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« : February 11, 2007, 11:37:58 AM »

I am not putting out a mock until the combine but I am going to do a rundown here of some guys that we should be interested in on the defensive side of the ball. I'm just going to go thru positions and I'm going to notate some players who I feel could be a good fit here in Tampa and possess the skills that we covet. These will be for the most part day 1 prospects because I don’t have the time to break down the entire defensive side of the ball.

We will start with the defensive line, on the outside at defensive end. As of today we still have Rice, White and Spires. Outside of that we are in big time trouble with not too much to be excited about. The DE is a key fit in the 4-3 and this scheme in particular. We have 3 top players at this position.

1. Gaines Adams- Versatility is key for Adams who can rush the passer incredibly well and drop into coverage to showcase his supreme athleticism.

2. Adam Carriker- Some say he is an ideal 3-4 guy but from the senior bowl he showed that he can play literally all over the DL. Possesses amazing size and strength as well as athleticism. Could prove to be THE #1 DE in this draft once the dust settles.

3. Jamaal Anderson- I bumped him down to #3 here not because I think he is slipping but because we haven't seen much from him and will have to wait till the combine for him to raise his stock. He was a stud for the Razorbacks who led the SEC in sacks. He possess rare athleticism for a player with his size.

4. Anthony Spencer- One of the more under-rated outside pass rushers in the country this season. Remember, he hails from the same program as Shaun Phillips. He really impressed me at the Senior Bowl. He has a nice repertoire of moves and showed a really nice burst on one on one matchups.

5. Lamaar Woodley- At his best when he just lets it rip. He has relentless tag and is a fierce competitor. Woodley. He was injured at the senior bowl but still displayed some very nice skill. He is a guy that could really make a move with a nice week at the combine.

6. Victor Abiramiri- I had him just behind Woodley but it was neck and neck. VA passes everyone "eyeball" test, he looks like what you expect an NFL DE to look like. Not only does he have the look he has the game to boot.

Other prospects at DE...

Charles Johnson
Tim Crowder
Quentin Moses
Jarvis Moss
Dan Bazuin
Mkristo Bruce

Next up we have the DT's which we all know is position of NEED! Have Hovan and Wyms and behind that we have Haye and SR, JF and myself. It is a very important position and most here know how I feel about this position in contrast with the DE's in this class. I think there are more than a handful of difference makers at the DE spot and only a couple DT's that can help us out in 2007. I really only see a couple of guys here that can make a big impact for us, but I will list some other intriguing guys.

1. Amobi Okoye- Most of you saw what he had to offer at the senior bowl but if you watched Okoye throughout this season you would see a player that played at a very high level week in and week out. Mobile Alabama was no fluke Okoye is the best one gap penetrating DT in this class, even over a mentally stable Marcus Thomas. In one on one matchups he displayed the rip and spin move and when you couple that with his power and incredible quickness/explosiveness you have a beast at DT. I am really looking fwd to seeing how he test at the combine particularly on the 225 bench. I think his stock will continue to rise all the way to draft day.

2. Marcus Thomas- We all know about this guy. Great ability on the field and lack of sanity off the field. He jeopardized and lost his senior season at Florida and the national championship ring he will forever regret. There are a ton of questions about Marcus Thomas. At this point his ability on the field is that of Okoye but with more power but its simply an issue of how this guy interviews. Does he show remorse or does he pin blame on others? I also want to see his physical shape and see if he has stayed in shape or has sat on his a$$. All in all if he checks out he could provide the bucs with a "safety valve" at R2B or R3 with arguably the best one gap DT in the class. Here is to hoping he checks out ok!!!!!!

Other prospects...

Tank Tyler- Little stiff but great production even without Manny Lawson and  Mario Williams

Bandon Mebane- Showed very good ability against the run at the senior bowl.

Justin Harrell- Great versatility across the line

Ryan McBean- Great athlete could be an early day 2 prospect with some nice ability.

At this next position we will go with the Middle Linebacker position where there are really only a few players of note that I think could be a nice fit.

1.   Patrick Willis- Most people see him going mid to late 1st round but he could potentially slip and would be a wonderful steal if he did. I wouldn’t count on it but stranger things have happened. He is a tackling machine who is a leader and carriers a very strong attitude and presence onto the football field.
2.   David Harris- While DT Alan Branch, DE  Lamaar Woodley, and CB  Leon Hall received most of the national attention, you could make the argument that Harris was as critical to the success of the Wolverines defense as any of the other high profile players. He really intrigues me and I am really waiting to see how he grades out at the combine. At 6-2 240 if he shows the quickness and explosiveness he would be a great fit in at WLB. He is very instinctive and a great tackler.

3.   Buster Davis- I have been an FSU fan for 15 years and Davis’ ability to play LB is about as good as I have seen. Unfortunately he lacks the ideal size and measurable that so many NFL teams covet. He is the #2 ILB on most boards but I have him at three and I lack the confidence in Davis to play with the big guys. R3 yes, anything sooner, no.

On to the OLB position where we do have a some prospects that I really do like and think could play a significant role in the future of this team. As of now we have Brooks who is looking to finish his career here in the coming years and god knows what will happen to Winborn. Outside of that we have little to be excited about and yes this is a priority position for this defense.

1.   Lawrence Timmons- To me he is not really NFL ready with his instincts but his measurable will help him as much as they hurt Davis. Timmons is a very good tackler who is a superb athlete. Possess great speed and ability to run side line to side line. One big thing that sticks out to me is Timmons can play all over the field. He can play OLB and rush DE in  nickel situations which I think helps his overall grade.  As I said he is young and only a one year starter who does lack some instincts but he has a knack for making the big play.

2.   David Harris- Yes I know he is my #2 ILB but I think that this guy will be capable of playing OLB in the NFL. He showed me a ton of good stuff in the senior bowl, sniffing out screens, wrapping up and showed he was very instinctful and smart on the field. I really like David Harris as you may guess by him being listed at MLB as well as OLB.

3.   Rufus Alexander- This guy is your prototype Derrick Brooks clone. Not overly big but can fly and tackle. Alexander was a tad inconsistent on a game to game basis but should he called upon in R2 having him to learn behind Brooks would be a great benefit to him and this franchise. He is certainly capable of playing the WLB in this defense, which is a major task.

4.   Zach Diles- This may be the first time some have heard his name but I’m sure SR may know about this guy being from Kansas State. He is a MLB but has the athleticism and speed to play outside. He is a sound tackler and could translate into a WLB prospect. Highly active player really emerged on the national scene this year, showing sideline to sideline capability while also making his presence felt behind the line of scrimmage.

5.   Prescott Burgess- Looks are what you think your NFL OLB should be. He was a big performer for the Wolverines this season and played next to David Harris. He is a little bit bigger than our liking at OLB but if we are trying to bigger and stay fast Burgess could be a nice player in in R3 or early day 2. I really want to see how he tests out at the combine.

Here we have DB’s and I am going to list some good man cover corners and the zone cover corners as it seems like some think we could make some modifications to this defense in all facets. I will start with Man cover CBs.

1.   Aaron Ross- This guy is great in either zone or man but he is the best man cover CB in this draft. He has the speed and hips to turn and run without losing separation and is a very capable tackler.

2.   Leon Hall- He had a so-so week in mobile but Hall has been the player that is reliable in coverage. He is very smart and a very good tackler. I see a lot of Ronde Barber in Hall. He lacks the top end speed but his instincts make him on of the best cover guys (man or zone) in this class.

3.   Eric Wright- Transferred from USC for personal issues but he is an outstanding man to man defender. Has very good size at 5-11 190 and has that elite speed that teams love to see out of a shut down CB. He does carry some off the field issues but he will test very well at the combine and if he interviews well he could be a really find for a team willing to pull the trigger.

4.   Marcus McCauley- Had an absolutely abysmal week and Mobile for  the Senior Bowl and just as bad of a senior year. However during one on ones in Mobile when McCauley was called upon to play press coverage he was able to make plays. Then when he was called to play off coverage, he couldn’t guard my dad. A bit of a mess McCauley is at this juncture but he figures to be drafted by a team that plays in your face man coverage.

5.   Chris Houston- You would be hard pressed to find a more outwardly confident man-to-man cover corner at the college level. Houston thrives on the challenge of being put on an island against the best WR the other team has to offer. Very physical and loves press coverage.

Those wrap up the man-to-man cover corners now here are some zone cover guys that play more to our historical style of the Tampa 2.

1.   Leon Hall- As I mentioned I see a lot of Ronde Barber in Leon Hall. Good tackler who is smart and does not blow assignments. One of the best tackling CB’s in the nation.

2.   Aaron Ross- he and Hall IMHO are the best CB’s in the country. Tough as nails and also demonstrates excellent ball skills.

3.   Daymeion Hughes- Good size and shoed good ability at the senior bowl. He is a Brian Kelly clone in my book. Extremely smart on the field.

4.   Tanard Jackson- This is a guy that I am really high on. He is a great tackler and physical. Does not possess the one-on-one ability of some corners but is a great fit for any zone scheme. He was moved to FS at the senior bowl and his versatility will undoubtedly help him. May be my favorite tampa 2 CB.

5.   Darrell Revis- I have not seen much of this guy at all but from all accounts he is a very solid all around CB but do to lack of production from his sophomore year I am putting him here. Teams did shy away from him in his junior campaign.

6.   Tarell Brown- This is another great fit player! Tarell Brown is a very good tackler who plays hard and is very smart. May not have the speed many teams covet but his on the scene and makes his impact. Has great size at 5-11 200lbs. Playing the other CB or Aaron Ross for the Texas Longhorns. This guy could be a nice find and it will be interesting to see how he tests and where he figures to go on draft day. His looking to me as late R3 to R4.

The final spot we have in this profile of the 2007 defensive class is the safety spot. We I was really hoping for a breakout thru season for Will Allen and somewhat thought Phillips would be ready to turn the corner to become a very good player for this defense. As many of us saw, neither happened. Now this spot could be addressed via FA but as of now we have 2 players in Allen and Phillips that took a lot of heat over the course of the season and deservedly so.

1.   Laron Landry- Outstanding per former with the Bayou Bengals, excelling when it comes to making plays in the box. Does struggle some in pass coverage.

2.   Reggie Nelson- Dramatically improved his stock this year as a junior for the national champion Gators. IMHO I see him as an Ed Reed clone. Shows great coverage ability down the field and shows very good speed. I do think Nelson can get caught gambling from time to time but he is a ball hawking FS who could be the #1 safety off the board. I do doubt Nelson ability to tackle in the open field. Nelson figures to play the FS role and does have the ability to match up on a slot.

3.   Michael Griffin- Tough as they come delivering a number of tooth rattling hits during his fine career with the Texas Longhorns. Griffin did struggle to some degree in pass coverage but is a very good prospect.

4.   Aaron Rouse- An absolute specimen of an athlete at 6-4 218 lbs he is a real intimidator in the defensive secondary. He struggled throughout his career in coverage but really displayed some nice ability in mobile earning some praise from DB coach Raheem Morris during one on ones. He is a tad raw but his ability and ceiling is about has high as you can get. He is a vicious tackler who really makes his presence known. Some say LB but IMHO he is solely a SS and if coached up could be a serious factor for the team who drafts him. Once Rouse gets his mental game on par with this physical game he could be a top safety in this league. Few safeties in the NFL possess his speed and tackling ability.

5.   Brandon Meriweather- Has some attitude concerns and some size/durability concerns but plays 100% on every play and is a fearless competitor. Didn’t showcase that much this year but who did for the Hurricanes in what turned out to be a soap opera season. This is a FS prospect who is very instinctful on the field and shows good ability. Is a solid player who figures to come off the board no later than R3.

6.   Eric Weddle- Always seems to be making a play on the ball. Played safety and CB on the college level and even saw some action on offense. True gamer who gets the most out of his skills. Does not possess the great measurable of a player like Rouse but his instincts are his measurable and he always makes plays. I see Weddle solely as a FS in the NFL who could match up on a Slot. Really looking fwd to his combine numbers to see how he test, primarily in the 40.

Other prospects
Michael Johnson
Tom Zibikowski
CJ Gaddis- listed as a CB but will test great and has the size to play FS at 6-0 208 lbs.

That concludes the defensive side of the ball and I am going to go into a little more detail of players that I really think the Bucs should really have an eye on coming up at the combine. I am not going to list everyone but I am going to let this play out to where we pick and who I think could be on the board and available. These are not the only prospects but this is a good look at what I think we should be looking at on day 1.

Defensive Ends

Gaines Adams
Anthony Spencer
Lamaar Woodley
Victor Abiramiri

Defensive Tackles
Amobi Okoye
Marcus Thomas

David Harris
Buster Davis

David Harris
Rufus Alexander
Zach Diles
Prescott Burgess

Daymeion Hughes
Tanard Jackson
Tarell Brown

Michael Griffin
Aaron Rouse
Brandon Meriweather
Tom Zibikowski
Eric Weddle

Hope you guys and gals enjoyed this. The draft is coming up and the combine is 2 weeks away so things are heating up. Don’t forget March 2nd is the opening day of FA. Lets all hope we can make a splash there. Once the combine comes and goes and FA arrives we should be getting a good feeler for what needs will be addressed via the 2007 Draft.

Baghead #2

« #1 : February 11, 2007, 11:39:02 AM »

Great post, now to read it.


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« #2 : February 11, 2007, 11:50:52 AM »

I don't think Zibikowski is in the draft....he is staying at ND I believe.


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« #3 : February 11, 2007, 12:22:19 PM »

Nice post.


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« #4 : February 11, 2007, 12:40:47 PM »

Great post Cville.

I like your take on Rouse.  I go to VT and really want to come away with him based on his potential as you said.  One other factor about him that you have to consider though is that he is a walking personal foul.  His emotions get the best of him sometimes and he has been benched on occasion for it.  VT football was not the most stable environment last season and he comes from a very unstable background.  However, I think given the structured life in the NFL, strictly as far as football goes, I think he could get those emotions under control and be a huge presence for us.


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Posts : 27795
« #5 : February 11, 2007, 03:25:48 PM »

Great write-up!  For DEs, I have Moss, Johnson, and Abiramiri over Woodley and Spencer.  I think Moss will end up being a top-15 pick (maybe higher, I'm expecting a freak workout).  Also for OLB I have Beason and Everett over Diles.  There are lots of good defensive prospects in this draft, and I hope to hear at least 3 of them selected by the Bucs on the first day of the draft.


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Posts : 3111
« #6 : February 11, 2007, 04:13:45 PM »

Glad you guys thought it was alright. I will have an offensive write up here in a week or so and then after the combine hits we will get into the mock-ups and we will be able to start to piece together the makings of the 2007 Bucs once March 2nd hits with FA.

BT Moss is intriguing and I'm looking fwd to seeing him test at the combine, good stuff.

LB I am a big Rouse guy with ya buddy! I was pulling for him at the senior bowl and from what I saw and what is being spread around he helped himself out. I don't know where he figures but from what I see R3 would be FANTASTIC! He has great potiential and at his size, speed and tackling this guy could be a really nice player!

Baghead #2

« #7 : February 11, 2007, 04:20:10 PM »

I wish Jarvis could slip into the second round but as BT said he's probably going to blow everyone away at the combines.
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