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Tampa Bay Buccaneers still positioned to fill holes from leftovers

TAMPA — Late Thursday night, as the rest of Tampa Bay started thinking about getting a good night's sleep, Bucs general manager Mark Dominik was undoubtedly staring at what had become of his draft board after a furious first round.

Chances are he then allowed himself to smile ever so slightly.

The opening night of the draft featured a flurry of trades, many of which pushed those who were projected to be drafted earlier further down. All of which means the Bucs' options are plentiful, with an array of players available for tonight's second and third rounds.

The Bucs might never have counted on Florida quarterback Tim Tebow going No. 25 to the Broncos or Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen still being available.

But whatever the case, the Bucs spent late Thursday and will undoubtedly use today to refocus as they head into an evening in which they own the 35th, 42nd and 67th picks.

The conventional wisdom is that they'll look to address the receiver position, with Notre Dame's Golden Tate, Illinois' Arrelious Benn and Southern California's Damian Williams still on the board.

Tate is a sure-handed playmaker who can turn the short pass into a long gain, while Benn is a big target, a 6-2, 220-pounder who plays with physicality. Williams was a first-team All-Pac-10 selection who possesses return ability.

Defensive end is also a priority for Tampa Bay. One of the players who was on the Bucs' radar, TCU's Jerry Hughes, went to the Colts at No. 31.

But there are other options at the position. Southern California's Everson Griffen was a first-round projection by many analysts, but he was not taken. Texas' Sergio Kindle was an overwhelming choice to be a first-round pick, with some projections suggesting he would be a top-15 pick. But at the end of Thursday night, he remained on the board. The issue with Kindle, however, is that he is considered a "tweener," a player on whom there is disagreement on whether he is a linebacker or defensive end.

But before the Bucs pick, they'll have to await the decisions of the Rams (No. 33) and the Vikings (No. 34, from the Lions). St. Louis also is in the market for a receiver, which could affect what's left for the Bucs. Look for the Vikings to consider defensive linemen, perhaps tackle Brian Price of UCLA.

Also an option for the Bucs: trades. They have the ability to field phone calls until tonight's draft from teams who presumably want to trade up to select one of the more attractive leftover players.

To that end, Dominik, when he finished his news conference Thursday night at One Buc Place, dashed off the stage and back to the second floor. There was much more work to do.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers still positioned to fill holes from leftovers 04/23/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 1:22pm]
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