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Here are five things that caught my interest this week:
FAB 1. Pewter Report’s final mock draft will be out later this week after Jim Flynn gets a turn playing general manager and comes out with his own personal mock draft of players he would like to see the Buccaneers draft. The difference between the official mock draft and Flynn’s (which appears in a Flynn’s Focus) is the mock draft reflects what we think the Buccaneers will do and Flynn’s column reflects what he think the Buccaneers ought to do.
I’ve decided to offer up some analysis on some of my favorite draft prospects – guys I grew fond of while watching close to 150 college football games last year. Some of these guys might be on the Bucs’ radar screen and some might not be at all. Simply put, these were some of my personal favorite draft-eligible college players from 2005.
DE MANNY LAWSON (N.C. State) – This isn’t a bandwagon pick. I’ve been singing Lawson’s praises on PewterReport.com for months now and wrote about him earlier this month in Pewter Report’s Point-Counterpoint in the 2006 Draft Preview.
After watching him tear it up for years, I really fell in love with this guy and his pass rushing ability in 2005. He had phenomenal games against Boston College (against Jeremy Trueblood) and USF among others. Against Boston College, I liked how quickly Lawson was able to disengage from a powerful, mauler-type like Trueblood and redirect to make plays in the running game. He has a strong upper body and uses his hands well to avoid being blocked. With his 241-pound size, you think he would he able to get bulldozed in the running game, but like Simeon Rice, he’s very active from the snap and hard for an offensive tackle to lock on to and drive block. As a senior, I think he held up better in the running game and really improved in this area the most.
I think Lawson needs to add 10-15 pounds in the pros, especially in his lower body to help him anchor in the running game and maintain gap integrity, but his upper body and hands are strong enough to where he could step in as a rookie and get 8-10 snaps per game on defense and finish with half a dozen sacks by the end of the year as a situational rusher. I think his body type, his freakish athleticism and his speed make him a poor man’s Rice – but not too poor. Lawson would be an ideal candidate to groom behind Rice and eventually replace him. His suddenness and pursuit speed make him special. I would like to see him force more fumbles when he gets sacks, which is what Rod Marinelli always used to preach, but Rice can help him with that in training camp and those post-practice sessions he has with guys like Ellis Wyms.
If the Bucs draft this guy it will put a smile on Rich Bisaccia’s face, too, because Lawson is a special teams demon. Blocking seven kicks/punts at N.C. State? Amazing. He has fantastic body control and uncanny balance. I watched him sift through the line to block a punt versus KU in the Orlando bowl game a few years ago during his sophomore year. He instantly upgrades the Bucs special teams unit. I like the fact that this guy as a first-rounder can help Tampa Bay immediately on defense as a situational rusher and on special teams and doesn’t have to start as a rookie.
At the Senior Bowl, I thought he abused Marcus McNeill and Eric Winston in several one-on-one pass-rushing drills. I also had the chance to interview him for about 10 minutes and I came away impressed. I liked the “Yes, sir – no, sir” stuff. That made an impression on me. Lawson was very respectful and had a great deal of confidence in himself without being cocky. All of the research I’ve done suggests he’s a good character.
With Lawson in the fold, here’s Tampa Bay’s possible front four on situational third-and-longs:
Left end: Simeon Rice – replaces Greg Spires and brings more heat off the corner Under tackle: Dewayne White – until Anthony McFarland shows me better pass rush ability and can get more than two sacks per year Nose tackle: Ellis Wyms – active hustler replaces Chris Hovan in pass-rushing situations Right end: Manny Lawson – gives the left tackle another opponent to prepare for and a fresher set of wheels off the blindside edge
Tampa Bay actually has some interest in Lawson and is an option for the Buccaneers at number 23. He has visited the team and he interviewed with the Bucs at the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. He has quietly been on Tampa Bay’s radar for some time and can’t be ruled out as a candidate in round one. If I’m picking for the Bucs, he’s my guy.
LT DARYN COLLEDGE (Boise State) – I’ll admit that I haven’t seen too many Boise State games – probably less than a dozen over the past two years, but Colledge looked solid in every game that I saw and faced some top-notch competition versus Louisville (defensive ends Elvis Dumervil and Marcus Jones) and Boston College (Mathias Kiwanuka) and Oregon State (Bill Swancutt).
Colledge reminds me a bit of Logan Mankins and Nick Kaczur – two guys the Bucs liked last year. I find it interesting that New England drafted both of those players and that both Tampa Bay and New England had position coaches at his pro day putting him through individual drills.
Colledge is a blue collar, tough guy, ass-kicker. Just the type of player Bill Muir likes. To use Muir’s words, “He’s agile, hostile and mobile.” I think Colledge will add the necessary 10 pounds of mass to be able to start 16 games at left tackle – or even guard if Tampa Bay is comfortable with Anthony Davis. The thing I like about Colledge is that he is a worker. He works hard in the weight room and on the practice field. While he is probably a better athlete than Mankins is but probably isn’t as powerful, both are self-made players in the weight room.
I could see a guy like Colledge really pushing Davis, who is quite the worker himself (evidenced by the fact that he reported this offseason at 329 pounds instead of the 356 pounds like last year), for the starting spot – even as a rookie. Wherever Colledge winds up – tackle or guard – he’s either going to be the man or push whoever is starting in front of him to be the man.
I think Colledge’s techinque is pretty sound and his natural tenacity (like Mankins) makes up for any size deficiencies. I mean, this guy is not D’Brickashaw Ferguson or Marcus McNeill size-wise, but guys like Kaczur, Matt Light and Kevin Shaeffer have proven you don’t need to be Jonathan Ogden or Orlando Pace to start at left tackle in the NFL and be efficient.
I was very anxious to see how well Colledge would perform at the Senior Bowl and I think he practiced better than some of the “name” guys from bigger schools like Trueblood, Ryan O’Callaghan from Cal and Jonathan Scott from Texas. I think he held his own against some really top notch defensive ends that were in Mobile and showed a great mix of strength, quickness and technique.
Like Lawson, I got to interview Colledge and was blown away. The guy talks like a professional broadcaster. Intelligent. Articulate. Funny. Personable. He’s got great charisma, which is usually a term reserved for quarterbacks and wide receivers – not offensive tackles. Everything I’ve researched on this guy shows me he’s a team-first guy with good character.
I don’t know if the Buccaneers had him in for a visit or not, but they did interview him at the Senior Bowl and at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. They also had a position coach (either Bill Muir or Aaron Kromer) at his pro day workout at Boise State, so there is some interest there.
I’d pull the trigger on Lawson in the first round and draft Colledge in the second round if I could. If Colledge winds up being a starting left tackle in Tampa Bay, Davis could always move to right tackle and compete with Kenyatta Walker for that starting assignment.
C GREG ESLINGER (Minnesota) – I’ve never seen a more athletic center in college football than Eslinger. I’m sure there have been better athletes than Eslinger, but they sure weren’t used like he was at Minnesota.
On nearly every running play, Eslinger would snap the ball and then pull left or right and lead block for the Golden Gophers’ 1,000-yard running backs Marion Barber III (in 2004) and Lawrence Maroney (2004 and 2005). Not only did he pull, Eslinger pulled effectively and got out in front of the perimeter running plays and was the lead blocker. In my 10 years of studying the draft professionally, I’ve never seen a center be used as a weapon in the running game like Eslinger.
Blessed with good speed and agility, Eslinger rarely missed his target and typically cut blocked his opponent on the perimeter the way a fullback might. He was discouraged from putting on weight at Minnesota due to having to pull so much, but with a 6-foot-3 frame, Eslinger can increase his weight from 289 pounds to over 310 pounds once he gets in an NFL weight room.
The interesting aspect I found regarding Eslinger is the fact that his favorite team is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and that his favorite NFL player is Mike Alstott. Linebacker Barrett Ruud got to join his favorite team last year when the Bucs drafted him. Eslinger would be ecstatic if he wound up in Tampa Bay with the chance to block for his boyhood idol.
I don’t know if Eslinger is on the Bucs’ radar screen or not, but he is on mine. I think the Bucs actually like his Minnesota teammate Mark Setterstrom, a second-day guard, better. While I can’t say that he’s better than Ohio State’s Nick Mangold, whom Tampa Bay is quite fond of, Eslinger is the second-best center behind Mangold in this draft and if were the Bucs I would snag him up in round three.
RB DONTRELL MOORE (New Mexico) – With 1,000 yards rushing for four straight years, Moore is no sleeper to NFL scouts, but he is to most college football fans. Let’s face it, unless you have ESPN Game Plan, you probably didn’t see too many Lobos games last year – but I did. I really like what Moore did his senior season, bouncing back from a torn ACL from 2004.
He’s one of the most productive running backs in NCAA history, and possesses the ability to pass protect and catch the ball out of the backfield. I’ve been watching him for three years now and he always tears up Colorado State (among other conference foes) on an annual basis, and does a great job of running between the tackles with burst and power.
I think Moore has all the tools the Bucs are looking for in a back for Jon Gruden’s system, but with Cadillac Williams, Michael Pittman, Mike Alstott, Earnest Graham and Derek Watson in the mix as ballcarriers, I doubt that the Bucs will draft a running back this year.
Moore also has great character, an improving work ethic and he’s shown his toughness by coming back from injuries, playing hurt and being the workhorse back year after year. In some ways, he reminds me of Virginia’s Alvin Pearman, a second-day back that was drafted by Jacksonville last year. I liked Pearman, and so did the Bucs. There are some at One Buc Place who are fond of Moore, but as I stated earlier, running back is not a need and may be ignored on draft day this year.
New Mexico also has wide receiver Hank Baskett, whom I really like. I think the 6-foot-3 Baskett was a little intimidated by the level of competition at the Senior Bowl and didn’t stand out, but he had a good college career, was productive and might be an intriguing guy in rounds 4-5 for Tampa Bay. Like Moore, he too has high character and would be a nice fit in the Bucs’ locker room.
WR JOVON BOUKNIGHT (Wyoming) – The last guy I’ll name for you is Bouknight (pronounced Bo-night). This guy was just fun to watch, and for whatever reason, I found myself watching a lot of Wyoming games this past year – probably for cornerback Derrick Martin.
Bouknight is a tough, do-it-all wide receiver who was a one-man-show for Joe Glenn’s Cowboys. In one game against Colorado State, I saw him catch a touchdown pass, run a reverse, return punts and kicks and then run for a big first down on a fake punt. Glenn, his head coach, said he had the grit and competitiveness of a fist-fighter and that he had all of the intangibles. After watching half a dozen games, I can see why he said that.
Bouknight not real big, and he’s not real fast (see Paris Warren), but he did improve on a slow Combine time by running in the 4.5s at his pro day workout. I like his versatility and I like his ability to play on special teams, which is something I really haven’t seen to much of from Warren.
This former high school quarterback has also thrown a couple of TD passes for Wyoming (see UCLA bowl game and Mississippi game in 2004). This kid blocks downfield, too, and he has high character. I like him late on the second day, but I’m not sure that the Bucs do.
FAB 2. With a week to go until the NFL Draft, the information flow out of One Buccaneer Place has slowed down considerably and anything that comes out of there (see Winston Justice smokescreen) or is relayed to Pewter Report right now really can’t be trusted. With that being said, let’s pause from delivering from the inside scoop and delve into some fantasy football for just a few minutes.
If the Buccaneers had not gone 11-5 last year and turned in another sub-par campaign and were picking fifth (Green Bay is actually picking fifth this year) again this year – who would Tampa Bay draft?
The first thing we have to discuss is who is not on the draft board anymore. It’s safe to say that USC running back Reggie Bush and USC quarterback Matt Leinhart are off the board, along with North Carolina State defensive end Mario Williams. But who is the fourth player off the board? Is it Virginia left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson? Is it Vanderbilt quarterback Jay Cutler or Texas quarterback Vince Young?
For the sake of argument, let’s suppose it is Ferguson. Why? Because he would undoubtedly be Tampa Bay’s pick at number 5 if he were still on the board and we would quickly move on to Fab 3. So to fill some space, let’s say the Ferguson is gone to either New Orleans at number 2, Tennessee at number 3 or New York at number 4.
(In fact, if Ferguson had come out as a junior last year, as the Bucs were hoping, there’s a real strong chance that Ferguson would have been the Bucs’ pick at number 5 instead of Cadillac Williams. The Bucs’ front office has been in love with this guy for two years now.
So where do the Bucs go at number 5 in this alternate reality? Probably one of two ways – linebacker or tight end. Although Jon Gruden will be tempted to add a dynamic talent like Young or even Cutler, but he already has a promising young franchise quarterback in Chris Simms. If Gruden can avoid the temptation of burning a first-round on a quarterback when it isn’t a position of need (assuming Simms doesn’t decline in Year 2 as a starter), Ohio State linebacker A.J. Hawk and Maryland tight end Vernon Davis would be staring the Buccaneers in the face.
Which one would the Buccaneers pick? I’ll ask around One Buccaneer Place after the first round to see which player Tampa Bay would have selected at number 5, but right now I can only guess.
As dominant as Hawk is and as much as I’d like to see him as Derrick Brooks’ heir apparent on the weakside in Tampa Bay, I think Gruden would opt for Davis, a tight end I’ve profiled before in an SR’s Fab Five last fall. In last week’s SR’s Fab Five, I made the case for Tampa Bay drafting a tight end on the first day – perhaps even in the first round. Getting Davis – even that high – would go a long way in putting another speedy, playmaking tight end on the field for Gruden. Remember, Gruden is an offensive-minded coach.
Imagine what Gruden could do pairing Alex Smith with Davis and his 4.38 speed and tackle-breaking ability. Davis’ addition would add another dimension to Tampa Bay’s two tight end-set. He would be a tight end who is capable of destroying linebackers and safeties down the field that are assigned to cover him.
But then I picture a future linebacking corp of Hawk at weakside linebacker, Barrett Ruud at middle linebacker and Marquis Cooper on the strongside and imagine the damage that lineup could do in years to come. The trio of Hawk, Ruud and Cooper would give the Bucs three linebackers capable of running under 4.50 and tremendous range in pass coverage.
The reality in this fantasy is that the Bucs could do no wrong, in my opinion, drafting either Hawk or Davis at number 5 if they had the pick. Both players are certainly on par with Williams and should have long, productive NFL careers if they can avoid injury.
FAB 3. The fantasy of Fab 2 has prompted me to ask the question, “If Cadillac Williams were to come out in this year’s draft, where would he be ranked?”
Is Williams a better prospect than linebacker A.J. Hawk, offensive tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson, tight end Vernon Davis and quarterbacks Jay Cutler and Vince Young?
In hindsight, the answer is yes with Williams winning the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award for his 1,000-yard season in 2005. Williams proved that he could play and succeed in the NFL right away. Sometimes it takes a player longer to adjust to the NFL, and of course, some never adjust at all.
But going back to last year, Williams was the third running back selected in what has to be considered a much weaker first round in 2005 than the talented first round coming up this Saturday. If Williams is in this year’s draft class with his history of injuries at Auburn and having to split time due to the presence of Ronnie Brown, where would he go? Remember that Williams didn’t even average 90 yards rushing his senior season at Auburn.
Based on his scouting report coming out of Auburn and the improved talent around him in this year’s class, the guess here is that Williams wouldn’t even be a top 10 pick this year, which is shocking considering how good of a pro Williams has already become. I have a funny feeling that Reggie Bush will be better than Brown, Matt Leinhart, Vince Young and Jay Cutler will be better than San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith and that DeAngelo Williams and Lawrence Maroney will be better than Cedric Benson.
Remember, two running back-needy teams in Miami and Chicago both passed Williams over for Brown and Benson last year.
This year, if Houston grabs Bush as expected, Williams could have fallen all the way to Cleveland at number 12. The Saints have Deuce McAllister, the Titans have Chris Brown and Travis Henry, the Jets have Curtis Martin and Derrick Blaylock, the Packers have Ahman Green, the 49ers have Frank Gore and Kevan Barlow, the Raiders have Lamont Jordan, the Bills have Willis McGahee, the Lions have Kevin Jones and the Cardinals have Edgerin James. The Browns have Rueben Droughns, but Williams would be a significant upgrade.
Of course with hindsight being 20/20, Williams likely would have gone to Miami at number two overall last year or perhaps even number one overall to San Francisco. One year can make an amazing difference in a player’s stock.
FAB 4. Expect the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to use a second-day pick on a player with kick and punt return ability. This has been a trademark of Jon Gruden since his arrival in 2002 when he selected Kansas State’s Aaron Lockett in the seventh round. The 5-foot-8, 165-pound Lockett was too small to make it in the NFL and didn’t earn a roster spot on the Buccaneers.
Two years later, the Bucs spent another seventh-round pick on a return man – Tennessee’s Mark Jones. Jones spent his rookie season with the New York Giants, who stole him away from Tampa Bay as the Bucs were trying to sneak him onto their practice squad after the preseason. Jones returned to the Buccaneers last year and emerged as their punt returner, averaging 9.6 yards per return.
He was a key performer down the stretch for Tampa Bay, especially in the Bucs’ 27-24 win against Atlanta in which he had a 31-yard return in overtime to set up the team’s game-winning field goal. Jones actually returned a punt over 70 yards for a touchdown at New England, but it was called back due to a penalty on special teams ace Ryan Nece.
The concern at One Buccaneer Place is that Jones, who was a utility man at Tennessee and split time between receiver and safety, may never develop his receiving skills to the point where he could see time on offense on game days. Holding a roster spot exclusively for a punt returner is a luxury Tampa Bay can’t afford, especially since Jones did not excel as a kick returner, averaging just 19 yards per return on five attempts.
If the Bucs were going to go after a return specialist, expect it to be somebody who can return both kicks and punts effectively. Candidates include Akron wide receiver Domenik Hixon, who was profiled in last week’s SR’s Fab Five, Miami receiver-cornerback Devin Hester, Colorado wide receiver Jeremy Bloom, TCU wide receiver Cory Rogers, Fresno State wide receiver Adam Jennings, Florida State wide receiver Willie Reid, Wisconsin wide receiver Brandon Williams and Abilene Christian defensive back Danieal Manning. The Bucs have visited or worked out Hixon, Williams and Manning, who is a junior entry, and may have their sights set on these players.
Manning is a player Bucs fans need to become familiar with prior to draft weekend as he could be Tampa Bay’s pick in rounds 4-6. The 5-foot-11, 205-pound safety-cornerback prospect is an amazing athlete with 4.48 speed and a keen nose for the ball.
In 2005, Manning produced 49 tackles, three interceptions, two forced fumbles, one sack, one fumble recovery, and he blocked three kicks. He also returned 19 punts for 243 yards (12.8 avg.) and scored on a 59-yard return. Manning also returned 13 kick returns for 349 yards (26.8 avg.) and had a 78-yard touchdown.
His athletic ability was put to use on offense where he hauled in five catches for 28 yards and ran the ball nine times for 20 yards.
In 2004, Manning had 54 tackles, two INTs, two fumble recoveries, one of which was returned for a TD, one forced fumble, and he blocked one kick. Manning also returned 15 punt returns for 330 yards (22.0 avg.) and scored twice, including on a 73-yard return, and returned 13 kicks for 380 yards (29.2 avg.) and a 91-yard touchdown.
In 2003, Manning recorded 56 tackles, six picks, forced three fumbles, had one sack and one fumble recovery on defense while returning seven kicks 251 yards (35.8 avg.), including a 97-yard touchdown. Manning also made an impact on offense with six catches for 191 yards (31.8 avg.) and two touchdowns, including a 73-yard score.
Manning scored 10 TDs in his three-year career, including a school-record five on special teams returns. He has scored touchdowns on kick returns, punt returns, fumble returns, interception returns and on a pass reception.
The fact that Manning played for Abilene Christian won’t scare the Bucs off. They drafted cornerback Donnie Abraham in the third round out of East Tennessee State in 1996 and drafted wide receiver Larry Brackins out of Pearl River Community College in 2005.
One key tidbit on Manning that could prove interesting on draft day is the fact that he originally signed with Nebraska in 2001 and was recruited by former Huskers defensive coordinator Bo Pellini, who is a great friend of Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. Last year, Pellini gave Kiffin a strong endorsement of linebacker Barrett Ruud, who was drafted by the Bucs in the second round, and safety Donte Nicholson, who was drafted in the fifth round. Pellini coached Ruud for two years at Nebraska and coached Nicholson for a season Oklahoma.
With the ability to play defensive back and star on special teams, Manning could yield some big returns in Tampa Bay if he becomes a Buccaneer on draft weekend.
FAB 5. Here are a few things to hold you over until next week:
• Unless Florida State’s Ernie Sims is there at number 23, I just don’t see the Bucs going linebacker in round one this year after much reflection and study. Tampa Bay’s roster is fairly set at linebacker with starters Derrick Brooks, Shelton Quarles and Ryan Nece, key reserves in Marquis Cooper and Barrett Ruud and the newly acquired Jamie Winborn. That’s not to say that the Buccaneers won’t add another linebacker to the mix on draft day, but with Derrick Brooks re-doing his deal and having at least two more years left before he retires, spending a first-round pick on his heir apparent doesn’t make much sense unless the plan is for that rookie to battle it out with Nece and Cooper at Sam (strongside linebacker). The team still has hopes for the athletic Cooper, who is blazing fast and is coming off his best preseason with the team, to earn a starting spot somewhere at some point in time. He was Tampa Bay’s third-round pick a couple of years ago. The Bucs may wait until the third or fourth round to draft a linebacker – if they draft one at all this year.
• One of the rumors floating around the league is that Tiki Barber is petitioning his team, the New York Giants, to make a move for Buccaneers cornerback Ronde Barber, who is his twin brother. The Giants signed Sam Madison this offseason and will pair him with young Corey Webster unless they acquire a cornerback on draft day, although Jason Bell and R.W. McQuarters are still in the mix. Still, New York would like to get more talented at the cornerback position and nothing would please Tiki more than playing with his brother one more time in the twilight of their NFL careers. Barber is entering the final year of his contract with Tampa Bay and is scheduled to have a $5,364,000 salary cap value this year. Although the Bucs wouldn’t mind extending his contract this year or re-signing him next year, it would have to be at the right price. Barber has been unhappy with his contract since before Bruce Allen arrived in 2004 and may be looking to cash in on one more big deal. That money could come from New York either this year by acquiring Barber from the Bucs in a trade or next year by plucking Barber off the free agent market. Looking ahead, even if the money offered to Barber by the Bucs and the Giants is the same, he might opt to head to New York to play with his brother and increase his marketability in the Big Apple. The personable and charismatic Barber could see his marketing opportunities blossom in New York, as they have for Tiki. Plus, imagine the endorsement deals the twins could garner by being in New York together and playing for the Giants?
• Speaking of Barber, rumor has it he will be in New York at the draft manning the Buccaneers’ table and will be running the card up to the Commissioner after Tampa Bay makes its pick in the first round. I haven’t gotten that confirmed yet, but that’s what I’m hearing. Last year, the Bucs sent former tight end Jimmie Giles to New York to represent the team on draft day.
• The St. Petersburg Times reported a rumor that the Buccaneers may be interested in trading for New Orleans safety Dwight Smith, who played in Tampa Bay from 2001-2004. Huh? Does this make any sense to you? The Bucs didn’t want Smith so they didn’t re-sign him last spring, allowing him to go to the Saints. Now why in the world would the Bucs want to give up a draft pick for a player they didn’t want a year ago? The guess here is that it attempts to put pressure on Charles Woodson to agree to terms with the Buccaneers prior to this weekend’s draft. Signing Woodson would allow the Bucs the opportunity to not draft a cornerback or a safety on the first day of the draft. I expect Woodson to sign with the Bucs between Friday and Monday.
• As promised, here’s a quick profile on a couple of big, late-round wide receiver options: Monmouth’s Miles Austin and Mount St. Joseph’s Andy Wellendorf. The Bucs brought Austin in for a visit this month after the 6-foot-2, 219-pound Hawks star caught 49 passes for 1,004 yards (20.5 avg.) and 11 touchdowns in only eight games during his senior season. In 2004, Austin caught 47 passes for 859 yards (18.3 avg.) and nine scores after hauling in 44 catches for 796 yards (18.1 avg.) and 12 scores in 2003. Even as a freshman, Austin showed his 4.47 speed and ability to go deep, averaging 20.8 yards per catch on 10 receptions and scoring one touchdown. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Wellendorf met with the Bucs at the Indianapolis Scouting Combine, although he did not participate in the drills. During his senior season, Wellendorf had 58 catches for 905 yards (15.6 avg.) and 12 touchdowns after catching 58 passes for 1,101 yards (19 avg.) and 16 scores as a junior. Wellendorf hauled in a combined 20 TDs between his sophomore and freshman seasons. With Tampa Bay’s penchant for drafting small school talent during the second day of the draft (see Larry Brackins – Pearl River CC, Lenny Williams – Southern, Casey Cramer – Dartmouth, Nate Lawrie – Yale, etc.), Austin or Wellendorf are candidates to be drafted by the Bucs in the seventh round or signed as priority free agents after the draft.
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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