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Davin Joseph. Guard out of Oklahoma. First-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A bit of a surprise, right?

Well, yes and no.

Two weeks ago Pewter Report alerted Tampa Bay fans in the lead item of the SR’s Fab Five that the Buccaneers might draft a guard in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft – despite it being an unsexy selection. In our final mock draft, Pewter Report was the only media outlet (that we knew of) that predicted the Buccaneers drafting a guard in the first round. That’s exactly what happened.

Guard was a position of need for Tampa Bay, and selecting one in the first round would enable the Bucs’ first-round pick to start as a rookie. When a team is paying millions of dollars to a first-round pick, that player needs to see the field as soon as possible.

If Tampa Bay had drafted a cornerback or a linebacker in the first round, that rookie wouldn’t have seen the field in 2006 except for special teams.

The Bucs needed to add more talent to guard where only second-year player Dan Buenning is a keeper. Although he started all 17 games at right guard last year, Sean Mahan was deemed to be too small for the position and a better fit at center. Backups Jeb Terry and Jonathan Clinkscale are unproven and new free agent acquisition Toniu Fonoti came to Tampa Bay weighing close to 400 pounds.

While Pewter Report nailed the guard position, we did opt for Tampa Bay drafting USC guard Deuce Lutui instead of Joseph.

We knew the Bucs liked Joseph, and even had him as the second-round pick in our mock draft in Pewter Report’s Bucs Draft Preview, but our reasoning for selecting Lutui was his tremendous size and power, and his surprising agility. In our opinion, that made him attractive in addition to the inside information the Bucs had on him from USC offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin (Monte’s son) and new defensive position coaches Greg Burns and Jethro Franklin.

So why Joseph over Lutui? Here’s the inside scoop from our insiders at One Buccaneer Place. The Bucs really like Lutui, too, but they did have some legitimate concerns with his weight. Although he trimmed down to 336 pounds and had a fantastic Senior Bowl at that playing weight, Lutui started off the 2005 season at USC around 360 pounds after playing 2004 around 375 pounds. He reported to USC weighing over 390 pounds.

The Bucs were pleased that Lutui lost weight, but there was a concern that his weight might go up again. Joseph, a former high school wrestler who now weighs 311 pounds, has never had issues with his weight. Joseph was born in Florida and did all of his pre-draft training in his home state. He’s used to Florida’s heat and humidity. The same couldn’t be said for Lutui, who currently has 29 percent body fat.

The heat and humidity in Florida is one of the biggest reasons why Tampa Bay didn’t select overweight Virginia guard Elton Brown last year. It is a big factor for the Buccaneers, who train in the sweltering heat from May until October.

Intellect was another factor. Although the Bucs don’t put too much emphasis on Wonderlic scores, Joseph scored better than Lutui in the intelligence and problem-solving skills. He also blew away the coaching staff on the chalkboard. He processes information quickly and has a tremendous grasp of his assignments and the assignments of others. Joseph really understands football.

The last factor in Tampa Bay putting the agile Joseph ahead of Lutui and other offensive linemen was his position versatility. While Joseph is clearly a natural guard rather than a tackle – largely because of his height (6-foot-2 and-a-half) – the fact that he did play left tackle during his senior season at Oklahoma (and played it well) was very appealing to Tampa Bay. Remember, Jon Gruden is a contingency plan freak, and having a guard who has the athletic ability to also play left tackle or right tackle in a pinch has real value to the team.

USC offensive tackle Winston Justice was not as strongly considered as you might think by the Buccaneers at number 23. In fact, sources tell Pewter Report that the player Tampa Bay would have really had a tough time debating over with Joseph was North Carolina State defensive end Manny Lawson, who was selected by San Francisco with pick number 22 overall – one pick ahead of Tampa Bay.

The Bucs had some concerns over Lawson’s weight, which is around 236 pounds, but they loved his speed and ability to get to the quarterback. If Lawson was still on the board at number 23, it would have been real interesting to see if he would have been a Buccaneer or whether it would have been Joseph.

This story is intended to be read by Pewter Insider subscribers only. Sharing of the PI content with non-subscribers of this service can result in cancellation of your subscription to the service and/or further actions by the publishers.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for 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:
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7 years ago

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