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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Monday wrap-up from the Senior Bowl



MOBILE, Ala. – Today was the first day of workouts here at the Senior Bowl, and I got the chance to see some interesting prospects who Bucs fans might have some interest in.

We got a little face time with some of the better cornerbacks playing in the game, including Jordan Poyer of Oregon State.

Poyer, who had seven interceptions this season, described himself as “scrappy” and said he has learned to become “a student of the game. I really study the game a lot. I think I’ve been able to understand the game a lot more and that’s helped me take my game to the next level.”

At today’s weigh-in, Poyer came in at 5-11 ¾ and 182 pounds. He’s got enough length to be effective, but he does not have much bulk to him. Poyer admits he needs to show physicality this week, which he knows scouts are looking for. But I wouldn’t dismiss his 51 tackles this season, either.

I also caught up with Washington’s Desmond Trufant, the youngest of three Trufant cornerbacks/brothers.

When asked to describe the kinds of coverages he played most at Washington, he offered a wide range. “We did everything,” he said. “We did a lot of man-to-man and Cover 2, Cover 3, Cover 4.” But then he paused and said this: “But I feel like I’ll be a good man-to-man corner.”

If that’s an accurate description, that’s something that might appeal to Tampa Bay, which played a great deal of man coverage this season.

Trufant came in at 5-11 1/8 and 190 pounds at the weigh in, but he looks bigger. He’s thick and muscular. Now he’s just got to use those attributes in front of scouts this week.

“I think everybody wants to see a corner tackle,” he said. “I need to stay aggressive there and be physical. I’m working on that every day, just like every part of my game.”

I’m not sure how the Bucs feel about Michigan’s Denard Robinson, but he’s here working as a receiver and hopes to get a shot in the return game. The converted cornerback is an interesting prospect, and he’s approaching this change with a very open mind. A lot of quarterbacks who are asked to change positions can be bitter about it. Robinson is not.

He thinks he can go the route of Antwaan Randle El, also a college quarterback turned wideout. And given the Bucs’ struggles in the return game this season and their lack of depth at receiver, it's possible to conceive a scenario where they would look at a player like Robinson in the later rounds.

I also spent some time with Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel, who I must say is imposing at 6-4 3/8 and 237 pounds. He looks the part, but you probably already knew that.

His accuracy and decision-making is going to be what’s analyzed here this week. Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan – the Detroit staff is coaching the South team – insisted that Jimbo Fisher’s Florida State offense has a lot of elements that will help Manuel make an easy transition to the pros. He’s played under center and he’s utilized a lot of pro-style concepts. That can’t hurt.

When the Bucs say they’re looking to add some talent at quarterback, you can envision them having some interest in a player like Manuel. He’s got a lot of upside, but he’s not a guy you would necessarily hand the franchise over to right now – which the Bucs aren’t planning to do, anyway. This is very speculative three months before the draft, but if Manuel slides out of the early rounds, I’d start to pay attention.

That’s enough for now. But stick around in the coming days and I’ll share some more details from Mobile, including a scheduled chat with Mark Dominik on Tuesday.

[Last modified: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 8:25am]


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