Buccaneers Pro Day Rumblings: March 24

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are jetting cross-country to evaluate talent for the NFL Draft. Each Monday Bucsblitz.com will file its "Pro Day rumblings," a collection of Bucs-related news regarding pro days. Today's article includes information on Notre Dame's John Carlson, Florida's Derrick Harvey, Louisville's Brian Brohm and Georgia's Thomas Brown.

Most Buccaneers fans know the respect Jon Gruden had for Notre Dame. So he likely took notice of Irish tight end John Carlson last week.

It's unclear if Gruden was there, but 31 scouts from 23 teams were there, and Carlson finally flashed the talent that most expected him to flash at the Scouting Combine.

He improved his 40 time by more than a tenth of a second, shaving it down to 4.69.

Carlson had food poisoning and dropped 17 pounds before the Senior Bowl, according to reports, and he still felt the affects at the Combine.

Expect Carlson's stock to receive a bump. And he might be on Tampa Bay's radar in the second round, given that starter Alex Smith is in the final year of his contract. Remember — Carlson's 100 career catches is second in Notre Dame history.

KIFFIN CHECKS OUT HARVEY: Florida defensive end Derrick Harvey was the star of last week's Florida Pro Day. Heck, even Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin showed up to kick the tires a little.

"He's basically the guy I was looking at," Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin said. "If you watched the Super Bowl, you can't have enough pass rushers, OK. The Giants kept rolling them in there. You can never have enough rush ends and cover corners.

"(Harvey) had a nice workout today, he really did. He's a nice young man and he works very hard. I can tell he's stayed in shape (since the Combine). He's in good shape."

Unfortunately for Kiff, Harvey had a great workout and likely won't last past the No. 15 pick. But it never hurts to look.

BROWN-OUT: For those who believe the Bucs will still be in the market for a running back come draft day, consider taking a look at Georgia's Thomas Brown, who is ranked No. 17 among running backs at Scout.com and could be had late in the draft.

Brown is another back in the mold of Warrick Dunn (5-foot-8, 198 pounds) — quick, shifty and deceptively tough. You might say, ‘Well, the Bucs already have Dunn,' and I would agree with you. Except Dunn is only under contract for two years.

Plus, Brown would give any team value in the kick return game. He returned a kickoff 99 yards last year.

He told Scout.com's Ed Thompson that the Buccaneers spoke to him at the East-West Shrine Game, but doesn't have a clear indication of who might draft him.

PRESSLEY'S DAY: North Carolina State defensive tackle DeMario Pressley — a player that Bucsblitz.com has included in each of its first two mock drafts — ran a 5.00 at his Pro Day last week.

Pressley didn't need to run again after competing well at the Combine last month. At 6-foot-3, 300 pounds, most scouts aren't concerned about whether he can sprint 40 yards. It's what he can do in 5-yard bursts that will determine where he's drafted. Most scouts agree he has good quickness.

There is, of course, a Wolfpack connection on the Bucs. Kiffin was once the head coach at N.C. State.

It's not clear if the Bucs were in attendance in Raleigh.

Also, keep an eye on WR Darrell Blackman (5-foot-11, 210 pounds), who can be a valuable kickoff and punt returner in this draft. Two different teams worked out Blackman in that regard after he ran 4.42 and 4.50 (into the wind) in the 40-yard dash.

BROHM WATCH Once considered the top quarterback in this draft, there's a chance Louisville's Brian Brohm will slip into the third round. That's good news for the Bucs, who intend to either meet with or hold a private workout with the quarterback. Brohm confirmed that to Scout.com's Chris Steuber last week. Jon Gruden will give this guy a good look, because that's what he does with quarterbacks. But ultimately I don't' believe the Bucs will draft him.

The Bucs have already held one private meeting with a quarterback, San Diego's Josh Johnson. Bucs QBs coach Greg Olson ran that meeting.

NOTABLE: Central Florida RB Kevin Smith ran a 4.47 and 4.49 at his Pro Day last week, and reports say he caught the ball well for scouts. Most mock drafts have him going in the second round now, which might keep him out of Tampa Bay's wheelhouse. … Vanderbilt WR Earl Bennett (5-11 ¾, 206 pounds) had a great day catching the football at his Pro Day, taking 22 passes from former Commodore QB Jay Cutler and not dropping a single one. … Tennessee State CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie offered to run the 40 at his Pro Day but was told it was not necessary. I guess his 4.33 at the Combine was more than enough. Tampa Bay has reportedly shown an interest, and there is now debate was to whether Antonio Cromartie's cousin might even last to No. 20. … Florida offensive lineman Carlton Medder said last week that he's spoken to the Bucs during the offseason, along with five other teams. He's not a player likely to be selected in the draft, but watch him once teams begin signing free agents. At 6-foot-5, 319 points, he has elite size. But scouts worry about his quickness and he's working with Tom Shaw in Orlando to improve that aspect of his game.


Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for BucsBlitz.com and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. An award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers Association, he appears frequently on Scot Brantley Show from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WHBO 1470-AM in Tampa-Clearwater.


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