Yardbarker Horiz

2012 NFL Draft Countdown

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Value at #20: Cornerback

There are reasons why the Buccaneers do not have to take a defensive end in the first round of the 2011 draft, and there are reasons for the Buccaneers to consider selecting a running back.

And there is another interesting position to consider for the first round:  Cornerback.  Not just because they can, but because there is a player there which matches the profile of recent Tampa Bay defensive back signees.

In the 2011 draft, there are two cornerbacks who are generally considered to be Top 10 talents:  Patrick Peterson (6'0", 219lbs) from LSU and Prince Amukamara (6'0", 206lbs) from Nebraska.  The Buccaneers would have to trade up to get a shot at either of these players.  While recently there has been some rumblings about trade rumors with the 49ers, most likely the Buccaneers will not trade up and let the draft come to them.

The first two drafts by GM Mark Dominik have each included a defensive back prospect.  In the Class of 2009, cornerback EJ Biggers (6'0", 180lbs) was selected in the 7th round.  The Class of 2010 includes Myron Lewis (6'2", 203 lbs) , a 3rd round pick.  In addition, Tampa Bay added free agent safety Sean Jones (6'1", 220 lbs) formerly of the Philadelphia Eagles.  Finally, one of the practice squad players gathered up after the training camp last year who is now on the roster is Vince Anderson (6'2", 205lbs) who was plucked from the New York Giants.  In fact, there are two more 6-foot-plus defensive backs on the current 2011 offseason roster in Dominique Harris (6'2", 213lbs) and DJ Johnson (6'1", 191lbs).  Clearly the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are looking for long and lean defensive backs since the 2009 front office and coaching staff changes.

Which brings us back to the 2011 draft.  The player regarded by some ranking services as the 3rd best cornerback in this years draft is Jimmy Smith (6'2", 211lbs) from the University of Colorado.  Smith appears to fit the mold of the tall, lean defensive back the Buccaneers have been hoarding for the past couple seasons.  He is also a fifth year senior which could mean he is well seasoned for the NFL game. This would also put a high-caliber talent on the field across from Aqib Talib, giving the Buccaneers the physical edge presence making the Tampa-2 even more devastating for opposing quarterbacks.

The Buccaneers have done well the past two seasons getting a good balance of talent spread across the roster.  On draft day, they may find they have a chance to get another solid defensive back, and you can never have enough top-flight corners in the NFL.

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