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April 12, 2013 @ 1:56 pm
Current rating: 4.00 Stars/3 Votes

SR's Fab 5 - 4-12

Written by Scott
Scott Reynolds


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Are the Bucs set at RT with Demar Dotson or could they draft D.J. Fluker? Is DE Bjoern Werner an option for Tampa Bay? Is Eric Page the Bucs’ new kick returner? Get the answers plus insight on LB Jamie Collins and the Bucs’ salary cap 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. If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers wind up keeping their first-round pick in 2013 by either dealing a different combination of draft picks to New York for Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis or not dealing for Revis at all, the Bucs have plenty of options with the 13th overall selection. Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant has to be in the mix because of the dire need at the position.

With players like Dion Jordan and Ezekiel Ansah expected to be gone in the top 10, a defensive end – at least with the 13th overall pick – doesn’t seem like a realistic option, although the Bucs do covet SMU defensive end Margus Hunt, who is viewed as a late first- or early second-rounder. Drafting a defensive tackle like Missouri’s Sheldon Richardson or Utah’s Star Loletulei makes sense because Gerald McCoy is the only super-talented player at that position.

Since PewterReport.com began writing about West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin months ago he’s started appearing in mock drafts at No. 13, and he’s had a pre-draft visit with Tampa Bay. Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker also visited One Buccaneer Place and is firmly on Tampa Bay’s radar, too. While a case could be made for the Bucs drafting a cornerback, defensive lineman or even a unique offensive talent like Austin, getting a rare talent like Fluker with the 13th overall pick may be too tempting to pass up.

There is nothing sexy about drafting a right tackle. They aren’t flashy players. Fans don’t like it, and there aren’t any rush orders for the jerseys of right tackles.

But Fluker is no ordinary right tackle. At 6-foot-5, 339 pounds, Fluker is a massive man with 10.5-inch hand length and arms longer than 36 inches. He is an absolute road-grader in the running game and he’s a better pass protector than he gets credit for.

Keep in mind that head coach Greg Schiano loves to run the ball, and the team has first-round draft picks invested in quarterback Josh Freeman and running back Doug Martin. Spending another first-round pick on Fluker to protect those investments would be wide and only help increase the productivity of Tampa Bay’s already potent offense.

The signing of right tackle Demar Dotson to a three-year contract extension through 2016 by the Buccaneers front office means three things. First, the Bucs like the 6-foot-9, 320-pound Dotson and believe he can continue to develop as a starting-caliber offensive tackle.

Second, the team believes Dotson is loaded with potential and still has a ways to go to reach his ceiling. That’s why he received a longer, three-year extension instead of a one- or two-year contract extension.

And finally, Dotson’s contract extension was so modestly done that it doesn’t preclude the Bucs from drafting or acquiring another starting-caliber right tackle. Dotson’s base salaries stay below $2 million over the length of the deal and he didn’t receive a signing bonus or any bonus money at all. Fluker could take over as the starting right tackle and the moderately-priced Dotson could go back to doing what he does best, which is be a swing tackle that is capable of playing the left or right side of the line.

Dotson still has work to do with pass protection, but really needs to improve as a run blocker. Due to his height, Dotson will always have to be consciously bending his knees. The Bucs would like to have more power at the right tackle position next to Pro Bowler Davin Joseph and Fluker could certainly bring that to the table.

In a critical year for the future of Freeman in Tampa Bay, the Bucs cannot afford to have a starting offensive tackle go down with an injury because there is no adequate depth at the position. The acquisition of Fluker would create depth because of Dotson’s flexibility to back up the right tackle spot as well as backing up Donald Penn as Freeman’s blindside protector.

This is what ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. said about Fluker in a conference call with the media this week.

“You know, when you go back, I think everybody looks at the tape, they go back to the games, they look at numbers, they put it all together,” Kiper said. “When you have a right tackle who can dominate as a run blocker like he can, incredibly long arms, incredible size, and very little body fat for his size. He's very, very, very well put together. He's a much better pass blocker than people gave him credit for. When you looked at what he did, and I said that all year, he did a good job.  

“Go back to the LSU game. He wasn't dominated. All the great pass rushers were going to get the best of D.J. Fluker, and they didn't. There was one team that thought he could be a left tackle. So as a dominant run blocking right tackle who is adequate in pass protection, could be a little better than that, he deserves to be a top 15 pick, and Miami at 12 would make an awful lot of sense.”

Fluker also makes an awful lot of sense going to Tampa Bay at No. 13.

FAB 2. One of the 2013 NFL Draft prospects that is not often linked to Tampa Bay is Florida State defensive end Bjoern Werner. Once thought to be a top 5 pick in this year’s draft, Werner’s stock has cooled since a ho-hum performance at the NFL Scouting Combine.

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock believes Werner is now viewed as a late first-round pick. ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. feels he could even slide into the second round.

“I think Werner’s stock dropped a little bit,” Kiper said on an ESPN conference call with reporters. “He didn't test out as well as people thought. Still a little inexperienced as a football player. A little raw. Great motor. Potential is there as a pass rusher. I think he could be a possibility at 36.”

Werner was unspectacular in Indianapolis, running a pedestrian 4.83 in the 40-yard dash, posting a 31-inch vertical jump, and turning in a 4.4 in the 20-yard shuttle and a 7.3 in the three-cone drill. But Werner is a physical defender with good striking power, quick closing ability, the skill set to redirect and the instincts to find the football. Those things can’t be measured at the NFL Scouting Combine.

With the Bucs letting last year’s leading sacker, Michael Bennett, go to Seattle in free agency, and counting on third-year players Da’Quan Bowers and Adrian Clayborn, who have 12 career sacks between them, to produce a consistent pass rush, Tampa Bay needs to have more talented depth and is looking to add another rush end in the draft.

While the Bucs have a more pressing need at cornerback and might be better served using the team’s first-round pick on that position, Tampa Bay has had a couple of defensive ends – Oregon’s Dion Jordan and SMU’s Margus Hunt – in for pre-draft visits. Both are considered to be first-rounders, and the fact that the Bucs have had both in for pre-draft visits indicates there could be interest in drafting a defensive end in the first round.

So why isn’t Werner, who left Florida State after his junior season, in play for Tampa Bay at No. 13? The truth is that he could be.

During his Seminoles career, Werner recorded 99 tackles, 35 tackles for loss, 23.5 sacks, three forced fumbles two fumble recoveries, one of which was recovered for a touchdown.

As a freshman, the German-born Werner recorded 3.5 sacks and a forced fumble while playing football for the first time. As a sophomore, Werner notched 37 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, eight pass breakups, seven sacks, one forced fumble and one interception. During his junior season, Werner notched 42 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, 13 sacks and a forced fumble.

Scouts criticize Werner for his inability to generate multiple sacks in games. In 41 career games, Werner had 15 games in which he notched a sack, but only had two mores with more than one quarterback capture twice. Against Murray State in the 2012 season opener, Werner had a career-best four sacks, five tackles for loss and a forced fumble. Werner had two sacks against Wake Forest in 2011 and three sacks against Florida in 2012.

Scouts also knock Werner’s size because he’s not huge, but that may serve him well on draft day. At 6-foot-3, 256 pounds, Werner has the versatility to play defensive end in a 4-3 or outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. He kind of resembles Washington outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, who was a 4-3 defensive end at Purdue, but now plays in a 3-4 scheme.

The former Seminoles standout already has some limited experience playing outside linebacker.

“Teams are asking me to do that and I think I can do it,” Werner said. “I did it at Florida State when Brandon Jenkins went down, he was our 3-4 outside linebacker and I replaced him and I think I did a good job and I think I’m athletic enough to do it in the NFL.”

The Bucs would look at Werner strictly as a 4-3 left end, which is what he played at Florida State. Scouts feel that his ceiling hasn’t been reached yet because of the fact that he was born in Germany and played soccer until he started playing football at age 15. He showed improvement every year for the Seminoles and could have a career similar to that of former Cincinnati and current San Francisco defensive end Justin Smith, who is a very good, but not a great player.

Werner has also been compared to high-motor pass rusher Jason Babin, who also has shorter, 33.5-inch arms like the Florida State standout. While Werner’s arms aren’t ideal size for the NFL, he does a very good job of using his hands to get around tackles and get to the quarterback, evidenced by this scouting report on NFL.com.

“Werner’s flashes of proper hand usage is one of the aspects of his game that scouts will admire, as it shows his dedication to it in the film room and on the practice field. He excels at knocking the pass blocker’s hands away and then dipping his shoulder to get underneath their pads and turn the corner. It’s something that not all pass-rushers are able to do but Werner can, as he showed against Wake Forest this past season.”

Although the Bucs haven’t been linked to Werner much leading up to the NFL Draft, they weren’t linked to Alabama strong safety Mark Barron, either. Just some food for thought when Tampa Bay is on the clock and Werner is still on the draft board. I’m not saying Werner will end up in pewter and red, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened, either if he is the best player available on the Bucs’ draft board at the time.

If you want to check out some highlights on Werner, this is a pretty good look at his capabilities – click here.

FAB 3. The advent of YouTube has caused created hundreds – if not thousands – of wannabe NFL scouts on Internet blogs. Even die-hard fans of NFL teams can transform into scouts in their own minds after watching a couple of highlight videos of NFL prospects and advocating that their team draft these highlight monsters.

NFL teams like the Buccaneers have seen all the highlight tapes – the ones on YouTube and the ones the teams produce themselves by accessing every college game from every week of every college football season. Highlight tapes show production, promise and potential. They are powerful in showing sacks, touchdowns, interceptions, big hits, rocket throws and amazing catches.

I encourage you to stop reading this SR’s Fab 5 column right now and watch this entertaining highlight tape of Southern Mississippi defensive end-linebacker Jamie Collins, who is on Tampa Bay’s radar and recently visited One Buccaneer Place as one of the team’s 30 official pre-draft visits. You can view his highlight film by clicking here (profanity warning).

Pretty good, huh? Do you want to see a different angle of that 97-yard interception return for a touchdown? Check this out.

Do you want to see him slam down a Rice running back the way he did that Louisville rusher? Check this out.

So are you hooked on the Southern Miss star yet?

Collins has both the production and athleticism to catch the attention of NFL scouts. In 52 games for the Golden Eagles, Collins racked up 314 tackles, 45 tackles for loss, 21 sacks, 15 pass breakups, seven forced fumbles, three interceptions, including two for touchdowns, two fumble recoveries, including one for a touchdown, and two blocked kicks.

As a sophomore, Collins produced 2.5 sacks, picked off two passes, including one he returned 32 yards for a touchdown against East Carolina, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble while recording 76 tackles as a linebacker. The following year, Collins played both outside linebacker and defensive end, recording 98 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks a forced fumble and returning a pick 97 yards for a touchdown.

As a senior, Collins posted 92 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, four forced fumbles and a blocked kick. He had sacks in seven out of 12 games in 2012, including a career-high three sacks and two forced fumbles against UAB.

Collins’ athleticism was on display at the NFL Scouting Combine where he was one of the top performers in the linebacker category. He was the fastest linebacker, running a 4.64 in the 40-yad dash. He had the best times in the 60-yard shuttle (11.55 seconds) and the three-cone drill (7.10 seconds), and also had the highest vertical leap at 41.5 inches.

Collins’ ridiculous 11-foot, 7-inch broad jump was the best of any Combine participant. Here’s the video in case you missed it.

Now you might be really hooked on Collins, right? Maybe you are hoping the Bucs can somehow draft him in the second round to start at Sam (strongside) linebacker and use his pass-rushing ability to blitz and help Tampa Bay get to the quarterback.

But why isn’t a 6-foot-3, 250-pound gifted athlete with his type of production considered to be a first-rounder? Because there are holes in Collins’ game, that’s why.

As much as general managers, college scouting directors and scouts like to produce and watch highlight tapes, they also have the need to produce lowlight tapes as well. That’s right. To thoroughly scout a draft prospect, teams have to review the bad plays, too.

If the number of bad plays – which may reveal a lack of instinct, a lack of discipline, a lack of concentration, a lack of conditioning or other negative factors – greatly outweigh the number of good or neutral plays there is cause for concern. Scouts want to know if they are indeed getting a pass rusher that will constantly put hit on the quarterback as a starter, or a player that is better suited to be a situational pass rusher.

As former Bucs defensive line coach Rod Marinelli told me, a player that finishes a year with 10 sacks may not be a great pass rusher because those 10 sacks are just 10 plays out of about 900 plays a defender may see action in during a season and the other 890 plays might have stunk. A case in point is Bills defensive end Mark Anderson, who was Chicago’s seventh-round draft pick in 2006.

Anderson led all rookies with 12 sacks and four forced fumbles as a situational pass rusher – not a starter. The next year, Anderson started 14 games for the Bears because they thought he had the talent to match his production, but he finished with just five sacks and a forced fumble. Anderson would only start three more games for the Bears over the next three and a half seasons, recording 4.5 sacks as a reserve. In 2007, Chicago thought he was a starting-caliber defensive end, but he really wasn’t.

Anderson played in 11 games with Houston where he recorded four sacks in 2010 before moving on to New England. As a reserve with the Patriots, Anderson notched 10 sacks and two forced fumbles in 2011, but wasn’t re-signed by New England. Why? Because Anderson is just a situational pass rusher and the Patriots knew it.

Coming off a big year in New England, Buffalo made the mistake of signing Anderson to a four-year, $19.5-million deal in 2012. He recorded just one sack while starting in four games before missing the rest of the season with an injury.

So what is Collins? His athleticism and production will likely make him a second-round pick. But what is keeping him out of the first round is some bad tape.

Now it’s your turn to really play NFL scout and watch the highlights and the lowlights. Here are three game tapes of Collins that include every one of his plays – good and bad. I’ll tell you right now that the box scores look good and he gets a sack in every game.

Start by watching Collins’ performance against Houston in the Conference USA Championship. He records nine tackles, two tackles for loss and a 17-yard sack.

Did you see how slow Collins could be off the ball sometimes despite him supposedly being such an explosive athlete? Does that mean he lacks anticipation or instincts? Did you see how Collins seemed out of position and lost at times?

Now watch his game against Nebraska in the 2012 season opener. He had 13 tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack. Seems pretty productive, right?

There was certainly some improvement from his 2011 tape to his 2012 tape, but Collins didn’t dominate the game as his stats sheet might indicate. Now look at the tape against Western Kentucky where he notched seven tackles and a sack.

Did you see the runs that Collins gave up in Southern Mississippi’s 42-17 loss? He was still slow off the ball at times as a pass rusher and seemed disinterested in pursuit at other times as he was against Houston and Nebraska.

Now read this accurate write-up on NFL.com about Collins’ weaknesses as a draft prospect. I couldn’t have written it better myself.

“Lacks sand in his pants and upper-body strength to be an every-down defensive end against NFL tackles, and gets consistently pushed back by double teams. Inconsistent coming off the snap quickly, at times looking like he can beat tackles with a strong first step but being among the last moving on other plays. Motor runs cold, don't pursue plays well. Loses track off his position in zone coverage. Can be eluded in space by quicker ballcarriers or in the backfield by mobile quarterbacks. Must speed up his hands to win battles against pro linemen, slow to disengage.”

Collins has plenty of good attributes, too. To be fair, here’s the write-up of his positives on NFL.com.

“Presents a long, lean frame that NFL teams look for in a stand-up pass rusher. Quick feet and long strides help him close on quarterbacks, move down the line to crash on runs, as well as give him the short-area agility to move in coverage with slot receivers for short periods despite his height and length. Short area quickness, and the ability to redirect in an instant. Power hands at times. Capable of shedding in either direction to contain or fill a gap. Knows to knock receivers at the line and crossers off their routes with his strong arm extension. Has the length to wrap up ballcarriers trying to avoid him in the backfield, as well as grab backs running away from him.”

The scouting report on NFL.com suggests Collins’ game is like that of linebacker Clark Haggans. Haggans, who was a fifth-round draft pick in 2000, has played 13 years in the NFL, but never made a Pro Bowl.

What type of linebacker or defensive end will Collins be in the NFL? There’s good tape and bad tape, good plays and bad plays for the Bucs to sift through. Collins is an intriguing prospect, and that’s why the Bucs brought him in for a pre-draft visit to try to get some more details.

FAB 4. Did you know that Tampa Bay nearly acquired record-setting return specialist Trindon Holliday last year? The Buccaneers contemplated putting a waiver claim in for Holliday, but opted to sign aging veteran Roscoe Parrish instead because of Holliday’s fumbing issues. Bucs general manager Mark Dominik liked Holliday’s big-play ability, but new head coach Greg Schiano insisted on having a return specialist that puts a premium on ball security.

Holliday returned two punts and a kickoff for a touchdown in the 2012 preseason, but was waived by Houston on October 10 because of fumbling. He was claimed by Denver, and in his first game as a Bronco he fumbled the ball, which at the time justified the Bucs not adding him to their roster.

However, Holliday went on to return a kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown against Cincinnati, and then added a 90-yard punt return for a TD and a 104-yard kick return score in the AFC playoffs against Baltimore. Holliday set an NFL record for return yards in a playoff game with 256 return yards in that game, but the Broncos lost in overtime, 38-35.

The Bucs missed out on a 5-foot-5, 170-pounder who may be the shortest player in the league, but one that describes himself as a the fastest. He ran an official 4.34 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine, but some scouts had him hand-timed at 4.22.

With Tampa Bay needing a replacement for Parrish, who has not been re-signed, in addition to Sammie Stroughter, who also wasn’t re-signed, they added Eric Page, an undrafted free agent from 2012 who spent some time in Denver before being released with an injury settlement after having knee surgery. While Page was an accomplished receiver at Toledo where he caught 306 passes for 3,446 yards and 25 touchdowns in his career, including 125 receptions for 1,182 yards and 10 scores as a junior before leaving for the 2012 NFL Draft, the Bucs like his return ability even more.

Not only was Page a first-team All-MAC receiver, he was also a first-team All-MAC punt returner and a first-team All-MAC kick returner during his senior year. Page returned 46 punts for 365 yards and a touchdown and returned 80 kickoffs 2,184 yards and four touchdowns during his Rockets career.

Page is a nifty, neat little receiver who stands 5-foot-10, 180 pounds. He’s even thrown four touchdown passes and a two-point conversion pass in his career. I happen to like this signing more than the Bucs signing Kevin Olgetree and Steve Smith.

Click here to check out the highlights of Page’s junior season at Toledo. He just may be Tampa Bay’s return man in 2013.

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

• Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik got right tackle Demar Dotson to sign a three-year extension at a bargain price. Dominik has been very opportunistic when it comes to re-signing some players at the right time, and Dotson is the latest example of that.

Dotson received no signing bonus or roster bonus and will have a $1 million base salary in 2013, which is a bargain for a starting right tackle in the NFL. His base increases to $1.25 million in 2014, climbs to $1.5 million in 2015 and rises to $1.75 million in 2016. Bargain, bargain, bargain – and bargain. Well done by Dominik.

Dotson benefits because the Bucs like him enough to sign him for the next three years and half of that money – $3.25 million – is guaranteed. He’s worth more than that, but he jumped at an early extension instead of playing out 2013 as a starting right tackle and testing unrestricted free agency.

The Bucs’ plan at right tackle may be to draft someone like Alabama’s D.J. Fluker that can take over the position and have Dotson be the swing tackle behind the rookie and left tackle Donald Penn in the interim. In a few years if Penn should retire or if his play should decline, Dotson would be available to start at left tackle – and at a bargain price.

• Did you know there was only one player in the NFL went undefeated in 16 regular season games last year? Return specialist Trindon Holliday was a part of a Houston Texans team that started the year 5-0 before he was waived. Denver claimed him and had him on the active roster for the final 11 games of the season, which were all victories. Add the records of those teams together and you get a 16-0 season.

Of course Holliday and the Broncos did suffer a loss in the playoffs, a heartbreaking 38-35 defeat at home to eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore.

• Bucs general manager Mark Dominik currently has $32.8 million worth of salary cap space at his disposal right now. That includes the cap room that was saved by re-signing backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky to a $620,000 base salary and restructuring the contract of Eric Wright, who will earn $1.5 million in 2013.

One thing that greatly helps the Bucs’ salary cap is the fact that there is very little dead cap money on the books in 2013. The largest amount of dead salary cap money comes from Brian Price’s rookie deal in the form of $680,000. That came from signing bonus money that Price, who was traded to Chicago last August, received from his rookie deal.

The Bucs are believed to have the least amount of dead salary cap space in the NFL with just around $1 million. Part of the reason for that is Dominik’s insistence on using guaranteed base salary money in contracts rather than signing bonus money, which is prorated over the life of each contract when given, but accumulates and hits a team’s salary cap the following season when a player is released or traded. Dominik has been an NFL trend setter when it comes to using guaranteed money over signing bonuses in contract negotiations and that is paying off – literally and figuratively – in terms of Tampa Bay’s salary cap.

Last modified on Friday, 12 April 2013 14:36

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  • avatar

    I understand watching high-/lowlights videos doesn´t make a scout out of a fan. But it realy is a very good indicator, wether a player is worth a high 1st round pick. Players, who dominate consistently (also against big shools; mostly coming out of SEC for example) and show great highlights- in their positions key attributes- are sure shots. After watching Calvin Johnson´s college tape it was crystal clear he will become (cuz he allready was) great. Same for Suh (showed great power, and was suprising athletic for his size = great DT) Mo Claiborne and Patrick Peterson will also become very very good (Peterson was a impact player already) The Bucs? Too often draftet on "potential", which means the player hasn´t shown it... I know you have to do it (in later rounds) but at the 13th spot? No. Tavon Austin: Not a great WR.. but a great Slot WR. Just need little space and boom.. the SPEED (key attribute) takes him into the endzone.. NFL is becoming a highlight sport anyway (rule changes). Adapt to that.. Star is very very good to. Ertz is a Kellen Winslow 2.0 which means, if no character issues, he´s a great pick at 13th too. But Bucs shoot themselves in the foot looking for an aging CB, screwing great cap position.. horrible.. hopefully the Reivis thing is a smokescreen
  • avatar

    Great read Scott. After viewing the highlight reel, I was convinced he was destined to be a buc, then watching the lowlights , not so much. Glad I just do this for fun. As for Revis: DO NOT GIVE UP THE FIRST ROUND THIS YEAR. Hey, I was also against haynesworth, and look how fat Albert turned out. The Jets are NY team and think they are driving this deal, which they are not. The pressure is on them to trade before Revis becomes a free agent. Save the picks AND cap room and sign him in 2014 if still needed then.
  • avatar

    What do you guys think about this? Trade all of our 2013 draft picks for Revis and the Jets number 9 overall pick... Fire away!
  • avatar

    I know that the Bucs front office is not driven by fan opinion, nor do I think it should be. However just to point out, based on the just completed PR survey, as I count it, upwards of 85% of the fan votes would not give up a first rounder for Revis. Even if that were all we had to give up for him, we'd be getting only the last half of his career where, if we drafted a rookie with that pick, we'd stand to get that player's entire career. And lets be realistic about this. A player drafted 13th overall is likely to be a pretty good player. Just saying.
  • avatar

    There are TWO subjects concerning Revis, aside from his health. One, The Jets. Two, Revis. To get Revis you have to be able to deal with the Jets. Right now it appears that they are treading water hoping for a better trading partner to show up, or to gain in hand strength vs the Bucs. If Milliner is gone before 13 then the Jets' hand gets stronger. Even worse if Xavier goes also. If the Bucs don't bite and don't take Revis, and nobody else does, then the Bucs have a chance to get him next year for much less. So that's what I would do. Wait. Take a killer DE or LB or Fluker with that 13. Make a note to yourself: Put Jets on a no-trade list.
  • avatar

    ESPN is now reporting the Jets want a 1st, 3rd and a 5th. If Dominik goes for that they should fire him right after the deal.
  • avatar

    Nice insight on the stuff that Mark Dominik is doing right. Like to see behind the scenes that many fans might miss. The fact that dead money is low for TB is a great foundation. I still think Dominick and Schiano are linked to the success of the 2013-2014 Bucs. Glad to see other readers thinking twice about trading the number 13 pick for Revis. I do not see how the Jets can maximize by keeping Revis. No leverage at all. They are better trading the unknown entity and potential of Revis. Revis will be smart by not playing much this year until after the trade deadline.
  • avatar

    "Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant has to be in the mix because of the dire need at the position." Trufant may go in the top 20 with or without the Bucs help so that's why he should "be in the mix". Xavier Rhodes may have more potential, but I'm sure no good scout would Xavier's cover skills are close to Trufant's right now. Trufant is, as first rounders go, a very safe pick as well. Desmond may not make many probowls, but odds are he will play for 8+ years at a high level. Trufant has a similar skill set to Johnathan Joseph or for us Bucs fans a good comparison would be Brian Kelly. In my humble arm-chair opinion. ;-)
  • avatar

    nice write-up on Jamie Collins, Scott. Nice illustration of the dangers of statistics and good tape when taken out of context.
  • avatar

    A couple quick things just from Fab 1 (haven't had the chance to read the other 4 yet -- (1) the statement to describe Fluker by the author - "Fluker is no ordinary right tackle. At 6-foot-5, 339 pounds, Fluker is a massive man with 10.5-inch hand length and arms longer than 36 inches. He is an absolute road-grader in the running game..." cracked me up. That is EXACTLY the definition of what a typical RT is, lol. (2) If there is one position that I for one feel really confident we won't be looking to draft a starter at, it's RT. It's clear to me that the team loves Dotson and views him as a great bargain starter for the next few seasons. I mean, why would the team try to replace someone it picked up as a project and has successfully developed? Dotson still needs some work, but he's already a very good RT and will only get better. Drafting him would make no sense.
  • avatar

    If the Bucs pass up Lotuklei, Floyd, Richardson, or Sylvester Williams, all of which can give us a push in the middle and multiple sacks, with the Bucs' first round pick, and stupidly take Fluker instead, it will be a major step backward. Fluker is an outstanding run blocker, but he will fail against elite pass rushers--and that is exactly why Dotson was promoted over his predecessor. And Dotson proved he could run block last year and even back when he was playing TE the year before, and he is athletic and has quick feet that Fluker cannot match. Dobson is only going to get better and deserves to start this year at RT. If for some reason our LT should go down, don't forget Meredith is a backup RT, who was great last year as a backup Guard, and he will take over at LT and Dobson will slide over to RT where he has practiced before and will do well. FORGET FLUKER! I urged the Bucs to consider Jamie Collins awhile back in a PR blog entry; so I was elated to learn the Bucs have brought him in to interview. What you did not mention in your article is that Collins started out as a Strong Safety, and he is even very adept at covering TEs and running backs out of the backfield. However if the negatives scare off the Bucs, I would urge them to take a good look at A.J. Klein from Iowa State for SLB who has the same excellent speed as Collins, and many pluses like Collins. However, I think Goode has similar pluses to both of them and I am not sure we need to waste a draft pick on that position. Good to hear Page can run back kicks, but the Bucks should also look at Nickell Robey, with 4.35 speed, or Ace Sanders, who is a 4.40 burner from South Carolina--both of which would be excellent run back specialists too, to compete with Page and be backups if Page wins the competition and then gets hurt during the season. I suggest we take Xavier Rhodes from FSU as our first CB pick in the second round. Have the Bucs ever considered the fact that back when they were able to fill their stadium the Bucs had at least one FSU running back and for awhile also had a Gator linebacker (Brantley), but once they stopped drafting from those top two Florida schools they have been unable to fill their stadium with few exceptions ever since. The owners need to bring that to DOMs attention! Take the Gator DL, Floyd, if he is still available with our 13th pick in the first round and get the stadium filled (but also we will need Reavis for the wins to keep them there.)
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    My case for DJ Fluker. You have to build a wall in front of your QB. When that wall got hurt last year Freeman's play suffered. Flucker may not be a sexy pick but it would make the Bucs stronger in front of Josh Freeman and more flexible. Fluker can play RT or G. Demar Dotson can be the swing Tackle and can also play Guard in a pinch. This would be a very popular pick but it would be a smart pick IMO.
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    I think a first or second round pick is too high for Revis. What we get is one year of Revis's services (assuming he recovers) and exclusive bargaining rights. If the price is a first and second rounder that is two players that could star for years for one year of a player that may only have a couple years left. Why not wait and get him next year when he is a FA? We lose the exclusive bargaining rights and will have to pay more money but we get the two players this year and Revis next year. Draft a CB high and let the young guys play and develop. Then we will know whether we still need Revis. That said, fair market value cannot be a first and second round picks. The Jets have this year to get something from him and are desperate to unload the cap. We should be able to get him at a lower price like two 3rd round picks. That could be a bargain. We need bargains.
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    If the Bucs miss out or don't select Jarvis Jones at #13 then Jamie Collins in the 2nd would be a nice consolation prize. That's assuming he falls that far.
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    I still think Dotson is an average RT who is still learning the position and therefore I see no need to upgrade that position when we have below average players everywhere else on defense
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    jongruden: I agree with your main point. Dot is not our most pressing weakness and so his position is not our greatest need. I think he is an at least average or maybe better than average RT now, and I think he has a very high upside. If I'm right about that, he'll be getting a far richer renegotiated contract in a couple years. I do take exception to your assertion that we have "below average players everywhere else on defense". Not so, say I. We have a defense stocked with many established and emerging stars. I would include in this category the likes of Bowers, McCoy, Clayborne, Foster, David, Barron, and Goldson. We do have holes on defense which we need to address in the upcoming draft and elsewhere. The biggest of those, IMO, is at nose tackle. We also need D-line depoth and more talent at CB. I disagree with those worried about our LB situation. I think a high quality LB rotation will emerge from our current roster.
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    If we trade for Revis I am not against drafting the best player available, I love DJ Hayden in the second round he is an absolute stud cb from Houston. I see what your saying about this kid Collins he is very athletic and wouldn't mind drafting him either.
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    Watched Revis video. trying to get comfortable with that. think after we select Trufant at 13 on draft day, we contact the jets, offer #3 this year, #2 in 2014.
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    Dman, I would love for us to trade for a #2 this year and a #3 next year because we might need that 1st and 2nd pick to get in a position to pick a QB if Freeman falls which I hope he doesn't.
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    agree with GrayBuc and the others saying that D.J. Fluker would be a reach. IMO: Horse perfectly pointed out, why Fluker and Rhodes are overrated (or have been). So Scott was a little bit off, saying Fluker would be good at 13th, but he also refers to another (great) option ,Tavon Austin, as a unique player. That´s the difference between good and great teams. A real difference maker, who gives you a lot of options: Perfect to push our WR core to be the best in the/a (passing) league. And a strong running game = hard to defend, if you dont know what to expect. Or trading down getting the best TE in Stanfords Ertz, forget Eifert.... plus another position of need. Still getting a guy like Austin makes the most sense (good exceptional DT´s DE´s with near to same skill set as in these years draft could be added by next offseason, but a player like Austin is way harder to find). If we picked up just one of them pass rushers this year(or D-lineman in generall) and we could have "overspend" a little, since we got the cap, we would not have a desire to draft one. aren´t you sick of the buccerneers "wasting" premium picks on rushers, who don´t play as good as advertise? Play it SAFE and get a GREAT one in Austin....
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    Nice piece Scott. I really liked how you pointed out that being a NFL GM or scout is a lot more than sitting down with Jerry Jones and watching Youtube videos to make decisions. But in spite of that, fans will still think they could do better.......perhaps by reading Mel Kiper's book like I have done the past 30 + years. We all watch the guy on the trapeze and think we could do that.....until we fall (no net in the NFL) and splat. Some guys even thought they could be a NFL quarterback without putting in the work after being anointed King in 1999. I'm starting to change my mind about acquiring Revis with this years 13th pick. I am beginning to think he can be had for less because; what else are the Jets going to do? Might they even be forced to cut him? I know these ACL surgeries are highly successful, but Revis is just now starting to jog on a treadmill. Does that mean he will be 100% in 3 months? The medical experts will have to determine that. If we keep the first round choice, as always, I expect Dominik to draft the best player. But this year I agree with Horse because of the relatively equal grades between 10 and 30 that we might be better off trading down. I also agree with Horse that DT or OT may be they way to go. Sorry JonnyG. Wait for the CB in rounds 2 and 3.
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    Scubog, I am starting to warm up to the Revis trade after seeing his video. Some of it was fast forward, but I was encouraged by it. Don't be surprised that another team in the bottom of the 1st round might offer their pick for Revis if we say no to our 1st rounder. I do think that we are paying to high a price for Revis at the No. 13 spot, but I also know that the Buc's have done their home work on Revis so I have to trust their judgement. If it was me, I would pick a OT or DE or DE at No. 13 and repeat it again in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. I still believe it is all about the OL and DL that makes great teams, but that's why I am not a Coach or a scout because I really don't know near as much as they do.
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    Horse, there are lots of teams with the draft picks to trade for Revis, but only one that is willing or can afford Revis' contract. The workout tape of Revis is encouraging but not at game speed. The Bucs are the only team that is willing to make that bet on Revis this year and at that price tag. And unfortunately for the Jets, they've got to trade him this year or get nothing. The Jets are in a bind and Bucs are taking a risk. Definition: Fatal Embrace!
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    macabee, I can't disagree with that at all. I admit this is a huge risk that I wouldn't take because if Revis has a bump in his recovery he could be out for some of the season or all of it; then in 2014 we have a CB that is 29 and hasn't played since he was 27. I am hoping the Buc's don't use a No. 1 on this gamble.
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    GrayBuc... I don't know for sure about a trade for Revis being the biggest blunder of all time. I think picking Bo Jackson when he told the Buc's not to pick him and they still did is pretty high also.
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    Kinderrt and GaryBuc....so many "worst blunders of all time" to choose from....my own favourite is a guy named Steve Young....ya he couldn't play...good choice to get rid of him after one season.
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    @bucdiezel90 Including Sanchez in the trade actually not a terrible idea. These type of trades happen in baseball and basketball all of the time because of guaranteed contracts. The Jets don't have any cap space and the Bucs are loaded with room. It would lower their asking price if we took Sanchez's contract off of their book. For example, if we were willing to trade only for Revis in exchange for this years first rounder, if we took Sanchez and his contract also, instead we would only have to give up a 3rd rounder and could just cut him next year when his guaranteed money runs out. Essentially we would just be eating his contract in exchange for lowering our draft compensation
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    @rocketglass - Yes, that's a great idea and a very "rational" way to look at the trade. We have cap room. That is the scarce commodity that we have to trade. Acquiring Revis by trading our cap room (via a new Revis contract and/or Sanches salary dump) makes perfect sense. We really do need to get this Revis deal done. He is not the type of guy to "accept" not being the best corner in the NFL regardless of injury. We're looking at an Adrian Peterson type of situation here. Let's get 'er done.
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    I think that D.J. Fluker is a reach at 13. If it should happen that we trade down to around 20 with an eye toward trading down again to around 28, only to find that we're can't find a trade partner at 20 and have to make a pick, then I'm okay with drafting Fluker. However, our biggest need is still at nose tackle and any scenario that doesn't get us a good one with our first pick is a fall back position. Best possibility is we somehow get Lotulelei. Next best possibility is that we trade down 10 to 15 slots, getting one or more second day draft picks in the process, to get Jonathan Hankins, Jesse Williams, or Kawaan Short to fill our gaping hole at hose tackle. Next best possibility is we draft Richardson at 13, then trade back up into the first round for the best available DE. Under no circumstances should we trade away our first round pick for Revis. I am more and more persuaded by the arguments of those that say that, without regard to compensation to the Jets, Revis is too big a cap hit and too divisive a locker room influence. What I'm saying -- controversially I know -- is this: even if we could get Revis without paying the Jets any compensation, and even if he is the still the best shut down corner in the league as he once was, I don't want him in Pewter and Red! Blasphemy I know. But stand back and take a cool, calculated look at what this guy offers and what he costs. I say that obtaining Revis could be the biggest blunder in Bucs history. Lets avoid that blunder and go to the Super Bowl. Go Bucs!
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    Great article man and thanks for commenting on the chat session today. Im glad somebody from the media finally put things into perspective in regards to Shaun Queen's hate for Dominik.
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    OMG. Scott you have out done yourself in this article!!! Thank you for the tutorial. I'm going to look at that many many times....more of the same please!!!!
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    Very good Article Scott and a great teacher of why some players don't go as high as us deck jockeys expect. Werner is a good example of why we have scouts? He looked good against so- so and fair teams, and fair to so-so against good teams; which means he was on a fair to good defensive team that helped him at times until they got matched up. Xavier Rhodes was on the same team and probably is rated about the same as Werner; that's why I want neither of them.
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    I see that someone has done its homework. I think drafting DJ Fluker is a bo brainer. And in the 2 & 3 rd go after two CB or trade back up in Rd-1 example Minnesota Has 2 draft picks. Give Minnesota Their #3 and a #4 .Tampa could get that CB at #25.If they want to get a DE or DT at 2nd Rd pick plus they would still have a #4,#5 to get the players that can improve the team.GO BUCS
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    Dominik is fine when working the salary cap but he still needs help on finding talent. With Schiano to help him maybe we can have two or three good drafts in a row. If we draft well we won't need many F/A the next couple of years.
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    Great article! Fab 1: I'm still not a fan of Fluker. I don't hate him, but he game up 5 or 6 sacks last season. I could see if he was playing LT and allowed those sacks and the plan was to move him to RT, but he have up those sacks at RT at the college level. I see Dotson as a better pass protector and I don't see how trading a run blocker for a pass blocker is worth the #13 overall pick. --- Fab 2: I'll tell you one thing. From all the FSU games I watched last year (and I'm an FSU fan) I like Werner a hell of a lot more than I like Rhodes. --- Fab 3: Great Fab and I couldn't agree more. Fabulous example with Collins! --- Fab 4: I would love for Page to turn out to be our answer for KR and PR. I've longed for one guy to be able to play both positions for as long as I've been a fan of this team. It seems it's never been a high enough priority (besides the drafting of "Take a dive" Dexter). --- Fab 5: Agreed those are good moves by Dominik.
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    Pinkstop, I am a big FSU fan too! When I watched Werner in the Bowl game he got shutdown by a good OT. There are plenty of good OT's in the NFL that will also shut him down. I have warmed up to the Revis trade once I saw the video on NFL.com.
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    Pinkstob, I agree on not taking Fluker at 13. The Bucs should talk to Willie Taggert about drafting DE Quanterus Smith in the 4th or 5th round. Smith beat Fluker like a drum all day long in the Bama/WKTY game on their way to 6 sacks of McCarron in a losing cause. See the game tape on YouTube. And Scott, it doesn't compute to say the Bucs think a lot of Dotson and in the same breath say they are willing to draft a starter in Fluker when Fluker can only play RT. Fluker is no Lane Johnson who could start at RT and evolve to starting LT making way for Dotson. Brennan Williams/UNC would be a viable option in the 3rd for OT. And yes, I'm an armchair GM and if anybody disagrees with me, I'm going to trade you to the Jets!!
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    Am I the only one that has seen the new rumors that not only are the Bucs planning on trading for Revis, but Mark Sanchez too!!!!! AND picking up his guarunteed $8 million salary for this year!!! He is the worst starting QB in the league! Ill freak if this happens.
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    Thanks Scott - see your point about all the arm chair GM'ing - it's just good fun. I am a firm believer that any arm chair GM could take the ESPN draft board and statistically do just as well as a "seasoned" GM in the draft...I think the evidence is very strong that the draft is as much luck as skill. I also think that any arm chair GM could simply look to history and skew his/her selections accordingly...what I mean by this is, how many SB champs won because they had a great secondary, versus how many won because they had great lines (both O and D) and great QB - it doesn't take a "seasoned" GM to figure out the odds. Where the GM of this decade should be able to make a difference is in the "management" of the team - specifically salaries and how contracts are structured. I hear your point about Dominik signing up players on the cheap. Unfortunately the spanner in the works that hits this planning comes when Dotson's (or Martin's, or Barron's, or David's, etc) agent says "my player is now a starting LT and you either quadruple his salary or he's sitting out". You see, contracts are not really contracts in the NFL, they're only as good as the intention of both sides to honour them on a year by year basis (and why guaranteed money is getting more focus). I think Dom has done a good job so far (with a lot of room to still run on his actions), but I think he could be setting himself up for a big problem with a big Revis deal....
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    Let me start by saying that I really want to have Revis on my team. That being said, I do not want to sacrifice this years draft to do that. Let the Jets take next years #1 and some other 4's or 5's and maybe some players. This is the year, under Schiano, in the draft, that we build a Championship team. Get Fluker if he is there. Get Austin if Fluker is gone. In second round, get a corner or an end. Then just stock the team with corners, O-lineman, grab a tight end, and around the 7th get a running back. Build this team through the draft. Get Revis at the expense of NEXT years draft. GO BUCS!!!!!
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    I've always argued that if there's an O or D lineman that is pretty much better than what you have, then you draft that direction; this is dependent on whether there's a Qb that is better than what you have; and 2) whether there's some superstar that has dropped into your hands(like Tony Gonzalez, Randy Moss to name a few). I have thought of Flucker; i've just been trying to shut my mouth!
  • avatar

    And all of THAT is why Mark Dominik won't get fired.
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