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April 13, 2011 @ 3:34 pm
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RB Ingram, LB Ayers Latest Draft Prospects To Visit Bucs

Written by Scott
Scott Reynolds


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Just days after Tampa Bay hosted UCLA linebacker Akeem Ayers for a pre-draft visit, the Buccaneers hosted Alabama running back at One Buc Place on Wednesday. Check below for a link to all of the players the Bucs have visited with or are scheduled to meet with this month prior to the draft.
In the two years of the Mark Dominik – Raheem Morris era, the Bucs have hosted their eventual number one pick. In 2009, Dominik and Morris brought in quarterback Josh Freeman, whom Morris knew personally from the 2006 season he spent as Kansas State’s defensive coordinator. Last year, the Bucs had Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy visit One Buccaneer Place.

This year, the Bucs have either hosted or are expected to host several players that carry first-round grades, including Purdue defensive end Ryan Kerrigan, California defensive end Cameron Jordan, Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara, USC right tackle Tyron Smith, UCLA linebacker Akeem Ayers, Georgia defensive end/linebacker Justin Houston and Alabama running back Mark Ingram, who was at One Buccaneer Place on Wednesday.

While Tampa Bay has a pressing need at defensive end, Kerrigan and Jordan are expected to be off the draft board by the time the Bucs are on the clock with the 20th overall pick. From a defensive end standpoint, only Houston and Iowa’s Adrian Clayborn may be the only viable options left in the first round. That’s why the Bucs are bringing in players at other positions, such as offensive tackle, linebacker and running back so that they may maximize the value of the pick and take a player worthy of the 20th selection in the first round.

The Bucs could be in the market for a running back to help keep LeGarrette Blount fresh, which is why they are interested in Ingram. Cadillac Williams, who is entering his seventh NFL season, is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent and may not return. Williams, who served as the team’s third-down back last year, is 29 years old and despite two healthy 16-game seasons over the past two years, he has well-chronicled knee injuries in his past.

Ingram is a shifty, powerful back that won the Heisman Trophy in 2009 while leading Alabama to a national title. Ingram rushed for 1,658 yards and 17 touchdowns while averaging 6.1 yards per carry in the SEC during that season as a sophomore. Injuries limited Ingram, who left Alabama after his junior season, to just 875 yards rushing and 13 scores as a junior. He is an accomplished receiver out of the backfield with 60 catches for 670 yards and four touchdowns in his Crimson Tide career.

Tampa Bay has also had Oklahoma State running back Kendall Hunter and Penn State running back Evan Royster in for visits.

Ayers, who visited One Buc Place last week, has the size to play linebacker and also defensive end on a situational basis as he did at UCLA. Ayers, a junior entry, finished his Bruins career with 183 tackles, 29.5 tackles for loss, 14 sacks, seven forced fumbles, six interceptions, three defensive touchdowns and one blocked kick. The Bucs need to improve their pass rush and generate more plays from their linebacking corps.

In fact, Tampa Bay has scheduled visits with at least five linebackers, including Ayers, North Carolina’s Quan Sturdivant, Miami’s Colin McCarthy, Georgia’s Akeem Dent and Fresno State’s Chris Carter. Sturdivant, McCarthy and Dent are all middle linebackers, which could be a sign that the Bucs may part ways with veteran Barrett Ruud, who has been the team’s starting Mike linebacker since 2007.

Ruud will be an unrestricted free agent and the team wants a more physical linebacking corps to stop the run. Over the last two years, the Bucs have ranked 28th and 32nd in the NFL in run defense.

The Bucs are also expected to host USC tight end Jordan Cameron later this week, according to NationalFootballPost.com. For a full list of players that are scheduled to visit the Bucs or have visited One Buc Place, click here.

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  • avatar

    This Ingram visit is nothing more than a Richie McKay style smoke screen to make teams drafting after the Bucs, that might want to select him, squirm. I'm not even sure Ingram is worthy of the 20th pick after this past season's pedestrian statistics as compared to his sophomore season. That said, I do expect the Bucs to draft a RB at some point. As far as I'm concerned, we have only one pro-bowl player on the roster at LT and potential pro-bowlers at QB, RB, WR, TE, DT and possibly RG with not much quality depth. That leaves a lot of positions to upgrade besides DE. At # 20 you take a player with pro-bowl potential not just a player who might only be a little better than what we have but still only average.
  • avatar

    I think that with all the possible QB gone in Round 1. Then Tampa could make a big move in this year draft. Tampa in Rd-1 swamp picks with NE. Tampa @17 could have Cameron Jordan,JJ Watts, Akeem Ayers,Muhammad Wilkerson, and of couse Ryan Kerrigan. Plus maybe swap picks in Rd-3 from 84 to 92.In Rd-2 I would go after ot Marcus Gilber from Florid, and at #92 I would go after FS Ahmad Black another Florida Gator. That would I do that espically if I had a chance to get CAMERON JORDAN is the compete package that can play inside and outside on the Defensive Line.
  • avatar

    Finally we are discussing value at No. 20 spot not necessarily need? That sounds like risk analysis to me which is a good thing. I like our spot because we have some options. The best player available will probably be an offensive player at the 20th spot. I am for seriously trading down and picking up more draft picks. Talib has caused us to think about also getting another CB in the very early rounds. No matter how Talib sleezes his way out of his mess; the Commissioner hasn't forgotten his past and the fact that the guy showed up at his sister's place with a gun in hand. He is going to miss 6-8 games miminum. This guy is much worse than Pac Man or Vick. He's a potential killer.
  • avatar

    Horse- Talib is much worse than Pac Man? Are you dumb? Talib did bring a gun over to protect his sister from domestic violence. Not very smart but I am sure a lot of guys with sisters would do similar things if they were in that situation. Pac Man told one of his lackeys to shoot up a strip club, which paralyzed a bouncer, because one of the strippers was picking up the money that Pac Man "rained" on her. And Vick isn't just a potential killer, he literally killed dogs. The judge of his trial said that when Vick was hooked up to the polygraph and questioned, he would become "excited" when asked about the hanging and drowning of the dogs. That's pretty effed up. Talib is no saint but to say he is much worse than the other two is just plain stupid.
  • avatar

    I have no problem with the Bucs going RB with the #20 pick... but LeShoure is going to be much better... he's bigger, faster, his vision and feet are just as good as Ingrams with better hands and he can pass protect... he's the best RB in the draft in my opinion and thats where we should go IF were looking at RB.
  • avatar

    cash80-dont get worked up over these article piggy backers, everytime PR writes about a guy the Bucs bring in for a visit these posters then blog how they now want that guy in the first round they don't think for themselves they only piggy back the article
  • avatar

    I agree with you guys. Unless it's just pre-draft misdirection, the Bucs seem to be souring on the first round DE's. DE is a huge need, but there might be good value later in the draft (round 2 or 3). The best DE's will probably off the board when we pick, and the other 1st round graded DE's have red flags (either health related or off the field/attitude). Ingram is great, but RB is not a great value pick for round 1 when you consider how many late round or undrafted free agent RB's excelled in recent years. A lot of it depends on who is left when we pick obviously. There might be a run on QB's which would really help us. I'd personally go with a top OT (Tyron Smith, Castonzo, Carimi, and Solder, in that order) to protect Freeman and create more holes in the running game.
  • avatar

    ingram first round.. no problem by me.. but johnson or edwards would be a must!! plz glazers .. might be a bonus to having free agency after the draft this year.
  • avatar

    As running backs go, so goes the team and spending a 1st rounder on Ingram would be fine with me. Sure, the Bucs could wait to draft a RB in a later round, but I thought Ingram was a top 5 pick a year ago. He could be awesome with Blount, especially on 3rd and short.
  • avatar

    I personally would have a problem if the Bucs didn't draft Ingram in the first round. Listen to me boys and girls, YOU DO NOT NEED TO DRAFT A RUNNINGBACK IN THE FIRST ROUND ANYMORE. I understand that the Bucs are doing their due diligence with bringing in Ingram, but I'll bet $1,000 that they won't draft him in the first round. We have a huge hole at defensive end, but I would happy if the organization drafted the best defensive player available. How about this for the first 3 rounds? Round 1: Ayers Round 2: Allen Bailey Round 3: Greg Romeus
  • avatar

    I'd be happy with Ingram in round 1. Allen Bailey in round 2 and Greg Romeus in round 4 sounds pretty good. I'm all for trading up for Quinn or Kerrigan, but if they aren't there, definately take Ingram.
  • avatar

    I'm thinking it is more and more likely that we DON'T end up with a 1st round DE, as it seems that the strategy is to NOT REACH and take the "best DE" at #20 (a strategy with which I agree). Ray Edwards would be a nice add, particularly if we're going to draft a DE later and develop him. If other teams load up on DE's and QB's early on, there could be a very talented RB or O-lineman just sitting there and I believe that we should take that man. From my reading (haven't really had the time to review film, I'm not a scout), only a few DE's and essentially no LB's are worthy of the first round, but there is almost certainly going to be an explosive offensive player and/or quality O-lineman available at #20.
  • avatar

    As much as Defensive end is a pressing matter, I would have no problem if they took Ingram in the first round. As explosive as the offense was last year, Ingram would add a whole other level to the team. I've seen a lot of clips of him from Alabama. If at all possible there may be a veteran DE hiding in free agency somewhere, Ray Edwards anyone?
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