Senior Bowl week is here, which marks the start of draft season. Yes, I know the East-West Shrine Game was last week, but the Senior Bowl typically produces higher draft picks for more recognizable names. It's an important part of the process that could lead to the Buccaneers drafting a few players participating.
Even though the Buccaneers didn't find the Senior Bowl important enough to coach in does not mean this week is not important. This will be the final time these players will have the opportunity to impress NFL scouts, coaches, and executives on the field in a practice and game situations wearing their full pads. Seeing a players practice habits may be the difference between drafting or passing on said player.
A few of potential Bucs targets are sitting out this week:
-Texas A&M right tackle Cedric Ogbuehi will miss this week due to a torn ACL he suffered in his bowl game. While it may be unfortunate for Ogbuehi, it might be beneficial to the Bucs, who need a right tackle, might be in position to draft Ogbuehi (a 1st round talent) at the top of the 3rd round if he falls due to injury. Ogbuehi tried to shift to left tackle this season, but after a shaky start, he moved back to his natural position at right tackle and returned to form to close out 2014. With the Bucs needing a right tackle, Ogbuehi's slide might just be the Bucs gain.
-Another offensive lineman the Bucs could be targeting is Florida State's versatile lineman, Cameron Erving. He will miss Senior Bowl week to fully heal up for the off-season. Erving was the Seminoles solid starting left tackle, but shifted to center mid-season in 2014 to help solidify the Seminoles entire offensive line. He was stellar. If the Bucs intend on drafting Jameis Winston with the top pick, a pairing with Erving at the top of round 2 makes a lot of sense. I would leave Erving at center where he thrived and find a new spot for Evan Dietrich-Smith.
-While receiver is not one of the Bucs' top needs, finding some depth and speed at the position in the middle rounds of the NFL Draft is a distinct possibility. Florida State's Rashad Greene might be the type of receiver the Bucs are looking for. The Bucs need a complimentary receiver that can line up in the slot and run good routes, while also possessing enough speed to stretch a defense. Greene will be sitting out the Senior Bowl to heal up a sore knee, but will have many eyes on him through the draft process.
-I am of the firm position that the Bucs must draft a quarterback with the 1st overall pick. After Mariota and Winston, UCLA's Brett Hundley was slotted as the next quarterback in the 2015 NFL Draft. Hudley has declined the opportunity to prove himself at the Senior Bowl by declining his invitation. With many questions surrounding Hundley, declining an invitation to the Senior Bowl does not look good to NFL teams who have rewarded quarterbacks like E.J. Manuel and Geno Smith recently for attending the Senior Bowl.
Throughout the week, we will be posting stories on players participating this week that the Bucs could be targeting in the draft.
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