For our next stop cataloging prospects for the Buccaneers, we travel to title town, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The reigning national champs are loaded with NFL talent yet again. Let’s take a look at some of the prospects that will be selected in this year’s draft.
Alabama has been an NCAA powerhouse since Nick Saban took over in 2007, and the Buccaneers may want to look their way when adding to the roster this draft season.
Winning a national title five times in ten seasons, what top-tier prospect wouldn’t want to play for the best. With 22 first rounders since 2009 and about 70 players selected overall, Alabama has a plethora of players to choose from in this draft class.
The Buccaneers haven’t been afraid to scoop up top talent from the Tide. They’ve selected four players in the first round and fourteen overall with the most recent being OJ Howard and Mark Barron. This year Alabama has more than ten prospects expected to be drafted, let’s take a look at the list of players the Buccaneers should keep an eye on.
Cornerback, Anthony Averett
Cornerback, Tony Brown
Wide Receiver, Robert Foster
Defensive Tackle, Josh Frazier
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Center, JC Hassenauer
Center, Bradley Bozeman
Safety, Hootie Jones
Defensive End, Jamar King
Kicker, Andy Pappanastos
Wide Receiver, Cam Sims
Linebacker, Rashaan Evans
Linebacker, Shaun Dion Hamilton
Defensive End, Da’Shawn Hand
Punter, JK Scott
Cornerback, Levi Wallace
Safety, Minkah Fitzpatrick
Safety, Ronnie Harrison
Defensive Tackle, Da’Ron Payne
Wide Receiver, Calvin Ridley
Runningback, Bo Scarbrough
Senior to watch: Linebacker Rashaan Evans
While the Buccaneers don’t necessarily need another linebacker if they want to move to a 3-4 defense at all adding another versatile linebacker could go a long way. The Buccaneers linebacking core is one of the best in the league with the trio of first time pro-bowler Kwon Alexander, Lavonte David, and rookie Kendall Beckwith. While the Bucs have been a 4-3 for a while they have not been a good defense for a while. The utilization of the defenses best players should be something in Mike Smith‘s playbook.
Adding Rashaan Evans, it would allow the Buccaneers to utilize different blitz package with their elite speed at the linebacker position. They could mix and match who blitzes to confuse defenses. Maybe it would improve their leagues worst sack numbers. Evans had a strong year with Bama this season recording 74 tackles, thirteen tackles for loss, six sacks, and three pass deflections. While he isn’t an elite pass rusher he has all the tools. His speed, strength, and tackling ability would make him an excellent addition to the Buccaneers defense. If he’s in the second round while the Buccaneers are on the clock they should definitely try and scoop him up.
Underclassman to watch: Runningback Bo Scarbrough
The Buccaneers have one glaring weakness on offense and that is the runningback. Doug Martin has been extremely inconsistent and not on the hook for any money if the Bucs decide to release him. Charles Sims and Jacquizz Rodgers are not every down backs and none have an elite skill set that the Bucs need to get the offense over the top. Peyton Barber was the Bucs best back last season but again he is not an elite back. This draft is loaded with talent at the runningbacks position. Alabama has produced tons of running back talent including Mark Ingram, Derrick Henry, Eddie Lacy, TJ Yeldon, Trent Richardson, and Kenyon Drake. While most have been underwhelming it may be due to their draft position. All of those backs besides Drake were selected in the first or second round. There seems to be an added pressure when running backs are drafted early. It took Mark Ingram six years before his first 1000 yard season, now he’s a Pro-Bowler.
Bo Scarbrough became famous when he broke out in the Peach Bowl against Washington where he had nineteen carries for 180 yards and two touchdowns. While he has been a backup for most of his tenure at Alabama he makes the most of his touches. Averaging 5.7 yards per carry and 1512 yards total in his three seasons with Alabama he has serious talent. Standing at 6’2″ 230 pounds he is a beast that the Buccaneers have been looking for. The Buccaneers have struggled to find a short yardage back since Michael Pittman and Mike Alstott. Scarbrough has a similar skill set to former teammate Derrick Henry, who broke out this season with the Titans. While there are tons of running back talent in this draft Bo could fall right into the Bucs lap on the third day. If the Buccaneers get top talent on defense early they could add some serious talent in the fourth round.
Some other names to look for from Alabama are Minkah Fitzpatrick, defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne, and center Bradley Bozeman. Bama really knows how to make pro prospects and the Bucs should have a scout available at all events where their players are included.
Who did I miss? What Crimson Tide would you like to see on the Buccaneers? Sound off on Twitter and Facebook. Continue to look forward to the next installment of 40 teams in 40 days.
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