Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bucs positioned to make another move in draft
Darrelle Revis was in the middle of what seemed like an endless string of interviews and photo shoots on Monday when Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik slipped away from Revis Island to make a quick phone call.
The call, to a rival general manager, was one in a long string Dominik has made since acquiring Revis from the New York Jets on Sunday for the 13th pick in the NFL draft to gauge his chances of moving back into the first round.
The response he received might surprise you.
Unlike most years, when rumors of teams wishing to trade down in the first round proved to be just that, there appears this year to be a growing desire by several teams to actually make such a move. Reports out of Philadelphia, Cleveland, Detroit, Buffalo, Miami and Arizona suggest those teams might be interested in trading down.
And the list could grow as the first round unfolds tonight at Radio City Music Hall in New York.
“I do believe there will be some action there this year, I just don't know how much,” Dominik said.
Dominik is no stranger to such maneuvers. In his four years as Bucs general manager he has orchestrated three trades involving first-round selections, including trading a pair of picks to New England last year to move back into the first round and select running back Doug Martin at No.?31 overall.
This year, Tampa Bay has the 11th pick in the second round — 43rd overall — as well as a third-round selection, two fourths, a fifth and two sixths, so Dominik believes he has the ammunition to make that kind of move again.
“I do, and that's something that we kept in mind as we did (the Revis trade),'' said Dominik, who gave up a conditional 2014 pick in the Revis trade, but no other picks in 2013. “We wanted to be sure we could still be fluid.”
The Bucs won't try to move back into the first round solely for the sake of reacquiring a top-32 pick. As they did with Martin a year ago, they'll make that move only if they believe a player justifies it.
There are several who could. For a team lacking a top-flight tight end, Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert might justify such a move. So could Stanford tight end Zach Ertz, especially if Eifert goes off the board early.
And for a team that has never really recovered from the loss of 2010 second-round draft pick Brian Price, defensive tackles such as Sylvester Williams of North Carolina and Datone Jones of UCLA might be tempting, too.
Even a cornerback such as Xavier Rhodes of Florida State or Desmond Trufant of Washington could make a move worthwhile. After all, the Bucs don't consider themselves set at cornerback.
As Dominik put it, they are no longer in a situation where they have to get a cornerback in the early rounds of this draft. They do want to fortify that position, however, and this draft allows for it.
“It's a great group of young men,” Dominik said of the cornerback class. “They're really good kids. They're strong off the field. They all have a strong work ethic. They have size. They run well.
“There are a lot of good qualities in this draft class at that cornerback position, which is unique, but it also means they could peel off the board in the 20s or 30s, too.”
It's not just at cornerback where this year's talent pool is deep. Dominik and most draft experts believe there is also plenty of depth at defensive tackle, tight end and offensive tackle.
“People are complaining that this is not a very sexy draft, but I think it's deeper than I've seen in a while,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said. “There are probably 25 or 35 more draftable players this year than last year.”
That's good news for the Bucs, because Dominik believes that with the exception of a few spots, possibly including cornerback, he is searching more for depth than starting-caliber players.
“Across the board we feel pretty good about our talent pool,'' Dominik said. “We have five or six guys on both sides of the ball that can be almost elite or are elite-type players at their positions, and that's encouraging.
“So, when we walk out of this draft, the main thing I'll look at is, 'How did it fit? How did it flow? Were we aggressive when we had the chance? Were we cautious when we needed to be?'
“It's all a fluid thing. But I do know the process we're going through upstairs in our draft meetings and throughout our preparation is uniquely Tampa Bay, and I think it's working.”