Wes Welker To The Bucs ChatterFebruary 17th, 2013
Joe likes talking about the draft (not the combine; but the draft) almost as much as he likes talking about the virtues of Rachel Watson.
But mock drafts before free agency are, in many ways, like shooting darts blindfolded. Until the siren beginning free agency blasts on the afternoon of March 12, Bucs fans won’t know every player available, and who is out there very well could determine how a team drafts a month later.
Take the Bucs and Wes Welker, for example. Woody Cummings of the Tampa Tribune, speaking on “The Fabulous Sports Babe Show” last week on WHNS-FM 98.7, seemed to imply Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik was possibly eyeing Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert. Cummings, rightfully, acknowledged that the Bucs’ two main areas of need (right now) are cornerback and tight end. Since the cornerback talent in the draft is three-rounds deep but not necessarily top-shelf heavy, Dominik could elect to pull the trigger on a tight end at No. 13 with Eifert.
But if Wes Welker is available as a free agent, that could change Dominik’s draft strategy, Cummings told The Sports Babe.
“Here is something to think about: I think the guy they will target is Wes Welker as a slot receiver. That’s the one thing they don’t really have,” Cummings said. “If they pitch Wes Welker as a slot receiver, a very dependable slot receiver, they can leave [Vincent] Jackson on the outside and leave Mike Williams on the outside and all of a sudden you have to worry about three very dynamic receivers on that offense. If they do that, they can probably get a tight end of lesser value who is more of a blocker who helps more in the run game and not so much as a pass target. It just opens up that area of the field more and gives you some other options. That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t bring back a Dallas Clark or draft a Tyler Eifert. I think Wes Welker is a guy they are going to look at. I may be wrong, but if you are looking at putting more weapons in Josh Freeman’s cache, I have to think that will do it. If he has that kind of a guy to throw to over the middle of the field and the other two guys working the outside, all of a sudden it gets pretty darn hard to defend the pass.”
All valid points by Cummings, but the first thing Joe thought is, ‘Just how many toys does Josh Freeman need to be successful, geez?’
Of course, all of this is moot if the Patriots and Bill Belicheat tag Welker again with the dreaded franchise label. Though it doesn’t seem as if Belicheat will tie up that much cash to a 32-year old slot receiver.
Cummings didn’t mention this, but if the Bucs do target Welker as a big-money signing, it also speaks to how there aren’t really any big fish out there among free agent corners. Some solid ones, but none to break the bank over.
In other words, cornerbacks that are available through free agency are more budget buys this winter.
This is the predicament the Bucs now face: Perhaps no team needs corners more than the Bucs, but there are few top-shelf corners available in free agency, and even less first-round talent in the draft.