NFL Draft 2011: Buccaneers Looking to Replace Aqib Talib?

Dustin HullAnalyst IApril 21, 2011

CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 10: Aqib Talib #25 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers returns an interception against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on October 10, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

A lot has happened with Aqib Talib ever since he entered the NFL in 2008, more of it bad than good.

He failed three drug tests before he was even drafted, raising red flags that the Buccaneers ignored.

After drafting him 20th overall in 2008, Talib got into a fist fight at the Bucs' rookie symposium with former South Carolina running back Cory Boyd.

When he is on the playing field, Talib is one of the best young corners in the game—that's when he's playing and not punching cab drivers on bridges like he did in August of '09, and was later charged with simple battery and resisting arrest without violence.

This landed Talib a one game suspension from Roger Goodell, which many thought might have been too light. But make no mistake, after an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charge in March, the league will come down much harder.

So, the Bucs find themselves in a dilemma, torn between keeping the talented Talib and getting burnt again or getting rid of him and losing his talent.

Either way, the Bucs should definitely look for a corner early in the draft.

With the Talib problems and the fact Ronde Barber is nearing the end of his career, there's good reason to take a replacement for one or the other early.

Unless the Bucs make a big move up in the first round, they won't come close to having a shot at grabbing Patrick Peterson or Prince Amukamara, by far the best two cornerbacks in the draft.

Jimmy Smith, the corner out of Colorado, is first round talent but has attitude issues himself and has already been arrested once when he was in Boulder.

Aaron Williams would be a good pick for the Bucs to get in the second round, but they would presumably have to move up to get him. But Williams is may also be too low in value for the Bucs to take a swipe at him in the first round.

Brandon Harris, the corner from Miami, has all the intangibles Talib lacks and more, but the Bucs may still have to move up 10 or so spots to pick him up.

Harris is a smaller corner, but has good cover skills overall. He is not an elite playmaker at corner, but he's a solid pick in the middle-to-late portion of the second round.

Ras-I Dowling, a Virginia Cavalier like Barber, is another fine choice for the second round. He is close to Harris skill-wise, but the Bucs may not have to move up to get him.

Like Harris, Dowling is considered an outstanding young man, that has superb size and produced well at Virginia. Durability might be an issue though, after having hamstring and knee problems last year and also breaking his left ankle on his way to playing just five games in 2010.

Louisville's Johnny Patrick may be considered at the spot by Tampa Bay, but I think he'll be too far down for the Bucs not to go to another position in the second round if they don't get Dowling.

Curtis Brown, the opposite corner of Williams at Texas, would provide a talented third round pick at corner for the Bucs.

I don't see the Bucs going much lower than the third round without a corner.

Defensive end will likely be the targeted position for the Bucs in the first round, but corner could be next in line. I think if Dowling is there, the Bucs should take a chance, even with his injuries from last season. If they can take a chance like they did on Talib, they most certainly can do it here.

So, will the Bucs allow Talib the chance to stay through another suspension or will they get rid of the potential that has become a problem? If they don't pick up a corner early this year, they'll have to do it next year when Barber retires.

Meanwhile, the wait continues for the man who's name means "The Last One" in Arabic.

Has Aqib Talib played his last one in Tampa Bay?