I just got off the phone with South Florida Bulls defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul for a draft profile story that’s going to run in a few days. Anybody want to guess where Pierre-Paul was Thursday?
The answer is Tampa. That’s hardly surprising because USF is in Tampa. But Pierre-Paul was at Tampa International Airport when I talked to him and his visit to Tampa had nothing to do with USF.
Yep, Pierre-Paul had a private workout with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers earlier Thursday.
“It was awesome,’’ Pierre-Paul said. “I really like coach (Raheem) Morris and all their coaches and I know some of the players. I love Tampa. I’d love to play there. I don’t think it’s going to happen, but that would be my dream.’’
Like a lot of people, Pierre-Paul said he expects the Bucs to select either defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh or defensive tackle Gerald McCoy with the No. 3 overall pick. But, what if both of those guys end up going in the first two picks?
There’s not another defensive tackle viewed worthy of going that high in the draft. The Bucs might have to look in another direction and that’s why they had Pierre-Paul in for the visit. They’d have to at least consider taking a defensive end because the pass rush is another area of need.
Pierre-Paul is widely viewed as a first-round pick and some experts have him as a top-20 prospect and he’s even been mentioned in a few top-10 lists. It may be a long shot, but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Pierre-Paul to the Bucs. One other thing to keep in mind is, if the Bucs can’t get either of the defensive tackles, they might be able to trade down a bit in the first round and Pierre-Paul could be a good value a bit later.
Pierre-Paul spent most of the last few months working out in Miami and is a native of South Florida and that leads to another possible scenario he likes. We wrapped up our conversation as he was boarding a plane to Miami and he’ll spend tomorrow working out privately for the Dolphins. Pierre-Paul said he also has worked out for Tennessee, Cincinnati and Minnesota.