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Copyright 2008 PewterReport.com
Many of 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, Oklahoma G Duke Robinson and Ohio State OLB James Laurinaitis. 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, Zuttah or Johnson? We'll all find out next April when Tampa Bay is on the clock.
TEXAS WIDE RECEIVER JORDAN SHIPLEY
VITAL STATS: Texas wide receiver Jordan Shipley is 6-feet tall, and 190-pounds. He has been a standout wide receiver at Texas this season and has been the primary target for Longhorns quarterback Colt McCoy. Shipley has good speed that pairs nicely with excellent hands.
Shipley is having a phenomenal senior season that is putting him on draft radar screens across the NFL. After not seeing the field much his first three years, Shipley earned a starting spot as a senior and has made the most of it. Through eight games Shipley has 58 catches for 737 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also has returned five kickoffs for 181 yards and one touchdown.
HIS BIGGEST GAMES
9/20/08 vs. Rice five catches for 155 yds., 2 TDs
9/27/08 vs. Arkansas eight catches for 83 yds., 2 TDs
10/11/08 vs. Oklahoma 11 catches for 112 yds. 1 TD, two kick returns for 113 yards, 1 TD
10/18/08 vs. Missouri eight catches for 89 yards, 1 TD
10/25/08 vs. Oklahoma State 15 catches for 168 yards, 1 TD
WHY HE COULD BE A RED AND PEWTER PLAYER
The Buccaneers have a big need at wide receiver. Their leading receiver this season is Antonio Bryant, and he is a free agent after the season. Their other starting receiver is Michael Clayton, who will also be a free agent. Wide receivers Joey Galloway and Ike Hilliard are in their 30's and have been banged up in both of the past two seasons. It is unclear how much longer each player will continue to play.
Question marks surround the Bucs receiving corps, and the passing offense has been the weakest link of the entire Buccaneers team in the 2009 season, so Tampa Bay will definitely be looking to improve its receiving corps in the draft and free agency before the 2009 season.
Shipley is the kind of player that will appeal to Bucs head coach Jon Gruden. He is fast, runs good routes, has good hands, and gets great separation from defensive backs. He also has intangibles that will appeal to NFL teams. By all accounts Shipley has good character, is a hard worker, and is a good teammate. There is another intangible that will appeal to the likes of Gruden.
Shipley is a gamer. He makes big plays in big games. In the biggest games of the season against highly ranked rivals, Shipley teamed up with his roommate McCoy to light up the scoreboard and lead Texas to a number one ranking over three straight tough opponents.
The Buccaneers could use a player like Shipley. He has good acceleration from defensive backs and is excellent at running with the ball after the catch. His sure-hands and route running will be very welcome to the Bucs receiving corps. Shipley is fast, and has the speed to be a deep threat. That kind of receiver is sorely needed in Tampa Bay.
To this observer, Shipley's game is reminiscent of the Philadelphia Eagles' Kevin Curtis. Pewter Report publisher Scott Reynolds thinks of a comparison to Shipley being the Minnesota Vikings' Bernard Berrian. That discrepancy leads to one of the knocks on Shipley.
TOUGHEST TRANSITION IN TAMPA BAY
Shipley is a one-year wonder. Tampa Bay likes to draft players that have produced more than one quality college season. The Bucs are willing to take a one-year wonder in the mid-and-late rounds, but not usually with picks in the first three rounds. Shipley did not play much until this season as he endured a lot of injuries in his first three seasons at Texas, so he will also have to satisfy the Bucs medical examiners in order to be placed on Tampa Bay's draft board. While Shipley has a lot of traits that Gruden likes, he also is undersized and Gruden has an inclination towards big wide receivers. However, Shipley has size that is similar to Hilliard or the Denver Broncos Brandon Stokley.
SPECIAL TEAMS FACTOR
The Buccaneers have promoted undrafted rookie Clifton Smith from the practice squad to be their kick and punt returner after second-round pick Dexter Jackson was benched. Shipley does not have much experience returning kicks, but has been tremendously effective as a kick returner this season averaging 36.2 yards per return. While special teams will not be a big factor in the decision to draft Shipley, he would be able to compete and return kicks if called on to do so.
At this time Shipley is probably a second- to third-round prospect. If Shipley keeps dominating the remainder of his senior season and has a strong lead up to the draft, he could shoot up draft boards.
Shipley's 96-yard touchdown kickoff return against Oklahoma.