Draft Breakdown: The “Need” Positions

April 23rd, 2009

Oh, do these 2009 Bucs have needs, likely too many to address effectively in the NFL Draft this weekend.

But Bucs fans can surely hope the Bucs nail every pick and find some quality fixes for their deficiencies.

NFL Draft guru Justin Pawlowski adds to his massive library of draft analysis today by serving up a look at the Bucs’ most critical needs by position, with players to watch in each round.

Of course, Justin’s detailed player breakdowns can be found among the finest draft coverage anywhere, conveniently located in the JoeBucsFan.com NFL Draft section

By Justin Pawlowski

After the collapse the Bucs endured in the final four games of 2008, it was pretty apparent that the defensive tackle position needed to be addressed in free agency.  Unfortunately, they missed out on Albert Haynesworth and Colin Cole, so their “big” move at defensive tackle was resigning Ryan Sims. 

The need is there, but Jim Bates has never, as a defensive coordinator, drafted a defensive tackle higher than Round 4. 

Remember, Jim Bates’ new defensive system calls for his defensive tackles to be bigger in size, take on multiple blockers, and allow the linebackers to roam and make plays.

Here are some options for the Bucs:

1st Round:  Peria Jerry (Ole Miss 6’2’’ 299 lbs), Evander Hood (Missouri 6’3’’ 300 lbs), Ron Brace (Boston College 6’3’’ 334 lbs)

2nd Round:  Sen’Derrick Marks (Auburn 6’2’’ 306 lbs), Fili Moala (USC 6’4’’ 305 lbs)

3rd Round:  Dorell Scott (Clemson 6’3’’ 312 lbs), Alex Magee (Purdue 6’3’’ 298 lbs)

4th Round:  Chris Baker (Hampton 6’2’’ 326 lbs), Roy Miller (Texas 6’1’’ 310 lbs), Sammie Lee Hill (Stillman 6’4’’ 329 lbs)

How the talents and deficiencies of these defensive tackles mesh into Jim Bates’ system should {+++} be a key to who gets selected. Remember, I’ve broken down the defensive tackles here, and you can get all the position breakdowns in the NFL Draft coverage here at JoeBucsFan.com. 

Defensive End

The Bucs had just 29 sacks in 2008 and struggled to get consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks.  Gaines Adams will be entering a big year in his young career in 2009.  After being drafted just two years ago, Adams has garnered a lot of criticism for not making an immediate impact as the 4th overall pick. 

Opposite of Adams you’ll find Stylez White, Jimmy Wilkerson, and not much more.  The Bucs need to find a defensive end that can get up the field and put constant pressure on opposing quarterbacks.  Defensive ends play a major role in Jim Bates’ defense, so this will be a target for the Bucs this weekend.

1st Round:  Brian Orakpo (Texas 6’3’’ 263 lbs), Aaron Maybin (Penn St. 6’4’’ 249 lbs), Everette Brown (FSU 6’2’’ 256 lbs), Robert Ayers (6’3’’ 272 lbs), Connor Barwin (Cincinnati 6’4’’ 256 lbs), Larry English (N. Illinois 6’2’’ 253 lbs)

2nd Round:  Michael Johnson (Georgia Tech 6’7’’ 266 lbs), Lawrence Sidbury Jr. (Richmond 6’3’’ 266 lbs)

3rd Round:  David Veikune (6’3’’ 257 lbs), Paul Kruger (6’4’’ 263 lbs)

4th Round:  Matt Shaughnassy (Wisconsin 6’5’’ 266 lbs)

Outside Linebacker

When you release your two starting outside linebackers from the previous year, you automatically have a need at that position.  Sure, you have Quincy Black, Adam Heyward, and Geno Hayes who might only need a chance, but that is a big risk.  Let’s not forget that the Bucs signed Angelo Crowell and he’s coming off a serious knee injury, and the Bucs are banking on Jermaine Phillips making a position change.  That’s a lot of question marks for one position.

1st Round:  Brian Cushing (USC 6’3’’ 243 lbs), Clay Matthews (USC 6’3’’ 240 lbs)

2nd Round: Clint Sintim (Virginia 6’3’’ 256 lbs)

3rd Round:  Marcus Freeman (Ohio St. 6’1’’ 239 lbs), Jason Williams (W. Illinois 6’1’’ 241 lbs)

4th Round:  Tyrone McKenzie (USF 6’2’’ 243 lbs), Cody Brown (UCONN 6’2’’ 244 lbs)


Well, you look at the Bucs’ top three corners right now and you see Aqib Talib, Ronde Barber, and Elbert Mack.  I don’t think those three corners strike fear into receivers across the NFL.

 With Jim Bates bringing more of a man coverage system, it will be interesting to see Ronde transition more towards that type of defense on an every down basis.  I know that Ronde has played in man coverage, but we did see him get beat a few times last year, and now he has to play man coverage on every play.  If we take into account that Ronde isn’t getting any younger and that Mack is a nickel corner at best, it’s pretty apparent that the Bucs need to address corner sometime this weekend.

1st Round:  Malcolm Jenkins (Ohio St. 6’ 204 lbs), Sean Smith (Utah 6’3’’ 214 lbs), Darius Butler (UCONN 5’11’’ 183 lbs), Vontae Davis (Illinois 5’11’’ 203 lbs)

2nd Round:  Alphonso Smith (Wake Forest 5’9’’ 193 lbs), DJ Moore (Vanderbilt 5’10’’ 192 lbs)

3rd Round:  Coye Francies (San Jose St. 6’1’’ 185 lbs), Kevin Barnes (Maryland 6’ 187 lbs), Asher Allen (Georgia 5’10’’ 194 lbs), Jairus Byrd (Oregon 5’10’’ 207 lbs), Victor Harris (Va. Tech 5’11’’ 198 lbs)

4th Round:  Joe Burnett (UCF 5’10’’ 182 lbs), Mike Mickens (Cincinnati 6’ 186 lbs), Gregory Toller (St. Paul’s 5’11’’ 191 lbs)

Wide Receiver

It’s been noted that the Bucs are transitioning from Jon Gruden’s quick pass offense to Jeff Jogodzinski’s vertical offense.  When you run a vertical offense, it helps to have receivers that can stretch the field.  Unfortunately for the Bucs, the only receiver with top end speed on their roster is last year’s 2nd round pick, Dexter Jackson. 

 Will the new regime give Jackson a legitimate shot or will they look to bring in some speed to counter both Antonio Bryant and Michael Clayton?  Below I list the possibilities for the Bucs in the first four rounds of the draft for “speed receivers”.

1st Round:  Jeremy Maclin (Missouri 6’ 198 lbs), Percy Harvin (Florida 5’11’’ 192 lbs), Darrius Heyward-Bey (Maryland 6’2’’ 210 lbs), 

2nd Round:  Derrick Williams (Penn St. 6’ 194 lbs)

3rd Round:  Mike Thomas (Arizona 5’8’’ 195 lbs), Mike Wallace (Ole Miss 6’1’’ 199 lbs)

4th Round:  Brandon Tate (UNC 6’ 193 lbs), Louis Murphy (Florida 6’2’’ 203 lbs), Demetrius Byrd (LSU 6’ 199 lbs)

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