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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 wide receiver Dexter Jackson (2008), offensive lineman Jeremy Zuttah (2008), quarterback Josh Johnson (2008), 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.
As the 2009 NFL Draft approaches, Pewter Report's resident draft experts, Scott Reynolds and Charlie Campbell, have spent countless hours watching over 12 college games per week and scouting which prospects would look good wearing red and pewter next year. With over 500 college games to review dating back over the last four years and countless scouting contacts throughout the NFL, Reynolds and Campbell are 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.
The casual football fan already has a good deal of knowledge on likely first-round draft prospects, such as USC MLB Rey Mauluga, Georgia QB Matthew Stafford, and Ohio State OLB James Laurinaitis. These regular Pewter Insider features on PewterReport.com will scout players that are candidates for the Buccaneers to select in next April's draft.
Will one of these players wind up being the next Ruud, Zuttah or Johnson? We'll all find out next April when Tampa Bay is on the clock.
FLORIDA WIDE RECEIVER PERCY HARVIN
VITAL STATS: Florida wide receiver Percy Harvin measures in at 5-foot-11, 178-pounds. Harvin is an explosive playmaker that is a threat to score a touchdown every time he touches the ball. The Gators standout was used as a running back and wide receiver in college. At the professional level, Harvin is expected to be used primarily as a receiver and sparingly as a running back. Any team that selects Harvin will try and get him the football in creative ways.
In his senior season Harvin averaged 108.7 all-purpose yards per game with 17 touchdowns combined rushing (10) and receiving (7). Harvin holds the longest current streak in the nation with 15 straight games scoring a touchdown. In 2008 the Virginia Beach, VA product rushed for 660 yards on only 70 carries for an average of 9.4 yards per carry. As a receiver he led Florida with 40 catches for 644 yards, averaging 16.1 yards per reception.
RECORDS AND SUPERLATIVES
Harvin is an All-SEC performer that set numerous records at Florida. In 2006, Harvin was the MVP of the SEC Championship Game as a true freshman. His 32 career touchdowns are the all-time leader for a Gators wide receiver. In his career he totaled 133 catches for 1,929 yards and 13 TDs, while rushing the ball 194 times for 1,852 yards and 19 touchdowns. His 2007 effort against Vanderbilt was the only time in Florida history that a player ran for over 100 yards and caught over 100 receiving yards.
HIS BIGGEST GAMES
11/3/07 Vanderbilt 11 rushes for 113 yards 2 TDs, 9 catches for 110 yards
1/1/08 Michigan 13 rushes for 165 yards 1 TD, 9 catches for 77 yards 1 TD
9/27/08 Mississippi 10 rushes for 82 yards 1 TD, 13 receptions for 186 yards 1 TD
11/15/08 South Carolina 8 rushes 167 yards 2 TD, 1 catch for six yards
1/8/09 Oklahoma 9 rushes for 122 yards 1 TD, 5 catches for 49 yards
WHY HE COULD BE A RED AND PEWTER PLAYER
The Buccaneers have a real need at the wide receiver position. Leading receiver Antonio Bryant is a good candidate to be re-signed or placed with the franchise tag to ensure that he will be in Tampa Bay next season. The other starting wide receiver, Michael Clayton, is also scheduled to hit the free agency market. Holdovers Joey Galloway, Ike Hilliard, Maurice Stovall, Dexter Jackson, and Paris Warren are all candidates to be part of the offense or released.
For years the Bucs offense has been in need of explosive weapons that can change a game whenever they touch the ball. Harvin is that kind of talent, and is perhaps the biggest game changer in the draft. For the Gators, Harvin's talents were maximized by the team getting him the ball as a receiver, running back, and taking snaps at quarterback.
New offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski could use a weapon like Harvin. Jagodzinksi ran some spread offense in college, so he brings an understanding of getting playmakers the ball in a variety of ways. Jagodzinksi is also directing the team to a more vertical passing attack. Harvin is a great fit as a vertical receiver because of his dynamic speed to get quick separation and get open downfield quickly.
With Bryant on one side of the field and Harvin on the other defenses would be an austere position trying to have deep help on both receivers. That kind of speed on the outside would help the Bucs to open up the underneath part of the field for the running game and short passes.
In watching Harvin over the past few seasons his speed and dynamic play are undeniable. Harvin had the best first step quickness in college football, and it was that first step that let him rip off yards in chunks. To go with that initial burst, Harvin brings excellent vision, good hands, cutting ability, and the unmatched sustained speed made him one of the best weapons in college football.
Due to all his highlight reel runs and catches, there are a few characteristics of Harvin that are underrated. One of them is his blocking ability. Harvin is an excellent downfield blocker. A number of Gators broke off big runs with the aide of a block by Harvin on the perimeter or downfield. In conjunction with his blocking, Harvin's toughness is underrated. He finishes his runs extremely well by going through the defenders for an extra few yards.
Harvin is a game changer and touchdown producer. Those are two things that are in big demand on the Bucs roster.
TOUGHEST TRANSITION IN TAMPA BAY
Durability has been the biggest knock on Harvin as a pro prospect. Throughout his college career Harvin missed time to a variety of nagging injuries. None of those injuries were as significant as a torn knee ligament, but there were a number of them. Harvin may be more apt to avoid those injuries at the pro level because he will probably not get the number of carries that he received in college. Rushing the ball less will also avoid more powerful hits from front seven defenders.
SPECIAL TEAMS FACTOR
Entering college Harvin had the ability to return punts and kicks. At Florida those responsibilities went to the Gators ace returner Brandon James. In the pros Harvin will probably not be considered for special teams. Whichever team lands him will want to protect him from injuries, and will focus on using Harvin on offense.
Harvin is projected to be a first-round pick in this April's NFL Draft.
"I will have a lot of great memories from my time at Florida, but the championships we won in 2006 and 2008 will be at the top of my list," Harvin said in a statement when he entered the NFL Draft.
Percy Harvin 2008 highlights.
OTHER PROSPECT PROFILES