How Buccaneers free agent moves affect draft plans

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been one of the most active teams in free agency thus far. But will any of these moves affect their draft strategy?

With the 5th pick the Bucs are likely to target one of the top two players expected to be on the board, Morris Claiborne or Trent Richardson.

Obviously their recent moves won’t affect anything if Richardson is their choice. LeGarrette Blount is still on the roster, but there’s nothing wrong with having two starting-caliber running backs and Richardson is the type of talent that is tough to pass up.

If the Bucs had been entertaining the idea of drafting Claiborne, however, the addition of Eric Wright may lead them in another direction.

By no means should Wright be viewed as an elite cornerback, or even on the same level as Claiborne as an incoming rookie. However, the Bucs gave Wright a substantial five-year contract with $15M guaranteed, indicating that their front office thinks more highly of him than the rest of the league (and definitely more than the fan bases in Cleveland and Detroit).

I certainly wouldn’t endorse passing on Claiborne due to the acquisition of Wright, but it shouldn’t come as a shock if the Bucs now view their cornerback situation as settled – especially if they can talk Ronde Barber into sticking around for another year.

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Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Buccaneers 5 Comments

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Ryan McCrystal

Ryan launched DraftAce in 2004. His Top 100 board is currently ranked 1st out of 20 publications in The Huddle Report's five-year averages. His mock draft is ranked 10th out of 32 competitors.You can also find Ryan's weekly Heisman Predictor series on ESPN Insider every fall.