The Bucs' 2011 draft is being heralded as widely successful and general manager Mark Dominik and coach Raheem Morris spoke excitedly about about their class Saturday evening.
But there are a few interesting tidbits about this draft the Bucs haven't publicly addressed. And we thought you'd like to hear them.
Where did Bucs stand on Amukamara?
It's no secret drafting a cornerback in the early rounds was something the Bucs were considering. So, when Nebraska's Prince Amukamara was still on the board moments before the Bucs were scheduled to pick, you couldn't help but think about the possibilities.
Selecting Amukamara would have given the Bucs a solution to the Aqib Talib dilemma, and provided depth at the position for years to come. He ultimately was chosen by the Giants, one spot before the Bucs chose Adrian Clayborn at No. 20.
But what if?
Well, it turns out, the Bucs weren't nearly as high on Amukamara as you might imagine. In fact, it's likely they would have passed on him even if he was available when the Bucs picked at No. 20. What's less clear is what the Bucs disliked about him, but it became obvious over the weekend that Amukamara was not high on the Bucs' draft board.
Mason Foster might replace Barrett Ruud
The selection of Washington linebacker Mason Foster in the third round was billed by the team as a choice that gives the Bucs numerous options. And this seems apparent given the fact Foster literally played all three linebacker positions for the Huskies as well as showing a great deal of edge rush ability.
But here's a window into the Bucs' thinking on Foster: They intend to use him as a middle linebacker. That's the team's intent right now, and it doesn't bode well for Barrett Ruud. We can't say that any decision has been made on Ruud, who will be a free agent whenever the NFL re-opens for business.
But here's the thing: At minimum, even if the Bucs intend to re-sign Ruud, they had to protect themselves against losing him on the open market. By selecting Foster, the Bucs feel they've done that.
The Bucs feel pretty good about their cornerbacks
This is somewhat related to the Amukamara note above.
The fact that the Bucs waited until the seventh round to select a cornerback (Anthony Gaitor of FIU) says something, but what? Does it mean the Bucs feel like Aqib Talib will be a part of their team despite his pending aggravated assault charge? The answer is no. It says nothing about Talib or the team's plans for him.
Instead, what the decision indicates is that the Bucs feel pretty confident in their current lineup of cornerbacks. It's a vote of confidence in Ronde Barber, E.J. Biggers and Myron Lewis more than anything else. Lewis, in particular, is a player the Bucs think has tremendous upside and could develop into a formidable cornerback in the near future. And Mark Dominik warns that Gaitor's selection in the seventh round doesn't mean he can't help the team. Biggers, too, was a seventh-round pick and played a majority of the defensive snaps last season.
Posted by Stephen Holder at 8:46:17 am on May 01, 2011