Players To Watch: Combine Edition.

by Douglas O’Connor
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     It’s that time of year Buc fans. Combine week!

     Excluding those of us who scour YouTube watching highlight videos of their favorite prospects. This will be the first time to get an up close look at players that will be drafted by your Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

     Below I’m going to write about some players that I like for the Bucs. Focusing on the positions that I think are needs for the team. Wide receiver, running back, safety, tight end and edge.

     I’m will be leaving out some top tier players. Prospects that I feel won’t be there at 19 for the Bucs or are have received a ton of coverage already.

     All height and weights are nonofficial precombine numbers.

     Wide Receivers 
Omissions: Corey Davis, Mike Williams & John Ross
KD Cannon, Baylor: 5’11” 180lbs. If the Bucs want speed on the outside, this is a guy to watch. Eats up corner back cushions quickly and is a home run threat. Catches the ball against his body to much for my liking. Watch him in the Gauntlet drill to see if he is working on that part of his game. Late round developmental player. Rounds 5-7.
Amara Darboh, Michigan: 6’2″ 215lbs. This guy is built to be a WR2. If he runs a sub 4.5 40, that could push him as high as the 2nd round. If he is around in the 4th take him and pat yourself on the back.
Isaiah Ford, Virginia Tech: 6’1″ 195lbs. Quick, tall and thin. I think he could cause massive match up in the slot. Might have trouble when DB’s get physical with him. Rounds 3-5.
Kenny Golladay, Northern Illinois: 6’4″ 194lbs. This player just hit my radar. I’ll be watching him closely and I think you should too. Jury is still out.
Carlos Henderson, LA Tech: 5’11” 191lbs. Another speed receiver. Henderson is moving up draft boards and also is an excellent returner. Huge one year of production. Round 2-3.
Zay Jones, ECU: 6’2″ 202lbs. Another big board climber. Jones had an outstanding Senior Bowl week. If he duplicates that at the combine he will secure himself as a top 5 WR. Rounds 2-3.

Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M: 6’3″ 187lbs. I like this guy for the Buccaneers. Good deep speed and high point receiver. Played for same college team as Mike Evans, so you know he will immediately take Josh under his wing. If drafted by the Bucs he will lineup at WR2 week 1. Rounds 2-3.
Draft Crush

ArDarius Stewart, Alabama: 5′ 11″ 204lbs. A lot like O.J. Howard, Stewart’s potential was stunted by the run heavy Alabama offense. A superb athlete that you find ways to get the ball. I think Stewart has the opportunity to improve his draft grade more than any other WR at the combine. Lack of tape might scare some teams off early in the draft. Round 2-5.

Running Back
Omissions: Dalvin Cook, Leonard Fournette & Christian McCaffery

Tarik Cohen, NC A&T: 5’6″ 179lbs. Nicknamed “The Human Joystick”. Tarik believes that if you can’t touch him you sure as hell can’t tackle him. I don’t think the Bucs have much interest in Cohen but he will be a fun watch during the combine. Round ???.
D’Onta Foreman, Texas: 6’0″ 233lbs. Big and powerful with good feet and wiggle for a player his size. Some report a sub 4.5 40 coming in the combine. That will help. Poor blocking and average vision will hurt. Rounds 3-4
Wayne Gallman, Clemson: 6’0″ 215lbs. One cut and go. Gallman might start his NFL career as a short yardage specialist. Needs to improve in pass protection to see the field consistently. Round 3-5.
Kareem Hunt, Toledo: 5′ 10″ 216lbs. Doesn’t do anything outstanding but stay on his feet. His balance is outstanding. I also like his vision, just finds creases. Rounds 2-4
Marlon Mack, USF: 5’11” 213lbs. Local kid with break away speed. Great hips and big play ability. Fumbles way too much for a pro caliber RB. Rounds 3-4.
Freddie Stevenson, FSU: 6’0″ 234lbs. One of only two fullbacks invited to the combine. Jason Licht has gone after a FB in each of the past two drafts. Stevenson is a devastating blocker that is athletic enough to be a weapon in the passing game. Rounds 6-7.
Draft Crush
Brian Hill, Wyoming: 6’1″ 219lbs. If you like Doug Martin you will like Hill. Tough inside runner with good size and speed. I don’t know what it is about this kid, I just like him. I’ll be watching closely. Rounds 4-6.
Omissions: Jamal Adams & Malik Hooker

Budda Baker, Washington: 5’10” 180lbs. When a guy can just ball you quit caring about his measurables. His football instincts are off the charts and is damn near unblockable. If you are in need of a safety and you pick in the second half of the 1st round. Just take him and move on. Pro Bowl talent.
Eddie Jackson, Alabama: 6’0″ 194lbs. Jackson broke his leg during the 2016 and has a lot to prove during the combine. Some critics think Jackson success was because of Alabama’s front 7  more than his covering ability. Rounds, need to see his combine.
Draft Crush

Obi Melifonwu, UConn: 6’4″ 219lbs. That’s right 6’4″ 219lbs. Obi was seen as just a box safety until Senior Bowl practices. WR after WR took their shot against Obi and couldn’t shake him. He is going to test very well at the combine and could sneak into the 1st round. Rounds 1-3. 
Tight End
Omissions: O.J. Howard & David Njoku

Evan Engram, Ole Miss: Engram isn’t getting much pub from Buc writers but to me he is the 2nd best tight end in this draft. He can play every receiver spot on the field. If he was a better blocker he’d be a sure fire round one pick. Rounds 1-2.
Michael Roberts, Toledo: 6’4″ 270lbs. All he does is catch 1st downs and TD’s. Raw route runner and blocker that ceiling is as high as anybodies at his position. Watching him move in the more precise drills will be telling. Rounds 3-6. 
Adam Shaheen, Ashland: 6’6″ 278lbs. He can catch and he can move but he can’t block. Shaheen has the frame and ability but hasn’t had the coaching. A late round flyer that could pay big dividends. Rounds 5-7.
Draft Crush
Gerald Everett, South Alabama: 6’3″ 239lbs. Blocks like you stole something from him and has good hands to boot. Fast for a player his size and has big YAC potential. Jason Licht is looking for a tight end that can run, catch and block on the pro level. This is my pick to fill that bill.

     To be honest I don’t like the combine for evaluating edge rushers. The only opposition they face is a tackling dummy and tackling dummies don’t have the best footwork. A few edge prospects have been linked to the Bucs so I’ll give you a list of guys but game tape is the only way to find a guy you like.
The Big Names

Jonathan Allen Alabama, Derek Barnett Tennessee, Taco Charlton Michigan, Myles Garrett Texas A&M, Charles Harris Missouri & Solomon Thomas Stanford 

Tier Two

Carl Lawson Auburn, Haason Reddick Temple, Demarcus Walker FSU, Tim Williams Alabama & Chris Wormley Michigan.

Best Of The Rest

Bryan Cox Jr. Florida, Trey Hendrickson FAU, Tanoh Kpassagnon Villanova, Avery Moss YSU & Jordan Willis KSU

     Well there you have it. My list of players to watch for the next 4 days. Hopefully these names will enrich your NFL Combine experience. 
     If you can’t watch this years combine I will be Live Tweeting the action all 4 days, so give me a follow.
you can also follow Real Bucs Talk on Twitter HERE  
thanks for reading and as always GO BUCS!

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