Details from the war room
Just got done with a post-draft nightcap and can't sleep. So, naturally, I figured I'd blog.
Got some interesting tidbits to share on some of the details from inside the draft room at One Buc Place.
For one, I hear it was a close call between Aqib Talib and Mike Jenkins. The Bucs appeared to be enamored with Talib's size (he's over 6-1 and weighs 202 pounds) and were drawn to his slight edge as a bigger playmaker. Either way, they liked both. One other thing: I'll go against the grain here and give the Bucs the benefit of the doubt when it comes to drafting a defender this high. Monte Kiffin, if history is an indicator, won't screw this up. They haven't missed on many defenders on the first day (i.e. Kelly, Barber).
Regarding their decision not to draft a receiver in the first round, it's my understanding that Devin Thomas did have a first-round grade where the Bucs were concerned, but it appears he was lower on their board than the cornerbacks. They also concluded he didn't have a big enough body of work to be a safe pick after only one season playing at a high level.
One thing that nearly happened was the Bucs picking an offensive tackle. Had Jeff Otah fallen to them (he went one spot earlier to Carolina), he might have become a Buc. Tampa Bay had identified tackle as the deepest position and regarded most of the first-round tackles and potential long-term starters with star potential.
Lastly, the rumored Jason Taylor deal might have continued to gain steam as the day wore on, but I'm told the Bucs didn't spend a lot of time considering the possibility. I don't doubt there was a conversation even though Dolphins G.M. Jeff Ireland dismissed the whole thing as a rumor. I've been doing this long enough to know that there isn't that much smoke without any fire. I mean, even Taylor's agent called at least one writer I know asking what said writer was hearing about a potential deal. That tells me agent Gary Wichard regarded the rumor as more than just talk. I also heard Taylor was very much in favor of coming to Tampa, with one associate describing the situation as "perfect."
In the end, the Bucs resisted the temptation to take on the aging, highly-paid superstar who is nearing his end. Considering the Bucs' youth movement, it was probably the right decision.
Anyway, it was an interesting day. I know many of you aren't sure how to feel about it, but it sure didn't lack intrigue, even if it was a little anticlimactic.
See you in Round 3.