Before we get to the latest PewterReport.com mock draft for the Buccaneers, here are some thoughts on the teams selecting ahead of Tampa Bay – Houston, St. Louis, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Oakland at Atlanta.
The five players I don’t see the Buccaneers having a chance to draft with the seventh overall pick are South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, offensive tackles Greg Robinson and Jake Matthews, outside linebacker Khalil Mack and wide receiver Sammy Watkins. In this scenario, only one of the top three quarterbacks – Central Florida’s Blake Bortles, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel or Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater – will figure to go in the top 5 and there are four quarterback-needy teams in Houston, Jacksonville, Cleveland and Oakland. Atlanta, which picks sixth overall, does not need a quarterback.
So Tampa Bay could in fact have its pick of two of the top quarterbacks left, along with Fresno State’s Derek Carr, Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald or Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans. Ideally, most feel Bucs general manager Jason Licht would love to trade down in the first round and acquire more picks in a draft that is deep with talent.
With the Buccaneers bringing in several quarterbacks for pre-draft visits, including Bridgewater, Manziel, Carr, Eastern Illinois’ Jimmy Garoppolo and SMU’s Garrett Gilbert, and the signing of journeyman Josh McCown, who will turn 35 this summer, PewterReport.com is convinced that Tampa Bay will select a quarterback of the future in the 2014 NFL Draft. In fact, it’s the first round.
ROUND 1 – Fresno State QB Derek Carr – 6-2, 214Previous selection: Clemson WR Sammy WatkinsIn PewterReport.com’s first mock draft of 2014 back in January, we forecasted the Buccaneers drafting Carr. After a couple of mock drafts that have featured Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins in Tampa Bay’s top spot, we’ve come full circle back to Carr, who is the most ideal fit for Jeff Tedford’s quarterback-driven offense. Licht would love to be able to trade down a few spots and pick up Carr in the middle of the first round and acquire more draft picks, but don’t rule out Tampa Bay drafting him with the seventh overall pick.
Tedford coached Carr’s brother, David, at Fresno State, and tutored Derek after the season shortly before taking the offensive coordinator job in Tampa Bay. Tedford, a former Fresno State quarterback and keeps tabs on his alma mater and saw Carr break virtually every Bulldogs record set by himself, Trent Dilfer and his brother, David, passing for 5,082 yards in 2013, which was 420 more yards than any other quarterback at the FBS level last year. Carr threw 50 touchdowns and just eight interceptions. In his four years at Fresno State, Carr threw for 12,842 yards, 113 touchdowns and just 24 interceptions, while completing an average 68 percent of his passes during his final two seasons.
Carr, a great leader and competitor, has a great football I.Q., strong arm, quick release and ability to be productive in a complex, quarterback-driven offense like Tedford’s. Carr was the nation’s most prolific passer, averaging 390.9 yards per game and was responsible for more points (314) than any other college football player in 2013, including Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch (288), Baylor’s Bryce Petty (278) and Johnny Manziel (276). Carr has incredibly high character and is married with a young son. His high degree of maturity may vault him ahead of Manziel on the team’s draft boards at the quarterback position.
Carr, who visits the Bucs this week, also brings the mobility to Tampa Bay’s offense that Mike Glennon lacks. Carr ran a 4.69 in the 40-yard dash, and has the ability to elude the pass rush, extend plays and pick up first downs with his legs when possible, much like another Tedford protégé, Aaron Rodgers.
Here is a highlight video of Carr’s Fresno State days.
ROUND 2 – Fresno State WR Davante Adams – 6-1, 213Previous selection: Stanford G David Yankey In 2012, Bucs head coach Lovie Smith drafted Alshon Jeffery in the second round. He developed into a starting receiver during his rookie season and then became a Pro Bowler in 2013. After drafting Carr in the first round, the Bucs come back and take Adams, who was his primary weapon at Fresno State over the past two seasons, in the second round. Not only are Carr and Adams former teammates, they are also best friends and that chemistry could help both make an instant impact in Tampa Bay.
Adams caught 131 passes for 1,718 yards and 24 touchdowns last season to lead all FBS receivers as a redshirt sophomore, and compiled 233 catches for 3,030 yards and 38 touchdowns in his two years on the field for the Bulldogs. The Palo Alto, Calif. native had 13 games with 100 yards receiving or more, including four games during 2013 in which he eclipsed the 200-yard mark.
The 6-foot-1, 213-pound Adams is a mix between former Bucs wide receiver Mike Williams and San Francisco’s Michael Crabtree. He recently improved on his 4.56 time in the 40-yard dash by running a 4.46 at his pro day at Fresno State.
The 21-year old Adams has the quickness to make defenders miss after the catch and that’s an important element in Tedford’s offense, which gets the balls into the receivers’ hands quickly on bubble screens, middle screens, curls and slants. With arms slightly longer than 32.5 inches and a 39.5-inch vertical, Adams would also be a great red zone threat for Tampa Bay.
Here is a highlight video of Adams Fresno State career.
ROUND 3 – North Dakota State OL Billy Turner – 6-5, 315Previous selection: Oregon State CB Rashaad Reynolds Turner was a left tackle at North Dakota State where he was a four-year starter for the nation’s best FCS program, starting 56 of the 57 games he played in. At 6-foot-5, 315 pounds, Turner has the NFL size and athleticism to play either guard or tackle. He would be a tremendous value to Tampa Bay in the third round as he is capable of playing either tackle position in addition to either guard spot.
The Bucs’ most immediate need is at guard, and he has the playing experience and temperament to step in and compete for a starting spot as a rookie. Turner, who visited One Buc Place in March, has long, 34-inch arms and big, 10-inch hands and does a superb job of punching off the snap.
Turner needs to work on his pad level and has a tendency of overextending himself and reaching too much, but he does have great footwork, some impressive nastiness and a good set of developmental tools. One thing he will have to improve on at the next level is pulling and consistently hitting his targets on the second level.
Here is a highlight video of Turner’s performance against Kansas State.
ROUND 4 – Traded to New York Jets for CB Darrelle Revis
ROUND 5 – LSU MLB Lamin Barrow – 6-1, 237Previous selection: South Carolina QB Connor Shaw With starting Mason Foster entering a contract year, the Bucs could use another middle linebacker like Barrow to throw into the competition with Foster and newly acquired Dane Fletcher. The Bucs have met with the LSU team captain twice – once at the Senior Bowl and once at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Barrow lit it up at the NFL Scouting Combine with a 4.64 time in the 40-yard dash, a 35-inch vertical jump and a 10-3 broad jump. Smith and Tampa Bay linebackers coach Hardy Nickerson like fast, athletic ‘backers. Despite having the long arms of a 6-foot-4 linebacker, measured at over 33 inches, Barrow was able to bench press 22 reps of 225 pounds.
Barrow is more of a drag-down tackler than a big hitter, but Tampa Bay sees tremendous value in his coverage ability, as well as his physical traits that would lend themselves to kick and punt coverage units on special teams. Barrow plays bigger than his size might indicate, and he likely has the ability to play strongside linebacker as well as in the middle at the next level, too.
Here is a highlight video of Barrow’s plays at LSU in 2013.
ROUND 6 – Traded to Chicago for OT Gabe Carimi
ROUND 6 – Bloomsburg DE Larry Webster – 6-6, 252The Bucs acquired a sixth-round pick by trading wide receiver Mike Williams to Buffalo. Webster, the son of Miami Dolphins defensive end Larry Webster, Jr., played four years of basketball at Bloomsburg before using his final two years of collegiate eligibility to play football. Webster set the Bloomsburg record for sacks in a season with 13.5 as a junior in 2012 along with 16 tackles for loss before finishing his brief, two-year football career with 12.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss as a senior.
Webster’s 4.58 time in the 40-yard dash was second only to Clowney’s and his 36.5-inch vertical jump was among the best for defensive ends at the NFL Scouting Combine. With his large, 6-foot-6, 252-pound frame, Webster has ideal size to become a 4-3 defensive end in the Tampa 2 scheme over time as he learns how to play the position with more consistency. With Adrian Clayborn and Da’Quan Bowers both in a contract year, the Bucs could use another defensive end to develop.
The Bucs have already brought him in for a personal workout. But some teams, perhaps Tampa Bay among them, are intrigued by the thought of Webster playing tight end due to his size, leaping ability and natural pass-catching hands. Webster caught two touchdown passes as a tight end in goal line situations as a junior.
Here is a highlight video of Webster’s plays against Shippenburg.
ROUND 7 – Bowling Green TE Alex Bayer – 6-4, 257 Previous selection: Baylor WR Tevin ReeseBayer is a complete tight end who has the ability to in-line block as well as catch the ball as receiver from the slot or the end position. At 6-foot-4, 257 pounds, Bayer ran a 4.75 in the 40-yard dash at his pro day, which was attended by Bucs tight ends coach Jon Embree. The Bucs also had Bayer in for a private visit and could be looking at him as a late-round option or a priority free agent signing.
As a three-year starter, Bayer caught 115 passes for 1,543 yards and 10 touchdowns. In 2013, he caught 37 passes for 593 yards (16 avg.) and four touchdowns, following a junior season in which he had 36 receptions for 410 yards and three scores.
Bayer is a well-respected leader and a team captain. He didn’t miss a game in his collegiate career and could also be a contributor on special teams. Bayer could compete for a tight end role with Brandon Myers, Tim Wright and Tom Crabtree as the team will likely keep three of them.
Here is a highlight video of Bowling Green’s 2013 season (Bayer is No. 82).
Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd 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 enjoys 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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