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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs' pre-draft workouts show need for DT, WR, LB



The Bucs share your concern for their lack of play-makers on the defensive line, particularly at defensive tackle.

But under new defensive coordinator Jim Bates, the Bucs are looking for bigger men to anchor inside against the run. Suddenly, little-used defensive tackles like Greg Peterson and Dre Moore become better suited for the new defense.

"Last year, I don't think anybody would've realized that Jimmy Wilkerson was going to be such a key contributor to our team,'' general manager Mark Dominik said. "I still think we've got a couple of guys on our roster right now, especially at defensive tackle. There's a couple of young guys that people don't really know very well yet. We're hoping they step up.''

It's easy to see that the Bucs will focus on defensive tackle, receiver and linebacker in the upcoming NFL draft.

The Bucs have scheduled personal workouts with Boston College defensive tackle Ron Brace, Notre Dame linebacker Maurice Crum, Jr., Florida receivers Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy, Maryland receiver Darius Heyward-Bey and South Florida receiver Taurus Johnson.

The Bucs also have scheduled visits with Hampton defensive tackle Chris Baker, Georgia Tech defensive end Michael Johnson, Temple defensive tackle Terrance Knighton and Western Illinois linebacker Jason Williams.

Harvin is a possibility for the Bucs with the 19th overall pick. Tampa Bay does not currently own a second-round choice, having traded it to Cleveland for tight end Kellen Winslow.

Let's take a closer look at some of the players that Bucs are considering:

Although not as well-known as his teammate - defensive tackle B.J. Raji -- Brace (6-3, 331) was a second-team All ACC selection who would be a perfect anchor at defensive tackle for Jim Bates' new defensive system. In his last two seasons, Brace recorded 54 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.

Crum, (6-0, 235) only the 17th player in Notre Dame history to be elected captain twice. He is the son of former Miami All America linebacker Maurice Crum, Sr., and attended Tampa Bay Tech High School.

Heyward-Bey (6-2, 206) caught 42 passes for 609 yards and five touchdowns and is known for his speed.

Baker (6-2, 326) transferred from Penn State after he was arrested twice in 2007. He dominated at the lower level in his one season at Hampton with 69 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks.

Johnson (6-7, 266) is a speed rusher who put on a show at his pro day, attended by 26 teams. He was clocked at 4.46 in the 40-yard dash and is one of the best overall athletes in the draft. He had 17.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks as a senior.

Knighton (6-3, 324) is another big run-stuffer. Over the past three seasons, he averaged 56 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and four pass breakups while recovering six fumbles and blocking four kicks.

Williams, (6-3, 225) led the nation with a school-record six forced fumbles last season. He ran a 4.42 40-yard dash in his pro day and was worked out by Bucs linebackers coach Joe Barry.   

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 3:29pm]


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