Saturday, April 21, 2012

On The Clock: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Last article we talked about the Cleveland Browns who hold the number four pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. Tonight I turn my sights on to the number five pick and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They had to be last year's most disappointing team. After starting the season 4-2, the Bucs dropped ten straight and finished the season 4-12. After finishing 2010 with a 10-6 record, most people thought Tampa Bay would contend in the AFC South in 2011. Maybe it was their porous defense, which allowed 394.4 yards per game (30th in the NFL), 30.9 point per game (32nd) and had only 32 sacks (22nd). Maybe it was the inconsistent play of third year quarterback Josh Freeman who saw his interceptions rise from six in 2010 to twenty two in 2011. Or maybe it was the lack of run game that ruined the Bucs season. They finished 30th overall with 91.1 yards per game. All three combined to cause Tampa Bay to fire Raheem Morris and bring in Greg Schiano from Rutgers. If Schiano is going to turn the Bucs around, he and general manager Mark Dominik will have to have an impressive 2012 draft. I will start their top three choices on the defensive side as they look to improve their secondary with

1. Morris Claiborne - Corner back - Louisiana State University - Tampa Bay is relying on 37 year old Ronde Barber to be their number one corner. Especially with the legal problems of Aqib Talib and the rumors that the Buccaneers are actively shopping the troubled back, they should look to take Morris Claiborne. Claiborne has the skill set to be their number one corner back and lead their secondary. He has the hands, speed, coverage skills and tackling ability to shut down most receivers. Tampa Bay also plays in the same division as Julio Jones, Roddy White, Steve Smith and Marques Colston. They also have to face Drew Brees, Cam Newton and Matt Ryan six times a year. The smartest choice is to take Claiborne and re-build their defense. However, they could look to give the offensive side of the ball a jolt by taking

2. Trent Richardson - Running back - Alabama - Richardson has been discussed before on my blog. He is the number one running back prospect in this draft and rightfully so. He has the ability to run over a defender and has the speed to make big plays happen. The Bucs could use a franchise running back. Most believed LeGarrette Blount was going to give Tampa Bay a quality back but last season seemed to have proven otherwise. It is not that Blount is not a good running back, he is just not a superstar. Tampa Bay could give Josh Freeman some help by creating a run game with Richardson. They could also help Josh Freeman by giving him another offensive weapon in

3. Justin Blackmon - Wide Receiver - Oklahoma State - Blackmon is a physical player who can go over the middle and has the hands to catch nearly anything thrown his way. Along with Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn, Tampa Bay could have a nice trio of wide receivers for Josh Freeman. However, this may not be the smartest pick because of the depth at wide receiver. 

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