NFL Draft 2013: 5 Players Who Should Be on Tampa Bay's Radar
The cupcake matchups are over, and big-time college programs are facing off in big-time games. For NFL fans, this is the best way to see the prospective future of their favorite franchise.
For Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans, this is especially important. Given the youth movement that general manager Mark Dominik started in 2010, and the lack of depth Tampa Bay has shown through two games, the 2013 NFL Draft should have as big of an impact on the franchise as the 2012 class.
At this point, the Buccaneers have six players drafted last year on the active roster, as well as one rookie free agent they acquired after the draft.
College scouting is undoubtedly a priority for the Tampa Bay front office.
Pairing with new head coach Greg Schiano, Dominik proved the team is willing to go after their guys. The Bucs made trades to get into position to draft three starters in Mark Barron, Doug Martin and Lavonte David.
Fortunately, Dominik's maneuvering avoided the loss of any selections from the 2013 draft.
The following players are potential targets for the Buccaneers in next April's draft. They should provide something for Tampa Bay fans to look for on Saturdays in college football.
Barrett Jones, Offensive Line, Alabama
As the anchor of SEC powerhouse Alabama's offensive line, Barrett Jones is one of the most versatile players available in the 2013 draft.
Jones, a fifth-year senior, has played games at all five offensive line positions. While he was a dominant guard in his first two years as a starter, Jones played left tackle last year for the BCS national champions.
He adapted amazingly, becoming a consensus All-American and the Outland Trophy winner as the nation's best lineman.
This year, he is in transition again, moving to center and is the early favorite for the Rimington Award for the nation's best at that position.
With Davin Joseph set to come back from major knee surgery, and Jeremy Trueblood set to be a free agent, Jones would be a perfect fit for Tampa.
Having a player of this caliber, who is NFL ready and can play all five positions would be invaluable.
Jones is expected to be a mid to late first-round pick.
Eric Reid, Safety, LSU
In last year's national championship game, several NFL prospects were on display, including Buccaneers starting safety Mark Barron.
However, even with all of the talent on the field, LSU's Eric Reid stood out as a potential dominant NFL safety.
Reid has the ability to roam the secondary in the mold of Ed Reed, but also possesses the raw strength and size of the late Sean Taylor. Reid, much like Barron, needs to rely less on big hits as he prepares for the next level. But as a true junior, the ceiling for this player is sky high.
Having a replacement for the eventual departure of Ronde Barber would help Tampa Bay take the next step as a defense. The Bucs would love to have two safeties, who can defend and dominate in the run and pass games.
Reid is expected to be an early first-round pick.
Khaseem Greene, Outside Linebacker, Rutgers
One thing Greg Schiano did best at Rutgers was mold raw talent into complete football players.
Khaseem Greene is a perfect example of that.
Greene came to Rutgers as a relatively unknown safety prospect, and was molded by Schiano's staff to become a dominant outside linebacker. He is an All-Big East defender in 2012 and has 10-plus tackles in his last five games.
This is commonplace for Greene after leading the Big East with 141 tackles in 2011.
Greene did, however, suffer a broken leg in last year's bowl game and missed spring practices. He is back at full strength now. In his most recent game against South Florida, Greene led Rutgers with 10 tackles and held the Bulls to 95 total rushing yards.
While linebackers Lavonte David and Mason Foster have excelled in two games under Schiano, Quincy Black has been lackluster at best. Having a third aggressive and quick tackling machine, who can comfortably drop back in coverage, would only help the growth of the Tampa Bay defense.
Greene could be a great value as he is projected to be a third- or fourth-round selection.
Cornellius "Tank" Carradine, Defensive End, Florida State
Any player nicknamed "Tank" has to to be on the radars of NFL teams. Tank Carradine is no exception.
Carradine, a former top-rated junior college prospect, has been thrust into a starting role with Florida State after All-American Brandon Jenkins was lost for the season with a foot injury.
As any 'Noles fan can tell you, this man is crazy good and nearly impossible to block. The Ohio native lives up to his nickname at 6'5" and 287 pounds, and uses every bit of that size to become a dominant pass rusher.
On the opposite side, Bjoern Wener is another All-American and is perhaps the No. 1 defensive end prospect for 2013. With Carradine, the two have caused problems for offensive lines. Against Wake Forest, Werner earned ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week after recording 2.5 sacks and two quarterback pressures.
Through three games, Carradine has been Florida State's leading tackler with 12 on a defense that has allowed just three points through three games.
Whether Tampa Bay re-signs Michael Bennett or not, a player like Carradine would be a great addition to the young Bucs defensive line.
As of right now, Carradine is projected as a third-round selection. That will soon change as everyone will get to see the "Tank" in action Saturday as FSU takes on Clemson on national television.
Bennie Logan, Defensive Tackle, LSU
There is a certain mindset in the NFL that to build a winner, you must bring in players who have winning experience.
Any player on LSU has those experiences, including defensive tackle Bennie Logan.
Logan is in his second year as a starter for the vaunted Tigers defense. If you are a two-year starter for this unit, you can become a productive NFL player.
Logan is known for his motor and work ethic, so much so that he was awarded the No. 18 jersey for 2012. At LSU, this jersey is given to the player who is chosen by the coaches for having the best work ethic on the team. Last year, Chargers safety Brandon Taylor, a third-round pick, wore this honor.
Logan also is known for his strong pass rushing skills and ability to stuff the run. He is quickly becoming a complete defensive tackle. In 2011, Logan recorded 57 tackles in 13 starts, including 6.5 for a loss. He added three sacks.
If the Bucs want to keep progressing toward a dominant defense, they need to build some line depth through the draft.
Logan, who is only a junior, is considered a second- or third-round pick early in the draft process.