Tampa Bay has drafted all offensive players thus far in the Jason Licht-Lovie Smith regime, and there is a chance this regime could add another offensive player or two on Day 3 of the 2015 NFL Draft. Here is a look at some of the remaining offensive draft prospects the Buccaneers could be targeting in the final four rounds.
POTENTIAL BUCS TARGETS – ROUNDS 4-7 RB Jay Ajayi – Boise State – Junior – 6-0, 221 – 4.57
London born to Nigerian parents, Ajayi was a late bloomer to football after being a soccer player in his youth. A workhorse-type back, Ajayi totaled 397 touches in 2014, setting school records for rushing yards (1,823), carries (347), all-purpose yardage (2,358), rushing touchdowns (28) and 100-yard rushing performances (10). Ajayi is a tackle-breaker with a wicked spin move and great balance. He has a powerful stiff-arm, good vision and acceleration, and runs low to the ground and below pad level. He’s tough and plays with a chip on his shoulder, leading most to feel his game will translate well at the next level. One area that Ajayi needs to improve on is ball security having committed 12 fumbles in his career at Boise State. On tape he was viewed as a second-round pick, but concerns about a knee injury from 2011 have caused Ajayi to slide in the draft.
RB Jeremy Langford – Michigan State – Senior – 6-0, 208 – 4.42
Langford is a throwback type of runner – tough, hard nosed and one who gets stronger as the game goes on. The Michigan native had 12 straight 100-yard games against Big 10 competition during his career in East Lansing and will wear defenses down with his inside running power and attitude. There isn’t lot of shiftiness in Langford’s running style and what you see is what you get. During his Spartans’ career Langford ran for 2,967 yards on 577 carries (5.1 avg.) with 40 touchdowns. Langford is a solid fourth- or fifth-round selection.
G Tre’ Jackson – Florida State – Senior – 6-4, 330 – 5.52
Jackson was impressive week in Mobile, Ala. and earned Most Valuable Player honors at the Senior Bowl after an excellent week of practice and game. The former FSU standout was steady if not spectacular for the Seminoles during his time in Tallahassee, improving each year. Jackson had one of his best games of his 2014 season in a come-from-behind win against the Fighting Irish, grading out at over 91 percent and delivering four pancake blocks. In Mobile, Jackson was able to improve his stock dramatically, showing good strength and quickness off the ball. Jackson told PewterReport.com that he can get sloppy with his hands at times, but was working to improve it for scouts. Jackson also told PewterReport.com that he would love to play for the Buccaneers and potentially protect Jameis Winston at the next level. The Bucs already drafted a guard, but will be looking to draft the best player available on Day 3, and Jackson carries a fourth-round grade.
RB Mike Davis – South Carolina – Junior – 5-9, 217 – 4.38
Davis, while not the biggest running back in the draft, runs much larger than his 5-foot-9 frame suggests. The former Gamecocks star was banged up with nagging injuries last season, but yet still managed to notch 982 yards and nine touchdowns in Columbia. Davis had some ball security issues, but impresses scouts with his ability to accelerate through holes while reading defenses well. Equipped with excellent field vision, and not afraid of contact, Davis is projected to go in the fourth round of the draft. The Bucs attended his pro day and privately worked him out.
RB David Cobb – Minnesota – Senior – 5-11, 229 – 4.58
Cobb didn’t run behind an elite offensive line at Minnesota but still put up great numbers, rushing for 2,893 yards in his Golden Gophers career, including 1,626 and 13 touchdowns in 2014. The Texas native doesn’t do anything outstanding, he just produces, something that NFL scouts have taken notice of. Cobb is slated to be a fourth- or fifth-round draft choice.
RB Javorius “Buck” Allen – Southern Cal – Junior – 6-0, 221 – 4.53
Allen earned All-Pac-12 first-team honors on 1,489 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns, while also adding 41 receptions for 458 yards and another score as a receiver out of the backfield. With excellent size, especially below the waist, the thick-legged Allen isn’t easy to tackle one-on-one, and is very good after first contact. Allen is projected to be drafted in the fourth round.
WR Jamison Crowder – Duke – Senior – 5-8, 185 – 4.56
Crowder is a smaller, quick receiver that can make plays with the ball in his hands. He has been one of the most productive receivers in the ACC over the past three years, finishing each of the past three seasons with more than 76 catches, 1,000 yards and six touchdowns. The small, but speedy, receiver has incredible quickness and ability to accelerate, which was confirmed at the Senior Bowl during one-on-one sessions and individual drills. The former Blue Devil is a strong route-runner and could be a potential punt returner. Crowder has tremendous quickness, which made it very tough for defenders to cover him at the collegiate level. His suddenness and route-running ability were both on display at the Senior Bowl, where he excelled throughout the week. The fact that he is undersized and didn’t blaze the 40-yard dash will likely limit his draft stock to day three of the draft, but Crowder is a great fit for what the Bucs need out of their third receiver in the fourth or fifth round. Crowder’s value is also boosted because of his potential as a kick returner.
WR Rashad Greene – Florida State – Senior – 5-11, 182 – 4.53
Greene was extremely productive over the course of his four-year collegiate career with the Seminoles, racking up a whopping 270 catches for 3,820 yards and 29 touchdowns. The former Seminole is a smooth route-runner that is excellent in the intermediate area of the field. However, his game lacks physicality and his slight frame might relegate him to slot duties at the next level, which would likely cap his draft stock around the fourth round.
WR Justin Hardy – East Carolina – Senior – 5-10, 192 – 4.56
Hardy has been one of the most productive players in college football since joining the Pirates in 2011. The 5-foot-10, 190 pound receiver amassed an astounding 387 catches for 4,541 yards and 35 touchdowns over the course of his four year career at ECU. Hardy is an instinctive slot receiver with great hands. Hardy didn’t flash as much at the Senior Bowl compared to the other slot receivers but he was solid throughout the week. The former Pirate doesn’t stand out in many areas, but he also doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses. He’s a solid player that looks like a fourth-round pick.
WR Titus Davis – Central Michigan – Senior – 6-1, 196 – 4.51
Davis is a tremendous route-runner that wins with his technique rather than his athleticism. The Central Michigan product totaled 60 catches for 980 yards and 13 scores as a senior, one year removed from his junior season where he caught 61 balls for 1,109 yards and 8 touchdowns. Davis offers a well-rounded game that should make him at least a quality third receiver at the NFL. PewterReport.com believes that Davis is currently being underrated and is worthy of a fourth-round pick, but he’ll likely go in the fifth.
RB Dominique Brown – Louisville – Senior – 6-2, 234 – 4.63
Brown proved in St. Petersburg at the East-West Shrine Game that he is a physical runner with patience and vision but scouts question where he fits in at the next level. Some see him potentially converting to an H-back. Brown, who fell out of favor with new Cardinals coach Bobby Petrino last year, also excelled in pass protection, something scouts were impressed with. Brown could be drafted in the fifth or sixth rounds.
WR Darren Waller – Georgia Tech – Senior – 6-6, 238 – 4.46
Waller was one of the standout players at the East-West Shrine Game back in January. At 6-foot-6, 238 pounds, the former Yellow Jacket looks more like a power forward than a receiver. Waller’s game resembles Kelvin Benjamin’s of the Carolina Panthers, as he doesn’t get much separation but manages to come down with the ball in traffic. Georgia Tech’s offense didn’t make him run many routes, making him a project at the next level, but Waller has a fantastic array of tools that should get him selected in the fifth or sixth rounds.
WR DeAndre Smelter – Georgia Tech – Senior – 6-2, 226 – 4.52
Smelter is currently flying under the radar because of an ACL injury that he suffered late in the 2015 season, but he has a chance to be a real steal for a team late in the draft or as an undrafted free agent. Smelter stands 6-foot-2, 226 pounds and has massive 11-inch hands. The former Yellow Jacket seemed to come down with the ball every time that it was up for grabs thanks to his ability to be physical and box out defenders. He could come off the board in the sixth round.
RB Josh Robinson – Mississippi State – Junior – 5-8, 217 – 4.70
Robinson is a tough runner, not afraid of contact and rarely goes down on first contact, but doesn’t possess breakaway speed and often gets caught from behind. Robinson finished his career with 1,997 yards on 323 carries with 15 touchdowns and added 493 yards as a pass catcher out of the backfield. Scouts see him as a sixth-round pick due to his productive senior season and his tackle-breaking ability.
RB Zach Zenner – South Dakota State – Senior – 6-0, 221 – 4.60
Nicknamed the “Taz,” Zenner put together three straight 2,000-yard seasons for South Dakota but also took a lot of punishment and wear and tear with 795 career touches. Scouts say he needs to run with lower pad level to avoid the big hits, but you can’t argue his production during his college career. Zenner is likely a sixth-round pick and his blue-collar attitude will serve him well on special teams as a rookie.
RB Marcus Murphy – Missouri – Senior – 5-8, 198 – 4.51
Murphy is undersized to be a featured runner in the NFL, but has the skill set to be a utility player on offense, as well as a return specialist. Murphy rushed 337 times for 1,957 yards (5.8 avg.) and 16 touchdowns at Missouri, including a career-high 924 yards and four TDs on 177 carries (5.2 avg.). He also had 50 career receptions for 328 yards and two TDs, including 28 catches for 212 yards and one touchdown. But Murphy’s real value comes on special teams where he used his 4.51 speed to return 87 kicks for 2,036 yards (23.4 avg.) with three TDs, in addition to returning 75 punts for 801 yards (10.7 avg.) with four scores. Murphy had one punt return for a touchdown while averaging 10.4 yards, and two kick returns for touchdowns while averaging 29.6 yards last year. As a sophomore, Murphy returned three punts for TDs and averaged 13.9 yards, while returning a kick for a touchdown and averaging 24.1 yards. Murphy is likely a sixth- or seventh-rounder.
WR Mario Alford – West Virginia – Senior – 5-8, 178– 4.25
Alford played second fiddle to West Virginia superstar receiver Kevin White, catching 92 passes for 1,497 yards and 13 touchdowns in his career, including 65 receptions for 945 yards and 11 scores. Alford lacks ideal NFL size, but has similar speed, agility and elusiveness as former Mountaineer Tavon Austin possesses. Alford was a second-team All-Big 12 return specialist behind Lockett after returning 26 kicks for 743 yards (28.6 avg.) and two touchdowns last year. Alford lacks experience as a punt returner, but could probably make the transition with his blazing 4.25 speed. He’s likely a sixth or seventh-round pick.
RB John Crockett – North Dakota State – Senior – 6-0, 213 – 4.64
Crockett nearly had 2,000 yards rushing as a senior while winning his fourth national championship at the FCS level with the Bison. A loud, gregarious player, the upbeat Crockett has great leadership skills and will excel as a third-down back and special teams contributor at the next level. Crockett, who also has kick return ability, is likely a seventh-rounder.
G Jon Feliciano – Miami – Senior – 6-4, 323 – 5.33
Feliciano is as versatile as any lineman in the draft after playing at guard, left tackle and right tackle during his career at Miami. Feliciano plays hard and has a bit of an edge. The Bucs have been missing that nasty demeanor since the departure of Donald Penn following the 2013 season, but Feliciano will be hard pressed to make an impact as a rookie. With only a late-round grade, the odds of a seventh-rounder stepping in and earning a spot in the starting rotation is slim. But as a developmental player, Feliciano is promising showing versatility and leadership during his time in Coral Gables.
WR Kaelin Clay – Utah – Senior – 5-10, 195 – 4.51
Clay only played one year at Utah, but had a monster year as a kick and punt returner. He returned 23 punts for 346 yards (15.0 avg.) with three touchdowns in 2014, while also returning 22 kicks for 548 yards (24.9 avg.) and one TD. Clay also used his 4.45 speed to catch 43 passes for 523 yards (12.2 avg.) with four touchdowns. Clay, who originally enrolled at California, spent the 2012 and 2013 seasons at Mt. San Antonio College where he caught 90 passes for 1,654 yards and 24 touchdowns. He also averaged 34.5 yards per kick return in his two seasons with five touchdowns, and led Mt. SAC in punt returns in 2013 with 17 for 245 yards (14.4 average) and one TD. Bucs special teams coordinator Kevin O’Dea worked out Clay at Utah in March. Clay is projected to be a seventh-round pick or an undrafted free agent.
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: email@example.com
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