What If Claiborne And Richardson Are Gone?

April 4th, 2012

While Joe’s had fun zeroing in on all things Trent Richardson and Morris Claiborne, there’s a real possibility that both players will be off the board once rockstar general manager Mark Dominik is put on the clock with the fifth overall pick in the first round.

The Vikings and Browns, in slots No. 3 and No. 4, certainly are unpredictable.

So if the Bucs face this scenario, do they dare take beastly tackle Matt Kalil out of Southern Cal with their pick? Do they snag blue chip receiver Justin Blackmon after commiting to Vincent Jackson, which Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn to roles that seemingly suit them best? Might they stretch out to snag LB Luke Kuechly?

A case could be made for any of those guys, especially with the rookie salary cap from prevents team from having to shell out gobs of cash to unproven talent.

Blackmon adds more firepower and competition to the receiving corps. A good offensive coordinator could go wild with those kinds of options. Kalil would light a virtual bonfire under Donald Penn and Jeremy Trueblood, which could only help short term and long term. And Kuechly would at least address what the Bucs desperately need most right now — talent at linebacker.

If it reached that point, Joe suspects Dominik would be saying silent prayers that his phone rings with a good trade offer for the No. 5 pick.

66 Responses to “What If Claiborne And Richardson Are Gone?”

  1. Nate Says:

    TAKE KALIL starting RT for 10 years! Our o-line would b awesome!

  2. Mr. Patrick Says:

    If Kalil is still there at #5, Bucs will get some calls. Then the big decision comes, as Bucs will be in the trade “driver’s seat.”

  3. T in Orlando Says:

    I agree with Nate, wait as long as possible for a trade, if no one calls, then send the runner to the podium with 10 seconds left, with name Kalil on it. You don’t take lesser talent just because it better fits a need, THATs how you get into trouble.

  4. Bobby Says:

    It’s NOT going to happen but if it did we should take Kalil because he is absolutely the best value. We would move Penn to RT, not Kalil. It diminishes his value to use him at RT. He is a blindside LT blocker and that is the side the QB needs protected the most.

  5. Meh Says:

    Kalil is the best player in the draft. Of course you take him. If there was a good trade down option for him then MIN would have already made the trade.

    Sucks to be stuck with the best player in the entire draft. Sucks to have potentially the best line in football. Hahaha.

  6. Meh Says:

    And to everyone saying “it won’t happen” you don’t know that. What if MIN trades with MIA for #3 and takes Tannehill? With Tannehill gone, the Browns probably want an offensive weapon no matter what (Blackmon or Richardson). That would have both Claiborne and Kalil (and maybe Richardson too) dropping to us at #5.

  7. BigMacAttack Says:

    If that 3 & 4 scenario happens, and I hope it does, because at the very least the Rams should jump up 1 spot for Blackmon or Kalil. I would ask for their #2 and #4 picks for that trade. I think the Bucs could actually get more from another top 10 drafting team that wants Tannehill. That would be the ideal situation, trading 1’s, pick up a 2, and possibly next year’s 1 as well. I don’t see any way the Bucs don’t get a trade partner if Minnesota and Cleveland take Claiborne & Richardson. Someone should move up for Tannehill, Blackmon or Kalil and start a 15 minute bidding war for the pick. I would be elated though if the Bucs chose either Kalil or Blackmon at #5.

  8. BigMacAttack Says:

    Oops, make that 14 min and 50 seconds bid war.

    Isn’t it 15 minutes per pick or did they change it to 12 or 10???

  9. thegregwitul Says:

    In a way, if both guys are gone before the Bucs pick, the decision is even easier; you draft Kalil and move him to RT, fortifying the o-line for years or you trade down and grab an extra pick or two and draft Luke Kuechly.

    The extra pick(s) might be enough ammo to either trade back into the first if a CB slips or the team doesn’t want to miss out on a RB.

    The Bucs have several options, all of them make the team much better. The only mistake the team can make is drafting someone like Dontari Poe, who I think will bust in the NFL.

  10. Marques Says:

    I’m going out on a limb here.

    If I am the bucs I am going to trade out of the the top 10 say between 10-15 and draft Dont’a Hightower and make him my MLB. He is going to be a star in this league.

    Great size, great strenghth, loves football ran a 4.6. Very intelligent. Loves to bang and will start from day one.

    He’s a great leader, will stop the run, he’s a winner, he is only getting better. Nick Sabin knows defence. He has been taught by the best in college football.

    Great kid with lots of character.

    If you watch his 2011 tape. It speaks for itself.

    If you can get two more early picks in this draft. Say another 2nd and 4th round pick for moving down. I would do it in second.

    Get our corner, a running back and another lb in the later rounds.

    Just remember where you heard it first.

  11. NJBucsFan Says:

    If there are no trades that lead to this happening I saw call Miami and tell this this is your chance for a QB. Drop back to 8 and start looking at Kuechly or Kirpartrick. Use the extra picks on depth. This is an ideal situation.

  12. JS1506 Says:

    There wont any trades available.. I say draft Kalil without hesitation and wait for round 2 and 3 for CB and LB.. I’ve never been a fan of fat penn or personal foul trueblood.

  13. deminion Says:

    BPA Blackmon or Kalil more O for bucs, i still think Claiborne is there and we snag him

  14. bucfanjeff Says:

    We cant afford to.move to far back and risk missing t rich, claiborne or kuechly.

  15. BonesMahoney Says:

    If both of them are gone then Kalil will be there and that should be an easy pick to make. Take him and start him at RT his rookie year then switch him and Penn the year after. Our O-Line would be dominant for a very long time.

  16. legacy Says:

    Trade down and take Stephen Gilmore

  17. Ian P. Says:

    Luke Kuechly in the first round would be the best scenario. He is far and away the best linebacker in the draft and could step right in and play Middle, so we can move Foster outside to his natural position.
    This team does not desperately need an RB, WR, or RT the way they NEED a CB, LB, or S.

  18. Kujolw Says:

    I think if there gone there will be people wanting to move up to take Blackmon. Jags,Fins,Seahawks, and Bengals all need a true #1 WR were he’s got no red flags like M.Floyd. If we didn’t just signed D.Penn 2 years back to a big contrat i think we’d take Kalil, but I think our team is happy with our O-Line at the moment and there all under contract for the next 3-5 years so if we look for a LT it will be in the future. If we could trade with the Bengals we go take there 2nd first round and get a 2nd and 3rd round giving them the option to take another #1 WR to go with A.J. Green and allow them to get another good Prospect making it easier for them to part ways with a 2nd and 3rd round pick. Then that allows us to take a CB or a MLB in the first.

  19. ATLBuc Says:


    FWIW, the Bengals don’t need a #1. AJ Green is a monster.

  20. Macabee Says:

    They either pick Kalil or trade down. I’m OK with either option. If the chioce is to trade down, the key is whether Blackmon is there at #5. The trade partner then becomes the Rams at #6 to trade up 1 to get Blackmon. They have already advertised the fact they they are willing to trade up to ensure the pick. The Bucs could trade down 1, and at minimum ask for their 2nd round (#6/pick 37) that they acquired from the Redskins. Under the hypothetical proposed, the Bucs would still have their choice of Kalil at #6 or trade down again and continue to warehouse picks. This is an ideal scenario!

  21. BigMacAttack Says:

    @Marques, Good Call.

    I agree with you about Dont’a Hightower, I watched him play last year and he is what I like in a linebacker. I also believe he will produce for a long time. I don’t know as much about Kuechly having not seen him play (only clips), but I’m on board with Hightower and gaining more picks in the process. Either way, I’m excited to see how this unfolds.

  22. jvato24 Says:

    For someone who loves Gilmore so much you would think you could spell his first name right.


    Joe, you love stirring the ‘who are the bucs going to draft’ pot.

  24. FlBoy84 Says:

    If no trades are available, grab Kalil and let him compete with Penn or Trueblood for a starting position. If a trade is there and is worth it, do it. Do think the team will double-dip in LB’s this year like they have in the past with DL and WR. If they can get an extra 2nd or 3rd, can def see 2 of the first 3 or 4 picks being a LB. Wouldn’t think they’d want to play two rookies along with Foster, but who knows. With NO grabbing both Lofton and Hawthorne, very curious to see what the teams plan is at the LB position, since they’ve been completely inactive up to this point. Very possible they see some possible players released after the draft that peak their interest. As for LB’s already on the team, Rennie Curran is an interesting prospect who may be the next diamond-in-the-rough that Dominik can add to his list as well. And maybe Schiano and Sheridan think they can actually turn Black into a serviceable LB.

  25. FlBoy84 Says:

    @Ian P,

    Being that they only have Blount and Madu as RB’s on the roster, I’d say RB is a fairly high priority as well. Would agree though that a later rd RB is a better value than a late rd corner in most cases though.

  26. Meh Says:

    Kuechly is better than Hightower imo, but both would be excellent additions if we manage to trade down.

  27. princespanky Says:

    Khalil would be the LT in waiting we need for when Penn’s knees give out and he’d be a pro bowler for the next 10 years. If you are going to trade down you better make sure you get one of either Dre Kirkpatrick, Dont’a Hightower or Gilmore…. I like the intangibles that Kuechly brings and his high football IQ but Hightower plays Bucs football and would help Foster immensely. I’m sorry but I see Kuechly as a Ruud 2.0.

  28. Meh Says:

    Kuechly is not even remotely comparable to Ruud. That’s ridiculous. He is the consensus #1 MLB in the draft. He has incredible football smarts and instincts, has incredible game tape, and proved he has great athleticism at the combine. It is nuts to compare him to Ruud.

  29. the buc realist Says:

    Why wouldn’t we take Blackmon and really stress our divisions secondary. Rolling out Jackson, Williams and Blackmon with Benn as a reserve. We would run a run first play-action spread offense. We could then trade Win-slow for a 4th or 5th round with an additional pick if he catches 70 6 yard passes for his new team.

  30. FlBoy84 Says:


    I think @prince might be referring to Kuechly’s (and Rudd’s) lack of dominant physicality that a player like Hightower brings. Both players are smart, instinctive players, just not as physical as some others.

  31. Meh Says:

    Kuechly is pretty physical. Have you looked at his game tape? He isn’t shy about laying a good lick. And he combines that with excellent tackling form.

    Again, it is ridiculous to compare Ruud and Kuechly.

  32. Pete Dutcher Says:

    I think my pref would be Claiborne, Matt Kalil then Richardson…and failing those…Dre.

    Matt Kalil would give us the number one oline for years to come.

  33. BonesMahoney Says:

    Sigh. “the buc realist”: Winslow would not net anything close to a 4th or 5th rounder in a trade. The Bucs would be lucky to get a 7th rounder for him. No team is going to want a TE going on his 9th year in the league that at this point basically has no knees. Because of that he can’t practice and his separation skills are very limited. Not to mention his other faults like he can’t or won’t block and he also whines for the ball every play. If Winslow isn’t a Buc this coming year it’s because he was cut. And I wouldn’t have a problem if they decided to do that.

  34. bucbelevr Says:

    Ughh. First, there’s ALWAYS a trade available, always, just manipulating acceptable terms. If Kalil is there at #5, then Tannehill would be available. The Eagles would be on our phone immediately, to jump up to #5 for Kalil, count on it, and would pay well for him!

    If Tannehill is there at #5, then Dominik could simply require Karlos Dansby and maybe 4th rounder from Dolphins to move up from 8. That would be smart. MLB solved. Quality, veteran MLB.

    KUECHLY is RUUD all over again, EVERYONE!! Tackling machine, small, athletic, unproven on NFL terms, NOT A THUMPER. Nor capable of leading a NFL defense in the middle, in the next few years. Kuechly…is not the answer.

  35. Meh Says:

    You’re full of crap regarding Kuechly. He is a thumper. He is more NFL ready than any other linebacker in this draft. He is the consensus #1 MLB in this draft. He is not remotely comparable to Ruud.

    I don’t know where you people get these silly ideas from.

  36. Marques Says:

    Final Thought.

    Kalil will not be around

    continued from my earlier submission.

    The reason you take hightower…


    Luke Kuechly is good not a Hightower in my opinion.

    Let me preface this by saying I am white. Luke gets alot of “The Great white hope” publicity.
    Hightower is bigger, stronger, faster, more physical. A proven winner.
    He was the best defensive player on the best defence who Nick Saban himself said he was the man of the championship team.

    Trade down get this stud and more picks. Bucs fans will LOVE him.

  37. Meh Says:

    Kuechly is going to go 15 picks higher than Hightower and there’s a big reason for that, he’s a much better MLB than Hightower. I like Hightower, but you’re crazy if you take him before the mid twenties. He has serious issues in coverage. Kuechly has all of the pros of Hightower without that liability.

    Kuechly is going to go 10-15 picks higher than Hightower. Bank it.

  38. Que589 Says:

    No question you go Kalil. He’s the RT and / or LT for the next 10 years. Trading down to get these other kids wouldn’t be a good move. They’re a notch below and are not blue chippers. When you draft #5 overall you better come away with a talent like Kalil.

  39. Meh Says:

    At the combine Kuechly had a 4.58 40, 27 reps, and a 38″ vertical.

    At the combine Hightower had a 4.68 40, 32″ vertical, and didn’t lift.

    You are full of crap if you say Hightower is more athletic.

  40. Marques Says:

    @Meh Says

    You are 100 % right that he will get picked before hightower. That does not mean it is the right pick.
    1996 Draft
    Kevin Hardy was picked 24 slots ahead of Ray Lewis
    John Mobley was picked 11 slots ahead of Ray Lewis
    1995 Draft
    Mark Fields drafted 15 Slots ahead of Derrick Brooks

    Kuechly is no closer to Hightower then these guys were to both Lewis and Brooks.

    You have no clue what you are writing about.

    Just remember where you read it first

  41. Meh Says:

    I have no clue lol. You are the guys saying Hightower is the better prospect even though he has:

    Flaws in coverage
    Less speed than Kuechly
    Less strength than Kuechly
    Worse game tape than Kuechly

    I’m actually backing up my points with facts – combine stats, game tape, and professional evaluators opinions, and the only thing you guys put out is “he’s Ruuuuuuddd”.

    And you have the nerve to say I have no clue what I’m writing about?

  42. Meh Says:

    But hey this one time a linebacker was picked high and excelled, so clearly the #1 *consensus* MLB prospect is just Barrett Ruud. ROFLMAO.

  43. Brain Says:

    If we draft Kalil I’ll puke. He’s one of the softest OL I’ve ever seen. Sure he’s tall and moves well but he lacks bulk and strength at the point of attack. Combine that with the fact that we’ve invested in a ton on the OL already and it’d be a terrible pick. Can’t spend 1/3 of our payroll on the OL.

    My options are:

    1. Kuechly
    2. Richardson – he’s a stud but RBs have weaker value
    3. Claiborne – excellent cover corner, pitiful tackler. Rich man’s EJ Biggers
    4. Blackmon – he’s a stud but WRs have weaker value and we don’t really need one

  44. Brain Says:

    Wait, people are comparing Kuechly to Ruud? WTF!?!?! Only similarities between the 2 are skin color and elite coverage ability.

  45. Papawill13 Says:

    Couple things about the Kalil pick brian.
    1. He is not soft, dont know what you have been watching but the guy finishes plays, not to mention he was and is considered Much more physical than Tyron Smith.
    2. His is around 300 pounds and can put a lot more on that frame of his, his growth is not done. USC does not like 300+ pound Linemen, you just cant find them out here, except on diet plans. I expect Kalil to play around 315 in the NFL.
    3. Folks in 2 years the OLine will have very little money tied up in it. All that Money is being paid this year and next, as well as previous. In 2014 Nicks will be in the 3rd year of his contact, Penn his 5th year, Joseph his 4th, Zuttah his 3rd. Most that money is tied up in the first 2 or 3 years of the contract.

    And seriously I rather have money tied up in starters, even if its another OLinemen than a CB that cant tackle and has learning disabilities or a injury prone RB.

    We are ][ this close to having an OLine that people will say “I can throw behind That Line” or “I can run behind that Line.” Why in the world would we give that up for a CB or a RB?

  46. Bvert38 Says:

    I don’t think we can make a move out of the top ten and still get Kuechly. I think if he’s there at #9 Carolina will snag him, but you never know.

    I love Gilmore’s game, but to be honest it’s a fit for our old cover 2 schemes. This new coordinator is going to be much more aggressive and want someone who has some man to man skills. Now because Safety is a major concern and Gilmore is willing to put on some weight to play Safety, I would like that a little more than putting him at CB because I think his skills can translate a bit better there. Plus this class is terribly thin at safety. I’m not really seeing anyone that really intrigues me.

  47. gift Says:

    so let me get this right Joe…. (hypothetically) you’re cool with the us taking Blackmon with the 5th pick, but not Richardson? we have more depth at WR than we do at RB and one could argue that RB is a more impactful position. twisted logic my friend.

  48. BigMacAttack Says:

    I’m not knocking Kuechly because I don’t know enough about him, but I saw his combine work and it was awesome to say the least. He has put on a few pounds as well and may be the real deal as they hope. But I question Boston College and who they play, their competition. I watched Hightower play several games last year including the BCS Championship. It may be me, but I didn’t see any flaws in his game. The guy is big, quick and can tackle as well as anyone. He also played in the SEC against the best teams in the Country week in and week out. I wanted the Bucs to draft Rolando McClain when the drafted McCoy, but he was, as they say, not a number 3 pick. I now think that wasn’t really true and he is still a stub LB. Hightower is too and will totally help the Bucs’ defense if he is the pick. So I can only base my info on Dont’a on what I have seen with my own untrained eyes, and I was impressed with him and that entire team. I like Barron too and if I could have all the Bama players, I’d take them. That was a stud team that knows how to win.

  49. Meh Says:

    Look, I love Hightower. His only flaw is speed and coverage. He’s going to be much better in a 3-4. Having said that I’d take him in a heartbeat in round 2 and if he slips past the Steelers I’d consider trading up before the Ravens to get him. But if I’m trading down from #5 hes not the guy I’m targetting at all. Kuechly would be. He’s a better prospwct and a much better scheme fit here.

  50. Bobby Says:

    @Bucbelevr….NO..a trade IS NOT always available. In fact they are rare as hens teeth. Very few have taken place over the last 10 drafts, especially in the top 10 picks. That may change with the new CBA and the lower rookie salaries but trades have been very rare in the past.

  51. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    I don’t think this would happen, but it sure would be a tough decision. I guess I can’t be a hypocrite and say we shouldn’t draft Kalil, since I’ve been steadfast that you draft the best player available. But if we did draft Kalil, our O-Line will have so much money invested in it. Freeman should be packing a lunch to eat in the pocket. I just wonder at a certain point is it overkill. Our O-Line should already be one of the best in the league (key word being “should”). Is it really necessary to spend a premium pick making it more excellent? I don’t know, but it is very interesting. I still love Blackmon, but with the signing of V-Jax, I’m not sure how it would all fit. I guess we will all know soon enough.

  52. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    Calling Kalil soft is absolutely ridiculous. Players that are soft don’t go an entire season without giving up a sack. I know you probably don’t get too many USC games in Florida, but that is almost as ridiculous as calling TR slow.

  53. Meh Says:

    2 things Hawaiian. First the new CBA makes these rookie contracts cheap. Second, Penn won’t last forever. He will start declining at some point. If we took Kalil, I’d expect him to replace Penn as he starts to decline.

  54. bucbelevr Says:

    Without @Bobby and @Meh’s noise…we’d all be much less, informed.

  55. Hawaiian Buc Says:


    Yeah I guess so, but it’s not like Penn is that old. He’s 28 or 29, so he should still have several really good years. I would think we could pick up his replacement at that time. You are right about the salary being cheap for rookies, but it’s more so the investment of a premium pick. I’d be totally cool with us drafting him if the other 2 are gone, I just wonder how much it would really help, especially in the first few years. I think I’m just kind of tired of the whole “build for the future” concept. I want to win some games now, I’ll worry about the future later. I do feel confident that whoever we get, he will be a very good player.

  56. BigBear Says:

    If we stay at #5:

    1. Kalil- Not worth reaching past a true top five pick in most years drafts

    no one else in this draft is worth the #5 pick for us. Best example: Kuechly will be solid, but not an elite prospect. Yes hes smart and he does have fairly good athleticism. truly is he going to be the next Brian Urlacher, Ray Lewis, Patrick Willis? or will he be the next Aaron Curry that cant miss prospect who was traded after two bad years? I don’t think he has much of a chance to elevate his game to the likes of Urlachers, Lewis’, and Willis’ of the world, however he is also unlikely to be as bad as Curry.

    Blackmon is worth that pick if there wasn’t such a glut of receivers on this team. Matt Kalil isn’t Sam Bowie and Blackmon isn’t MJ

  57. Marques Says:

    Luke will be the 2012 version of canes LB Dan Morgan.

    Luke …like Dan did, will quickly realize he is not in ACC.

    Hightower playing in the SEC is as close to the NFL as you can get and he dominated.

    I wish them both the best but my money is on Hightower to have the better career.

  58. Kujolw84 Says:


    That’s what I’m saying Green is a beast and to have two 1st round picks they can move up and take a for sure blue color kid in with Blackmon. Then they will have 2 great up coming WR with up coming Dalton. Thats nasty making it all the more reason they will want to trade with us if he’s there at 5.

  59. Miguel Grande Says:

    There have been only 4 elite can’t miss tackles drafted in my lifetime Anthony Munoz, Tony Boselli, Orlando Pace and now Matt Kalil. Trueblood has one year left on his contract. There is no other players in the last 10 drafts equal to him.

    Luck and RG3 are pie in the sky, Kalil is the real deal, a sure thing.

    Draft Kalil and pencil his name into the ring of honor next to Jimmy Giles, John McKay and LeRoy Selmon.

    Kalil drastically improve the running game, passing game, short yardage, goal line offense and special teams. He helps the defense by creating long sustained scoring drives. He extends Josh Freeman’s career by 3 or 4 years.

  60. 941Buc Says:

    Try to trade the pick, if not I would be more than happy with Kalil.

  61. Brain Says:

    Kalil is a great pass blocker. Who said otherwise? We already have a quality LT in Penn though. We’d be drafting Kalil to play RT and he’s soft as a run blocker. He doesn’t finish blocks and he has limited strength at the point of attack. The one thing we had going for us on the OL last year was a solid YPC on the right side. Draft Kalil and it’s a step backwards in that department. If Kalil did put on signficant weight and strength he may be a top 5 caliber OT, but even if that did happen I still wouldn’t like the idea of investing another major resource on the OL. We need defensive help first and foremost. I only made an exception for Richardson because he’s an elite talent.


    We’re goona need a quick strike offense for when the rush defense let’s us down ( which was just about every game last year ). Why not take blackmon and give free all the weapons he needs to bring us back in games. Because let’s face it, no matter who we pick, our D will still blow.

  63. 941Buc Says:

    @ Brain

    Really? Hahahahahahaha. Good try at sounding official. Hilarious.

  64. FuNkYxMuNkEy Says:

    IF they are both gone…and I also believe this is a real possibility. I think we should def draft Matt Kalil. He could play at RT to start out with and eventually move to LT. Or move Penn over to RT. Just depends on how training camp and the preseason go. But Trueblood has been terrible for years now and a combo of Penn and Kalil would be top 3 in the league and we already have the top Guard combo in the league. And we have a great young Center. This move would help out Josh more than Blackmon or even TR3 if still available.

    If Minn. can’t trade out of the #3 spot then they will draft Mo I think. And Cleveland will be between TR3 and Tannehill. So there is a real chance we could get Kalil!!!

  65. bucfat Says:

    Luke Kuechly?

  66. Rich Says:

    For the fools that believe Kuechly is not physical and compare him to Ruud.
    Watch this: