BY: John Mamola

The NFL Draft is just under three months away but the conversations surrounding who will be taken where come May at Radio City Music Hall will begin to be ramped up this week with the NFL combine opening in Indianapolis, IN.  Hundreds of athletes will begin their mission of training, interviews and networking in order to be one of the names announced and their NFL dream begins. 

So who could the Tampa Bay Buccaneers be selecting with the seventh overall selection in the first round of the NFL draft?  National scout for Dan Shonka believes it the Buccaneers could be filling a need that fits Lovie’s Smith defensive scheme with Notre Dame defensive end Stephon Tuitt.

“He’s a versatile guy that’s extremely strong” said Shonka.  “One thing you have to have is some size on the defensive line, and this guy is a big man.  He may measure 6’6 and 305 pounds but he can run, has long arms and very strong.  Leslie Frazier (Buccaneers defensive coordinator) I think will do a great job with the defense and this is a guy that would step in and be able to play all along that defensive line.”

Tuitt led the Irish with six sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss in 2013, but his sack total was down from 11 in 2012. He did have the same number of tackles both seasons (45).  Tuitt was an end in the Irish’s 3-4 scheme which does not match what Lovie Smith will be bringing to Tampa with a 4-3 base defense.