Arrelious Benn

2010 Draft Grades: Bucs

The Bucs needed to find a number of immediate impact players in this year’s draft, and I think they did a great job finding players that fit their system and could play a role from day one.

Gerald McCoy was the obvious choice in the 1st round. He’s a dominant penetrating tackle and can wreak havoc in the backfield. Few interior linemen have entered the NFL with his ability to take over a game. He can be overaggressive at times, which is a big reason why Ndamukong Suh was viewed as the better prospect, but McCoy is a smart kid and should only get better as he develops.

I was surprised to see them take another defensive tackle in the 2nd round, but I actually like the selection of Brian Price. He’s a perfect compliment to McCoy, and the two of them could make a significant impact immediately. I really like that they’re starting this rebuilding process on defense up front. I strongly believe that building from the interior line on out is the way to go.

The Bucs interest in Arrelious Benn was obvious entering the draft and he’s a perfect fit. He has all the tools to be a number one receiver. They’ll groom him as Josh Freeman’s go-to target. I only hope they don’t ruin his development by asking him to do too much early on. He already looks like the obvious choice to be their No. 1 receiver, which is a lot to ask of a rookie.

I think they reached for Myron Lewis. I don’t think he has the skills to be a great cornerback and would have rather seen a team draft him and move him to safety. Additionally, I think safety is a bigger need for the Bucs. Morgan Burnett, Major Wright and Chad Jones were all on the board and I think all three will have much better careers than Lewis.

Mike Williams is a huge risk, even in the 4th round. He has the skills to be an elite receiver, but there’s just so many questions regarding his departure from Syracuse. I would have rather seen him land on a team with more of a veteran presence in the locker room, especially at receiver. He could develop into a steal, but its a risk.

I don’t like taking punters before the 7th round at the earliest, so I’m not crazy about the selection of Brent Bowden. He’ll be their starter as a rookie, but I don’t think he’s any better than four or five others that went undrafted. This pick could have been better spent on another position player.

Cody Grimm is a great 7th-round pick. His upside is very limited, but he’s a hard worker and should be a beast on special teams. He’s one of those guys that will have a long career simply because he does all the little things and coaches love having him around.

Dekoda Watson fell a lot further than I expected. His talent level is far above that of your typical 7th-round pick, but he just wasn’t able to perform consistently at Florida State. The Bucs don’t have a strong group of linebackers, and he could compete for playing time in a backup role.

Erik Lorig is a solid 7th round pick. He doesn’t have a lot of upside but he’ll compete for a roster spot. He’s a tough, physical lineman that excels against the run. He isn’t starter material, but has the size and strength to potential stick around as a backup.

Overall, the Bucs did a great job finding multiple players that can start and make an impact immediate. If things go as planned, they’ll have four players – McCoy, Price, Benn and Williams – all starting as rookies. That’s a recipe for disaster as far as the Bucs 2010 season is concerned, but in the long run this draft could be exactly what they needed to turn the franchise around.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Buccaneers, Draft Grades - 2010 Comments Off

Rams Should Target a WR in the 2nd Round

Between now and the NFL Draft, we will run a series of articles analyzing each team’s needs using stats provided by ProFootballFocus.com

ramsThe Rams obviously have more than a few needs to address this offseason. I’m sure I and everyone else covering the NFL Draft will spend more than enough time analyzing their decision with the No. 1 overall selection, so for this feature I’d like to focus on their need for a No. 1 receiver.

In 2007 the Rams inexplicably made Donnie Avery the first wide receiver chosen in that year’s draft. It was a decision that ranks among the more underrated draft blunders of all time. Since it happened in the early 2nd round the baffling decision didn’t get nearly the attention it deserved. It wasn’t the greatest draft for receivers, but wouldn’t DeSean Jackson look good in a Rams uniform right about now?

Two years later the Rams are left with a depleted receiving corps and nothing resembling a No. 1 receiver. For all intents and purposes Avery was their go-to-guy, but at 5’11″, 186 pounds he just isn’t cut out for the role.

Among receivers that were targeted as least 90 times this season, only the Lions’ Calvin Johnson and the Raiders’ Louis Murphy caught a fewer percentage of balls thrown their way.

lowestcatchpct

On the surface, the one thing that these three receivers have in common is poor quarterback play. Its fair to say that each of these players would have an increased catch percentage had they played in Indianapolis or New England. In Avery’s case, however, much of the blame has to fall on his shoulders.

Arizona Cardinals v St. Louis RamsIts tough to grade Avery in games quarterbacked by Kyle Boller or Keith Null, but Avery wasn’t any better with Marc Bulger throwing him the football. In games started by Bulger, Avery caught just 27 of 51 balls thrown his direction (52.9 pct).

To be fair, Avery should never have been put in this position. As I mentioned, this was a hole the Rams dug for themselves. Each of their top three receivers – Avery, Brandon Gibson and Danny Amendola – are 6’0″ or shorter. Rams quarterbacks need a big receiver that can go up and make plays. Smaller receivers rely on their speed and route running ability to get open and only the elite can be truly effective week-in and week-out with that skill set.

So how does this apply to the Rams draft?

In the second round there should be a number of receivers that would fit perfectly into the Rams offseason. In my current mock draft I have the Rams selecting Arrelious Benn. Benn is 6’2″ and has the speed to stretch the field. He was somewhat inconsistent at Illinois, but was often at the mercy of some truly terrible quarterback play by Juice Williams and others. Other options include Brandon LaFell, Demaryius Thomas and Damian Williams – all of whom are 6’1″ or taller and have the ability to make their presence felt immediately in St. Louis.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2010 NFL Draft, Rams 1 Comment