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View Full Version : Need a New RB behind Graham


SpinaMan
01-22-2008, 09:46 PM
Profootballtalk.com reports that there are "rumors" in Mobile, Alabama that Carnell Williams' career is in jeopardy following his torn patellar tendon last season.

Keep in mind these are just rumors, not a report. But this goes along with a Yahoo report last October, and a note from the St. Petersburg Times last week that Williams may not help the Bucs in 2008. This makes it more important that the Bucs re-sign Earnest Graham. They will probably add another decent back, possibly in the draft.


not looking to good.

Chucky
01-22-2008, 09:49 PM
Well it looks like the John Stewart pick, makes a bit more sense. Maybe a Chris Johnson type in the 2nd round. Or I guess we could go after Turner

Tampa 2 4 life
01-22-2008, 09:54 PM
If true....That's huge. My condolences go out to Caddy.

dbtb135
01-22-2008, 10:03 PM
I'll listen to PFT when they prove to be reliable and not a moment sooner.

The consensus was he'd be out for a big chunk of next season most likely, that he still has 10+ months of recovery and they shouldn't rely on having him available for the next season. From that to saying his career is completely over and done with within a month or so does not go along at all really. Why would that small window in the early stages of recovery give that much of an indication?

SpinaMan
01-23-2008, 12:09 AM
I saw on ESPN tonight that Mel Kiper (the genious that he is) has us taking Felix Jones from Arkansas with our first pick.

What are your guy's thoughts?

toonsterwu
01-23-2008, 07:44 AM
I think a lot depends on the board for you guys at 20 (assuming you stay put), but I think taking a RB in the first round is a bit of a waste. Adding someone like Chris Johnson in the 2nd to complement Earnest would be fine. If a Slaton is there in the 3rd and you pass earlier, that would make sense as well.

etk
01-23-2008, 08:28 AM
I don't think a Johnson or Slaton type would be a smart pick. Our offense is designed for bigger backs that can grind out yards up the middle. That's why Earnest was more effective than Cadillac despite having less talent...he's a decisive runner that gets forward progress and he's a good receiver. Johnson and Slaton are hardly upgrades over Michael Bennett, a smaller speed back that plays on some 3rd downs.

If these rumors are true, which I doubt, then we should go after Stewart or Mendenhall in Round One, with backup options of Jamaal Charles & Tashard Choice. I think Charles would give us a new dimension to our offense while Choice is a solid overall back that could be a reliable backup.

I, like dbtb, feel Caddy will be fine by 2009, and I see no reason to rush Caddy back into play. I think the smartest option at this point would be to draft Jacob Hester as a backup, keep Bennett as a change-of-pace and have a back like Ken Darby on the PR. Hester could be used in multiple ways in multiple formations and he's a terrific special teamer. If Cadillac's injury worsens, we can sign or draft a back next year and move Hester to other roles in the offense.

TRJ997
01-23-2008, 08:40 AM
With the number of injuries at the RB position, I've shifted to a quantity over quality philosophy, and I hate the idea of taking one in the 1st round. Unless we are talking about talent too great to pass up, I don't see the value there when Graham played so well this season. We should draft a LT if we want to improve our running game.

I'm also against shelling out the required cap to bring in Turner. Our best bet would be to draft a mid/late round RB to split the load with Graham, Bennett, and hopefully Caddy.

etk
01-23-2008, 08:47 AM
Yeah, I agree with that. I think our running game would improve more if we upgraded our run blocking at LT and C and drafted a back for depth, rather than draft or sign an elite back early on with no additional line help.

TRJ997
01-23-2008, 09:08 AM
our running game would improve more if we upgraded our run blocking at C.

C is a major priority in this draft. In fact, I wouldn't have a problem drafting one in the 1st if there was a Mangold type talent available. I don't know much about any of this year's C prospects, but Scott has Steve Justice ranked #1 and he's not worth more than a 3rd at this point.

Hopefully someone will show something at the combine and we get a steal in the mid/late rounds.

etk
01-23-2008, 09:12 AM
Steve Justice is overrated IMO and not a good option for our offense. My favorite centers in the draft are Cody Wallace, Mike Pollak, John Sullivan, Fernando Velasco and Kory Lichtensteiger, probably in that order. I think we might end up drafting a guy like Drew Miller, who looks like a Wade clone, much later in the draft. Velasco is probably the best run blocker of the group.

dbtb135
01-23-2008, 06:24 PM
I don't think a Johnson or Slaton type would be a smart pick. Our offense is designed for bigger backs that can grind out yards up the middle. That's why Earnest was more effective than Cadillac despite having less talent...he's a decisive runner that gets forward progress and he's a good receiver. Johnson and Slaton are hardly upgrades over Michael Bennett, a smaller speed back that plays on some 3rd downs.

If these rumors are true, which I doubt, then we should go after Stewart or Mendenhall in Round One, with backup options of Jamaal Charles & Tashard Choice. I think Charles would give us a new dimension to our offense while Choice is a solid overall back that could be a reliable backup.

I, like dbtb, feel Caddy will be fine by 2009, and I see no reason to rush Caddy back into play. I think the smartest option at this point would be to draft Jacob Hester as a backup, keep Bennett as a change-of-pace and have a back like Ken Darby on the PR. Hester could be used in multiple ways in multiple formations and he's a terrific special teamer. If Cadillac's injury worsens, we can sign or draft a back next year and move Hester to other roles in the offense.

Graham had a lot going for him. He always went forward and got extra yards, he was a good receiver which Gruden loved, and the line finally came together for him. I think Gruden still prefers the smaller, pass catching backs a little though.

If we were without Caddy, Choice would be the ideal replacement IMO. We can focus our first two picks on bigger needs, since few people had RB as one of our biggest needs before even though Caddy was likely out for next year and we didn't know how well he was going to come back anyway. Then we can get a similar back to Caddy in the 3rd. Ideal to me anyway.

dbtb135
01-23-2008, 06:27 PM
Steve Justice is overrated IMO and not a good option for our offense. My favorite centers in the draft are Cody Wallace, Mike Pollak, John Sullivan, Fernando Velasco and Kory Lichtensteiger, probably in that order. I think we might end up drafting a guy like Drew Miller, who looks like a Wade clone, much later in the draft. Velasco is probably the best run blocker of the group.

I really like Lichtensteiger, and Velasco would be a nice C project with size late in the draft. Also, along the same lines we could take Mike McGlynn and have him and Buenning both in transition to center, hoping the odds would be on their side of at least one of them being a really good center with size. But I don't like Wallace. He looks as weak as John Wade is.

no love
01-23-2008, 07:04 PM
I think a guy like Chris Johnson, Justin Forsett or Steve Slaton would be ideal for the Bucs.

If you remember how effectively Gruden used Charlie Garner at Oakland, you know that a speedy good receiving back can be deadly in his offense. All of these guys really fit the bill and can provide good value as a returner as well.

SpinaMan
01-23-2008, 08:50 PM
how come no love for Sam Baker from USC to take care of our left tackle position?

dbtb135
01-23-2008, 09:20 PM
Slaton in the 3rd wouldn't be a bad option. I'm not sold on Johnson. I like Forsett, and he won't get overvalued by teams like I think Slaton and Johnson will be.

I've been on the Baker bandwagon for months. He's just what we need pass blocking at LT. Many question his tenacity and strength, but I think he'll be fine in those departments.

etk
01-23-2008, 10:41 PM
Graham had a lot going for him. He always went forward and got extra yards, he was a good receiver which Gruden loved, and the line finally came together for him. I think Gruden still prefers the smaller, pass catching backs a little though.

If we were without Caddy, Choice would be the ideal replacement IMO. We can focus our first two picks on bigger needs, since few people had RB as one of our biggest needs before even though Caddy was likely out for next year and we didn't know how well he was going to come back anyway. Then we can get a similar back to Caddy in the 3rd. Ideal to me anyway.

Choice is probably my favorite back in the mid-round range. I still prefer Hester as an overall football player but Choice would be great as insurance for Graham. Matt Forte has impressed me with his feet at the Senior Bowl, but his hands are well below-average. He's probably up there as one of my favorite backs because of his vision and quick feet in the hole. He would be a prototype back for us if he only had the hands.

I really like Lichtensteiger, and Velasco would be a nice C project with size late in the draft. Also, along the same lines we could take Mike McGlynn and have him and Buenning both in transition to center, hoping the odds would be on their side of at least one of them being a really good center with size. But I don't like Wallace. He looks as weak as John Wade is.

I haven't seen much of McGlynn. It would be interesting to see a college T playing C in the pros. I liked Buenning as a rookie and I hope he's fully recovered and ready to compete this year. I'm glad you mentioned his name because it reminds me of how solid our depth is on the line despite outstanding talent. Wallace impressed me in college as a run blocker but I'm not sold on whether that will translate to the pros. He needs to improve his strength from his knees up to his shoulders, but I think he has the frame to do so. He's not outstanding at one aspect of the position but he's solid overall. Value is everything if we go C this year, so I really like the thought of drafting Velasco with one of our last picks.

dbtb135
01-23-2008, 11:45 PM
Choice is probably my favorite back in the mid-round range. I still prefer Hester as an overall football player but Choice would be great as insurance for Graham. Matt Forte has impressed me with his feet at the Senior Bowl, but his hands are well below-average. He's probably up there as one of my favorite backs because of his vision and quick feet in the hole. He would be a prototype back for us if he only had the hands.



I haven't seen much of McGlynn. It would be interesting to see a college T playing C in the pros. I liked Buenning as a rookie and I hope he's fully recovered and ready to compete this year. I'm glad you mentioned his name because it reminds me of how solid our depth is on the line despite outstanding talent. Wallace impressed me in college as a run blocker but I'm not sold on whether that will translate to the pros. He needs to improve his strength from his knees up to his shoulders, but I think he has the frame to do so. He's not outstanding at one aspect of the position but he's solid overall. Value is everything if we go C this year, so I really like the thought of drafting Velasco with one of our last picks.

Don't really like Hester as I don't think he's that good of a blocker and his pass catching skills aren't superb despite some good numbers. More of a power back than a FB or talented all around RB. But I think Gruden might like him in that Pittman utility blocker, rusher, pass catcher, STs, swiss army knife type football player. I think our STs are fine though with the addition of guys like Black, Stovall, Hayward, etc

I remember them mentioning McGlynn's versatility in the practice and his scouting report says he's got experience everywhere, so I thought he might have the most outside of chances to be a project.

I've only seen Wallace a handful of times. One was against Miami, whose DL was not anywhere near where it has been for years, and he looked bad. Didn't hold up in pass blocking, got no surge or outright beaten in run blocking. I saw him in practice yesterday and I think it was DeMario Pressley or Ataya Rubin who just pushed him backwards twice in a row like he was a blocking sled with arms. Thats why I liked Lichtensteiger more yesterday, held up very well against the bigger Red Bryant and Marcus Harrison.

etk
01-24-2008, 11:30 AM
I think a guy like Chris Johnson, Justin Forsett or Steve Slaton would be ideal for the Bucs.

If you remember how effectively Gruden used Charlie Garner at Oakland, you know that a speedy good receiving back can be deadly in his offense. All of these guys really fit the bill and can provide good value as a returner as well.

No, no, and no. What happens if Caddy is out next year and Graham gets dinged up too? We don't have another option as an every-down back with at least decent power. We already have Michael Bennett as our speedy back, and it's not a position worth upgrading because it hasn't been used very much in our offense to this date. Charlie Garner was always getting hurt because he was too small and ran too hard. We need a durable backup at RB, not another weapon that frankly won't get many opportunities. All Johnson and Slaton do is bounce runs to the outside. That won't be effective in the pros, and especially not on our offense with the way we set up blocks. Forsett is probably my favorite of the bunch, but he doesn't really have the explosion and speed to make up for his lack of size.

how come no love for Sam Baker from USC to take care of our left tackle position?

I don't like Sam Baker very much. He and Penn are very similar and I don't see him as much of an upgrade (not worth a pick). He has short arms, he has below average strength and doesn't get much pop in the run game, and he can be beaten by edge rushers. If we were to draft an OT, I would want Chris Williams. He's nasty, finishes blocks well, and most importantly he has outstanding footwork and kick-slides very nicely. I think he's an absolute steal and I'd take him in a heartbeat with our 2nd pick if my other favorite prospects weren't available.

Don't really like Hester as I don't think he's that good of a blocker and his pass catching skills aren't superb despite some good numbers. More of a power back than a FB or talented all around RB. But I think Gruden might like him in that Pittman utility blocker, rusher, pass catcher, STs, swiss army knife type football player. I think our STs are fine though with the addition of guys like Black, Stovall, Hayward, etc

I remember them mentioning McGlynn's versatility in the practice and his scouting report says he's got experience everywhere, so I thought he might have the most outside of chances to be a project.

I've only seen Wallace a handful of times. One was against Miami, whose DL was not anywhere near where it has been for years, and he looked bad. Didn't hold up in pass blocking, got no surge or outright beaten in run blocking. I saw him in practice yesterday and I think it was DeMario Pressley or Ataya Rubin who just pushed him backwards twice in a row like he was a blocking sled with arms. Thats why I liked Lichtensteiger more yesterday, held up very well against the bigger Red Bryant and Marcus Harrison.

I know there are varying opinions on Hester. He's a guy you love or you just don't care for him very much. I like him because he can contribute in so many areas, and he can sort of bring back the "fan favorite" role that Alstott had on the roster. What I see from Hester is basically this:

-reliable backup (power back) behind Graham and Caddy
-goal-line tailback or even FB to add confusion to who's getting the ball
-receiving weapon as an H-back
-blocking back, but also a threat out of the backfield on circle routes and in the flat
-upback on punt team, kickoff cover guy, blocker on PR team and KR team

To me he looks like a little more versatile Graham. He also frees up a roster spot (maybe 2) because he can be our 2nd fullback and backup RB, plus special teamer.

Our STs are great, but it's always a bonus to get a great STer with a backup.

You were pretty much right on Wallace. I had Wednesday taped and I just saw it this morning. He definitely looked weaker in the run game compared to the season. He's moved down in my rankings.

dbtb135
01-24-2008, 07:34 PM
I don't like Sam Baker very much. He and Penn are very similar and I don't see him as much of an upgrade (not worth a pick). He has short arms, he has below average strength and doesn't get much pop in the run game, and he can be beaten by edge rushers. If we were to draft an OT, I would want Chris Williams. He's nasty, finishes blocks well, and most importantly he has outstanding footwork and kick-slides very nicely. I think he's an absolute steal and I'd take him in a heartbeat with our 2nd pick if my other favorite prospects weren't available.

I think Sam Bake is our best pass blocking option, though a probably cheaper Anthony Collins would have similar potential. I like Baker vs. edge rushers.

I know there are varying opinions on Hester. He's a guy you love or you just don't care for him very much. I like him because he can contribute in so many areas, and he can sort of bring back the "fan favorite" role that Alstott had on the roster. What I see from Hester is basically this:

-reliable backup (power back) behind Graham and Caddy
-goal-line tailback or even FB to add confusion to who's getting the ball
-receiving weapon as an H-back
-blocking back, but also a threat out of the backfield on circle routes and in the flat
-upback on punt team, kickoff cover guy, blocker on PR team and KR team

To me he looks like a little more versatile Graham. He also frees up a roster spot (maybe 2) because he can be our 2nd fullback and backup RB, plus special teamer.

Our STs are great, but it's always a bonus to get a great STer with a backup.

You were pretty much right on Wallace. I had Wednesday taped and I just saw it this morning. He definitely looked weaker in the run game compared to the season. He's moved down in my rankings.

I think Hester gets the white guy hype. I don't mean to turn it into some ugly argument, but the track record for the Bucs fans over at some other MBs and their "Alstott replacements" of years past are well documented. Not a slight directed at you, you have actually seen the guy play and have legitimate reasons for wanting him. Others just see him and proclaim him the next Alstott.

He would add confusion at the goalline, but I like Graham getting the ball there. He's much better short yardage than Hester will be. I think there are better receiving options than Hester, Hillis and Schmitt both get the nod in that area IMO. STs is a plus, but a much bigger plus back when we needed more talent there. I wouldn't want him blocking from a true FB position, Askew has him beat by miles. Too small also if he's still in the 220s. I'd rather get a nice pure back like Choice, re-sign Bennett, and keep Graham as the jack of all trades. I understand that we need more power, but I think a need for a split back/legitimate back-up like you previously mentioned is much bigger at this point. Graham/Choice split carries, Bennett gets spot duty as the game-breaker speed guy. We can pick up a powerful FB late if need be, instead of using a 3rd/4th on Hester. Too much of a luxury pick IMO.

What do you think about Steve Justice? I'm kind of on the fence about the guy.

etk
01-24-2008, 10:17 PM
Focusing on the 2nd part of your post, I agree with some of what you said. I don't think Hester's role in our offense would be anything like Alstott's. In some area's he'd be better, and in others he'd be worse. I don't post on the Bucs boards so I can't speak there but I see the white guy hype everywhere on this forum and in the media. It's frustrating. I didn't like the idea of Brian Leonard last year, but I like what Hester has to offer.

I absolutely agree that Graham should be getting the SY carries. What I meant was that Hester would be an option on jumbo packages depending on the situation. Gruden likes to tire out his backs and most of our drives make it close to the goalline. Hester could replace him and bring back our old 2-FB running sets from during Alstott's "prime" (lol).

Hillis is a better overall receiving option than Hester, Schmitt isn't (IMO). Hillis is an outstanding route runner and has great hands, but Hester's the best after the catch of the three. Our FB passes typically go straight to the flat, so in our offense I think Hester would be the most valuable receiving threat of the available fullbacks. Schmitt wouldn't be able to play in the sets and positions that Hester could, so that would limit his value as a receiver. Hester's combination of power and elusiveness is valuable in picking up first downs.

I'd only use him as a blocker very rarely...only so the defense isn't clued as to what the offense was running. He weighed in at 230 (might not be exact) at the Senior Bowl. I think that's the perfect weight for him in this role, but it shouldn't change anyone's thoughts on him as a blocker...he should not be spelling Askew there.

Basically what it comes down to for me is that Choice & co. aren't enough of an upgrade over Hester as pure backs to make up for his edge in other areas of the game. He's a solid overall weapon and he can be counted on for spot duty at RB if injury occurs (I think we saw this with Nick Goings in Carolina).

If we don't get Hester, I'd like to get a power FB as our 2nd FB. I know Gruden likes having the Storer/Razzano types that help on ST, but Mike Cox (another GT guy) is an absolute load as a lead blocker. He made college LBers look like PeeWee kids. Watching Miami's defense against him was pathetic.

Justice is completely off the board for me. He's all about getting to the 2nd level using footwork and technique. He's geared for chipping DTs and sealing LBers, and struggles when matched 1on1 at the LOS. He's a pure ZBS center, but a good one at that. He really gets no pop at the line and is too lanky to be an effective C on our line. Think lighter, poor man's Wade. Scott likes him because of his accolades and because he's a "football player", but he's not the guy for our offense.

dbtb135
01-25-2008, 03:19 AM
Focusing on the 2nd part of your post, I agree with some of what you said. I don't think Hester's role in our offense would be anything like Alstott's. In some area's he'd be better, and in others he'd be worse. I don't post on the Bucs boards so I can't speak there but I see the white guy hype everywhere on this forum and in the media. It's frustrating. I didn't like the idea of Brian Leonard last year, but I like what Hester has to offer.

I absolutely agree that Graham should be getting the SY carries. What I meant was that Hester would be an option on jumbo packages depending on the situation. Gruden likes to tire out his backs and most of our drives make it close to the goalline. Hester could replace him and bring back our old 2-FB running sets from during Alstott's "prime" (lol).

I agreed that he could be used as confusing at the goalline, but I think overall his affect there would be minimal unless Graham went down.

Hillis is a better overall receiving option than Hester, Schmitt isn't (IMO). Hillis is an outstanding route runner and has great hands, but Hester's the best after the catch of the three. Our FB passes typically go straight to the flat, so in our offense I think Hester would be the most valuable receiving threat of the available fullbacks. Schmitt wouldn't be able to play in the sets and positions that Hester could, so that would limit his value as a receiver. Hester's combination of power and elusiveness is valuable in picking up first downs.

I really like Hillis' athleticism after the catch and he's got better hands than Hester and good power too. Hester had some power in college, but I think he'll be significantly less hard to bring down in the pros.

I'd only use him as a blocker very rarely...only so the defense isn't clued as to what the offense was running. He weighed in at 230 (might not be exact) at the Senior Bowl. I think that's the perfect weight for him in this role, but it shouldn't change anyone's thoughts on him as a blocker...he should not be spelling Askew there.

Basically what it comes down to for me is that Choice & co. aren't enough of an upgrade over Hester as pure backs to make up for his edge in other areas of the game. He's a solid overall weapon and he can be counted on for spot duty at RB if injury occurs (I think we saw this with Nick Goings in Carolina).

I could actually see Choice rushing for 1000 yards once in his career, likely more if given the chance. I don't think Hester would be anything more than a small spot carry back. Plus, Choice's hands are improving down in Mobile from what I've heard, so he's closing that gap on Hester there.

If we don't get Hester, I'd like to get a power FB as our 2nd FB. I know Gruden likes having the Storer/Razzano types that help on ST, but Mike Cox (another GT guy) is an absolute load as a lead blocker. He made college LBers look like PeeWee kids. Watching Miami's defense against him was pathetic.

Justice is completely off the board for me. He's all about getting to the 2nd level using footwork and technique. He's geared for chipping DTs and sealing LBers, and struggles when matched 1on1 at the LOS. He's a pure ZBS center, but a good one at that. He really gets no pop at the line and is too lanky to be an effective C on our line. Think lighter, poor man's Wade. Scott likes him because of his accolades and because he's a "football player", but he's not the guy for our offense.

I've been on the Mike Cox bandwagon since the season started, I think he's what we should have gotten instead of Razz; Madison Hedgecock. Big, great attitude, good angles, tough as nails, all power run blocking FB.

I was very skeptical of Justice's weight. I didn't want to write his push off due to it, but it's pretty improbable to have at that size.

aheineken
01-25-2008, 05:53 AM
Gruden likes backs who can catch the ball out of the backfield. Rashard Mendenhall, IMO, would be a perfect fit for the Bucs. If they can't get him in the first, Chris Johnson would be a good 2nd round pick.

The Legend
01-25-2008, 06:02 AM
well i guess you guys could get your back for the future and if carnell heals up you could just trade him away

ks_perfection
01-25-2008, 09:23 AM
For what? Caddy has little to no trade value.

etk
01-25-2008, 09:56 AM
For what? Caddy has little to no trade value.

That's not necessarily true. A lot of teams loved him and wanted him back when we drafted him, and those GMs would still probably give decent offers to get him. If Rich McKay was still at Atlanta he'd be one of the first to offer.

StaticGator
01-30-2008, 03:41 PM
I like Choice a lot and think he's going to be a steal. The team needs another running back but you figure Graham is good for at least 15 carries a game, so that leaves 10 or so for everyone else. Ask yourself what kind of pick needs to be invested in a player who will only impact 10 plays in an entire game?