Matthew Postins: Let's start with a difference of opinion at wide receiver. For most of the offseason you and I have had Cal's DeSean Jackson as the Bucs' first-round pick. But the Sporting News is projecting Michigan State' Devin Thomas as the Bucs' first-round pick. So who' the better fit?
Chris Steuber: It's an interesting question. I've projected DeSean Jackson most of the offseason as the Bucs selection, but in my current mock draft I have the Eagles selecting Jackson and leaving the Bucs with Devin Thomas. I think Tampa could go either way. Jackson is a smaller receiver with great speed and dynamic special teams ability, while Thomas is a bigger receiver with great speed, but only started one year at Michigan State. Thomas also has experience as return specialist and offers those qualities as well, but I think he will primarily be used on offense. I think the best fit for the Bucs is Jackson, because of what he offers overall, but if he's not available, Thomas is a very good second option.
Matthew Postins: Staying with SN for a moment, they have the Bucs taking Joe Flacco of Delaware in the second round. Now, the Bucs have six quarterbacks. Can they really afford a seventh? Plus, doesn't Flacco strike you as the absolute wrong choice for Jon Gruden's offense?
|Delaware QB Joe Flacco has been linked to the Buccaneers as a second-round pick in at least one mock draft. (Pamela Kay Schmalenberger/AP Photos)|
Matthew Postins: Finally, in the third round, the Sporting News puts the Bucs taking CB DeJuan Tribble. Now, cornerback is a need in this draft, that's for sure. But is Tribble the right guy? I heard he didn't have a good combine. If that hurts his stock, is he worth this pick?
Chris Steuber: Tribble has great ball skills, but his speed and instincts are questionable. He's a bit of a gambler and takes too many chances in the secondary. Those kinds of qualities could work in Tampa's defense, but I think a better option for the Bucs, as I just mentioned, is PSU's Justin King.
Matthew Postins: OK, here's an odd one. NFLdraftscout.com's Chad Reuter has the Buccaneers taking Vanderbilt tackle Chris Williams in the first round. Now, I like the guy, don't get me wrong. But the Bucs appear set at offensive line going into 2008. What would be the logic in taking Williams at a left tackle position that is already crowded by Donald Penn and Luke Petitgout?
Chris Steuber: Well, I don't know if you can say that the OT position with the Bucs is crowded by Penn and Petitgout. Chris Williams will be a much better player than both of those guys when he's in the NFL. The problem with this pick is that Williams will be off the board prior to the 20th pick. The Broncos, Bears and Lions will strongly consider Williams with their first round selections. If Williams is on the board at No. 19, the Eagles will jump all over him. I think the Bucs could draft an OT in the first round, but at this point I think WR and CB are their top priorities.
Matthew Postins: Reuter went for secondary help in the second round by selecting Indiana's Tracy Porter. To me, there are several different guys that could go here. Is Porter the right fit for the Cover 2 and is he a good value here?
|Indiana CB Tracy Porter has been turning heads this offseason as a potential second-round pick at cornerback. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)|
Matthew Postins: As big a need as wide receiver is in this draft, Reuter doesn't have the Bucs selecting one until the third round, and they take Kansas State's Jordy Nelson? First, break down Nelson. Second, explain why the Bucs might wait that long to take a wide receiver.
Chris Steuber: Personally, I don't think the Bucs will wait that long to draft a WR. It's a known fact that the Bucs have to get a WR, and I don't see why they would wait that long to address one of their most glaring needs. Jordy Nelson is a very good receiver, and I'm sure the Bucs would have interest in him. He's a big, physical receiver who has great hands and good speed. He runs solid routes and is a high effort player. He's not afraid of contact and will make tough catches over the middle. He has the ability to stretch the field and make big plays.
Matthew Postins: More quarterbacks. Walterfootball.com, a site I've never heard of, has the Bucs taking Michigan's Chad Henne in the second round of the draft. Do you think Henne is a good fit for Tampa Bay's offense, and do you think he might slide into the second day?
Chris Steuber: Henne won't slide into the second day; he will be a second round pick. He's an option for the Bucs, and I think he would be a nice fit. Henne is a great leader and a very intelligent QB. He displayed great velocity and accuracy this offseason and proved that he should be mentioned among the top QBs in this class. But how much of a priority is QB? I wouldn't be surprised to see the Bucs draft a QB, but I would be shocked to see them draft one in the first two rounds.
Matthew Postins: One thing I do like about this guy at Walterfootball.com is he's taking his mock draft into the fifth round. In the fourth round he selected WR Steve Johnson out of Kentucky for the Bucs. I'm ashamed to say I don't know much about the guy, so enlighten me.
Chris Steuber: First of all, I'm not a huge fan of doing a five round-mock draft, because at that point you're just throwing darts at a draft board. But if the Bucs drafted Steve Johnson, they're getting a very good player who proved he could be a lead receiver in a tough conference. Johnson played extremely well this season, especially with Keenan Burton being hampered by injuries. Johnson has good size and is a vertical threat that has a knack for the acrobatic. He tends to lose focus on intermediate routes and drops easy passes. He's a former JUCO transfer who's still developing and has a chance to be a quality player at the next level.
Matthew Postins: Finally, Walterfootball.com's fifth-round pick for the Bucs — and incidentally their final pick of the whole draft — is Virginia Tech DT Carlton Powell. I agree the Bucs need a tackle, but why wait this long to get this guy? Any ideas?
Chris Steuber: It's hard to say what his thinking was on this, but it all depends on what they do in the earlier rounds. If the Bucs draft a WR in the first and a CB in the second, I would have to think DT is the next position to address in the third round. A few DTs they could target in the third round are: Ahtyba Rubin, Andre Fluellen and DeMario Pressley. Carlton Powell would be a nice option in the fourth round.
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.
A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999.