Tampa Bay Buccaneers | No defensive players drafted by Bucs for first time in history

adell@bradenton.comMay 11, 2014 

NFL Combine Football

Wyoming wide receiver Robert Herron makes a catch during a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

MICHAEL CONROY — ASSOCIATED PRESS

TAMPA -- The 2014 NFL Draft is complete, and for the first time in franchise history the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did not select a defensive player.

With new head coach Lovie Smith, known as a defensive guru who leaves the offense to others, at the helm, a defenseless draft seemed an unlikely scenario.

Bucs GM Jason Licht said it was not by design that the Bucs wound up with six offensive players, though he couldn't help joking about it.

"If anybody sees (defensive coordinator) Leslie Frazier, let me know. And if anybody sees Coach Smith, we told him that the draft was next weekend and so he's on vacation right now," Licht joked.

The Bucs used their three picks Saturday to select two offensive linemen and a receiver. In the first two days of the draft, they selected a receiver, tight end and running back.

"You can't assume people are a certain way. I do believe in offensive football. You can't win by just playing defense," Smith said. "I know I have been telling you guys that. I think that, now, the actions are speaking a little bit louder than the words."

Coming into the draft, the Bucs' biggest needs were receiver and offensive line. They selected Tennessee State offensive guard Kadeem Edwards with their first pick of the fifth round and traded up to get Purdue offensive tackle Kevin Pamphile. Their last pick was Wyoming receiver Robert Herron.

A prevailing opinion is that the Bucs feel pretty good about their defense and that this coaching staff can coach up some of the defensive players who underachieved with former Tampa Bay head coach Greg Schiano, who was fired after last season.

"We were able to add more speed with Robert, who we feel has a chance to compete for a starting slot receiver; he's got some return value," Licht said.

The Bucs plan to use the 6-foot-4, 213-pound Edwards (from Sanford) at guard and the 6-5, 310-pound Pamphile (Miami) at tackle.

One scouting report describes Edwards as a boom-or-bust type of guy who has the perfect frame for his position, but has poor footwork. The report rated him as an adequate blocker in both the run and pass.

The Bucs traded their 2015 fifth-round pick and seventh-round pick this year to move for Pamphile.

As with the Bucs' top two picks, receiver Mike Evans and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Pamphile is a former basketball player who has good athleticism with good speed for his size and position (4.94 second 40-yard dash).

"There were teams going after him (Pamphile), and we felt like it was a good opportunity to use an extra pick that we had next year to go up there and get him," Licht said. "He's a developmental player with a big upside. He's only played a year and a half at offensive tackle and was a heckuva basketball player at Miami Central."

At 5-9, Herron doesn't have the size teams like in a receiver, but Licht said his speed and ability to maneuver in open space made him attractive.

Licht said he and Smith did not go into the draft just looking at offensive players, but used the best-player-available-approach. The signing of a lot of free agent defensive players during the offseason played into the pattern.

One person obviously happy with the draft is Bucs offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford.

"He wants fast guys, he wants athletic guys, he wants guys that can catch the ball. He wants to be versatile, he wants to keep teams off balance," Licht said. "They got to run, and they've got to be able to catch. They've got to be able to be versatile in this offense. We felt like we are on the road to accomplishing that."

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