With the Bucs currently with 87 players under contract, this draft, in my opinion, is not going to make or break our team. We do still have some potential holes at RB, WR, and CB and knowing my man Gruden, QB. This excercise will pinpoint a few guys who could be available when we pick in the first four rounds.
All strengths and weaknesses contained in this article are from Scouts Inc. of ESPN.COM.
CB Aqib Talib – Kansas
Talib is personally the guy I hope falls to us. The revelation last week that he “has” smoked a little ganja in the past, to me, would be a silly reason to drop him off the board, or even down the board for that matter. I believe he could step in and immediately be the number 2 corner for the Bucs. He is big, physical, and can tackle. Talib has some versatility as well having played some offense at Kansas as well as his ability to return kicks, a fact that I think will be important with so many guys under contract. We need versatile players.
Strengths: Possesses outstanding combination of height, bulks and natural athleticism. Has long arms and very good leaping ability. He displays fine all-around ball skills (at CB, WR and RS). Is naturally instinctive. Spends most of his time in man-coverage both in tight press and off with a 7-to-10 yard cushion. Is not afraid of a physical challenge and possesses the size to match-up one-on-one versus bigger receivers on an island. Does an excellent job of disengaging from blocks. Productive versus the run and is a decent tackler. Versatile athlete with the potential to play multiple roles for the NFL team that drafts him. While it’s rare to see a two-way player at the next level, he has flashed the big-play ability to potentially contribute as a return specialist and occasionally on offense. Very durable athlete.
Weaknesses: Gambles too much in coverage. Generally plays fast but does not possess elite recovery speed. Thinks he can recover better than he actually does, which leads to too many big plays allowed (See: vs. Nebraska WR Maurice Purify in 2007). Footwork needs lots of polishing. For example; Kansas CB’s use an open-hip stance with inside foot dropped when working in off-coverage. He comes out of that stance high and struggles to break on the ball in front of him quickly enough. Makes a lot of plays in run-support but doesn’t love to mix it up. Lacks power as a hitter and more of a drag-down tackler.
WR Desean Jackson – Cal
I do have some lingering concerns about this guys smallish size. He is ridiculously fast, and at worst, seems like a Devin Hester clone in the return game. Gruden has had success turning Joey Galloway, who was formely known as just a burner, into an all around great receiver, and he could have the same success here.
Strengths: Possesses excellent top-end speed, does a good job of tracking the ball downfield and is a vertical threat. Changes directions smoothly, explodes out of cuts and can run crisp short-to-intermediate routes. Reads defenses well and locates seams working against zone coverage. Drives corners off the line with excellent initial quickness and does a nice job of getting turned around when running come-back routes. Has excellent body control and can make the tough catch in traffic. Times jumps well and is tall enough to compete for jump balls. Isn’t afraid to go over the middle and flashes the ability to hold onto the ball after taking a big hit. Makes defenders miss in traffic and is fast enough to go the distance. Runs with balance, flashes an effective spin move and can pick up yards after contact. Is a dangerous return man that reads blocks well and shows a second gear when gets a seam.
Weaknesses: Lacks ideal bulk and can get pushed around by bigger corners. Appears to lose focus at times and drops too many passes that he should catch. Footwork is inconsistent and rounds off cuts at times. Effort is inconsistent and appears to pull up when isn’t going to get the ball. Doesn’t lock onto defenders and struggles to sustain blocks. Doesn’t play with a mean streak, doesn’t deliver a powerful punch and isn’t going to knock defenders back at the point of attack. Missed 2005 Washington State game with an injury, hindered by a thumb injury in 2007, hindered by a thigh injury in 2007 and lack of ideal bulk makes durability that much more of a concern.
CB Michael Jenkins – USF
Some think there is a knock on this guy for not being physical enough, but being forced to watch him every Thursday and Saturday due to my proximity to USF, I can tell you that I never thought that when watching him play. I actually thought the guy played the perfect kind of physical game for our defense. He appears to be a Rashean Mathis clone to me, and Mathis is a guy I consider a top 10 CB. Another player who could double as a kick returner for us.
Strengths: Is thickly built for his adequate height. He has very quick feet and is extremely smooth getting in and out of his backpedal. Does a good job of opening up hips, shows a second gear when tracking the ball downfield and has the long arms to occasionally tip away passes from a trail position. Possesses outstanding top-end speed and can make up ground when the ball is in the air. Is smooth when forced to change directions quickly, shows very good burst coming out of cuts and shows outstanding balance coming out of his pedal. Times jumps fairly well and is tall enough to compete for jump balls. Continues to show more versatility with experience. Has some experience lining up at safety, can line up over the slot or on the outside and shows good instincts and closing burst when turned loose on the blitz. Has experience blocking for punt returns and shows some upside as a return specialist.
Weaknesses: Hasn’t shown great upper body strength, doesn’t use hands that well and gives away the inside too much. Though reads quarterback’s eyes and consistently gets into position to make plays on the ball, he lacks ideal ball skills. Mis-times some of his jumps, locates the ball late occasionally and will knock down some passes he should intercept. Run support aggressiveness is sporadic. Not overly physical, doesn’t shed blocks well and takes poor angles to the ball at times. Character is a concern after 2007 arrest/suspension.