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January 26, 2013 @ 9:01 am
Current rating: 3.67 Stars/3 Votes

SR's Fab 5 - 1-26

Written by Scott
Reynolds
Alabama junior RT D.J. Fluker was impressive at the Senior Bowl weigh-in
Alabama junior RT D.J. Fluker was impressive at the Senior Bowl weigh-in Getty Images
Scott Reynolds

Scott
Reynolds

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FREE SR's FAB 5: Why are the Bucs very high on two rising OTs – Alabama's D.J. Fluker and Oklahoma's Lane Johnson? Would Washington CB Desmond Trufant be a good fit in Tampa Bay? Which sleeper CB are the Bucs interested in? Get the answers, plus inside scoop and insight on Gerald McCoy and the Senior Bowl QBs in this edition of SR's Fab 5.
SR's Fab 5 is a collection of inside scoop, analysis and insight from yours truly, Pewter Report publisher and Bucs beat writer Scott Reynolds. Here are a few things that caught my attention this week at One Buc Place:

FAB 1. Although Pewter Report’s first mock draft of 2013 featured a defensive tackle, Missouri’s Sheldon Richardson, as Tampa Bay’s first-round pick, don’t be surprised if the Buccaneers select an offensive tackle with the 13th overall selection. Granted, cornerback is the team’s most pressing need right now, but Alabama’s Dee Milliner will likely be off the board by the time the Bucs are on the clock, and Xavier Rhodes and Johnathan Banks are considered to be late first-round options.

There were two offensive tackles at the Senior Bowl that would be ideal picks for Tampa Bay with the 13th pick – Alabama right tackle D.J. Fluker and Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson, who has experience at both tackle positions. Let’s start with Fluker, who was one of the two juniors that was allowed to participate in the Senior Bowl because he’s already earned his degree.

Fluker attended the weigh-in and wowed scouts with his 6-foot-4, 355-pound frame. He carried that amount of weight exceptionally well and has had a track record of slimming down as he showed up at Alabama weighing a flabby 400 pounds. Fluker, who is a three-year starter at right tackle, has reshaped his body and is now a big, thick strong physical specimen, having lost 45 pounds of excess weight.

He hasn’t missed a game in two years, helping Alabama repeat as back-to-back national champions as a second-team All-American and a first-team All-SEC lineman. Fluker graded at out 98.6 percent of his blocking assignments in 2012.

There just aren’t that many athletes – even in the NFL – that have the size, athleticism and ability that Fluker has, and that’s the appeal. He had the longest arms at the weigh in, measuring just under 36.5 inches.

Fluker has a ridiculous 87-inch wingspan, which is believed to be the longest in the 2013 NFL Draft class. To put that in perspective, massive Margus Hunt, the 6-foot-8, 277-pound defensive end from SMU, has 33.5-inch arms and an 82-inch wingspan. Fluker also wears a size 20 shoe – just in case you were wondering.

Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano loves big offensive linemen, and Tampa Bay’s current O-line consists of 340-pound left tackle Donald Penn, 370-pound left guard Carl Nicks, 308-pound center Jeremy Zuttah, 313-pound right guard Davin Joseph and 315-pound right tackle Demar Dotson. Fluker, would add 40 more pounds of beef to Tampa Bay’s line if he were drafted to replace Dotson.

The Bucs are lacking depth at the offensive tackle position and Dotson could fill that role the best as a swing tackle capable of playing either on the left or right side of the line. Fluker, who didn’t participate in the Senior Bowl practices due to be nicked up in the national championship game against Notre Dame, would be a definite upgrade over Dotson, who had a good, but not great year as a first-time starter at right tackle. Of course, Dotson has only been playing organized football for five years, so that’s worth keeping in mind, too.

Fluker’s stock will likely be on the rise over the next two months as scouts do more work on the junior entry from the Crimson Tide. Don’t be surprised if Fluker is a top 15 pick as a mid-first-rounder when it’s all said and done, and a player the Bucs will definitely have to consider if he’s still on the board at 13.

Johnson is another rising offensive tackle prospect. He’s having a dominant week at the Senior Bowl, playing as well – if not better – than Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher, who is regarded as the second-best left tackle in the 2013 NFL Draft behind Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel. Johnson came into the Senior Bowl as a late first-rounder or an early second-round pick, but I would be shocked if he isn’t a mid-first-rounder after the great week he’s had in Mobile, Ala.

As someone who has watched a great deal of Big 12 football over the years, Johnson is one of the best tackles I’ve seen in quite some time. He’s nearly the same size as Fisher, weighing in at 6-foot-6, 302 pounds whereas Fisher measured 6-foot-7, 305 pounds, but Johnson has 35-inch arms and an 83-inch wingspan, while Fisher has 34-inch arms and an 82-inch wingspan.

What makes Johnson a better offensive tackle prospect is his strength and physicality in the run game. Johnson routinely pancaked defensive ends in Mobile, Ala. during the senior bowl practices, including highly touted BYU defensive end Ezekial Ansah, who is projected to be a first-rounder.

“I knew coming up here that he was a great athlete,” Johnson said. “I’m training with one of the BYU tackles and he told me what a freakish athlete he is. He’s a guy with tremendous upside. He’s got all the talent in the world.”

On Saturday, Johnson will square off against an old nemesis, Texas defensive end Alex Okafor, who is playing for the North squad in the Senior Bowl. Okafor had 12.5 sacks in 2012, but Johnson held the highly regarded pass rusher to just one tackle. In two years against Johnson, Okafor didn’t get to quarterback Landry Jones once, and notched a total of just four tackles.

“He’s a hell of a player,” Okafor said. “OU beat us pretty bad, obviously they’re doing something right. He was one of the best tackles – if not the best tackle – I went up against this year. He’s an exceptional player. He’s patient and strong. He’ll succeed in the NFL.”

What makes Johnson a phenomenal offensive tackle is the fact that he has the huge wingspan that comes with being a 6-foot-6 lineman, but he does a great job of bending at the knees and not the waist and playing like he’s 6-foot-3 when it comes to proper pad level.

“Some NFL teams have told me I do a good job of that,” Johnson said. “I try to get low, stay low and bend my knees rather than bend at the waist. If you are standing up too high you are going to get bull-rushed. I try to play with good pad level and show what kind of an athlete I am.

“In a month from now at the combine I’m going to post some really big numbers, so I’m excited about that. I’ve been playing sports all my life and I attribute much of it to playing basketball. I was a basketball player in high school and also ran track – ran the quarter mile – and also did shotput. I think basketball helped me out with my quickness and my movement.

While Johnson has incredible film from his days at OU to rely on, he is expecting to be a breakout performer at the combine where he will test as one of the most athletic offensive linemen in Indianapolis.

“Everybody is on a level playing field as far as talent goes in the NFL,” Johnson said. “I’m training with David Diaz, a former NFL lineman that played with John Elway. I’m working on my techniques and fundamentals and my hand placement so I can get an edge and get better.

“When I first started training I did 30 reps of 225 pounds on my first set. That’s a good way to start and I’ll only get better. I got timed at a 4.71 in the 40-yard dash. I had one of the best 10- and 20-yard splits there – equal to a bunch of the DBs and receivers. I’m excited about that, but I’m concentrating on my week here to try to showcase my character and what type of player I am.”

Johnson met with the Buccaneers in Mobile, and he revealed that he would be excited to be selected by Tampa Bay.

“There is a big need for offensive tackles that can do it all – run block and pass protect,” Johnson said. “It’s going to be an exciting couple of months. I’d love to play in Tampa with Gerald McCoy and Davin Joseph. They have a lot of guys down there from the Big 12 with Josh Freeman, Roy Miller and a couple others. I’d love it.”

Johnson started his college career at Kilgore College where he played tight end and quarterback before transferring to Oklahoma in 2009. After redshirting upon his arrival, Johnson played tight end and defensive end for the Sooners before switching to right tackle where he started 12 of 13 games. Johnson started 11 games at left tackle and two others at right tackle last season.

The appeal to drafting Johnson – even over Fluker – is that he has the potential to start at both left and right tackle for the Buccaneers due to his strength, athleticism and quickness. Johnson could be a rookie starter at right tackle and could be Donald Penn’s eventual replacement at left tackle in a few years. That would maximize the value of drafting an offensive tackle with the 13th overall pick and be an integral role in maintaining Tampa Bay’s elite offensive line and protecting franchise quarterback Josh Freeman, which is always a priority.

Johnson’s name may not be up there yet with Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel and Fisher’s in terms of first-round potential, but after an eye-opening week in Mobile, Ala. it soon will be.

“I think Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher are the two best tackles in the draft,” Johnson said. “I’ve been watching Luke for the past year. He’s one of the guys that I try to emulate and mold my game after in terms of technique. But I’m not the third-best tackle. I don’t want to sound too full of myself, but I’m up there with him. I’m confident in my abilities. I definitely believe I am a first-round guy and I’m trying to get up as high as I can.”

FAB 2. Undoubtedly one of the best performers at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. was Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant. The talkative Huskies defensive backs abused North wide receivers with his tongue and his surprising physical play in front of NFL scouts, general managers and coaches in attendance.

Although he doesn’t have the longest arms at just over 30 inches or the widest wingspan at 73.5 inches, Trufant checked in at 5-foot-11, 190 pounds and is considered to be a decent-sized cornerback in the Brian Kelly mold. New director of college scouting Eric Stokes likes big cornerbacks like he helped acquire in Seattle with 6-foot-4, 221-pound Brandon Browner and 6-foot-3, 195-pound Richard Sherman (to learn more about Stokes and what type of players he favors click on last week's SR's Fab 5 column), and Bucs general manager Mark Dominik and director of player personnel Dennis Hickey also believe in that approach. Trufant might not be that tall, but he is a tough, physical cornerback that plays bigger than his size.

It wasn’t that way all the time for the four-year starter. Trufant was admittedly a poor tackler earlier in his career, but has steadily worked on that part of his game and is now considered to be a hard-hitting tackler in pass coverage and in the run game.

“Run support was definitely one of my weaknesses early in my college career,” Trufant said. “I’ve worked on it and put on weight. I’m staying aggressive and that’s helped me a lot.

“I was getting a lot of bad press earlier in my career. I had never failed at football before, so just getting through that made me a more resilient person. I was humbled. I needed to learn how to really work. I needed to get beat and make those mistakes to make me the player I am now. I’m grateful for that.”

In his Washington career, Trufant played in 50 games where he made 195 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, two sacks and one fumble recovery for a touchdown. Against the pass, Trufant broke up 32 passes and picked off six more in his four years with the Huskies. Although he is not a prolific interceptor like Mississippi State’s Johnthan Banks, who had 14 in his career, Trufant often had timely, game-changing picks in college.

One of his biggest came in the fourth quarter to help Washington upset Stanford, 17-13 during his senior year. As a junior, Trufant had a pick in the season opener to help the Huskies avoid an upset to Eastern Washington in a 30-27 victory. A week later in Washington’s 40-32 win over Hawaii, Trufant recorded his only other pick of his junior season.

During his sophomore campaign, Trufant recorded a pick in a thrilling 35-34 triumph over Oregon State. And as a freshman, his first collegiate interception helped the Huskies prevail against Arizona, 36-33.

What makes Trufant so appealing to Tampa Bay despite the fact that he plays a position of great need is his versatility.

“In college we did everything – man, Cover 3, Cover 2 – so I feel like my skills translate to being a man-to-man cornerback, but I can play whatever. I’m willing to do anything,” Trufant said.

That’s music to the ears of defensive-minded head coach Greg Schiano, whose schemes ask cornerbacks to play both man and zone coverage. Bucs middle linebacker Mason Foster, who played with Trufant for two years at Washington, thinks he would be a great addition to the Buccaneers, who could select him in the second round this April.

“I think he will fit in playing either man or zone,” Foster said. “That’s the thing about Pac-12 football – you’re going to see the best receivers, the wide open offenses and the fastest guys in the trenches. He’s shown that he can play against anybody – he’s played against LSU and has a great resume, and I’m excited to see how he does coming up in [the Senior Bowl] and at the combine.”

Trufant is believed to be one of the faster cornerbacks in the 2013 NFL Draft.

“I’ll probably run a 4.4 – hopefully faster,” Trufant said. “I’m still in training. I’m trying to get as strong and fast as possible.”

While Trufant’s athleticism will surely wow scouts, the Buccaneers always revert back to the tape, and the Huskies cover corner has plenty of highlights to tantalize Tampa Bay’s scouts.

“I played against Marquise Lee and Robert Woods at USC,” Trufant said. “I played against Keenan Allen at Cal. He’s probably the best receiver I’ve ever gone against. I didn’t play him this year. I feel like Marquise Lee is the best receiver I played against this year. I did pretty well against him, too.”

In USC’s 24-14 win over Washington, Lee, who finished as the nation’s second-leading receiver, was held to just two catches for 32 yards against Trufant. Woods was also contained due to Trufant and the Huskies secondary, catching just five passes for 88 yards.

What stands out about Trufant is his ultra-competitiveness. During Senior Bowl week, Trufant cut in line ahead of Utah State cornerback Will Davis on Wednesday because he wanted to match up against Pac-12 nemesis Markus Wheaton, a wide receiver from Oregon State. Davis protested, but Trufant waved him off because he wanted a shot against the speedy Wheaton in 1-on-1 drills.

Later in practice, Trufant was initially beaten by Wheaton on a crossing route, but the Washington defender recovered and was able to prevent the reception.

“That’s recovery! That’s recovery! It’s all about finishing!” Trufant screamed for all the scouts to hear as he and Wheaton began jawing with each other.

“He was one of my good friends, kind of like my little brother,” Foster said of Trufant. “The first thing that pops into my head is that he was very competitive. I think that’s one of the biggest things that he has going for him. He’s really competitive and leads by example. Even when he was a young guy coming into [Washington], he came in and was trying to compete with everybody. I think that’s helped him throughout his career continuing to get better. He’s going to be a good player.”
 
Trufant was once regarded as a low second-round prospect, but after an impressive week in Mobile, Ala. his stock has climbed at least to the top of the second round. PewterReport.com has the Buccaneers trading up in the second round to get Trufant.

“My whole point in coming here was to go up against the best competition,” Trufant said. “These are the best seniors in the country. My goal in coming here is to prove that I’m an elite cornerback. Nothing to take anything away from guys like Dee Milliner or Xavier Rhodes, but my goal is to prove that I’m the best.

“My goal is to go in the first round, but you never know. The media tells you one thing, but scouts tell you something else. The draft is a crazy thing. It’s unpredictable. I’m just going to control what I can control and things will take care of themselves. It’s been easy learning an NFL playbook for me. The language is different, but the scheme is the same. I’ve done it all before. It was easy for me.”

Foster said that the Bucs defense, which ranked last in the NFL in pass defense in 2012, allowing 297.4 yards per game, could use Trufant’s coverage ability and swagger.

“I think it would be great [if the Bucs took him],” said Foster. “I think he will fit perfectly in this scheme we have here. Coach Schiano will love him and his attitude and hard work. He doesn’t really say too much but keeps working and going every single day. I’m excited about him getting an opportunity to play in this league. His older brothers play in the league so I definitely think he has the bloodlines.”

Trufant said he interviewed with the Buccaneers and would love to reunite with Foster.


“I’ve talked to the Buccaneers and I would love to play with Mason again,” Trufant said. “He was definitely somebody I looked up to coming in as a freshman. He’s a great player and I would love to suit up with him again and get it going in Tampa.”

FAB 3. While Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant came into the 2013 Senior Bowl with name recognition due to his bloodlines and will leave Mobile, Ala. as a household name due to an outstanding week of competing and physical play, another lesser-known cornerback was scouted heavily by the Buccaneers. Utah State’s Will Davis is another cover corner that has the size Tampa Bay is looking for at 5-foot-11, 182 pounds.

Davis met with the Buccaneers and came away excited by the prospects of Tampa Bay showing a great deal of interest in him.

“It went good,” Davis said of his meeting with the Bucs. “I went in there for my meeting and had a good time with them. I think they like me and my personality. I was confident going in and confident coming out. They have some Utah State guys down there in Donald Penn and Michael Smith. We talked about that. Michael Smith was kind of like a big brother to me when I got to Utah State. To see them talk about Michael was good and I texted him afterwards letting him know I met with them.”

“They feel like I have a lot of upside and that my best football is ahead of me. They like how I play on the field and that I’m smooth. I definitely have things I have to work on, but I’m confident in my foundation skills. I’m tall, long and athletic.”

Davis is a relative newcomer to football having only played his senior year of high school where he recorded seven interceptions at the cornerback position. That led him to Western Washington College where he was cut during his redshirt freshman season. Davis found a new home at De Anza College in California where he played junior college football for a season, picking off eight passes and returning two for touchdowns as a sophomore.

Once at Utah State, Davis recorded 35 tackles and six pass breakups as a junior, including 10 tackles against Idaho and seven against Nevada. As a senior, the athletic Davis had a breakout season with 64 tackles, 17 pass breakups, 4.5 tackles for loss and five interceptions, including one that he returned 59 yards for a touchdown against Idaho.

One of Davis’ picks came against Louisiana Tech while covering highly-ranked receiver Quinton Patton, who battled for 181 yards on 10 catches against Utah State in a 48-41 shootout victory over the Aggies.

“I played against Quinton Patton at La Tech,” Davis said. “He’s having a good time out here at the Senior Bowl. He’s on the South and I talked to him and he said he’s tearing it up. We had some good battles, and of course the way they ended their season was kind of dramatic with them missing out on a bowl game that they deserved. He’s a funny guy and it was good chatting with him.”

The Bucs like Davis’ ability to play man coverage as well as zone as Tampa Bay head coach Greg Schiano likes to mix up his schemes in pass defense.

“I think I transition well to the NFL because of my experience playing off coverage,” Davis said. “You can’t touch anyone past five yards in the NFL anyways, and I stay on guys after the five yards.”

Davis is believed to be one of the most athletic cornerbacks in the draft and could see his stock blow up at the combine if he can run a 4.4 or below in the 40-yard dash.

“They’ll like my speed for sure,” Davis said. “They are not going to be disappointed by it – no team will be when it comes to the combine. I’ve heard I could be selected in the top three rounds, but you never know. After this week I’ll know more after they see how I do.”

Keep an eye on Davis in the second round, as Tampa Bay certainly will be. The Utah State cornerback comes across as a very intelligent, well-spoken player with a friendly swagger about him that isn’t off-putting.

“I’m a confident player and I’m talented,” Davis said. “I feel like my potential is through the roof and I can’t wait to see the player I’m going to be. I think I will be one of the best, if not the best, cornerback coming out of this draft by the time my NFL career is over. If you don’t pick me, you’ll see what I’ll do for another team. I have the most talent and potential of all the cornerbacks.”

FAB 4. Sunday marks a huge day in the young career of Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. The third overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft has fought through two torn biceps and criticism from some fans and some in the media that he is a bust to make the Pro Bowl in just his third NFL season.

“It’s going to be great,” McCoy said. “That’s not the game I would rather be playing in, but shoot, I definitely don’t mind it. It’s going to be fun. I’m going to take it all in and enjoy it and have fun with it.”

McCoy finished the 2012 season healthy for the first time in the NFL after his first two seasons ended on injured reserve. He was able to record 30 tackles, nine tackles for loss, a career-high five sacks, two passes defensed, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

While talking to the media at the Senior Bowl on Tuesday, Bucs general manager Mark Dominik discussed McCoy’s Pro Bowl berth and is excited to see him join wide receiver Vincent Jackson and running back Doug Martin in Hawaii representing the NFC squad on Sunday.

“It’s a fantastic statement about what you can do with an opportunity and with Gerald, certainly, a full season healthy, but also like we said, to get the respect of the coaches and other players around the league to say he deserves to go to the Pro Bowl because he didn’t get the fan vote – it just speaks to his work ethic and the impact he makes on a daily basis. Whether he gets a lot of production or limited production in a game, it speaks to what his impact on his opponents is. So that’s three players to the Pro Bowl, which is nice, but I can still remember when we had 10, and that’s what we’re trying to get back to because that’s when you know you’re making significant strides. It means we’re having success in free agency and the draft, and that’s important.”


Dominik has been frustrated by the constant criticisms of McCoy in the media. Former Bucs guard Ian Beckles, who hosts a morning show on WDAE 620 AM, and ex-Tampa Bay quarterback Shaun King, who works for NBC Sports, have been among the loudest critics.

“They’re due their opinion,” Dominik said. “Internally, we don’t process it very much because internally, we care more about what we’re seeing on tape and what they’re doing and we try to talk to our players about that all the time. If you do right by what the coaches are asking and how you handle your business and practice, everything will take care of itself. And at the end of the day, that’s why Gerald McCoy made it to the Pro Bowl.”

McCoy, a God-fearing man, told PewterReport.com that he doesn’t feel that his Pro Bowl berth is a vindication of sorts against his critics.

“I didn’t feel like I have to prove myself to anybody,” McCoy said. “I don’t live for man. I tell you guys all the time. I don’t live to get man’s approval. I live to get God’s approval. How I bounced back from everything and kept fighting through, that wasn’t for man. I didn’t feel like there was any validation. All that didn’t matter. I want to be the best man I can. The Bible tells us whatever you do, do it wholeheartedly not unto man, but unto God. Everything I did was for God’s approval and it worked for me. It was all in God’s timing. It was great and feels good.”

One of the things that McCoy prayed about heading into the 2012 season was not a Pro Bowl selection. Instead, it was just to start all 16 games and produce for the Buccaneers.

“Yeah, it was [a goal],” McCoy said. “I got emotional in the locker room after the Falcons game because I started thinking through everything I went through to get to that point. I told the guys before the game – the D-line always does a little break down – I said, ‘Man, you have to look at this game as a privilege and a blessing and an honor to play. This was my third season and my first time seeing [the season finale]. I got emotional. It’s a long journey. To a lot of people it may not mean nothing, but if you’ve never been through what I’ve been through you won’t understand.”

McCoy hopes his days of being seriously injured are over and that his days of playing in Pro Bowls for the Buccaneers are just beginning.

“I feel good,” McCoy said. “I’m good. My body feels good. One thing that people may not know about me is that I didn’t miss one practice all year starting from the OTAs through the last walk-thru. That’s even when I was recovering from my biceps. That’s what I was used to. That’s what it was at OU and that’s how I was in high school. That was the norm for me. It kind of seemed different because I haven’t done it since I have been here. However, that’s the norm for me and how I expect it to be for however many years going forward.”

FAB 5. Here are a few things to hold you over until the next edition of SR’s Fab 5:

• In the week of practice leading up to the Senior Bowl, Oklahoma’s Landry Jones was the most consistent and impressive quarterback in Mobile, Ala. Jones has his share of critics for losing a few big games and being rattled under pressure, but his left tackle, Lane Johnson, who starred during the Senior Bowl week, says that any criticism of Jones is unfounded.

“I think the biggest knock on Landry is that some might feel he’s not a leader,” Johnson said. “Some have speculated that he’s not, but he’ll get in your face when he needs to. What impressed me about him is after the K-State loss everybody was saying we needed to bench Landry, but he bounced back and led to a bowl game and shot at the Big 12 championship. He’s a tough guy and he’s won plenty of games for us in pressure-packed situations. That showed what kind of character he has.”

The Bucs were taking a close look at Jones, North Carolina State quarterback Mike Glennon and Miami (OH)’s Zac Dysert in Mobile, Ala. during the week. The good news for Bucs fans that aren't fans of Florida State QB E.J. Manuel is that Manuel said he did not interview with the Buccaneers in Mobile, Ala. I had the Bucs taking Manuel in the fourth round of Pewter Report's initial mock draft but it's safe to say he won't be in PR's second version, which will be out in February. Manuel was inconsistent and unimpressive during Senior Bowl week practices.

• Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant believes he was destined to play cornerback and follow in the footsteps of his two brothers, Marcus and Isaiah, who also play cornerback in the NFL for the Seahawks and Jets, respectively.

“It just happened like that for me, I can’t even explain it,” Trufant said. “I feel like the position kind of chose me. I played everything else in high school – quarterback, wide receiver and running back. I could have been anything else, but I feel like my skills and what I’m good at translates best to playing cornerback. Just watching so many NFL games by watching my brothers I’ve learned so much and taken so many notes that can help my game.”

Trufant, who is expected to be a second-round draft pick, says there is no added pressure to live up to his brothers’ accomplishments.

“It’s not pressure, I look at it as an opportunity,” Trufant said. “Because of the name on the back of my jersey, the more people are going to be looking at me and I’m going to be under a microscope – good or bad. I’m just looking at this as the opportunity to make an even bigger name for myself and the family.”

• Buccaneers defensive end Michael Bennett is one of defensive tackle Gerald McCoy’s biggest supporters and was thrilled to see the team’s first-round pick in 2010 be selected to his first Pro Bowl this season after finishing second on the team with five sacks.

“Nobody was happier for Gerald than me,” said Bennett. “To see him go through everything and persevere the way he did. Everybody criticized him for getting hurt, but people that criticized him obviously didn’t play football because in one movement you can get hurt. Gerald did the best thing he could do with closed ears and closed eyes and just played the way he played. I’m honored to play with Gerald everyday. I’m proud of him and everything he’s accomplished.”

Bennett also knew early on that Tampa Bay’s rookie sensation, running back Doug Martin, who will be joining McCoy in the Pro Bowl on Sunday, was going to be a great player.

“During training camp I knew he was special,” Bennett said. “He had that hard-nosed attitude. He always ran hard and just didn’t want to stop. He’s just one of those guys that comes out and works hard every day. This is just the beginning for him.

• Pewter Insider subscribers will need to be ready to RSVP for our first official Pewter Report Get2gether of 2013 on PewterReport.com’s Pewter Insider board on Monday, January 28. The PR Get2gether will be the first of four, and will  take place on Sunday, February 17 at Courtside Grille Tampa at 13234 Race Track Road from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. This event, which will be publicized on Monday on PewterReport.com, will be capped at 150 Bucs fans comprised of only Pewter Insider subscribers, who may bring one guest. Pewter Insider subscribers must RSVP on the Pewter Insider message board and availability will be limited to a first-come, first-served basis.

This Pewter Report Get2gether event – like all four this year – will be catered with free appetizers, soft drinks and tea, courtesy of Pewter Report and Courtside Grille. Drink specials will also be provided to Pewter Insider subscribers, in addition to food specials for those Bucs fans that want to purchase beer, wine or mixed drinks, and prefer to purchase eat lunch or dinner at Courtside Grille Tampa rather than just feast on appetizers.

This Pewter Report Get2gether will also feature an appearance and autograph session with Buccaneers free safety Ahmad Black, in addition to a question-and-answer session with Black and Pewter Reporters Mark Cook and yours truly. As always, there will be plenty of inside information from the PR staff dished out at the Pewter Report Get2gether, and there will be also be some cool giveaways.

So Pewter Insiders need to save the date of Sunday, February 17 and be sure to quickly sign up on the Pewter Insider message board on Monday when we post the RSVP thread. If you are interested in becoming a Pewter Insider subscriber for just $10 per year, call 1-800-881-BUCS(2827) or click here.

• And a big thanks to The Theater Doctor, who sponsored Pewter Report’s 2013 Senior Bowl live from Mobile, Ala. Be sure to visit The Theater Doctor website by clicking here to learn more about the products and services they offer Tampa Bay area sports fans who are looking for a unique home theater experience. With the the Super Bowl coming up in the next few weeks and March Madness just around the corner, it’s time to get your man cave up-to-date and operational to watch football the way it should be viewed – on a big screen with surround sound.

Let Jeff Duncan and the folks at The Theater Doctor come by for an in-home consultation. Call The Theater Doctor today at (813) 929-6816 and tell them Pewter Report sent you.
Last modified on Saturday, 26 January 2013 18:05
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COMMENTS

  • avatar


    Why on Earth is Shaun King criticizing anyone?
  • avatar

    EJ sucks and Noles Fans know it, Charlie Fry had a great senior bowl too a few yrs ago so means nothing
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    For all the people (Gator fans) who were knocking EJ Manual, looks like he performed the best in the game (for QBs), so kiss it.
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    EJ sucks and Noles Fans know it
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    Kiss it? Because of that game? Come on mlloye. Post something about Manuel in three years when you don't know if he's still in the league or not.
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    We need to help the "biggest weakness on our team which is corner and there are 3 corners with first round grades so drafting one of them at 13 who is projected to go 26th is irrelevant. Remember Bruce Irvin last yr? Who was a projected 3rd rounder last yr and ESPN mocked the pick of the Seahawks at #14 to draft in that spot well this yr he finished with 8.5 sacks
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    Scubog/Jon Gruden, Check out the link below. Bullet #4....http://www.walterfootball.com/seniorbowl2013rumors4.php
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    macabee- Thx about the read, I already know well at least in "my" mind that the Bucs will select a corner with their first pick . Last yr the Bucs weren't as deseperate with Talib and Wright on the roster but now we have L Johnson and Biggers thats screams corner first round and Milliner, Rhodes, and Banks are all first round caliber corner's just connect the dots. It would be boring if PR had us taking a corner with our first pick in every mock draft they publish by mentioning other options creates good speculation and interest from the readers but watch how in their final mock how they have us taking a corner.
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    Love your posts macabee. When you refer to "high horse", you don't mean our own poster Horse who has already stated his desire to trade down. Perhaps you infer that JonnyG will "ride to the desert on a horse (high of course) with no name", who is adamant that the Bucs draft a CB at #13. Me, I'm a best player guy. A strength can become a weakness very quickly as it did at guard and cornerback.
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    we need to help the "biggest weakness on our team which is corner and their are 3 corners with first round grades so dafting one of them at 13 who is projected to go 26th is irrelant. Remember Bruce Irvin last yr who was a projected 3rd rounder last yr and ESPN mocked the pick of the Seahawks at #14 to draft in that spot well this yr he finished with 8.5 sacks
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    Nobody should take a righteous position when it comes to a mock draft this early. Not one of the 1st round rated CBs even played in the Senior Bowl. The Combine doesn’t happen until late February. Does anybody know what the Bucs will do in FA? It will definitely set up the draft. How many expert posters at PR got the 1st round pick(s) right last year? I didn’t and I suspect you didn’t either. We can all agree that the Bucs need CB. Is Schiano predictable enough to ensure that’s what he will pick in the 1st round? If we are to believe PR, they want Myron Lewis back and the still have Eric Wright packed in salt over there and most draft analyst believe that Biggers will be re-signed. We should all get off of our high horses as though we’ve nailed this draft and admit it’s a crapshoot. Dominik is just as likely to trade down and pick a TE or other BPA, then trade back into the 1st and pick a late 1st CB like Xavier Rhodes as he is to stand pat and absolutely pick a CB at 13. When trying to predict Dominik, remember the mantra “it’s all about #5”. In the world of Schiano and Dominik, we’re all bobbleheads!
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    Well said macabee and I agree with you
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    Great fab 5 Scott. As for me I hope the bucs pick something other than a corner with their first pick. This is a deep cb with lots of players rated late 1st or early 2nd picks.
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    JonnyG: I hope the Bucs draft a CB in the first round just so you don't go out in the desert, cover yourself with sand and bake to a crisp in protest. You are correct about the head-bobbers who agree with anything. At least you and I are consistent..............rarely wrong though. Don't you just love the time leading up to the Draft?
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    Scu-, lol you always have a funny way to put things, I'm still waiting to hear the scouting reports on db's from Montana st from our own Jdouble
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    If the Bucs draft an OT with the first pick, I won't be too happy about it. Unless they some how get Revis or some corner in FA. I'm not saying they should get a Corner with their first pick cause it doesn't look like there's going to be a good value with the 13th pick. Maybe a DL, DE, or a LB. I know we need an OT but there are some good ones coming out on the market this year.
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    I'm a fan of OT L. Johnson and wouldn't mind if the Bucs drafted him. Fluker not so much because he gave up like 4 or 5 sacks this year. However I think we can trade down and still get Johnson. The only 2 guys that we have a realistic chance of getting with #13 pick that I'm okay with are Mingo and Milliner, in that order. The more I think about it the more I like the idea of trading down. At around #20 I like L. Johnson, J. Banks, Floyd, Ertz, Minter or Elam in that order.
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    "308-pound center Jeremy Trueblood??" ... really?
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    It was funny to see how many followers were on board with the first round mock draft and I imagine they will like every mock posted till the draft, the GLARING fact is we had the poorest secondary in history giving up career games to mediocre qb's like Nick Foles so we can talk all we want about RT's and DT's and maybe another wideout but I would be hard pressed to not see the Bucs draft a top rated corner in this draft with Leonard Johnson and EJ Biggers sitting on this roster and drafting 4th -6th rated corners in college to match up against Julio Jones is downright laughable and implausable so I will bet in PR final mock you will see a corner selected in the first round for our Buccaneers and if not then you will hear one called on draft day instead because its really that black and white its almost comparable to Az saying they won't draft a O-Lineman with their first pick it's just not happening.
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    Gil brandt seems to think Fluker is that guy too! I'll take anybody that will give Freeman enough time to throw the ball or will open a hole for Doug Martin to run through. period! As far as Trufant is concerned, I like his attitude for sure. But he is now slotted for the 2nd round. I will bet money if he is sitting there and Logan Ryan is there too, Schiano is picking Logan Ryan. I don't know where it will happen, but there's a TE in the mix early too.
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    I have no problem us picking BAP at the 13th spot and if that is an OT then fine with me. I hope we could trade down, but i know it is easier said than done since this draft has very little sparkles in the top 10 players. Free agency signings will help tell us what we will be doing in the draft.
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    From what I'm hearing about Trufant he is exactly what this defense needs, a heartbeat. Defense has to be played with an edge and he seems to have it. Not shying away from the spotlight and embracing it will be a welcomed site on our even keeled defense. Part of the Bucs greatness came from that mental edge Sapp gave us. Get this kid bc he sounds like he has that edge that can take this defense up a notch.
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