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Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014

Bucs draft analysis: Linebacker

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Published:   |   Updated: April 19, 2013 at 11:19 PM

The Buccaneers have eight selections in the NFL draft, including the No. 13 overall pick. The draft, to be held April 25-27 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, features seven rounds and 254 total picks, including a handful of compensatory picks. The Bucs have two choices in the fourth and sixth rounds, but do not have a seventh-round selection. For eight consecutive days, the Tampa Tribune will analyze the team's needs at each of eight positions.
 
Today, we look at linebacker.
 
Linebacker
 
The Bucs believe they are well set for years to come in the middle with Mason Foster and the weakside with Lavonte David. On the strong side, Tampa Bay is expecting free-agent addition Jonathan Casillas to compete for a starting spot following the release of injured veteran Quincy Black. Casillas, a part-time player in New Orleans, will be given every chance to win the job in training camp against Adam Hayward and Dekoda Watson. Foster improved in his second NFL season, appearing more comfortable and taking better drops in coverage. David was a revelation as a second-round pick out of Nebraska, leading Tampa Bay with 139 tackles while calling defensive signals. With more pressing needs, it appears unlikely the Bucs would spend a premium draft choice at the linebacker position.
 
On the Bucs roster
 
Player 
 
Ht. 
 
Wt. 
 
Age 
 NFL seasons 
Jonathan Casillas 
6-1 
227 
25 

Jacob Cutera 
6-3 
238 
24 

Lavonte David 
6-1 
233 
23 

Mason Foster 
6-2 
242 
24 

Najee Goode 
6-0 
244 
23 

Adam Hayward 
6-1 
240 
28 

Joe Holland 
6-1 
229 
24 

Dekoda Watson 
6-2 
240 
25 

 
Remaining NFL free agents
 
Player 
 
Ht. 
 
Wt. 
 
Age 
NFL
seasons 
Nick Barnett 
6-2 
228 
31 
11 
Karlos Dansby 
6-4 
250 
 31 
10 
James Harrison 
6-0 
242 
34 
11 
Shaun Phillips 
6-3 
250 
31 
10 
Daryl Smith 
6-2 
248 
31 
10 
 
Dream Pick


Alec Ogletree, Georgia
 
This Bulldogs standout is probably the most versatile linebacker available in a relatively weak class. Ogletree is a sure tackler who wraps up runners with superior technique, yet he also has the athleticism to excel in coverage. He posted 111 tackles in 10 games, displaying solid instincts. He is rarely caught out of position. He also sheds backs with ease and has the potential to be an effective blitzer at the pro level, registering three sacks in each of the past two seasons while playing opposite edge rusher Jarvis Jones.
 
Hidden Gem


Arthur Brown, Kansas State
 
With some tutoring, Brown has a chance to develop into a solid NFL starter. His intangibles are off the chart, which will endear him to Bucs general manager Mark Dominik and head coach Greg Schiano. Brown is a natural leader who loves football — the kind of player Schiano envisions on his roster. He also boasts the skills to succeed as an outside linebacker in a 4-3 defense. Brown is a sound tackler and was very active for the Wildcats last season with 100 tackles, two picks and a sack.
 
Bucs history
 
Although Tampa Bay hasn't used a first-round selection on a linebacker since drafting Derrick Brooks with the 28th pick in 1996, the Bucs have received strong production from recent choices. Watson, a seventh-round choice out of Florida State in 2010, has been a special teams standout. Foster, a third-round pick in 2011, is a two-year starter in the middle and David was one of the NFL's most accomplished rookie defenders in 2012, displaying exceptional quickness and instincts.
 
The schedule
 
Wednesday: Quarterback 
Thursday: Offensive line 
Today: Linebacker 
Saturday: Running back 
Sunday: Defensive end 
Monday: Receiver/tight end 
Tuesday: Defensive tackle 
Wednesday: Defensive back 
 

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