Which unheralded, late-round NFL Draft prospects could be considered "buried treasure" and help the Buccaneers on Day 3 of the draft? Pewter Report draft expert Eric Dellaratta has the scoop in this draft feature.
Every year there are players that are selected on Day 3 – rounds 4-7 – of the NFL draft that surprise and contribute early on in their careers. Some players that fit in this category from 2012’s draft are Washington running back Alfred Morris, New England cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, Indianapolis running back Vick Ballard, Minnesota kicker Blair Walsh, and Philadelphia running back Bryce Brown. This article will cover three players that I believe will be late-round picks with high NFL potential.
We’ve already discussed the following buried treasures in previous “Draft Discussion” and “Buried Treasure” articles.Arkansas RB Dennis Johnson
Georgia WR Tavarres King
Vanderbilt RB Zac Stacy
Tennessee WR Zach Rogers
Florida International S Johnathan Cyprien
Western Kentucky TE Jack Doyle
Northern Illinois DE/LB Sean Progar
Georgia Tech CB Rod Sweeting
Oregon S John BoyettSOUTH FLORIDA CB KAYVON WEBSTER
A defensive back prospect that has caught the eyes of NFL teams is South Florida cornerback Kayvon Webster. According to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times, Webster has visits set up with the Buccaneers and the Dolphins. New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick attended the USF Pro Day, which featured Webster. After a terrific NFL Scouting Combine performance, Webster’s draft stock is on the rise.
The South Florida corner is a fluid athlete. He’s very fast, running a 4.41 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine in February. On tape, it is evident that Webster has the tools to be successful at the NFL level. The USF cornerback has good change-of-direction skills and fluid hips. Webster was asked to play a lot of zone defense at South Florida, but he displays the necessary athleticism and aggressiveness to play in a man coverage scheme.
Webster (5-10, 195) is an excellent, aggressive run defender who is quick to diagnose screen passing plays and outside runs. His motor and athleticism allowed him to be a consistent playmaker against opposing rushing attacks. The senior amassed 190 tackles over the course of his four-year USF career. Eighty-two of those tackles came from his senior season. Webster also recorded three forced fumbles and two sacks during senior campaign.
One of the concerns with Webster is his lack of production against opposing passing attacks. Webster failed to record an interception during his senior and sophomore seasons. He managed to tally just three picks in his other two seasons. Webster did breakup 15 passes over the course of his four-year collegiate career.
The good news for the former Bull is that he does have the tools to become a good complete cornerback. His tackling skills will be valuable on special teams and should put him on a fast track for a starting spot as a nickel cornerback. Webster should be a Day 3 draft selection later on this month. VIRGINIA TECH LB BRUCE TAYLOR
Virginia Tech linebacker Bruce Taylor is an interesting late-round prospect that will be featured in the NFL Draft later this month. Taylor finished his senior campaign with 76 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, and 5.5 sacks. Over the course of his five-year collegiate career, Taylor racked up 226 tackles, 41 tackles for loss, and 18.5 sacks.
Taylor (6-1, 237) is a marvelous run defender who does an excellent job of shedding blocks and anchoring against much larger offensive lineman. The former Hokie displays good instincts in run defense which allows him to aggressively attack the line of scrimmage. Taylor tracks down opposing ballcarriers well and is an excellent tackler.
The Virginia Tech linebacker has limitations athletically. He ran a 5.00 at the NFL Scouting Combine in February and a 4.93 at his pro day in March. His lack of straight-line speed and agility limits his ability to play in space. Taylor suffered a Lisfranc foot injury in 2011, causing him to miss the rest of his junior season. Another year removed from that injury could be very beneficial to Taylor’s game.
Taylor’s lack of great athleticism holds him back in coverage against opposing passing attacks. However, he does a nice job in zone coverage inside five yards of the line of scrimmage. Taylor also offers some solid pass-rushing ability for a middle linebacker, as he racked up 18.5 career sacks.
The linebacker was a team captain and fights on every play until the whistle is blown. Taylor would be a nice late-round selection for a team looking for a quality run defender that can be a key contributor on special teams. UCLA CB SHELDON PRICE
New Buccaneers director of college scouting Eric Stokes has stated that he tends to go after prospects with size, speed, and potential, and that is exactly what UCLA CB Sheldon Price has to offer.
Price is an extremely long cornerback, standing 6-foot-2 and weighing in at 180 pounds. In addition to his outstanding length, Price is a gifted athlete who has good straight-line speed. At UCLA’s pro day, Price ran the 40-yard dash and clocked in at 4.37 and 4.45. He also recorded a 10-foot, 6-inch broad jump and a 39-inch vertical jump.
The former Bruin has very good timing and balls skills. His excellent athleticism puts him in good position to make plays on the football on a consistent basis. Price has solid hips when asked to flip and run with receivers and his speed gives him the ability to recover when beaten. The senior has the ability to play in multiple schemes, but his length makes him especially valuable in press-man schemes.
Price should add some extra weight at the next level, as he only weighs 180 pounds. He needs to work on getting his head turned around and locating the football on fades and deep fly routes. Another thing Price will need to work on is his punch at the line of scrimmage in press coverage. He has the ability to stick with receivers in man, but he puts himself at a disadvantage because of poor jams.
Another thing working against Price is his lack of production. The UCLA cornerback only picked off five passes in four years, three of which came in one game against Houston in 2012. The former Bruin did record 21 pass breakups in four years. Price also added 157 career tackles.
Price’s unique combination of size, speed, and ball skills already has some NFL talent evaluators interested. New Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley worked out Price in March, according to Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net. NFL teams are looking for more cornerbacks with length such as Seattle’s Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman. A late-round prospect like Price should intrigue lots of teams that run press-man schemes.
Price will likely end up a late-round pick, but he has tremendous upside, and a team that can make use of his ideal NFL frame could be handsomely rewarded.
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