Dallas Cowboys bid for 2018 Draft

The Dallas Cowboys have put in a bid to host the 2018 NFL Draft. I think they’re in an excellent spot to get it.

I heard that feedback from when Dallas hosted the Super Bowl in 2011 wasn’t great. Traveling to the stadium was tough. The weather wasn’t cooperative. But Philadelphia got their shot at the draft this past year and came away with rave reviews.

The Boys deserve the chance to host this, and you know Jerry Jones being the showman that he is would roll out the red carpet.

A Must Read on Joel Buchsbaum

We’ve already talked about Joel Buchsbaum here. But JoeBucsFan.com has a great tribute post to the man himself too. The draft is over, but it is still a must read if you missed it at the tail end of last week.

Joe got hooked on the NFL draft as a kid from an alien-like voice that floated through the Midwestern night and originated from a city Joe finally visited for the first time in September 2012.

Growing up as a kid, there were two people who turned Joe into the football freak he is today. One was Joe’s high school football coach, a guy who played for a virtual who’s who of football coaches: John Madden, Tom Landry, Gene Stallings and Lou Holtz. It kills Joe how much he has forgotten about football from a man unknown by 99.99999 percent of the populace. Joe remembers covering his first NFL training camp warmly. There, grizzled Stallings was the head coach who vividly remembered Joe’s high school coach playing for him. After learning Joe played for one of his protegés, Stallings treated Joe like one of his family members.

The second source fueling Joe’s unwavering football fetish came from an unlikely location: a Brooklyn apartment.

Joe first heard of Joel Buchsbaum on a blowtorch radio station out of St. Louis, KMOX. There, each Monday night (prior to Monday Night Football), and Sunday night (during the offseason), Buchsbaum, the original draftnik, would talk to strangers throughout the Midwest, giving listeners knowledge on college football players and the NFL that, to this day, Joe finds unmatched — not even by Mike Mayock, not even by Mel Kiper, not even by Pat Kirwan.

People would call the show and ask Buchsbaum about (pick a player), and often before the caller finished his question, Buchsbaum would interrupt and begin rattling off the talents and drawbacks of said player, periodically invoking his favorite saying of lesser players, “Looks like Tarzan; plays like Jane.”

Pleasantries were not a forte of Buchsbaum. He was not rude, not even close, but he was very short and impatient with rambling callers.

Joe remembers some guy asking Buchsbaum about (name of the player long ago forgotten), who the caller claimed was a starting cornerback at Utah. Buchsbaum, in his shrill, nasally, thick Brooklyn accent, corrected the caller almost immediately. No, the player is not from Utah, Buchsbaum said, but from Utah State. And in fact he was a backup cornerback.

This did not stop Buchsbaum from launching into why the player was not starting and why coaches didn’t start him despite the promise he showed. Mind you, this was long before the days of laptops, so Buchsbaum couldn’t have Googled the player’s name in five seconds to pull up his information (partially because neither Google nor the Internet existed).

It was unreal what this guy knew. And in Joe’s circle of fellow football friends, guys who rarely if ever listened to an AM station, Buchsbaum had their attention. He was like the Rain Man.

You have to click through and read the whole post. I couldn’t have summed it up better. It was a perfect remembrance for the original draftnik on the holiest of holidays in this year round football carnival we now live in. Like Joe says, we live in a football world now.

Hell, I’m listening to Sirius XM NFL wrap up show while I bang out this post. While all my other friends are out watching Mayweather vs. Pacquiao.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Draft Pick – Round Seven, Pick 14 (231) Joey Iosefa, FB Hawaii

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The end of a long couple of days is winding down. The Buccaneers ended up taking a Hawaiian player after all, he just didn’t play Quarterback. I like the move.

The Buccaneers have done as much as they can do to beef up an offensive unit that already had some pieces. Adding a nice little fullback fills out a draft nicely.

From his NFL.com draft profile:

STRENGTHS

No-nonsense runner who prefers to rush between the tackles. Will coil his hips and deliver a blow into second-level linebackers attempting to tackle him and pass rushers in pass protection. Often leans shoulder into contact, absorbing blow while resetting feet to continue his run. Functional ability to cut and take it downhill. Can catch the ball out of the backfield and is adequate in pass protection.

WEAKNESSES

Bulky, but unathletic build. Shows below-average foot quickness, which limits ability to run to perimeter and to make defenders miss in space. Has marginal burst through line of scrimmage, forcing him to deal with consistent traffic around him. Doesn’t possess ground-floor acceleration or wiggle to make consistent yardage in screen game.

BOTTOM LINE

One-speed running back with some weight behind his pads, but not enough explosive power to offset his lack of burst and overall athleticism. Could struggle to find a home as an NFL running back and might need to take a look at playing fullback.

Once again, no comp. But we will learn more about Joey Iosefa as time goes on. In honor of the final Bucs pick in the 2015 NFL draft, here is an Iosefa highlight tape:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Draft Pick – Round Six, pick 8 (184) WR Kaelin Clay, Utah

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The Buccaneers are making a conscious effort to upgrade their offense. First it was two lineman (I wouldn’t have minded them picking a third, just for depth’s sake). Then a defensive player. Since that, it’s been two wide receivers.

Charles Davis says he has quickness in open space and they can run some running back-type plays to this guy.

Here’s his NFL.com draft profile so we can get to know him a bit more. We have heard nothing of him so far, but we haven’t heard much of any of these guys being picked right now.

STRENGTHS

Very good straight-line speed. Decorated sprinter in high school. Stepped up and showed improvement in his lone season at Utah after teammate Dres Anderson’s season-ending knee injury. Able to make first defender miss in space. When given a shot to play vertically, took advantage by winning over the top twice against Oregon. One of the more dangerous return men in college football as both punt returner and kickoff returner. Posted three punt-return touchdowns and a 100-yard kickoff return in 2014. Has great feel for keeping kick returns on their designed track and slashing at the right time. Had disastrous “fumble” against Oregon when he released ball before crossing into the end zone — Oregon picked it up and went other way for a touchdown. Bounced back from that and showed mental toughness.

WEAKNESSES

Smaller receiver with very limited catch radius. Had four drops in 2014, including focus drops when trying to make catch near the sideline. Hips don’t open much, causing short, tight strides and flatness with some of his routes. Lacks sudden feet to gain expected separation on outs. Game film filled with hitches, bubble screens and short outs. Lacking in route sophistication. Upright into his breaks and out of them.

DRAFT PROJECTION

Round 6 or 7

BOTTOM LINE

Slot receiver lacking suddenness to get open against man coverage underneath, but with a second gear to find separation on deep throws. Clay’s size and playmaking ability as a receiver aren’t going to do much for most teams, but his return ability gives him a shot at making a team.

Probably not a great sign he doesn’t have a career comp at the next level. Maybe he becomes a gem in the rough and we use his post tag more than just this one time. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Draft: Round Five, Pick 26 (126) WR Kenny Bell, Nebraska

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Kenny Bell looks like a scrub and a stoner in his NFL.com draft profile picture. But if this guy can play, who cares that he looks like he crawled out of a dumpster. It sounds like he can play, and we’ve seen his name intermittently sprinkled in mock drafts in some good spots. This is the first receiver added to the Buccaneers in the Jameis Winston era.

STRENGTHS

Can get on top of cornerbacks quickly and can ramp up acceleration to create enough air space for quarterbacks to target him up top. Has made big catches at big times for Nebraska. Displays concentration and boundary awareness up the field. Has big-play ability that was untapped at times at Nebraska. Shredded with little body fat. Smart player and very well-coached in college. Plus competitiveness when going up to snag a pass against defenders. Ball winner.

WEAKNESSES

Has some stiffness to his routes. Doesn’t get into and out of breaks as cleanly as scouts would like to see. Likely limited to a roll as an outside threat. Thin frame and has struggled at staying on his route when muscled by big corners. Needs to diversify his approach to getting off the line of scrimmage on the next level.

DRAFT PROJECTION

Round 4 or 5

NFL COMPARISON

Nate Washington

BOTTOM LINE

Lanky, vertical wide receiver with a second gear. He likes to lull cornerbacks to sleep before hitting the gas and getting over the top of them for big plays. Bell is a little more straight-lined than some teams are looking for, but with reliable hands and an ability to make plays on the ball down the field, he has starter’s traits as a potential No. 2 WR in the league.

A lot of times, receivers selected in this portion of the draft end up hurt or on practice squads and don’t ever end up catching more than 15 balls in their rookie year. If Bell can catch 30 or 40, that will be a helluva rookie season.

JoeBucsFan.com says that Bell will make the team and be an instant upgrade over Robert Herron. He better be. I guess the reality is, a couple of these guys selected by Tampa are going to be busts. It’s just inevitable. It’s only the Hall of Fame type drafts where you hit one everyone.

The Nate Washington comp is fine with me. That guy has had a solid NFL career.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Round Two, Pick 61: Ali Marpet, OG (Hobart)

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And here you thought the Buccaneers were going to go with a guy who you might not have heard about. The Buccaneers traded up with the Indianapolis Colts to select one of the most talked about Division III football prospects of all-time. Indianapolis will also sent the 128th pick of the draft to Tampa in exchange for the 65th and 109th selections.

Here is his scouting profile from NFL.com:

STRENGTHS

Good foot quickness with ability to reach and hook opponents. Quick out of stance and into defender. Usually the low man, using hips and arm extension to lock out and control his man. Has leg drive to drive his man backward and finish. Consistent with hand placement in run and pass. Plays with advanced technique for a Division III player. More than held his own at the Senior Bowl against both quickness and strength. Moved from tackle to guard with no issues during the week of practice. Outstanding NFL Scouting Combine with impressive showing on bench press (30 reps).

WEAKNESSES

Played against inferior athletic competition and wasn’t challenged enough. Gets caught leaning and lunging. Lets inferior athletes get to his edge. Average with redirect. Has short legs. Needs to add more thickness through entire body.

DRAFT PROJECTION

Round 2 or 3

SOURCES TELL US

“Everyone is talking about Marpet non-stop but I see a player who is stiff and who is a project. He may end up being a player but I wouldn’t trust him to give you snaps for the first couple of years.” – NFL Director of Personnel

THE BOTTOM LINE

Has the body type and movement of a zone-scheme center with guard potential. Technically sound and has athleticism to become an NFL starter, but must prove he can handle the substantial jump in power and speed he will see. Looked strong enough at the Senior Bowl, but he could be a year away from being ready. Ascending prospect with a chance to be one of the steals from this year’s group of interior blockers.

I love that Tampa is making it a priority to upgrade the offensive line. I thought this selection might be another full-fledge tackle; Marpet has the ability to play guard or tackle. I am not sure what to make of his upside. He could be a Mike Mamula type of combine specimen who doesn’t translate to the NFL game, but Jason Licht seems to think otherwise.

He obviously has a nastiness about him that you need on the interior line to climb up the ranks of DIII football and into the NFL in the second round. Hopefully Marpet makes a couple Pro Bowls and grades out really high next year on Pro Football Focus and all that good stuff.

I like what Daniel Jeremiah said on NFL Network just prior to the pick. Select another lineman to upgrade Jameis Winston’s protection and allow this team to grow up together. In two days, the Buccaneers have added Winston, Donovan Smith, and the Hobart Statesmen Ali Marpet. I wouldn’t mind seeing Tampa take one more lineman tomorrow.

Licht said tonight that they’re going to begin playing Marpet at guard, and he may develop the versatility to someday play center. He commented that the talent pool was drying up for Offensive Lineman and they didn’t want to miss out on this guy.

You can see the GM talking about the two lineman selected today here.