Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may keep Eric Wright, and they may add Darrelle Revis, but when the 2013 NFL Draft rolls around, there is absolutely no doubt that at least one cornerback will be selected. But what options do the Bucs have? Everyone knows that Dee Milliner is probably the best corner in the draft, and Xavier Rhodes is obviously a name to consider for the Buccaneers, but with the draft spanning seven rounds worth of selections, let’s take a look at some of the players that the Buccaneers could take in every round of the annual selection meeting.
Round 1: Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State
Banks did himself no favors by showing poorly in timed workouts at the combine, but he’s got plenty of tape to show that he’s capable of playing well in the SEC. Before the offseason hype machine started to turn, and Desmond Trufant and Xavier Rhodes shot up the charts, Banks was considered by some draft experts as the second best cornerback in this draft class.
The most important trait that Banks possesses that makes him a strong candidate to join the Buccaneers is his work ethic and toughness. He’s definitely a Greg Schiano kind of player, known for being a leader and known for getting after it on the field. His CBS Sports Draft profile lists this telling quote under his positive qualifications:
"Aggressive and tough against the run and works hard to shed. Lacks ideal bulk but doesn’t shy from big hits and easy to love his physical nature and competitiveness. Fiery demeanor and not afraid to get on teammates for mistakes. Known as a vocal team leader with strong football character, work ethic and ambition."
If that’s not the perfect opening paragraph for a cover letter to apply and work for Greg Schiano, I’m not sure what is. Banks is a borderline first round pick, and would be a perfect target for the Buccaneers to pull a “Draft Day Doug Martin” and trade back into the first round to snag him. Combine him with a pass rusher or defensive tackle with the 13th pick, and the defense looks better in a hurry.
Round 2: Jordan Poyer, Oregon State
One of the biggest problems with the Buccaneers’ defensive backs not named Ronde Barber over the past few years is the inability to make plays on the football. The Buccaneers have been average in interceptions over the past few years, and frequently below average in passes defended. One of the things Jordan Poyer does best is put himself in position to make plays, making plays in big moments for his team. He’s been left on an island often at Oregon State, and held up well, breaking up 12 passes and snagging four interceptions in his final season with the Beavers.
There are slight off-the-field concerns with Poyer, but on the field he was looked upon as a leader on his team. I feel like a broken record here, but this is something important to Greg Schiano and Mark Dominik. If the off-the-field issues are a part of Poyer’s past and not his future, he could be a steal of a pick in the second round. He’s similar to Banks in his drive and desire to lead, and also similar to Banks in his ability to contribute on special teams.
Click next below to see the rest of the prospects the Buccaneers might look at in the upcoming NFL Draft.