All we had heard leading up to the draft was Morris Claiborne, Trent Richardson, Morris Claiborne and then Trent Richardson again.
But what Bucs fans and those inside the Bucs war room weren’t expecting to hear was both of those names be announced at the podium before their selection at fifth overall.
It was a scenario that in the 11th hour Buccaneers front office executives were preparing for and their contingency plan was being fine tuned. That plan was not to draft Luke Kuechly like the Tampa Times suggested earlier Wednesday morning; instead it was to trade down, a plan that was floated by Buccaneers writers and fans but never really taken seriously.
It was almost a worst case scenario and maybe that’s why nobody wanted to stomach the idea after months of romanticizing Morris Claiborne and Trent Richardson.
But the Buccaneers managed to fix that worst case scenario and come out ahead. Mark Dominik has made his name hand picking players late in the draft and on the waiver wires. He’ll have a chance to flex his muscles when it comes to the previous.
Tampa found a trade partner in the Jacksonville Jaguars trading away the fifth overall pick in exchange for the 7th over all pick and a 4th round pick (101 overall).
Here the Buccaneers can still salvage this draft which is nowhere near the danger zone. Luke Kuechly will most likely still be on the board but so will other guys that the Buccaneers can use such as Mark Barron and Dre Kirkpatrick.
Morris Claiborne would have stepped into a brilliant situation becoming the Buccaneers alpha corner for the future and having Ronde Barber and Eric Wright to teach him the ropes and Ron Cooper there to provide college to pro continuity.
But Dre Kirkpatrick works just as well as Claiborne, if not better. Claiborne has undeniable skills but Kirkpatrick is the Gerald McCoy of the situation if Claiborne was Ndamukong Suh.
WE WILL UPDATE SOON
This is a scenario that the Bucs didn’t want to face but they handled it with grace and may come out better then if they had selected a player in the fifth overall spot.