Tampa Bay drafts 20th overall, and general manager Mark Dominik has had the line in the water since February, when he publicly expressed the Buccaneers might be interested in dealing on draft day.
As the draft board takes shape, we might have better insight into Dominik's thinking. And bet your Barry Sanders rookie card he's not alone in the "trade 'em if you've got 'em" approach.
The depth of the defensive end class and the volatility of other positions creates uncertainty in the draft in the 15-20 range. That's looking like fertile territory for trades, especially if a player the caliber of Da'Quan Bowers slips into the middle of the round. The trickle-down could push other quality defensive ends into the lap of teams that didn't expect to have a shot at players such as Iowa's Adrian Clayborn and Missouri's Aldon Smith.
The chances for a miss in the middle of the first round are considerable. Teams have to shift from expecting instant impact players to drafting intruiging prospects, many of whom have boom-or-bust labels. Here are the recent picks in the 15-20 range:
No. 15 -- MIAMI DOLPHINS own the 15th pick in 2011
2010 Giants Jason Pierre-Paul South Florida
2009 Texans Brian Cushing Southern California
2008 Chiefs *Branden Albert Virginia
2007 Steelers*Lawrence Timmons Florida State
2006 Rams Tye Hill Clemson
2005 Chiefs Derrick Johnson Texas
No. 16 -- JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS own the 16th pick in 2011
2010 Titans Derrick Morgan DE Georgia Tech
2009 ChargersLarry English DE Northern Illinois
2008 CardinalsDominique Rodgers-Cromartie CB Tennessee State
2007 Packers Justin Harrell DT Tennessee
2006 DolphinsJason Allen FS Tennessee
2005 Texans Travis Johnson DT Florida State
No. 17 -- NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
2010 49ers Mike Iupati OG Idaho
2009 BuccaneersJosh Freeman QB Kansas State
2008 Lions Gosder Cherilus OT Boston College
2007 Broncos *Jarvis Moss DE Florida
2006 Vikings Chad Greenway OLB Iowa
2005 Bengals David Pollack DE Georgia
No. 18 -- SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
2010 Steelers Maurkice Pouncey C Florida
2009 Broncos Robert Ayers LB Tennessee
2008 Ravens Joe Flacco QB Delaware
2007 Bengals Leon Hall CB Michigan
2006 Cowboys Bobby Carpenter OLB Ohio State
2005 Vikings Erasmus James DE Wisconsin
No. 19 -- NEW YORK GIANTS
2010 Falcons Sean Weatherspoon OLB Missouri
2009 Eagles Jeremy Maclin WR Missouri
2008 PanthersJeff Otah OT Pittsburgh
2007 Titans Michael Griffin SS Texas
2006 Chargers*Antonio Cromartie CB Florida State
2005 Rams Alex Barron OT Florida State
No. 20 -- TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
2010 Texans Kareem Jackson CB Alabama
2009 Lions Brandon PettigrewTE Oklahoma State
2008 Bucs *Aqib Talib CB Kansas
2007 Giants Aaron Ross CB Texas
2006 Chiefs Tamba Hali DE Penn State
2005 Cowboys Marcus Spears DE LSU
Eight of NFLDraftScout.com's top 19 players are defensive ends or outside linebackers. With teams more likely to fill primary needs in the draft without the benefit of veteran free agency before the draft, one or two could last in the late teens and early 20s.
The Patriots were 30th in the NFL against the pass in 2010 and have a glaring need for a pass rusher. The Giants have nailed the draft more often than not under GM Jerry Reese. But their's is a veteran roster, and with no reason to gamble on a mixed bag at offensive tackle, don't be surprised if they slide back and still find a player with elite physical tools.
Tampa Bay is just one franchise that would have to consider Smith, Clayborn or Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue) while also looking at trade options. The next tier of pass rushers includes five technique Cameron Heyward (Ohio State), Akeem Ayers (UCLA) and Jabaal Sheard (Pitt). The Buccaneers shouldn't be shy of moving to the bottom of the first round or top of the second in the right deal. It's arguable two of their top offensive players, WR Mike Williams (fourth round) and RB LeGarrette Blount (undrafted), were the top "steals" in last year's draft.
Until the Colts at No. 22 overall, there's an argument to be made that the teams drafting in the first round all have a need at defensive end/outside linebacker.
--Jeff Reynolds, NFLDraftScout.com Senior Editor
Dropping DEs could create trade flurry
Posted on: April 5, 2011 1:24 pm
Edited on: April 5, 2011 1:25 pm
Category: NFL Draft