Tampa Bay Buccaneers Ultimate 2014 Draft Primer

Knox Bardeen@knoxbardeenNFC South Lead WriterMay 7, 2014

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Ultimate 2014 Draft Primer

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    The months since the Seattle Seahawks pummeled the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII have been months of healing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    Healing and change.

    After a disastrous 4-12 record, the Bucs fired their general manager and head coach and replaced them with Jason Licht to rebuild the team and Lovie Smith to coach it.

    Licht and Smith were extremely active in free agency.

    Not only did Tampa Bay add 15 new faces, including a new starting quarterback and several other key starters on both sides of the ball, the Bucs handed out $74.3 million in guaranteed money, according to ESPN Stats & Information, far and away the largest amount in the NFL.

    The front office and coaching staff has changed. The new regime was active and did a fantastic job in free agency. And now the Bucs must “win” the 2014 NFL draft if that four-win season from 2013 is going to be placed in the rear-view mirror.

    Here’s what you need to know about the draft, and how the Bucs can set themselves up for a winning season.

2014 Draft Picks

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    • Round 1, Pick 7 (7)                                                       
    • Round 2, Pick 6 (38)     
    • Round 3, Pick 5 (69)     
    • Round 5, Pick 3 (143)
    • Round 6, Pick 9 (185) (The Tampa Bay Buccaneers obtained this pick from the Buffalo Bills in return for wide receiver Mike Williams.) 
    • Round 7, Pick 6 (221)

Position-by-Position Big Board

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    Disclaimer: The big boards are based on players that fit the Bucs from a need and value perspective, i.e. the more players listed, the higher the team need.

    Also, take into account the perceived value and projected selection position. Players listed are done so based on anticipated selection spot (read: Carlos Hyde might be the top running back taken, but the Bucs won’t be grabbing a ball-carrier that high, if at all).




    1. Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M)

    2. Blake Bortles (UCF)

    3. Derek Carr (Fresno State)

    4. Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville)

    5. Jimmy Garoppolo (Eastern Illinois)



    1. Charles Sims (West Virginia)

    2. Storm Johnson (UCF)

    3. Dri Archer, Kent State



    1. Sammy Watkins (Clemson)

    2. Mike Evans (Texas A&M)

    3. Odell Beckham Jr. (LSU)

    4. Cody Latimer (Indiana)

    5. Allen Robinson (Penn State)



    1. C.J. Fiedorowicz (Iowa)

    2. Arthur Lynch (Georgia)

    3. Crockett Gillmore (Colorado State)

    4. Colt Lyerla (Oregon)

    5. Alex Bayer (Bowling Green)



    1. Cyrus Kouandjio (Alabama)

    2. Billy Turner (North Dakota State)

    3. Michael Schofield (Michigan)

    4. Justin Britt (Missouri)

    5. Seantrel Henderson (Miami)



    1. Cyril Richardson (Baylor)

    2. Brandon Thomas (Clemson)

    3. Russell Bodine (North Carolina)

    4. Jon Halapio (Florida)

    5. Anthony Steen (Alabama)



    1. Wesley Johnson (Vanderbilt)

    2. Corey Linsley (Ohio State)

    3. Zac Kerin (Toledo)



    1. Khalil Mack (Buffalo)

    2. Anthony Barr (UCLA)

    3. Dee Ford (Auburn)

    4. Telvin Smith (Florida State)

    5. Trevor Reilly (Utah)



    1. Aaron Donald (Pittsburgh)

    2. RaShede Hageman (Minnesota)

    3. Justin Ellis (Louisiana Tech)



    1. Preston Brown (Louisville)

    2. Lamin Barrow (LSU)

    3. Avery Williamson (Kentucky)



    1. Phillip Gaines (Rice)

    2. Keith McGill (Utah)

    3. Antone Exum (Virginia Tech)



    1. Dion Bailey (USC)

    2. Kenny Ladler (Vanderbilt)

    3. Ed Reynolds (Stanford)



    1. Dezmen Southward (Wisconsin)

    2. Ahmad Dixon (Baylor)

    3. Tre Boston (North Carolina)

Round 1, Pick 7 (7) – Mike Evans, Texas A&M

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    Needs: WR, QB, TE, OL, OLB 

    When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were forced to deal their party-boy, No. 2 wide receiver Mike Williams to the Buffalo Bills, their draft strategy changed a bit.

    Tampa Bay owns the seventh overall pick. Prior to the Williams trade, the Bucs could have gone in the direction of a pass-rusher, a receiver, or even a quarterback of the future. While those options are still on the table, the team's depth chart falls off dramatically at wide receiver after Vincent Jackson.

    The only realistic option is for the Bucs to look at a receiver in the first round.

    Tampa Bay could entertain the notion of trading up a few picks to land the best wide receiver in the draft, Sammy Watkins. But that move could cost too much for a rebuilding franchise.

    The best bet is for Tampa Bay to sit at No. 7 and select Mike Evans, formerly of Texas A&M.

    There’s a drop off from Watkins to Evans, but it isn’t a steep fall. Evans caught 12 touchdown passes last year and racked up 1,394 receiving yards. He’d make a superb No. 2 to Jackson.            

Round 2, Pick 6 (38) – Derek Carr, Fresno State

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    Needs: QB, TE, OL, OLB

    While free-agent addition Josh McCown should be the new quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he’s likely not the long-term option.

    It’s been no secret that new head coach Lovie Smith wants a young quarterback to take McCown’s place relatively soon, and that quarterback won’t be Mike Glennon, whom the Bucs drafted in 2013.

    Former Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr threw for 5,082 yards last year and connected on 50 touchdown passes with only eight picks. His 113 career touchdown passes and only 24 interceptions show Carr is prolific through the air and rarely gets himself into trouble.

    Those are traits for which Tampa Bay quarterbacks haven’t been known of late.

    Also, take into consideration the fact that Carr has a strong personal and professional relationship with new offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford. According to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times, Carr would show up at practices at age six when Tedford coached his older brother David. Tedford took time then to mold the younger brother.

Round 3, Pick 5 (69) – C.J. Fiedorowicz, Iowa

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    Needs: TE, OL, OLB

    The tight end position in the NFL has changed in recent years. Instead of a blocking tool, or a hybrid blocker-receiver, today’s tight end is a pass-catching weapon that offensive coordinators use to slice up defenses.

    The NFC South has two of the best in Jimmy Graham from the New Orleans Saints and Greg Olsen of the Carolina Panthers (Tony Gonzalez just retired from the Atlanta Falcons).

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers would like to see C.J. Fiedorowicz become an offensive weapon just like Graham and Olsen.

    Fiedorowicz caught 30 passes last season at Iowa and scored six touchdowns. He catches everything that’s thrown his way, and has a big frame to target. He’s also a capable blocker, so Fiedorowicz can stay back to protect the quarterback when he’s not out making plays to move the chains.

Round 5, Pick 3 (143) – Devin Street, Pittsburgh

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    Needs: OL, OLB, DL, WR

    To make the offense as prolific as it can be, as quickly as it can be, adding just one receiver won’t be good enough. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers added Mike Evans in the first round and will continue to pile on talent by selecting Devin Street in the fifth round.

    Street is a huge 6’5” receiver who can quickly get down the field and into routes. He has great hands and uses his body well to make sure he’s the only player able to get to the football.

    A starter and captain at Pittsburgh, Street caught 51 passes last season for 854 yards and scored seven touchdowns. He’s got a lot of upside, and when he gets stronger in the NFL, he can easily slide into a No. 3 role.

Round 6, Pick 9 (185) – Devon Kennard, USC

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    Needs: OL, OLB, DL

    Former USC Trojan Devon Kennard has played multiple positions along the defense. He’s played both outside and inside linebacker and at defensive end. Last season, he led the team with nine sacks and added 13.5 tackles for loss (tied for the team lead) to go with his 60 tackles.

    He’s an always-everywhere tackler who can be rangy and alter what a quarterback does when needed. He can also get into coverage.

    Kennard was a team captain, plays with a high football IQ andat 6’3” and 249 poundscan surely help on special teams until he finds his niche in new head coach Lovie Smith's defense.

Round 7, Pick 6 (221) – John Urschel, Penn State

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    Needs: OL, DL

    While there are many more pressing needs for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, adding some depth to the offensive line isn’t a bad idea in the draft.

    Former Penn State offensive guard John Urschel can provide depth, and more.

    Urschel graduated with a 4.0 grade-point average and a math degreeand he also added a master’s degree in math. Learning a play book and negotiating blocking assignments won’t be a problem for the 6’3” guard.

    He also uses his body well and can pull and trap with ease, something guards will be asked to do a lot of in this Tampa Bay offense that features three more-than-capable running backs.

Latest Draft Buzz

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    • Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reported that the Buccaneers are considering taking quarterback Johnny Manziel in the first round.
    • Here's a healthy list of the players who spoke with, visited or worked out for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the months leading up to the NFL draft. (WalterFootball.com)
    • According to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk, rumors are flying about Tampa Bay possibly trading up to the No. 2 spot. But would it be to take Manziel or wide receiver Sammy Watkins?