Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bucs-Revis talks to heat up again soon
The Buccaneers are beginning to set up their war room for the NFL draft, but already a 5-foot-11, 198-pound elephant has taken up residence there.
Its name is Darrelle Revis.
Talk of a Revis trade to the Bucs has cooled to a simmer, but it will heat up again as the draft approaches, and so might the Bucs’ interest in dealing their 2013 first-round pick for the Jets cornerback.
The Bucs are holding on tight to that 13th overall selection, in part because it’s too soon to know how this year’s draft will play out — even at the top — and what it could bring them. And that’s wise.
Though most draft experts say the elite players at the positions the Bucs need to fill mostly will be gone by the time the 13th selection comes, predictions of that nature have gone awry before — sometimes to the Bucs’ benefit.
In 1995, Warren Sapp was a consensus top-five selection, but the Bucs grabbed with the 12th overall pick. In 2011, Da’Quan Bowers was a consensus top-10 talent that the Bucs snatched with the 51st pick.
Until they have a better feel for what will be available to them at No.?13 or what another team other than the Jets might want to give up for that 13th pick, the Bucs are likely to hold on to it.
But what if the mock drafts are right and Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner, Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei — three players the Bucs no doubt covet — are gone when Tampa Bay’s first pick comes around?
What if the Bucs don’t like or feel a pressing need for any of the players available to them at 13 and no one affords them the opportunity to trade down to where it makes sense to draft either cornerback Desmond Trufant or cornerback Xavier Rhodes?
That’s when the 13th pick might become less valuable and when it might start to make sense to trade it as part of a deal that brings in Revis.
As the situation stands, the most sensible thing to do is stand firm and continue to try to force the Jets into accepting nothing better than a pick (or two) from their 2014 cache.
Those will be valuable picks, too, but keep in mind that after winning seven games last season and being close enough to have possibly won eight or nine, the Bucs believe they can win nine or 10 games in 2013.
That means they envision themselves making the playoffs and picking somewhere between 20th and 32nd in 2014, and a pick in that range is a lot easier to surrender than one in the top 15.
It’s equally as difficult for the Jets to accept, but New York is the team dealing from the weaker position here. Sure, the Jets have an asset, but if it’s true they need to unload that asset, they’ll eventually accept the Bucs’ bid.
The Wright stuff Bucs fans might shriek, but I think it’s time they start getting used to the idea of cornerback Eric Wright coming back and wearing red and pewter again in 2013.
The decision not to delve into what most NFL scouts agree is a very shallow and muddy pool of free-agent corners is one reason the Bucs appear to be leaning toward retaining Wright, but there’s more to it than that.
The Bucs spent two years chasing Wright and wound up overpaying to get him last year, but they still like his skill set and upside and believe he can still be an asset if he can smarten up.
“He has been a reliable player,’’ Bucs coach Greg Schiano said of Wright, who became a lot less reliable after he was suspended four games for Adderall use last year.
“He had some things that kind of tripped him up (last year), but he has been reliable — not only here but in other places where coaches on our staff have been with him. If I didn’t feel there was good there, we would have already separated from him, but there is good there.’’