table of contents
- 2011 Bucs 7-Round Mock Draft 3.0
- Point-Counterpoint: Should The Bucs Trade Up For A DE?
- Talib's Troubles Create Dilemma For Bucs
- 2011 Draft: QB Preview + Bucs' Best Bets
- 2011 Draft: RB Preview + Bucs' Best Bets
- 2011 Draft: WR Preview + Bucs' Best Bets
- 2011 Draft: TE Preview + Bucs' Best Bets
- 2011 Draft: G-C Preview + Bucs' Best Bets
- 2011 Draft: OT Preview + Bucs' Best Bets
- Bucs Can No Longer Ignore DE
- 2011 Draft: DE Preview + Bucs' Best Bets
- 2011 Draft: DT Preview + Bucs' Best Bets
- 2011 Draft: MLB Preview + Bucs' Best Bets
- 2011 Draft: OLB Preview + Bucs' Best Bets
- 2011 Draft: Safety Preview + Bucs' Best Bets
- Pewter Prospect: DE Cameron Jordan
- 2011 Draft: CB Preview + Bucs' Best Bets
- Pewter Prospect: RB Jacquizz Rodgers
POINT - by Charlie Campbell
Tampa Bay should move up in the draft to acquire an elite pass rusher
Scott, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers enter the 2011 NFL Draft with a very clear need. The Bucs don’t just need a pass rushing defensive end, it is a gaping hole on their roster and in their defense. Tampa Bay needs a starting right and left defensive end.
The Buccaneers finished second to last in the NFL in sacks in 2010 with 26, and were last in the NFC. Tampa Bay had six of its 26 sacks come in one game at Carolina. Thus, the team had only 20 sacks in their other 15 games. Individually, the sack numbers look even worse.
Since Simeon Rice’s 2005 season, Tampa Bay has not had a double-digit sacker. Last year, the team hit a recent low with Stylez G. White recording only 4.5 sacks to lead the Bucs.
The last time a total that low was leading the team was in 1994 when defensive tackle Brad Culpepper led the Bucs in sacks with four. Only two other times in team history did the Bucs have such a low total lead the team. Linebacker Keith Browner had four sacks in 1986. In 1988, defensive end Ron Holmes led the Bucs with four sacks. One can see the Bucs have reached a near-dubious low in their lack of pass rush lately.
In 2011, the Buccaneers are forced to draft an edge rusher, and are fortunate that they have an excellent class of defensive ends to pick from. It is a weak draft, but defensive end is the only position that is truly strong. The problem for the Bucs is that the proven pass rushers in this draft, and the players they covet the most, are likely to all be selected before Tampa Bay is on the clock with the 20th selection.
The four defensive ends that Pewter Report has heard the Buccaneers are interested in trading up for are: North Carolina’s Robert Quinn, Wisconsin’s J.J. Watt, Purdue’s Ryan Kerrigan and Cal’s Cameron Jordan. Right now, Quinn and Watt are projected by most draft gurus to go at the end of the top 10 or just past it. Kerrigan and Jordan are penciled in as going in the early to mid-teens. That would leave the Bucs with what could be considered second-tier options in Georgia’s Justin Houston or Iowa’s Adrian Clayborn.
Considering that the pass rush is the greatest weaknesses on the Bucs roster, I think Tampa Bay general manager Mark Dominik should be aggressive about trading up for one of Quinn, Watt, Jordan or Kerrigan. Dominik followed that line of thinking when the Bucs needed a franchise quarterback and traded up to draft Josh Freeman in the first round in 2009.
Last year, he traded up in the second round to get wide receiver Arrelious Benn. Trading up this year will probably require a more premium pick, as both the Freeman and Benn trades were done for late-round picks.
However, in a weak draft the Bucs would be taking less of a risk by dealing a second, third, or fourth-round pick to move up in the first round and get the pass rusher they want most. There is a good chance that the players the Bucs draft in the second or third round won’t even challenge to be starters given the talented roster that Dominik has already quickly assembled through the last two drafts. Why not sacrifice a backup player to have a shot at an elite edge rusher?
Scott, think of it in terms of players. Would you trade Houston and say, Wisconsin tight end Lance Kendricks, who would be Tampa Bay’s second-round pick in this scenario, for Quinn? I would because elite pass rushers are so hard to come by.
Go back to 2007. Fans and the media argued that the Bucs shouldn’t trade their two second-round picks to the Detroit Lions in order to move up from the fourth selection to the second pick in the draft. Looking back at the decision not to do the trade and one sees that the Buccaneers made a mistake in not doing the deal.
The Lions wound up with the best wide receiver in football with Calvin Johnson. Tampa Bay ended up with defensive end Gaines Adams, guard Arron Sears and strong safety Sabby Piscitelli in those picks. As fate would have it, Adams has tragically passed away. Sears is out of the NFL due to mental illness, and Piscitelli is barely hanging on in the NFL as a backup. Of course any sane person would trade Adams, Sears, and Piscitelli for Calvin Johnson. The odds of second-round picks panning out are at 50-50. The odds go down from there in the third and fourth rounds, so dealing one of those picks in order to get an elite football player that can be a difference maker is worth the risk. In this poor quality draft it is even less of a risk to do a trade like that. There are numerous teams that are looking to trade down. The Minnesota Vikings at 12 and Miami Dolphins at 15 are two of those teams that would like to move down. Giving up a second or third-round pick to move up eight or five spots with them would be worth doing to help Tampa Bay’s previous investments. The Bucs have used first-, second- and third-round picks on defensive tackles in the past two drafts. The Buccaneers have to find some edge rushers that will force quarterbacks to step up in the pocket towards their defensive tackles. Not giving Gerald McCoy, Brian Price and Roy Miller help from the edge increases the odds of those players not turning into effective pros.
Scott, there are many reasons why the Buccaneers need to find an elite edge rusher, and in a bad draft it makes sense to sacrifice a depth player in order to acquire a player that could help propel the defense towards being Super Bowl ready.
COUNTERPOINT – by Scott Reynolds
The Bucs should stay put at No. 20 and draft the best player available
Charlie, there is logic behind your premise with regards to trading up. And if the Buccaneers were one impact player away from reaching the Super Bowl I would suggest trading up as you proposed. However, with Tampa Bay needing two starting defensive ends, and this not being a very deep draft in terms of overall talent, surrendering a third-round pick to move up a few spots in the first round to get a player such as Purdue defensive end Ryan Kerrigan could cost the Bucs a shot at another starting defensive end that could be had in the third round, such as Pittsburgh’s Greg Romeus, or a potential starting linebacker candidate like Washington’s Mason Foster.
Despite the Bucs’ 10-6 season a year ago and an optimistic outlook for 2011, Tampa Bay has to acquire at least five big-time contributors in this draft – especially on the defensive side of the ball – to set itself up as a perennial playoff contender. In a draft that is not deep in talent, giving away a premium draft pick like a second- or third-round pick, as you suggest, to move up a few spots seems a bit extreme.
What makes the idea even more extreme is the fact that the Bucs’ primary need is at defensive end and there is a reasonable chance that there could be between one and three quality, first-round-caliber defensive ends left on the board when the team selects with the 20th overall pick in the first round. I just don’t see the need for the Bucs to burn a premium pick when a player like Cal’s Cameron Jordan may not be better than a player like Georgia’s Justin Houston.
Tampa Bay general manager Mark Dominik needs to avoid the temptation to trade up and stick and pick at No. 20, Charlie. In years past, it would only take a lower-round pick to move up a few spots. In fact, it took a fifth-rounder in 2009 to move up two spots from pick 19 to 17 in order to draft quarterback Josh Freeman. But that was in a year in which the draft was much deeper in terms of quantity and quality.
This year’s draft is not nearly as highly regarded. The 2011 draft pales in comparison to the 2010 draft, which was one of the best in recent memory, and is also not as robust or as the deep 2009 draft that produced Freeman in round one and gave Tampa Bay cornerback E.J. Biggers and wide receiver Sammie Stroughter in the seventh round.
Many draft gurus and NFL observers felt like teams were getting fifth-round-caliber players in the seventh round last year because the 2010 draft was so talented. Players like Biggers and Stroughter that were drafted in the seventh round two years ago were actually seventh-round-caliber talent. That’s not going to be the case this year as players in this year’s fifth-round are equivalent to seventh-rounders or undrafted free agents in most other years.
Dominik has shown some impatience in the past when trading up just a few spots for Freeman in the first round in 2009 and wide receiver Arrelious Benn in the second round in 2010. We’ll never know if he simply wasted those picks and if Freeman and Benn would have fallen to Tampa Bay anyway, but regardless, Dominik got those players and didn’t have to burn premium picks to do so.
Charlie, in looking at the players that could be available to Tampa Bay with the 20th overall selection, I see Houston, who could be a starting right defensive end, UCLA’s Akeem Ayers, who could start at linebacker and play defensive end situationally, Iowa’s Adrian Clayborn, who could start at left defensive end, and one of the premier offensive tackles, such as USC’s Tyron Smith and Mississippi State’s Derek Sherrod, still being on the draft board. Those players could definitely contribute as rookies and allow the Bucs to keep all of their draft picks.
I remember giving the Bucs high marks for their draft back in 2007. Defensive end Gaines Adams was universally regarded as the premier pass rusher that year, and guard Arron Sears made a huge impact as a rookie and had a promising future until mental illness derailed his career. Even strong safety Sabby Piscitelli looked like a potential starter with a pair of interceptions as a rookie.
Hindsight is always 20-20, and trading up for Detroit’s Calvin Johnson would have been the wise move instead. But I don’t have a crystal ball to peer into to see if Kerrigan or Jordan would be better than a combination of Houston and Wisconsin tight end Lance Kendricks, which is why I would stick and pick at No. 20 if I’m Dominik.