Second round — No. 52 overall
Why?: The Bucs met with Caldwell last week and I'm certain they were impressed. Unlike players like Cal's DeSean Jackson, Caldwell has height (6-foot) and speed (he can get into the low 4.3s and did so consistently at the scouting combine and his pro day). When I go after a player in the second round — especially at a position of need — I'm looking for a player that can give me a first-round value. I think Caldwell has that ability.
First, Scout.com analyst Tom Marino — who has spent 35 years as a pro scout — considers Caldwell the receiver that projects best five years down the road. Marino said he regained the speed lost from his knee surgery. He works well underneath and after the catch. He has the speed to be a straight-line deep threat and is considered an above-average blocker. Many scouts were impressed with his work at the Senior Bowl, where he scored the game-winning touchdown on a reverse.
Second, look beyond the scouting report and you'll find a player that was productive in college. Take away his injury shortened 2005 and Caldwell had 43 receptions in 2004, 57 receptions in 2006 and 56 catches in 2007. Last year he missed close to three games with injuries. It isn't all about speed. It's about whether you can catch the football with speed and Caldwell can do that.
I look at my mock draft like this. I've chosen to go with another position in the first round, one where the ceiling for top-level, first-round talent is higher than at wide receiver, plus it bolsters a team need. But I believe that Caldwell has first-round talent. To me, it's smart to spend my first-rounder on a player that has certain first-round value and my second-round pick on a player that has second-round value, but by all indications first-round talent. Caldwell has enough speed and ability to help the Bucs now, and eventually take the place of veteran Joey Galloway as their deep threat. Most scouts compare Caldwell to Pittsburgh's Hines Ward. If Caldwell's career tracked like Ward's, no one would complain.
Alternate theory: If you look at second-round mock drafts, you're going to find a lot of differing opinions. Many have the Bucs taking offense in the first round, so they gravitate toward defense in the second. Selections I've seen include Notre Dame DT Trevor Laws, Penn State CB Justin King and Auburn DT Pat Sims. All would be solid selections if the Bucs chose offense in the first round. There's a chance that two of the draft's top six corners — Arizona's Antoine Cason and Virginia Tech's Brandon Flowers — could drop into the second round, too. Purdue DE Cliff Avril could be there, too, which would give the Bucs a chance to address a pass rush that needs help (32 sacks last year).
There's also speculation that the Bucs are interested in taking a QB here. They've held private workouts with Louisville's Brian Brohm, Michigan's Chad Henne and San Diego's Josh Johnson. I think that's a non-starter. They've had none of them at their team facility for visits and with five QBs on the roster, there's little need to select one. Additionally, I don't believe this class is that strong in the mid-rounds.
The Bucs also seek to take out some insurance on Carnell Williams, if he's unable to rehab his injured knee. Two players they could invest in are Texas' Jamaal Charles and Tulane's Matt Forte. Charles visited the Bucs two weeks ago and is considered a solid back that fits best as a tandem back. Forte, however, is an intriguing prospect that could be the most complete back in the draft that you haven't heard anything about. The Bucs have not visited with him, but I have to believe he's on their hot list entering the draft.
Did you miss his previous selections? Access the rounds 3, 4 and 5 right here:
And don't forget to stop by on Friday for his first-round selection
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.