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The Bucs Are On The Clock

Posted Apr 16, 2012

The 2012 NFL Draft is finally starting to unfold in our fan mock draft and so far it's been all about the offense.

In the latest pick, you have the Cleveland Browns selecting former Alabama running back Trent Richardson with the No. 4 overall pick. Now, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are on the clock.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished 2011 with a 4-12 record and decided to bring in first-time NFL head coach Greg Schiano. The Bucs opened up their wallets in free agency to give Schiano plenty of tools to work with signing wide receiver Vincent Jackson, guard Carl Nicks and cornerback Eric Wright among others.

Even though the Bucs have LeGarrette Blount, who rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2010, Schiano has criticized Blount for his tendency to fumble the football (nine fumbles in two seasons). However, Richardson is the only running back expected to be selected at the top of the draft, so now that he's off the board the Bucs will have to look in another direction.

Could this be the spot where a defensive player is finally selected? If the Bucs pass on defense, this would be the first draft (remember, this is only a fan mock) since 2005 where a defensive player was not taken in the first five picks. The Bucs owned the No. 5 pick that year. Cornerback makes plenty of sense for the Bucs here with LSU's Morris Claiborne still available. Schiano hired Claiborne's position coach from LSU, Ron Cooper, to take on the same role with the Bucs. The Bucs signed Wright and also re-signed longtime veteran Ronde Barber. Aqib Talib remains on the team, but his career has been maligned by off-the-field issues and he is in the last year of his contract. Claiborne would give the Bucs a premier talent for now and the future.

Even though Josh Freeman had a down year in 2011, the Bucs aren't expected to draft a quarterback in the first round. This is where a team could move up for Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The Bucs could surround Freeman with more weapons and draft wide receiver Justin Blackmon or Michael Floyd to complement Jackson. If improving Freeman's protection is paramount, the Bucs could draft Iowa offensive tackle Riley Reiff.

The defensive line was the focal point of the draft last year with the selection of ends Adrian Clayborn in the first round and Da'Quan Bowers in the second. The defensive tackle position is one of strength on this team with former No. 3 overall pick Gerald McCoy and Brian Price on the roster. Still, in a division with Atlanta's Matt Ryan, Carolina's Cam Newton and New Orleans' Drew Brees, pressure on the quarterback is a must whether it's from the end spot or inside at tackle.

The choice is yours. Who will be selected with the fifth pick of our fan mock draft?

Previous Picks
1. Indianapolis – QB Andrew Luck, Stanford
2. Washington – QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor
3. Minnesota -- OT Matt Kalil, USC
4. Cleveland - RB Trent Richardson, Cleveland

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