Linebackers On The Bucs’ Radar

March 1st, 2011

Have a cold one with NFL Draft guru Justin Pawlowski and he’ll make a good case why the Bucs have major room for improvement among their starting linebackers.

On his draft page at WDAE-AM 620, Pawlowski looks at two linebackers that helped themselves immensely at the scouting combine and that he believes are on the Bucs’ radar: Dontay Moch and Martez Wilson. Here’s an excerpt:

… By not giving Ruud a new contract, the Bucs front office has give the Ruud critics more fuel for their fire.  Now, Ruud’s critics have a player to rally behind.  Martez Wilson is a MLB from Illinois who had the size all along, but his speed was a question.  Wilson stands at 6’4” and 250 lbs.  Like Moch, Wilson also ran a 4.44 in his 40-yard dash.  I expect Wilson to now draw heavy interest in the 1st round.

While Mark Dominik has said he’ll stay true to his draft board, he is staring at the possiblity of losing Ruud, Quincy Black and Adam Hayward in free agency, and a suspension for Geno Hayes after his recent wee-hours escapades. That could have the Bucs leaning linebacker come draft day.

55 Responses to “Linebackers On The Bucs’ Radar”

  1. Amar Says:

    I strongly believe Dom will go LB in the first and DE’s in the rounds after.

  2. Amar Says:

    ^Dom being about following our roots (sapp and brooks), we got our (hope to be sapp) in mccoy and now we just need our potential brooks.

    First round DE’s have bust written all over them, just look at the past several years…With a strong play of your interior linemen makes your DE’s play better to which you don’t need to burn a first rounder on and can find those solid DE’s in the rounds after….I think DOM is seeing it the same way.

  3. Amar Says:

    We just don’t have any DE’s on the current roster worthy of sticking around/even showing any potential to line up next to mccoy/price/miller.

  4. Amar Says:

    Whether it’s MLB or OLB, I got money on it that’s what we draft in the first round.

    My bad for multi-posting…=\

  5. WeNeedDefense Says:

    “…the possiblity of losing Ruud, Quincy Black and Adam Hayward in free agency, and a suspension for Geno Hayes…”

    Holy smokes. Just the thought of that is insane. with that scenario, we would return Zero starting LB’s in the first game.

  6. Steve From Oregon Says:

    This should be interesting. I think free agency whenever that begins will play into what we do. A few years back Dom swung a deal for K2, I could see him laying low and picking up a quality young DE in free agency thus allowing him to draft an even younger DE slightly later in the draft. That kid from Carolina would be a really nice pickup.

    Whos knows….maybe he makes a run at Gholsten….he was never a good fit to play in a 3-4. Perhaps a change of scenery and playing a position that he is familiar with will turn the light switch on. Its hard to believe that he could be that good in college and simply forget how to play football?

  7. jvato24 Says:

    Wasnt this how the whole Gaines Adams draft pick took place ..

    Derrick Brooks was one of the most instinctive LBers EVER ..

    This is one of the weakest 1st Rounds for LBers in a LONG Time .. Please tell me who this Brooks Heir Apparent is waiting in the wings for us @ 20.

    Drafting a LBer in the 1st round does not make him Derrick Brooks .. From what I have seen the few projected LBer 1st round picks lack instincts and are chase/drag down tacklers .. Im sorry but unless you can tell me who the LBer will be I am not buying LB in the 1st round.

    Akeem Ayers surely isnt overly impressive on film. Hes just Big

  8. WeNeedDefense Says:

    I thought I read from one of your articles Joe, that Dom mentioned that LB in free agency is a possibility, and the way I read it, he wasn’t discounting ‘other’ free agents vs our own free agents.

    That would be really noce if we spent the money on some stud LB’s.

    I think we need to do exactly what Raheem said yesterday, ‘re-sign all of our homegrown talent’ and to me that is Ruud, Black and maybe Haywrad. do that first.

    Then, we should draft LB’s and DE’s, the hybrids alike with at least the first 4 to 5 picks. Establish this depth now. Some will be back-ups, some will play special teams and perhaps a few will win a starting job sooner than later. But across the board, bringing in big, athletic defensive guys will only help our team. We are sure to get a playmaker and a few starters with that approach.

    Because look at today, as a team, the fall out of drafting 2 DTs and 2 WRs looks more and more promising now than it did the day after the draft. I really like that approach of doubling down, to ensure your needs are addressed while also fostering competition among those picks. To me, it is a smart approach and it has benefits. Each year address two positions of need and double up in each spot (more or less… kickers and punters and QBs may don’t apply to this). It adds instant depth as well.

    So, for our LBs and DEs, I think we should spend 4-5 picks on them early, try to hit doubles and triples vs gambling on a HR with one guy. Besides, the triples and double hitters, quite often have the power to go deep anyway.

  9. WeNeedDefense Says:

    And here it is:

    Cam Newton On Mark Dominik’s Radar (JoeBucsFan)
    February 25th, 2011

    “We have a lot of guys that are expected to become restricted free agents at the linebacker position. Four out of six guys are without a contract or coming out of a contract. So that is certainly a position that if we don’t do something in free agency or we don’t do something with our guys it’s certainly going to be a spot that we will have to look at in this draft for long term thinking.”


    So the Bucs may certainly look to free agency for the LB spot.

  10. Dave Says:

    My opinion is people are reading waaaaay too much into it. I guess because we have alot of time until the draft and it is natural.

    Basically it breaks out like this:
    The Bucs had 2 glaring weaknesses – DT and DE

    Last year was one of the strongest DT drafts in a decade, they loaded up on DT.
    This year is one of the deepest DE drafts in a long time, they will take a DE in round 1 and probably again in round 3-4.

    It is pretty simple and sound logic. I do see them taking 2 LBs in the draft with the earliest being in round 2.

    Of course, if there is a massive run on DE and someone they consider to be a round worthy LB is there and all the round 1 to round 1-2 DEs are gone, then they might go LB first, but I doubt that happens.

    For some reason I have been swayed the last month and am very high on Kerrigan AND I think he will be available at pick 20.

    Someone asked who is the Brooks in waiting in the draft. he is in round 2: bruce Carter OLB from UNC. the guy can do everything and is instinctive. I think he is the best LB in the draft. Von Miller is fast and gets at the QB but if you watched him, he looks lost when in pass coverage and does not give great effort tracking down the run, even with all his speed.

  11. Dave Says:


    I absolutely agree with the doubling down theory. I think last year they might have fallen into it by accident simply because there were no DEs they deemed worthy and Brian Price was available when many, many sources said he would be gone in the middle of round 1.

    Basically, I think they saw a great value that happened to be in a postition of need.
    I do think they take 2 DEs and 2 LBs in the first 5 rounds, but I still don’t think they reach if one of them groups has a big run on them

  12. Feel Says:

    Wilson is a REACH at #20. Great athlete, good but certainly NOT great player. Plus injury concerns make him an early second rounder at best. IF they trade back, or trade up in the 2nd, he would be an option, but there will be better much players at #20.

  13. Not A Rocket Surgeon Says:

    Tez Wilson would be my pick if Kerrigan, Smith, Watt, Houston and Jordan are all off the board.

  14. Capt. Troll killer Tim Says:

    We have two great needs on defense. DE, which we all knew about. Also LV, which I’ve been saying for months. Our Lbs all were disappointing this year, which was unexpected. Dom didn’t give them contracts, because he wants to replace them. Other than Von Miller, not any real first round LBs
    Quality DEs, like DTs and LTs, are always a first round investment. You don’t find pass rushing DEs in any round but the first typically. We draft A DE, then 2 LBs and another De, in what order doesn’t matter.
    Think we like our young OLine players. Still may get a safety late. I expect a RB . Still think we’ll get a TE, De, and LB in Free agency.

  15. Pete Dutcher Says:

    I’ve been saying for months that the Bucs will not take a DE with their first pick. The DEs are deep enough to still get a good one later this year.

    Another thing I said was that they would likely bring in a MLB this off season…either by draft or Free Agency. Personally, I think Free Agency is the way to go if any good ones are out there…the Bucs have had tremendous luck with FA MLBs.

  16. Pete Dutcher Says:

    Mayock ranks the top 5 as:
    1. Martez Wilson, Illinois
    2. Colin McCarthy, Miami (Fla.)
    3. Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina
    4. Casey Matthews, Oregon
    5. Kelvin Sheppard, LSU

  17. Pete Dutcher Says:

    The above are the ILBs.
    Below are the DEs he ranks:

    1. Robert Quinn, North Carolina
    2. Da’Quan Bowers, Clemson
    3. J.J. Watt, Wisconsin
    4. Adrian Clayborn, Iowa
    5. Cameron Jordan, California

  18. Feel Says:

    Pete Dutcher Says:
    March 1st, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Mayock ranks the top 5 as:
    1. Martez Wilson, Illinois
    2. Colin McCarthy, Miami (Fla.)
    3. Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina
    4. Casey Matthews, Oregon
    5. Kelvin Sheppard, LSU


    Just goes to show what a weak LB class it is. McCarthy should be a late second at very best, and Matthews should be a 4th or later.

    We already have Wilson on the roster in Quincy Black. Just resign him.

  19. jvato24 Says:

    For everyone pining for a LB .. Have any of you sat down and watched the film on these guys seriously …. It certainly isnt the 2nd coming of Ray Lewis

    And also with the DE class .. It is very top heavy for a deep class .. But lacks any serious pass rushing threats after round 2 ..

    I am tired .. or wait exhausted .. of having a team full of solid rotational DEs .. It sickens me honestly .. We need a threat!!

  20. Theodore Says:

    Who needs LBs? Just find 7 Sapps and play a 7-0 scheme.

  21. espo Says:

    Then we could call it the Aunt Jemima Defense.

  22. Karl Says:

    Man, Geno Taze might be suspended? why?

  23. Pete Dutcher Says:

    If that’s the case, we should look into trades.

  24. Pete Dutcher Says:

    btw, I made a comment a while back that Raheem might push for offensive line help with their first pick. I still think that is a strong possibility.

    LT is not our of the question.

  25. Dave Says:

    Amazing how many of you JUST ABSOLUTELY KNOW something.

    you do not.

    I know I don’t. Niether do most the experts, but I will say this, Mayock is head & shoulders above most experts.

    For those that say there are not any good pass rushers in what the experts claim is the best DE clas in years, is pretty absurd.

    The Bucs WILL get a ver good pass rushing DE AND a couple LBs and another DE in the first 5 rounds.

    For those that are going to bitch and moan about who they pick… please stay off the boards and waot for three years to see how they ACTUALLY progress.

    I get the feeling many of you are the same ones that were screamin and whining and biotching about Freeman.

    And, no, I did not like the pick either, but I said at least give the kid a chance.

  26. Dave Says:

    Pete Dutcher

    Nothing wrong with the O-Line except maybe depth at OT depending on where Trueblood goes.

    They have two MAJOR needs: DE and LB and both can be gotten in the first few rounds without reaching.

    to think they will go after anything else is absurd.

  27. jvato24 Says:

    Pete Dutcher ..

    If the Bucs trade for a DE that is ok with me ..

    I feel our 1st round pick will be in the trenches .. OT or DE

    LB is a need .. Its just a thin position with many “Potential” type players

    But in a year with a draft not so deep overall .. May be a year to trade up and nabb a top RE if they fall to about 10 and address FA in a way that you know your 3rd or 4th round pick may be traded. Just my .02

  28. Hunter Says:

    I have a very strong feeling that we will take a OT or OG in round 1 or 2. In round 1, I would really like to have Cameron Jordan. I’m not sold on Kerrigan or Clayborn. If those are the 2 left, I definitely think that we will take an offensive lineman like Gabe Carimi or Mike Pouncey. Mike Pouncey could play guard or center. I would prefer that he played center rather than Faine or Zuttah. Remember Bucs want to protect Freeman and if there’s not a quality D-lineman in the first that’s worth taking, we will take an offensive lineman.

  29. eric Says:

    I hope they aren’t thinking they can plug in a rookie ML or DE and do anything but struggle even worse defensively.

    What am I talking about, of course thats what they are thinking.

    Need some stabilizing vets on both sides of the ball to show the strong nucleas of young players the way.

  30. PWNASAURUS Says:

    What way Eric? The way to lose and get cut or not be any good at all. Why else do Vets hit the market?

  31. WeNeedDefense Says:

    Vets get cut for money issues too.

  32. BigMacAttack Says:

    Yes they may just try some new LB’s, but I think they will first have to win the starting jobs and not be annointed, unless a very high pick. I know Hayward has waited for a shot at the lineup and I don’t think he will go away quietly. He is the strong, fast and will hit somebody. Dakoda Watson may be the fastest of the bunch and I expect he’ll improve too. Someone will most likely be the odd man out. Could be Ruud, Black or Hayes, don’t know but Black and Hayes can play special teams.

  33. gitarlvr Says:

    Martez Wilson made himself seem like much less of a reach with the combine he had. He’s big but now we know he has super elite speed too. Considering what they have done with low round draft picks and practice squadders I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bucs coaching staff could turn him into a monster. He certainly has a lot more blitzing ability than any of the current Bucs linebackers. I’d still take Kerrigan, Houston, or Smith over him but if those guys are gone at #20 Wilson is starting to look very viable.

  34. WeNeedDefense Says:

    “…if Kerrigan, Smith, Watt, Houston and Jordan are all off the board.”

    I keep reading comments from many like this.

    No way will ALL of those guys be off the board by #20.

    The question is, how does Martez Wilson now pare up with that list? And who says Jordan or Kerrigan is even better?

    And is Martez Wilson really a good football player or will the gurus just find excuses to fall in love with him because of the one piece of information out about his combine results?

  35. jvato24 Says:

    gtrlvr .. The thing is .. How does someone become a good player by running a fast straight line ??

    I dont get it … Take a look at Cody Grimms and Mike Williams combine numbers frm last year .. Definitely not the best .. But they play football .. That is all I really care about

  36. gitarlvr Says:

    I didn’t say that jvato. He was already considered a good player. His stock was already early second round possible late first round. That was before everyone knew just how fast he was. The 40 time just solidifies a possible late first round guy as a probable late first round guy. Don’t know what the argument against that is.

  37. gitarlvr Says:

    Also jvato- Cody Grimm is an interesting guy to think of. If the Bucs coaching staff can bring that out of a 7th round pick, what can they do with a guy that has the elite size, speed and abilities of a Martez Wilson. Wilson is not a workout warrior. He’s not some guy who is jumping up multiple rounds because combine results alone. Just a guy people were already high on who proved he has elite speed so now they are a little extra high on him.

  38. gitarlvr Says:

    To go a little more in depth to my point. No one knew Martez Wilson was quite that fast. Why? Because apparently he didn’t look quite that fast on game tape. But he is supposed to be a smart player and NFL coaches have a way of taking athletically gifted guys that are coachable and getting them to play up to full potential of their athletic abilities in a way their college coaches couldn’t. Im not saying its a guarantee by any means. Its definitely a gamble but if an NFL coaching staff can coax it out of him he has the raw athletic ability to be an all pro caliber player. Scouts have been saying Wilson could have a better NFL career than college all along and his 40 just lends a little more credence to that theory. Why have scouts been saying that? Maybe the defensive coaching their at Illinois isn’t exactly all world. Apparently they changed schemes midway through Wilson’s career so that could have hindered his development slightly.

  39. BamBamBuc Says:

    Martez Wilson was the top ILB prospect well before the combine. I even saw one mock draft that has had him as our first round pick for a few weeks now. The thought is that we’d have to move up too far to get Kerrigan, and Clayborn at 20 will be a reach. Wilson is not new to the scene, he’s just coming on the radar for many that haven’t been interested in college prospects or only interested in DE until the combine. Now everyone is hearing his name and thinking he’s “jumping up the boards”, when he was really considered a mid to late first rounder anyway.

  40. lowlife Says:

    Wilson’s all straight line speed and no fluidity, he should be nowhere near a 4-3.

  41. gitarlvr Says:

    Thanks for that lowlife but I think I will stick with some of the other scouting reports I’ve read rather than that incredibly detailed analysis you just shat out. Your screen name is incredibly apropos.

  42. gitarlvr Says:

    Oh btw Lowlife I realize that some scouts are saying that Wilson might be a better 3-4 OLB but some scouts also believe he will be a better 4-3 SAM. This only makes him an even better prospect for the Bucs because they are no longer a straight 4-3 team. In case you didn’t know, and Joe posted an article about it the other day, the Bucs now incorporate 3-4 and 3-3-5 formations into their scheme and so having a linebacker with some 3-4 OLB type ability is something they are extremely interested in. Wilson’s skillset could very valuable in their hybrid scheme.

  43. lowlife Says:

    I knew all of this, thanks for your elaborate explanation.

    I’ve watched Big Ten football for the past decade being an avid Iowa fan, and Wilson never stood out among a mostly talentless Zooker defense. If a 40 is enough to blow your mind, you should stay out of draft talk kid.

    Your jibberish BS of a name fits you as well for the very same reasons.

  44. Capt. Troll killer Tim Says:

    Well, I feel like I’ve made progress. After three months of saying that LB was our second biggest need, sounds like everyone is FINALLY agreeing with that!
    Again, I’d almost bet money on Adrian Clayborn being a Buc. The second round LB I like best will be gone before we get there- Greg Jones. Bruce Carter has had injury issues, but has talent.
    Dom has been quoted several times talking about addressing areas in Free agency- TE and LB specifically. Why everyone keeps crying we won’t sign free agents is a mystery to me. The GM has said it’s in the plans numerous times. Some people love to cry the sky Is falling.
    Dom said he didn’t draft a DE last year, because this class was sooo much better. He might as well take out a billboard announcing he’s after a De! And he’ll get one – in the first round.
    I hope we draft two, and sign a vet. Same with LB. Sean jones is a backup safety- still need a run stopper a there. Think we probably slide Grimm to SS( he used to be a LB!), then install Larty Asante at FS. Still want to see a banger acquired!
    Really, all of our LBs deserve a pink slip. Think that may be the plan. He didn’t sign any of them, so it kinda looks that way.

  45. JDouble Says:

    Moch and Wilson are great athletes with no instincts. Didn’t you people learn anything from Sabby the Goat? We need more football players like Grimm, flashy athletes with no skills.

  46. JDouble Says:

    Next year’s draft is got mad LBs like this year has mad DEs. Reaching for a LB in the second round this year would be stupid.

  47. bucs55 Says:

    I really see pouncy gettin picked by the bucs at 20 they wanna protect freeman plus I don’t see faine been a buc for long as well as Der seems to be a lot of talent that people seem not to be lookin at in the later rounds romeus I think would be a steal in the late rounds as well as Matthews plus the line backer from Washington seems to be a good player as well there so much depth just have to look for it I would say go pouncy or trade out of The first n get more picks

  48. gitarlvr Says:

    Congratulations lowlife your such a draft guru. Can you link to your website Mr. Pro Big Ten scout? You are a pro scout right? You would have to be to be so unbelievably sure that Martez Wilson is incapable of doing anything but running in a straight line. Wonder why your opinion is different from what the other pro scouts think. And who are you calling a kid? Giving yourself the screen name of lowlife seems like the type of thing a high school kid would do. Maybe you should keep your lame one liners out of the draft talk and go finish your homework so that maybe you can grow up to actually be something other than a lowlife.

  49. Hunter Says:

    @JDouble: Exactly right….. Dontay Moch has absolutely no instincts. Can’t teach instincts. That is why Grimm is so good. The Bucs have no chance of signing Moch because we aren’t stupid like other teams. A linebacker we might think about in round 3 or 4 is Lawrence Wilson from Connecticut. Has great instincts and is very fast.

  50. gotbbucs Says:

    gitarlvr, Wilson’s game tape doesn’t match his measurables and 40 time. That’s not to say that he couldn’t be a good football player but it’s something that needs to be taken into consideration. What I try to do is look at these guys through the eyes of mark Dominik. He’s got two draft classes under his belt now and it’s becoming a little easier to see what he’s looking for. We know he likes team captains with alot of experience and he likes football players and not just physical specimens. Picking physical specimens with potential to possibly be coached up is a riskier move than taking a guy that you know understands the game.
    Martez Wilson to me looks like a physical specimen that doesn’t have a firm grip on the game. he takes poor angles and doesn’t do well in running down plays that are away from him. He also loafs it quite a bit in pursuit when he’s got some traffic between he and the ball carrier. In a nutshell, thats’ my take on the guy, and I’m not basing that on any “guru’s” analysis, that’s just what I see on tape.

  51. lowlife Says:

    It’s called having an opinion, kid. If you’re afraid of having your own because of what Todd McFly says on some ESPN segment, then hey your problem not mine. If you have a connect into an NFL College Scouting Department, then good for you, but if you’re just gonna regurgitate what some website junkie said then there’s nothing special about you.

    It’s obvious someone got a little butthurt because of a simple one-liner that didn’t immediately agree with his big blocks of text. Ease up, kid.

  52. oar Says:

    Watchout for Charlie “gitrlvr” Sheen and those “flaming” fists of fury!

  53. JoshBucsFan Says:

    I’m really interested in Sam Acho out of Texas. Not sure where he projects or anything but just from watching the combine the kid looks like a good football player. Just wondering what some of you think about him?

  54. truthfully speaking Says:

    aj hawk

  55. McBuc Says:

    Dave…I agree with the people thnking they know more than the pros…I hate to point it out, but it seems most of the fans say Ruud sucks, but almost every pro says he does a good or better job.