Buccaneers Combine Analysis: Day 3

Frank Okam (Scout.com photo)

Get the scoop on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' player meetings right here. We confirmed seven more meetings today, and we have several other players we believe the Bucs will meet with this weekend. Get exclusive analysis of how those players could fit into the Bucs system right now. We're the only place on the Web offering Bucs-centric Combine analysis live from Indianapolis.

Did you miss our Thursday Bucs Combine Analysis? We broke down every player we could confirm the Bucs met with that day. If you missed it, Just click here.

Did you miss our Friday Bucs Combine Analysis? We broke down every player we could confirm the Bucs met with that day, plus other we anticipated meeting with the Bucs. If you missed it, Just click here.

The following capsules are on players that have either confirmed to Bucsblitz.com that they have met with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or could meet with the team during the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis this week:

Kentwan Balmer (6-foot-5, 308), North Carolina

North Carolina's Kentwan Balmer was all smiles on Saturday in Indianapolis. (Scout.com photo)
Projected selection: First or second round. Balmer is No. 3 among defensive tackles at Scout.com. He did not confirm a meeting with the Buccaneers this weekend.

Statistics: 55 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 9.5 tackles for loss in 2007.

How he fits with the Bucs?: Balmer talked quite a bit on Saturday about being a classic three-technique and that he's made big strides in terms of watching film and understanding offensive opponents. He compared himself to Richard Seymour, who thrives in a 3-4 scheme. Scouts like the way he shoots the gaps with his lean frame, but some worry that he won't be able to shed double teams. Being able to shed those double teams to get to the quarterback is a key component of the Cover 2 scheme. Balmer has the potential to be a good fit in Tampa Bay, but the key question is whether he would be available at No. 20 and if he would be the best fit for the scheme.

Shawn Crable, DE/LB (6-foot-5, 241), Michigan

Projected selection: Third or fourth round. Scout.com ranks him as its No. 7 outside linebacker in the draft. He met with the Bucs on Friday.

Statistics: In 46 games on defense, Crable started 20 contests at strong-side linebacker. He recorded 148 tackles (101 solos), ranking tied for 10th on the school's all-time record list with 16 sacks for minus-102 yards and finishing seventh in Wolverines history with 43 stops for losses of 163 yards.

How he fits with the Bucs?: In talking to Crable on Saturday, it was apparent that he's seen as a defensive end in a 4-3 scheme, which makes a visit with the Bucs curious. He's too tall and heavy to play linebacker in the Cover 2 scheme, but he's way too light to be a three-down end. Still, his ability to get past the line of scrimmage and make tackles for loss will be enticing for most teams, as will his draft value. Is it a stretch to say this guy has some Adalius Thomas in him? Probably, but Crable has the frame to line up anywhere on the field. But the Bucs don't use players like that defensively.

Sedrick Ellis, DT (6-foot-1, 307), USC

Projected selection: First round. Scout.com ranks him No. 2 among defensive tackles. He should meet with the Bucs this weekend.

Southern Cal product Sedrick Ellis should be a first-round pick. But will he be there at No. 20 when Tampa Bay selects? (Getty Images)
Statistics: Had 4.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss last season.

How he fits with the Bucs?: He's the perfect candidate for the three technique. He's big enough to stuff the run, he's fast enough to rush the passer, he's played the three and the nose in a Cover 2 system in college and he's played at a high level his entire collegiate career. In fact, NFLdraftscout.com came right out and said he's the perfect fit for the Cover 2 system because of his size and speed. What more do you want? Well, Ellis dropping to No. 20 would help, and there's some question as to whether that would happen. A good combine by Ellis this weekend probably takes him out of the running as far as the Bucs are concerned. But if he dropped, I could easily see them beating a path to Ellis' door on draft day.

Nicholas Hayden, DT (6-foot-4, 305), Wisconsin

Projected selection: Fifth round. Scout.com does not list him among its Top 25 tackles. It is unknown if he's met with the Bucs in Indy.

Statistics: Had 4.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss last season.

How he fits with the Bucs?: Scouts call him a "lunch pail" player and he can play the three-technique. But he's just not special enough for what the Bucs need at under tackle. I don't see the Bucs spending more than a seventh-round pick on a guy of Hayden's talent.

Trevor Laws, DT (6-foot-1, 298), Notre Dame

Projected selection: Second or third round. Scout.com ranks him as its No. 8 defensive tackle. He met with the Bucs on Friday.

Statistics: Laws' team-leading 112 tackles ranks only one behind Steve Niehaus as the most in Irish history from a defensive lineman.

How he fits with the Bucs?: He's a poor man's Sedrick Ellis and Glenn Dorsey, but he's talented in his own right and saw his stock get a nice bump at the Senior Bowl. He said he moved around a lot at Notre Dame, playing inside in the 4-3 (both nose and the three-technique) and the 3-4. The versatility is what teams like the Bucs are going to like. They have a history of utilizing at least one player at both inside positions. That used to be Ellis Wyms. Scouts like his hands and his quickness, but fear his size will limit him to being a situational player. Given his current value, I think that's too much to give up for a player that may only help you on one or two downs per series. It will be interesting to see if Laws' stock gets another shot this weekend. The Bucs, to me, will keep him on their radar but must be convinced Laws can be a three-down player.

Ben Moffitt (6-foot-2, 231), South Florida

South Florida linebacker Ben Moffitt may be out of luck if he's hoping Tampa Bay will be his draft destination. (Scout.com photo)
Projected selection: Seventh round. Moffitt is ranked No. 10 among Scout.com's top inside linebackers. He could not confirm if he had met with the Bucs yet in Indy.

Statistics: Ranked second on the team with 104 tackles (70 solos), the sixth-highest season total in school history.

How he fits with the Bucs?: Moffitt is going to generate some copy in South Florida simply because of his proximity to the Bucs (the Bulls played their home games at Raymond James Stadium). Putting aside his off-the-field malaise concerning his wife, Moffitt has little place in Tampa Bay's scheme. Yes, he's the right size to play the middle at 231 pounds. But the Bucs have already addressed the middle with Barrett Ruud, who should anchor the position for the foreseeable future. Moffitt will get attention because he's an instinctive player and he'll get some love from teams that are trying to land a middle linebacker. But the Bucs are not one of those teams and probably won't entertain drafting Moffitt. They might, however, sign him as an undrafted free agent if he falls out of the draft, and that could happen.

Dre Moore, DT (6-foot-4, 307), Maryland

Projected selection: Second or third round. Scout.com ranks him as its No. 5 defensive tackle. He met with the Bucs Saturday night.

Statistics: Posted 17.5 career tackles for loss, including 10.5 sacks, in 2007.

How he fits with the Bucs?: The first word that caught my eye when I looked at scouting reports was "enigmatic." That's not a word you want attached to your draft prospects. I like his size for an under tackle, which is where he played primarily in college. He only played two years of high school football so there's potential for him to continue to grow as a player, perhaps with a higher ceiling than other players with more experience. He may also have fewer bad habits. But other scouts say he's more of an athlete than a football player and had trouble disengaging from blockers. He's also coming off a knee injury. The Bucs could take a chance on this guy in the middle rounds, but they'd be better served finding a player with more experience and a better pedigree at the position.

Frank Okam, DT (6-foot-5, 345), Texas

Texas' Frank Okam is a mountain of a man with surprising quickness. (Robert Sellers/Rob's Sports Pics)
Projected selection: Fourth round. Scout.com ranks him as its No. 9 defensive tackle. He met with the Bucs on Saturday.

Statistics: Started all thirteen games at strong-side defensive tackle, helping the team rank sixth in the nation in rush defense (93.38 ypg)…Recorded a career-high 52 tackles (25 solos) with five sacks for minus 50 yards, eleven stops for losses of 62 yards and sixteen quarterback pressures.

How he fits with the Bucs?: This guy is huge, but surprisingly athletic. I mean, he told us Saturday that he wants to run a 5.1 40. If he does, scouts may lose their minds that a guy that big could be that fast. Texas does a good job of churning out players who understand fundamentals and how to fit into a professional team. He's primarily seen as a run defender who compares to Detroit's massive Shaun Rogers. What mystifies scouts is his inconsistency. Okam can have a great game and follow it up with a sub-par performance. He can disappear for stretches during games, scouts say. How does a guy this large disappear? His weight may limit him to being a run defender at the three technique, but guess where the Bucs need help? Keep him on the radar, but I think Okam coming to Tampa Bay, at this point, is unlikely.

Pat Sims, DT (6-foot-4, 312), Auburn

Projected selection: First or second round. Scout.com ranks him as its No. 4 defensive tackle. He met with the Bucs on Friday.

Statistics: Despite playing most of the year wearing a cast to protect a left hand fracture, Sims started all thirteen games at right defensive tackle, ranking second on the squad with 4.5 sacks for minus 47 yards, 11.5 stops for losses of 74 yards and fifteen quarterback pressures.

How he fits with the Bucs?: You have to like the toughness Sims showed last year, and teams will take note of that. He reassured the media that he quit the team in 2005 for family reasons and not because of a disagreement with the Tigers coaching staff. But scouts love his blend of size and speed and believe he can be an above-average tackle in the NFL who can collapse the pocket. Penetrating the line of scrimmage is just what the Buccaneers need right now and Sims can play the three-technique. But I would see the Bucs taking him in the second round, not the first.

Welsey Woodyard, OLB (6-foot-1 227), Kentucky

Projected selection: Fourth round. Scout.com ranks him as its No. 14 outside linebacker. He met with the Bucs on Friday.

Statistics: Became the first Wildcat in 15 years to reach 300 stops in his career (now has 380).

How he fits with the Bucs?: Woodyard has already had two meetings with the Bucs, so the team is definitely interested. But Woodyard's NFL position seems in flux. NFLdraftscout.com listed him as a strong safety. Other teams are projecting him as an outside linebacker. Woodyard now weighs more than he ever did in college, so perhaps he's beefing up to force teams to see him as a linebacker. He would make a more natural weak side backer, but would still need to gain about 10 more pounds and retain his 4.4 speed. Scouts live his instincts and speed but hate that his NFL position is in such disarray. If the Bucs draft him, they'd better have a plan on how to use him.


Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for BucsBlitz.com and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. An award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers Association, he appears frequently on Scot Brantley Show from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WHBO 1470-AM in Tampa-Clearwater.

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