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April 9, 2012 @ 7:23 pm
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PR REACTS: Bucs' 2007 First-Round Pick Re-do

Written by Scott
Reynolds
Scott Reynolds

Scott
Reynolds

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The Buccaneers selected defensive end Gaines Adams with the fourth overall pick in 2007, but who would NFL.com's Elliot Harrison have the team select instead? Find out in his 2007 NFL Draft Do-Over and see how Scott Reynolds responds in this edition of PR Reacts.
They say you can’t accurately evaluate an NFL Draft class until four or five years later. That’s true, and NFL.com analyst Elliot Harrison did a 2007 Draft Do-Over story to look back at the top 10 selections of that year.

Tampa Bay had the fourth overall pick that year and selected Clemson defensive end Gaines Adams after Oakland drafted quarterback Jamarcus Russell, Detroit chose wide receiver Calvin Johnson and Cleveland selected left tackle Joe Thomas. Adams had a disappointing 13.5 sacks and two interceptions in two and a half seasons in Tampa Bay before being traded to Chicago in 2009 prior to his untimely death.

So who does Harrison believe the Bucs should have drafted? Here’s what he had to say on NFL.com:

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Actual pick: Gaines Adams 

Do-over pick: Patrick Willis

Unfortunately, Adams tragically lost his life after falling to a previously undetected heart condition. Adams had struggled in Tampa and was trying to resurrect his career in Chicago. In this 2007 redo, the Bucs get the middle linebacker to run Monte Kiffin’s (their DC in ‘07) Tampa 2. Willis’ agility and instincts allow him to clean up against the run and get depth in pass coverage.

PR REACTS – SR’s Take: In Harrison’s re-draft, he had Oakland taking Johnson instead of Russell first overall, Detroit taking Peterson and Cleveland sticking with Thomas with the third overall selection. Instead of Tampa Bay drafting Adams fourth overall, he had the Bucs taking Ole Miss middle linebacker Patrick Willis.

Given the leftover talent available in the first round after Johnson, Peterson and Thomas, Willis, a multi-year Pro Bowler, has turned out to be the next best player. And given the Buccaneers’ struggles against the run in recent years, having a Hardy Nickerson-like tackling machine such as Willis makes sense in retrospect.

However, the Bucs avoided picking Willis for three reasons. The first of which was the glaring need at defensive end. Adams had his faults, but he was the top-rated defensive end in the draft at the time by probably every team in the league after he had a phenomenal combine, running a 4.6 in the 40-yard dash. Sources tell Pewter Report that former Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin thought Adams was the second coming of ex-Bucs pass rusher Simeon Rice.

The second reason was that the Bucs already had a middle linebacker in Barrett Ruud, a player whom the team used a high second-round selection on during the 2005 draft. Ruud had his best seasons from 2007-10 in Tampa Bay and middle linebacker was definitely not a need and certainly not a position the Bucs would have spent a first-round pick on in 2007. In Harrison’s hindsight world, Willis makes perfect sense because he is a far superior player than Ruud is, but under no circumstances was Tampa Bay going to select Willis that year.

Which leads to the third reason why the Bucs wouldn’t have taken Willis with the fourth overall pick. Kiffin didn’t like Willis. Pewter Report isn’t sure exactly why, other than have multiple sources tell us that Kiffin didn’t think Willis warranted a top 20 pick. Willis actually went to San Francisco with the 11th overall pick in 2007.

It’s ironic that Kiffin, a former linebackers coach, could pick the heck out of defensive backs in the draft (see Donnie Abraham, Ronde Barber, Brian Kelly, Dwight Smith, Dexter Jackson, Jermaine Phillips and Tanard Jackson), but struggled at choosing linebackers (Jamie Duncan, Nate Webster, Ruud, Quincy Black, Adam Hayward and Geno Hayes) during his tenure in Tampa Bay.

Another bit of irony is the fact that the Bucs also just signed defensive tackle Amobi Okoye, who was the 10th overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. That year the Bucs were in need of defensive ends and defensive tackles for Kiffin’s Tampa 2 scheme and debated whether the team should draft Adams or Okoye, who inked a one-year deal with Tampa Bay on Monday.

Last modified on Tuesday, 10 April 2012 09:42
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COMMENTS

  • avatar

    If Gruden wanted a receiver, why not just pick Dwayne Bowe?
  • avatar


    Doing these Draft re-do's is like going to your high school reunion and comparing your wife of several years to all of your high school sweethearts. Your choice at the time made all the sense in the world; so what's the point. Me, I went to my 35th and 40th high school reunions. My wife of nearly 43 years would still be my first choice. But I imagine there are a lot of guys giving that "wow, I could have had a V8 look" when seeing how Flat Frannie blossomed. But then there's "Little Debbie" and her cute butt that became a big ol a$$. Who knows how things will go.
  • avatar


    should have picked willis
  • avatar

    Yes Horse is right I heard that Gruden wanted Megatron and that there was a deal on the table for two 1st rounders and two 2nd rounders and that Bruce Allen didn't want to do the trade alot has changed with Allen since then, lol
  • avatar


    jongruden, I think LordJim gets the credit not me.
  • avatar


    The correct move was what Gruden wanted to do, trade up for Megatron. This is why NFL people can't be trusted to write about any team other than the NFC East or the Patriots. That's all they know.
  • avatar


    Tarnard Jackson just got cut from the Bucs. He failed his physical.
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