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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Who did we pick in NFL Network's mock draft?



You’re going to see and hear lots about mock drafts in the coming weeks now that we’re one month shy of the NFL draft.

So, why not get started with an interesting one that we participated in?

This morning, on NFL Network’s NFL AM show, I was asked to take part in a mock draft they’ve been conducting with experts on various teams. With the previous 12 picks made by media in the respective cities, today was my turn to pick for the Bucs.

But before we get to my pick, let’s run down the first 12 selections made in the preceding shows.

1. Chiefs: OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M

2. Jaguars: DE Ezekiel Ansah, BYU

3. Raiders: DT Sharrif Floyd, Florida

4. Eagles: OT Eric Fisher, Cental Michigan

5. Lions: CB Dee Milliner, Alabama

6. Browns: QB Geno Smith, West Virginia

7. Cardinals: G Chance Warmack, Alabama

8. Bills: WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee

9. Jets: LB/DE Dion Jordan, Oregon

10. Titans: DE Barkevious Mingo, LSU

11. Chargers: LT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma

12. Dolphins: CB Marcus Trufant, Washington

That brings us to the Bucs, at No. 13. I went with Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes.

There are a couple of reasons. For one, Trufant was off the board under this imaginary scenario. He’s a player the Bucs like and one who has a fairly complete skill set – probably more so than Rhodes. Trufant is a player I would have strongly considered.

But Rhodes offers something unique that makes him a great fit for the Bucs: He’s a strong one-on-one cover man, one who can skillfully and physically press receivers at the line of scrimmage. Those are not skills many cornerbacks come to the NFL possessing. Furthermore, the Bucs, in coach Greg Schiano’s defensive scheme, make extensive use of man coverage and press techniques. For those reasons, you can see Rhodes stepping into the lineup seamlessly.

While it’s a no-brainer to say the Bucs need cornerbacks, there was some logic behind picking one here versus one of the other top defensive players available (the Bucs need help on the defensive line, too). The team’s lack of urgency in free agency in terms of signing cornerbacks only reinforces to me that they are banking heavily on the draft to fill this need. Look for them to draft multiple cornerbacks, in fact.

And that’s true, I think, regardless of what happens with the Jets and Darrelle Revis, who the Bucs are still holding out hope of acquiring from New York.

There will be some who agree with choice and others who won’t. So, whay do you say?

[Last modified: Thursday, March 28, 2013 10:47am]


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