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March 30, 2010 @ 4:31 am
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Will Changes In Scouting Department Lead To Better Picks?

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By essentially not participating in free agency (with the exception of signing linebacker Jon Alston and safety Sean Jones, and trading for wide receiver Reggie Brown), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have put all their eggs in one basket, which is the 2010 NFL Draft.

The Bucs are coming off a 3-13 season. Tampa Bay head coach Raheem Morris and general manager Mark Dominik are attempting to rebuild the Bucs, but that process has been painful thus far, and it's not just because the team is young. Tampa Bay has also had some terrible drafts over the past decade, not to mention losing four premium picks in the trade for Jon Gruden.

Dominik is confident that this year's draft can help turn things around, noting that significant changes have taken place in Tampa Bay's scouting department and the way the team is scouting talent.

Many seem to be under the impression that the same people responsible for drafting the likes of Chris Colmer, Alan Zemaitis and Dexter Jackson are also responsible for this year’s draft.

That’s not really the case. For starters, the two men who made the final calls in those drafts – Bruce Allen and Jon Gruden – are gone. So, too, are a lot of the scouts whose data they used in making their selections.

In fact, of the seven men who made up the Bucs scouting staff in 2004 only three remain. The Bucs college scouting staff is also bigger than it was when Michael Clayton was drafted, having grown from seven members to 10.

And of the 10 college scouts who have spent the past year preparing reports for the Bucs for this year’s draft, three are just now finishing up their first year with the team.

The only members of the staff still around from the 2004 draft are regional scouts Frank Dorazio and Seth Turner and scouting director Dennis Hickey, but their approach to the job has since been altered dramatically.

According to Bucs general manager Mark Dominik, the Bucs have changed almost everything about the way they scout players, prepare reports and select players on draft day.

“We’ve change our scouting reports, the way we have our coaches evaluate players and the way we talk about players at draft meetings,’’ Dominik said during last week’s owners meetings in Orlando.

“We’ve looked at different ways of assessing a player’s value within a round and how to really stack the board so that you’re really getting the best value in that round with the player you pick.

“There’s a lot of those little things that we do that I think are really important in terms of success.’

Source: Tampa Tribune - Roy Cummings

PewterReport.com's Take:Once upon a time the Bucs had what was considered one of the league's strongest group of scouts, ranging from the scouting department to the front office. That thought has changed over the past few years due to poor drafting by the Bucs. Need evidence to support such a notion? Consider the fact that the Bucs have had just one draft pick -- guard Davin Joseph -- make the Pro Bowl since 1998, and Joseph made it as an alternate. No one knows how much say Bucs director of college scouting Dennis Hickey had in draft picks when Bruce Allen and Jon Gruden were in charge, but one thing is for sure -- the Bucs must use their 11 picks in the 2010 NFL Draft wisely. Otherwise, the Bucs' rebuilding process could be set back years, and Raheem Morris, Mark Dominik and Hickey could be looking for work. The good news is Dominik and Co. have acknowledged some blown draft picks and are attempting to remedy their scouting ways. The 2010 NFL Draft could literally make or break the Bucs, and the current scouting and front office staff members know it.
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