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WHAT THE BUCCANEERS ARE LOOKING FOR:
Tampa Bay has a good, young prospect in Anthony Davis, whom will likely start somewhere along the O-line in 2005. The team is trying to get rid of Kenyatta Walker and Todd Steussie for performance and salary cap reasons, so the Bucs may target a right tackle in this draft. Jon Gruden’s offense will always have a strong pass element, so a tackle prospect must be able to pass protect. Offensive line coach Bill Muir, likes tough, blue collar, intelligent linemen who are fit and trim around 300 pounds. There is a chance that the Bucs could take an offensive tackle on the first day, but in this weak crop of tackles, it is more likely Tampa Bay will land one on the second day of the draft.
Tampa Bay recently added two young offensive tackle prospects in Jeff Hatch and Matt Martin, so drafting a tackle is not necessarily a necessity this year. Both played left tackle in college, and Martin played on the left side in Tennessee while Hatch started a few games at right tackle for the New York Giants. It is unclear where they will line up in Tampa Bay, but both could see action at right tackle where Todd Steussie figures to be jettisoned after June 1, and Kenyatta Walker could be right behind him. Walker has never lived up to his lofty draft status and his attitude has rubbed the Bucs coaches the wrong way since they arrived in 2002.
IDEAL PLAYERS FOR THE BUCS’ SCHEME:
Although the Bucs desperately need to upgrade the talent of their offensive line, the team doesn’t seem too interested in either first-round tackle – Florida State’ Alex Barron and Oklahoma’s Jammal Brown. However, if one of those players slipped to the second round, Tampa Bay’s attitude might change. But neither player has the toughness and passion the Bucs are looking for. Mississippi’s Marcus Johnson played guard in college, but projects to tackle in the pros, is an option in the second round, as is Syracuse’s Adam Terry, but he is more of a left tackle candidate. Washington’s Khalif Barnes is athletic, but some question his fire. Alabama’s Wesley Britt would be a good option for the Bucs in rounds 3-4. Britt impressed Tampa Bay’s coaches at the Senior Bowl and is tough. Florida State’s Ray Willis is a right tackle prospect and could be had in rounds 4-5. Washington State’s Calvin Armstrong, Colorado State’s Erik Pears and Nevada’s Harvey Dahl all have toughness and work ethic to fit in with the Buccaneers and could be good value picks in rounds 6-7.
The Bucs have grown fonder of Johnson since the Senior Bowl. He allowed just one sack in college and has great athletic ability. If drafted in the second round, he could be the answer at right tackle – even though he has limited experience playing the position. Willis has had experience playing left and right tackle at Florida State, but seems better suited to play the right side. Britt has good physical tools, but was strictly a left tackle in college. Toledo’s Nick Kaczur is a tough guy with enough athleticism to play left tackle in the NFL, but his lack of size may force him inside to guard at the next level. Tampa Bay really likes him. If the Bucs do end up drafting a left tackle prospect in the draft, look for the Bucs to permanently move either Anthony Davis or Derrick Deese to right tackle in the next round of OTAs (organized team activities). Davis would be the most logical choice due to his size and physical nature, but he has made so much progress at left tackle that some within the organization would be torn about that decision.
BUCS’ BEST BET – OT NICK KACZUR (Toledo)
Kaczur is an athletic, versatile lineman with a nasty disposition who may play left tackle or move inside to play guard in the pros. He started every game he played in college, which is amazing, and checks out fine medically. Kaczur has the blue collar mentality that Bill Muir loves.
CURRENT BUCS TACKLES:
Derrick Deese, Kenyatta Walker, Anthony Davis, Todd Steussie, Mitch White, Matt Martin, Jeff Hatch
For more detailed analyis on each draft prospect, refer to the positional draft previews in the on-line version of the Pewter Report Bucs Draft Preview.
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