Bucsblitz.com Combine Blog

Bucsblitz.com is in Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine. Get a free agent update on two players the Bucs might be interested in. Also, check in with player visits and what Bears coach Lovie Smith had to say about LB Lance Briggs, who will likely be a free agent next week.

Free agent update, 4:33 p.m.

There is no new news to update you on Greg White, Rod Coleman or Alge Crumpler. I contacted the agents for all three players, but have thus far not received a call back.

If you haven't already heard the Falcons finally released both Coleman and Crumpler on Tuesday, making them available for contract discussion. Coleman's agent, Pat Dye Jr., told the Tampa Tribune that he expects to talk to the Bucs soon about the defensive tackle. There's no official word on Crumpler.

As for White, the Tribune also reported via White's agent that the Bucs are offering White only what they need to, as White is an exclusive rights free agent. White's representative would like a longer deal for a player that led the Bucs in sacks last year.

Frankly, I would like to see White get a longer deal too. I think he earned it last year and by only signing him to what the Bucs have to in order to keep him could create some ill will between player and team, and the Bucs can't afford that.

That's a full lid, 3:43 p.m.

Gil Brandt just came in and told us that the player availability for Thursday appears to be over. We missed at least four offensive linemen today, including USC's Sam Baker and Boston College's Gosder Cherilus.

It's going to be a busy day on Friday, as the quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers will be available. Obviously, wide receivers are of great importance to the Bucs in this draft.

Later tonight we'll have capsules on the four players we've confirmed that the Bucs have met with, and we'll keep adding to those capsules as we confirm player meetings the next three days.

Davis a bonus baby?, 2:26 p.m.

Michigan State TE Kellen Davis met with the Bucs on Wednesday night, including tight ends coach Bob Casullo.

But what you might not know about Davis is that he also played defense last season for the Spartans, and even registered a sack or two. He said the first one was, well, a new experience.

"I sacked the quarterback, and I got up and I was like, ‘Well, what do I do now?'" Davis said. "It's not like scoring a touchdown."

Davis makes two confirmed meetings with tight ends at the Combine. Frankly, given the need at the position, they should be speaking to more of them.

Player meeting update, 1:38 p.m.

We now have our third Buccaneers prospect meeting confirmed. Connecticut offensive lineman Donald Thomas — another player I featured in my "Combine Crib Sheet — Offense" article — met with the Bucs on Wednesday night.

"It went well," Thomas said. "I think they liked who I was as a person."

Remember that character is of big importance to the Buccaneers.

Also, you should know that Thomas didn't play college football — or any football for that matter — until his sophomore year in 2004. He's a fit for the type of offensive lineman that I think the Bucs could consider drafting — a player that can be had late in the draft and be brought along as a project-type of player. He's considered a fourth- or fifth-round prospect right now.

So we've confirmed so far that the Bucs have talked to Notre Dame C John Sullivan, Maryland TE Alex Haynos and Thomas. Confirmations are important because the Bucs, like every NFL team, are only allowed to have 60 scheduled meetings with prospects. So, to a degree, they have to pick and choose which players they meet with for 15 minutes. They can always stake out a player's hotel room and gamble that he'll show up.

Finley a Titan? Well…, 1:24 p.m.

Texas tight end Jermichael Finley hasn't met with the Tennessee Titans yet. But you can expect one. He has a lobbyist — Titans quarterback and former teammate Vince Young.

"Vince said, ‘I'm getting you a meeting,'" Finley said. "I've got some pull with the Titans."

Unfortunately, neither Finley nor Martellus Wiley of Texas A&M have met with the Bucs thus far.

Bucs meet with Maryland TE, 12:53 p.m.

Maryland TE Alex Haynos just confirmed to Bucsblitz.com that he met with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last night.

He's 6-foot-7 ½ and 259 pounds and said he needs to work on running after the catch once he gets to the NFL.

But he has a work ethic. He walked on at Maryland and he said the coaches yell at him at times to "go home," either to motivate him or, well, get him to leave.

Now, he's considered just a sixth- or seventh-round value right now. But with his blocking ability, the Bucs might be interested in him late in the draft.

Don't call him ‘weak,' 12:43 p.m.

Pittsburgh TE Darrell Strong said he's had teammates tease him before by calling him "weak," and he admits that he'll have to work on his blocking skills once he gets to the NFL.

But the former quarterback is certainly confident in himself. He looks at San Diego's Antonio Gates as his role model and tries to model his game after the Chargers star.

As for the Bucs, well, he hasn't spoken to a member of the team yet.

"But I'm hoping to," Strong said, and he didn't elaborate as to why, except to say, ‘I have to appeal to all 32 teams right now."

Drawing a crowd, 12:23 p.m.

I was about 20 feet away from Michigan offensive tackle Chris Long for about 10 minutes today and he drew a crowd, easily the biggest in the media room so far today. I'd estimate about 30-40 reporters.

Long, to some, is a Top 5 pick, which pretty much puts him out of the Bucs' radar.

Seeking Alge, 11:28 a.m.

I've sent an e-mail to Alge Crumpler's agent, James D. Williams, to see if there's any movement on possible negotiations between the Bucs and Crumpler.

As I mentioned earlier, he and Coleman are now officially free agents and both players have been linked to the Bucs in recent news reports.

So far, the only Bucs coach I've seen in the Indianapolis Convention Center is offensive line coach Bill Muir. As of now, the Bucs brass is making itself relatively scarce.

Collins grew up, 11:19 a.m.

Kansas tackle Anthony Collins came in at 6-foot-5, 317 pounds today and said he was happy about that.

If you don't think the college programs are packing on the weight on these guys consider this. Collins was recruited by several schools as a 6-foot-4, 220-pound defensive end.

Sounds like Kansas has one heck of a meal program.

Lovie on Briggs, 10:29 a.m.

Many of you readers have, in the past, touted Lance Briggs, Chicago's All-Pro linebacker, as a potential Buc through free agency. Well, Briggs is a free agent now and his head coach, Lovie Smith didn't say much when the question came up.

"I would love to have him back," Smith said. "No question. But it is what it is."

So there's no way to know what will happen when Briggs hits the open market. But Bearreport.com's John Crist just told me there is "no way" that Briggs will return to the Bears in 2008 unless they "literally" pay him the most money.

But are the Bucs interested? That's the big question. Stay tuned.

Keeping up with White, Coleman, 10:06 a.m.

Along with the usual combine stuff, I'll be attempting to get in touch with the agents for Greg White and Rod Coleman, a pair of players you're likely interested in.

The Tampa Tribune reported that the Bucs may be playing hardball with White, who is an exclusive rights free agent. White's agent, Jack Bechta, told the Tribune that his client received only a $310,000 offer, about what the Bucs are required to spend on a second-year player. Bechta doesn't seem amused, as White — who has certainly paid his dues — is looking for a longer, more lucrative deal. Given how White rushed the passer last year, is this the time to be ticking off a player you should try keeping happy?

Meanwhile, Pat Dye represents Coleman, who is now a free agent after Tuesday's official release. Several media outlets have reported that Coleman is interested in the Bucs, and Coleman himself expressed that interest in a Sirius radio interview earlier this week. So I'm trying to track that down as well.

I'll get you updates as they develop.

The Bucs are in town, 10:04 a.m.

I flew up to Indianapolis with Bucs assistant coaches Richard Bisaccia, Bill Muir and George Yarno. They appeared to be in good spirits, or as good as you can be when you're leaving sunny Florida and heading for cold Indianpolis.

I also spent last night taking in the Cavs-Pacers game at Conseco Fieldhouse. The facility is great, but the losing ways of the Pacers are wearing on the populace. The place was half full for LeBron James.

We're underway, 10:03 a.m.

The first player of the Combine just spoke — offensive lineman Brandon Albert. Former Bucs assistant and current Bears coach Lovie Smith is now at the podium.


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