Noted SportsIllustrated.com writer Peter King, who is most famous for his Monday Morning Quarterback column, as promised delivered the baby in his Tuesday edition of MMQB. As he pledged to elaborate a bit more on the 2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft class. According to King after speaking with Bucs general manager Mark Dominik, (the brain trust behind the rebuilding that’s been on going in Tampa). Dominik fully expects that the teams first five draft picks to be on the field on third downs beginning in week 1 of the 2010 season.
I was intrigued by Tampa’s draft, if only by the pairing of two defensive tackles (Gerald McCoy and Brian Price) and two wide receivers (Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams), all in the top 101 picks. Add the third-round pick, cornerback Myron Lewis, and, as GM Mark Dominik told me, it’s entirely possible all five players will be on the field on third down in Week 1. McCoy and Price would be the center of the four-man line, Lewis the nickel corner as Ronde Barber moves inside to cover the slot receiver, and the two rookie wideouts in most three- and four-receiver sets.
Williams, obviously, jumps out as the 101st pick in the draft. He had academic troubles at Syracuse, broke curfew, was suspended by coach Doug Marrone and later quit the team. It’s a classic risk-reward draft choice; many teams in the league didn’t have Williams on their draft board.
But Dominik said: “He’s a starting receiver. I think he’s going to start for us at some point this year. He’s excited to play football, and we all know it’s a risk. Quitting is obviously a big hurdle to get over. That’s not good. But he’s a good kid and a passionate football player who realizes he made some mistakes. We’ve done our research and we feel comfortable with the risk. I can tell you he’s not going to be quitting football.”
The Bucs refused to enter the restricted free-agent market — logically, I think, because to give up the third pick in the draft for most of the top RFAs who carried first-round or first- and third-round compensation is silly. But that puts a lot of pressure on the five top picks to come and play pretty big roles right away. It’s interesting that the focus will almost be as much on the 101st pick as on the third.
This is the second year of the Dominik-Raheem Morris era in Tampa, and it’s an important one. If the team doesn’t show progress with a new quarterback the new guys drafted and all these new parts, it could be a short run for them. That’s why the Bucs’ draft is as important as any other team’s draft in the league.
When you look at the current makeup of the 2010 team, it’s not as far fetched as some might think that the teams first five picks from the 2010 draft class could all see action in week one. Considering the void at receiver, where based on talent alone, there’s a strong argument to be made the both Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams could be opening day starters. Looking at what transpired yesterday with the release of veteran defensive tackle Chris Hovan – the limbo status of veteran Ryan Sims it very possible the both Gerald McCoy – Brian Price will be rotating with secodn eyar pro Roy Miller.
The player who might have the toughest transition is third round pick Myron Lewis as he would have to leapfrog seasoned veteran Ronde Barber to become the teams nickelback or unseat Barber as the team second corner, not to mention bypass third year pro Elbert mack and EJ Biggers whom head coach Raheem Morris is very high on.