By Tom Krasniqi
Day 2 of the NFL draft provided some intrigue for the Buccaneers and their fans on Friday night. The team had two picks, one in round 2 and another in the 3rd round. They filled a need with one pick and raised a few eyebrows with the other. Let's break down what the Bucs did:
Round 2, 43rd overall pick- CB Johnthan Banks from Mississippi State: Credit the Bucs for attacking their major weakness this offseason and turning it into a strength. The 6-2, 185-pound Banks won the Thorpe award in 2012 which is given annually to the nation's best defensive back. Banks recorded 63 tackles and 4 interceptions last season and had 16 career INTs. At the Combine, he disappointed scouts by running a low 40 time in the 4.6s. But if you watch the tape, he plays faster than his timed speed. He is a big and physical corner that excels in man coverage and that's what the Bucs were looking for. He's not afraid to tackle in run support either. GM Mark Dominik says Banks' ability to play well in the always tough SEC makes him more NFL ready than other corners in this draft class. The Bucs also like the fact that Banks was a team captain last season. Banks never missed a game in college so he's durable. He figures to step in as the nicker corner and special teams contributor. In fact, you may see him play outside with Eric Wright moving to the slot on certain passing downs. Learning from a guy like Darrelle Revis is a plus as Banks says he looks up to Revis. The major question now is this: Does the drafting of Banks mean Ronde Barber doesn't return? You would have to think that the Bucs had an idea of Barber's status when they drafted Banks. Stay tuned.
Round 3- 73rd overall pick, QB Mike Glennon of N.C. State: This pick will certainly spark some debate. We all know Josh Freeman is entering his contract year. Head coach Greg Schiano said he wasn't 'married' to Freeman and promotes competition at every position. If you remember weeks ago, I had reported the Bucs were going to draft a quarterback and they did. Glennon is a big kid with a strong arm. Listed at 6-7 and 225-pounds, Glennon had 62 touchdowns and 29 interceptions while completing 60% of his passes for the Wolfpack. Glennon can drive the ball down the field with accuracy and that fits perfectly into offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan's offense. He's not mobile, but Dominik says he has good pocket awareness. Glennon was inconsistent at times and makes poor decisions from time to time. His comeback win over Florida State last year was Glennon at his best. But he also had games where he looked lost (Tennessee) and that had scouts frustrated. Dominik says he stuck to his board and that Glennon was the highest rated player at the time. Both Dominik and Schiano claim the Glennon selection was not an indictment of Freeman and that Glennon is more of an insurance policy in case Freeman suffers an injury. The fact that the Bucs took a QB this high does tell you Schiano is not completely sold on Freeman and he's putting a contigency plan in place. Remember, Schiano did not draft Freeman. If Freeman doesn't deliver in 2013, Glennon would be prepped to step in by 2014. Very interesting pick indeed.
Final analysis: Banks addresses a need in terms of CB depth and should see major playing time right away as a nickel back and on special teams. Glennon is a big kid with a strong arm that can spin it down the field which makes him a good fit for Schiano's offense. Glennon won't threaten Freeman in 2013 but if Freeman falters this season, Glennon could be the starter in 2014. Here's how Schiano summarized Day 2 of the draft: "Excellent. I think we really got better today".
Looking ahead: The Bucs have 5 picks coming up Saturday in Day 3 of the NFL draft. They have two picks in rounds 4 and 6 with a single pick in round 5 sandwiched in. TE, LB and DT are still areas of need. Dominik says he will work the phones to move up or down. Alabama DT Jesse Williams and Rutgers LB Khaseem Greene are names to watch.