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.
The 2009 NFL Draft is approaching and Pewter Report unveils its first seven-round mock draft for the Buccaneers from its upcoming Free Agency Issue in March. Jim Bates’ defense is the big beneficiary during the first three rounds, but the Bucs come away with four offensive players on the second day of the draft. Pewter Report has spoken to its league sources and has crafted this mock draft based on their input.
ROUND 1 – DE LARRY ENGLISH Northern Illinois The Buccaneers need another defensive end to line up opposite Gaines Adams and rush the passer. English can play left or right end and is a complete defender who can produce sacks and stop the run. At 6-foot-2, 254 pounds, English will likely have to add another 10 pounds to hold up in the NFL, but he brings professionalism and a strong work ethic that should help him have an immediate impact as a rookie. English had 31.5 sacks, 54.5 tackles for loss and eight forced fumbles for the Huskies. The Bucs have been high on English since they interviewed him at the Senior Bowl. For more on English, check out last week's SR's Fab 5 and a previous PI Quick Hits article.
ROUND 2 – DT RON BRACE Boston College Tampa Bay is looking for big defensive tackles and the 6-foot-3, 336-pound Brace is one of the biggest in the 2009 NFL Draft. Brace has plenty of power and strength and is known for his run-stuffing ability, notching 22 tackles for loss in his career, including 10 as a senior. Brace’s pass rushing skills are improving. He had five sacks in his career, but 2.5 of those came in 2008. For more on Brace, check out last week's SR's Fab 5.
ROUND 3 – CB MIKE MICKENS Cincinnati New defensive coordinator Jim Bates loves to play bump-and-run man coverage, and Mickens has the physical nature, speed and swagger to excel in Tampa Bay. Mickens is a pure cover corner who has picked off 14 passes, returning three for TDs. He has also broken up 45 passes in his his three years as a starter. Mickens weighed at 5-foot-11, 175 pounds at the Senior Bowl, which was smaller than expected. His lack of ideal size and the fact he’s coming off a torn meniscus will cause him to drop into the third round.
ROUND 4 – WR MIKE WALLACE Ole Miss Wallace averaged 18.9 yards per catch for the Rebels, catching 101 passes for 1,910 yards and 15 touchdowns in his career. He possesses great speed, playmaking ability and a set of improving hands. The 6-foot, 189-pound Wallace can also return kickoffs and had two touchdowns in the return game at Ole Miss. His stock is on the rise after a great Cotton Bowl and Senior Bowl. For more on Wallace, check out this 2009 Bucs Draft Prospect profile.
ROUND 5 – OT LYDON MURTHA Nebraska The 6-foot-7, 306-pound Murtha started at right tackle for the Cornhuskers and has the frame and athleticism to play on the left side and be a swing tackle behind both Jeremy Trueblood and Donald Penn. Murtha has a tendency to play too high at times, but has a mean streak and is an aggressive blocker. He was one of the top performers at the NFL Scouting Combine, running a 4.89 in the 40-yard dash, which was the fastest time for any offensive lineman. Murtha, who is known as a smart player, was also one of the best performers among linemen in the 3-cone drill (7.06), the 20-yard shuttle (4.34), the broad jump (9-foot-2) and the vertical jump (35 inches).
ROUND 6 – SS MARCUS McCLINTON Kentucky McClinton is a hard-hitting safety that has the speed to cover ground in the secondary. He picked off 10 passes and forced nine fumbles for the Wildcats. The 6-foot, 208-pound McClinton has suffered through some injuries due to his physical playing style. He’s a fiery type of leader who should be a good special teams player in the NFL.
ROUND 7 – RB KORY SHEETS Purdue The 5-foot-11, 204-pound Sheets rushed for 3,341 career yards and 48 touchdowns on 664 carries. As a senior, Sheets rushed for 1,131 yards and 16 scores while averaging 4.8 yards per carry. He’s a slashing, cutback runner who could excel in Tampa Bay’s zone blocking system. He’s also a capable receiver with 108 career catches for 814 yards and five TDs.
ROUND 7 – TE KORY SPERRY Colorado State Sperry rebounded nicely from a torn ACL in 2007 by catching 38 passes for 492 yards and six touchdowns in 2008. Blessed with 4.62 speed, the 6-foot-5, 240-pound Sperry needs to add weight and work on his blocking, but he is a gifted receiver with 141 catches for 1,763 yards and 20 TDs.
ROUND 7 – OLB JAMES HOLT Kansas Holt is a great blitzing linebacker and had 12 career sacks for the Jayhawks. Ten of those quarterback captures came in 2008, including three in KU’s bowl victory over Minnesota. Holt also forced six fumbles as a senior and had 20.5 of his 34 tackles for loss in ‘08. Holt is undersized at 6-foot-2, 218 pounds, but has a quick first step and the frame to add size.
No other media outlet can claim the success that Pewter Report has had in predicting which players the Bucs will draft over the years. Between published mock drafts and the publication's Bucs' Best Bets at each position, Pewter Report has accurately forecasted the team's selection of 20 players over the past 13 years, including defensive end Regan Upshaw (1996), offensive tackle Jerry Wunsch (1997), wide receiver Jacquez Green (1998), quarterback Shaun King (1999), running back Autry Denson (1999), wide receiver Darnell McDonald (1999) quarterback Joe Hamilton (2000), cornerback Torrie Cox (2003), middle linebacker Barrett Ruud (2005), wide receiver Maurice Stovall (2006), cornerback Alan Zemaitis (2006), quarterback Bruce Gradkowski (2006), tight end T.J. Williams (2006), defensive end Gaines Adams (2007), safety Sabby Piscitelli (2007), linebacker Quincy Black (2007), wide receiver Dexter Jackson (2008), offensive lineman Jeremy Zuttah (2008), defensive lineman Dre Moore (2008) and quarterback Josh Johnson (2008).
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: firstname.lastname@example.org