There’s A Reason Behind This Pick

April 26th, 2009

Any reasonable Bucs fan knows the offensive line is the dominant element of this team.

So why draft a tackle in the fifth round, Xavier Fulton from Illinois? Here’s why: Last week, analyst Steve Campbell suggested Donald Penn may not be playing for the Bucs in 2010, otherwise he would have received a bigger and longer contract. Campbell explained why Penn might not be long for the Bucs.

There are no bigger impact positions in the NFL than quarterback, left offensive tackle and defensive end. All you have to do is look at the salaries of those positions and you can see how NFL teams value having impact there. I’ve made my case on why the Bucs might take a quarterback at the 19th pick, but another position the Bucs could look to upgrade is left offensive tackle. The Bucs signed Donald Penn to a one-year tender, refusing to give him the long term deal he was seeking. Penn played well most of the first half of the 2008 season, but wore down in the second half, particularly during the four-game nosedive in December. Penn seemed to gain weight as the season went on, and I can’t help but think that had something to do with his regression in 2008. I don’t think the Bucs view Penn as a long-term solution at left tackle.

Sure enough, the Bucs drafted an offensive tackle (and quarterback). As for Fulton, here’s what has to say about him:

Naturally large man with the frame to add at least an additional 10-15 pounds without a significant loss of quickness. Raw, but possesses rare tools. Lacks consistency with his initial quickness off the snap, but gets excellent depth in his kick slide to protect the edge as a pass rusher. Natural knee bender who plays with balance. Still learning to use his hands effectively, but flashes explosiveness in his hand punch and the ability to turn and sustain. Athletic enough to block on the move. Hustles to the second and can even reach the third level. Only beginning to scratch the surface of his talent after spending the first three years of his career at defensive tackle.

Joe hates to gloss himself, but does he provide stellar analysts or not?

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