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

Last-Minute Advice For Cheerleading Hopefuls

Tryouts for the 2013-14 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleaders squad begin on Saturday at 11:00 a.m.  Cathy Boyd, the Buccaneers’ Cheerleading and Mascot Manager has some last-minute advice for those hopefuls who plan to show up for open call at One Buccaneer Place on Saturday morning.

“Make sure you get a good night’s sleep,” said Boyd.  “Wake up and eat a good breakfast to make sure you have enough energy.  Drink some water and just get ready to show up with your “A” game.” Continue reading

List-Makers Take Note of Bucs’ Young Stars

Lavonte David hasn’t been to the Pro Bowl yet.  Doug Martin and Gerald McCoy have been all-stars, but they haven’t hit a quarter-century yet.

Whether they’re under the radar like David or just under 25 like Martin and McCoy, the Buccaneers’ up-and-coming stars are catching notice around the NFL.  That was emphasized once again this week, as USA Today’s Nate Davis named David to his “All-Joe” team and NFL.com’s Elliot Harrison tabbed both Martin and McCoy for his All-Under-25 Team. Continue reading

Point/Counterpoint: Who will be the most coveted player on the NFL’s free agency market this year?

A little less than a year ago, the Buccaneers made the biggest single-day free agency splash in franchise history, immediately snapping the most coveted wide receiver (Vincent Jackson) AND the most coveted offensive lineman (Carl Nicks) off the market, as well as starting-caliber cornerback Eric Wright.  Either Jackson or Nicks might also have been at the top of the overall list of available free agents, though Mario Williams would have been a prime candidate for that spot, too.  Depending upon depth chart needs and specific preferences, some teams might have started their rankings with Brandon Carr, Cortland Finnegan or Matt Flynn.

The Bucs got their men on March 14, while the Bills swiped Williams away from the Texans on the 15th.  Carr went from the Chiefs to the Cowboys on the 14th, the same day Finnegan left the Titans and rejoined Jeff Fisher in St. Louis.  Flynn actually waited until the 18th to pick the Seahawks after leaving Green Bay.  Every year, the players in the most demand seem to make their decisions in the opening hours of free agency, and this time around their agents will have a three-day lead-in period to start negotiations with possible suitors.

Will Tampa once again be the destination for one or more of the top free agents in 2013?  That remains to be seen, though the Bucs definitely have salary cap space to work with if they choose to do so.  That, however, is not the question I present to you, Andrew.

In fact, don’t worry at all about which teams may be wooing the top free agents this year.  Instead of the ‘where,’ let’s debate the ‘who.’  Specifically, who is this year’s Mario Williams or Carl Nicks?  Who is going to have the most passionate suitors, and who is going to ink the biggest deal?

While we’re not worrying about what teams may come calling, let’s do keep the players’ current teams in mind.  Every year, the list of potential free agents looks a lot more appealing in January than it does in March.  Obviously, many teams do their best to re-sign their core players before free agency begins, especially the young ones who are just coming off their initial four or five-year NFL contracts.  That’s an important consideration.  For instance, you could choose Joe Flacco if you like, but I would counter that I strongly believe, one way or another, the Ravens will find a way to keep him around.

In the same vein, you can choose a pending restricted free agent if you like, but I wouldn’t recommend it.  The best players on that list almost never change teams.  So, keeping the likelihood of actually availability on March 12 in mind, answer me this:

Who will be the most coveted player on the NFL’s free agent market this year? Continue reading