2011 NFL Draft Reviews, Volume 5 (Raiders, Chargers, Giants, Buccaneers)
By reflecting back on the drafts of all 32 teams, I will look ahead to see how each team’s draft will impact their future, and whether each team maximized their draft this year.
In each draft review, teams will be assessed regarding how well they drafted both on board value and filling team needs, displaying both where teams made great selections and where they made big mistakes.
Now into the second half of the draft board, Volume Five of Eight reviews the drafts of the teams that originally held selections 17 through 20: the Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Oakland Raiders: No First-Round Pick, but Al Davis Still Finds Plenty of Speed
Round 2, Pick 48: Stefen Wisniewski, C, Penn State (28th overall prospect)
The Oakland Raiders had a major need to address the interior line in the 2011 NFL Draft, and selected one of this draft class’s best interior linemen in Stefen Wisniewski. In fact, the best interior lineman of the class, Florida State’s Rodney Hudson, was still available, but Wisniewski was a perfect selection for the Raiders.
Stefen is the nephew of former Raiders great Steve Wisniewski, an eight-time All-Pro guard. It is unlikely Stefen will ever be that caliber of player, but he is a very good interior line prospect who should be the starting center for the Oakland Raiders, but has the versatility to play any of the three positions.
Wisniewski’s value was very good for a second-round selection, as he is an NFL-ready player who will be a big upgrade for a team needing reinforcement to their interior line. Definitely the right choice for the Oakland Raiders.
Round 4, Pick 113: Chimdi Chekwa, CB, Ohio State (46th overall prospect)
Chimdi Chekwa’s stock was undoubtedly hurt by the broken wrist he suffered in the 2011 Sugar Bowl, the final game of his collegiate career. This is very understandable, but Chekwa still should have been selected on Day 2.
Chekwa is a very good technician at the cornerback position with great size, and is very physical. He is somewhat tight in the hips, but has very good athleticism, and should become more fluid with development.
By getting Chimdi Chekwa in the fourth round, the Raiders got a well-rounded talent at the cornerback position who is a Round 2 value, and filled a position of need. Great draft pick.
Round 5, Pick 148: Denarius Moore, WR, Tennessee (81st overall prospect)
Given that he virtually came out of nowhere with a breakthrough senior season and does not have great size, it is understandable that Denarius Moore slid down to the fifth round. Even so, the Oakland Raiders got the final potential No. 1 wideout available in the draft.
Moore has great speed which makes him a real vertical threat, and Moore showed his ability to make big plays and difficult grabs this past season. Being able to add a difference-maker in Moore in the latter rounds of the draft is a big bargain.
Typical Al Davis Picks
Round 3, Pick 81: DeMarcus Van Dyke, CB, Miami (285th overall prospect)
I had to make a special category for the Oakland Raiders’ draft review, and will have to continue to do so for as long as Al Davis continues to be up to his usual tricks. Van Dyke is a very inconsistent player, and was not even a starting cornerback for most of his senior season at The U.
Of course, Van Dyke ran the 40-yard dash in an official time of 4.28 seconds, which was fastest at the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine. As a lover of speed, Raiders owner Al Davis usually finds a way for the Combine’s fastest player to end up on his team, which often means reaching many rounds too early on a speed demon who is not necessarily a great football player. That was certainly the case with Van Dyke this year, a player who should have gone in the late rounds at best, not on Day 2.
Round 4, Pick 125: Taiwan Jones, RB, Eastern Washington (216th overall prospect)
In all fairness, the Oakland Raiders could have done much worse in the fourth round than selecting Taiwan Jones. Jones is coming off of an injury, but he was very productive at the FCS level, and he is a dynamic athlete who can at least be a third-down back and kick returner. Jones has very high upside.
However, in looking for a change-of-pace back, the Raiders would have been better off drafting Pittsburgh’s Dion Lewis, a similar change-of-pace back but a much more polished talent. Jones was drafted simply because his measurables looked most impressive, and that is not how a player should be chosen for selection.
“What The …?” Picks
Round 3, Pick 92: Joseph Barksdale, G, LSU (392nd overall prospect)
The Oakland Raiders traded their second-round selection for the 2012 NFL Draft, along with their seventh-round pick from this draft, for a third-round pick (No. 92 overall) and a fourth-round pick (No. 125 overall) in this year's draft. Certainly, at the cost of a second-round pick, the Oakland Raiders should have had their eyes on great value late in the third round. Instead, the Raiders went with horrible value by drafting Joseph Barksdale, a player who should not have been drafted at all.
Barksdale was a decent left tackle in the Southeastern Conference, but he does not have the feet or the strength to play the position in the National Football League. Barksdale may be able to make it in the National Football League as a guard, or as a versatile backup lineman at the guard and tackle spots. However, he is not a player for whom the Raiders should have traded away a second-round pick to get into the late third round to select him.
Round 6, Pick 181: Richard Gordon, TE, Miami (not in Top 400)
Richard Gordon was a backup tight end at Miami, and there is nothing about him that made him worth drafting. While the Raiders did need to address the tight end position, there will still many legitimate draft prospects available at the position including Nevada’s Virgil Green and Michigan State’s Charlie Gantt. The Raiders should have selected one of those great values at the tight end position, and waited to go after Gordon as an undrafted free agent.
Round 7, Pick 241: David Ausberry, WR, USC (not in Top 400)
David Ausberry has an intriguing combination of size, athleticism, and receiving skill. Unfortunately, Ausberry never made a big on-field impact for the University of Southern California.
He had a decent year as USC’s slot receiver as a senior, but he definitely should have been passed over in favor of one of many better wide receivers who would end up going undrafted such as LSU’s Terrence Toliver, Auburn’s Darvin Adams, or Ohio State’s Dane Sanzenbacher. Selecting a player who never started as his position is a very atypical draft choice, and it was not as though the talent in front of Ausberry was overly great.
The Picks They Traded
Round 1, Pick 17 was traded in September 2009 in exchange for defensive tackle Richard Seymour.
Since this acquisition, Richard Seymour has become the star and leader of the Oakland Raiders defense, and has re-signed to play with the team for two more seasons. Seymour is a very good interior pass rusher who is also very stout against the run, and is coming off of his sixth Pro Bowl selection. While giving up a first-round selection was certainly a steep price, a player of his caliber made the trade worth it.
The Oakland Raiders were the only team among the NFL’s 32 not to have a first-round draft pick this year, as a result of their trade for Richard Seymour in 2009. That trade has worked out well for them, and with their first pick in this draft in the second round, the Raiders took great advantage by getting one of the 32 best players in this draft in Stefen Wisniewski. The Raiders also found two tremendous bargains on Day 3 in Chimdi Chekwa and Denarius Moore.
On the other hand, the Raiders were still up to their old ways, making some ridiculous selections in DeMarcus Van Dyke, Joseph Barksdale, and Taiwan Jones. The Raiders came into the draft with many needs, and addressed a couple of important needs at center and cornerback effectively, but others, including the offensive tackle and quarterback positions, were neglected.
For Raider standards, they had a strong draft, but the five poor selections combined with neglected needs drop the Raiders’ grade to a B-.
San Diego Chargers: Jordan Todman Draft's Big Steal, Jonas Mouton Biggest Reach
Round 6, Pick 183: Jordan Todman, RB, Connecticut (39th overall prospect)
At the start of Day 3 of the 2011 NFL Draft, the highest-ranked player available on the board was Connecticut running back Jordan Todman. For 85 more draft picks, that remained the case, as Todman was surprisingly passed up for more than two full rounds. The Chargers did not have a draft pick in Rounds 4 or 5, but when they finally got on the clock on Day 3, they knew better than to allow Todman to continue sliding, and pounced on what may have been the greatest bargain of the entire draft.
Todman is a well-rounded running back who may not be excellent in any one area but was a very productive collegiate back who should continue to be productive at the next level. Todman is a good athlete, a forward runner, and can handle a bulk of carries if needed. He is not the same type of back as the departed Darren Sproles, so he cannot be considered a replacement for him, but he is a great addition to the Chargers’ backfield who will definitely make an impact offensively.
Round 6, Pick 201: Stephen Schilling, G, Michigan (97th overall prospect)
While so many other guards in the 2011 NFL Draft were overdrafted, Michigan’s Stephen Schilling suffered a surprising slide to the compensatory portion of the sixth round, even though he would have been a solid choice in Rounds 3 or 4.
The Chargers needed depth at the guard position, and got tremendous value by getting the fifth-ranked guard in the draft class after so many other guards had been taken. Schilling is a strong, well-rounded interior lineman who will be a great backup guard for the Chargers, and have the ability to step in and start if needed.
Round 7, Pick 234: Andrew Gachkar, OLB, Missouri (301st overall prospect)
Andrew Gachkar has the blueprint to be a terrific special teams player in the National Football League. He is an instinctive linebacker who tackles very well, but he lacks size and lateral athleticism.
That said, Gachkar has the ability to provide depth as an inside linebacker in the Chargers’ 3-4 defense, while he can play a pivotal role on special teams. A player like Gachkar makes for a valuable seventh-round selection.
Round 1, Pick 18: Corey Liuget, DE, Illinois (30th overall prospect)
Based on what I have seen of the Chargers’ two preseason games prior to writing this, I have trouble criticizing this selection, because Corey Liuget has looked impressive making plays as a defensive end. However, Liuget may not have been the best choice for the Chargers at 18th overall.
Liuget is a talented interior pass rusher who appears to be transitioning well to the 5-technique position, but that is not his natural fit; he is best suited to play at defensive tackle in a 4-3 defense.
That does not make Liuget a bad choice, but the Chargers could have had an even greater talent who is a natural fit as a 5-technique defensive end in California’s Cameron Jordan. Jordan was tremendous value in the second half of the first round, and one of the best players available. Liuget was not a bad choice, but they should not have passed up Jordan, a better value and scheme fit, to select him.
Not the Best Pick
Round 3, Pick 82: Vincent Brown, WR, San Diego State (103rd overall prospect)
Adding another wide receiver was a good move by the San Diego Chargers, but Vincent Brown may not have been the best choice at this spot in the draft. Brown is a very good route runner with great hands, and he was a big playmaker collegiately. However, Brown lacks the speed to be a big playmaker in the National Football League.
He was not necessarily a reach in Round 3, but there were numerous better options at wide receiver available, including Hawaii’s Greg Salas, Troy’s Jerrel Jernigan and Tennessee’s Denarius Moore. Not a bad pick, but not the best pick.
“What The …?” Picks
Round 2, Pick 50: Marcus Gilchrist, CB, Clemson (168th overall prospect)
The Chargers made a number of really peculiar selections on Day 2 of the 2011 NFL Draft, the first of which was Marcus Gilchrist. Gilchrist is a solid cornerback with good athleticism and is solid against the run, and I think Gilchrist can be a solid contributor as a dime back and special teams player. That said, Gilchrist should have been selected in Round 5 or 6, not in the second round.
There was much better value available at the position in Miami cornerback Brandon Harris, who would have been a great value at this point. Gilchrist has the potential to be a decent role player, but he was a massive reach in Round 2, a pick that is difficult to rationalize because Gilchrist lacks the size and pass coverage ability to be a starter at the position, which is expected of a cornerback selected in the second round.
Round 2, Pick 61: Jonas Mouton, OLB, Michigan (315th overall prospect)
While the Chargers may have gotten the greatest bargain in the entire draft as Jordan Todman fell to them in the sixth round, they also made the worst reach of the entire draft by selecting Jonas Mouton in Round 2. I do not completely dislike Mouton as a prospect; he is an instinctive linebacker who flashed NFL potential in his collegiate career. The problem is just that: he only flashed that potential.
Mouton never became a consistently productive linebacker at Michigan, and it is hard to becoming a productive NFL linebacker. He has potential as a special teams player, but he should not have been selected higher than Round 7. For the Chargers to draft Mouton in Round 2 was a drastic reach, for he does not have the talent to ever be productive enough to live up to that draft status. One of the worst selections of the 2011 NFL Draft.
Round 3, Pick 89: Shareece Wright, CB, USC (276th overall prospect)
Adding one cornerback was a good decision for the San Diego Chargers, but they did not have a great enough need at the position to warrant drafting two of them in the first three rounds of the draft. But even if they had, that would not have warranted selecting Shareece Wright in Round 3.
Wright is a hard hitter, but the cornerback position is primarily about a player’s ability in pass coverage, and Wright is weak in that department. Wright is a very inconsistent cover corner who gives up big plays, and while he can make big hits, he is not a sure tackler, missing tackles he should make.
Given all these concerning areas of his game, Wright was worth a Round 7 draft selection based on his upside, but should not have been selected much higher. Selecting him in Round 3 was another terrible reach by the Chargers and another pick they are likely to regret.
The Picks They Traded
Round 4, Pick 115 was traded during the 2010 NFL Draft along with a 2010 Round 6 selection in order to move up 16 spots in the third round to draft inside linebacker Donald Butler.
Giving up a fourth-round selection was quite a steep price for moving sixteen spots in the third round. Donald Butler is a talented run-stopping middle linebacker who could make the trade worth it, but he missed the entirety of his rookie season due to an Achilles injury. I am not sure that Butler was a player worth giving up a fourth-round pick to move up half of the third round for.
Round 5, Pick 149 was traded during the 2010 NFL Draft in order to move up 13 spots in the fifth round to draft defensive tackle Cam Thomas.
Cam Thomas is a solid backup nose tackle who was very good value as a fifth-round selection. However, the Chargers should not have traded two Round 5 picks for another Round 5 pick; that is not a very effective use of value. I cannot blame the Chargers for trading up for Thomas given his value at that point in the draft last year, but they should have given up less than a second fifth-round draft pick.
Round 7, Pick 220 was traded in September 2010 in exchange for wide receiver Patrick Crayton.
Patrick Crayton is a good slot receiver, well worth giving up a seventh-round selection for, so this was a good trade the Chargers made last season.
The San Diego Chargers got a good player in the first round in Corey Liuget, although he may not have been the best selection at 18th overall. However, even though the Chargers had four draft picks on Day 2, as a result of trading Antonio Cromartie and Charlie Whitehurst prior to last season, they may have had the worst Friday night of any of the NFL’s 32 teams during the draft, making three very poor selections and another questionable decision. They got four players on that day, but the notion that any of them will be impact players in the National Football League seems unlikely.
The Chargers did not have a fourth- or fifth-round selection, but they did get the absolute bargain of the draft in Jordan Todman. The Chargers addressed needs at defensive end, wide receiver, guard, and running back, but while the Chargers’ late bargains made the end of their draft class look really good, the team’s horrendous picks on Day 2 diminish their draft grade to a C-.
New York Giants: No. 19 Pick Prince Amukamara, Second-Best Prospect of Draft Class
Round 1, Pick 19: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska (2nd overall prospect)
Patrick Peterson got all the buzz leading up to the 2011 NFL Draft, but in actuality, the best cornerback in the draft class is Prince Amukamara. Amukamara is one of the absolute best talents in the 2011 NFL Draft, and would have been well worth a top-five draft choice.
The New York Giants did not necessarily have a need at the cornerback position, but with Amukamara still on the board at 19th overall, his value was much too good to pass up. Amukamara was a dominant cornerback at Nebraska, and has the ability to be a shutdown corner in the National Football League. Amukamara is a very good athlete who can lock down any wide receiver who he has to go up against, using his size, speed, and physicality.
Unfortunately, Amukamara suffered a major setback just days after signing with the New York Giants this offseason, breaking his foot, which has him sidelined for much of his rookie season. However, when Amukamara returns to the Giants’ secondary, he should instantly become an impact player and make the Giants’ vaunted defense better.
Round 6, Pick 185: Greg Jones, ILB, Michigan State (47th overall prospect)
It was surprising that Greg Jones was still available at the start of Day 3, let alone to still be available in the middle of Round 6. At this point in the draft, the Giants got a tremendous bargain in Jones. He may be undersized for a middle linebacker, and lack great athleticism, but he was very productive throughout his four-year career at Michigan State, and one of the best linebackers in the NCAA over the past two years.
Jones should compete for playing time at the middle linebacker position, while also be a major contributor on special teams. Great value.
Round 6, Pick 198: Tyler Sash, SS, Iowa (68th overall prospect)
Another player whose slide to the sixth round was Tyler Sash. Sash is another player who likely slipped due to sub-par measurables, but Sash is a very talented defensive back whose instinctiveness, playmaking ability, and versatility made him worthy of a Round 3 selection.
Sash is good both in coverage and against the run. He is tremendous value in the sixth round, and should contribute as a backup safety and as a special teams stalwart.
Round 7, Pick 221: Da’Rel Scott, RB, Maryland (102nd overall prospect)
Da’Rel Scott is one of the fastest running backs in the 2011 NFL Draft class, but he is more than simply a speed threat. Scott has good size for the position, and he is an aggressive runner who is unafraid to take on tacklers, and has solid power as well.
Scott can be a big playmaker, and I expected that he would be selected in Round 4. Instead, Scott fell all the way to Round 7, where the Giants got a tremendous bargain. Adding Scott to an already talented group of running backs only makes the Giants’ running game stronger, and adding Scott as a big-play threat could be very beneficial.
Round 2, Pick 52: Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina (43rd overall prospect)
The Giants are always looking to strengthen their powerful defensive line, and got great value to do so again with the second-round selection of Marvin Austin. Austin was suspended for all of last season, and he has faced questions about his maturity and work ethic, but he has the potential to be a dominant defensive tackle, and adds another playmaker to an already terrific Giants defensive line.
Austin was well worth taking a chance on in Round 2 given his high upside, and could end up being another steal in this draft class.
Round 3, Pick 83: Jerrel Jernigan, WR, Troy (89th overall prospect)
The Giants were in the market for a slot receiver, and Jerrel Jernigan is a very intriguing prospect at that position. Jernigan is small, but he is a tremendous athlete with great speed, agility, and playmaking ability. Jernigan has the potential to be a very dangerous playmaker as both a slot receiver and punt returner, and was a quality selection in Round 3.
Not the Best Pick
Round 4, Pick 117: James Brewer, OT, Indiana (302nd overall prospect)
James Brewer was a definite reach in Round 4. He projects as a right tackle in the National Football League, and is unlikely to be a starting-caliber lineman, which makes him a backup right tackle who lacks versatility—not a very valuable role in the National Football League.
However, Brewer does have upside as an offensive lineman to some extent, and he is massive and very strong. The Giants needed to add some youth on the offensive line in this draft, and most of the top offensive tackles were already off of the board.
There were still better options available in Pittsburgh’s Jason Pinkston, Arkansas State’s Derek Newton, and Clemson’s Chris Hairston, so this was certainly not the best pick. However, the Giants stay away from some criticism on this reach, given the many offensive tackles already off of the board prior to this choice.
“What The …?” Picks
Round 6, Pick 202: Jacquian Williams, OLB, South Florida (not in Top 400)
Jacquian Williams was not a big-impact player at South Florida, and is not going to be in the National Football League either. He has some potential on special teams, but Williams should have been an undrafted free agent, who the Giants could have pursued there. The Giants should have used this selection to address their need at the tight end position by attaining good value in Nevada’s Virgil Green or Michigan State’s Charlie Gantt.
The Picks They Traded
Round 5, Pick 150 was traded in September 2010 in exchange for quarterback Sage Rosenfels and wide receiver Darius Reynaud.
Sage Rosenfels is a decent backup quarterback, while Darius Reynaud has yet to make any impact in the National Football League. Reynaud has upside as a kick and punt returner, and possibly as a slot receiver, but with the aforementioned selection of Jernigan, Reynaud is a long shot to make the Giants’ roster this season. Even so, this pick did not go to waste, for Rosenfels provides depth behind Eli Manning at quarterback.
The New York Giants draft on the philosophy of value over need, a strategy that has played out well for them in recent years. They certainly employed the strategy tremendously in the 2011 NFL Draft, starting off by getting Prince Amukamara, the second-best prospect in the entire draft class, in the second half of Round 1.
On Day 2, the Giants came up with two quality selections in Marvin Austin and Jerrel Jernigan, both of whom were good values where they were selected, and are potential impact players. Then on Day 3, the Giants continued to find tremendous value, getting three fantastic bargains in Greg Jones, Tyler Sash, and Da’Rel Scott, all in the final two rounds of the draft. The Giants did fail to address their most important need, the tight end position, but their many fantastic picks make up for that. The Giants grade out with an A.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Adrian Clayborn, Da'Quan Bowers Complete Rebuilt D-Line
Round 2, Pick 51: Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson (12th overall prospect)
Da’Quan Bowers is absolutely one of the most talented players in the 2011 NFL Draft. Bowers is a very talented pass-rushing defensive end. Bowers led the NCAA last season with 15.5 sacks. He was one of the most dominant defensive players in the entire nation.
That leaves to wonder, how did Da’Quan Bowers manage to fall out of the top 50 selections of the 2011 NFL Draft? Bowers has problematic knees, and had microfracture surgery after the end of last season. This created a serious medical red flag, causing many teams to avoid drafting him. Additionally, while Bowers dominated offensive linemen with his size and athleticism at the collegiate level, his pass-rushing technique is not refined and he needs to develop as a run stopper.
Even with these concerns, I still ranked Bowers as the 12th-best prospect in the Draft. Bowers has enormous upside, and was the best defensive end in the nation in his junior season. Had it not been for his injuries, Bowers certainly would have been a first-round selection, and by getting him 51st overall, the Buccaneers got an absolute bargain, and a player who should be able to make a big impact on their defensive front.
Round 3, Pick 84: Mason Foster, ILB, Washington (45th overall prospect)
It came as a real surprise that Mason Foster fell to the middle of Round 3, where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers capitalized on another great bargain.
Foster was one of the NCAA’s leading tacklers in his senior season at Washington. He is a very instinctive linebacker who is always around the ball, tackles with authority and is athletic. Foster is expected to start at middle linebacker as a rookie, but has the versatility to play both inside and outside. He should become a cornerstone of the Buccaneers defense.
Round 1, Pick 20: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa (27th overall prospect)
After using both their first- and second-round draft picks last year on defensive tackles, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did the same thing with two defensive ends this year, completing a full revamp of the defensive line in two years of drafting. Before the Buccaneers drafted Bowers in Round 2, they selected Adrian Clayborn in Round 1.
Clayborn had a disappointing senior season, never breaking out to be the star he was supposed to be, but he is a very solid defensive end who has the skills to be a very good starter in the National Football League. Clayborn is big, strong, a solid pass rusher, and very tough against the run. While Clayborn may never be a star pass rusher, he is a three-down player, making him worthy of selection in the second half of Round 1. Given the Buccaneers’ need of a defensive end, this was a solid selection.
Round 4, Pick 104: Luke Stocker, TE, Tennessee (51st overall prospect)
Getting Luke Stocker on Day 3 was certainly a bargain for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Stocker has a tremendous combination of size and speed, and is both a big receiving threat and a very good in-line blocker.
However, Stocker never quite lived up to his ability during his collegiate years, and his lack of productivity likely caused his drop to Round 4. Even so, Stocker’s upside made him worthy a Round 2 draft selection.
What prevents this selection from being considered a great bargain is that in order to move up just 12 spots in the fourth round to select Stocker, the Buccaneers traded their fourth-round pick in next year’s draft. This was a steep price to pay, even if it was for a second-round talent still on the board. Given that Stocker’s value was great in the fourth round, I do not have too much criticism of this trade, but it does really diminish the value of the selection.
Round 5, Pick 151: Ahmad Black, SS, Florida (185th overall prospect)
Black was a big playmaker in the secondary at Florida. He tackles well, has good instincts, and has very good ball skills. So what is the problem with Black as a Round 5 selection?
Ahmad Black is small and slow, which is a very bad combination for a strong safety. That said, Black is a good football player who I think can find a way to contribute on special teams in the National Football League. However, his lack of size and speed should prevent him from being an effective defensive back, so he should not have been selected above Round 6.
I think Black can contribute somehow given his playmaking ability and work ethic, so this pick is not all bad, but the Buccaneers definitely could have done better.
Not the Best Pick
Round 6, Pick 187: Allen Bradford, RB, USC (not in Top 400)
Tampa Bay needed to add another running back, but Allen Bradford was not the best choice in Round 6. Bradford has potential, but never received a great load of carries or was overly productive at USC. His lack of productivity should have kept him from being a sixth-round pick. Meanwhile, a fantastic value at running back, Maryland’s Da’Rel Scott, was still available.
Round 7, Pick 222: Anthony Gaitor, CB, Florida International (385th overall prospect)
Anthony Gaitor is a decent cornerback, but like the aforementioned Ahmad Black, he is a small defensive back who lacks athleticism. Granted, the same could be said about the best cornerback on the board, North Carolina’s Kendric Burney, but Gaitor does not have nearly the skill set of Burney, whose physicality and instincts would have made him a perfect fit for the Buccaneers’ Cover 2 defense. Gaitor may be able to contribute as a dime back and special teamer, but the Buccaneers should have gone with better value, and tried to get Gaitor as an undrafted free agent.
Round 7, Pick 238: Daniel Hardy, TE, Idaho (367th overall prospect)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers did not need to draft another tight end having already selected Luke Stocker in Round 4, and there were better tight ends available at this point. Hardy is a solid blocking tight end with good hands, but there were better tight ends still available who fit that same bill in Michigan State’s Charlie Gantt and Purude’s Kyle Adams. Not the best pick at this point.
The Picks They Traded
Round 6, Pick 184 was traded in March 2010 in exchange for wide receiver Reggie Brown.
Reggie Brown failed to make the Buccaneers’ 53-man roster last year, so he never played for the team at all, making this a complete waste of a draft pick. Brown’s NFL career can be presumed over, as he has not signed with another team since.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have clearly emphasized rebuilding their past defensive line over the past two drafts, and did a great job upgrading at the defensive end position by using their first two picks of the 2011 NFL Draft on Adrian Clayborn and Da’Quan Bowers, two of the best defensive ends in the class.
In the next two rounds, the Buccaneers added two second-round value talents in Mason Foster and Luke Stocker, both whom they got at bargain rates, although they did give up two fourth-round picks just to get Stocker. From that point on, the Buccaneers’ drafting became suspect, and they failed to address needs on the offensive line, but the Buccaneers’ first four picks should make for a great draft class. The Buccaneers grade out with an A-.