Bucs still linked with Purdue DE Kerrigan in latest mock drafts
Purdue defensive end Ryan Kerrigan could be the Bucs first-round choice in the NFL draft, according to both ESPN draft analysts.
Todd McShay now agrees with Mel Kiper Jr., that Kerrigan will be available and the selection with the 20th overall pick by Tampa Bay.
"I think it's their No. 1 need and I think they should get a good quality player," McShay said a conference call Wednesday. "If you can get Kerrigan at 20, that's a pretty good value pick when you consider how much talent is at the defensive end position."
Clearly, a pass rushing defensive end is the Bucs' biggest need and that position is pretty deep in the draft. In his first mock draft, McShay had Tampa Bay taking Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn with Kerrigan going three spots earlier to New England. But now he has Clayborn's stock rising to No. 16 with Jacksonville and Kerrigan slipping to the Bucs at No. 20.
Of course, the Bucs would probably be happy with either player to line up next to defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Brian Price. The Bucs are looking to upgrade the right defensive end position after Stylez G. White led the team with only 4.5 sacks. White will be a free agent and not expected to be re-signed.
"When you look at the defensive end spot, they just haven't gotten the production out of those starters you'd like to see, (Tim) Crowder and White," McShay said. "Only 26 team sacks, which is close to the bottom of the NFL. They allowed 131 rushing yards per game, which is close to the bottom of the NFL.
"They've got the interior guys and you hope they build that interior for a long time with (Gerald) McCoy and Brian Price, but I think addressing defensive end becomes the primary need. To be honest, I don't think there is a position with more quality depth than the defensive end position this year."
Kerrigan is effective against the run and the pass. In 2010, he had 70 tackles, including 26 for loss, forced five fumbles and had 13 sacks.