The Buccaneers roll into the 2012 NFL Draft with prime position but uncertainty on how things will play out before them. Other than Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, the next two picks could see the Bucs using an alternate draft strategy. Here are three surprise names which could be called upon to wear pewter this week.
ISAIAH PEAD, RB CINCINNATI
(5’10″, 197 lbs. 4.47-40 yard dash)
Isaiah Pead turned heads at the Senior Bowl, racking up 133 total yards and being named the game’s MVP. He was the Big East Offensive Player of the Year, finishing his career with 3,288 rushing yards and 27 touchdowns. In 2011, Pead added to his value after catching 39 balls for 319 yards and 3 touchdowns. Pead is a player Bucs coach Greg Schiano is familiar with after seeing the back torch Rutgers for 249 total yards and 5 scores two seasons ago. The knock on Pead is his tendency to sometimes disappear, but that can be said of any back. If the Bucs want a “change of pace” guy, Pead provides great value as a 3rd/4th round pick.
BRANDON TAYLOR, S LSU
(5’11″, 209 lbs. 4.58-40 yard dash)
With news the Bucs are actively trying to trade Aqib Talib, there could be a need to abandon the Ronde Barber experiment at safety. Regardless, the Bucs are putting a band-aid over a gaping wound which needs long term attention. Brandon Taylor was lost in the shuffle of bigger names in the LSU defense, but is was as big a part as any in their success. He has the speed to cover tight ends, the physical nature to play up in the box and the instincts in playing the pass. He finished third on the team in tackles (71) with a sack and two interceptions. He does show a tendency to over pursue when charging into the backfield, but that is something which could be worked on. Another Ron Cooper student, the Bucs will surely consider Taylor if the right situation presents itself.
MOHAMED SANU, WR RUTGERS
(6’2″, 218 lbs. 4.5/4.6 40 yard dash)
The last thing the Bucs need to add is another wide receiver. That said, Sanu could be a prospect too good to pass up for Schiano. The Rutgers standout had 7 touchdowns on 1,206 yards last year. As soon as Schiano was hired, reports on doubts about Mike Williams instantly surfaced. There have been rumors on varied evaluations of Arrelious Benn as well. If the Bucs were to take Sanu, it would give them some solid trade bait to stockpile picks and build the defense. Efforts to trade Aqib Talib are not likely to yield big results, but teams would be willing to give up more for experienced wide receivers. Sammy Stroughter, Preston Parker, Dezmon Briscoe and Arrelious Benn would each bring better trade value. The organization has all but given coach Schiano free reign, so if he is high on Sanu, it could be a possibility.