Time to get down to some serious business. It's T-minus, well, forget that...draft day is here but it's really draft night, isn't it?
Let's not waste a moment; let's get right into this and take a look at what might happen tonight when your Tampa Bay Buccaneers go on the clock with the fifth overall pick in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft.
It All Hinges on Minnesota and Cleveland
You will find out in a hurry how the rest of the NFL values both Trent Richardson and Morris Claiborne. You've heard countless "experts" raving that these are "ELITE" players, you've heard Trent Richardson is the best thing since sliced bread or maybe Adrian Peterson.
You know that Ronde Barber may retire after this season, you know about Aqib Talib and the fact that he has continually failed "Choir Boy 101."
You know how gosh-awful the Bucs defense was last year. You know it, head coach Greg Schiano knows it, adviser Butch Davis knows it, general manager Mark Dominik knows it and, last I checked, my 95-year-old mom knew it too. Everyone knows it.
Which brings us to Minnesota. If either of those players is a "must have" guy for someone, then the Vikings will be flooded with offers. They already have 10 picks in this deep draft, so maybe it's the more the merrier for the Vikings. If there's going to be a trade, it will come here. If not, the Vikings may simply take Morris Claiborne.
Do you expect both Richardson and Claiborne to be gone when the Bucs pick?
Cleveland has to take Trent Richardson. The best way to help a non-franchise quarterback like Colt McCoy is to reduce his passing attempts. Last I checked, I think I still have enough athletic talent left to hand the ball to Richardson. Besides, when the wind blows up there and when the snow falls in the AFC North, Justin Blackmon becomes a non-factor.
Stephon Gilmore over Morris Claiborne?
I love guys who simply say "trade down." Is it as simple as picking someone out and calling them and saying, "Hey, we're trading down with you?" No, it isn't.
You'll find out in a hurry how elite a prospect some teams consider Matt Kalil. The best possibility for the Bucs at this moment is the Buffalo Bills. The Bills are craving a left tackle. The more you think about him, the more you believe that Kalil's stock might be falling.
If the Bills were to call Dominik and offer a third-round pick to swap spots (the Bills are 10th), then that sounds pretty darn good.
The Bucs could get Luke Kuechly there or Stephon Gilmore, who is considered a better corner prospect by some scouts; ProFootballTalk.com has the Bucs taking him at five.
Justin Blackmon, seriously?
Martin Fennelly from the Tampa Tribune is a great guy and a superb columnist, but you certainly wouldn't want him making a pick for the Bucs at No. 5. Why? Fennelly thinks the Bucs should go with Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon.
If there's a good offer, do you expect the Bucs to trade down?
Ready? On the count of one, two, three: "Martin! The Buccaneer defense is HORRIBLE!"
Seriously? Justin Blackmon? I'd take the Floyd kid from Notre Dame over him, in a heartbeat. Seriously? A wide receiver? Heck, with this defense and its inability to stop anyone, not sure Megatron would help. But Blackmon? Let's give Fennelly a big ESPN "Come On Man!"
Gotta Get It Right
The final mantra for this draft is that the Bucs simply must get this one right. They have to.
Don't know about you, but I sense more stability at the top. You never hear a peep from Butch Davis and that's interesting. Greg Schiano's been pretty mum except to say that he wants Aqib Talib to be a Buc this year.
We'll go one farther, Greg: we want Aqib Talib to be a Buc and behave himself if that's possible in our lifetime. And a few interceptions wouldn't hurt either.
Most of all, they have to get this one right.
Excuse me now, but I'm having one of those moments.
I'm thinking about an old friend, an old friend from the first draft I ever covered, the draft I remember most, the man I remember most. The first day I met him when the Bucs flew him in the day after he was drafted, the first time I shook that massive but gentle hand of his.
We were both young and even the blur of youth didn't prevent me from sensing that he was not only a special player, he was a very humble, amazingly special person.
I'm wiping some tears right now, excuse my moment.
But I'm thinking about Lee Roy Selmon.
And I'm thinking how badly we need a man like him on this football team.