Bucs’ Extra Pick in the 125th Overall Range

The complete order for the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft is now in place, with Baltimore’s win in Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday providing the final piece of the puzzle.  The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ spot at #13 wasn’t affected by postseason results, but the finalized list did provide the team with one small piece of information.

Due to their advancement to the AFC Championship Game, coupled with their 12-4 regular-season record, the New England Patriots have drawn the 29th spot in the draft order.  Because they are the only team with that combination of record and advancement in the postseason, the Patriots are in a segment of their own and will pick 29th in each of the seven rounds.

Or rather, that’s where all the Patriots’ picks are slotted.  They won’t actually be executing the 29th pick in the fourth round, however, because the Buccaneers currently own that as their return in November’s trade of Aqib Talib.

Tampa Bay still has its own picks in each of the seven rounds.  As for the Bucs’ draft order, they are in a five-team segment with four other clubs that finished 7-9 in 2012, all picking between 11th and 15th.  After starting at #13 in the first round, the Bucs will rotate up to #12 in Round Two and #11 in Round Three before jumping back to #15 in Round Four.

Owning the 29th pick in the fourth round means the Bucs will have an additional pick somewhere in the 120-130 range overall.  The exact spot won’t be determined until the NFL announces its compensatory picks in March, as those selections begin at the end of the third round.  There are usually very few of these before Round Four, however, and sometimes none, so the current math that puts the 29th pick of the fourth round at #125 overall shouldn’t change much.

Re-Grading Doesn’t Hurt Bucs’ 2012 Draft Mark

The Buccaneers got an “A” from Mel Kiper in April, then backed it up from September through December.

Grading teams on their selections is a time-honored part of the NFL Draft scene, and ESPN.com’s Kiper is the most high-profile professor.  However, even the most prepared draft expert understands that evaluating draft classes immediately after the seventh round ends is a tricky proposition involving a lot of educated guesswork.

For that reason, many draft evaluators eventually return to their grades after a season has been played – or in some cases, several seasons – and offer revised opinions.  Kiper, in fact, did just that on Friday (the link is behind ESPN.com’s Insider subscription wall, so some readers may not be able to access it.)  Continue reading

Point/Counterpoint: Should the Buccaneers go offense or defense in the first round of this year’s draft?

I’m a firm believer that if you aren’t early then you’re late. Reservations, parties, movies, whatever it may be, I’ve got no problem being the first in line. Heck, I showed up three weeks early for my own birth. So, while the 2013 NFL Draft is on April 25th (a mere 92 days from now), I’m all about getting into the art of premature speculation.

The Buccaneers finished out the year in place for the 13th overall selection in the Draft this year. So I vote that this week in Point/Counterpoint we play the role of mock draft expert.

The 2012 season definitely saw a lot of promise for the future of this young Buccaneer team. Franchise records in points and yardage, a number of single-season personal records and three Pro Bowl selections definitely show that this team has a lot of potential to compete for the NFC South title in 2013. But it also gave us a solid glimpse at the needs for this team to take the step to the next level.

We’ll have a clearer picture once we get through free agency and see what the incoming crop of rookies displays throughout the offseason, but for now, let’s take a crack at this NFL Draft question:

Should the Buccaneers devote their first-round pick to offense or defense this year?

Take it away, Scott. Continue reading

2013 NFL Mock Draft Recon: Expert Takes on Buccaneers 13th Overall Pick

We may still have 93 days left until the 2013 Draft, but its never too early for the experts to share their thoughts on the best athletes in college football. The mock draft experts around the NFL are already at it when it comes to predicting what the Buccaneers will be doing with the 13th overall pick in April’s NFL Draft. Of course, none of this reflects the thoughts that are taking place inside One Buc Place.

Surely, much will change in the coming months, but here in mid-January, the experts seemed to have reached a bit of a consensus on this idea: cornerback will be receiving the Bucs’ first phone call on draft weekend.

You may recall that this is not the first time such a consensus has been reached, in very recent memory, which goes to show you that no one is really sure what will transpire on April 25, 2013. In our collection of NFL draft analyst predictions last year, just days before the 2012 NFL Draft, 19 of the 20 experts believed that the Buccaneers would be selecting Morris Claiborne with their fifth overall selection.

Now, eight of the ten experts have once again posted that their prediction lies at the cornerback spot. All three cornerbacks who are commonly expected to fall in the first round are on the prediction short list. Here’s what the NFL.com draft profiles have to say about them: Continue reading

Attention Shifts to Senior Bowl

A little over a year ago, Russell Wilson started for the North team and Brandon Weeden opened for the South as the 61st Senior Bowl was played in Mobile, Alabama.  Weeden and Wilson would end up as first and third-round picks, respectively, in the NFL Draft a few months later, and by the fall the former would be starting for the Cleveland Browns and the latter for the Seattle Seahawks.

In fact, the 2012 Senior Bowl was a pretty remarkable showcase for NFL-ready offensive talent.  Note, for instance, the three quarterbacks that took turns throwing passes for the South team: Weeden, Nick Foles and Ryan Lindley.  All three would end up as starters in the NFL in 2012 (for Cleveland, Philadelphia and Arizona, respectively), and Wilson’s backup on the North team, Kirk Cousins, would get one start in place of his injured Washington Redskins teammate, fellow rookie Robert Griffin III. Continue reading