning or Matt Flynn in free agency, there’s chatter that they would try to trade down and select Texas A&M’s Ryan Tannehill, and that they might even select him at #4 if they’re unable to strike a deal to move down.
In these scenarios, it leaves the Bucs with plenty of options at #5. They could conceivably have their choice between Richardson, Claiborne and Blackmon, which is a problem I’m sure Mark Dominick doesn’t mind having. This blockbuster trade definitely benefits the Bucs, but we’ll have to wait and see what the Bucs do with that benefit.
Bucs’ Post-Free-Agency Needs?
Posted Mar 8, 2012 by Luke Easterling
Updated Mar 8, 2012 at 12:48 PM
When you’re picking #5 overall in the NFL Draft, chances are that you’ve got more than one position that needs upgrading, and the Bucs are no exception. But before we can truly nail down what the Bucs will need in the draft, it’s important to think about which of those needs could possibly be filled during free agency. As I’m sure you’re aware of by now, the Bucs have plenty of cap space and there are quite a few attractive options at positions that could use some improving for the Pewter Pirates. Filling some of those needs during that period will also help allow the Bucs to possibly just use the #5 pick on the best player available, which is always a better strategy than reaching for need.
Here is a look at some of the possible free agency targets for the Bucs, and how those acquisitions could impact their draft strategy:
1. Cortland Finnegan/Brandon Carr, CB - Should the Bucs end up snagging one of these two top free agent corners, it could lessen the need to use the #5 pick on LSU’s Morris Claiborne. If, however, the Bucs decide to sign a free agent corner from the second tier (Aaron Ross, Tracy Porter), the Bucs would still be very likely to give Claiborne strong consideration.
2. Vincent Jackson, WR - If the Bucs do decide that they need to spend big on a vertical threat in the passing game, Jackson is definitely the cream of this year’s free agency crop in that department. With some projecting that the Bucs would have interest in Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon at with the #5 pick, it’s possible that they could take that interest and instead throw big money at Jackson, who is a proven deep threat.
3. Curtis Lofton/Dan Connor/Stephen Tulloch, MLB - There’s already been plenty of talk about the Bucs’ interest in signing a free agent MLB, which would allow them to move 2nd-year man Mason Foster to the outside, where they believe he is better suited. Any of these three players would be a serious upgrade at the heart of the Bucs’ defense, but if they fail to snag one of them, it could cause the LB position to move up the ladder in terms of draft preparations. In that scenario, while there’s no player at LB that would make sense at the #5 pick, the Bucs could give a strong look to players like Alabama’s Dont’a Hightower or Arizona State’s Vontaze Burfict at the top of the 2nd round.
4. Carl Nicks, G - Signing a superior lineman such as Nicks would be the best possible move for the Bucs in free agency, because it would still keep plenty of options open for the #5 pick while at the same time solidifying a position of need. Nicks would instantly improve both the run-blocking and pass-protecting prowess of the offensive line as a whole, which is paramount in the development of the young offensive skill players that the Bucs have.
5. LaRon Landry, S - The Bucs need an upgrade over Sean Jones at safety, and Landry hitting the market could be a huge win for the Bucs if they can sign him. If they’re not able to grab the former #6 overall pick from LSU, it will remain paramount that they address the position as early in the draft as possible. They wouldn’t use the #5 selection on a safety, but Notre Dame’s Harrison Smith and South Carolina’s Antonio Allen could make sense in the next two rounds.
What do you think, TBO Nation? Are there other free agent signings that could greatly impact the Bucs’ draft plans? Which direction would YOU like to seem them go? Sound off in the comment section.
Richardson or Claiborne?
Posted Feb 25, 2012 by Luke Easterling
Updated Feb 25, 2012 at 07:34 PM
With free agency still yet to take place, it’s hard to know what holes the Bucs will have already filled by the time they make the #5 overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft. However, there is already a rather strong consensus that the pick will be one of two former SEC superstars: Alabama RB Trent Richardson or LSU CB Morris Claiborne.
Here at the NFL Draft Report, we want to know who you, the Bucs’ faithful, want your beloved Pewter Pirates to select with that pick. Should the Bucs take Richardson, who could be the next Adrian Peterson? Or should they go with the ball-hawking shutdown corner in Claiborne? Or is there a different player that you’d rather see the Bucs select?
Sound off in the comment section.
Punch the clock…
Posted Feb 25, 2012 by Luke Easterling
Updated Feb 25, 2012 at 05:10 PM
You can almost hear the stopwatches clicking from here.
Yes, the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine is underway, which means it’s time for the NFL Draft Report to get back on the grind. Stay tuned.