Bucs tackle Demar Dotson - Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire
SR’s Fab 5 is a collection of inside scoop, analysis and insight from yours truly, PewterReport.com publisher and Bucs beat writer Scott Reynolds. Here are a few things that caught my attention this week at One Buc Place and around the NFL:
FAB 1. DOTSON READY TO REBOUND IN CONTRACT YEAR
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a lot of great guys and quality men in their locker room. It’s a testament to the last two general managers – Mark Dominik and Jason Licht – acquiring some really high character individuals over the last decade.
Out of all of the classy Buccaneers, right tackle Demar Dotson may be in a class by himself. “Dot,” as he is called by nearly everyone at One Buccaneer Place, is one of the friendliest guys you’ll ever meet. If your car is broken down on the side of the road and you notice a big, 6-foot-9 guy pulling over to help you, chances are that it’s Dotson. That’s just the kind of guy he is.
If you’ve followed the Bucs for years you know his story. Dotson was a basketball player at Southern Miss and played one year of defensive tackle during his senior year and his last year of collegiate athletics eligibility. Dominik brought Dotson to Tampa Bay for a two-day tryout during the rookie mini-camp in 2009 because the scouting department was intrigued with his size and athleticism.
Because of his quick feet and wingspan, he was moved to offensive tackle. Because of his high-effort attitude, willingness to learn and determination, Dotson made the Bucs roster as a long shot during his rookie season.
Switching from the defensive side of the ball to the offensive side of the ball is incredibly difficult at the NFL level. It’s nearly impossible when you throw in the fact that Dotson didn’t even play on the offensive side of the ball in high school. In fact, Dotson had just one year of football in his background – his non-descript senior season at Southern Miss when he didn’t even know what he was doing.
Bucs RT Demar Dotson – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Over the years, Dotson gained nearly 40 pounds of muscle to turn his physique from that of a basketball player to that of an NFL offensive lineman, and overcame a torn ACL knee injury that cost him the 2010 season. In 2011, he played in 13 games, starting his first two games at right tackle in place of the injured Jeremy Trueblood. By 2012 he was Tampa Bay’s starting right tackle and held that job for three years until an MCL injury in the 2015 preseason opener forced the Bucs to put him on the injured reserve list with a designation to return.
When Dotson was eligible to play he returned to practice, only to find out that Gosder Cherilus, a veteran who was signed in August, would keep the starting right tackle job. Dotson was originally told he would be the starter, but head coach Lovie Smith apparently changed his mind. That upset Dotson at the time.
“I’ve gotten nothing but respect for anyone who is a straight shooter with me,” Dotson said. “Dirk Koetter is a straight shooter. I don’t know what kind of head coach he’ll be, but I know what kind of offensive coordinator he was, and the man is a straight shooter. George Warhop is a straight shooter. He told me I was going to be the starter and that he got it from Lovie. And then when I wasn’t starting he came back and apologized to me. It hurt him so bad because he told me one thing and then something else happened. So I went to Lovie and Lovie said he didn’t say that. That was kind of hurtful because what – am I going crazy or something?
“I just want a straight shooter. I respect that. This is a business at the end of the day. We’re all pros. We’re all men. We can all sit down and look each other in the face and tell each other the truth. You tell me like it is and we can walk away and everything can be good. No mind games have been played. You haven’t told me one thing and then done another.”
Dotson’s respect for Koetter is mutual, as Tampa Bay’s new head coach went out and named Dotson the starting right tackle at the NFL Owner’s Meeting in Boca Raton last month.
“The game plan is we’re going to come in with Demar Dotson as the starter at right tackle and Gosder Cherilus is going to come in as the backup and the swing tackle,” Koetter said. “That was our plan last year. Gosder wasn’t on the team yet but our plan was to have Dot at right tackle. Due to injury, it didn’t work out that way. Gosder came in and it was well worth what we spent to get him in last year. He’s excellent in the locker room and he played well when we needed him to play. That’s where we’ll start this spring.”
When asked about entering 2016 as the starting right tackle, Dotson shrugged his shoulders.
“When Dirk announced that it was a big deal to everybody else, but not to me,” Dotson said. “Everybody was texting me and calling me and congratulating me, but to me, it was no big deal. I’ve been starting for three straight years at that position. If I’m healthy, I believe I can start there again.
“At the end of the day I’m going to go out there and compete whether I’m the starter or the No. 2. I believe that I can go in there and compete and earn a starting job. I believe I can go across this league and earn a job and a starting spot for the majority of teams in the league. I have that much confidence in myself. I don’t believe I’m that bad of a right tackle where I can’t go out and earn a job, and if I really lock in to it I can be the most productive right tackle in the league. It doesn’t matter who I am competing with. I believe in myself that I am going to get the job done. It’s not a pride thing. It’s just confidence. I believe in myself.”
There will be no hostile training camp battle between Dotson and Cherilus for the right start this year. Both veterans have respect for each other and became good friends last year. In some ways, Dotson looks at the addition of Cherilus as a blessing – not only because it gave Tampa Bay a legitimate pro right tackle, but an elder statesman who taught Dotson how to take care of his ailing knee.
“Gos is a pro and he’s taught me so much about how to approach the game and how to approach practice,” Dotson said. “He comes out every day and gives 100 percent. He’s struggling with both of his knees and he has to do so much just to go through a day’s practice with the hot tub, cold tub, stretching and putting on his braces. He has to do so much just for one practice. I tell myself if I had to go do all that I’d go home and close it up.
“He’s taught me how to take care of my knee. I’ve never taken painkillers and anti-inflammatories. He’s told me how to take those to get the inflammation down. For the last two or three games he was telling me to take some at night and before the game and it helped keep the swelling down. I never used to do that because I don’t like to take painkillers or anti-inflammatories because I’m not into it. But he showed me how to take care of my knee and keep the swelling down so I could play on it. It was unbelievable.”
Dotson expects his knee to be 100 percent by the time training camp rolls around. That alone should give the 30-year old the advantage over the 32-year old Cherilus for the right tackle job, but Dotson isn’t entering training camp looking for a fight.
“Gos is a pro,” Dotson said. “He’s in his ninth season. I’m going into my eighth. It’s not really a competition. He can go out and do what he does and I can go out there and do what I do and it’s up to the team to decide who is best at that position. If I go out there healthy and I’m 100 percent and Gosder beats me out, there’s no need for me to be upset at Gos or the coaches for making their decision. The better guy won the position.
Bucs RT Gosder Cherilus – Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR
“But last year I got hurt. I hurt my knee and then I was ready to come back and then I wasn’t in that starting position. It kind of made me down and sad and I was going through some stuff mentally last year [over Smith’s decision]. I didn’t lose my job because I wasn’t good enough. I lost it because of an injury. If Gosder beats me out and has a better camp then that’s on me. I’ll cheer him on as a teammate. The best man will win the job.”
With Gosder battling some late-season injuries of his own last year, Dotson got the chance to start down the stretch, including the Bucs’ come-from-behind, 23-19 home victory over Atlanta. He played well enough in that limited look that Koetter made the decision to start Dotson.
“When I came back and played those last few games my knee was feeling good,” Dotson said. “It wasn’t 100 percent without a doubt, but it felt good enough to play and be productive. It swelled up after the last game against Carolina and I got an MRI and there was no structural damage to it. I just rehabbed it all offseason and got it stronger. I’m working on getting my flexibility back in my hips and my back.
“It was a bummer not to play [the first half of last year]. Not being able to play and compete hurt more than anything. Then you add Jameis Winston’s rookie season into the equation – when you have a rookie as special as he is with defining moments during his first season, to not be able to compete with that guy hurt. That guy will motivate you. He’ll get you going when you’re hurt and tired. When you look at him, you believe him. Some guys do all the talking, but they don’t back it up. He talked and he backed it up with his rookie season and live up to it. You just hope he continues to get better because the sky is the limit for him if he does.”
Not only did Dotson miss out on the opportunity to play alongside Winston for more than a few games during last year’s 6-10 campaign, he also missed out on a big pay day. Dotson’s former agent, Greg Hobbs, suggested his client hold out during OTAs last year, which upset Buccaneers management and turned out to be a mistake. Licht and director of football operations Mike Greenberg had been in talks with Dotson about a raise and a contract extension despite having two years left on his deal.
Bucs RT Demar Dotson – Photo by: Getty Images
The reason for the raise was because Hobbs negotiated a terrible deal for Dotson back in 2013 with Greenberg and Dominik in the first place. Once Hobbs had Dotson hold out, the Bucs yanked their offer and said they would revisit contract talks after the preseason. Dotson fired Hobbs and hired veteran agent Joby Branion, but his knee injury in the preseason opener shelved those talks for the rest of the year.
Dotson, who turns 31 this year, remains hopeful that he can get that long-awaited extension and remain a Buccaneer.
“My agent has already talked with them this year and I feel pretty good that I might possibly get a deal before the season starts,” Dotson said. “That’s what I’m hoping for, but if not, I’m in a better position than I was last year because I have one year left. If I don’t get a contract I get to buckle down and give it everything I’ve got and then go to free agency and hopefully, and rightfully, get what I deserve next year.
“My mindset is to get healthy and be the best right tackle in this game. I want to be the best right tackle I can be. I want to stay in Tampa. I really hope Tampa compensates me. If not, then I get the opportunity to go out and hit free agency. I believe that when I’m healthy I can be one of the best right tackles in the game.”
Dotson is ready to make 2016 his best year yet and feels he has several more years left to play in the NFL because he came into the league without the wear and tear of playing football in high school and college.
Bucs RT Demar Dotson & QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
“I think I’ve had a good offseason,” Dotson said. “I’m getting older. I’m almost 31 years old, so I really have to take care of my body. I’m not bouncing back from injuries like I was when I was younger. But this was a good offseason for me to rest, get my body back and strengthen my knee. I’ve also been working on getting my hips more flexible. I’m ready to show this team that I can still be productive at a high level.”
Part of the reason why Licht and Greenberg were willing to extend Dotson’s contract is because he’s such a great guy. He’s the type of self-made player that is always looking to help others. Dotson is the type of player that deserves to be rewarded for his hard work and his team-first attitude.
“Dot is great and everybody loves him,” Bucs offensive lineman Kevin Pamphile said. “Him having to sit back and wait his turn last year was just a testament to his character and how he was a team player. But when his number was called he was prepared and ready to play and play well. I love the guy. Everybody does. Dot is just a great dude.”
Now healthy, this great dude wants to show the Bucs that he can be a great right tackle in 2016 and beyond.
2. REDEMPTION FOR WARHOP
The end of the Buccaneers’ nightmarish 2014 season couldn’t come fast enough for Tampa Bay’s much maligned offensive line. Quarterbacks Josh McCown and Mike Glennon were sacked 52 times and running back Doug Martin had gotten beaten up – usually behind the line of scrimmage – and finished with less than 500 yards rushing for a second straight season.
Understandably, Bucs offensive line coach George Warhop was under fire after just one year in Tampa Bay.
Oniel Cousins and Garrett Gilkey, two of Warhop’s imported offensive linemen from Cleveland where he coached from 2009-13 before coming to Tampa Bay, were busts.
Center Evan Smith had a mediocre debut as a free agent signing from Green Bay.
Left guard Logan Mankins looked like the aging veteran that prompted New England to trade him to Tampa Bay and wasn’t in prime shape to deal with Florida’s heat and humidity.
Right tackle Demar Dotson had a down year and recorded a career-high 14 penalties.
Left tackle Anthony Collins, a high-priced free agent signing, turned out to be an absolute turd. Collins was lazy, never bought into Warhop’s way of coaching and was not diligent rehabbing his foot and elbow injuries during the season.
Bucs OL coach George Warhop – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Add it all up and it was surprising to see Warhop remain in Tampa Bay past the 2014. In fact, had it not been for the hiring of offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter last January, Warhop could have been elsewhere in 2015 rather than leading the offensive line to an amazing turnaround last season.
Koetter had coached with Warhop in Boston College from 1994-95 and believed in his coaching abilities. Koetter has a keen eye for talent and insisted that Warhop remain on the staff, just as he told Bucs general manager Jason Licht and head coach Lovie Smith not to trade running back Doug Martin or backup quarterback Mike Glennon upon his arrival. Koetter made it clear to Licht and head coach Lovie Smith – he wanted Warhop to remain as the Bucs offensive line coach.
The problem was the lack of talent along the offensive line in 2014 – not the lack of coaching from Warhop.
“I think George did a great job [in 2014],” Dotson said. “He’s the same guy. Really the only thing different is the level of intensity and focus that he has now. He’s not going to let us fail like we did that year. He’s got that ‘whatever it takes’ mentality. He’s not going to let us be like we were that year. [The 2014 season] just kind of got away from him. I don’t think it made him any less of a coach or any less of a person.
“Some players didn’t do their jobs, and not having an offensive coordinator was a factor. But that year was not his fault.”
Koetter and Licht saw how the play-calling of impromptu offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo hampered the offensive line play and often hung the Bucs’ linemen out to dry with too many five- and seven-step drops and not enough screens or slant passes that get the ball out of the quarterback’s hands quickly. As a result, McCown and Glennon got pummeled in the passing game.
“I don’t think anybody thought Hop wasn’t a good O-line coach,” Dotson said. “It was more the players letting him down and the scheme we had last year that made him unsuccessful.”
Warhop entered last season with a no-nonsense attitude. He vowed to turn the team’s biggest weakness in 2014 into one of the team’s biggest strengths in 2015. Helping that come to fruition was Licht and Smith boldly releasing a malcontent like Collins, who wasn’t signed by any other team last year, and Cousins after just one year.
The Bucs also spent two premium second-round picks on left tackle Donovan Smith and right guard Ali Marpet, who were starters from Week 1 during their rookie season, and signed former Falcons center Joe Hawley and veteran Gosder Cherilus, who filled in at right tackle when Dotson was lost for the first half of the year due to a knee injury in the preseason opener. The difference with Smith, Marpet, Hawley and Cherilus was that they bought in to what Warhop was preaching early on and they all played hard.
“The main thing was that Hop didn’t want any guys with outside issues,” Dotson said. “We have a great bunch of guys now – from the starters to the non-starters. Everybody is a good guy. Hop is even more excited to come to work this year with the group of guys we have.”
Evan Smith agreed with Dotson’s assessment.
“I think from this year to last year there hasn’t been much change because Hop has always stressed the fundamentals and the tenacity he wants us to play with,” Smith said. “We as players put ourselves in bad positions a lot [in 2014] and this year we’ve had better play and more stability along that front.
“Us as a group, we’re definitely a lot closer than we were last year. That really helps. Everybody works well together. A lot of people questioned us, but all we had to do is get to the games and get those guys experience in a trial by fire to be able to succeed. We’ve all stepped up to the challenge this year.”
Helping Warhop turn the Bucs offensive line around last year was a Pro Bowl-caliber season from Mankins, who came to OTAs in fantastic shape and stepped up as a leader. Mankins was an extension of Warhop on the field and was voted as a team captain in 2015, which would be his final NFL season before retiring this offseason.
Smith was glad to see Mankins’ rejuvenated attitude and physique, as well as some new blood in Donovan Smith and Marpet.
“It was unfortunate with what happened to the staff that year and it kind of put everybody in a bind not having an offensive coordinator,” Smith said. “I think that affected how everybody played on offense. We did have our problems, but with the stability on our coaching staff this year with Dirk and us adding Ali, Donovan and Gosder definitely helped improve what we have across the front and it helped improve our depth. A lot of the stuff we were doing that year we are doing last year. It’s just that the play-calling and the execution have been much better this year.”
Warhop had the unenviable challenge of starting not just one, but two rookie offensive linemen in 2015, in addition to getting a new right tackle in Cherlius and a new center in Hawley up to speed at the start of the season. When Mankins sat out the Jacksonville game with a groin injury, Warhop had second-year lineman Kevin Pamphile, who had only played offensive tackle and tight end, ready to step in at left guard.
“I think he’s done a great job of preparing the young guys,” Evan Smith said. “As a group and as a unit we’ve helped those guys out and they have stepped up and played like professionals and done a great job.”
Against Jacksonville, the Bucs offense racked up 369 yards against one of the league’s better up-and-coming defense, and scored 31 of the team’s 38 points in a 38-31 win, which was the first victory at Raymond James Stadium since the 2013 season. Warhop’s offensive line featured the two new veteran imports in Hawley and Cherilus, in addition to two rookies in Smith and Marpet and a second-year player in Pamphile getting his first NFL start at left guard.
“He does an outstanding job teaching us and he treats us all the same from Logan to the young guys,” Pamphile said. “Of course he helps us young guys and spends more time with us, but he makes sure we are all on the same page. He does a great job and my game has improved a ton since last year. Watching Ali and Donovan they’ve made huge strides since they’ve gotten here.”
Warhop had Hawley, who was a late signee in August after he was released by Atlanta, quickly prepped and ready to go when he had to step in for Smith, who suffered an ankle injury in the team’s Week 2 win at New Orleans.
“That’s an important part of a coach’s job – making sure new guys are ready to play,” Hawley said. “He keeps guys prepared and he’s done a great job developing the young guys, too. Coach Hop does a great job in that area.
“He’s a great technique coach, especially for the young guys we have. He spends a lot of time harping on technique and making sure you’re in the right position. He’s a very smart coach. He’s a good motivator and he gets us going every day. He’s all about working hard. As an offensive lineman nothing is ever perfect. You can always get better. He’s pretty even keeled. I mean he’ll get upset on occasion, but he’s pretty even keeled. Hop expects a lot from us.”
To be frank, holdovers like Evan Smith, Dotson and Pamphile felt guilty with how the offensive linemen performed, putting so much heat on Warhop, a coach that they admire and love to play for.
“We understood that we were a reflection of his teachings,” Pamphile said. “We had to take most of the blame because we were out there doing the assignments and because we weren’t as detailed as we are this year he got blamed for it. He owned up to it, but he told us all from the start that we have to be more detailed in how we approach each game and our opponents.
“He’s been more detail-oriented ever since. He wanted us to be assist men. As O-linemen we are the ultimate assist guys. We don’t get a lot of the credit. There were some guys [in 2014] that didn’t want to do for the team and they were only looking out for themselves. Those guys are gone. To be a good offensive lineman you have to be all about the team and to put your best foot forward. We may get overlooked as offensive linemen, but we’re very important to the team.”
Bucs RB Doug Martin – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
It was no small feat getting two late veteran newcomers up to speed, and prepping two rookies and a second-year lineman to start and block for a rookie quarterback, but the job Warhop and assistant offensive line coach Butch Barry did last year was quite remarkable. Winston won an NFL Rookie of the Year award and was named to the Pro Bowl, along with Martin, whose 1,402 yards rushing was second in the NFL behind Adrian Peterson.
The Bucs went from rushing for 1,375 and seven touchdowns as a team in 2014 to 2,162 yards and 12 TDs last year – an increase of 787 yards and five scores. Winston threw for 4,042 yards with 22 touchdowns and 15 interceptions with a QB rating of 84.2. That’s nearly a 10-point increase from McCown and Glennon’s combined QB rating of 75.2 in 2014.
In the span of one year, Warhop turned the Buccaneers’ biggest weakness into perhaps the strength of the team. Warhop’s players saw him come under fire following the 2014 season and stepped up their game last year to ensure that the coach they love playing for remained in Tampa Bay.
“Coach Hop is straight up honest,” Dotson said. “That sets him apart from other offensive line coaches I’ve had. He doesn’t sugarcoat anything. If there is something he knows from upstairs he’ll pull you aside and tell you straight up. He cares about your long-term future – not just as a player, but as a person. He’ll tell you things about life. He’ll tell you not to stick your head in that way – not just because you’ll get hurt today, but because it will hurt you 15-20 years from now. Injuries can be an issue down the line. He tries to protect us for the long term down the line because he knows this game is only for the short term. He truly cares about us and we care about him.”
“Coach Hop is straight up honest,” Dotson said. “That sets him apart from other offensive line coaches I’ve had. He doesn’t sugarcoat anything. If there is something he knows from upstairs he’ll pull you aside and tell you straight up. He cares about your long-term future – not just as a player, but as a person. He’ll tell you things about life. He’ll tell you not to stick your head in that way – not just because you’ll get hurt today, but because it will hurt you 15-20 years from now. That can be an issue down the line. He tries to protect us for the long term down the line because he knows this game is only for the short term.”
Bucs OL coach George Warhop – Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR
There was some talk about Lovie Smith possibly replacing Warhop last offseason, but Koetter was adamant about keeping him. That move paid off in a huge way as the offensive line spearheaded the team’s 6,000-yard season in 2015 – a first in Bucs history – and a top-5 league ranking in total offense.
Not only did Warhop remain as Tampa Bay’s offensive line coach, Koetter gave him the responsibility of putting together the team’s running game while Koetter coordinated the passing attack. This offseason, Koetter gave Warhop the official title, recognizing the great job he did in the Bucs’ ground game.
“George Warhop is our run-game coordinator and we did a nice job of running the football – but all of our guys have different pieces of the game plan, so it’s very collaborative across the board on that,” Koetter said. “He did it. He just didn’t have the title. Now he’s got the title. You know, with those titles comes more pressure, I guess. George, he gets help on the run game from, again, everybody on the staff has different pieces of that, but George officially has the title. As I said, he pretty much did it last year, anyway.”
What a difference a year made for Warhop. Given a second chance by Koetter and more talent to work with from Licht, Warhop’s coaching ability was able to shine through with a tremendous season from the offensive line. And he got a well-deserved promotion, too.
FAB 3. BREAKING DOWN THE BUCS’ DRAFT POOLS
“Setting the draft board” is a common term used about NFL teams ranking draft-eligible players on a draft board that encompasses rounds 1-7. But in reality, what NFL teams like Tampa Bay do is they group pools of players together in each round. Out of the 253 players that will be drafted from April 28-30, teams like the Buccaneers may only have 100-150 draft prospects they’re truly interested in.
Some prospects will be taken off the board and deemed non-draftable due to medical red flags or character red flags. That could literally be dozens of draft-eligible players, including some prospects that could potentially carry first-round grades on athletic ability and production alone.
Other players are removed from consideration due to not having a scheme fit or a need. Tampa Bay doesn’t have the need for 350-pound nose tackles like teams that run a 3-4 defense do. And because the Buccaneers spent the first overall pick on Pro Bowl quarterback Jameis Winston last year, Tampa Bay wouldn’t select North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz or California signal caller Jared Goff in the first round – even if both players happened to be on the board when the Bucs picked.
Bucs GM Jason Licht – Photo by: Eric Dellaratta/PR
While the identity of which players belong in the pools of Tampa Bay’s targeted draft prospects is unknown, what is known is about half of the players the Bucs have either had in for visits or worked out privately before or after a player’s pro day. From that group we can gather some important data and draw some conclusions based on which positions show up the most in draft pools in certain rounds.
The following is a list of Tampa Bay’s draft prospects that have been compiled from various Internet reports from sources including WalterFootball.com, Tony Pauline, Ian Rapoport, Alex Marvez, Greg Auman, Jenna Laine, Aaron Wilson and Adam Caplan among others. The Bucs have either interviewed these players at the East-West Shrine Game, the Senior Bowl, the NFL Scouting Combine, pro days, private workouts or visits to One Buccaneer Place as either part of the official 30 visits each team is allotted, or as part of the local workout that drew a lot of South Florida Bulls and some natives of the Tampa Bay area, such as the Purdue cornerback tandem of Frankie Williams and Anthony Brown and Cincinnati wide receiver Chris Moore.
These pooled players are divided into rounds based on the pre-draft opinions of PewterReport.com in terms of where we think certain prospects will be drafted.
Possible Bucs Round 1 Pool
Florida State DB Jalen Ramsey
UCLA LB Myles Jack
Ohio State DE Joey Bosa
Florida CB Vernon Hargreaves
Ohio State CB Eli Apple
Louisville DT Sheldon Rankins
Baylor DT Andrew Billings
Louisiana Tech DT Vernon Butler
Ole Miss DT Robert Nkemdiche
UCLA DT Kenny Clark
PewterReport.com Round 1 Pool Analysis: What stands out about this group is the fact that the Bucs have visited with four first-round-caliber defensive tackle prospects, including Rankins, who has been our top pick for Tampa Bay in our last two 2016 Bucs’ 7-Round Mock Drafts. To PewterReport.com’s knowledge, the Bucs haven’t visited or worked out as many defensive tackles in any other round like they have potential first-round picks. And the guys the Bucs are interested in are athletic, quick 4-3-type tackles – not classic 3-4 run stuffers like Alabama’s A’Shawn Robinson or Jarran Reed. It seems like the Bucs want to compare and contrast the best defensive tackles and pick one because defensive tackle is considered a big need with Gerald McCoy, Clinton McDonald and Akeem Spence being the only experienced players at that position entering the mini-camps, and Spence is entering a contract year. It’s also worth noting that the Bucs have interest in Hargreaves and Apple and that Tampa Bay is also considering an elite, shutdown cornerback in the first round. It’s interesting to note that the Bucs reportedly have not yet visited with Notre Dame offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley or Michigan State offensive tackle Jack Conklin – both of whom have recently been mocked to Tampa Bay. Keep in mind that the Bucs did not bring in wide receiver Mike Evans for a visit before drafting him with the seventh overall pick in 2014.
Possible Bucs Round 2 Pool
Eastern Kentucky DE Noah Spence
Oklahoma State DE Emmanuel Ogbah
Penn State DE Carl Nassib
Ohio State SS Vonn Bell
Miami CB Artie Burns
Baylor CB Xavien Howard
Clemson CB Mackensie Alexander
Texas A&M OT Germain Ifedi
Alabama C Ryan Kelly
PewterReport.com Round 2 Pool Analysis: Some might have Spence and Ogbah going in the first round, and the Bucs might have to trade down from No. 9 or trade back into the lower part of the first round to select one of those two if they indeed want an edge rusher. Nassib, viewed as a second- or third-round pick, is also in consideration, so this could be the round Tampa Bay wants to select a defensive end. However, the Bucs also have met with or worked out several defensive backs, including Bell, Burns, Howard and Alexander, in addition to a pair of offensive linemen in Ifedi and Kelly.
Possible Bucs Round 3 Pool
Southern Utah SS Miles Killebrew
Alabama CB Cyrus Jones
Auburn OT Shon Coleman
PewterReport.com Round 3 Pool Analysis: There aren’t many third-round prospects the Bucs may be targeting that have been identified by the media yet. There is like a dozen or more prospects the team would entertain drafting in this round, but those names aren’t known at this time. Keep in mind that some of the players that are in Tampa Bay’s hypothetical second-round draft pool may slide down to the third round. So far it’s a safety, a cornerback and an offensive tackle. Anything goes in the third round.
Possible Bucs Round 4 Pool
Grand Valley State DE Matt Judon
Auburn CB Jonathan Jones
Maryland FS Sean Davis
Harvard OT Cole Toner
PewterReport.com Round 4 Pool Analysis: The positions in the fourth round mirror what we’ve seen in the first three rounds – defensive line, secondary and offensive tackle. Outside of UCLA’s athletic, yet injured Jack, the linebacker position hasn’t popped up yet in a potential draft pool, joining wide receiver, running back, tight end and quarterback among the positions that are no-shows. The fourth round could see a targeted selection, as was the case last year when Licht traded up in the round to get middle linebacker Kwon Alexander, or it could be a situation where the Bucs stick to their board and draft the best player available.
Possible Bucs Round 5 Pool
Minnesota OLB De’Vondre Campbell
Ole Miss WR Cody Core
Florida WR Demarcus Robinson
Samford CB James Bradberry
Western Kentucky TE Tyler Higbee
PewterReport.com Round 5 Pool Analysis: Tampa Bay has shown interest in a couple of decent-sized wide receivers in Core and Robinson, whose suspensions at Florida merit vetting by the Bucs scouts, in the fifth round, in addition to a big cornerback in Bradberry and a big, fast linebacker in Campbell. By the fifth round, most NFL draft prospects come with warts or question marks. Teams like Tampa Bay are looking for certain traits and will take the best player available.
Possible Bucs Round 6 Pool
Georgia Southern OLB Antwione Williams
West Virginia MLB Nick Kwiatkoski
William & Mary MLB Luke Rhodes
Washington State OT/G Joe Dahl
North Carolina State OT/G Joe Thuney
Boise State G Rees Odhiambo
Arkansas QB Brandon Allen
Stanford QB Kevin Hogan
Northwestern TE/FB Dan Vitale
UTSA TE David Morgan
Illinois WR Geronimo Allison
PewterReport.com Round 6 Pool Analysis: The Bucs focus heavily on offensive line, tight end and linebacker in this round. It’s rare to find a starter in the sixth round with New England’s future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady being the rare exception, so drafting quality depth is key. Can the Bucs find a linebacker that could start at Sam linebacker behind Daryl Smith and eventually develop into a starter? Can Tampa Bay find a developmental offensive lineman like Kevin Pamphile? Can Licht draft a No. 2 quarterback that could replace Mike Glennon as Jameis Winston’s backup? That’s what this round is for, and it’s also a round in which the Bucs might find a starting fullback considering the team doesn’t have a lead blocker on the current roster. Remember that Tampa Bay spent its final draft pick on fullback Joey Iosefa last year, although he didn’t make the team.
Possible Bucs Round 7 Pool
Cincinnati WR Chris Moore
Southern Utah CB LeShaun Sims
Purdue CB Anthony Brown
Purdue CB Frankie Williams
Mississippi State CB Taveze Calhoun
Michigan State DT Joel Heath
Manitoba DT David Onyemata
Notre Dame SS Elijah Shumate
PewterReport.com Round 7 Pool Analysis: The Bucs don’t currently have a seventh-round pick, but could acquire one by trading down out of the sixth round or by trading with another team on draft day. What you see in this pool are defensive backs and a wide receiver that could help cover kicks and punts on special teams, and some developmental defensive tackles. If Tampa Bay doesn’t wind up with a seventh-round pick, any of these players that are left are put in the pool of undrafted free agents.
Possible Bucs Undrafted Free Agent Pool
Colorado OT Stephane Nembot
Nebraska OT Zach Sterup
Jacksonville C Logan Williamson
Alabama OT Dominick Jackson
Cincinnati OT Justin Murray
Fordham G Garrick Mayweather Jr.
South Florida G Thor Jozwiak
South Florida G Brynjar Gudmundsson
North Dakota State FB Will Ratelle
Jacksonville State WR Ruben Gonzalez
Florida Atlantic WR Jenson Stoshak
Monmouth TE Hakeem Valles
South Florida TE Sean Price
South Florida DE Eric Lee
UCLA OLB Aaron Wallace
Rutgers OLB Quentin Gause
Florida OLB Anthony Harrell
Miami OLB Tyriq McCord
Southeastern Louisiana FS Denzel Thompson
South Florida FS Jamie Byrd
South Florida QB Steven Bench
South Florida P Mattias Ciabatti
PewterReport.com Undrafted Free Agent Pool Analysis: A lot of these players are local prospects with most of them coming from nearby USF. You’ll notice that the Bucs spend just as much time scouting these guys – the undrafted free agents as they do the players with draftable grades. The reason is not only to find some gems, such as the next Demar Dotson, Clifton Smith, Ryan Nece, Adam Humphries or Bradley McDougald. It’s to make sure there are enough players signed to try-out contracts to conduct a rookie mini-camp camp and that there is sufficient depth for training camp.
So what are the conclusions to draw from this exercise? Don’t be surprised to see the Bucs select one of the top-ranked defensive tackles in the first round, followed by a defensive end, a cornerback and a safety all by the fourth round. The Bucs will look for depth at offensive tackle and linebacker late in the draft, and perhaps pick up another developmental cornerback or wide receiver to help on special teams.
FAB 4. BUCS FACE DAUNTING SCHEDULE IN 2016
One of the reasons why I was justified in calling for former Tampa Bay head coach Lovie Smith to be fired after going 6-10 last season was because the team’s 2015 schedule was one of the easiest in recent history and the Bucs severely underachieved – even with a rookie quarterback. Former head coach Raheem Morris was able to manufacture 10 wins with a young Bucs team and a similar schedule in 2010. Smith’s squad only faced three teams that finished with a winning record – Carolina (15-1), Washington (9-7) and Houston (9-7) and could only muster six victories.
Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
The Bucs have a much more formidable schedule facing them, and Dirk Koetter will be hard-pressed to see his team finish with better than an 8-8 mark in his first season as Tampa Bay’s new head coach. The biggest reason is the fact that the Bucs will play two of the most rugged divisions in football in the NFC West and the AFC West, in addition to their annual slate of games against NFC South foes New Orleans, Atlanta and Carolina, which went to Super Bowl 50 last year.
Here are some of my observations about Tampa Bay’s 2016 schedule:
Trial By Fire
The Bucs only played three playoff teams last year, but that number swells to five in 2016, and one of those teams, the Panthers, will play Tampa Bay twice. Carolina, Arizona, Seattle, Kansas City and Super Bowl 50 champion Denver will battle the Tampa Bay this year, with the Bucs facing both Super Bowl 50 participants in back-to-back games in early October right before the bye week. In fact, the first month of the Bucs’ schedule looks rough, opening on the road against Atlanta and Arizona in back-to-back weeks before two home games against Los Angeles and Denver before a Monday Night Football clash in Carolina. The Bucs will be fortunate to start the season 2-3 heading into a bye week, and stealing a road win in the season-opener against the Falcons feels like a must.
Bucs’ Big West Coast Spread
Tampa Bay has three West Coast games this year against Arizona, San Diego and San Francisco, but all three of those contests are spread out. The Bucs travel to face the Cardinals in Week 2, and venture further west to play San Francisco in Week 7 after the bye. The team finishes it’s West Coast journey in Week 13 against the Chargers, which comes in between home games against the Seahawks and the Saints.
Bucs QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Tampa Bay only has two primetime night games on the schedule, which is a bit of a surprise. I would have thought having Jameis Winston would have given the Bucs three, but there is always the chance one of the team’s late-season games could be flexed if Tampa Bay is making a playoff push. The Monday Night Football game at Carolina in Week 5 should be quite a challenge as the Panthers have swept the Bucs in each of the last three seasons. Tampa Bay gets a Thursday Night Football game in Week 9 at home against Atlanta, a team the Bucs swept a year ago. Both of the Bucs’ games on national TV come within the division, and it would appear as if Tampa Bay will be getting a Color Rush home game with the all-red uniforms if the NFL elects to do that again this year.
Holidays With The Bucs
Tampa Bay has the good fortune to have a home game against Seattle on November 27 following Thanksgiving. Any of the players’ friends and family that will be coming in to visit can stay and watch a home game. However, the Bucs will be traveling a month later and playing at New Orleans on Saturday, December 24, which is Christmas Eve. That gives the Bucs a short week to play a division rival after facing the Cowboys in Dallas. Because it’s a road game, the Bucs will only get three days to prepare because they’ll have to fly to New Orleans on Friday due to the shortened week. Tampa Bay hosts Carolina on New Year’s Day to end the 2016 regular season.
Home Sweet Home
Tampa Bay has a nice three-game home stand against Oakland, Atlanta and Chicago in Weeks 8-10 and that might be the best chance for the Bucs to go 3-0 in any stretch during the 2016 schedule. Throw in a road trip against the beatable 49ers and the Bucs might have a chance to go 4-0 after the bye week in the middle of the schedule. If Tampa Bay struggles early, which it very well could, it’s vitally important for the Bucs to win these home games.
Bucs QB Jameis Winston & Saints QB Drew Brees – Photo by: Getty Images
The Not So Big Easy
The Bucs face a challenging series with the Saints this year. Tampa Bay hosts New Orleans in Week 14 and then turns around and travels to the Big Easy two weeks later to play them again in Week 16. The Bucs’ division games against the Panthers are 12 weeks apart and the contests with the Falcons are eight weeks apart.
Bucs Are Matinee Men In 2016
Coming off a 2-14 season in 2014, nearly all of Tampa Bay’s games were 1:00 p.m. starts a year ago. The Bucs have more late afternoon contests as a result of a more promising 6-10 finish in 2015. Tampa Bay has eight 1:00 p.m. starts and eight games that start at either 4:05 p.m., 4:25 p.m., 8:25 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. Three of those late starts are due to Tampa Bay playing on the West Coast against Arizona, San Diego and San Francisco.
Bring On The Rookie QBs
With Los Angeles and San Francisco potentially drafting quarterbacks in the first round, Mike Smith’s Tampa Bay defense could have the opportunity to feast on rookie QBs. The Rams traded up to get the number one overall pick and are expected to use it on North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz. The 49ers, who have the seventh overall pick, could draft Cal’s Jared Goff or Memphis’ Paxton Lynch if Chip Kelly wants to invest a first-round selection in a franchise-type quarterback. Of course the Bucs’ track record against rookie quarterbacks hasn’t been kind lately. Minnesota’s Teddy Bridgewater beat Tampa Bay in overtime two years ago, and Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota threw four touchdown passes in a 42-14 thrashing of Tampa Bay in the 2015 season opener at Raymond James Stadium.
There’s no point in forecasting wins and losses right now prior to the draft. PewterReport.com will make its annual Pewter Predictions during the preseason, but given the challenges the Bucs face with a more difficult schedule in 2016, anything past eight wins appears to be a stretch at this point. I expect Tampa Bay to be much improved this year, but the Bucs may be held back from a winning season by a more daunting schedule.
FAB 5. SR’s BUC SHOTS
• Having been in Tampa Bay since 2009, 30-year old right tackle Demar Dotson has become the elder statesman on the Buccaneers. No other Bucs player has a longer tenure in Tampa Bay than Dotson, who has turned into a mentor for some of the younger players on the team, such as third-year offensive lineman Kevin Pamphile.
“I talk to Dot all the time and I like to watch him set and just how fundamentally sound he is,” Pamphile said. “Most of our D-ends don’t like going against Dot because he is so long and has such a powerful punch. I try to take some key points from his game and incorporate them into my game. I’ve learned so much from Dot. He’s a great resource for me and others to learn from.”
• Count Buccaneers right tackle Demar Dotson among those excited about Dirk Koetter becoming the team’s head coach this offseason. His obvious dislike for Lovie Smith aside, what Dotson really likes is the continuity that Koetter staying on brings to the offensive side of the ball.
“I congratulate him for getting the head coaching job and I think he’s going to do an excellent job,” Dotson said. “To have everything intact is huge. We have [offensive line coach] George Warhop here. We have our assistant offensive line coach. We have the same offensive system. We have Doug Martin back. Jameis [Winston] is getting better. Nothing really changed. To have all of us back in the same offense is huge for us. We’ve got young players and offensive linemen and they don’t have to learn a new system. That’s big for us. We should have a big year.”
• If you are looking for another reason why PewterReport.com has been adamant that the Buccaneers could be drafting a defensive tackle in the first round, look no further than the track record of defensive coordinator Mike Smith, who has always valued defensive tackles more than defensive ends – choosing to build his defensive line from the inside out. In Jacksonville where he was the defensive coordinator from 2003-07, Smith inherited a pair of first-round Pro Bowl defensive tackles in Marcus Stroud (2001) and John Henderson (2002).
The defensive ends that Smith squeezed production from with the Jaguars were not household names. In fact none of them – Reggie Hayward (third round), Greg Favors (fourth round), Rob Meier (fourth round), Bobby McCray (seventh round), Paul Spicer (undrafted free agent) – was a first- or second-round pick.
Louisville DT Sheldon Rankins – Photo by: Getty Images
In Atlanta, Smith inherited a former first-round bust at defensive end in Jamaal Anderson, and the most productive pass rusher he had was John Abraham – a free agent import from the New York Giants. Kroy Biermann, Smith’s second-most productive end, was a fifth-round draft pick. Where did Smith spend his premium draft picks? He spent them on defensive tackles like Peria Jerry (first round), Jonathan Babineaux (second round) and Corey Peters (third round).
And then there was this pre-draft comment from Bucs general manager Jason Licht from Thursday’s press conference when asked if a team can improve its pass rush from anywhere along the defensive line.
“You can and the goal defensively is always to affect the quarterback,” Licht said. “You usually think of the front four doing that, but there’s other ways of doing it. If you really like watching, I know it’s just one game, but if you watched the Super Bowl last year – Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware had their share of success there, but really the interior pressure had a big, big effect on that game, so there are other ways to do it. We all want a great defensive end, or two, or three, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way.”
With no defensive end outside of Ohio State’s Joey Bosa worth the No. 9 overall pick, PewterReport.com has had Tampa Bay selecting Louisville defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins in its last two Bucs’ 7-Round Mock Drafts. Now you know why.
• To say there is excitement about the PewterReport.com Day 2 Draft Party is an understatement. Since announcing the April 29 event at Hard Rock Cafe two weeks, we’ve almost reached capacity for the draft party. Over 100 Bucs fans have already RSVP’d to attend, and there is only room left for less than 50 more fans to this free event.
If you are thinking about attending and haven’t RSVP’d yet, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your spot at the PewterReport.com Day 2 Draft Party, which starts at 5:00 p.m. ET and features an hour-long live program on stage before the draft coverage starts at 7:00 p.m. The program features yours truly, PewterReport.com’s Mark Cook and several former and current Bucs, including Tyoka Jackson, Dexter Jackson, Dwight Smith, Akeem Spence, Will Gholston, Pat Murray and Kenny Bell answering your questions and dishing out some draft scoop.
We will reach capacity by early next week and will no longer be accepting RSVPs, so don’t delay. Please be aware that if you do not RSVP to email@example.com you will not be reserved a spot at the draft party.
• And finally, on behalf of PewterReport.com, I want to thank Doug and Heather Driscoll, the owners of Just Grillin and big Bucs fans, for hosting our PewterReport.com exclusive partner event last night. And I would like to thank Bucs cornerback Alterraun Verner for participating as our celebrity chef. With Verner’s help, Driscoll put on a steak grilling class that had the dozens in attendance impressed and walking away full from a delicious dinner with recipes in hand. A big thank you to Tampa Bay Brewing Company for the Reef Donkey Ale and Florida’s True Blonde Ale. Both beers were sensational.
Doug Driscoll and Alterraun Verner – Photo by: Scott Reynolds/PR
Driscoll educated our PewterReport.com partners and staff on how to select the best meat to grill, the proper way to cut steaks, and how season them and grill them. Verner was a Pro Bowl grill master by the time the event concluded. One of the highlights of the evening was announcing the Bucs schedule at 8:00 p.m. right before our steak dinner.
Just Grillin, which is located at 11743 N. Dale Mabry Hwy in Carrollwood, holds grilling classes most Saturday mornings and also conducts private corporate cooking classes like the one PewterReport.com had last night, in addition to church functions and ladies’ night out occasions. I just purchased a Weber Spirit grill and all of the accessories I needed from Just Grillin, which is like a Toys R’ Us for grown-ups who like to grill, and I love it.
Visit Just Grillin on the Internet at JustGrillinFlorida.com or stop by their Carrollwood showroom to check out their selection of Big Green Eggs, Weber grills, Louisiana Grills and their new selection of quality outdoor furniture. If you are looking for a custom outdoor kitchen, Just Grillin can design it and build it for you.
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Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: email@example.com
Fab 1 and Fab 2 – We’ll see. I’m not sold on either one of them yet.
Fab 3 – I don’t have a feel for the later rounds, but I disagree with some of the players that will be available in these pools.
Round 1 (I think these players will go in the top of the 2nd round):
Louisiana Tech DT Vernon Butler
Ole Miss DT Robert Nkemdiche
UCLA DT Kenny Clark
Round 2 (I think these players will go in the 1st round):
Eastern Kentucky DE Noah Spence
Oklahoma State DE Emmanuel Ogbah
Clemson CB Mackensie Alexander
Texas A&M OT Germain Ifedi
Alabama C Ryan Kelly
Fab 4 – I agree that this is a tough schedule, but if we’re a good team with a good QB why does it matter who we play? The margin of victory should be small against good teams and large against bad teams but if we’re good we should win either way.
Fab 5 – Nothing to add here.
I like your thoughts here as usual. Some of these guys will be gone earlier then predicted in fab3.
Very nice Fab 5. Again, I hope the BUCS can trade down for more assets (picks). A lot of quality defensive linemen in this draft. In Licht we trust! The schedule is a bruiser, but if our dense improves I think the BUCS can be a surprise team this year. 2nd year for Winston, an OL that has a second year together, the same offensive system for the first time in forever, and veteran WR & RB. I don’t think points will be the problem.
Picture cracks me up!!!
FAB 1) I am starting think that Lovie might actually have some memory loss issues – first he claims to have told his CBs that their job was to force the fade passes in the redzone, while ATV says that Lovie told them the exact opposite (force the slants); then he claims not to have told Warhop that Dot son would be starting…hmmmmm
FAB Draft) I am just going to point out 2 guys that I think will have pretty good careers (and won’t be top-10 picks, probably not even first rounders)…I did this last year with Tyler Lockett, and the year before with Gabe Jackson…and my picks this year (yes I’ll make 2) are: Jaylon Smith LB Notre Dame (in 5 years the team that is sending this kid to the probowl for the third time won’t care that they had to redshirt him for 2016), and Devonte Booker RB Utah (production, production, production).
Fab 4) Schedule – in a league of parity the schedule may look tough with foresight but it won’t with hindsight…just play the games – the teams aren’t all that much different for the most part – we need to play well to win, and if we play well we can beat anyone.
Re Fab 2 – George Warhop,
Why is OL Garrett Gilkey still on the Bucs roster? Is Warhop still trying to resurrect this guy since he brought him from Cleveland?
Perhaps PR can tell us!
We will draft OL. Maybe a couple so he will be gone by start of season.
I Love how some people (Pink) think they know where players will go in what rounds, lol People can be so full of themselves!
I on the other hand have no idea how this draft wil shake out as I have seen guys like Jake Locker go in the top ten when I didn’t think when coming out he was a first round qb. If I were to have a wish list of players I want for this team personally the guys who I have watched on live tv or by you tube highlights I like William Jackson III, Mackenzie Alexander, Carl Nassib, Emanuel Ogbah, Kevin Dodd, Ryan Kelly and a Sterling Sheppard perfect slot wr we desperately need
I find it comical when the draft projections and player evaluations, based on very little data, are presented as if they are virtual certainty and actual facts. I find it equally humorous when posters scoff at the opinions of others. As you said, who knows how things will shake out? I just sit back and wait for reality.
Well thank you for all the round Insites and Free Agents that are looking at.I will Make My Tampa Bay Big Board as You said in each round. I believe that with the sudden trade of the no#1 pick Tampa will have a couple of teams may think about Veterans Qb Mike Glennon-Go Bucs from George L Hicks
So far, Koetter has said and made moves that I’d agree with. Some during the Lovie Smith era – Aaron Donald and Mariota(Winston is proving out to both him and me though! Hey, I did acknowledge that his character belies his actions), and a month ago or so Koetter recognized that he’s got a Rt – Demar Dotson(not to mention a good backup in Pamphile). The theory is a good Oline(and Dlineman) generally goes for ten years or so; hey! Let’s test out the theory! Dotson is the starter(Cherilus is also a good backup . . .)
I checked out the locals, as reported by Bucs.com last night; there were a few names I couldn’t find, like the Wr Gonzalez. And, I know Licht knows plenty more players then he’s been allowed to interview – should prove interesting. I’m confident that who gets brought in for tryouts . . . some the Bucs might genuinely be interested in . . . others are brought in because they’ve got questions about them.
. . . if it was me, “I’m trading down.” I’d draft a Dt up top, and one down in day four or five, depending on who’s still available at four. McCoy is a little injury prone; i’d draft Branden Bryant just in case he turns out to be John Randle.
maybe trade down the second rounder . . . not to mention Glennon.
I’m split between staying put and trading down . . . Billings and Kenny Clarke are both 20 years old; they’re going to be beasts. If Billings is gone(I felt this happening after his combine performance), i’m trading down a little bit and going with the unexpected Dt Kenny Clarke.
Here are the 23 players who played at local high schools and will be attending the local workout today. Most will end up as undrafted free agents seeking a Bucs contract following the draft when the roster can go to 90 players. A handful, such as WR Geronimo Allison, Spoto, Illinois, CB Anthony Brown, Hillsborough, Purdue, and WR Chris Moore, Jefferson, Cincinnati are expected to be drafted. The player you inquired about is WR Rueben Gonzalez, Robinson, Jacksonville State – a longshot to be drafted or get a Bucs UDFA contract.
Jamie Byrd, FS, USF
Brynjar Gudmundson, OG, USF
Eric Lee, DE, USF
Thor Jozwiak, OT, USF
Sean Price, TE, USF
Mattias Ciabatti, P, USF
Marlon Pope, TE, USF
Logan Williamson, C, Jacksonville University
Tyriq McCord, OLB, Miami
Denzel Thompson, FS, So. Eastern Louisiana
Geronimo Allison, WR, Illinois
Chris Moore, WR, Cincinnati
Frankie Williams, CB, Purdue
Marqus Baker, CB, Buffalo
Anthony Brown, CB, Purdue
Ruben Gonzalez, WR, Jacksonville State
Phillip Ely, QB, Toledo
Oops! Remainder of 23 local players.
Steven Bench, QB, USF
Anthony Harrell, OLB, Florida
Allen Covington, DL, Toledo
Devante Danzey, OL, Auburn
Josh Celerin , FS, Jacksonville
Arturo Uzdavinis, OT, Tulane
Yes, Macabee, these are probably the unrestricted free agent list. They’ll go through a tryout session, and only those who the Bucs feel made it will be signed. Some on the current roster might be cut. I don’t feel like doing the calculations to see whether there’s enough interesting players in there to cut some who are the roster right now. But, I’d argue a few players might not make it past the undrafted free agents tryout.
maabee, I watched Gilkey extensively last year in preseason when he played guard since he received a lot of negative comments due to his play against the Bengals at center.
Let’s remember the game against the Bengals was the first time Gilky had ever played center.
Why this was done still mystifies me to this day.
Whatever the case, Gilkey played well at guard last year in preseason but not so well as a center.
As for the offensive line play in 2014, I always maintained it was Mark Arroyo’s inexperience that caused a complete breakdown that year.
Of course it didn’t help maters any when Lovie came in and blew the line up.
I could see why he got rid of some of the players, but to replace four out of five OL was almost asking for trouble.
Sometimes I think the only reason Smith took the job was so he could give his son a job.
He sure never did act like a man on a mission to prove the Bears were wrong in firing him.
Another good Fab 5 Scott. Whatever we do in our drafting, I am comfortable Licht and Koetter will select quality players. I am very excited for the season to begin because I believe we are now playoff contenders; something I haven’t been able to state for several years so early. Go Bucs!
Well it should be an interesting draft for sure. Added to the fact that the Rams just gave up the farm for a medicore QB is hysterical though. SOrry, you don’t give up 2 years worth opf drafting for either of those guys. Neither are on the level of Jameis and Mariota were last year. And to think it could be Wentz, a D2 player just shows how desperate teams are for a QB right now.
Glennon will never have better value and you can damn sure you get a 2nd for him or don’t trade him. Someone will budge.
I hope Dotson has a great return this year as I had a feeling he was getting hosed by that clown of a coach we used to have. The more I read about Lovie, the more I get pissed off at what a useless tool he really was.
I am really excited for the draft because we all have no idea how thise will go so I won’t venture to guess.
I’m all for trading back and starting to gather picks. If you could land like a WIlliam Jackson the 3rd and then Butler at DT, that’s a great way to start.
So the Patriots released Dominique Easley a few days back. I think he would be a great addition to the Bucs as a back-up 3-tech DT. He would come cheap. He will fill the role that Pewterreport has been saying is so important that we take Rankins in the first round. I like the Rankins pick, but I like taking a chance on Easley to give us more flexibility in the draft. The big issue is if Llicht will take a chance on Easley even though the Patriots felt he was a problematic player. Licht’s close ties to the Patriots may make him bias about giving Easley a second chance. There have been conflicting reports about Easley. One teammate called him a locker room cancer. Another vouched for his character. Neither players put their name on the statements, so who knows which one is closer to the truth. I just believe he is worth at the very least a real look. This would give us the flexibility to really take the BPA in the first round. And there are good DT available in later rounds that can be taken in case Easley really is a bad teammate. Just my opinion though.
Sigh. Very worried pass rush will still be a huge issue.
Another great Fab 5, Scott. Nowhere else can we read such quality in-depth information as you regularly provide to us.
Great Fab 5 Scott. Thank you.
Most excellent! I think you are on to something at DT! Go Bucs!!!
Cgmaster. I feel the same way you do about Lovie and I used to defend him.
But in retrospect, the more I think about his two years here, the more exasperated I become with his subpar efforts.
Although Lovie was always a very composed coach, which is a trait I can appreciate in a leader, nowadays I’m not sure if it was because he was just disinterested.
I’m starting to believe the latter. I really do think he was just along for the paycheck. That and to keep some of his friends and family employed for a bit.
Towards the end of the season I had enough of Smith arrogance and total dislike and disrespect he had for the Press. I supported him until the last couple games and I saw we were going no where with him, but I figured the Glazer’s would give him another year. I was surprised, but happy they didn’t give him that extra year. Heck it’s their money and I respect them for making the change. Winston brought inspiration and Koetter brought Coaching. I can see us going to go to the playoffs. I’m confident about it. Go Bucs!
drdneast it takes a big man to admit he was wrong. I always try to keep an open mind to what others see and are saying despite not agreeing with them all the time. Something you may want to do in the future. To say you disagree is one thing, but you flat out tried to attack and belittle anyone that didn’t think Lovie was doing a good job. Lovie was horrible in just about every aspect. Nobody knows exactly what his level of commitment or intentions were accept Lovie himself but there were just so many issues and I just had a strong gut feeling something was not right with him. The more I hear what players say, etc, he was even worse than I thought. His heart did not seem in the job. Dungy was calm composed and at times I wished for more enthusiasm but the players loved him and responded to him. It doesn’t seem like any players really had much respect or love for Smith which is strange. I’ll bet good money he never coaches in the NFL again. He was horrible in just about way.
That was certainly a good read. I think if we can stop other teams from scoring 30 points a game; we can win more than we lose. Go Bucs…
After the total debacle (or as Deion Sanders would say, “shebacle”) of the Bruce Allen, Mark Dominik, Raheem Morris, Greg Schiano, Lovie Smith years it’s nice to have a real GM and real head coach for the first time since McKay, Dungy and Gruden. It’s like a breath of fresh air.
This draft seems like such a wild card compared to past drafts. I suspect Licht doesn’t even know exactly who they’re targeting yet since there are so many variables at work. I think part of the problem is there’s a ton of depth in this draft especially on defense but there are only a couple of blue-chip players at the top. Because of this, I think you can get just as much value at #15 as you can at #9 this year. I’d like to see Conklin or Stanley still be there when the Bucs pick and a team in need of a franchise LT trade up (maybe TN trades back up from their #15 spot).
It aways takes me a day or two to digest all the information contained in SR5. Then I read each post. Great read Scott and Great post’s fans. It is a difficult draft as some have indicated. Unlike 2015 when QB was a major concern that turned out well so far for the Buc’s. This year is a hole filler, rotational player compilation of what many think should be addressed as best-available- player in nature and future oriented. In many respects considering the Buc’s recent records we are definitely in uncharted territory. I believe our starters with few exceptions will come from our current roster. Considering the coaching changes which I personally feel has been our best offseason move so far, will serve to improve this team albeit a significantly more challenging schedule on the horizon. I would be very hesitant to predict a 2016 record at this point, though by nature I am optimistic. As for the draft, I agree with those who advocate moving down where better value in the mid to latter half of the first round is evident and possibly moving up in the second round to attract a second defensive player. All speculation. I expect a few surprises and wouldn’t be surprised to see some top prospects drop while other workout warrior, 4 day combine warriors excel. I don’t see Mike Glennon as much of a bargaining chip as we might hope, but I certainly have been wrong in the past. Finally, there is always that UDFA looming after the big event, and if you look at starting rosters around the league you can easily see their many contributions. It’s all good this time of year, so sit back and ENJOY……
It’s so nice to read the posts preceding this Draft as opposed to the Winston-Mariota debate that raged last year. Even the most ardent Mariota proponent would be hard pressed to find fault with #3.
This season few of us seem to have a specific favorite, must-have player for whom we want Licht to turn in the card. Instead, we have a collection of potential targets. Me, since I don’t see the cream at the top, unlike prior years, I think trading down makes more sense than usual. Looks like the value is just as good from 15 to 20 as it is at the 9 spot. I have few facts to support my stance; just a hunch.
Jason Cole B/R reports that many GMs think the Titans will trade back into the top ten for an OT preferably Jack Conklin! Throw the trade chart out of the window. The Bucs could be that trade partner and ask for a 2nd round pick and get it. It’s a seller’s market. The Titans have enough 2nd round picks (3) to buy that offer and be happy! If both Conklin and Stanley are there at 9, it could compromise the Bucs leverage if they insist on a 2nd round pick to trade down. I’m down with whatever, wherever, or whoever the Bucs pick. I’m ready for some football! lol.
Just some perspective – The Titans will not throw the draft value chart out the window but they will probably give a discount because the number of picks they have and a pressing need at OL.
If they swap 1’s and the Bucs get a 2nd round pick #45, there is a 150 point difference. If the Bucs give them their last 4 picks (4th on) that totals to 141.
If the Bucs only have 4 picks (15,39,45,74), I would see that as a net positive. Undrafted players would see Tampa as a better opportunity with less draft pick competition.
Tenn would then have 12 picks to play with and can go crazy going up or getting next year picks.
This sounds like a Win Win.
Your math is impressive! Now do the math on the Titans/Rams trade and see if it fits the draft value chart. They burned the trade chart in effigy! It’s a second round pick if they want the player or the bidding goes on!
Very well good man, I will do the math. If you take picks the Titans are giving up this year the value is 3,088.6. All of the Rams picks being surrendered this year are 2,335. So now we have to factor in next year picks. Even at FULL VALUE if the Rams pick is 23 (and therefore 87 in round 3) that total is 915. Add the 2 years together you get 3,095. Pretty close to 3,088.6.
Also normally when you trade a this year pick for next year pick you normally move up a round. So bottom line although the trade looks lopsided to us, it still adheres to the Pick Value Table.
It is a slow day so I will enamor you! Let me first commend you for taking up the task and a fine job you did.
Remember this, a good lawyer never asks a question that he doesn’t already know the answer to. While your math is good, you forget about the weight of the trade and that is the number of picks. Points are close but the number of picks and where they occur are not. Picks are players. Points make you feel like you got a good deal even if you didn’t.
Now I will concede that the points are not that far apart. But If I take your 150 point differential and compare it to the 335 point differential in the Titans/Rams trade, the Titans have no grounds to complain about a Bucs trade If Conklin is their man.
There are people that do this for a living and I provided a link that I had in hand when I originally posted to make my point. Please review and give me your thoughts. I think you will agree that the Bucs should stand pat and demand a 2nd round pick. I stand by my assertion that the Titans will pay and never look back.
Bottom line it’s always nice to have a respectable chat with another loyal Buc Fan. Good day, my friend!
In the year of Donald Trump, I guess everything is negotiable but 150 points would be equivalent to additional 3rd round pick (pick 88). My original proposal had the Titans forfeiting a 7th round equivalent (pick 206). So I agree the Titans will overpay, the question is how much.
Now if the Bucs were willing to take the Titans 3rd round (#64) instead of #45, they could also get pick #140. So the question is do the Bucs want Quantity or Quality.
Lastly, I agree with that article. The difference in my number and his were the value of next year picks. He made the Rams pick 15 & I made it 23. But I also said a next year picks have lesser value than a this year picks. So 15 next year value is probably close to 23 this year. I’m also sure that the Rams tried to downplay their next year record, while the Titans were telling the Rams they looked like Super Bowl contenders. Once again, this is the year of Donald Trump.
I don’t know one once about what Mac knows about these kids, let alone what Licht, and staff put in on them. Props on your research Mac. I do like what I see on tape of Rankins, but what ever we do, I’d be a fool to say they should do this. What’s happening in this draft now is Q.B.’s are being over valued, and moving up charts. Good for the Bucs, a lot of talent could fall to #9, teams could want to trade up, and Glennon’s value had to rise. Hold on to your seats folks, our draft could become a wild ride.
QB are overvalued unless you don’t have one.
As most of you know, I was Warhop’s biggest critic last year. I also am a big fan of Dotson and trust him to tell us the truth. I felt it was Licht’s judgment that picked our rookie linemen last year just like he did grabbing our excellent Tackle late in the draft the year before. I also gave our All Pro Guard the credit for working with our Rookie Linemen last year. If I was wrong in those beliefs, I certainly apologize to Warhop for misjudging his talent and congratulate him on his promotion! Great article as usual, Scott.
Best part of the Bucs schedule is we will be guaranteed that Tony Romo will be injured by then.
fredster, it was never my intention to attack anyone personally.
I believe our main disagreement about Lovie was his low key approach and his esoteric manner with the media.
These were two characteristics that I often cited as being similar to the “God” of all coaching nowadays, Bill Belicheat.
Whatever the case, I would still much rather have a coach, or a boss, who stays calm and composed under stress.
I never learned anything from anyone yelling at me and acting like some high school version of Gen. George Patton.
Magoobee, very funny.
Certainly agree with you on folks in charge needing to be able to control their emotions drdneast. In Lovie’s case, that may have been an easy task since at times he appeared to be emotionless. It’s also important for people to be themselves and not try to play a role.
I like Nkemdice and Spence the best even with their off the field issues. I like Rankins, Butler, Buckner, Bosa, Ogbah, Occhi and Judon. I guess it it basically just comes down to any player that exudes a mean defensive attitude with an aggressive nature. Nothing against Hargreaves but I think round one should be dedicated to the D Line. My dream scenario would be Spence in round one. Nkemdice in the bottom of round one by trading back into the first or early round 2. Although I fully expect someone to take Nkemdice around 18 to 23. Agauyo in round 3 if he lasts that long. The Bucs need a premier kicker which they have never had. There are still some serviceable CB’s in later rounds as well as a slot receiver or offensive tackle or guard. I really hope that Licht does a lot ow wheeling and dealing and gets us some extra picks. Can you imagine?, Spence Nkemdice and Aguayo. What a haul that would be.
It may have been a short ride, but Automatica Gramatica was fairly premier in his prime.
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