2013 Senior Bowl Update: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Evaluating Corners
By Leo Howell
Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
The Buccaneers have been busy taking a look at many of the cornerbacks at the senior bowl. According to Stephen Holder of the Tampa Bay Times, the Bucs have taken a look at “Washington’s Desmond Trufant, one of the week’s most consistent performers, Oregon State’s Jordan Poyer and Utah State’s Will Davis (…) Among the remaining cornerbacks the Bucs evaluated were UConn’s Dwayne Gratz and Blidi Wreh-Wilson, San Diego State’s Leon McFadden, Georgia’s Sanders Commings and William & Mary’s B.W. Webb.”
We’ve already discussed Trufant earlier this week, so let’s take just a moment to profile the remaining cornerbacks, complete with links to profiles for each player:
Poyer needs to get his mind right off the field to fit in with Coach Schiano and his staff, but on the field the Oregon State prospect passes all the tests. He hauled in 7 interceptions this year, including one returned for a score. Our friends over at Musket Fire have already talked a bit about Poyer, as well, so check out their analysis. Overall, if Jordan has proven that his off the field issues are behind him, he may be considered with the Buccaneers’ second selection in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Another cornerback from out west is on the Buccaneers’ radar, and he comes from the same school from which the Buccaneers selected Michael Smith. Davis has most of the tools, the question is if he faced a high enough level of competition to be prepared for life in the NFL. He had over 60 tackles and 5 interceptions in 2012, while breaking up 17 passes. He’s not the strongest cornerback ever, so he may get pushed around. However, if he has the skills in pass coverage, and it seems he does, he can drastically improve his draft stock with a solid performance in the Senior Bowl. Davis could stick around until the 3rd round,where the Buccaneers would likely select him if they have yet to grab a cornerback.
Dwayne Gratz and Blidi Wreh-Wilson, UConn
Wreh-Wilson is the better of the two Huskies prospects, with 1 interception and 9 passes broken up in 2012. Gratz had 3 interceptions and 11 passes broken up, but does not stand out as much as his cornerback partner. Wreh-Wilson is likely a 3rd round prospect, while Gratz will fall to the later rounds. Neither is spectacular, and UConn is not the best football school, but the Senior Bowl is an obvious chance for one or the other to stand out.
Leon McFadden, San Diego State
McFadden is currently somewhat injured and may not play in the Senior Bowl to avoid further complications. However, he is apparently in attendance and meeting with teams. He tallied 61 tackles, 3 interceptions, and 12 passes broken up in 2012. He’s currently seen as a middle rounds prospect, likely in rounds 4 or 5.
Commings is a big boy for a cornerback, and still possesses some athleticism. However, he lacks in straight line speed, and that will be the concern for him at the NFL level. He could still project as a safety, so the Buccaneers may consider him in the late rounds as a project player.
Webb was the star of the show against Virginia in a rare FCS over BCS upset in 2009. He remained a stable starter for the Tribe ever since, including returning punts. He set a school record for starts, and earned numerous recognitions at the FCS level. The question is if he’ll be able to compete at the NFL level, but he’s certainly shown he can dominate the FCS college level. Webb should be taken in the middle rounds of the 2013 NFL Draft.
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