The Buccaneers are gearing up for the NFL Draft coming up on Thursday night and as we draw closer to draft day, the more rumors that are flying around. One has Tampa Bay trading Aqib Talib to the Cowboys for their first round draft pick (14th overall). But why would Dallas, or any other team for that matter, trade a high pick for a player who has an uncertain future. Talib could still end up with a long prison sentence. His trial is scheduled to start on June 25th. It wouldn’t be a bad idea for the Bucs to move him and get something while they can, for reasons just mentioned, but it is doubtful to happen. Head coach Greg Schiano denied the rumor. “Only because there’s some extenuating circumstance, I’m going to comment,” Schiano said. “Usually I won’t. In this day and age, with all the blogs and everything, if I commented on every speculation, it would be an everyday task. All I can tell you is that there is absolutely zero thinking on our part as far as wanting to do that. I want him to be a Buc. I understand there’s been issues before I arrived. I’m not naive to that. And I understand that some of those are a heck of a lot bigger than playing football. But I am really hopeful that that clears itself up. Since I met him for the first time, he’s done everything I’ve asked. He’s practiced well and he’s prepared well. I try not to judge people other than how they treat me, and he’s treated me well. I don’t know how all that got started, but no, there’s no truth to that.”
The Minnesota Vikings are apparently eyeing LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne with their 3rd overall pick. Tampa Bay has been rumored to be wanting him as well with their 5th overall pick.
There is also talk that the Buccaneers could use that pick to choose Alabama running back Trent Richardson. A move that Legarrette Blount has already publicly said he would be against. He said this week that it was just him talking, nothing else. “Like I said, it was just a comment,” Blount said. “There’s nothing for anybody to read too deep into. You know, there’s not nothing I would want to explain. It was just a comment and I left it at that. Of course. I’d welcome him as a teammate. I’ve met the guy before. He’s not a bad kid, but at the same time, like I said, I’d welcome anything that helps the team get better. I’d welcome anybody as a teammate, it doesn’t matter who it is.’’
Head coach Greg Schiano played Mason Foster at middle linebacker during the teams three day voluntary mini camp and was happy with the move. “He had a good three days,” said Schiano. Foster, coming into his second NFL season, says the adjustment to pro football was hard but the experience has helped prepare him for this coming season. “It was definitely tough, but I thought I could handle it,” Foster said. “But having the time now to sit at home and study your playbook and come talk to the coaches at any time during the day — being able to sit and go over stuff — that definitely gives you an advantage. I see what I was missing last year.” The 23 year old had 84 tackles in his rookie season, and interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Tampa Bay signed safety Ron Girault and running back Robert Hughes out of mini camp. Both players came into the three day session with only a tryout contract and walked away with a roster spot. Girault, 26, played his college ball as a 4 year starter under Schiano and last played for the UFL’s Las Vegas Locomotives. Hughes, 22, played 47 games for the Notre Dame and totalled 1,392 and 15 touchdowns for the Fighting Irish.
New wide receiver Vincent Jackson is already pleased with his decision to join the Buccaneers. “I love it,” said Jackson ”Everybody on offense, defense, everybody I’ve met in this building, everybody on this field is very intelligent. We have very capable coaches and with the talent that we have here, you need the coaching staff to put that energy and enthusiasm in the right direction and we have the guys to do that.”
Greg Schiano will not be afforded the luxury of getting his feet wet once the season start. He is getting thrown right into the fire as the Bucs will open the season at home on September 9th with a 4:15 kickoff against Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. The following Sunday they visit the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants. They follow that with a trip to Dallas.
Tampa Bay picked up kicker Kai Forbath from waivers. Forbath missed all of last season with a non-football injury while a member of the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas released him on Monday and the Buccaneers claimed him on Tuesday.
Ronde Barber saw time at safety during the teams mini camp. Barber is returning to the Buccaneers for his 16th season. Greg Schiano just wants the best players he has to be on the field. “That’s one of those (experiments),” Schiano said, ”I think Ronde can certainly do it and did a good job today doing it. We’ll see. Again … how do we get the best 11 on the field?” Barber just wants to help the team in any way he can. “I am fitting where needed, currently,” Barber said. “They know I can play corner. They know I can play inside. I am where there is a loose spot right now. Which I am all right with right now. It is good. It is fun. A lot to learn, but it is good.”
Outside the Redzone will be covering the NFL Draft and the Buccaneers on Thursday night so make sure you check in. The Bucs have the 5th overall pick and the 4th pick of the second round (36th overall).
Ray Blanchette covers the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for Outside The Redzone. He also covers NCAA football for the Saturday Blitz. Follow along at www.saturdayblitz.com. Blanchette is the owner of Blanchette Sports Holdings. Follow along with them at www.blanchettesh.elementfx.com or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100003521034703&sk=wall or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/BlanchettSports