Buccaneers101.com 2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7-round Mock Draft
Round 1 – Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
With the recent release of safety Tanard Jackson, the Buccaneers need help in the secondary now more than ever. Add in the fact that Tampa Bay plays in the pass-happy NFC South against quarterbacks Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, and Cam Newton, and Claiborne becomes a no-brainer pick for the Bucs.
The speedy, shutdown corner for LSU is the consensus top defensive back in the draft. He is excellent in man-to-man coverage and dominated some of the best receivers the SEC threw at him. Claiborne has tremendous hands and plays the ball very well when it's in the air. He has the ability to turn into a Darrelle Revis-type cornerback that can shutdown an entire side of the field.
In his last two seasons with the Tigers, Claiborne intercepted 11 passes, had 12 passes defensed, and scored one touchdown. He can also help Tampa Bay's return game as he averaged 25.1 yards on 22 kickoffs with one touchdown.
With new defensive backs coach Ron Cooper, who coached Claiborne at LSU, now holding the same position with the Bucs, the team should be very comfortable drafting Claiborne with the No. 5 overall pick.
Round 2 – Lavonte David, LB, Nebraska
The Bucs are in desperate need of a starting weakside linebacker and David fits that need quite nicely. Part of the reason the Bucs decide not to re-sign Geno Hayes is because of his poor play against the run. If the Bucs land David, they won't have that problem. The 6-foot-1, 225-pound David is an extremely reliable run stuffer and a tackling machine.
As a senior, David was insanely productive on the field and put up some monster numbers. He racked up 133 tackles, 12 tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, and two interceptions.
If new head coach Greg Schiano keeps the traditional 4-3 defense, David will be an excellent fit for the Bucs and will likely start from day one. He will give the Bucs a consistent and punishing presence on the weakside, which is something they haven't had since Derrick Brooks was still wearing pewter and red.
Round 3 – Mitchell Schwartz, OT, California
The Bucs have a pretty imposing offensive line with Donald Penn, Carl Nicks, Jeremy Zuttah, and Davin Joseph. Three of those four are Pro Bowlers and the other (Zuttah) is a quality player that can play every position along the O-line. The weak link comes at right tackle, where veteran Jeremy Trueblood currently resides. Trueblood is in the last year of his contract and the Bucs must get his eventual replacement in this draft.
Schwartz looks to be an ideal option for Tampa Bay at the top of the third round. The 6-foot-5, 315-pound Schwartz was a constant fixture along Cal's offensive line and started 51 games during his collegiate career (35 at left tackle, 16 at right tackle). He plays with a wide base, has good agility, and a powerful upper body. All of those traits will help him succeed that the next level.
Selecting Schwartz this year will allow him to add more bulk and size during his rookie year and give him the chance to learn behind Trueblood before taking over in 2013.
Round 4 – No pick
Round 5 – Chris Rainey, RB, Florida
Tampa Bay lacks a true change-of-pace running back and can land a very good one in the fifth round by selecting Florida's Chris Rainey. The talented Gator is a true do-it-all player that can help the Bucs with his game-breaking speed. The 5-foot-8, 180-pound Rainey can line up all over the field and will give the Bucs a threat that can score on any given play.
Rainey ran a 4.37 40-yard dash at his Florida pro day and used that speed to be very successful during his collegiate career. Rainey finished his career as UF's ninth-leading rusher with 2,464 yards and scored 13 touchdowns on the ground. Rainey was also a beast catching passes out of the backfield and in the slot; amassing 69 receptions for 795 yards and six touchdowns during his career.
Aside from helping the Bucs on offense, Rainey can be a massive help on special teams. At Florida, he blocked a school and SEC record six punts and is an outstanding return man. For his career, he averaged 25.2 yards per kickoff return and 9.0 yards per punt return with two touchdowns.
Round 6 – Janzen Jackson, S, McNeese St
Once considered one of the top defensive backs in the SEC while at Tennessee, Jackson had his fair share of off-the-field issues that led to his dismissal from the Volunteers' football program. He was suspended as a freshman for violating team rules and was arrested – along with two other teammates – for attempted armed robbery, but the charges were later dropped.
Still, despite the character concerns, there is no denying Jackson's talent on the field. The 6-foot, 187-pound Jackson had a great sophomore season with Tennessee; racking up 65 tackles, five interceptions, 11 passes defensed, and a sack. His biggest strength is his ability to cover and he plays the ball extremely well.
At McNeese St., Jackson played safety and corner and intercepted three passes last season. Tampa Bay would get a steal in Jackson this late in the draft.
Round 7 – Terrance Ganaway, RB, Baylor
While most of the country had their eyes on Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, it was Ganaway who stole the show in Baylor's wild, high scoring Alamo Bowl win. The big, brusing Ganaway rushed for 200 yards and five touchdowns; one of which went for 89 yards against Washington in that game. He finished the season with a school record 1,547 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns.
Things won't quite be so easy for him in the NFL, but Ganoway does have the skills to succeed at the next level. He is a powerful, downhill runner – much like LeGarrette Blount – and is a tough to bring down in the open field. He won't be much use on special teams or as a receiver, but Ganaway would give the Bucs another bulldozing back to keep Blount as fresh as possible.
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