Gerald McCoy

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

Offseason moves shouldn’t change Lions draft plans

The Lions have been one of the more active teams so far this offseason, and are starting to look like they may be one of the most improved teams for 2010.

The signing of Kyle Vanden Bosch and the trade for Corey Williams have given their defensive line a significant upgrade already, and its called into question whether they will still target Ndamukong Suh or Gerald McCoy with the 2nd pick.

Numerous mock drafts have started popping up with Russell Okung in the No. 2 slot, but I think its premature to assume that Jim Schwartz is content with his defensive line. Williams is certainly a quality starting defensive tackle. But is he really the type of player that makes you pass on the consensus top two available prospects in the draft?

Detroit Lions Minicamp

Hill stretches before a practice during his rookie year

Perhaps this is the better question, since Williams already has one starting spot locked up: is Sammie Lee Hill the type of player that makes you pass on the consensus top two available prospects in the draft?

Hill, a 2009 4th-round pick, started all but one game in which he played last season. He’s an intriguing player due to his massive size (6’4, 329) but he wasn’t exactly productive as rookie. ProFootballFocus rated him 83rd out of 87 qualifying defensive tackles in ’09. To be fair, he was a rookie from Stillman College trying to compete in the NFL, but the fact remains that he has a long way to go.

The other issue with them selecting Okung is the fact that there may not be room for him in the starting lineup from day one. Schwartz has been extremely supportive of Jeff Backus (perhaps too supportive) and even endorsed him as a Pro Bowl candidate in 2009. At right tackle, 2008 1st-round pick Gosder Cherilus is starting to look like a bust but it would be prudent to give him a third year in a starting role before throwing in the towel.

To accommodate Okung the Lions would need to move either Backus or Cherilus (more likely Cherilus) to guard. In theory it actually sounds like a smart move, but you have to factor in how much money would then be invested in a mediocre offensive line featuring three former 1st-round selections. A rebuilding team like the Lions would be wise not to invest too much money in any one unit.

While the Lions are sure to explore the option of selecting Okung, ultimately I can’t envision them passing on Suh or McCoy. Jim Schwartz had pledged to build a bigger, stronger, more physical defense in the Detroit – a complete 180 from the previous regime’s defensive philosophy – and a change like that doesn’t happen with just one or two moves. Plugging in a player like Suh or McCoy would instantly give the Lions a defensive front seven that could compete within the NFC North.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2010 NFL Draft, Free Agency, Lions 1 Comment

Should the Bucs trade up for Suh?

Rumors are swirling that the Rams and Bucs have discussed a trade that would involve a swap of their 1st-round picks, potentially with Josh Johnson heading to St. Louis.

For what its worth, the Rams have denied the rumors.

From the Rams standpoint, this would be a brilliant trade. The top two players on most draft boards are Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy, but the Rams don’t really need a defensive tackle. 2007 1st and 5th round picks Adam Carriker and Clifton Ryan have been a nice duo at tackle over the past few years. They aren’t Pro Bowlers, but its arguably the strongest position on the Rams defense.

Trading down would allow them to stockpile picks (which they desperately need) and potentially land their quarterback of the future, be it Johnson, Sam Bradford or Jimmy Clausen. Should they pass on a quarterback with the 3rd pick, Eric Berry would be an excellent addition to their secondary. Even Derrick Morgan would potentially make sense as a replacement for Leonard Little who is likely to sign elsewhere.

Big 12 Championship - Nebraska v TexasBut does it make sense for the Bucs?

Its true, they need a defensive tackle. However, there is a decent chance that either McCoy or Suh will fall to them anyway. The Rams are likely to  consider selecting a quarterback 1st overall, meaning one of the top two tackles could be on the board at No. 3.

Considering the overwhelming lack of talent on the Bucs roster, its hard to understand why they would part with extra picks just to land Suh. The Bucs would likely have to part with their 2nd-round pick as well, if not more, to move up. For a team starving for talent, a draft that potentially brings in Eric Berry and Brandon LaFell would seem to be a much faster route to turning things around than only landing Suh.

The added bonus for passing on this trade would be the potential to trade down on draft day. If the Rams pass on Bradford and Clausen, the Bucs will be on the clock at No. 3 one slot ahead of Washington, who is likely to select a quarterback. If a team like the Bills or Seahawks have their heart set on one of the top two quarterbacks, the 3rd pick will be the ideal slot to trade into. This would allow the Bucs to land a player such as Joe Haden and acquire additional picks.

No matter what angle I look at this trade it seems like a losing situation for the Bucs. Suh is an elite talent, but a defensive tackle doesn’t turn around a franchise on his own. The Bucs have too many holes to fill to risk their entire draft on one player.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2010 NFL Draft, Buccaneers, Rams Comments Off