Matt will be reviewing each team's pre-draft analysis by talking about the draft range of targeted players.
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last Year: 9-7)
From worst to first in the NFC South, Jon Gruden guided Tampa back into the playoffs. They have been extremely aggressive in free agency, but are signing rather inexpensive players that could pay big dividends in their scheme (such as Marques Douglas, Eugene Wilson, and Ben Troupe). On to the Bucs' draft range with the 20th overall pick:
Antoine Cason/Mike Jenkins:
No Aqib Talib here now that we are finding out that he has failed three drug tests at Kansas, and Tampa hasn't taken any players with character concerns since 2004. Not going to happen. Defensive Coordinator Monte Kiffin is a big fan of Jenkins, but Cason's physical nature and leadership makes him a prototype Tampa-2 zone corner. Jenkins' athleticism separates him from Cason, so it all depends on what Kiffin wants to do.
DeSean Jackson/Limas Sweed/James Hardy:
No Devin Thomas here because I think he is a very raw prospect and his game isn't technically sound. Thus, I think Gruden would pass on him for his advanced West Coast offense. The receiver I think Tampa would have highest on their big board is Sweed, but Jackson's punt return ability and speed make me hard to count him out in the Bucs' range. Hardy's 4.47 time solidified his first-round grade.
Branden Albert/Chris Williams:
They would emphasize value over need here by taking a left tackle to set their offensive line.
Trade up for Matt Ryan:
If Ryan falls past Chicago, Tampa would have to make a move to get a legit franchise quarterback. The Vikings would love to have Ryan fall to them, but they might make a move up as well to get him. The Bucs would love to get Ryan while they can, and make a move with the Detroit Lions at No. 15. Also, if Detroit made this trade, remember they make it so they don't have to face Ryan twice a season (if he went to Minnesota). The trade projection:
Tampa Bay Receives: No. 15 (1050 TVC points)
Detroit Receives: Nos. 20, 83, & 153 (1055.2 TVC points)
PewterReport.com (a reliable Bucs source) claims that Tampa is very high on Donnie Avery and they say most sources they have talked to feel like Avery is a first-round draft pick. While Tampa might like Avery there, there's not a chance in the world they take him at No. 20, but maybe in the second round. I also think receivers such as Earl Bennett and Keenan Burton have the potential to be taken at No. 52. Mid-round possibilities are Eddie Royal, Harry Douglas, and the sleeper Steve Johnson. With receiver being such a big need, Tampa just might draft two with five of their draft picks.
Tampa would love to see Brandon Flowers fall to them in the second round. He is a very physical corner and is comfortable in zone. He plays bigger than his size indicates. Terrell Thomas, Chevis Jackson, and Patrick Lee are mid-round Tampa-2 zone corners as well.
Chad Henne and Brian Brohm fit the West Coast offense mold, and the Bucs might consider them in the second round if they are on the board.
One player Jon Gruden might fall in love with as a quarterback prospect and take him as high as the fourth round is Kevin O'Connell from San Diego State. He has prototypical size and athletic ability for the quarterback position, but he needs to be developed, like a Derek Anderson.
Tampa is a team simply with not many needs at all. I don't see them going defensive line, offensive line (unless in Round 1 with a left tackle), running back, linebacker, or safety in this draft. That just leaves them with glaring needs at wideout and cornerback, and they have the potential to take a quarterback. In the end, I think GM Bruce Allen will definitely emphasize value in this draft and stick to his board like he has in the past.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2008 Offseason Needs
Back to Matt's 2008 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis Page