One NFL Scout weighs in with Pewter Report on his view of the players that the Buccaneers selected. Did it appear that the Bucs stayed true to their board? Or did they reach for players? Does the league view Tampa Bay as having a good draft? Find out in this edition of Scout Speak.
This feature on PewterReport.com is known as "Scout Speak." PewterReport.com has partnered with an NFL scout under the condition they remain anonymous. Although we can't disclose who this person is or they currently work for, this NFL Scout has nearly a decade worth of scouting experience at the NFL level.
First of all I think that this was one of the best drafts that Tampa Bay has had in years. Some teams seem to really do well in the early rounds and then have tendency to fall apart later in the draft. Other teams really nail some guys late. The Bucs didn't really fit in either category over the other, and this year I think they did really well.
You could see in their picks that they had a board and they trusted their board. They had their values on players that were pre-determined, and they stuck with their evaluations. Obviously taking a good player like Gerald McCoy with the third-overall pick fits, but the pick that proves they followed their board was taking UCLA defensive tackle Brian Price. Considering you already had two defensive tackles drafted highly, you wouldn't take him if he wasn't rated significantly higher than any other player that was available at a position where you have a bigger need.
I thought they did a great job of that, and everybody I've talked to shares that view. Drafting along the defensive line is necessary, even though you have to go through some growing pains with those players. When you put in rookies on the line you know they are going to make some mistakes when they are learning on the fly, but they should be solid up front in years to come.
The picks at wide receiver I think were good. Moving up to take Illinois wide receiver Arrelious Benn in the second was a good move. They had to have an impact guy at receiver. They had to get it, so that was a good pick. He has some skills, and a lot of people had him graded highly.
We liked Vanderbilt cornerback Myron Lewis, and we felt that he was a good pick for them. He's a big corner with ball skills, and that can be a rare combination. I think he'll be a good pair with Aqib Talib for the Bucs in the long-term.
I thought that Syracuse wide receiver Mike Williams was a very good pick for where they took him. I know a number people in the scouting community that felt he was one of the most talented receivers in the draft. So getting that guy in the fourth regardless of the issues is good value.
Williams character concerns were nothing criminal. I know a few of teams took Williams off their boards because of character, and I would say that I don't necessarily agree with that. Guys with criminal histories I agree on removing those guys from the draft board, and not wasting time by talking about them. Now guys that you hear may have an attitude, academic issues, maybe aren't the best football character guys, or won't be captain of the team candidates, those guys deserve some vetting because a significant amount of NFL teams are made up of guys like that. You shouldn't just give up and bury those guys, because at the end of the day we are trying to win games. If a guy doesn't have a criminal past, but there are character issues, than you need to do your homework. The Bucs potentially have a big steal with Williams.
Oklahoma State cornerback Perrish Cox and USC defensive end Everson Griffen had their draft stock hurt by character concerns. They both were graded highly, and both had production in college. Cox was hands down one of the better cornerbacks in the draft.
In the late rounds there were two players that the Bucs took that stood out to me. Dekoda Watson was a pick that I like because he is a size and speed guy. You can see that he is a physical specimen, and he has the speed to fly around the football field. I think that he could develop into a potential Sam linebacker for Tampa Bay. With Watson the thing that stands out the most is that he is an excellent blitzer. He has a natural ability to get after the quarterback, and there are some teams in the NFL where their best pass rusher is their Sam linebacker. Watson fits in with some of those guys as a blitzer.
Watson doesn't always see things real well and anticipate things real well, but he'll come along. I think taking a guy like that in the late rounds isn't bad at all he has some upside.
When the Bucs took Virginia Tech safety Cody Grimm that was a surprise pick around the league. Most people thought that Grimm was going to go to Pittsburgh or Arizona, the teams that have ties to his father. The issue with Grimm is that he is a tweener, you don't know if he is going to be a linebacker or a safety. Athletically with his size and speed you don't know if he can hold up at linebacker and if he has the skill set for safety.
Don't get me wrong, Grimm is a good player. When you watch film, he produces. He may your classic overachiever that finds a way to make an impact, but I wonder about his upside. I think that Grimm can be a backup, and a special teamer. A similar player that comes to mind with the Buccaneers is former safety John Howell. Grimm is bigger and probably a more physical football player. He should be a fabulous special teams player, but I think you could end up being afraid to put him on the field on Sunday.
As for the Bucs undrafted free agents, there were a couple of guys that stood out to me. I was surprised how Virginia Tech guard Sergio Render fell out of the draft. He completely fell off the radar for some teams. Last year I watched him, and the word in the community was that he was definitely a draftable player. This year he struggled more, and the switch from right to left guard didn't help. I like the signing of Northern Iowa defensive end James Ruffin. I've had some trusted people rave about him to me. He sounds like a pretty good kid and a pretty good player. By an anonymous NFL scout as told to PewterReport.com editor-in-chief Charlie Campbell.
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