Tampa Bay Buccaneers Draft Review

by Tommy Lawlor  –  ScoutsNotebook.com

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

1 – DT Gerald McCoy – Oklahoma
2 – DT Brian Price – UCLA
2 – WR Arrelious Benn – Illinois
3 – CB Myron Lewis – Vanderbilt
4 – WR Mike Williams – Syracuse
6 – P Brent Bowden – Virginia Tech
7 – S Cody Grimm – Virginia Tech
7 – LB Dekoda Watson – Florida State
7 – DE Erik Lorig – Stanford

The Bucs spent the #3 overall pick on Oklahoma star Gerald McCoy.  He was an elite DT for the Sooners over the last couple of years.  Some people (most notably Mike Mayock) thought McCoy was as good as Ndamukong Suh.  I felt Suh was clearly the better player.  McCoy (6’4, 295) was very good in his own right.  He is a perfect fit for Tampa’s 1-gap attacking scheme.  And their D needed help, especially up front.  The Bucs were 27th in yards allowed last year.  They only had 28 sacks all year, giving opposing QBs far too much time in the pocket.  McCoy instantly will boost the interior pass rush.  He had 12.5 sacks over the last couple of years.  He can fly off the ball and explode upfield.    

There is no point in discussing the DT situation overall without bringing up the fact that Tampa used their 2nd round pick to select DT Brian Brice from UCLA.  I did not see the Bucs pulling this move, but that doesn’t mean it was bad.  Price (6’1, 303) and McCoy give Tampa an outstanding pair of rookie DTs.  They spent an early pick last year on Roy Miller.  That now gives them a terrific young trio of DTs.  They also have Ryan Sims and Dre Moore on the roster.  That’s pretty good depth at DT and a strong foundation for the defense.  Price will play the Booger McFarland role and McCoy will be Warren Sapp.  I can’t guarantee the players will pan out at that level, but the duo should work well together.  Both guys were very productive and disruptive in college.  Price was 4th in the nation in TFLs in 2009.  He’ll be asked to do the dirty work in Tampa so that McCoy can be the playmaker.  Price has the more squatty build and that makes him a better fit at NT.  Don’t expect the rookie DTs to both start in 2010, but they can each have some kind of impact at least as rotational players.

Tampa had another 2nd round pick and went for WR Arrelious Benn.  I loved this pick.  I twas a big fan of Benn’s.  He didn’t have great production at Illinois, but a lot of that was due to horrific QB play at times.  Benn absolutely has an NFL body at 6’1, 219.  He was a man among boys in college.  I saw more than a few players bounce off him, most notably Safety William Moore in the 2008 season opener.  Moore got freight-trained by Benn.  Tampa took QB Josh Freeman last year and now they need to give him weapons.  Benn is the kind of big WR that young QBs can really use.  He isn’t a polished player and will need some coaching, but I really think Benn can be a good receiver in a few years.  I’ve compared him to Anquan Boldin a few times over the years.  I don’t know if Benn is quite as athletic, but he’s got that kind of potential.

Tampa went back to defense in the 3rd round and took DB Myron Lewis from Vandy.  He played CB for the Commodores, but at 6’2, 205 some thought he might project to FS in the NFL.  It seems like Tampa will start him out at CB.  Aqib Talib is one good young CB.  The other spot is manned by Ronde Barber.  How old is he?  I think Ronde and Ponce de Leon were roommates for a while back in the day.  Tampa wanted to get someone in to be ready to replace Barber.  Lewis is a good fit for their system.  He’s big and can be physical with receivers.  He is a good run defender and also has good ball skills.  Lewis picked off 10 passes in his career.  Should he struggle at Corner, the Bucs can always slide him inside to Safety.  That position is very much unsettled right now.  Lewis was good value in the 3rd round.

In the 4th round the Bucs chose WR Mike Williams of Syracuse.  I didn’t like this pick.  Williams missed the 2008 season due to a bizarre academic situation.  He then returned for 2009.  Mike got in trouble about midseason and was suspended.  He decided to just quit the team.  That is a major sin in the athletic world.  No one quits on their teammates.  You play.  Not Williams.  He’s a quitter.  And I don’t think you spend a 4th round pick on a quitter.  Talent-wise, Mike is a 2nd round prospect.  He’s got an excellent combination of size and skill.  He had 20 TD catches in 2 1/2 years.  He averaged more than 15 yards per catch for his career.  And that’s without stellar QB play.  My problem is that I’m always going to be nervous about how coachable Williams is.  If I spend a late round pick on him then I’m not afraid to cut him if he causes problems.  I’m hesitant to cut a 4th round pick.  Those picks have definite value.  I understand Tampa’s thinking.  They feel like they got 2nd round talent in the 4th and that was too good to pass up.  We’ll see.

The Bucs used their 6th round pick on Virginia Tech Punter Brent Bowden.  He handled the punting duties at VT for the last 3 years.  Bowden averaged 43.77 yards per punt, 14th in the country.  He’s got good size at 6’3, 202.  Bowden better be good.  He’s the only Punter that Tampa has on the roster right now.

Tampa had 3 picks in the 7th round.  They took another Va Tech player in Cody Grimm.  He was a LB for the Hokies, but will move to Safety in the NFL.  Grimm is only 6’1, 203.  That gave him no shot at playing LB.  At the same time, he was too good to not look at even as a role player and STer.  Grimm had a big time Senior season.  He led the team in tackles and TFLs.  He deflected 5 passes and had an amazing 7 FFs.  Over the last 2 years Grimm had 26.5 TFLs.  I don’t know if Grimm has the coverage skills to ever make it as a starting Safety, but he could be a good run defender and outstanding STs player.  He was worth the risk in the 7th round.

Next up was LB Dekoda Watson.  He was a good player for Florida State, but never took the next step and became a star for the Seminoles like so many LBs had in the past.  I was shocked to see him fall to the 7th.  Watson had some injury issues at FSU that may have affected his value.  He had Tommy John surgery prior to 2009 and that may have really made teams nervous.  I don’t think it helped that Watson was an odd player.  He wasn’t a tackling machine.  He wasn’t a great playmaker.  In 3 years as a starter he picked off 2 passes and never had a FF.  The one area where Watson stood out was when FSU moved him to DE in some passing situations.  He was able to explode off the ball and wreak havoc.  Watson had 11.5 sacks in his career.  I don’t know that he’ll be uses much to rush the passer in the NFL, but he can be disruptive if allowed to attack.  I had a hard time getting a feel for Watson.  He was good value in the 7th, but it won’t surprise me if he struggles in the NFL because of his odd size/skillset combo.

The final pick was DE Erik Lorig.  He has good size at 6’3, 281.  The Bucs are hoping he can develop into a LDE for them.  Players that rely on size and strength can take time to develop.  Tampa will work patiently with him to see if he is merely a role player or has starting ability.  Lorig is underrated as an athlete and has a terrific motor.  That won’t be good enough in the NFL.  He’s got to play to his size and use good technique.  He began his career as a TE so it might take some time on the Practice Squad before he’s ready to compete for a roster spot or playing time.

Bucs draft tracker at NFL.com

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