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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 out 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 in April when Tampa Bay is on the clock.
TEXAS TECH DEFENSIVE END BRANDON WILLIAMS VITAL STATS: Texas Tech defensive end Brandon Williams measures in at 6-foot-2, 252-pounds. Williams is a pass rushing specialist that has good first-step quickness off the snap. Last season Williams was tied to be the fourth leading sacker in the NCAA, and based off that performance he decided to forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft.
CREDENTIALS Williams is a speed rusher that has showed pass rushing skills since he arrived at Texas Tech. For the Red Raiders, Williams was one of their best defenders and while he has been criticized for run defense, in a number of games that Pewter Report has watched Williams looked solid. RECORDS AND SUPERLATIVES Williams was a first-team All Big-12 selection after this past season. The year before Williams was a second-team all conference pick with 12.5 tackles for a loss and six sacks. As a freshman, Williams was chosen for the Big 12 all-freshman team after staring on special teams and recording 3.5 sacks.
HIS BIGGEST GAMES 9/6/08at Nevada two sacks, two passes defensed, two tackles for a loss, 3.5 tackles 9/20/08 Massachusetts one sack, two forced fumbles, two tackles for a loss, three tackles 10/18/08 at Texas A&M two sacks, two tackles for a loss, two tackles 11/1/08 Texas two sacks, two tackles for a loss, two tackles, 1/2/09 Mississippi two sacks, one forced fumble, three tackles for a loss, four tackles
WHY HE COULD BE A RED AND PEWTER PLAYER The Buccaneers have been lacking a dynamic pass rusher since Simeon Rice left the team. The Bucs have not had a double-digit sacker since Rice had 14 sacks in 2005. That is three straight seasons of not having a top-notch pass rusher. Defensive ends Greg White and Gaines Adams have had some stretches over the past two seasons where they pressured the quarterback, but White topped out at eight sacks in 2007 and Adams' highest total was 6.5 last season. Tampa Bay has got to get more than just a mediocre pass rush in 2009. Thus, acquiring pass rushers in the draft is a big need.
Williams should have stayed in school for his senior season. After recording 13 sacks and 15.5 tackles for a loss last year, Williams felt he was ready to make the jump to the pro level, but he would have been wise to return to school and produce another season of good tape. If he could have repeated his 2008 production he would have been a likely first-round pick.
Williams proved to be a capable pass rusher in his three seasons. Each season he doubled his sack total from the previous year as he earned more playing time. Williams has great quickness once the ball is snapped, and maintains that speed to get by offensive tackles. The closing speed is there for Williams to finish the play and get to the quarterback.
In the Cotton Bowl, Williams had a great game against Ole Miss quality tackles, including a sure fire first-round pick in left tackle Michael Oher. Williams had two sacks and a forced fumble in a game where the rest of the Texas Tech defense struggled mightily.
Not only was Williams productive, he was also a vocal leader on the Red Raiders defense. Texas Tech was known for their high-powered offense in 2008, but that offense thrived because the Williams-led defense did a good job of getting the ball back to the offense.
Williams has shown the ability to take the ball away from the offense as well, a skill the Buccaneers are in dire need of. To go along with 22 career sacks, he also has seven forced fumbles in three seasons. Four of those forced fumbles came last season. That is more than the 2008 Bucs defensive linemen combined. Last season the defensive linemen had three forced fumbles total. Kevin Carter, Greg White, and Jimmy Wilkerson each had one forced fumble.
With Williams' ability to sack the quarterback and strip the ball away, he should be a tantalizing middle-of-the-draft prospect for Tampa Bay. TOUGHEST TRANSITION IN TAMPA BAY Williams will need to work on his pass rushing moves and develop more of a repertoire for the NFL. To hold up at the point of attack and defend the run, Williams could use more bulk. The good news is that he has the frame to be able to add muscle. After leaving college early Williams is still somewhat raw, and may need more time to develop before having a real impact on the field.
Williams' stock took a big hit at the combine. He was known as a speed player, but he ran a 40-yard dash time in the 4.9 range, which is extremely slow for a defensive end, much less one that is supposed to be a speed player. That 40 time could kill his hopes of going on the first day of the draft and make him a mid-round pick at best. SPECIAL TEAMS FACTOR Williams could see some action on coverage units and on field goal defense. Outside of that Williams will not contribute much as a special teams player. DRAFT PROJECTION Williams is slated to go in the middle of the draft right now. The NFL advisory committee gave him a third-round grade last January. His combine performance could have hurt his stock tremendously. Some projections have him going in rounds 4-5, and right now it appears that he is a safe bet to be at least a mid-round pick. Finding a 13-sack player from a conference like the Big 12 could be a huge steal at that point in the draft. THE QUOTE Williams discussed his decision to leave college early with Fox Sports.
"Plus, Texas Tech was hot at the time, so I figured it was a good time for me to leave, too," Williams said. "I talked to Coach Leach, but he really didn't have a lot to say.
"I think he was kind of sad that I was leaving because of my leadership on the team." THE HIGHLIGHTS While a late hit and injuring a player is nothing to brag about, you can see Williams employ a wicked spin move to on this play.