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Pewter Report’s latest mock draft is here. There have been some changes since March, most notably the fact that Tampa Bay was awarded two compensatory picks in the seventh round.
To make this mock draft as real as possible, we have taken into consideration the fact that certain players the Bucs are targeting in this draft simply aren’t going to be there when the team would like them to be. That’s why this mock draft is not made up of all of Pewter Report’s Bucs’ Best Bets.
We also didn’t forecast any trades because those are next to impossible to project, but you can bet there will be some on April 28-29. Just remember that compensatory draft picks can’t be traded.
ROUND 1: WR Calvin Johnson Georgia Tech It’s hard to imagine the Buccaneers passing up Johnson if he is there at number four, so we’re sticking with him in the second version of Pewter Report’s mock draft. Tampa Bay might also consider trading up to get him if it feels that he will be gone by the time the fourth overall pick rolls around. Head coach Jon Gruden is salivating over the prospects of adding a sure-handed, 6-foot-5, 239-pound hard-working receiver with 4.35 speed. Drafting a player like Wisconsin left tackle Joe Thomas, Clemson defensive end Gaines Adams or Louisville defensive tackle Amobi Okoye might make more sense because or the Bucs’ more immediate needs, but Johnson is the best player in the draft and Tampa Bay’s offense needs to generate more touchdowns in 2007.
ROUND 2: DE Anthony Spencer Purdue In last month’s mock draft, Pewter Report had Tampa Bay drafting Boston College guard-center Josh Beekman. That’s not a bad pick. The Bucs like Beekman and also USC center Ryan Kalil. But the thinking here is that Tampa Bay could make a center out of left guard Dan Buenning, and a left guard out of left tackle Anthony Davis, who is getting displaced because of the addition of Luke Petitgout. If Buenning can be turned into a Sean Mahan type player who can play center and guard, he becomes more valuable to the team and could challenge John Wade for the starting job in camp. If the Bucs don’t draft a center, they can turn their attention to a real need like defensive end. Tampa Bay coached Spencer at the Senior Bowl and came away impressed. He has great athleticism, a sound work ethic and is a team player. He’s also a great pick at the top of the second round because he’s got first-round talent.
ROUND 2: LB David Harris Michigan Defensive tackle is a real need for the Bucs and last month we put troubled – yet talented – Florida defensive tackle Marcus Thomas here in our mock draft. But Thomas’ stock is falling, and after being kicked off the Gators for failing a drug test and not following team rules, he should still be there at the top of the third round. The Bucs need to prepare for life without Shelton Quarles. Barrett Ruud is viewed as the heir apparent, but the cupboard is bare behind Ruud. Tampa Bay coached Harris at the Senior Bowl and is intrigued by his intelligence, instincts and playmaking ability. He’s not a tremendous athlete, but he’s a great football player. Drafting Harris is a nice way to end the second round.
ROUND 3: DT Marcus Thomas Florida Tampa Bay ends the first day of the draft by picking Thomas, who slides from the late second to the early third round in our mock draft. Thomas has first-round talent, but he has character issues that have been well-documented. The only way the Bucs take him is if he interviews well and Tampa Bay’s background check comes back saying that his alleged marijuana use was a one-time occurrence. Thomas is a powerful, aggressive player who can play under tackle or nose tackle in the Tampa 2.
ROUND 4: S Sabby Piscitelli Oregon State Tampa Bay has had their eyes on Piscitelli, a Florida native, since the East-West Shrine Game where he performed well. He brings size, athleticism and speed to Tampa Bay’s defense. He needs to trust his instincts more in pass coverage and become a more sound tackler in the pros. This pick is a great way to start the second day for the Buccaneers.
ROUND 5: KR/WR Yamon Figurs Kansas State Figurs stays put in the fifth round from our last mock draft. His speed and return ability allow him to make an instant impact on Tampa Bay’s special teams. Figurs also has the chance to develop into a deep-threat receiving prospect for the Buccaneers in a couple of years. Figurs will get a strong endorsement from Bucs secondary coach Raheem Morris, who coached him last year as K-State’s defensive coordinator.
ROUND 7: C Scott Stephenson Iowa State Tampa Bay would have liked to have drafted a center earlier than the seventh-round, but it would be thrilled if a player like Stephenson was still on the board near the top of the seventh round. Stephenson has quick feet and good toughness. He’s a Bill Muir-type offensive lineman that can handle both conventional snaps and shotgun snaps. His lack of overall athleticism and his short arms will cause him to fall to the later rounds.
ROUND 7: DE Xzavie Jackson Missouri Tampa Bay always likes to draft a defensive lineman who can play inside and outside. They have players like that in the past with the likes of Tyoka Jackson, Ellis Wyms and Dewayne White. The Bucs tried to get that type of player when they drafted Julian Jenkins, but he had zero impact as a rookie. At 6-foot-3, 282 pounds, Jackson is a load for offensive linemen. He posted 13 sacks, 16 quarterback hurries and 23.5 tackles for loss over the past two years at Missouri. Jackson is the perfect fit for the Tampa 2 defense.
ROUND 7: S Craig Dahl North Dakota State Dahl might get a ringing endorsement from Tampa Bay linebackers coach Gus Bradley and new Bucs defensive assistant Todd Wash. Both men coached Dahl at North Dakota State. Dahl is a special teams demon and is one of the most aggressive and hard-hitting safeties in the nation. Dahl, who blocked two kicks in college, can play in all phases of special teams and could become a player like Larry Izzo or Keith Burns with the right coaching and development. He is much better against the run than he is against the pass, yet he did manage to snare five career interceptions.
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Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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