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All right, draftniks. you know that Pewter Report is the undisputed king of Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft coverage. We’ve listed players, such as defensive end Gaines Adams (2007), linebacker Quincy Black (2007), wide receiver Maurice Stovall (2006), quarterback Bruce Gradkowski (2006), middle linebacker Barrett Ruud (2005), cornerback Torrie Cox (2003) – among others, at their respective positions in the Bucs’ Best Bets sections of Pewter Report’s annual Bucs Draft Preview.â€¨â€¨
As the 2008 NFL Draft approaches, Pewter Report’s staff has done countless hours of research and has watched the prospects thoroughly, Notre Dame defensive tackle Trevor Laws included. Using league sources Pewter Report is armed with the inside scoop needed to put together these scouting reports on players who might fit Tampa Bay’s schemes on offense and defense.â€¨
The casual football fan already has a good deal of knowledge on likely first-round draft prospects, such as LSU defensive tackle Glen Dorsey, Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm and Virginia defensive end Chris Long. The goal of these regular Pewter Insider features on PewterReport.com is to inform you about players that will likely go in rounds 2-7 that might help the Buccaneers.
Will one of these players wind up being the next Ruud, Stovall or Gradkowski? We’ll all find out in April when Tampa Bay is on the clock. NOTRE DAME DEFENSIVE TACKLE TREVOR LAWS
VITAL STATS: At 6-feet, 305 pounds, Trevor Laws has adequate size to play defensive tackle. Laws brings tons of productivity and is a high-effort player. The negatives on Laws are a lack of height and not a lot of sacks. To contrast the negatives, Laws is an overachiever that is a great teammate and leader. He is supremely coachable and will be a favorite of the fans and coaches where ever he lands. CREDENTIALS
Laws has been a constant in Notre Dame’s starting lineup. He started his final 27 games of his career spanning his sophomore through senior seasons, and played in every game of his redshirt freshman season. There was never an injury that caused him to miss any games, except for an undisclosed injury during his true freshman season.
Over his four years with the Irish Laws amounted some impressive totals. Laws finished his career at Notre Dame with 224 tackles, sixth most all-time for Notre Dame defensive lineman. His sack total was not as high as pro teams would like, finishing with 10 sacks in his career. However, Laws blocked six kicks in his college years.
In his sophomore year, the Burnsville, Minnesota product became a starter finishing the season with 33 tackles, three tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks, and one batted ball.
Laws improved in his junior campaign, again playing at defensive tackle in a 4-3 scheme. For the season he amassed 62 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, one batted ball, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery.
Prior to his senior year Notre Dame switched to a 3-4 defensive front and Laws was forced to play out of position at defensive end. Despite the change, Laws turned in a fantastic senior season for the Irish. He had a staggering 112 tackles. He also contributed eight tackles for a loss, four sacks, seven pressures, five batted balls, and two forced fumbles. Three blocked kicks was another career high for Laws.
When Notre Dame failed to qualify for a bowl game, Laws went to work on preparing for the Senior Bowl and the NFL Draft. At Mobile, he was one of the most impressive players playing back at his natural defensive tackle position. Laws flashed the ability to play the three technique in a Tampa 2 system by beating offensive lineman with his quick first step. RECORDS AND SUPERLATIVES
Laws is second all-time for tackles in a season for Notre Dame defensive lineman. His 112 tackles was one away from tying the record. For his senior year Laws was a third-team All-American and a second-team Academic All-American. As a junior in high school he was 49-0 as a state champion super-heavyweight wrestler. He finished his wrestling career with a record of 142-5 and was a three-time All-American. Laws graduated from Notre Dame in May 2007 with a 3.22 cumulative grade-point average and a degree in marketing and sociology.
HIS BIGGEST GAMES
11/17/2007 vs. Duke 6 tackles, 1 sack, 2 hurries 11/10/2007 vs. Air Force 17 tackles, 1 batted ball 10/6/2007 vs UCLA 5 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss, 2 batted balls 9/23/2006 vs Michigan St. 7 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble 9/16/2006 vs Michigan 10 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss
WHY HE COULD BE A RED AND PEWTER PLAYER
Behind starting under tackle Jovan Haye the Buccaneers do not have much depth at the under tackle position. Beyond next season, Haye is not signed to a contract. If the Buccaneers are unable to come to terms on a multi-year deal then Haye could leave a huge hole in the defensive line. Drafting Laws would provide depth and insurance for the under tackle position.
Tampa Bay defensive line coach Larry Coyer likes to use a rotation of defensive lineman. Currently, the Buccaneers do not have a player that can rotate in for Haye and perform at a similar level. A defensive tackle with more pass rush ability would be ideal to work into a rotation with Haye or even unseat him as the three technique.
Laws’ stock has been soaring and he has had a great offseason. An exceptional week at the Senior Bowl proved to NFL talent evaluators that Laws was not just the best player on a bad Notre Dame defense. Against the best senior collegiate linemen, Laws had his way very often and looked to be ready for the NFL. He followed up with a fine showing at the combine and his pro day. The 22-year-old’s coachable attitude and leadership skills have impressed in individual meetings as well.
One of his most impressive attributes is his non-stop motor. Laws simply does not quit on a play. He pursues laterally and downfield, and goes all out on every play. With his huge tackle numbers you can surmise that Laws is a good tackler. He is fundamental in his tackling, wrapping-up the ball carrier and using his power to pull the ball carrier down.
Laws is a fit in the Tampa 2 as an under tackle. His quick first step allows him to shoot the gap and he is good at flowing to the ball. For this draft, Laws may be the most technique sound defensive tackle. Laws hand use from wrestling helps his overall technique. Right now as an under tackle Laws is an adequate pass rusher, but he has the ability and potential to grow.
A captain at Notre Dame, Laws has been a leader for his teams. He is an overachiever, through hard work and good coaching Laws could have a long productive career in the NFL. TOUGHEST TRANSITION IN TAMPA BAY
Laws isn’t a player that jumps out at you in terms of sacks and he has to improve his pass rush ability if he becomes a Buccaneer. While he has good field vision his lack of height can allow him to get caught up in trash. Height is not always the most important physical trait, after all former Buc great defensive line coach Rod Marnelli says he likes his interior lineman, “short, quick, and thick.”
In the pros, Laws seems to be only a fit at the under tackle and does not look like he has the ability to play nose tackle. The Buccaneers like defensive lineman that can play more than one position on the line, but Laws may not be one of them.
With his professional team Laws will need to improve his lower body strength, which was a negative that scouts saw. Closing speed is extremely important for Tampa Bay’s under tackles and he needs to improve on this to be an effective tackle. Laws needs to get better at shedding blocks and beating one-on-one blocks regularly.
SPECIAL TEAMS FACTOR
Laws blocked six kicks in his career at Notre Dame. Considering he is only 6-feet tall that is an astounding number. It is indicative of Laws ability to penetrate the backfield with his quick first step. Laws will be an asset to any teams’ field goal blocking unit.
Laws really upped his draft stock with his superb post-season workouts. If Laws had produced a bigger sack total along the lines of Sedrick Ellis or Glenn Dorsey then he would be a first round selection. At this time, he is a good, but not dominant player. He is expected to be the fourth defensive tackle taken after Dorsey, Ellis, and Kentwan Balmer. After Laws and Maryland’s Dre Moore there is a big drop off in talent.
Laws is expected to be drafted in the second round. Tampa Bay may have to trade up in the second round to assure the opportunity to draft Laws. There are many teams that need defensive tackles this year. The Atlanta Falcons have a need there and have three second round picks before Tampa Bay selects at pick 52. If Laws falls to pick 52 it would not be surprising to see Laws in red and pewter next fall.
“My proudest moment in football was beating Michigan in The Big House. Jake Long hit me the hardest. Matt Leinart of USC was the recipient of my best hit,” said Laws. “My proudest of off-field moment is being an uncle to my 18-month old niece, Avery Judd.”
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