Regional Combine Comes to One Buc

The NFL invited approximately 300 prospects to the 2013 Scouting Combine in February, and those young men will make up the vast majority of the 254 players who are drafted this coming April.  However, for some NFL hopefuls, the path to the pros won’t go through Indianapolis.

For the second straight year, the NFL is conducting a series of Regional Combines across the country, allowing some potentially overlooked prospects an opportunity to put their skills on display.  And, for the second straight year, one of those Regional events will be held on the fields behind One Buccaneer Place, the Buccaneers’ headquarters.

The Tampa Regional Combine will be held this Saturday, March 9.  It falls smack dab in the middle of 13 workout dates for position players, plus an additional eight for kickers and punters at overlapping sites.  The series of Combines began in Hawaii on January 25 and have since taken place in Los Angeles, Houston, Cleveland and New York/New Jersey.  Subsequent Regional events will be held in Chicago, Atlanta, Baltimore and Seattle.  More information can be found here, although registration is now closed for all events except the Sunday, March 24 specialists combine in Seattle.

Selected participants in the Regional Combines will be invited to take part in a “Super Regional Combine” on April 7-8 at Cowboys Stadium.  That event will be covered by the NFL Network.  Last year, approximately one-quarter of the players who took part in the Super Regional Combine eventually earned NFL contracts.  While the Regional Combines may not draw a heavy number of NFL team scouts, all 32 teams were represented at last year’s Super Regional.

Polling the Krewe: Turning Attention to Pro Days

NFL teams, managers, coaches and scouts are turning their attention to the next phase before of draft preparation: various college Pro Day workouts.

Pro Days give the college athletes another change to showcase their skills, this time on their own turf. While not quite as compelling as the NFL Scouting Combine, these events are well-attended by NFL teams looking for another glimpse at some of the rookie hopefuls. These individual performances can make up for a lackluster showing at the Combine and help bump names of lesser-known talent higher up the big boards.

As was so eloquently pointed out here, the Buccaneers will be among those in attendance at these college workouts around the country. And there are some big ones that might be drawing more attention based on what experts are saying the Bucs might do come draft day.

So, again, we turn to you. Let us know what you think is the most important college Pro Day for the Buccaneers to be keeping an eye on? The offensive line and defensive back talent in Alabama? A big-name cornerback and pass rush combo at Florida State? The first-round talent at tight end and linebacker up in Notre Dame?

Make your choice in the poll and share your thoughts with us in the comments!

Which is the most important college Pro Day for the Buccaneer scouts to visit in the next six weeks?

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Remember, if you have a question for an upcoming “Point/Counterpoint” debate or a poll that you would like to discuss? Let us know in the comments below!

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

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

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

New Names Crop Up for Bucs on Mock Drafts

A little more than two weeks ago, we took a look at about 10 early versions of 2013 NFL mock drafts we found on-line.  We included one obvious caution: These predictions are almost certain to change – and change again and change again – over the next four months.

And change they have.  On Thursday, the two most prominent NFL draft analysts on NFL.com, Mel Kiper and Todd McShay, posted their latest mock draft versions, and each one came up with a new name to associate with the Buccaneers. Continue reading