Bucs first-round pick is in play for Jets' Revis
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have not ruled out trading their first-round pick in April's NFL draft to the New York Jets as part of the compensation for cornerback Darrelle Revis.
The Bucs own the 13th overall selection and have made improving the league's worst pass defense their top off-season priority. Last week they signed 49ers free agent safety Dashon Goldson to a 5-year, $41.5-million contract.
The Bucs view an opportunity to acquire the 27-year-old Revis, one of the NFL’s top defensive players, as rare even though he is recovering from a torn ACL he suffered in the second week of the 2012 regular season.
Revis was the Defensive Player of the Year in 2009 and a four-time Pro Bowl player. He has one year remaining on his contract.
“There’s only one (team) that knows who they’re taking,’’ Dominik said of the draft. “The thing I’d say is I feel really good about the success we’ve had drafting players. At the same point, I’m not going to sit there and be bull-headed and not think, “what’s the best thing for the team going forward?” That’s the only way you can build it right.’’
The Bucs may feel differently if they owned one of the top five selections in the draft this year. But some of their draft day failures have made them more receptive to parting with a first round pick.
Both of the Bucs’ second-round selections in 2009 are no longer with the team. Receiver Arrelious Benn has been plagued by injury and was dealt last week along with a seventh rounder to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for a sixth rounder. Defensive tackle Brian Price was released by the Bucs and Bears last season and is with the Cowboys.
Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, the third overall selection in 2010, struggled through two injury-filled seasons before starting 16 games last season to finish with five sacks and earned a trip to the Pro Bowl last year.
If the Bucs remained at No. 13 and utilized their pick, they would likely select a cornerback such as Florida State’s Xavier Rhodes, hoping he could develop into 70 percent of the player Revis was before the injury.
No deal for Revis is likely to come for several more weeks. While other teams have an interest in the Jets’ defensive star, none may have the combination of cap space, need and a willingness to sign Revis to a long-term deal as the Bucs.
Tampa Bay also is not overly concerned with Revis’ recovery from his ACL injury.
“He’s starting to progress,’’ Jets general manager John Idzik said. “It’s really going to be a function of what he can do with his trainers. Darrelle is always going to push the envelope.
"We’re entrusting the people he has around him on a daily basis to pace him so he doesn’t overdo things but at the same rate, we’re pushing it to a degree that he gets back to full strength as soon as possible.’’
The Bucs believe acquiring a talent such as Revis could counter the sort of bold moves made recently by the Atlanta Falcons that has pushed that team to the top of the NFC South.
In 2011, the Falcons traded their 1st- (27th overall), second- (59th) and fourth-round (124th) picks and their first- and fourth-round picks in 2012 to the Cleveland Browns to acquire the sixth overall selection to draft Alabama receiver Julio Jones.
In a quarterback-rich division with quarterbacks such as the Saints Drew Brees, the Falcons Matt Ryan and the Panthers’ Cam Newton, the Bucs know the importance of adding a shut down corner such as Revis.
“They’re really hard to find,’’ Dominik said. “They really are rare and that makes them an interesting commodity. You go into the draft every year and everybody thinks maybe that’s the guy but there are very few of them. When they come out, it’s pretty noticeable who they are.’’
That’s why Dominik has made it clear that any combination of draft picks – including the Bucs’ first-rounder – has not been ruled out for a player such as Revis.
“If we think it’s in the best interest of the team, we will do something,’’ Dominik said. “If that’s a player that everybody is speculating (Revis) or maybe it’s a player at a position that nobody has thought about. But certainly, these meetings are very healthy for those kinds of discussions to see if there is a way to get this team better and does that include players or draft picks or a combination? That’s what we’ll look at.’’