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2012 NFL Draft Countdown

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

2012 Buccaneer Draft Analysis: Core Offense

We continue our draft breakdown by looking next at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers young core on offense.  The "young core" is the group of players with five or fewer years of experience -- that is, the players who are close to their second contract.  These are the players who will be counted on to carry the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the playoffs for the next four to six years.

The offensive group below is composed of all players with 5 or fewer years of NFL experience from the Buccaneers current roster (as of 1/30/2012).  In addition, I have added the practice squad players who have already been offered contracts for next season.

2012 Young Core Offense

QB: Johnson, Josh (4th year); Freeman, Josh (3); Carpenter, Rudy (3); Ratliff, Jeff (3)
RB: Lumpkin, Kregg (3); Blount, LeGarrette (2); Madu, Mossis(0)
FB: Lorig, Erik (2)
WR: Spurlock, Micheal (4); Stroughter, Sammie (3); Williams, Mike (2); Parker, Preston (2); Benn, Arrelious (2); Briscoe, Dezmon (1); Gant, Ed (1); Webber, Raymond (0, IR)
TE: Stocker, Luke (0); Pianalto, Zack (0); Franklin, Colin (0)
T: Lee, James (4); Dotson, Demar (3); Hardman, Derek (2); Ingersoll, Mike (0)
G: Zuttah, Jeremy (4); Larsen, Ted (2); Riley, Chris (0)

There is no heir apparent at Center on this chart, and clearly that's going to become important in the next couple years. Current starting center Jeff Faine is about to start his 10th NFL season in the middle of the trenches: can he keep going? At this point you have to prepare for the day he finishes.  Recently, Jeremy Zuttah has been filling the role.  Ted Larson also played center in college.  So while there may not be a designated Center in the young core, there are players available.

There are currently no fifth year players on this chart, which implies there are no significant offensive needs going into the 2012 draft.  That does not imply that the Buccaneers should not draft offensive players, just that there is no impending hole in the roster which needs a body.

If there was an area to pick, the young offensive line group has only 2 of 7 players who were drafted coming out of college.  This could be the year to add some draft-caliber talent to begin the development of capable replacements.  All the other offensive positions have at least one player who entered the NFL by draft pick, including fullback.

Will the new coach mean a change in direction for the mix in this group?  While the Shiano hiring is just days old, the Rutgers offensive depth chart shows a player distribution similar to the player distribution above, including the existence of a dedicated fullback position.  These young players will get every chance next year to solidify their place on the team.  

The result of this analysis is simple: I do not expect any specific positional targeting on the offensive side of the ball by the Buccaneers on draft weekend.

Next: The Young Core Defense


  1. We need a new pro bowl caliber left tackle. Penn is too slow and gets beat by fast DE's. Move him to LG because he can pull and run sideways to block alot easier than shuffling backwards. He's talented and yes has shown well at LT, but he would be a load at LG.

    Trueblood is an underachiever. Get someone that will really challenge his job and he would produce even better than he thinks he can now.

    Give Joseph another raise. But give him some competition behind him that pushes him to do better. Push Zuttah to challenge Faine.

    Everyone talks how good the O-line does, but actually they are not meshing. Keep the core but challenge them big time with the changes at LT and LG.

    Get the entire team some weighted vests to wear in practice, so in the games they fly around with speed and ease. Time to get tough!

  2. IF ONLY the Bucs would spend some money:

    Go after NO free agent LG Carl Nicks.

    1st round - UA RB Trent Richardson

    2nd round - NE MLB Lavonte David is perect fit
    (Coach's favorite Rutgers WR Mohamed Sanu?)

    3rd round - GA C Ben Jones; a steal if available
    (GT WR Nick Toon)(OK LB Travis Lewis)

    Tampa should be able to run the ball again. Plus, finally have a threat of a vertical passing game. Plus, have better LB play unless they got Sanu and Jones in which case they should do well enough on offense to make up for LB lapses.

    Given that there likely will again not be major free agent money spent in Tampa:

    1st round, IA OT Reilly Reiff - start him at LG; move him to RG if Trueblood falters; switch him with Penn at LT depending upon down and distance and groom him to replace Penn some day.

    2nd round - Rutgers WR Mohamed Sanu
    (LSU WR Reuben Randall)

    3rd round - GA C Ben Jones; a steal if available
    (GT WR Nick Toon)(OK LB Travis Lewis)
    (WA RB Chris Polk)

    On the cheap, the offense gets better; a lot better if they get Jones or Polk, or they get some LB help.