The Buccaneers head into April's draft with numerous needs and head coach Greg Schiano's former team at Rutgers is loaded with NFL talent. Could one or more of his former players become Buccaneers next month? Eric Dellaratta takes a look at seven Scarlet Knights who could find themselves hearing their name called.
It’s easy to outline Rutgers players as potential targets in the draft because of head coach Greg Schiano’s connection to the school. It’s even easier to talk about Rutgers prospects when nearly all of them have legitimate NFL talent. Rutgers has been one of PewterReport.com’s favorite teams to watch on tape because the team is stockpiled with talent both on offense and defense. PewterReport.com believes that seven Rutgers players will hear their names called at some point in April.
There likely won’t be any first round selections from Rutgers, but the team could have up to three players selected in rounds two or three.
Linebacker Khaseem Greene was a huge part of Rutgers defensive success over the last few years. Greene is very athletic and has killer instincts. He’s great when asked to drop in coverage and is never afraid to lay a huge hit. PewterReport.com has put a high second-round grade on the former Scarlet Knight.
Cornerback Logan Ryan is another prospect that should end up a second or third-selection in April. Ryan is a physical cornerback that would fit very well into a press-man coverage defensive system. Rutgers’ defensive system called for lots of blitzing, leaving Ryan by himself in man coverage. He answered the call very nicely throughout his collegiate career and his performance has likely earned him an early draft grade. PewterReport.com expects Ryan to be selected in Round 2.
The final prospect that could be selected on Day 2 of the draft is running back Jawan Jamison. The junior is a shifty, quick running back that chipped away at defenses until they let up the big run. Jamison is good at reading is blockers and has solid vision. His quick feet allowed him to hit holes and explode through them. PewterReport.com thinks that Jamison warrants a fourth or fifth-round grade, but other draft analysts believe that he could go as high as the third round.
Day 3 of the draft looks to be a big day for Rutgers draft prospects. PewterReport.com believes has graded four Scarlet Knight prospects between rounds four through seven.
Wide receiver Mark Harrison is one of PewterReport.com’s favorite Day 3 receivers. The big target is deceptively fast and is a consistent playmaker downfield. Harrison (6-3, 231) performed extremely well at the NFL Scouting Combine in February. He posted a 40-yard dash time of 4.47, a vertical jump of 38.5 inches, and bench pressed 225 pounds 17 times.
Some draft analysts around the community have compared Harrison to Chicago wide receiver Brandon Marshall. He’s a big target that runs good routes and consistently creates separation. Some of that comparison has to do with the fact that Harrison does drop passes. Marshall is notorious for dropping some relatively easy passes. The Rutgers receiver does have the same tendency. PewterReport.com has put a fifth-round grade on the Rutgers receiver.
One Rutgers prospect that isn’t getting a lot of attention is defensive tackle Scott Vallone. The senior defensive lineman is undersized (6-2, 276), but what he lacks in size he makes up for in effort and technique. Vallone really stood out on tape. He’s constantly disrupting plays behind the line of scrimmage on both passing and running plays. He uses his hands very well and is quick off of the ball.
What makes Vallone intriguing is the position he played in the Rutgers defense. The senior was a four-year starter at the nose tackle position, which is tilted in the Scarlet Knights’ scheme. This is the exact same assignment that Buccaneers nose tackles Roy Miller and Gary Gibson were asked to perform in 2012. Vallone’s experience at this position makes him an outstanding fit in Tampa Bay. PewterReport.com grades Vallone as a seventh-round prospect, while other analysts don’t believe he should be drafted because his lack of great measurements. If he does go undrafted, look for the Buccaneers to snatch him up during the priority free agent period.
The last two draft prospects out of Rutgers include linebacker Steve Beauharnais and tight end D.C. Jefferson. Beauharnais is not flashy, and isn’t the most physically gifted player, but he is extremely smart and has very good instincts. He performed very well at the Senior Bowl in Mobile and impressed PewterReport.com with his knowledge and love for the game of football. Beauharnais should hear his name called on Day 3.
Tight end D.C. Jefferson is a gifted athlete that has the ideal frame of an NFL tight end. He has lots of experience as an inline tight end, which will intrigue NFL talent evaluators. Jefferson was impressive at the East-West Shrine Game practices in January. Unfortunately, the tight end suffered a pectoral injury that held him out of the NFL Combine, an event that would have likely helped Jefferson’s draft stock. Missing out on the event was disappointing for the big tight end, but his size and speed combination will still catch the eyes of scouts across the league. Jefferson will likely be drafted between rounds five and seven.
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