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It’s no secret that Tampa Bay has spent the past week or so visiting with several draft prospects, and although the visits for running backs J.J. Arrington (Cal), Cedric Benson (Texas) and Ryan Moats (Louisiana Tech) have been reported, others have not… until now.
Several other draft prospects have visited with Tampa Bay already, including a few Pewter Report mentioned in a recent Pewter Insider article, and a few others are planning on meeting next week with the Bucs, who are allowed to have 20 draft prospects visit One Buccaneer Place.
Listed below are the players who have met with Bucs officials at One Buccaneer Place over the past week or so and some information about them.
RB J.J. Arrington (5-8, 204) – Cal
Rushed for 100 yards or more in every game in 2004. Finished his senior season with 2,018 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns.
RB Cedric Benson (5-10, 220) – Texas
Rushed for over 1,000 yards in four straight seasons. Produced 1,867 yards (5.7 avg.) and 19 touchdowns on the ground as a senior.
RB Ryan Moats (5-8, 208)
Early-entry junior rushed for 1,774 yards (6.1 avg.) and 18 touchdowns in 2004.
RB Alvin Pearman (5-9, 206) – Virginia
Caught 138 career passes while rushing for 1,037 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior at Virginia.
RB Carnell “Cadillac” Williams (5-10, 208) – Auburn
Rushed for 1,165 yards (4.9 avg.) and 12 touchdowns while splitting carries with RB Ronnie Brown in 2004. Worked with Jon Gruden’s coaching staff at Senior Bowl.
WR Mike Williams (6-5, 228) – USC
Tampa native only played two years of collegiate football, but he still caught 176 passes for 2,570 yards and 30 touchdowns as a Trojan.
WR Vincent Jackson (6-5, 225) – Northern Colorado
Small school prospect hauled in 80 passes for 1,382 yards (17.3 avg.) and 11 touchdowns during senior season.
WR J.R. Russell (6-3, 204) – Louisville
Caught 73 passes for 968 yards and seven touchdowns in 2004.
WR Larry Brackins (6-5, 219) – Pearl River CC
Good athlete. Has great leaping ability and speed. Didn’t face great competition in community college.
G Elton Brown (6-5, 338) – Virginia
Huge frame and agility make him effective pulling and trapping. Helped lead the way for Virginia’s potent ground attack. Even saw action as a nose tackle in goal line situations.
C/G Chris Spencer (6-3, 310) – Mississippi
Early-entry junior has great size, leadership qualities and intangibles. Has good athletic ability. Better in pass protection than run support.
Tampa Bay will spend this weekend visiting with quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers (Cal) and Alex Smith (Utah) at their private workouts in California and Salt Lake City, respectively.
The Bucs were attempting to schedule at least two more player visits earlier in the week, but to no avail. However, those two players — South Carolina WR Troy Williamson (6-1, 200) and Virginia tight end Heath Miller (6-5, 255) — are both planning on meeting with the Bucs sometime next week.
According to Williamson’s agent, the Bucs plan to fly to South Carolina so that the receiver can hold a private workout for them. Miller, who has not been working out for teams due to a sports hernia he suffered earlier in the offseason, could visit One Buc Place next week.
Last year, the Bucs, who were without a second-round pick and owned the 15th overall selection in the 2004 NFL Draft, used most of their visits to meet with players who were expected to be late-round picks or even undrafted free agents.
Meeting with those players helped the Bucs establish a rapport with them so that when it came time to call them, the wheels for the recruiting process had already been set in motion. That’s how players like linebacker Ryan Nece and tackle Anthony Davis, both of whom entered the NFL as undrafted free agents, joined the Bucs originally.
However, this year, the focus has apparently shifted. The Bucs have used most of their allotted visits to meet with prospects that are expected to be selected in the first two or three rounds of the 2005 NFL Draft. The extra homework being done is just one more reminder of Tampa Bay’s need to hit on the first three or four draft picks in this year’s draft, especially in the first round, where the Bucs own the fifth overall pick.
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