Random thoughts on the Bucs and the NFL

1.
Well, I guess it is time to weigh-in on the draft, or given that I was in Aruba I should say "the draught," which was cold, effervescent, and excellent. Who knew there was a Champions Sports Bar in Aruba? I had my Pewter Report, draft magazines and guides all around me as well as some Giants fans praying in vain for a left tackle. It was a great time. I’m not going to lie to you on two fronts: I am glad Calvin Johnson got picked before the Bucs were on the clock, and though I am sure I will love Gaines Adams, I still think Amobi Okoye was the pick at number four.

2.
I’ve read everything I can read on the Bucs picks. I must admit, I got a bit nauseous when I heard Greg Peterson’s name. Had flashbacks of the Pearl River Country Club selection. Then I looked at a draft guide and read he weighed 270 pounds and was ready to put Peterson in the John Stamper club.  However, I was pleasantly surprised to learn Peterson is closer to 290 pounds than 270, and even folks like NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock could not only spell N.C. Central, but thought the kid had upside. I’m still not sure I like him as a fifth-round pick, and I am definitely sure I would have loved to have seen Antonio Johnson in pewter, but I must admit I find the Peterson pick intriguing.

3. Can we just call this the Monte Kiffin draft? Gaines Adams, Sabby Piscitelli, Quincy Black, Tanard Jackson, Greg Peterson, Adam Hayward, Marcus Hamilton … what does that say to you? It says speed to me. Welcome back to the fastest defense in the NFL. Kiffin finally has the pieces from the draft to go with new additions Kevin Carter, Patrick Chukwurah, Cato June and Sammy Davis to rebuild the defense.

4.
I was feeling kind of sad just after the draft because I longed for a tight end and a nose tackle. And, what to my wondering eyes should appear? It's Jerramy Stevens, Ryan Sims (and eight tiny reindeer)! 

5. Okay, I made the reindeer part up, and yes Stevens has been a miscreant off the field, but dammit, if the New England Patriots can get away with trading for Randy Moss, then the Bucs should be able to sign Jerramy Stevens to a no-risk contract and check him out.

6.
Criticize general manager Bruce Allen and head coach Jon Gruden all you want, but you cannot criticize the effort to address the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ needs in the offseason. The team needed quarterbacking, offensive line help, pass rush, and youth on defense. In all respects Gruden and Allen made decisions to address those needs. They also made those decisions in a cap-responsible fashion. Time will tell how good the decisions were, but, from where I sit, I am excited about 2007.

7.
The problem with predictions is nobody remembers them (actually, in my case that is usually a good thing.) I mentioned a few weeks ago how absurd it was that Mel Kiper wrote this year that Colorado kicker Mason Crosby “wouldn’t last past the second round.” Not only was Crosby not drafted until the sixth round, but he wasn’t even the first kicker drafted. Hell, two punters and two place kickers were drafted ahead of him! No knock on Mel, because how he remembers all of those facts and reports about players is beyond me, but sometimes he needs an anchor for all of that helium that keeps his hair up.

8.
Speaking of punters, in the NFL they are generally like flies at a barbeque. You know, always hanging around. What were they smoking in Jacksonville and Pittsburgh to throw away fourth round picks on them? Yeesh.

9.
What is this garbage I am reading from supposed draft professionals, as well as Redskins owner Dan Snyder, that LaRon Landry was the highest rated defender in the draft? A safety? Are you kidding? This is akin to having a guard be the highest rated offensive player in a draft. Sure, safeties are important, but name me one defense where the safety is the key to success. This kind of thinking is why the Redskins are better off just trading away their draft picks. They needed a pass rusher like Noah needed dry land, but they take a safety when guys like Okoye, Jamal Anderson and Adam Carriker were still on the board. Heck, I even could have understood Patrick Willis before I get the Landry pick.

10. Is it just me, or is anyone else enjoying the fact that the Atlanta Falcons are going to stink this season? Ron Mexico is now in the dog fighting business. I just love this guy. Pitbull licenses and training compounds, but Mexico’s family owns them and little Ronnie never goes there. It’s just his family. Face of the franchise, baby. Jim Mora Sr. was right. Vick is a coach-killer. Rich McKay is a cap-killer. They deserve each other. Fourth place this year. Mark it down.

11.
You know what I like best about the Bucs draft? They didn’t mail in their picks on the second day. I actually think Chris Denman could make the team. Maybe even Ken Darby. I’ll give you Marcus Hamilton, but in general the Bucs drafted kids with athleticism and upside. Nary a Zack Quaccia in the bunch.

12.
Say all you want about the Patriots, but they rule. They sign guys like Donte Stallworth and Adalius Thomas in the offseason to address their needs, and then they turn the draft into Brandon Meriweather, Randy Moss and the San Francisco 49ers’ first round pick in 2008. They just get it, people. They were four minutes from the Super Bowl last season. If Brady stays healthy, mark them down as Lombardi favorites in 2007.

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