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2012 NFL Draft Countdown

Sunday, April 17, 2011

First Mock 7 Round Buccaneer Draft

Using the CBSSports.com prospects rankings (by NFLDraftScout.com), I took a shot at what a seven round draft may look like.  The assumption made is prior picks will result in all players ranked above the Tampa Bay overall pick number are no longer on the board.  That is, for Pick #20, assume all players rated 1 to 19 are already picked.  This draft is based on the player rankings as of April 17th, 2011.

Round 1 (Overall #20)
Based on the assumptions, the Buccaneers would arrive here with six defensive ends already off the board. Adrian Clayborn, the Buccaneers darling across most mock drafts, is still on the board.  But there are others worth looking at -- Mike Pouncey (6'5", 303lbs, University of Florida), the #1 offensive guard in the draft, is still available.  As is Gabe Carimi (6'7", 214lbs, University of Wisconsin), the #1 left (not overall) offensive tackle the the 2011 NFL draft.  As previously discussed, Jimmy Smith (cornerback) and Mike LeShoure (running back) are on the board with compelling reasons to select them.  Right tackle Nate Solder (6'8", 319lbs, University of Colorado) is also on the board.  And although quarterbacks Jack Locker (Washington) and Christian Ponder (Florida State) are available, it's probably the only position the Buccaneers would strictly avoid this early in the draft.
The Pick:  Mike Pouncy, OG, University of Florida
The Reason:  Best Player Available.  Also, if last year didn't show you how important offensive line depth is, you were just not paying attention.

Round 2 (Overall #51)
Only three more defensive ends have come off the board since the last pick so value there is improving, but still we're one and a half rounds in and nine defensive ends are gone.  Christian Ballard (6'4", 283lbs, University of Iowa) is the highest rated defensive end available.  There are several offensive linemen at the top of the board as far as value, but having taken one in the first round the Buccaneers would probably look elsewhere.  One compelling possibility is Davon House (6'1", 200lbs, New Mexico State University), a cornerback who matches the tall, lanky frame the Buccaneers have looked for recently.  Also, speedster DeMarco Murray (6'0", 213lbs, University of Oklahoma), who ran a sub-4.4 forty yard dash at the combine, is still on the board.  Interestingly enough, not one defensive safety would have been taken by this point -- and none of them rate high enough to make them of value with this pick, making safety by far the weakest position in the 2011 NFL Draft.
The Pick:  Christian Ballard, DE, University of Iowa
The Reason:  The value is there, plus Ballard brings good speed to the position and can play both inside and out on the defensive line.

Round 3 (Overall #84)
The value pick here swings to linebacker, with the top two being Chris Carter (6'1", 248lbs, Fresno State) at outside linebacker and Greg Jones (6'0", 242, Michigan State).  There is value at wide receiver, but, like quarterback, the Buccaneers added plenty of youth and talent there in the Class of 2009 and Class of 2010, so here it would be a pass.
The Pick:  Chris Carter, OLB, Fresno State
The Reason:  Great value, and Carter is bigger and faster than Jones based on combine results.

Round 4 (Overall #116)
Safety Robert Sands (6'4", 217lbs, West Virginia) is the #4 rated safety and an interesting consideration considering the flux Tampa Bay has experienced at the position the past two years.  Curtis Marsh (6'1", 197lbs, Utah State) fits the mold at corner.  But I think the Buccaneers will duplicate positional picks again in this draft.
The Pick:  Pierre Allen, DE, University of Nebraska
The Reason:  Allen, at 6'4" and 273lbs, plays on the left (opposite side from Ballard), giving the Buccaneers two young bookends.

Round 5 (Overall #151)
Looking back at the projected needs for the 2011 draft, it would be great to find a tight end or a defensive back as a value pick at this point in the draft.  GM Mark Dominik and crew have proven again and again they can get good value from later round picks.  Hopefully, this year brings more of the same. There is value at this position in the offensive backfield and wide receiver positions (both which the Buccaneers can calmly pass on).  One interesting possibility is Zach Hurd (6'7", 316lbs, University of Connecticut), who fits the mold but would overload the youth on the offensive line.
The Pick:  Deunta Williams, FS, University of North Carolina 
The Reason:  Williams (6'2", 205lbs) is as fast as players ranked higher, but physically smaller.  Also, Sean Jones can only be awesome for so much longer.

Round 6 (Overall #187)
At this point, we're looking for players who can make a difference on fourth down and find the field a year or so down the line.
The Pick:  Mike Mohamed, ILB, California
The Reason:  At 6'3" and 239lbs, Mohamed has good size and showed good speed (sub 4.6 at the combine), and linebackers can contribute on special teams.

Round 7 (Overall #222)
The Pick:  Markus White, DE, Florida State
The Reason:  White is 6'4" and 266lbs, both of which are reasonable for an NFL defensive end.

Round 7 (Overall #238)
The Pick:  Lee Smith, TE, Marshall
The Reason: Tampa Bay is very, very old at tight end and Smith (6'6", 266lbs) would get a couple years to develop.

I picked heavy on defense, particularly up front.  Nothing wrong with a draft like that! 

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