Now that the NFL post-season is over, it’s time to start turning our attention to the NFL draft. I took some time to catch up with Shawn Zobel of Draft Headquarters.com. According to Shawn’s bio, “…In the last two years Shawn’s mock drafts have out-scored nearly every draft analyst in the country, including both Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay of ESPN…”
That intrigued me – so I thought I’d ask Shawn some questions I’ve heard a lot of Buc fans wondering aloud lately. As we get closer to the draft we’ll follow-up with Shawn to get his latest updates.
Bucs Central: Shawn, I saw your mock and while Raheem Morris was a DB coach – Eric Berry doesn’t appear to be a high priority for our Tampa-2 scheme. Seeing as how no safety has been taken that high in 10 years – what leads you to think Tampa would take him over Russell Okung?
Shawn Zobel: “Eric Berry is the top safety prospect in past 5-10 years and has all of the makings of the next Ed Reed/Troy Polamalu-type of player; teams don’t want to pass on him. He’s a far better prospect than Okung is.”
BC: Also – in your opinion – why isn’t QB a legitimate consideration for the Rams? They’ve passed on Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Mark Sanchez and Josh Freeman – even leaving the impression that they were envious of that Buccaneer pick last season – I could understand the opposition to Bradford, why not Clausen?
SZ: “I don’t think that there is a QB worth taking in the first round this year. I’m not a big fan of Bradford or Clausen. They could take one of them; however I think that it’d be a mistake especially with two locks coming out next year, Jake Locker and Ryan Mallett.”
BC: If these are legitimate considerations – either Tampa could gain by taking either of the top 2 DT’s to slip to us. Or, we could also trade that pick to a 3-4 team who would value Berry’s full man-cover potential for a 3-4 fit.
SZ: “I think they should take Suh, McCoy, or Berry, whichever falls to them, and be very happy with it. The Bucs have the best pick in the draft because they can assure themselves that they can get one of the three elite players in this year’s draft.”
BC: By the way isn’t Schwartz background with the 3-4 in Tennessee? It seems the Lions could grab Okung or Berry higher than McCoy – and still get their NT in Terrence Cody as late as the 2nd round?
SZ: “They run a 4-3 in Tennessee. McCoy is a much better prospect than
Okung is and it’s going to be up to them to decide between McCoy and
Berry. The NT Terrence Cody, [doesn’t look to be] be a good fit
in the Lions defense.” [actually, Gunther Cunningham is the Detroit defensive coordinator and Schwartz intent was to run a “hybrid” 4-3 with some 3-4 concepts].
BC: Tampa could package one or both 2nd round picks for a trade-up to land Suh as well. Considering this, what is your take on the talents Tampa desperately needs: Suh vs McCoy. There is a current debate raging in the area as to which would be a better fit. My research shows that only a handful of defensive linemen have entered the draft after winning four major post season awards (Lombardi, Outland, Bednarik, and Nagurski) – and all were special – so Suh would seem to be worth moving up for…how do you see it?
SZ: “Either is worth moving up to grade. Suh is stronger and does a better job at holding up at the point of attack, while McCoy is more explosive and disruptive in the backfield. It’s personal preference. I like Suh better.”
BC: Are there any technical advantages that separate Suh from McCoy or even Brian Price for that matter?
SZ: “Suh plays with better technique (leverage, stout at the point); McCoy probably uses his hands a bit better. Brian Price reminds me a bit of Warren Sapp, however his motor is poor.”
BC: Tampa Bay is said to be continuing a self-described “hybrid” power blocking scheme augmented with ZBS concepts – with LT Donald Penn ballooning to over 350 lbs and not much depth the Bucs need a legitimate LT, love Bulaga but he’s climbing and I saw that you have him gone in the 1st round – so would Sam Young project as a RT or did his senior bowl play change any minds?
SZ: “Sam Young may go undrafted, he’s a major project at the next level. Bulaga should go in the Top 15, but he’s probably not worth the third pick in the draft.”
BC: With the Bucs in need of a power running back – what is the analysis of LaGarrette Blount: I have him as a target in the 5th round – will he make it?
SZ: “5th Round is an accurate assessment; however he’s done everything that has been asked of him this offseason and his stock could slowly rise as we get closer to the draft. He’d be another player who could rotate in and give the Bucs an immediate-impact player for their running game.”
Well, thanks Sean I appreciate your time and insights.
This is the first volley of off-season drafts analysis. Not sure I agree completely with some of those takes –but it will be interesting to see what transpires between now and the end of April. Hope you guys check out Shawn’s website and mock drafts.
As Gene Deckerhoff says with our Buccaneers driving for a score: “fire those cannons”… let me hear what you think, or what you’d like to ask Shawn in the follow-up!