ESPN's Todd Mcshay: Draft Buzz - Bucs have sights set on Johnson
Bucs have sights set on Johnson
By Todd McShay
Speculation about a possible trade between the Lions and Buccaneers seems to grow with each passing day.
The most recent rumblings had Detroit proposing a deal to swap picks in return for DE Simeon Rice, who played under Lions coach Rod Marinelli when Marinelli was Tampa Bay's defensive line coach. Although the conjecture is compelling, the bottom line is that neither team can commit fully to a deal until the Lions go on the clock at approximately 12:15 p.m. ET next Saturday.
For starters, the Bucs are interested in moving up only if Georgia Tech WR Calvin Johnson is on the board at No. 2. Secondly, the Lions would be insane to verbally commit to even a hypothetical deal without spending a few minutes on the clock entertaining other potential deals (possibly from the Redskins or Falcons).
If Calvin Johnson isn't taken No. 1, the Bucs will likely call the Lions about trading up.
With all that said, the best we can do for now is estimate the fallout of a draft-day, pick-for-pick deal. According to the commonly used draft value chart, the difference between pick No. 2 overall (2,600) and pick No. 4 overall (1,800) is 800 points. That means in order to flip-flop choices with the Lions, the Buccaneers likely would need to part with their original second-round (No. 35 overall = 550 points) and third-round selections (No. 68 overall = 250 points). Tampa also owns the Indianapolis Colts' second-round pick (No. 64 overall = 270 points), acquired in exchange for DT Anthony McFarland last October.
In essence, Tampa would be surrendering second- and third-round picks for the right to move up two spots in the first round. If that trade happens, Detroit would be the bigger winner. Don't get me wrong. Johnson is a special talent and could do more for Jon Gruden's offense -- immediately and long-term -- than any other player in this year's draft. But the Bucs have a lot of holes on their roster, especially on their aging defense. And two first-day picks would go a long way toward patching those holes.
Tampa also would be bailing out a Lions team that appears desperate to avoid picking No. 2 overall. Such a deal would allow the Lions to move down two spots, where they could get a better value for Clemson DE Gaines Adams (or Wisconsin OT Joe Thomas). After that pick, Detroit would own four more in the top 68 overall, meaning it could finish Day 1 having landed Adams, Stanford QB Trent Edwards, Michigan ILB David Harris, Cal CB Daymeion Hughes and Delaware TE Ben Patrick. That would have to go down as Matt Millen's best day of work since taking over the general manager post in 2001.
Setting the board
NFL teams are breaking draft meetings and putting the finishing touches on their draft boards. According to the fallout, here's a look at some of the players I project to be over-drafted and under-drafted next weekend.
Five prospects bound to be over-drafted
• QB Brady Quinn, Notre Dame: Quinn is a good prospect, but he's overhyped. His combination of size, intelligence, arm strength and mobility makes him a first-rounder, and he enters the league with tremendous experience and an ideal work ethic. However, his well-documented big-game struggles (2-8 combined in bowl games and contests versus USC and versus Michigan), and his below-average accuracy would be enough to scare me away from drafting Quinn in the top 10.
• RB Antonio Pittman, Ohio State: Pittman is a tough runner for his size, and he gets through the hole with impressive burst. However, his playing weight is barely 200 pounds, and he runs with a narrow base, which means he won't generate as many yards after contact as a good starting running back in the NFL should. In addition, Pittman has marginal experience in the passing game and wanted nothing to do with special teams at Ohio State. His stock soared after running the 40-yard dash in the 4.4-second range at the combine, but I wouldn't be willing to sign off on Pittman any earlier than Round 3.
• RB Chris Henry, Arizona: No player's stock has elevated post-combine as much as Henry's. The 5-foot-11, 230-pound back wowed scouts with his speed and agility during workouts. Since then, it seems everyone is making excuses for his marginal collegiate production. If he's drafted as high as I'm hearing (possibly Round 2), a team will be taking an awfully big risk on a player who lost his job after being suspended for a game in 2006 and finished his final season averaging just 3.5 yards on 165 carries.
• DT Tank Tyler, N.C. State: Tyler projects as a second-round pick, but I would be scared to touch him at any point on Day 1. He has enough size, upper-body strength and quickness to make some noise as a one-gap defensive tackle when he's fresh and motivated to play. However, he's not a wide-base defender who can eat blockers in a two-gap scheme, and he's a limited athlete who won't provide consistent interior pass-rush pressure in the NFL. Furthermore, Tyler comes with some concerning baggage in regards to character and mental capacity.
• PK Mason Crosby, Colorado: Crosby's enormous range on field goals will land him a spot on Day 1, perhaps as high as the second round. The team that pulls the trigger will be assuming a massive risk at that point. Crosby missed 16 of 56 attempts (71 percent accuracy) during his final two seasons at Colorado, and for some reason his explosive leg strength does not always translate to kickoffs.
Five prospects bound to be under-drafted
• WR Dwayne Bowe, LSU: Bowe will not get drafted as high as he should for two reasons. First, his 40-yard dash times at the combine were adequate but not good. Second, this year's class is loaded with talented wide receivers. As far as I'm concerned, Bowe plays faster than his 40 time indicates. He's a solidly built and physical receiver whose hands have markedly improved since he underwent Lasik eye surgery before the 2006 season. Calvin Johnson (Georgia Tech) is in a league of his own, but don't be surprised if Bowe emerges as the second-best pro receiver in this class, even if Ted Ginn Jr. (Ohio State) and Robert Meachem (Tennessee) come off the board before him.
• DE Anthony Spencer, Purdue: There's obviously concern that Spencer is a one-year wonder. He recorded 26.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks as a senior after notching only 17 tackles for loss and 11 sacks in the previous three years combined. My view is that the light finally came on for Spencer in 2006. He has an outstanding combination of speed, athleticism and upper-body power. Spencer is expected to drop to the second round due to the outrageous amount of talent at the defensive end position this year. The team that stops his draft-day slide could end up with the NFL's rookie sack leader in 2007.
• WR Anthony Gonzalez, Ohio State: Ginn Jr. has the speed and flash. He also got more opportunities as the focus of the Buckeyes passing attack. However, when QB Troy Smith was in a bind, he instinctively looked Gonzalez's way, signaling his trust in Ohio State's secondary target. Gonzalez will never be a premier No. 1 receiver in the NFL, but I think he will quickly emerge as a reliable No. 2. That's worth early Round 2 consideration in my book.
• ILB David Harris, Michigan: Harris did not emerge as a starter until his junior season in 2005, which helps explain why he has been such a late-riser in the draft process. He lacks ideal fluidity and still has room to improve in terms of his coverage skills. However, Harris is an instinctive defender with an underrated combination of size, strength, toughness and straight-line speed. This year's inside linebacker class is short on depth, which helps Harris' cause. He's the second-best prospect at the position after Ole Miss' Patrick Willis, and it won't surprise me a bit to hear him compared to DeMeco Ryans (Texans) during the 2007 NFL season.
• CB Daymeion Hughes, Cal: There's no denying that Hughes' 40 times at the combine (high 4.6s, low 4.7s) were atrocious. However, he improved his times at Cal's pro day, and his straight-line speed can be masked if he is used properly at the next level. For a team employing a scheme heavy in Cover 2, Hughes could be a steal in the third or fourth round, where he's currently projected. He is aggressive versus the run and is a natural playmaker who notched 13 interceptions during his last two seasons.
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