For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the first day of the 2013 NFL Draft was more about the names that weren't called.
General Manager Mark Dominik and Head Coach Greg Schiano spent all of Thursday evening in the Buccaneers' Draft Room at One Buccaneer Place, monitoring the proceedings and possibly putting out a few phone calls to their colleagues. But they began and ended the evening without a pick to spend, having used the 13th overall selection in the trade for All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis four days earlier.
Dominik, who prefers an active approach to the draft, had indicated earlier in the week that he would be open to the possibility of a trade back into the first round, but either the desire or the opportunity (or perhaps both) failed to materialize. As such, the second day of the 2013 NFL Draft opens just as it appeared it would, with the Bucs ready to make the most of picks #43 and #73.
The first of those selections will come just 11 picks into the action on Friday night, perhaps less than an hour into the round, which kicks off at 6:30 p.m. ET. Experienced draft observers know that the start of each new day is one of the most common times for trades to occur, after team officials have had a day to stare at the most intriguing names left on their draft boards. The Buccaneers were one of those teams just two years ago, when Tennessee tight end Luke Stocker, a player they coveted, was still available as Round Four began on Day Three. The Bucs traded from the 19th pick in the round to the seventh and got their man.
If Dominik is considering any similar moves on Friday, no one outside of that Draft Room at One Buc will know it until the draft clock starts to tick. If he is, he has the ammunition to move, holding two fourth-round picks, including one that was obtained in last November's trade of cornerback Aqib Talib to the New England Patriots.
Of course, the desire to trade and a willing and reasonable partner are two different needs, so under any circumstance the Buccaneers will be preparing to use that #43 selection when the draft restarts on Friday. Right now, Dominik and Schiano have their top five options arranged on the board, with the next prospects in line and ready to fill in if any of those five are selected. With only 10 picks ahead of them and different teams focusing on different needs, it's highly likely that one of those original five will still be around at #43.
Dominik and his crew have actually been maintaining that list of top selections since the draft began, even if it was unlikely they would have a shot at many of the early players to make an appearance.
"We won't approach the draft any different," he said on Monday. "We'll still have our running draft board, our top five prospects will always stay up there, as soon as one gets selected, we'll put the next guy in. Starting with the first five picks and although we don't pick until pick 43, we'll have maintained the same process because I think it's been the right way for us to do it."
Position will play a role in how that list of five shapes up on Friday, but the team feels confident enough in its current roster that it won't stray far from the best-available-player mode when the time comes to pick.
"We don't have anything that's a glaring hole in this roster right now," said Dominik. "We certainly can improve the talent of the team – that's the whole point of the draft – but I think we're in that position now where we do have depth or enough starters across the board that we can continue to add depth to the team. We want them to be productive players and to get out there on the football field and start to earn their stripes."
The NFL expects it to take approximately four hours to run through the second and third rounds on Friday night (it was three hours and 48 minutes last year). Each team has seven minutes to make a selection in the second round and five minutes in the third round (and all subsequent rounds). There will be a total of 65 picks made on Friday night. The second round is two short because Cleveland used theirs in the 2012 supplemental draft and the Saints lost theirs to the bounty scandal; however, three compensatory picks were added to the end of the third round.
Fans can once again view all the picks as they happen on either the NFL Network or ESPN/ESPN2. Buccaneers.com and the Captain's Blog will provide coverage of the Buccaneers' selections and any other developments relevant to the team. Also, visit Buccaneers.com after each pick the Buccaneers make on Friday evening for a live stream of the team's press conferences.