Buccaneers Draft Need: Defensive tackle

Chris Hovan (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

In the second of a series of articles profiling the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 2008 NFL Draft needs, Matthew Postins examines what the Bucs have at a key position, who they could draft and what kind of impact that player could have. Also, look for links to stories, video and audio of players the Bucs could draft throughout the article.

Did you miss Bucsblitz.com publisher Matthew Postins' appearance on the NFL Network's "Path to the Draft" show last week? Don't worry. Click here to link to our story on the appearance, plus a link to the video clip.


DEFENSIVE TACKLE

WHAT THE BUCS HAVE

Jovan Haye (starter), Chris Hovan (starter), Greg Peterson. The Buccaneers can also use Kevin Carter and Marques Douglas inside.

WHY THE NEED?

Depth is one consideration. The Bucs have only three pure defensive tackles right now. Sims is only under contract for one more year. Haye is a restricted free agent and the Bucs are waiting to see if he'll accept their one-year tender offer of $2 million. Even then, Haye would only be a Buc for 2008. Peterson is a tallish tackle who is still progressing as a player and is considered, at the moment, to be more of a pass rusher than a run stopper.

The other big consideration is the Bucs' No. 17 ranking against the run in 2007. While Haye and Hovan had solid seasons a year ago the Bucs are really in need of a 300-pound plus tackle that can help stop the run. If the Bucs are to become a better run-stopping team — an improvement that would aid their top-rated pass defense of a year ago — they need more beef inside.

THE TOP FIVE

Here are the top five defensive tackles in this draft, according to Scout.com:

Glenn Dorsey (6-foot-1 1/2, 313 pounds), LSU — NFL Films producer Greg Cosell says this is one of the best athletic specimens in the draft, regardless of position. He won't fall out of the Top 10.

Sedrick Ellis (6-foot-1, 297 pounds), USC — Deceptively quick and strong at the point of attack, Ellis is another Top 10 pick that won't drop far enough for the Buccaneers to select him.

Kentwan Balmer (6-foot-4, 295 pounds), North Carolina — There is debate about whether Balmer is a first- or second-round pick. What isn't in debate is Balmer's value as perhaps the most versatile tackle in this draft, as most scouts see him as a perfect fit in a 3-4 or 4-3 front.

Marcus Harrison (6-foot-2 ½, 310 pounds), Arkansas — Harrison made a living in the backfield of opposing offenses in the SEC. He's the slowest of the Top 5 tackles in the draft (5.20), so he's likely a situational run stopper who would be a solid second-round pick.

Dre Moore (6-foot-3 ½, 308 pounds), Maryland — Moore is another tackle that fits the run-first mold. His talent and size will likely make him a late second-round or early third-round pick.

GET TO KNOW THEM

Want to know more about these prospects, plus other DTs the Bucs could be interested in? Check out the links below.

Check out how North Carolina State DT DeMario Pressley at his pro day last week.

Don't just read about Ellis. Find out what the Trojans defensive tackle had to say on-camera recently about his potential draft status:

Auburn tackle Pat Sims is a second- or third-round prospect that could be a real find for a team in need of help inside. Find out more about Sims during his video clip from the Scouting Combine:

Balmer answers reporters' questions in Indianapolis:


With all the talk about the NFL Draft's top wide receivers, Oklahoma State's Adarius Bowman is not a player to forget about. The Buccaneers haven't. Click here to read about Bowman's recent conversation with the Bucs and the past he overcame to reach this point.


Did you miss Postins' second Buccaneers-only Mock Draft? Click here to read how Postins shook up the Buccaneers' draft strategy.


It's the most important time of the year for NFL teams that want to improve their roster for 2008. Are you getting all the analysis you need as the NFL Draft approaches? If you're not, click here to find out how you can become a Bucsblitz.com insider and become the expert at your NFL Draft party. We're the only Tampa-based media site providing daily draft and scouting coverage with a Buccaneers slant.


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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