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April 23, 2012 @ 6:35 am
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2012 Bucs Draft Preview

Pewter Report’s 2012 7-Round Bucs Mock Draft – 3.0

WRITTEN_BY Scott Reynolds Scott Reynolds
Scott Reynolds

Scott
Reynolds

Publisher
In Scott Reynolds’ End Zone column, he lays out his final forecast for Pewter Report’s 2012 Bucs Mock Draft, making a selection for Tampa Bay in each round it has a pick.
The final installment of PewterReport.com’s seven-round mock draft for the Buccaneers is here and there are changes in four of Tampa Bay’s six picks.

For the third straight mock draft we are projecting LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne to the Bucs – although don’t be surprised if Tampa Bay goes with a wild card selection in the first round, such as Boston College middle linebacker Luke Kuechly or North Carolina defensive lineman Quinton Coples. But there are changes aplenty in the next four rounds where Tampa Bay adds a linebacker, a running back, a tight end and a safety.

With the Bucs using last year to stock up on defensive linemen and this offseason to add offensive linemen, the team will forego drafting additional linemen in this mock draft and focus on rebuilding its backfield after the first two rounds. To find out which players they take, check out the third and final edition of Pewter Report’s seven-round mock draft.

ROUND 1 - LSU CB Morris Claiborne
LAST MOCK – Claiborne
FIRST MOCK – Claiborne

It is unclear whether Claiborne or Alabama running back Trent Richardson would be Tampa Bay’s number one option with the fifth pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. There is a good chance we won’t find out as Cleveland may be leaning towards taking Richardson fourth overall. And there is a decent chance that Minnesota may select Claiborne over USC left tackle Matt Kalil with the third pick. But Kalil to the Vikings makes too much sense, especially since Minnesota invested a first-round pick last year in quarterback Christian Ponder, so Claiborne should still be available at number five.

If it comes down to Richardson and Claiborne, Tampa Bay’s scouting department believes the Crimson Tide rusher is the most complete running back to enter the draft since Adrian Peterson in 2007. New Bucs head coach Greg Schiano has repeatedly said that he wants to run the heck out of the football on offense, so the well-built, versatile Richardson seems like a great fit.

Yet for the third straight draft, PewterReport.com has picked Claiborne and we are sticking with that pick. It’s hard to find a good shutdown cornerback outside of the first round, and the Bucs, who play in the pass-happy NFC South where they face Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Cam Newton twice per season, might have the chance to get the best one in the draft in Claiborne.

Of the six cornerbacks in the most recent Pro Bowl, five out of six of them were first-round picks. Of the six running backs in the Pro Bowl last year, none of them were first-round picks, and there is good depth at the running back position in the draft this year for Tampa Bay. Picking the 2011 Jim Thorpe Award winner that ran an impressive 4.39 at his pro day makes the most sense for the Bucs.

Claiborne recently had surgery to repair a ligament in his wrist. NFL scouts aren’t concerned and said that he wisely waited until after his pro day to have surgery and should be fine by the time training camp rolls around.

In his three years at LSU, the junior cornerback picked off 11 passes, returning them for 274 yards and one touchdown, in addition to knocking down 12 passes. After notching five interceptions as a sophomore in 2010, Claiborne topped that number as a junior with six picks, including one he returned 45 yards for a touchdown against Georgia. Claiborne also starred on special teams where he returned 22 kickoffs for 552 yards and a touchdown.

The selection of cornerback fills a huge need because veteran Ronde Barber, who will be 37 in April, is only signed through 2012 and there is a chance he could be permanently moved to safety this year. Fellow starter Aqib Talib is entering a contract year and could face a league suspension depending on the outcome of his June 25 trial in Texas for aggravated assault with a firearm. Eric Wright was signed in free agency, but the Bucs will need better depth as E.J. Biggers and Myron Lewis disappointed in 2011. Biggers’ contract is also up after the 2012 season.

What makes Claiborne such an intriguing pick is that he was coached by Ron Cooper, who is Tampa Bay’s new defensive backs coach, at LSU. That gives the Bucs some peace of mind as they spend a premium pick on the Tigers cornerback. Claiborne might not start in the season opener, but he has the talent to at least be the nickel cornerback as a rookie. Having his college coach tutor him in the pros will only accelerate his development because of the relationship Cooper and Claiborne fostered at LSU.

ROUND 2 – Utah State OLB Bobby Wagner
LAST MOCK – Alabama MLB Dont’a Hightower
FIRST MOCK – North Carolina OLB Zach Brown

PewterReport.com has used the team’s second round pick to select a linebacker for the Buccaneers for all three of its mock drafts. Initially, we had Brown in the mock draft because of the familiarity Bucs defensive consultant Butch Davis has having coached him at North Carolina. But sources tell PewterReport.com that Brown didn’t grade out particularly well and that the team will be going in a different direction at linebacker.

Our second mock draft had Tampa Bay taking Hightower, but it seems unlikely that he will get out of the first round with Pittsburgh and Baltimore both interested in the Alabama star. So instead of finding a middle linebacker to replace Mason Foster in this year’s draft, which is difficult because of the lack of talent at the position, the Bucs will address the vacancy created at weakside linebacker with the departure of Geno Hayes in free agency.

Wagner is a great fit in Tampa Bay because of his combination of size, speed, intelligence and production. At 6-foot, 241 pounds, he is a well-chiseled athlete that is no stranger to the weight room. That speaks volumes about Wagner’s work ethic and how serious he works to perfect his craft.

The Utah State product was among the nation’s leading tacklers with 147 stops in 2011, in addition to 11.5 tackles for a loss. Wagner has notched 445 stops and 28.5 tackles for loss as a three-year starter for the Aggies career.

Wagner’s stock is on the rise this offseason following a great week in Mobile, Ala. where he impressed scouts during the week and intercepted a pass in the Senior Bowl. Wagner has a solid skill set against the pass, evidenced by seven pass breakups, 4.5 sacks and four interceptions at Utah State.

With 4.46 speed in the 40-yard dash, Wagner can be a force against the run or the pass and could be an immediate starter at weakside linebacker for Tampa Bay.

ROUND 3 – Oregon RB LaMichael James
LAST MOCK – Utah State RB Robert Turbin
FIRST MOCK – James

A few weeks ago, LeGarrette Blount complained about the possibility of Tampa Bay drafting Alabama running back Trent Richardson to a reporter for at the unveiling of the new Nike uniforms in New York. But one player Blount wouldn’t mind sharing the backfield with is James, his former Oregon teammate. Together, LeGarrette and LaMichael could form the “Le-La Backfield” for the Buccaneers.

Pewter Report had James in its first mock draft, but replaced him with Turbin in the last mock draft. The thought was that a big back like the 220-pound Turbin would be better suited to team with Blount, who weighs 247 pounds. But Turbin hasn’t visited with the Bucs and James has, so the former Duck gets the nod near the top of the third round.

James was one of the fastest running backs at the combine, running a 4.37 in the 40-yard dash. His lack of size (5-foot-9, 184 pounds) is what will likely keep him out of the first two rounds, but James’ smallish stature can help him because he can hide away from defenders behind his offensive linemen and then break out for a long run.

Tampa Bay loves James’ production, and he led the nation in rushing yards last year with 1,805 yards and 18 touchdowns, in addition to catching 17 passes for 210 yards and one touchdown. In his three years at Oregon, James rushed for 5,082 yards and 53 touchdowns on 771 carries (6.6 avg.), and also had 51 receptions for 586 yards and four touchdowns. James had 28 100-yard games for the Ducks, and can also help on special teams as a rookie. He scored a touchdown on a 58-yard punt return against Nevada in 2011 and his short area quickness and ability to accelerate would make him a candidate to be Tampa Bay’s primary kickoff and punt returner.

The Bucs could use a change-of-pace back like James to pair with Blount, and the team has had success with a similar-sized runner like Warrick Dunn back in the 1990s. You can bet that general manager Mark Dominik got a lot of intel on the Ducks’ 2012 draft prospects like James when he was interviewing Oregon head coach Chip Kelly for Tampa Bay’s head coaching position in January.

ROUND 4 – Traded to Philadelphia for 2011 fourth-round pick used to move up for tight end Luke Stocker.

ROUND 5 – SMU TE Taylor Thompson
LAST MOCK – Boston College CB Donnie Fletcher
FIRST MOCK – Fresno State WR Devon Wylie

Like Claiborne, Wagner and James, the Bucs also had Thompson at One Buccaneer Place for a pre-draft visit.

Bucs head coach Greg Schiano believes that tight end is one of the hardest positions to find good talent at, and has pointed to players like Tony Gonzalez, Jimmy Graham and Antonio Gates, who all had basketball backgrounds. Schiano believes that teams need to look outside the box to find good, athletic tight ends.

Taylor played defensive end for the Mustangs, but was a wide receiver in high school. At his SMU pro day, he showed off his athleticism by running a 4.56 in the 40-yard dash, posting a 37-inch vertical leap, running a 7.40 in the three-cone drill and a 4.41 in the short shuttle, and benching 225 pounds 22 times. He also displayed great hands and caught the ball very well, according to scouts in attendance.

NFL.com’s Gil Brandt said that Thompson went from an undrafted free agent to a late third-round or early fourth-round prospect. But that’s quite a leap based upon a workout where a guy ran around in shorts, yet didn’t catch a single pass in college.

Thompson did have a pretty productive career as a defensive end at SMU, recording 139 tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss and 18 sacks. In 2011, Thompson had a career-high eight sacks, six forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. His potential at tight end and the fact that he could also be a versatile performer and serve as a reserve defensive end makes him an attractive option for Tampa Bay.

ROUND 6 – Illinois FS Tavon Wilson
LAST MOCK – Florida RB Chris Rainey
FIRST MOCK – Boston College CB Donnie Fletcher

PewterReport.com originally had the Bucs doubling up at cornerback with Fletcher before having Tampa Bay double up at running back with Rainey. But the fact that the Bucs cut Tanard Jackson so abruptly in early April has created depth issues at safety. The team is so concerned about the lack of experience and potential talent that it is considering moving Ronde Barber from cornerback to safety.

The Bucs have several inexperienced, developmental safeties on the roster, including the recently signed Ron Girault, Devin Holland, Larry Asante and Ahmad Black, last year’s fifth-round pick. The addition of Wilson, who also visited team headquarters prior to the draft, gives Tampa Bay another body at the position to throw into the competitive mix.

Wilson had 214 tackles, 22 pass breakups, 12.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions, two fumble recoveries, including one for a touchdown, and one forced fumble. Wilson is a solid special teams player and could instantly contribute as a gunner on punt team as a rookie.

ROUND 7 – Rutgers FB Joe Martinek
LAST MOCK – Martinek
FIRST MOCK – Rutgers G Desmond Wynn

PewterReport.com has had a Rutgers player pegged for the seventh round in all three mocks and we are keeping it that way, as Martinek remains the pick. Heading into the draft, Tampa Bay needs some competition for incumbent fullback Erik Lorig, who didn’t have a stellar year in 2011 in his first year as a starter.

The selection of Martinek helps Tampa Bay rebuild its backfield and it reaffirms Schiano’s commitment to running the football on offense. Martinek, a former halfback, rushed for 1,770 yards and 17 touchdowns on 391 carries (4.5 avg.) during his collegiate career, in addition to catching 46 passes for 448 yards and one score.

Martinek’s best rushing season came in 2009 when he carried the ball 206 times for 906 yards and nine TDs. His former head coach, Greg Schiano, demonstrated his trust in Martinek by letting him carry the ball that many times. While his number of carries steadily declined over the past two years, Martinek had his best receiving season in 2011, catching 27 passes for 262 yards and one score while rushing for 123 yards on 24 carries.

He transitioned to fullback for the first time in his career last season and was the lead blocker for sophomore Jawan Jamison, who rushed for 897 yards and nine touchdowns in 2011. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Martinek had an eye-opening 4.40 in the 40-yard dash at Rutgers’ pro day, which was faster than wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, who ran a 4.41.
Last modified on Thursday, 26 April 2012 08:45

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Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds

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COMMENTS

  • avatar


    Wow...did you just copy and paste Charlie Campbell's latest Bucs mock picks. Still on this LMJ BS I see. A track star playing RB. I'm sure that's exactly what coach Schiano meant by Bellcow RBs. All because LMJ visited and another RB didn't? Wow. I'd hate this draft class...outside of MoClay of course...
  • avatar


    I have to agree with BucD on his assessment of your mock Scott. If we're not going to concentrate hard on the secondary, we should consider pass-rushers. Can anyone name the Giants starting secondary in the Super Bowl last year? I don't know about anyone else but McCoy and Price haven't shown much. I don't want another season of Brees,Ryan, and Newton having all day to throw.
  • avatar


    Nothing else to say, but Huh? Scott you have done it again; you continue to ignore SEC and ACC players except for the 1st round. I am glad that you are not drafting for the Bucs.
  • avatar


    Not much to say on this mock except I HOPE NOT!
  • avatar

    Not a fan of this draft at all. A Utah State linebacker? A converted DE as a TE - who didn't even play the position in college. Those picks sound like fun on paper - but production in college at a top-tier school is one of the truest barometers of whether success will translate to the NFL level. The Bucs need to avoid boom or bust players at all cost and select solid, proven contributors across the board. Period.
  • avatar

    I'd rather have Keuchly with the first pick. MLB and stopping the run are the biggest problem this team has, even if he is reach according to the pundits.
  • avatar


    Mr Reynolds I think that is a good draft. BUT IF RB TRENT RICHARDSON IS THERE I WOULD DRAFT THE RB FROM bAMA. tHEN THE cb OR lb WOULD CHANGE go bucs
  • avatar


    If you think LMJ is a track star in pads; then you must not pay much attention to college football. I think we need Kuechly in the first round, the best corner available in the second, LMJ in the third, and more CB's late.
  • avatar


    Never heard of most of these guys.
  • avatar


    You don't draft on need...you draft on talent. I kalil is there at 5, you take him. After that, you take Richardson, and then Claiborne. If those three are gone, trade down or take Coples. Kuechly would be a mistake at 5. LMJ should not be drafted that high. I agree with everyone else...this would be a bad draft.
  • avatar


    this has steven speilberg written all over it, this is terrifing, if this is a smoke screen you nailed it. IT DOESNT TAKE A ROCKET SCIENTIST TO DRAFT FOOTBALL PLAYERS. THE TOP PLAYERS FROM HIGH SCHOOL GO TO COLLEGE. THE TOP PLAYERS FROM COLLEGE GO TO THE PROS. ALL BASED ON PRODUCTION FOR YEARS THE BUCS WELL SINCE DUNGY LEFT HAVE DRAFTED HORRIBLY STOP LOOKING FOR WHATS NOT THERE LET THE SLEEPERS SLEEP, U HAVE ALOT OF COALS AND FOOLS GOLD LOOKING FOR DIAMONDS STOP OVER LOOKING THE OBVIOUS. A GOOD FOOTBALL PLAYER IS JUST THAT A GOOD FOOTBALL PLAYER. THERES TOP PLAYERS WHO WIN TROPHYS FOR THERE PRODUCTION ON AND OFF THE FEILD IN EVERY CONFRENCE SO THAT TELLS YOU THEY PROBABLY ARE GOOD FOOTBALL PLAYERS TO TOP YOUR SECOND ROUND AND SO ON. PICK ONE. THEN YOU HAVE TOP PLAYERS WHO ARE THE BEST OF THE BEST FOR YEARS WHO WIN THE TROPHYS FOR BEING THE BEST AT THERE POSITION IN THE WORLD HELLO THERE ELITE FIRST ROUND STATUS SECOND ROUND STEALS SO ON PICK EM SOMETIMES YOU CAN OVER THINK BUT ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS DONT BELIEVE ME JUST CHECK THE TAPE. MEN LIE WOMEN LIE BUT NUMBERS DONT LIE EVEN IF YOU DRAFT BY POSITION DRAFT BEST PRODUCTIVE PLAYERS AT THE POSITION NOT BEST PROSPECTS AT THE POSITION. I LOVE THE MIAMI HURRICANES JUST AS MUCH AS I LOVE THE TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS AND I CAN ADMIT THAT THE SEC CONFRENCE IS THE BEST IN COLLEGE ATLEAST THE LAST FIVE YEARS THATS WHY THEY HAVE THE TITLES TOO PROVE IT CHAMPIONSHIP TITLES SO OBVIUOLSY THEY HAVE SOME OF THE BEST PLAYERS PICK SOME AND SO ON AND YES I WOULD LOVE TOO GET PAID TO RECRUIT BUT I LOVE YOU GUYS ENOUGH TO STATE THE OBVIOUS FOR FREE WELL AT MY OWN COST OF MEMBER SHIP PLEASE TAKE HEID FOR BUCCANEERS NATION PLEASE ALL MY FELLOW WHO AGREE SAY I.
  • avatar


    johnpaul82, I My favorite two college football teams, Hurricanes & Seninoles.
  • avatar


    That's a waste of a 5th round pick. I believe rounds 1-4 should be used on clean players good character good numbers rounds 5-7 on players with questions marks either character or size/speed players with marginal production banking on the upside. Keeping in mind if they bust no loss because they are late round pics... with that said 1st round always (B.P.A) adjust rest of draft accordinly 2nd round David Wilson 3rd round Lavonte David 5th round Vontaze Burfict 6th round Russell Wilson 7th round Bryce Brown
  • avatar


    Really glad to see you picking up a FB in the 7th. We need to use Lorig blocking at TE and just being the backup blocking back unless he shows real improvement at that position in preseason. Hughes, who we just picked up, has played some FB in college and is certainly big enough at 245, and can pick up blitzes and has soft hands for passes, but didn't seem to love playing that position in College. He liked playing running back better and might be able to be used there to backup our starters in wear down the defenses.
  • avatar


    Wow, JohnPaul.... As for the SEC roster/nonroster bias, let's look at last year's Pro Bowl, shall we? http://www.nfl.com/probowl/story/09000d5d82578253/article/2012-pro-bowl-rosters No particular conference has an advantage, and when you leave out guys like Von Miller (Big 12) it shows just how important it is to draft for talent, coachabilityand fit, not for past success when surrounded by other bribed 20 year olds. Even the mighty Patriots have 9 SEC players, 11 Big 10 players and 14 non-BCS guys, including Kyle Arrington, who Domenik and Morris cut on his way to this year's Pro Bowl. This isn't the NBA. You actually have to do work to coach/draft in this league.... This mock has some question marks, but with the trend towards nontraditional tight ends I can see the fifth round going this way. And maybe the Martinek kid can play, I don't know. No one gave Peyton Hillis a shot because he was a straight-line white guy. I wouldn't want him to be my lead blocking back, but maybe Schiano's going to have more WC elements than he's been letting on...Overall, this is an inexact science and it is MUCH MORE important to have a coaching staff/GM on the same page about what they need out of players they draft than it is to draft guys based on which school's hot tubs they partied in in college. As for anyone down on LaMichael James, when a running backs coach produces Maurice Morris, Reuben Droughns, Jonathan Stewart, LeGarrette Blount in a ten-year period his guy may be worth taking a round 3 flyer on.
  • avatar


    We give credit to Dungy but it was Rick McKay. If you think about it those draft were terrible also.
  • avatar

    Just saw Todd McShay say he now thinks the Bucs are screwed at no. 5 because he now believes the vikings are taking Claiborne...
  • avatar


    The more i think about it, the more I would draft whoever the Bucs think is the highest rated player and they are okay with it whether is fills the LB, CB, SS, slot or not.
  • avatar


    Schiano and Dom at the end of the day will have chosen the guys they want to play and coach...you can whine and speculate all you want...but the draft the last three years has not been the problem Dom has done a great job of bringing in young talent...now hopefully we have guys that can coach em up and keep them in the game...cmon Thursday its going to be fun!!!
  • avatar


    Wasted picks 2,5,7. I've got to agree with above comments-- this is how we end up with no probowlers. Why not go with the superior SEC? If heard you say the bucs trust their big 10 scout but maybe it's time to look elsewhere
  • avatar


    Gotta admit... if Hightower slipped for some odd reason it would be like stealing. James is my personal favorite. If you're a believer in Blount (I am) then a CoP with a vet is best case scenario for our backfield. Not sure I'm tracking the logic with bringing another late round safety. Would love to see TY Hilton make his way in somehow.
  • avatar


    I think most any of us can draft this good and we would be A whole lot cheaper come on please let this be A joke. or someone got A hold of A computer.looks like bottom of league again.
  • avatar


    My final prediction in the first round if we do not trade down: Alabama Strong Safety Mark Barron. Why? This is the one position that we have nothing at all to fill in for with the present player roster. Barron is the next Ronnie Lott. He would fit perfectly and be on the field for all the defensive plays. At this time and place we are last in Defense in the run, and pretty poor in the mid field passing range defense too. It makes no sense to take Richardsen when it is the Defense that needs serious improvements. Barron is a proven guy. He has been in two BCS Championship Games and has gone against the best of the best in the SEC. I know he is projected to go 8-14, but take him as he is good and a very safe pick. Go Bucs!
  • avatar

    @Horse- I respect you as a Bucs Fan but to say where are the sec or acc players drafted in this mock is a joke there are great players outside that conference not everyone from the sec is a baller look at Michael Clayton and Cadillac and Kenyatta, Ridel Anthony all 1st rounders and all busts. As long as we get Lamichael James I'm one happy Bucs Fan
  • avatar


    jongruden, in the past years (6 years ago) you could say that and I would agree, but the SEC has just plain been powerful the last 4-5 years.
  • avatar


    I took a look Kuechly again...actually watched his tape (probably for the first time I am embarrassed to say). Well...he looks very good. He has a burst, he is attacks the play and beats blocks, instinctual, and a fluid athlete. My new draft order for the Bucs first round pick... 1. Kalil 2. Kuechly 3. Richardson 4. Clairborne I think the top three have the least wholes in their game and all meet a need. I worry a little about Claiborne because of that wonderlic score and I think you can get a good corner in two or three.
  • avatar

    May be okay with 1 and 2 (though have no idea about the kid from Utah St.). At least I'd like to see a linebacker there. After that, it's pretty lame. Seriously? A TE who isn't a TE? A pick - even a 7th - for a fullback? If this is the best we can do, I suggest we roll up everything after #1 and whatever it takes from next year to get Hightower. Would consider he and Claiborne a good draft. Spend whatever else needed for FAs. Sheesh ...
  • avatar


    And let the "mocking" begin from our little gallery of cyber General Managers. It is absolutely hysterical reading these posts criticizing a fictitious Mock Draft. Almost everyone agrees that it is best to draft BPA but nearly every mock draft focuses purely on NEED. Why is that? It's amazing to me that every year the talking heads talk about players going up and sliding down the invisible draft board. Whose draft board are they referencing since none of the actual NFL teams are revealing their thoughts. Mel Kiper. People should go back and check his record. Laughable.
  • avatar


    scubog; My guess is Barron, what's yours and the reasons? I respect your opinion and observations.
  • avatar


    Pewter Report; before the draft actually gets started I would like to thank you all for providing your opinions based on information that many of us do not have. This is why I read and respond to the Articles. Thank you again for your efforts and your professional that always exist.
  • avatar


    wrong ! clevelnd jus traded with vikes~cleveland gets richardson,vikes grab clarborne and we trade with buffalo so they can grab kalil....so long picking at 5..
  • avatar


    luke is our pick....
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