2011 NFL Draft Results: Tampa Bay Buccaneers News, Grades and Repercussions
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers entered the 2011 NFL Draft looking for help at defensive end. They weren't satisfied with the lack of pass rush. With the 20th overall pick, the Bucs were hoping to land one of several defensive end prospects.
Among those prospects were Da'Quan Bowers and Adrian Clayborn. Tampa Bay ended up with both.
After the Bucs drafted Clayborn 20th overall, Bowers continued to slide until he ended up with Tampa Bay at pick 51 in the second round. Both come with medical questions that could limit their careers in the NFL. The Buccaneers weren't scared off by this and drafted both.
The draft didn't end there for Tampa Bay. Needs in the secondary and the backfield were addressed with late picks. They got a solid linebacker in the third round when they picked Mason Foster.
There is a great uncertainty surrounding how to grade Tampa Bay's draft. There is great promise balanced on the possibility of great disappointment.
Here is the news and reaction surrounding Tampa Bay's draft.
2011 NFL Draft: Bowers offers great upside and high bust potential:
Da'Quan Bowers just kept sliding and sliding in the 2011 NFL Draft. Once expected to be the first overall selection, Bowers return from a knee surgery didn't go well and team after team passed on him until the Tampa Bay Buccaneers picked him 51st overall in the second round.
Bowers tore his meniscus and his pro day after surgery didn't impress scouts. Several teams took him off their draft board as he began being labeled a "one contract" player. Tampa Bay general manager Mark Dominik told Jim Corbett of USA Today that he doesn't really care about all that.
The Bucs see Bowers for the explosive pass rusher that he proved to be in college. Even if the knee can't hold up for several years, the team is willing to live with what production Bowers can provide. Of course, they hope he becomes a dynamic defensive end that wreaks havoc on quarterbacks for years to come.
2011 NFL Draft: Tampa Bay failed to address need at corner in draft:
With Ronde Barber nearing the end of his career and Aqib Talib in the midst of legal troubles that could land him in prison and will no doubt earn him a suspension, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a need at corner.
But the team opted not to address that need in the 2011 NFL Draft. Todd McShay of ESPN points out that the Bucs missed a good opportunity to pick up Ohio State corner Chimdi Chekwa in the fourth round when they instead picked tight end Luke Stocker.
Deciding between Stocker and Chekwa comes down to value versus need. Stocker shouldn't have still been on the board that late, so Tampa Bay moved up and grabbed him. In doing so, it failed to address a need.
Chekwa is a speedy corner with loads of experience as a starter in a premier conference. He has fairly high floor, but it's not far below his ceiling. Tampa Bay opted to pick a player with great upside even if he plays a position already satisfied.
2011 NFL Draft: Bucs hope Bradford can help LeGarrette Blount in running game:
LeGarrette Blount can't do it all himself for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The undrafted free agent rookie rushed for more than 1,000 yards in 2010 after the Bucs cherry picked him from Tennessee's cut list.
But Cadillac Williams isn't still a great complement. The Bucs needed to find help for Blount in the backfield. The drafted Allen Bradford out of Southern Cal in the sixth round. NFL.com notices great similarity between Blount and Bradford.
Bradford was a bruiser for the Trojans, posting a 600-yard season in 2009 and a 700-yard season in 2010. Usually NFL teams like to have variety in their backfield. They want a bruiser and a shifty speedster. If they have a third back it's a pass blocker that can slip out of the backfield for receptions.
Bradford likely isn't the end of Tampa Bay's running back acquisitions. Just as they found Blount after the draft, they could go after a Noel Devine to add speed or a John Clay to add more beef.
2011 NFL Draft: Bucs are getting good grades for their draft:
There are two sides to Da'Quan Bowers sliding from once being the No. 1 overall prospect to being selected 51st overall. The positive is that he offers the potential of great value to the Buccaneers. The negative is that his surgically repaired knee scared most of the league enough to pass on him not once but twice.
Adrian Clayborn suffers from Erb's palsy from a broken collarbone suffered in birth that limits his upper body strength. It had several teams weary of picking him.
Because of these questions, it's extremely difficult to grade the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' draft. What we do know is that both offer great potential at a position of great need. We know that Mason Foster was a smart pick even if he doesn't offer tremendous value or upside. We know Luke Stocker offers great value. Ahmad Black was a good pick in the fifth round.
On the other hand, the team didn't address corner until the seventh round and never drafted to help the offensive line.
All said, Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN gave the team a B+ for its draft, among his highest graded teams. Kipers states that the front seven should be very satisfying.
With Gerald McCoy and Brian Price—the team's first two picks in the 2010 NFL Draft—at tackle and Bowers and Clayborn at end, the Bucs could have one of the best and youngest defensive lines in the NFL.
2011 NFL Draft: Tampa Bay gets tight end at great value:
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers wanted to find some help for Mike Williams at wide receiver in the 2011 NFL Draft. They didn't do so, but they may have found help in the passing game in another way. They traded up in the fourth round to get Tennessee tight end Luke Stocker.
Stocker was on coach Raheem Morris' radar from the start, reports NFL.com reports. He was very happy to see him slide to the fourth round. Stocker was getting graded by many scouts as the top tight end in the draft and was expected to be off the board in the second round.
Four tight ends ended up being taken before Stocker and Tampa Bay pounced. With Stocker, tight end Kellen Winslow and a healthy Arrelious Benn at wideout, Williams should have capable help in the receiving corps.
The Bucs could still look to free agency to find more help but can be fairly content after stealing Stocker.