28 April 2008

Tampa Bay Draft Evaluation

Before I begin, hearty congratulations are in order for the Orlando Magic after they defeated the Toronto Raptors in 4 of 5 games to move on to the second round in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

My analysis of the Bucs' draft picks:
Overall, I think the Bucs did a reasonably good job with this year's draft. I was a little bit underwhelmed after the first two rounds, but they pulled it through with their second-day selections. Almost all of these guys should make the team and be solid contributors.

First Round (20th overall)
Aqib Talib, CB, Kansas
Talib certainly has the physical tools to be successful; the questions with him are about his mental makeup and character. This clip of Talib being burned by Kansas State's Jordy Nelson (a second-round draft pick of the Green Bay Packers) is the most knowledge of either player that most fans have. But Talib, in Monte Kiffin's cover-2 scheme, should be a solid CB2 or nickelback for years to come.

Second Round (58th overall)
Dexter Jackson, WR, Appalachian St.
When I saw that the Bucs had drafted the 5'9" speedster, my reaction wasn't positive: "we've drafted a smurf," I wrote on one internet message board. Analysts from ESPN and other sources were quick to counter that Jackson could be a good slot receiver for Tampa... I'm unconvinced. Little bitty guys from small schools, even little bitty guys who run really fast, tend to get smushed when they get to the NFL.

Third Round (83rd overall)
Jeremy Zuttah, OG, Rutgers
Zuttah should be a solid OL, and possibly decent starter, for the next decade or so. He's a big guy (6'3", 303) who might eventually develop into a RT; for now, he's a G/C, and a pretty good one. Great pick.

Fourth Round (115th overall)
Dre Moore, DT, Maryland
Moore is a guy who has the size and athletic ability to be something really special, if he can only get his head together. He wasn't consistent in college (which is why he fell to the fourth round), but showed the stereotypical "flashes of brilliance" throughout his career.

Fifth Round (160th overall)
Josh Johnson, QB, San Diego
Johnson isn't going to play this year, or next; he will be, at best, a 3rd QB for the next two or three years. Why draft him? He's a QB with decent accuracy, and a good arm, who runs in the mid-4.5's, and had 42 touchdowns to 1 interception last year. Great potential - could be a starter down the road - but very, very raw.

Sixth Round (175th overall)
Geno Hayes, OLB, FSU
He's undersized, but pretty quick, and he was quite productive last year. Should be a good special teams player.

Seventh Round (238th overall)
Cory Boyd, RB, South Carolina
Boyd is a decent back, but nothing special; tough guy. Has a shot to make the team, but won't be a major contributor in the near future.

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