Lots of drama on Thursday night during the NFL draft as things were happening at a fast and furious pace like a 2 minute offense. After the first two obligatory no drama selections were made, things started happening.
The “fog of war” left Jerry Jones standing in between the Buccaneers and Claiborne in the number 6 spot. And just like Claiborne has often done in his career with the LSU Tigers, it appears Jerry picked off the intended receiver.
It was a series of events that created a perfect storm. First the Vikings and Browns swapped spots so the Browns could get the Alabama RB they wanted Trent Richardson, at number 3. Then as expected, the Vikings selected OT Matt Kalil number 4. Good move by the opportunistic Vikes who were able to get their guy and steal a few picks from the Browns in the process. That’s the way this game is played.
Suddenly the Jags ,who everyone and their brother knew wanted WR Blackmon, traded spots with the Buccaneers moving from 7 to 5. The Buccaneers picked up a 4th round pick for swapping with the Jags and moving down to #7. The Jags got their guy WR Blackmon and then it was the Rams pick at number 6.
This is when Jerry made his move. He worked out a deal with the Rams by giving them his pick at 14 and the Cowboys 2nd round pick so he could step in front of the Bucs and draft the top CB in the draft, Claiborne at #6.
The Bucs then took Safety Mark Baron at number 7 and seem happy to get Barron. Not a bad prospect for sure but Barron went higher than most mocks ever had him going and without debate, Claiborne is the superior pass defender.
Did the Bucs make a serious miscalculation by assuming the Rams were going to stay at #6 and draft a player other than Claiborne? Or did they assume that Dallas was going to select Barron at #6?
Naturally the Bucs are saying that Barron was higher on their board anyway, blah blah blah. What else are you going to tell your fan base? “We screwed up and let the best pass defender go by so we could get a LB disguised as a safety.” That’s not going to go over. Saying Barron was higher on their board only makes them look worse in a way, because it brings their ability to evaluate talent into question.
Evidence The Bucs were indeed Intercepted:
- The Bucs needed a good corner.
- On 4/13 Ronde Barber tipped the Bucs’ hand when he said Claiborne was probably going to be their pick after visiting them. HERE
- The Bucs had their eyes on Claiborne. They even talked to his HS coach. I realize mocks are just mocks but prior to the draft, 8 experts had the Bucs selecting Claiborne. HERE
- The Cowboys made no indication that they were targeting Claiborne therefore no team could have seen it coming. Claiborne was shocked and said Dallas had not talked to him at all. This was under the radar which means, the Bucs had no idea Dallas was interested in moving up to get Claiborne. Maybe Barron, but not Claiborne.
- It wasn’t clear who the Rams would take at # 6 but they were not ever linked to Claiborne. Many mocks had them getting Blackmon but the Jags stepped in and grabbed him at #5. The Rams were thought to be interested in DL Fletcher Cox since Blackmon was gone.
- We may never know if Claiborne would have been selected by the Bucs at #7. But if Dallas or Rams had not picked Claiborne at #6, I’m confident the Bucs would have then picked Claiborne at #7.
- Most any scouting expert had Claiborne ranked higher than Barron.
You draw your on conclusion about what went down Thursday night when things were happening fast, but I think old Jerry may have picked one off.