With the Bucs having traded away their second-round pick in order to move back into the first to take Doug Martin, most people thought Mark Dominik would stand pat and wait for his third-rounder to hit. But Dominik is a sniper who sees what he wants and just fucking takes it. And what he wanted was LB Lavonte David out of Nebraska and he didn’t think think David was going to be there in the third for him. Someone in the chat on Friday called David as the next pick. I forget who it was, but bully for him. Nice call.
David is 6-0, 233 and runs a 4.65 40. Most people would call him undersized for a linebacker, but that would be his only drawback. He was super-productive at Nebraska and made all-conference after transferring from a junior college. He’s smart, athletic and closes on the football quick. It’s going to be tempting to compare him to Derrick Brooks because he’ll probably play the same position and because Brooks had the same “undersized” knock against him when he was drafted. This kid obviously has a long way to go, but just keep it in the back of your mind. This is why the Bucs felt comfortable passing on a linebacker in the first round. Dominik knew David was going to be there in the second and that freed him up to do what he did in the first.
I feel the need to point this out since there was so much Dominik bashing on Friday. Dominik traded down two spots to #7 and picked up a fourth-rounder, a price most people said was too low. Dominik took that fourth-rounder and used it to trade back up in the first to grab Martin. But all he did was swap fourths to do it. He still had a fourth-rounder going into the second. He then took that fourth to trade back into the second round for David. He used one fourth-rounder to trade up twice. That’s some expert wheeling and dealing, and if you don’t think so you’re just hater who enjoys being miserable and should pick another team to root for or bitch about as you please. But leave my Bucs out of your sphere of depression.
The rest of the draft I found underwhelming, mostly because I didn’t know any of the players. The Bucs took LB Najee Goode in the fifth and CB Keith Tandy, both from West Virginia. In fact, Goode and Tandy were roommates in college, so they should give the second-team back seven some continuity walking into camp. Greg Schiano played both these guys several times while at Rutgers (both WV and Rutgers are in the Big East), so he obviously spent some time scouting them even before he got to the Bucs.
“Obviously, I know a lot about both the West Virginia kids playing against them for four years,” former Rutgers coach Schiano said. “They were both a royal pain in the rear. As I told them, it’s good to be on the same side now.
“Those two guys are football maniacs. I mean, they love the game, and they play it with such passion.”
With his first seventh-round pick, Dominik grabbed Michael Smith, a running back from Utah State. Smith’s pick is all about speed and he is a true change-of-pace back. In fact, another team liked him so much that they offered Dominik a sixth-rounder next year for Smith right after he was drafted.
“I never had that happen before,” Dominik said.
Smith claimed to run a 4.26 at some point, but he was clocked at 4.32 at his pro day. That probably translates a few hundredths higher at the combine, but is still faster than anyone the Bucs currently have. Smith is 5-9, 207 and had a recent groin injury, so there’s going to be some talk about his size and durability, but for a seventh-rounder, he sounds like a steal. So I won’t hold it against Dominik for not drafting Tauren Poole out of Tennessee with this pick. Poole, by the way, went to Carolina on a UFA deal, so we’ll be seeing him soon enough.
The Bucs’ last pick was Drake Dunsmore, a tight end out of Northwestern who probably projects as a fullback. Erik Lorig and Luke Stocker already have the jobs of “white guys who can block” filled, so I’m going to say Dunsmore doesn’t make the team. Everyone else, though, I think has a real shot of sticking.
With nearly 48 hours passing since the draft ended, it seems like a good time to look at draft grades. Of course that’s dumb, but people do it anyway. SI gives the Bucs an A-, Ira Kaufman gives them a B+, Mel Kiper gave them something good (I’ll never know because I won’t pay for it, but the Bucs did well enough to be the team they push on the home page), and CBS gives them a solid B. All the draft reviews have the same complaint, though: that the Bucs should have just taken Morris Claiborne. But without the trade down, the trades back up don’t happen. Barron is a solid player at a position of huge need for the team. And again, if the Bucs thought Claiborne was better than Mark Barron, they would have taken him. But the Bucs were in a unique position to know a lot about Claiborne and they went ahead and picked Barron anyway. That’s the last time I’ll beat that horse, but it seems so obvious that I don’t know why more people aren’t realizing it.