The banners at the Tampa Bay Training Camp facilities will blare out “It’s a BUCS life” in another month, and now that they have a franchise QB in place they might be on track to make that slogan mean something on Sundays in the Fall. Here’s what they did in the recent Draft.
Round 1 VERNON HARGREAVES/CB/FLORIDA 5’11/204 4.53/40 8 3/4″H/30 5/8″A
He doesn’t quite meet the measurables for a first round CB, but when you watch game tape he makes plays and covers fearlessly. It does not hurt that he’s a local boy made good. He has good body flexibility and quickness to make up for his lack of blazing speed. He has excellent ball skills and reacts very quickly to balls in the air. My biggest concern is a college career of being nicked up a lot and missing a game or two each season. He should be a starter from Day 1 and greatly improve their overall secondary play. He has Pro Bowl potential.
Pick # 11 GBN Rank: 12 Ourlads Rank 10 PP Rank: 9
Round 2 NOAH SPENCE/ER/OLB/E. KENTUCKY 6’2/254 4.79/40 10″H/33″A
IMO, drafting SPENCE is getting the next DWIGHT FREENEY. And it won’t matter what you call him positionally… he’ll rush the passer and create forced throws, interceptions and of course sacks. He looks a lot like FREENEY coming out of college in size and playing style. And that is a very good thing for a BUCS defense that doesn’t get to opposing QBs enough. The expectation is that he will be moved around a lot causing offenses to play ‘Where’s Noah’ games as they break the huddle. After a very good week at the Senior Bowl quite a few folks had him tabbed as a first rounder, so this should be considered good value.
Pick # 39 GBN Rank: 32 Ourlads Rank: 25 PP Rank: 22
Round 2 ROBERTO AGUAYO/K/FLORIDA STATE 6’0/207 4.95/40 9 7/8″H/31 3/4″A
Another Central Florida kid pretty much gets to come home to play pro ball. And he never missed a FG inside 40 yards during his 3-year career at FSU. But he’s mediocre beyond 40 and that will have to improve as a pro. I also think it was a reach to trade up into Round 2 to get him. On the other hand, the BUCS have gone through way too many Kickers in the past decade or so. If they can increase his leg strength (however that happens) and his long distance accuracy this is a stabilizing selection, but it does not come without warning flags. If this goes well it helps the scoreboard, but if he stumbles GM LICHT will start to hear the second guessing, and rightfully so methinks.
Pick # 59 GBN Rank: 94 Ourlads Rank: 97 PP Rank: 98
Round 4 RYAN SMITH/CB/NC CENTRAL 5’11/189 4.55/40 8 7/8″H/30 1/2″A
Arguably the best small school CB prospect this year. He lacks ideal CB speed, but has quickness and natural ball skills. His 40-time and arm length give a bit of cause for concern. But he got the job done out on the grass. It was a bit surprising that he was not at any of he big All-Star venues in January, but the BUCS scouting department liked what they saw, and LICHT pulled the trigger. Expect him in sub-packages and Special Team units as a Rookie. He might start opposite HARGREAVES before long.
Pick # 108 GBN Rank: 102 Ourlads Rank: 300+ NR PP Rank: 232
Round 5 CALEB BENENOCH/OT/UCLA 6’5/311 4.98/40 10″H/34 1/8″A
Still a developmental project but with clearly high upside. He really got my attention at the Combine with his size/athleticism combo. He filled in everywhere but OC at UCLA and got the job done. He looks to me like a RT candidate, but will need to tone up his body and add some functional muscle to ever win a starting job. Somewhat of a risk/reward type player, but in Round 5 he’s a pretty good gamble for eventual greatness. Could earn a living backing up 3-4 OL slots if he never cracks the starting lineup.
Pick # 148 GBN Rank: 111 Ourlads Rank: 218 PP Rank: 142
Round 6 DEVANTE BOND/LB/OKLAHOMA 6’1/235 4.70/40 9 1/4″H/32 3/8″A
A couple of teams wanted to see him at the Combine so he got invited. And he showed himself to be a solid athlete with pro potential in the right scheme. The BUCS like their LB to run and chase, with some pass drop ability. BOND may fit the bill for them. He also looks to be a potential star on Special Teams which gets you drafted in the final rounds by someone these days. He’s the kind of guy who seldom stood out in college, but may be better suited for the pro game. Not high on my list. If his first name had been James I’d have been all over him.
Pick # 183 GBN Rank: 273 Ourlads Rank: 300+ NR PP Rank: 300+ NR
Round 6 DAN VITALE/FB/TE/HB/NORTHWESTERN 6’1/239 4.63/40 9 3/4″H/31 3/4″A
Tampa area resident Dickie V. will be delighted that his namesake (though not related) has come to town. He should also be a coaches’ favorite with guys fighting over him for their units to use. Like DEREK WATT, he’s a Swiss army knife and can help an offense or any Special Teams unit they place him on. He’s a better athlete than many give him credit for. He can run a bit, catch the ball and will block. Every team needs a couple guys like this near the bottom f their roster. His versatility may allow the luxury of a kick-off specialist if needed. Very good late pick.
Pick # 197 GBN Rank: 233 Ourlads Rank: 227 PP Rank: 263
This was not one of the better drafts around the League this year IMO. There were a few too many reaches for my taste, but it’s a useful group of guys and their first two selections will start and upgrade the roster. The emphasis on some local guys should not be a shock. An awful lot of quality football players hail from Central Florida these days. And this is a franchise that still has tickets to sell every game day. Local heroes can sell extra tickets on decent teams, which the BUCS are getting close to being.