PewterReport.com caught up with Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris to discuss the type of draft prospects that the Bucs were now considering. After installing a 3-4 and 3-3-5 defensive front in the Bucs defense for the 2010 season, Morris acknowledged that Tampa Bay would now consider drafting players for different defenses other than the Tampa 2 and 4-3 defensive scheme that the Buccaneers had used for many years.
“No doubt,” Morris said. “No question. We talk about that all the time. We talked about it last year going into the draft. Don’t close the door on all the hybrid players that you get in the draft like we did before.
“I’ve figured some stuff out. Go take Dekoda Watson. I don’t care if he isn’t keyed yet or has been sharp enough to play linebacker. He played some significant snaps for us based on [pass-rushing] situations where he was given a chance to go be successful. That’s how I kind of look at things. It may be a little bit different. It may be a little bit out of the box, but you have to be a little bit.”
On Wednesday ESPN's Todd McShay discussed the hybrid defenders that could fit into the Bucs draft plans for the 2011 NFL Draft.
“Obviously you have to decide what you’re looking for. Even in 3-4 schemes outside linebackers are viewed differently,” said McShay. “New England for example wants bigger taller guys with some led behind them, that can anchor against the run. Whereas some other teams like Pittsburg with James Harrison and Lamarr Woodley are some of those guys that are shorter and have the explosiveness and speed to bend the edge and get after the quarterback. Not that the Patriots guys don’t but there is an emphasis on speed and athleticism. It just depends on what you are looking for specifically.
“Ultimately you look at generally defensive ends in colleges because the vast majority of teams are playing four-man fronts. If you’re looking for a guy that can do both they are generally undersized guys. Ultimately are they athletic enough, do they have agility, and can they pass rush in a short area. Do they show the ability to turn and run and flip their hips and do some of those things if they are asked to drop into coverage. That is basically it.
“If Tampa is looking to get a guy that is more versatile there are a lot of those players. I think you’re sitting at 20. Robert Quinn is not going to be there at that point. You still have Akeem Ayers from UCLA as a possibility. Even down the line when you look at Justin Houston, the defensive end from Georgia has enough athletic ability. Brooks Reed out of Arizona is to me is one of the most underrated prospects in this draft. He’s probably a late first-round pick and shows all the signs of a guy that can play outside in a 3-4.”