The Tampa Bay Buccaneers added six new players in the 2013 NFL Draft and while some picks left some fans scratching their heads, the organization feels that have filled some needs with the latest crop of April acquisitions.
General manager Mark Dominik spoke on the Monday prior to the draft and noted that the Buccaneers feel like their starting talent is good enough to win – now.
“I feel that way,” Dominik said. “I think that’s what I talked about when I said that there isn’t a glaring hole on the roster right now. Certainly you can improve the talent on the team, that’s the whole point of the draft. But I think we’re in that position now where we do have enough starters across the board that we can continue to add depth to the team. We want them to be productive players and get out on the football field and start to earn their stripes.”
Below is a recap of the players that the Buccaneers added along with comments from management on each one. Mark Cook also hands out an early grades on each pick, of course with the understanding that it is impossible to evaluate how the selection will pan out, something that can take a number of years to truly determine.
Scott Reynolds will soon have an analysis ranking the picks from top to bottom based on how PewterReport.com feels they fit in and will contribute.Round 1. CB Darrelle Revis (Trade with Jets)
While Revis wasn’t a draft pick, you have to include him as part of the draft since the Buccaneers gave up the No. 13 pick to acquire the services of Revis from the New York Jets, who selected Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson.
Revis is coming off an ACL injury that occurred in Week 3 of the 2012 season but by all accounts the former Pitt Panther is well ahead of schedule and the Buccaneers see no reason why Revis will not be 100 percent when the season kicks off, ironically in New York against the Jets.
Prior to the injury Revis was the best cornerback in all of football and if healthy should pay huge dividends for Tampa Bay, as they play in one of, if not the premiere passing divisions in the entire NFL. With Cam Newton, Drew Brees and Matt Ryan on the schedule twice a year, and the Buccaneers having a historically bad secondary in 2012, the move to bring Revis to Tampa Bay was a no-brainer.“It certainly has a big effect. Any time you can have a player that you can matchup on a team’s best receiver, you can do some different things schematically. So we’ve already begun our preparation and when best to utilize him and a lot of that will come in conversations with Darrelle. What he’s comfortable doing, what he doest best. This isn’t a rookie out of college. This is s guy who’s played and been very successful in this league. So we’re going to play to his strengths within our scheme.” – SchianoGRADE = A+ Round 2. CB Johnthan Banks
The Buccaneers upgraded their secondary with Dashon Goldson and Revis prior to the draft but adding Banks only solidifies the worst unit from a year ago into – on paper at least – a strength of the team now.
Prior to the NFL Combine in February Banks was thought to be possibly the second corner to come off the board after Alabama’s Dee Milliner. But a slower than expected 40-time plummeted Bank’s stock, so far in fact he wasn’t even the first cornerback from his team to be drafted, as teammate Darius Slay took that honor. But the Buccaneers feel like they stole Banks and have big plans for the Mississippi State star.
During his career at Mississippi State Banks recorded 221 tackles (139 solo), four sacks, 11.5 tackles for loss and four fumbles. In addition to his 16 interceptions, Banks had 26 pass deflections in his career. “He’s really, really diverse in what he does in their scheme. And we ask our corners to do a lot, everything from press to bail, to bait and being off and rotating and he’s done all that and he’s shown he can do that. I really like the way he plays the game. As Mark said, he’s the captain and he was the guy who made their defense go. And you love that, especially in a corner. That doesn’t happen very often.” – SchianoGRADE = ARound 3. QB Mike Glennon
The Glennon selection probably created the most debate among the media and fans of any of Tampa Bay’s six draft picks. Having what seemed more glaring needs, to take a QB, that deep down management must hope never sees the field in Tampa Bay, was a bit puzzling.
Glennon certainly has some appealing attributes. Tall, an above average arm, and one of the smartest players in the draft, there is a lot to like about Glennon. However, as noted above, some are questioning how crucial of a need quarterback was at that point in the draft.
Glennon’s accuracy fell during his senior season from 62.5 percent to 58.5 percent, while he threw for 4,031 yards in 2012 after passing for 3,054 as a junior. Glennon threw 31 touchdowns in each of the last two seasons, but saw his interceptions climb from 12 in 2011 to 17 last year."If you sit back and look, this is a quarterback-driven league. Anytime you have a chance to add a guy into your organization you feel like you can develop, but also has a talent that fits your system and fits what you believe in terms of the character. . . as a player, that’s the reason we took him in the position that we did." – DominikGRADE = CRound 4. DT Akeem Spence
The Buccaneers certainly saw something in Spence that many draft experts and media members didn’t. From the limited game film and highlight tapes, there was little to get excited about. Spence has the size and strength to plug up the middle but at times in college was easily moved. Spence appears to be a hustle player and has a great attitude and may really blossom under good NFL coaching.
Spence, who was a junior entry, was named to the Freshman All-American team after compiling 45 tackles, four tackles for loss and a sack in 2010. The next year, Spence became a full-time starter and started all 13 games at defensive tackle. He posted 69 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. As a junior, Spence started all 12 games and recorded 72 tackles, seven tackles for loss and one sack en route to being named an All-Big Ten honorable mention.
The Bucs like Spence’s ability to play both the three-technique tackle and nose tackle positions at Illinois. He has the ability to back up Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and line up next to him.“We felt like he is a very powerful, very strong, tilt nose for the Buccaneers. He produced a high level. I thought he was performing at his best at the end of the season but played consistent throughout. Really a force inside and that is such an important aspect to make sure we didn’t miss or lose him before we were going to make our original pick in the fourth round.” – DominikGRADE = C-Round 4. DT William Gholston
Gholston had an up and down career in East Lansing. With all the attributes to be a first-round talent, the former Spartan fairly or not, earned a reputation as a player who’s motor wasn't revving at 100 percent at all times.
In 2010 as a true freshman, Gholston notched 13 tackles and half a sack before tearing his left labrum against Minnesota. As a sophomore, Gholston started 12 games and earned second-team All-Big Ten honors with 70 tackles, 16 tackles for loss and five sacks.
In 2012, Gholston was a second-team All-Big Ten selection by the media, but just honorable mention by the coaches. He played in 36 games and notched just 30 tackles for loss and 10 sacks.
The Bucs most likely feel they can coach the big man up and hopes he matures into a great edge rusher who can spell Da’Quan Bowers and Adrian Clayborn, and in the event of a significant injury, step right in as a starter. “Will Gholston was a big, long, powerful defensive lineman from Michigan State. Again, length and power and strength. We visited him as one of our 30 visits so we could really get to know him better and learn more about him. I felt that pick in terms of quality and quantity in terms of where you’re taking him, for a player of that level is very exciting for our entire staff. The scouting staff as well as the coaching staff is very excited about continuing to develop him because of what her brings and the traits he has.” – DominikGRADE = B-Round 5. DE Steven Means
Means earned the “Who is Steven Means” gasp by the media at One Buc Place when his name was called late Saturday afternoon. Outside of upstate New York most were also asking the same question. And while Means was far from a household name, the Buccaneers feel they have scored a diamond in the rough that will give them additional depth at the very least, and a potential double-digit sacker in the future.
Means recorded 186 tackles, 30.5 tackles for loss, 19.5 sacks, nine pass breakups, five blocked kicks, three forced fumbles and two interceptions, one of which was returned 42 for a touchdown against Bowling Green in 2011.“He’s a guy who may have been a little bit off your radar but he wasn’t off of ours. He was a guy who we put a lot of time into as we do with all the draft choices. We use all the resources we can, whether that’s through the coaching community the scouting community, we did a private workout with him. So we spent a lot of time with him and we’re really excited about him being a developing pass rusher. We think he’s got tremendous traits at that ability and that’s why we’re excited to bring him in. Anytime you can draft a pass rusher you don’t want to pass him up. We thought he was one of those guys for us and so we’re really excited about him.” – DominikGRADE = C+Round 6. RB Mike James
James is an interesting prospect and while he doesn’t excel in any one particular area, he does everything really well. James has already been compared by some to former Bucs running back/fullback Earnest Graham, including Dominik.
James split time in the backfield as a senior with freshmen Duke Johnson and is an unselfish player willing to lineup at a number of positions.
As a senior James (5-11, 222 pounds), started all 12 games at running back while also seeing time on special teams and fullback. In 2012 James ran for a career-best 621 yards and six touchdowns, while adding 344 yards and three TDs as a receiver.
James is a local product who played is high school in Polk County and grew up a Bucs fan, another trait he shares with Graham. Tampa Bay also liked his character and leadership, something that under Schiano has been a focal point with several draft choices over the last two seasons.“(James) is a big back out of Miami. Again, another powerful player a big back. He ran in the 4.5s. He can do everything. I think what makes Mike so special is that he can play on first, second, third and fourth down. He’s very dependable, very trustworthy and out of all the respect in the world for him an Earnest Graham type of player. We loved Earnest Graham and what he did for this organization. Mike is bigger and taller than Earnest but he’s selfless like Earnest and really can do a lot of different things.” –DominikGRADE = C+
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