DE Has Tampa-2 Visits Lined Up

A potential first-round defensive end has visits set up with six NFL teams, including two that run the Tampa-2 defensive scheme. See his visits agenda and how he might fit in with some of those teams. has confirmed that Texans defensive end Tim Crowder will be visiting the Falcons, Buccaneers, Colts, Rams, Jets and Patriots during the first half of April.

Crowder will start his tour of cities in Atlanta on April 3rd and will head to Tampa Bay for a one-day stop to meet with Jon Gruden and the Buccaneers.

The Buccaneers have plenty of question marks at defensive end, so their interest in a top player like Crowder comes as no surprise. Simeon Rice, who will hit the Bucs' cap for more than $10 million this year if he returns, will be a free agent after the 2007 season. Tampa Bay added aging veteran Kevin Carter through free agency after losing DeWayne White to the Lions, so the need for a young stud who could step in no later than next year is essential.

Crowder puts pressure on opposing quarterbacks (Getty Images)
Crowder then heads to Indianapolis during the week of the 9th, making him the second defensive end that the team is checking out with a pre-draft visit. As reported earlier this week, Ikaika Alama-Francis is visiting with the Colts on Sunday. Indy's interest in top defensive end help is a bit surprising considering they have Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis as starters, but they lack serious depth behind them.

From Indy, Crowder will go to St. Louis and then to New York the next day to visit with the Jets. New York has lacked a formidable pass-rusher since they lost John Abraham prior to last season. Crowder would undoubtedly help, posting 8.5 sacks and 6 QB hurries last season.

The 6-foot-4, 271-pound Longhorns lineman will wrap up his early-April rounds with a stop in New England no later than the early part of the week of April 16th. NFL Expert Tom Marino currently has Crowder ranked as the No. 30 overall player in this year's draft class and projects him to be a first or at worst a second-round selection. Click here to view his player profile page. And be sure to check back this weekend for our exclusive interview with Tim Crowder.

A member of the Professional Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's NFL and college football player interviews and features have been published across the network and syndicated through's NFL team pages.

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