It’s A Far Cry From The Draft We Thought We’d Inherit

Published: April 30th, 2007
By weblog

Wasn't this supposed to be the most important offseason in Buccaneer history? It seems like last weekend's draft would have made a bigger impression on me if it was. Don't get me wrong, I think the Bucs got better in a lot of defensive areas. But it just all seemed so... average. Here's what I currently think of each player they picked and I'll follow it up with some general notes.

1. Gaines Adams (DE)- I have to admit, I was rooting for the Bucs to reach for Amobi Okoye on this pick because defensive tackle is still the #1 need. But after Bobby Petrino, Okoye's coach just a few months ago, passed him up at #8 for a different defensive lineman, I felt better. Simeon Rice is on the way out in 2008, so another high first-rounder to take his place and improve the pass rush is a good thing.

2a. Arron Sears (T) - I liked this pick better yesterday when I thought he was going to be in line for the left tackle spot (which is where he played in Tennessee and did very well.) Everything I read elsewhere, though (including the Buccaneers' official site), says Sears is projected as a guard. Dan Buenning is already an excellent left guard, and you don't draft a second rounder for depth. I had also thought that there would be some experimenting with Anthony Davis at guard and Buenning kicking over to center (the fact that the Bucs didn't take a center lends some credibility to that.) Either way, someone pretty good is going to be sitting on the bench, and with as many holes as the Bucs have, that doesn't seem like a good use of resources. Let's see how this one shakes out in camp.

2b. Sabby Piscitelli (SS) - Ok, so I didn't get Eric Weddle. I watched some film on this guy after he was picked and I like him. The team sorely needed some safety help and Piscitelli could be the replacement for John Lynch at strong safety that Jermaine Phillips never was. He seems to be the pick that Buc fans are most excited about. Hard hitter, good personality, clean record. Good pick.

3. Quincy Black (LB) - This is where I start getting confused. I just didn't think the Bucs needed any more bodies (at least not this high in the draft) at linebacker. He's got good range and speed, so he projects at weakside, right? Didn't the Bucs just invest a bunch of money to get Cato June? I understand June will be working the strongside this season, but he will eventually take over for Derrick Brooks once he retires, right? And don't forget about Jamie Winborn and Patrick Chukwurah who can work just as easily standing up as with a hand in the dirt. Black seems like a project pick with good upside, but the third round is pretty high to be picking developmental guys. Shelton Quarles's release may have forced a linebacker higher, so if that's the case, fine. Someone will backup Barrett Ruud in the middle. So, we're all set on linebackers now, right?

4. Tanard Jackson (CB) - He's a solid player who can excel in the zone where speed isn't as critical. You know who else fits that description? Alan Zemaitis, the cornerback the Bucs drafted last year in the fourth round. The same one who never once saw the field despite Brian Kelly being injured most of the year. Plus Jackson has some character issues like being suspended for conduct detrimental. Kelly may be in his last year with the team and Ronde Barber's new contract was structured so that there was a big two year payoff and then a decision. Marcus McCauley from Fresno State was still on the board when the Bucs took Quincy Black. If they were planning on taking a cornerback to replace either Barber or Kelly, that probably would have been the time to do it, eh?

5. Greg Peterson (DE) - Now we're getting into the true projects that you don't expect much from. Peterson was a top JUCO guy who transfered to North Carolina Central. Not sure what the difference is. Anyway, he's supposed to have excellent upside if it can be coached out of him. He's got the size and work ethic (supposed to be a big-time gym rat.) He seems like a guy who could be a cheaper Greg Spires given a couple years. But I bet he would have been there in the sixth or seventh.

6. Adam Hayward (LB) - Oh, come on. This is just getting silly. This guy played a bunch of different positions in his college career, so maybe that's why Gruce liked him? Versatility? He seems like a high character guy, but doesn't really have a position. You know who was available here? John Wendling, the Wyoming free safety who dropped big time and was taken by Buffalo two picks later. Seems like the Bucs could have used a free safety to kick Will Allen in the ass. The fact that they used this pick on another linebacker AND that it was basically a gift pick from the Vikings only makes it sting worse. Are you guys trying to kill me?

7a. Chris Denman (T) - This guy was taken solely for his physical attributes and potential. From what I know his technique needs real help. And where better to get offensive line coaching than Tampa Bay? Sorry, Chris. You're screwed.

7b. Marcus Hamilton (CB) - I happen to think this guy is a steal just because he was so productive in college. He doesn't have good measurables, but seems to have good hands and instincts if he can snag 15 picks in three years. I hope he can produce on special teams and to give himself a chance to make it as a nickelback.

7c. Kenneth Darby (RB) - Darby is a career backup if he makes it at all. No point in bitching about not needing a running back at this stage since most teams are taking flyers on long shots in the seventh. He'll probably be cut before September.

So there you have it. The 2007 draft that is going to change the direction of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the next several years. No? Nah... I don't think so, either. Some of that may just because the talent pool was so damn mediocre this year that no one would have made a huge impression on me.

* The Bucs did not address their need for a punt returning specialist. Yamon Figurs was taken in the third, two rounds higher than where he was projected, but still behind Quincy Black. How many touchdowns will Black score for them? I really think the Bucs missed the boat here.

* There has been a lot of talk about Marcus Thomas, who finally went to Denver in the fourth after they gave up their sixth and seventh rounders this year and their third rounder next year to the Vikings to move up to get him. Daaaaaaaaamn. It will be interesting to compare his career with Tanard Jackson's in a few years.

* One skill position, and it was the last pick of the draft. I was all for beefing up the lines and focusing on defense, but I'm not sure I would have entirely ignored the wide receiver position.

* And I would have used a compensatory pick on Chris Leak. Too much upside to let him go undrafted. I know the Bucs have more than enough quarterbacks, but I'd like to see him match up head to head against Bruce Gradkowski in camp. I don't know that even with 11 NFL starts to his credit that Grads could have held him off. If nothing else, I'll bet the Bucs could have gotten more for him than a seventh rounder in trade in a year or two. Are there no successful NFL quarterbacks in the league right now who are six feet even? What about this guy? Does an inch or two really make that much difference? That last question was for men only.

* And, finally, much credit goes to Monte Kiffin who courageously bound and gagged Jon Gruden in the war room during the first hour to keep him from selling the farm to take Calvin Johnson. I would have applauded Johnson's arrival in Tampa, but I do not lament his going to Detroit. The Bucs got the pick they really needed in the first round... the one that will make the most difference in the long run. The Bucs would have had to give up Adams, Sears and Piscitelli to take Johnson, and I don't think anyone can argue that the trade would have been worth it to Tampa Bay.

Roger Goodell is unamused by Adams's pink tie.