General manager Jason Licht and head coach Lovie Smith understand the importance of this year’s draft after suffering an embarrassing 2-14 debut season in 2014. The Bucs have held a number of private workouts, visited numerous college pro days and have,or will, host several of the top draft prospects at One Buccaneer Place before the draft kicks off on April 30 in Chicago.
Every NFL club is allowed 30 visits to their team’s facility. NFL teams like the Bucs can work out as many draft prospects away from team facilities as they would like. Here is a list of defensive players the team has scouted in either visits to One Buc Place or personal workouts at the players’ respective schools or hometowns.
BUCS’ PRE-DRAFT VISITS-WORKOUTS: LBs
Despite signing Bruce Carter in free agency, don’t be surprised to see Tampa Bay draft a linebacker in 2015. Carter has a history of playing strongside and weakside linebacker in Dallas, and only played in the middle when the Cowboys deployed a 3-4 scheme. The Bucs have been scouting middle linebackers with starting potential to challenge Carter for the job, or at the very least replace reserve Mike linebacker Dane Fletcher, who starred on special teams and wasn’t re-signed this offseason.
Every NFL club is allowed 30 visits to their team’s facility. NFL teams like the Bucs can work out as many draft prospects away from team facilities as they would like. Here is a list of linebackers the team has scouted in either visits to One Buc Place or personal workouts at the players’ respective schools or hometowns.
UCLA MLB Eric Kendricks
There are some within the Bucs organization that believe that Kendricks is the best linebacker in the draft. At 6-foot, 230 pounds he’s not the biggest but Kendricks, whose brother Mychal is a linebacker for the Eagles, but he’s fast and has great instincts in coverage. According to NFL Network, Tampa Bay worked him out after his pro day, which was attended by linebackers coach Hardy Nickerson. Kendricks is a late-first- or early-second-round pick.
TCU MLB Paul Dawson
NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported that Dawson was privately worked out by Tampa Bay. On tape, he’s a productive blitzer, tackler and coverage linebacker, but didn’t test well athletically at the NFL Scouting Combine or his pro day. He could be drafted anywhere between rounds 2-4. If he falls to the third or fourth round the Bucs may be interested in pulling the trigger.
Georgia MLB Ramik Wilson
As first reported by WalterFootball.com, the Bucs have privately worked out Wilson, who hails from the Tampa area. One of the SEC’s leading tacklers over the past couple of seasons, Wilson is athletic and has the speed necessary to play in the Tampa 2 scheme. The Bulldogs standout is believed to be a third- or fourth-round prospect.
Kansas MLB Ben Heeney
The Bucs had a private workout at KU for Heeney and Jayhawks cornerback JaCorey Shepherd in late March. Heeney was a tackling machine at Kansas and was also sound in pass coverage, notching four career picks. He’s one of the fastest linebackers in the draft with sub-4.6 speed and could help Tampa Bay on Day 3. He’s currently a fifth-round pick in PewterReport.com’s 2015 Bucs’ 7-Round Mock Draft.
BUCS’ PRE-DRAFT VISITS-WORKOUTS: DL
The Buccaneers need to add an edge pass rusher in the 2015 NFL Draft to replace defensive end Michael Johnson, who was cut after one disappointing season, but have also spent time meeting with some defensive tackles, too. Tampa Bay defensive line coach Joe Cullen worked out Washington defensive tackle Danny Shelton, a mid-first-round pick, in addition to defensive end Hau’oli Kikaha, whose 19 sacks ranked first in college football last year., and Andrew Hudson, who had 12.5 sacks last year and 22.5 in his Huskies career. Kikaha couldn’t crack 4.8 in the 40-yard dash and has had two ACL surgeries on the same knee, so his stock could plummet to the middle rounds where the Bucs might take a chance on him.
Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier was at Memphis’ pro day to see cornerback Bobby McCain and defensive end Martin Ifedi, who is the Tigers’ all-time sack leader, and the Bucs were also present at Towson’s pro day to watch defensive end Ryan Delaire.
Every NFL club is allowed 30 visits to their team’s facility. NFL teams like the Bucs can work out as many draft prospects away from team facilities as they would like. Here is a list of defensive linemen the team has scouted in either visits to One Buc Place or personal workouts at the players’ respective schools or hometowns.
Florida DE Dante Fowler
Fowler, who is regarded as a top-10 pick, doesn’t count against the Bucs’ 30 visits because he’s a local prospect, and could be the top defensive player taken in the 2015 NFL Draft. Fowler is a tremendous athlete with long arms, but wasn’t a mega-producer at Florida, which is a signal that he’s either still reaching his potential or he could be an overhyped athlete that will disappoint in the NFL.
Utah DE Nate Orchard
First reported by NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, Orchard will be visiting the Bucs this week, and that’s welcome news as the team desperately needs a pass rusher after releasing Michael Johnson, who was an overhyped, overpaid free agent signing last year. Orchard had 18.5 sacks last season after posting just 3.5 the year before, and he abused Stanford left tackle Andrus Peat, who is considered to be a first-round prospect. Because he’s not a quick-twitch athlete, Orchard is likely a second- or third-round pick and may be Tampa Bay’s pick in Round 2.
Clemson DT Grady Jarrett
The Bucs really like Jarrett, who starred at the Senior Bowl, for his ability to trample the run on the way to the quarterback. Jarrett was instrumental in helping Vic Beasley get to the QB so often by providing an inside pass rush with his quickness. The Bucs worked out Jarrett, who carries a third- or fourth-round grade, at Clemson.
Auburn DT Gabe Wright
Similar to Jarrett, Wright is a strong, quick one-gap penetrator that would be perfect in the Tampa 2 scheme, which favors speed over size. Wright is big enough to play in the NFL at 6-foot-3, 300 pounds, and is graded as a fourth-round pick.
Clemson DE Corey Crawford
Crawford is a massive athlete at 6-foot-5, 299 pounds that had mediocre production at Clemson playing opposite Beasley. He has limited pass rush skills, but excels in stopping the run. Crawford, who carries a fifth-round grade and was worked out by Tampa Bay at Clemson, might be a better fit as a 3-4 defensive end than in a 4-3 scheme.
Clemson DE Tavaris Barnes
Barnes split time at left defensive end with Crawford for the Tigers, which hindered his production. Still, Barnes has an explosive burst and great size at 6-foot-4, 282 pounds to play left end in a 4-3 scheme like the Tampa 2. He’s currently viewed as an undrafted free agent.
Idaho DT Quayshawne Buckley
Buckley is a 6-foot-2, 291-pound pass-rushing defensive tackle that compiled 14.5 sacks, including 9.5 over the past two seasons. He carries a seventh-round or priority undrafted free agent grade and could be a nice pick up to bring to training camp.
Indiana DT Bobby Richardson
The undersized Richardson, who is 6-foot-3, 286 pounds, used his quickness to generate 11 sacks and 22 tackles for loss, in addition to blocking three kicks at Indiana. A Tampa native, Richardson will be working out at One Buc Place as a local prospect and could be considered as an undrafted free agent.
Washington DE Andrew Hudson
The 6-foot-3, 250-pound Hudson was benched for most of the 2013 season until getting a second chance last year with the new Huskies coaching staff. Playing on a defense with Kikaha and Shelton, Hudson recorded 12.5 sacks after not recording any as a junior. He wasn’t invited to the NFL Scouting Combine or any college all-star games, but impressed Cullen and will visit One Buc Place within the week.
BUCS’ PRE-DRAFT VISITS & WORKOUTS: CBs
The Buccaneers have added some depth and competition to the cornerback position this offseason and will likely continue that trend in the draft. With Mike Jenkins re-signed to bolster the cornerback position, which is led by Alterraun Verner and Johnthan Banks, Tampa Bay could turn to improving the talent at the nickel cornerback spot in the draft.
The Bucs only had one interception last year from the nickel cornerback spot, which was handled by Leonard Johnson and Isaiah Frey. Tampa Bay signed veteran free agent Sterling Moore to compete for the starting job, but all three nickel corners are only signed for the 2015 season.
The Bucs have been scouting nickel cornerbacks during the offseason, including Texas’ Quandray Diggs and Oregon State’s Steven Nelson at the Senior Bowl and Oregon’s Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. Here is a list of nickel cornerbacks the team has scouted in either visits to One Buc Place or personal workouts at the players’ respective schools.
TCU CB Kevin White
The Bucs met with White at the Senior Bowl and then visited with him at One Buc Place. He’s a willing tackler in run support and had six career interceptions while matching up against some of the Big 12’s top receivers like West Virginia Kevin White and Kansas State’s Tyler Lockett. The shifty White is considered to be a third-round pick.
Florida State CB Ronald Darby
The Bucs have met with Darby, a junior entry, who produced two interceptions and two forced fumbles in his three years at Florida State, but did not record a pick last year. Darby isn’t as fast or as athletic as fellow Seminoles cornerback P.J. Williams, but he’s tough in run support and good against slot receivers. He’s regarded as a fourth-round draft pick.
Kansas CB JaCorey Shepherd
The Bucs worked out Shepherd in late March at KU on the same day the team worked out linebacker Ben Heeney. Shepherd is more quick than fast, which is why he’s better suited inside in the pros. He’s had 28 pass breakups and five interceptions in the past two years, and is viewed as a fourth- or fifth-round selection.
Rice CB Bryce Callahan
Callahan is always around the ball, evidenced by his 33 pass breakups and 13 interceptions, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. The Bucs were scouting him hard at the East-West Shrine practices and have met with the Day 3 prospect, who will likely be drafted in the fifth or sixth rounds.
Memphis CB Bobby McCain
McCain has 12 career interceptions, including three he returned for touchdowns, three fumble recoveries and one forced fumble. He had a great week at the East-West Shrine Game and met with the Bucs, in addition to Tampa Bay visiting with him at One Buccaneer Place. McCain, who also has experience as a kick returner, is viewed as a sixth- or seventh-round pick.
Ball State CB Eric Patterson
The Bucs worked out Patterson, who hails from Tampa, with some other local prospects on Friday. He’s overcoming a broken arm that caused him to miss the last three games of the season. Patterson is a hard-hitting corner in run support, but also had six career interceptions at Ball State. He’s likely a seventh-round draft candidate or an undrafted free agent.
BUCS’ PRE-DRAFT VISITS-WORKOUTS: FSs
The Buccaneers could surprise a lot of folks and draft a free safety early – perhaps as early as the third round. That premise has been written about in a recent edition of SR’s Fab 5 and also in PewterReport.com’s 2015 Bucs’ 7-Round Mock Draft.
Tampa Bay has been scouting mid-round safeties hard this offseason despite the re-signing of Major Wright and the addition of free safety Chris Conte. Wright signed a two-year deal and Conte inked a one-year pact with the team, but neither is considered to be a long-term solution at free safety opposite strong safety Bradley McDougald.
With only two interceptions coming from the safety positions last year – and none through the first 15 games of the season – Tampa Bay needs more playmakers roaming the center of the field. The Bucs like a lot of safeties, including Samford’s Jaquiski Tartt and Utah safety/cornerback Eric Rowe, and here is a list of the ones the has scouted in either visits to One Buc Place or personal workouts at the players’ respective schools.
Arizona State FS Damarious Randall
Arizona State reporter Brad Denny reported that Randall would work out with the Bucs and that took place on Sunday at One Buccaneer Place. Randall has actually met with Tampa Bay twice and is the team’s third-round pick in the latest PewterReport.com’s 2015 Bucs’ 7-Round Mock Draft, but he could go in the second round. Including his two years at a junior college, Randall intercepted 19 passes over the last four years.
Northwestern FS Ibraheim Campbell
Aaron Wilson reported that Campbell has recently worked out for Tampa Bay and his stock is on the rise after the Senior Bowl where he performed well. Campbell has great instincts, ball skills and hitting ability. He notched 10 interceptions and six forced fumbles as a four-year starter for the Wildcats. Campbell’s stock is on the rise and he could have moved himself into the third round with a nice offseason.
Fresno State FS Derron Smith
Bucs safeties coach Mikal Smith attended Derron Smith’s workout at Fresno State. It’s possible that Smith has had a workout with Smith at that time. The Bulldogs safety was a four-year starter and finished his FSU career with 15 interceptions, including two pick-sixes, including seven as a junior in 2013. Smith is considered a third- or fourth-round prospect.
Louisville FS Gerod Holliman
Matt Miller first reported that Holliman was scheduled to meet with the Bucs back in March, and that visit took place on Sunday at One Buccaneer Place. Tampa Bay wants more takeaways from the free safety position and Holliman tied an NCAA record with 14 interceptions as a redshirt sophomore in 2014. Holliman needs to work on his tackling, and because he does, he’s likely a fourth-round selection.
Penn State FS Adrian Amos
In his diary for the Baltimore Sun, Amos reported that he recently had a private workout with Bucs safeties coach Mikal Smith. Amos, a former cornerback, is a big, hulking safety with solid hands and a nose for the ball. With his frame, Amos has the size and skill set to play either free safety or strong safety. He’s likely a fourth- or fifth-round pick.
All photos: Getty Images
God forbid a year goes by without Clemson supplying the NFL with another $#!+ty pass rusher. The frustrating part is how often they end up on a Bucs roster.
Yes, please no Clemson players unless it is a WR. That’s the only position that Clemson produces decent NFL players.
And the 2015 Bucs are starting 8 UFDA’s on opening day….now that’s some depth for ya’
Clemson defensive play at or close to their ceilings in college it seems~I would stay clear regardless of perceived ‘value’ of the pick…Would like to add Kendricks,just dont think he will be there at the top of the 2nd~and if he is,not sure the Bucs would pull the trigger.There might be a guy graded higher on our board to escape the first round(hope its not Clemson D)we might swoop on(ala Barron when we shoulda Kuechly’d)…I still worry about our decision making on draft day~been burned too many times…
I just don’t want Tampa giving up a future pick just to move up a round. They seem to do that every year. Look at the number of players listed above. This time let us do as the good teams do and trade down a round and pick up a future pick.
there is a lot of talent here.Maybe Tampa is going to select the most import needs by each tound. It seems that some of these players are Undraftable players. Well I think those players that came in can contributed this year after the draft. I can’t wait to see finally if Tampa makes a big splash this year besides selecting a QB go bucas
Winston is still making visits but i think its just the process…Word is that the crab leg deal was poked fun at when Winston attended the Alstott charity event and he took it in stride…Seems like he is already apart of the Buc family and the gentle ribbing seems to further the belief that he will be the first player drafted this year..
Alstott gave Winston the thumbs up!
I saw that big mike took the time to invite Jameis and apparently he was a hit. If big mike approves that’s a good sign. I’ll leave it at that so I don’t get jumped on by mariota a posse.
As for the guys listed above , I would love holliman at fs. It just needs to be a lot of lineman drafted for us.
Lots of needs….including the need for more 1st and 2nd round picks…
Leonard Williams with the number 1 pick please…
As long as we use our second and third pick for the best OL available, I like these prospects for the Bucs in the later rounds but also want us to get a good slot receiver/returner too. We definitely need to trade Glennon for another pick too.
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