Scouts Ready to Crisscross Nation for Pro Days

The annual NFL Scouting Combine is seven days of nearly nonstop work for team scouts, but it does have one major advantage: It’s all held in one place.

That’s the point of the Combine, of course.  Approximately 300 draft-eligible prospects come to Indianapolis every winter in order to take part in workouts, interviews, medical examinations and cognitive tests in front of a whole league’s worth of scouts, general managers, coaches and other personnel evaluators.  It’s convenient, if fast-paced.

That weeklong event usually takes up roughly the last week of February.  In March and April, the entire scouting dynamic is reversed.  Now it’s time for the scouts to hit the road, and they’ll be flying all across the nation for the next seven weeks or so.  The Combine is over; now it’s time for Pro Days. Continue reading

Point/Counterpoint: Good and Bad Fits at the Combine

The NFL world has been abuzz with the Scouting Combine for the last week or so as collegiate stars roll into Indianapolis to take their turn through the examination, interview and workout process.

As we count down to the NFL Draft in April, everything is still all up in the air and up for debate. Even on draft day, the experts’ big boards and draft predictions will be shuffling and changing with new information and developments. But at least with the Combine nearly behind us, we are one step closer to knowing the newest Buccaneers in 2013.

From 40 times and 3-cone shuffles, interviews and team needs, let’s go ahead and take a look at few of the incoming rookies who have been making some waves this week in Indy. We’ll take less of a point/counterpoint stance, and instead pose the question “Good Fit/Bad Fit” trying to see which rookies could make the biggest impact on the 2013 Bucs season.

I’ll let you have the floor first. Go ahead and name a prospect and let’s see how you think they’ll mesh (or not mesh) with the 2013 Buccaneers. Continue reading

15 Critical Minutes: How Lavonte David Moved Up the Bucs’ Draft Board

Yesterday, we pointed out that Lavonte David was one of the eventual 2012 Buccaneer draft picks who fared well in his on-field work at last year’s Scouting Combine.  David turned in the seventh-fastest time among the linebackers in the 40-yard dash, but those 4.65 seconds weren’t nearly as important as the 15 minutes he spent with the Buccaneers the night before.

Buccaneers General Manager Mark Dominik says it every year: The most useful part of the week in Indianapolis is the sit-down interviews the team conducts with 60 or so prospects during the evenings.  There is plenty of game tape available to assess a player’s athletic talents, and the 40-yard dashes will be repeated at his college’s Pro Day anyway.  There are only limited opportunities, however, to try to get a glimpse inside a player’s mind. Continue reading

Combine Confirmation

Perhaps trying to beat back the ghosts of Mike Mamula and Matt Jones, most NFL GMs will downplay the importance of the on-field workouts at the NFL Scouting Combine.  No one wants to be overwhelmed by a “workout warrior,” or to be making radical moves on their draft board based on a couple 40-yard-dash times and vertical leaps.

Rather, the medical examinations and closed-door interviews rank highest on most teams to-do lists while in Indianapolis.  The results from the field are often said to “confirm” the athletic picture a team already has on any given prospect.  Continue reading

13-43-73

We have known since the end of the 2012 season that the Buccaneers would pick 13th in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft (barring any trades, of course).  Now we can tell you exactly where each of Tampa Bay’s first three picks will fall.

The Buccaneers’ pick in the second round will be #43 overall.  Their pick in the third round will be #73.  Beyond that, things are still a little up in the air due to the compensatory selections that will be added at the end of each round from the third stanza on. Continue reading

New, Returning Coaches Mesh Together Well

There are five new coaches on Greg Schiano’s staff this year, as well as three returning assistants whose positions have been redefined.  That’s a middling amount of turnover just one year after Schiano’s first staff was put together, but the transition should be smooth.

That’s the expectation for several reasons.  For one things, Schiano and some of his staff already have strong ties with several of the newcomers.  In addition, the slight redistribution of responsibilities has created situations in which the new and returning coaches can work together for the players’ benefit. Continue reading

Point/Counterpoint: How Would an All-Buc Draft Play Out?

The NFL Draft is still two months away.  Your fantasy football drafts even longer.  Maybe you pass the time in March with a fantasy baseball draft or too, but we all know that’s not the same thing.

Here at the CB, we’re jonesin’ for some draftin’ right now, so we came up with this idea: What if two G.M.s were to split the current Buc roster in two by holding a back-and-forth draft of the 60 or so available players?  Who would be the most coveted player?  How would the two G.M.’s go about building a foundation for the future?

Let’s not speculate; let’s do it.  You and me, Andrew.

Here are the ground rules: Continue reading

Kickers, OL, Tight Ends Lead Indy Parade

NFL team scouts, coaches and decision-makers arrived in Indy en masse on Tuesday, ready to set up shop for a week at the Scouting Combine.  Now they eagerly await the first wave of players.  As always, that will be some specialists and some big men.

The combine lasts seven days but is essentially a four-by-four grid.  There are four different starting points in the week for the various position groups, and each group runs through a four-day schedule of activities.  As Buccaneers.com noted on Sunday, those four days per group break down like this: Continue reading

Poppin’ Tags: Monday First Day for Franchise Designation

A year ago, the Buccaneers used their available franchise tag on sure-footed kicker Connor Barth, who later signed a four-year contract with the team through the 2015 season.  That marked the first time the Buccaneers had used their franchise tag since 2009, when they kept wide receiver Antonio Bryant around for one more year after his enormous 2008 comeback season.

The sequence of events worked out well for both the player and the team last year.  Barth got the multi-year security he surely desired, and the Buccaneers were able to negotiate with their kicker without too much fear of losing him in 2012. Continue reading

Surprising Blank in Mock Drafts

The Buccaneers are obviously happy they drafted Boise State’s Doug Martin at the end of the first round of last year’s draft, given that Martin went on to produce the third-highest yards-from-scrimmage total by a rookie in NFL history.  Tampa Bay’s scouting was good and, as it turns out, its timing was even better.

If the Buccaneers were looking for a top-tier running back in this year’s draft, they might be in trouble.  The Bucs are scheduled to pick 13th in the first round, and 12th in the second – remember, it took a trade up from the top of the second to the bottom of the first to land Martin – and that certainly doesn’t appear to be running back territory in 2013. Continue reading