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« : April 20, 2013, 12:02:55 AM »

2011 Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ NFL Draft Review: Where Are They Now

Apr 19th, 2013 at 2:18 pm by Eric O'Leary

The 2011 draft was a great opportunity for teams to build through youth. A record 56 entrants were underclassmen, and only 2 of the top 10 picks were seniors. There was a well of talent also, as 8 of the top 16 picks have already seen a Pro Bowl in at least one of their first 2 seasons, and surely more will make the trip by the end of their careers. The 2011 draft was marred by the looming lockout and labour dispute, meaning players could not be traded for draft picks. The NFLPA even went as far as trying to persuade potential draftees to NOT attend the event. Eventually though, realizing it was a once in a lifetime chance, most did attend, including Von Miller, Aldon Smith, and our very own Adrian Clayborn.
Heading into the draft, Tampa held the 20th pick. They were coming off what seemed like a brilliant season. A 10-6 record saw them narrowly miss out on playoffs in 2010. The Green Bay Packers beat the Bucs out by tiebreakers, and would go on to win the Super Bowl. Many people also believe a blown call against the Lions cost Tampa a playoff appearance. It was definitely a disappointing and frustrating season for the Bucs, to come so close to a playoff berth.
Tampa was continuing the belief of building through the draft, and particularly on defense. Gerald McCoy and Brian Price were taken in the first two rounds the year previous. This draft class would see more picks spent on upgrading a young front four, and a beginning in the improvement of linebackers. The past three drafts have been key in retooling the defense, not only improving the talent level, but the age as well. 6 of our 11 starters have been drafted since 2010, and another signed since as an undrafted player (one reason that I believe the Bucs will take a CB with the 13th pick this year regardless of who is our roster).

Without further ado:
1st Round (20th overall) – Adrian Clayborn – DE – Iowa

In college Adrian Clayborn was an Orange Bowl MVP, and was invited to the senior bowl, to which he opted out. His best season came in his junior year when he had 11.5 sacks, 70 tackles, and 4 forced fumbles. After being drafted by Tampa, he became the first player signed out of the first round of drafting. In his rookie season, Clayborn started all 16 games, and collected 7.5 sacks along with 3 forced fumbles and 40 tackles. In the 3rd game of his 2012 season, he injured his knee and landed on IR. Rehabbing ever since, he has been saying his recovery is moving along well and he is excited for the start of this season.
2nd Round (51st overall) – Da’Quan Bowers – DE – Clemson
Da’Quan Bowers was a college standout. In his senior year, he had 74 tackles (2nd on the team) and led the nation with 15.5 sacks on his way to becoming the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Leading up to the draft, Bowers was widely considered to go 1st overall, especially when Andrew Luck took himself out of the equation. In the offseason, before the draft, Da-Quan had knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus. Even after the surgery, people said he would have time to rehab and prove himself to be a top 5 pick and anything below 10th would be a STEAL. He slid all the way down to Tampa with the 51st overall choice. After drafting Da’Quan, Tampa didn’t want to rush him into a starting role, allowing his knee time to recover and fully strengthen. Though he played second fiddle to Michael Bennett, he did see time in all 16 games, with 6 starts. He recorded 1.5 sacks and 25 tackles. In the offseason, he tore his Achilles tendon, and was on IR until week 7. Michael Bennett, however, was playing well and there was no reason to rush Bowers back into the lineup. In the 10 games he saw time, he was able to achieve 3 sacks and 12 tackles. The Bucs have given Bowers a vote of confidence by letting Michael Bennett walk. If he is able to stay healthy this season, he has an opportunity to finally have the breakout season everyone has been hoping for expecting. He did receive a gun charge in February for trying to check a handgun with his luggage, but all charges have since been dropped or reduced.

3rd Round (84th overall) – Mason Foster – LB – Washington
In his senior year of college, Mason Foster averaged almost 12.5 tackles a game. He was named the Defensive MVP in the Holiday Bowl and was an All-American. Leading up to the draft, he was projected as one of the top linebackers, and was expected to go in the 3rd or 4th round. His stock kept improving, especially after the combine and he was seen by some as a second rounder. Immediately after being drafted, Foster took over for a departed Barrett Ruud at middle linebacker, also assuming his playcalling role. He started all but one game his rookie season and recorded 82 tackles, 2 sacks, a forced fumble and an INT. In 2012 Lavonte David took over play-calling duties as it may have proved to hamper Foster, and that was backed-up by his improved stats. That year Mason improved to 2 sacks, an INT and 103 tackles.
4th Round (104th overall) – Luke Stocker – TE – Tennessee
SIDE NOTE: Tampa traded their 2011-2012 4th round picks to the Eagles to move up and take Luke Stocker TE. The Eagles used the 2011 pick to select LB Casey Matthews.
A 2010 standout on his college team, Luke Stocker was third on his team in catches and yards, and was the only player with a reception in every game. The year previous, he was second on his team with 5 touchdowns. Once drafted by Tampa, Stocker was a starter in more than half of the games over the last two seasons (most were in two TE sets). In his last three games of 2012 Stocker had 8 catches for 89 yards. As of right now, Luke Stocker leads the depth chart as the starting Tight End of 2013. His chances of keeping this role, really depends on how the draft goes. By not bringing Dallas Clark back, the front office showed they believe Stocker could be the guy, but they may also have big plans on drafting a TE early that they plan on plugging in ahead of the tight ends currently on roster.
5th Round (151st overall) – Ahmad Black – S – Florida
In his college career, Ahmad Black had 244 tackles, 2 sacks, 13 INTS (3 for scores) and a forced fumble. Upon entering the NFL, Black appeared in 4 games his rookie season, getting 5 tackles and a forced fumble. The following season, Black played in every game, starting 2, and got 2 INT’s, a FF, and 32 tackles. Though capable, Black figures to see less playing time with the signing of Dashon Goldson, and, barring injury will fill in as more of a breather.
6th Round (187th overall) – Allen Bradford – RB- USC
SIDE NOTE: Tampa traded two of their 7th round picks to the Broncos for their fifth. That fifth went to the Chiefs as a conditional pick in a deal that brought DE Alex Mcgee and a 6th rounder over in 2010. The Chiefs used that pick on B/U QB Rick Stanzi, and we used that sixth on RB Allen Bradford. Furthermore, Tampa traded their 6th rounder to the Eagles for Reggie Brown in 2010, which the Eagles sent to Arizona for Reggie Wells. The Cardinals used it to select DE David Carter.
In high school, Bradford played both RB and LB. Many NFL players have played multiple positions in high school, but for Bradford this would prove prophetic. At USC (under Pete Carroll, also prophetic), Bradford was a capable runner. In his college career, he held a 5.9 average YPC, and 16 TDs. After being drafted, Bradford played in only one game for the Bucs and had 5 carries for 13 yards. Shortly after he was waived, and claimed by Seattle (re-uniting with Carroll). He was back and forth between the active roster and practice squad, but made a noteable change to linebacker. Currently he is on Seattles depth chart as a B/U linebacker, and can fill in both in the middle and on the outside.
7th Round (222nd overall) – Anthony Gaitor – CB – Florida International

Anthony Gaitor was signed as a backup cornerback, playing mostly behind Ronde Barber and then Aqib Talib. He has fallen further down the depth chart, and with all of the rotation in our secondary, has only seen 2 starts in his two seasons. He has played in 12 games though, and has been able to tally 12 tackles and defend 5 passes. Right now he is behind Eric Wright on the depth chart at RCB, but that will prove to change through the draft and a possible Revis trade.
7th round (238th overall) Compensatory Pick – Daniel Hardy – TE – Idaho
In his senior year of college, Daniel Hardy was leading the nations TE’s for receiving yards until he broke his arm and was out for the rest of the season. Once drafted, Hardy was relegated to the practice squad, and finally released. He was signed to the Saints practice squad for a total of 8 weeks, then signed a contract with the Vikings and was released later that offseason, having never seen time in an NFL game.

Overall, this draft saw 3 players make an immediate impact, 2 of which were even starters. More importantly, this draft class kept the theme of hard-hitting, hard-working intelligent players stepping into positions and improving our defense as a whole. The 2012 draft would prove to do the same. If we can keep this trend rolling in the 2013 draft and shore up the few holes left (mind you BIG holes at that), there is no telling where this defense will take us.

« : April 20, 2013, 10:47:22 PM michael89156 »
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Pewter Report  >>  Boards  >>  The Red Board (Moderators: 3rd String Kicker, PRPatrol)  >>  Topic: 2011 Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ NFL Draft Review: Where Are They Now? « previous next »

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