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April 19, 2013 @ 12:37 pm
Current rating: 4.00 Stars/3 Votes

SR's Fab 5 - 4-19

Written by Scott
Scott Reynolds


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Is it time for Luke Stocker to step up and be the Bucs' starting TE? Why won't Tampa Bay use an early draft pick on a TE? What stands out about the Bucs' 2013 schedule? Should Tampa Bay consider drafting LB Jarvis Jones? Get the answers, plus some draft insight in this week's edition of SR's Fab 5.
SR's Fab 5 is a collection of inside scoop, analysis and insight from yours truly, Pewter Report publisher and Bucs beat writer Scott Reynolds. Here are a few things that caught my attention this week at One Buc Place:

FAB 1.
It’s time for Luke Stocker to step up for the Buccaneers at the tight end position. Aging veteran Dallas Clark is gone, and you can forget about Tampa Bay drafting a tight end like Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. I’ll get to that later in Fab 2.

First, let’s take a look at the tight ends the Bucs currently have on their 2013 offseason roster.

The reality is that Tampa Bay doesn’t really need another tight end. They already have plenty with six on the current roster. That’s enough to go to training camp with.

Stocker is the most experienced Buccaneer of the group that also includes Tom Crabtree, a veteran free agent import from Green Bay, Nate Byham, Danny Noble, newcomer Zach Miller and Drake Dunsmore, a seventh-round pick a year ago who spent last season on the practice squad.

Dunsmore is the smallest tight end on the roster, listed at 6-foot-3, 235 pounds. He was an excellent receiver at Northwestern, and has the chance to be a combination H-back/fullback in Tampa Bay if he can add some more size during the offseason. That would help his chances of making the 2013 active roster.

Miller spent three seasons in Jacksonville where he caught 45 passes for 470 yards and four touchdowns in 33 games with five starts. He has the most career receptions and yards of any tight end on Tampa Bay’s roster. At 6-foot-5, 236 pounds, Miller needs to work on his blocking and is more of a receiving-type tight end, as is Noble.

Noble spent half of his rookie season on injured reserve after seeing action in four games early in the year. Noble is also a pass-catching tight end that is learning how to block. At 6-foot-5, 248 pounds, the former Toledo star has 12 pounds of bulk on Miller and has the chance to be an all-around tight end.

Crabtree, who played in 46 games in Green Bay with 16 starts over three seasons, has caught 18 passes for 302 yards and four touchdowns. His best season was last year with eight catches for 203 yards with three touchdowns as he started six games and backed up Jermichael Finley. Crabtree showed off his speed with a 72-yard touchdown catch, which is his career long. At 6-foot-4, 245 pounds, Crabtree is a better receiver than he is a blocker at this stage of his career.

The Bucs believe they have two all-around tight ends that can catch and block in Byham and Stocker. At 6-foot-4, 264 pounds, Byham has the size to be a pretty good in-line blocker. Byham was acquired by Tampa Bay for the final 11 games in 2012, and caught three passes for 18 yards, including his first and only career touchdown at Carolina. Byham has eight career catches for 45 yards and one score.

At 6-foot-6, 253 pounds, Stocker is the tallest tight end on the Bucs roster and might have the most potential. The Bucs invested a fourth-round pick on him in 2011 and also traded away a fourth-rounder in 2012 to move up to get the Tennessee product.

Stocker had 16 receptions for 165 yards and one touchdown last year after catching 12 passes for 92 yards as a rookie. As the number two tight end behind Clark, Stocker’s highlights were few and far between, but still worth reviewing.

Stocker’s first catch of the 2012 season came in Week 3 against Dallas when he caught a 1-yard touchdown pass off play-action at the goal line. That scoring reception was the first and only of Stocker’s two-year career.

In Tampa Bay’s 35-28 home loss to New Orleans, Stocker caught a career-long 33-yard pass. The big tight end showed good movement and decent yards-after-catch potential.

In the final three games of the 2012 campaign, Stocker was as active in Tampa Bay’s offense as he’s ever been. He was targeted 10 times by Freeman over those last three games and caught eight passes for 89 yards.

Stocker’s best game of his career came in the Bucs’ 22-17 win over Atlanta in the season finale. He had three catches for 50 yards, including a 26-yard grab off play action.

After seeing his rookie season limited by injury, Stocker was able to play in all 16 games in 2012, starting 11 as the Bucs would often open the game with two-tight end sets. He showed enough potential, especially in December, to possibly ascend into the starting spot in his third season in the NFL. That’s what the Bucs are hoping for anyways.

Stocker’s biggest threats in terms of battling for the number one job are likely Crabtree and Byham. Those three players stand the best chance right now of earning roster spots in September, but if the light comes on for Noble or Dunsmore or if Miller makes a favorable first impression things could get real interesting at the tight end position in training camp in August.

Is Stocker one of the upper echelon tight ends in the NFL? No, he hasn’t shown the consistency or the capability to elevate himself into that group. But the Bucs don’t need him to be. If he can produce Clark-like numbers next year with 47 catches for 435 yards and four touchdowns, as Clark did in 2012, Stocker will be a fine starter in Tampa Bay’s offense.

If you want a refresher course to see what he's capable of, check out Stocker's highlight video from Tennessee by clicking here.

The Bucs feel Stocker can become a starting-caliber player in 2013, but the team is unsure about the rest of the tight ends. Does Tampa Bay have a number two tight end, or just a bunch of number three tight ends? Training camp will help answer that question.

FAB 2. For those suggesting the Bucs need or want to select a tight end early in the draft, it’s doubtful to happen. Yes, the team has plenty of unproven tight ends that have invite more questions than present answers.

Tampa Bay will likely spend its premium picks on defensive players – think a cornerback and a defensive lineman – or possibly a unique offensive player like mammoth Alabama right tackle D.J. Fluker or West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin. Don’t expect the Bucs to draft a tight end until the third round at the absolute earliest.

Tampa Bay likes San Diego State’s 6-foot-6, 254-pound Gavin Escobar, who is expected to be a late second-round or early third-round pick. Despite having good size, Escobar, a junior entry, is a much better receiver than he is an in-line blocker, and typically lined up in the slot for the Aztecs. Escobar caught 42 passes for 543 yards and six touchdowns to lead the team in 2012, but those numbers were down from his sophomore year when he caught 51 passes for 780 yards and seven scores.

Cincinnati’s Travis Kelce has good size at 6-foot-5, 255 pounds and was a mega-producer for the Bearcats. He burst on to the scene as a senior in 2012, catching 45 passes for 722 yards and eight touchdowns to lead the Bearcats. Kelce, who had 35-inch vertical jump and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.62 seconds, is likely a high third-round pick due to his ability to block and catch.

Those two players could be third-round options, but those clamoring for Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert, a likely first-round pick, or Stanford’s Zach Ertz, a sure bet to be drafted in the second round, need to understand a few things, including how insignificant a role the tight end plays in Tampa Bay’s offense.

Remember that the Bucs didn’t acquire starter Dallas Clark until May 21, which was over two months past the start of free agency and nearly a month after the draft. If the tight end position was so important, Tampa Bay wouldn’t have waited so long to get a starter at the position – and it wouldn’t have been an aging veteran like Clark, who is past his prime.

The Bucs also passed on getting some of the premium veteran tight ends available in free agency this year, including Jared Cook, James Casey, Delanie Walker, Martellus Bennett and Fred Davis. If the tight end position was truly important in Tampa Bay’s offense one of these veterans would have been acquired, especially with all of the Bucs’ salary cap room available.

Offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan directs most of the passes in his offense to the team’s top two wide receivers, Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams. Jackson led the team with a career-high 72 catches for 1,384 yards and eight touchdowns while being targeted 147 times. Williams was second on the team with 63 receptions for a career-high 996 yards and a team-leading nine touchdowns while being targeted 127 times.

Clark, last year’s starting tight end caught 47 passes for 435 yards and four touchdowns while being targeted 76 times. But rookie running back Doug Martin was the Bucs’ third-leading receiver with 49 catches for 472 yards and a touchdown while being targeted 71 times.

After a breakout rookie campaign, you can bet that Martin will probably be targeted closer to 100 times with passes from Josh Freeman in 2013. That will likely mean less opportunities for a tight end in Sullivan’s offense, which mirrors that of the New York Giants.

The Giants have rolled through tight ends in recent years, treating them like commodities. Jeremy Shockey gave way to Kevin Boss, who gave way to Jake Ballard, who was replaced by Bennett, who was replaced by Brandon Myers. Don’t be surprised if the Bucs take a similar approach.

The whole “Freeman needs a good tight end to be a safety blanket” is a farce. Kellen Winslow produced as many penalties and interceptions as he did touchdowns, and was replaced by Clark, who will likely be replaced by third-year pro Luke Stocker.

The hierarchy of Sullivan’s passing game is Jackson first, Williams second, Martin third and either the slot receiver or the tight end fourth in terms of opportunities or importance. So does it really make sense for the Bucs to burn a first- or second-round pick on a tight end that will be nothing more than the fourth-best option for Freeman in Sullivan’s passing hierarchy?

The answer is a resounding no. That means no Eifert and no Ertz, and possibly no tight end until the third day of the draft.

The reality is that the Bucs will likely target a tight end late in the draft because of the insignificance of the position in Sullivan’s offense. Nevada’s 6-foot-7, 253-pound Zach Sudfeld, UCLA’s 6-foot-8, 259-pound Joseph Fauria and Rutgers’ 6-foot-6, 255-pound D.C. Jefferson are options for Tampa Bay in the sixth round. The bet here is Jefferson, who was recruited to play for the Scarlet Knights by Bucs head coach Greg Schiano.

FAB 3. Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones was once thought of as the top defensive player in the 2013 NFL Draft. In mock drafts done at the end of 2012, Jones named was often linked to Jacksonville at No. 2, Oakland at No. 3 and Philadelphia at No. 4.

Jones was coming off a dominant junior season for the Bulldogs in which he was a one-man-gang when it came to tackles, a sack machine when it came to rushing the passer and a turnover fiend that forced fumbles. But then reports surfaced that Jones, who had transferred to Georgia from USC where he suffered a back injury, had spinal stenosis, which was a narrowing of the spinal cord.

Those initial reports caused his draft stock to plummet, but Jones received good news with more intensive medical testing showing that he did not in fact have spinal stenosis.

Jones visited Dr. Craig Brigham, a Charlotte orthopedist, in March and he issued a letter that said that Jones only had suffered a mild spinal-cord concussion at USC, which had been resolved for some time.

Either way, spinal stenosis wouldn’t have necessarily impacted Jones’ performance on the field for years – just the longevity of his career. San Diego offensive tackle Marcus McNeil was a second-round pick in 2006 and played six years in the NFL with the condition. McNeill was a two-time Pro Bowler before he retired last year at age 29.

So armed with a supposed clean bill of health, Jones had an opportunity at the his pro day to boost his draft stock and climb back into the top 10 and become the first linebacker taken in the first round. Instead, Jones underwhelmed, running a 4.92 in the 40-yard dash. Scouts expected Jones, who is of normal size at 6-foot-3, and weighs 241 pounds, to run a 4.7.

The results of his agility drills were pedestrian and it’s evident that Jones doesn’t have elite athleticism. Just like former Florida All-American linebacker Brandon Spikes, who had first-round production, but third-round athleticism that caused him to be selected by New England with the 62nd overall pick, Jones is a football player and not a great athlete.

Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie told the Atlanta Journal Constitution, “You can never dispel what you see on tape.”

In two years at Georgia, Jones recorded 155 tackles, 44 tackles for loss, 28 sacks, nine forced fumbles, five pass breakups and one interception. In a breakthrough sophomore campaign in 2011, Jones recorded 70 tackles, 13.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. Last year, Jones notched 85 tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks, which set a new Georgia record, in addition to seven forced fumbles, which led the nation.

Jones shined in Georgia’s biggest games. In two victories against Florida, he notched seven sacks and three forced fumbles. In a 32-28 loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship, Jones recorded six tackles, three tackles for loss, two sacks and a forced fumble. In a 45-31 bowl win over Nebraska last year, Jones notched eight tackles, two tackles for loss and two sacks. Check out his highlight reel by clicking here (obscene language warning).

Because of his slow 40-yard dash time, Jones will likely be on the board when Tampa Bay picks with the 13th overall selection. The Bucs may not see a ton of value in using a first-round pick on a strongside linebacker, especially when that player is typically off the field when the team deploys its nickel or dime defense, which is about 40-50 percent of the snaps. But the Bucs need to at least consider a player with Jones’ production and playmaking ability.

There are times when slow 40-yard dash times cause players’ draft stock to drop despite tremendous college production. The best example of this was Baltimore’s Pro Bowl pass rusher Terrell Suggs, who set an NCAA record with 24 sacks during his senior year at Arizona State.

Suggs was considered to be a top-five talent, but couldn’t run faster than a 4.8 in the 40-yard dash when scouts were expecting him to run in the 4.6-range. Suggs fell to the 10th overall pick where the Ravens scooped him up and he’s been one of the best pass rushers in the NFL since.

“He was productive,” said ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. “He just didn't run well.  Some don't. Look at Terrell Suggs. I think [Jones] goes in that top 15 to 17. I think he could go to New Orleans after 15, Pittsburgh at 17, maybe even as early as the Jets at nine. But if I had a say right now, it would be New Orleans at 15 or Pittsburgh at 17.”

The only problem comparing Jones, who is a two-time All-American at Georgia, and Suggs is that Jones is 10 pounds lighter, ran slower than Suggs and the fact that Suggs had the size to play both defensive end in a 4-3 scheme or outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme in the NFL.

Jones has met with two top-five teams – Philadelphia and Detroit – but chances are he will be available when Tampa Bay is on the clock. Could be the starting strongside linebacker? Could he challenge Mason Foster to be the starting middle linebacker? It’s worth pondering, and it’s something the Bucs have likely pondered, too, when doing their due diligence on the ultra-productive Jones.

FAB 4. The Buccaneers’ 2013 regular season schedule is out and I have plenty of thoughts and observations to share, but a prediction is not one of them.

There is no sense in forecasting wins and losses prior to the NFL Draft as the Bucs – or any NFL team – is an unfinished product right now. Plus, there are always surprises. Supposed playoff teams disappoint and underachieve, while a few teams shock the NFL with better-than-expected records and playoff berths.

I think Tampa Bay will have the talent to contend for a playoff spot in 2013, but will that be with nine wins, 10 victories or 11 triumphs? It’s too early to tell right now.

Here’s what is certain. The Bucs open with the New York Jets and that is a winnable game regardless of whether Pro Bowl cornerback is in red and pewter or green and white. As long as Mark Sanchez is the starting quarterback in New York, Tampa Bay has a very good shot at outscoring the Jets and starting the season 1-0.

Here is some more analysis of the Bucs’ schedule:

• Tampa Bay plays New England and Miami in both the preseason and the regular season. The Bucs travel to face the Patriots on August 16 and then again in Week 3 of the regular season on September 22. Expect both teams to be ultra-vanilla in their preseason clash. The same could be true of the Bucs vs. Dolphins preseason game on August 24, although both teams will have already put a lot on film before they meet on Monday Night Football in Tampa on November 11.

• If you don’t think the Bucs vs. Jets season opener had anything to do with the month-long storyline and headlines of a possible Tampa Bay-New York trade involving Revis, you’re not paying attention. The NFL loves drama, especially when it involves marquee players like Revis.

• The Bucs have two primetime games at home thanks to their prolific offense. There’s nothing better than an offensive shootout in a primetime game, and Tampa Bay’s offense features a plethora of players that have been to the Pro Bowl – wide receiver Vincent Jackson and running back Doug Martin recently, along with guards Carl Nicks and Davin Joseph and left tackle Donald Penn. The Bucs offense scored at least 21 points in six out of eight home games, including a pair of contests with over 30 points.

• The Bucs have 12 1:00 p.m. ET starts this season along with two games at 4:05 p.m. ET, including the home opener at New Orleans in Week 2 and an away game at Seattle in Week 9.

• There are no cold weather games on Tampa Bay’s 2013 schedule. The only chance for cold weather appears to be the Seattle game on November 3. The Bucs lucked out with their games in New York and in New England. Both of contests happen to be in September.

• The Bucs’ revamped secondary gets an early test. After what could be an easier time against struggling Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez in Week 1, the Bucs face future Hall of Famers in New Orleans’ Drew Brees and New England’s Tom Brady in Weeks 2-3. It might be increasingly difficult in Week 4 as the Bucs will face Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer. Last year while playing for Oakland, Palmer completed 39-of-61 passes for 414 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions – all were season-highs – in a 42-32 loss to Tampa Bay.

• The Bucs’ bye week is in Week 5, which is the weekend of October 6, and nestled in between two home games. The last game prior to the bye is a home contest against Arizona on September 29, and the first game coming off the bye is a home contest against Philadelphia on October 13. After Tampa Bay returns from its game at New England on September 22, the team won’t travel again until its game in Atlanta on October 20.

• The Bucs face five opponents from last year in division rivals Atlanta, Carolina and New Orleans, in addition to games against Philadelphia and St. Louis. The Bucs lost at home to the Eagles and Rams, were swept by the Saints, split the series against the Falcons and swept the Panthers. Tampa Bay went 3-5 against those five teams last year.

• Tampa Bay closes out the season with just two home games out of the last six contests. The Bucs have two away games against Detroit and Carolina on November 24 and December 1 before coming home to play Buffalo and San Francisco on December 8 and 15. Then the team ends the season at St. Louis on December 22 and at New Orleans on December 29. In order for Tampa Bay to have a chance of making the playoffs, the Bucs will have to be road warriors down the stretch.

• Finally, I’m not sure if Tampa Bay’s 2013 schedule is hard or easy. It seems rather balanced, actually. There are no more than two games away at a time and two games at home at a time. I think the best opportunity for success comes earlier in the season and the chance for a 3-1 or 2-2 start before the bye week exists. At first glance, the stretch from the Carolina home game on Thursday Night Football on October 24 through the December 8 home contest against Buffalo seems favorable in that the Bucs could produce a winning record out of those seven games – maybe going 5-2 or 4-3. The real problem could be the final three contests, starting at home against San Francisco and followed by road games at St. Louis and New Orleans.

FAB 5. Here are a few things to hold you over until the next edition of SR’s Fab 5:

• Here’s something to consider when looking at the Bucs’ 2013 schedule. It’s interesting to note that Tampa Bay scored 195 points at home, averaging 24 points per game at Raymond James Stadium. Yet on the road, the Bucs scored 194 points, also averaging 24 points per contest. The Bucs wound up being 3-5 at home last year and 4-4 on the road. Despite a much-improved offense and point production, the Bucs couldn’t generate a winning record at home or away. Time to really shore up that defense in the draft, Mark Dominik.

• One final note about Tampa Bay’s 2013 schedule and the importance of finding some premier cornerbacks to team with Eric Wright. The Bucs face a slew of talented wide receivers this year, including Atlanta’s Julio Jones, New Orleans’ Marques Colston, Carolina’s Steve Smith, Philadelphia’s DeSean Jackson, Seattle’s Percy Harvin, San Francisco’s Michael Crabtree and Buffalo’s Steve Johnson. Oh, there’s also these two other receivers named Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona) and Calvin Johnson (Detroit) to contend with, too.

• If the Bucs don’t draft a quarterback next week, and I don’t expect them too given the sub-par group of signal callers, keep an eye on Southeastern Louisiana QB Nathan Stanley. His stats won’t wow you – he completed 177-of-327 passes for 1,952 yards with nine touchdowns and nine interceptions last year – but Stanley, who transferred from Ole Miss, is 6-foot-5, 218 pounds and has a big arm and the Bucs like him as an undrafted free agent.

• The Bucs will likely draft a running back to back up Doug Martin and attempt to deal LeGarrette Blount on or before draft day. The Bucs have had Wisconsin’s Montee Ball, Michigan State’s Le’Veon Bell and Texas A&M’s Christine Michael all in for official visits to One Buccaneer Place.

It’s interesting to note that Ball is considered to be a second-round pick, Bell is a second- or third-rounder, and Michael is either a third- or fourth-round prospect. Could the Bucs possibly consider using that high of a pick on a running back? Keep in mind that head coach Greg Schiano loves to run the ball, and if Martin goes down with an injury the running game goes south, as does Josh Freeman’s play-action passing game.

That’s why getting another starting-caliber running back is important for Tampa Bay. Running back is also a position that typically falls in the draft. Second-rounders can fall into the third or fourth rounds, and fifth- and sixth-rounders can sometimes go undrafted.

A trio of late-round options for Tampa Bay includes Rutgers’ Jawan Jamison, Pittsburgh’s Ray Graham, who hails from Elizabeth N.J. up in Rutgers territory, and one of my personal favorites, Vanderbilt’s Zac Stacy. All three running backs are around 5-foot-9 and weigh 200 pounds or slightly more. Bowling ball-types – just like Schiano and director of college scouting Eric Stokes prefer.

Last modified on Saturday, 20 April 2013 08:45

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  • avatar

    No one said Luuuuke Stoker is a bust, but IMO he´s, like someone allready said, a okay/good at everything, but not more (=good depth). And even if TE isn´t a priority in our offense now, it could become (good coaches adjust shemes to players and get players to fit the sheme). That said, if we get in a double TE formation and set up a play with both WR going deep, it would be good to have a TE capable to get himself open in short/medium area (these 50/50 throws downfield can easily be broken up or even intercepted). Freeman could quick read - WR seperation/window or not? and if not dump it off (like Colts used clark) Thats why a guy at TE who runs himself open and gives good enough hustle blocking, like Stanford Ertz, would be a pick worth even at 13th (very good TE for years to come... Freeman throws erratic at times, and Ertz makes spectacular catches ;) ) and luuuuuuuke would be perfect compliment(or a TE whos real good in pass/run blocking) opinions?
  • avatar

    Horse, I agree with you. To me all the new talk about getting Revis real time thursday night for a trade with the Vikings for Austin all sounds good in theory; but there are way too many unknowns and I think this deal is too big for both the Bucs and Jets to take that chance. If the trade is going to get done, it will have to be before Thursday so the Bucs doctors can OK the trade for Revis. Otherwise they will have to take our 2014 picks.
  • avatar

    Scubog - Horse - others: What are you seeing in Stocker that gives hope he will develop into a solid starting caliber TE and become a factor in the Bucs passing game? I agree it's silly to call him a bust and he looks capable of an all-purpose pedestrian type of career. I see value in him and sometimes we just have to look past what round we picked a guy up in. IMO, those who are expecting him to blossom into a consistent pass catching TE are likely to be disappointed. Luke doesn't move like a receiving TE. Very stiff and often clumsy looking. Not sure you can grow or develop out of that at his age. My guess is that he gets 25-35 this yr. I'm hoping Kelsey falls into our laps. Not likely though, considering Defensive needs.
  • avatar

    Redwave; I went to most games and zoome in on some players. Stocker played fair to fair plus.
  • avatar

    Thanks Scott - latest Revis thoughts....Dom trades our #1 and #2 to Minnesota (who want to trade up to get Austin) for their two #1's (23rd and 25th) and their #3 (that all about equates in the trade value chart)....then he trades one of our new #1's (23rd) and one of our #3's (plus some late pick) to the Jets for Revis (Jets still get a #1 but...we still get a #1 pick this year too (probably 25th) and can pick someone like Trufant or Hunt or Sly Williams or Carradine)...plus we still have picks in rounds 3, and 4 (x2) and late. Thoughts? I know this still leaves us with salary cap issues in the years to come, but by being able to still draft high picks this year it can soften the blow of having to let some vets leave next year and/or the year after.....Come on Dom get the best of both worlds....
  • avatar

    EastEndBoy, I love your thinking and I’m sure it’s the kind of thinking that’s got them pulling their hair out at One Buc. But what you’ve described is a dynamic event – meaning it can only happen real-time. It cannot be planned and agreed to in advance because it depends on Tavon Austin being there at 13. The 49ers have 13 or 14 picks. Should they want Austin for Kaepernick, they have the picks to move up and get Austin before 13. The Rams who covet Austin also have two 1st round picks. There are too many unknown scenarios that could unfold that could leave the deal for Revis hanging in the balance. The Bucs nor the Jets will take that chance. This deal can be a game time announcement, but can’t be a game time decision. Too much is at stake. When we go to the draft, we will have dealt the 13th pick or not!
  • avatar

    macabee, I so agree. Revis must get checked out by the Bucs Doctors, GM and Coach. A contract has to be agreed too in some way that neither side can get out of it before they actually sign the contract; I don't believe anything can be signed before the actual trade takes place? Also the NFL and the Jets have to first approve that any of the above can happen. I am keeping my fingers crossed that we don't give up our 1st round pick this year or next for Revis. I so hope the inside source that was told to me that the Bucs going thru the motions to select at the 13th spot because the Revis is coming to Tampa, comes out to be incorrect. Greed has caused many problems for many.
  • avatar

    EastEndBoy, I don't see that happening with us. Lets say that we don't get Revis? If there is one of the top 3 DT's available we will pick him; then pick a CB in our next selection. Trading both 4th round draft picks to select a second 3rd round draft pick seems more logical; that way we will be able to pick up another DL and CB. At fifth we go for a RB. Just my guess and like you it is just a guess.
  • avatar

    When Stocker was drafted I actually thought he had a chance to be one of our better draft choices that year. Unfortunately an early injury put him way behind in his rookie development. As Scott pointed out, the TE position is underutilized in this offensive system. Yet, our GM wanabe fans already believe Stocker to be a failure after only his second year; when in truth, at worst his grade should be an Incomplete. I seriously doubt anyone is focusing their attention on the in-line blocking TE or the TE running a short pattern when # 22 is running the ball or when # 83 is streaking down the sideline to evaluate # 88. Do we really know what Stocker is capable of doing when the design of the offense and Dallas Clark's presence limited his opportunities? While he may not be the caliber of Gonzalez or Winslow (senior), I contend that Stocker is a capable all purpose TE who hopefully will be able to increase his receptions to the 40+ range and get noticed. Plus we need a good Luuuuuuuuuuuuuke cheer now that Ruuuuuuuuuuuud is gone.
  • avatar

    Scubog, right with you on this one.
  • avatar

    Could it be that the NFL knows something we don't about opening up with the Jets? That would mean getting Revis on draft day? Let's hope..
  • avatar

    In my oppinion Nate byham is the best TE on the roster - devastating blocker with clutch hands. He just needs a chance. I'm really hoping for star, Richardson, or fluker with our number one at this point. I'd have to see how j jones would be utilized in our scheme before I get excited about him. I think we can get good CBs in rounds 2-5 personally.
  • avatar

    I think Stocker is a keeper as an all-purpose TE. I don't think he's ever going to be great either as a receiving threat or as an in-line blocker, but instead pretty good at both. I'll take that. Good point, Scott, about RB. I haven't said anything about it to this point because there's been so much chatter on the DT vs CB debate, but I think our draft priorities should be DT(s), CB(s), and RB. It seems pretty clear that coach Schiano doesn't like Blount, so I don't expect him to be among our final 53. So who steps up if (fates forbid) Martin goes down. Brian Leonard? Michael Smith? We need to find another RB somewhere who can (hopefully) both back-up and compliment Martin. We're way too exposed otherwise.
  • avatar

    If anyone has read Scott's 24 reasons to acquire Reavis, I can't believe they would stop caring about the Bucs if they acquire Reavis! Thanks Scott for letting us know the talents of our current TEs. However, if Escobar should diip to the 4th round we should get him and trade off Stocker for a draft pick. Escobar is a lot better than Stocker! I was glad to hear Tampa is aware how good Escobar is. If Reavis is acquired with a 1st and 2nd pick this year, the third pick is going to have to be a CB. As for bolstering our front DT positon, there is a real capable sleeper at that position that I have mentioned in a past post. I feel Goode has all the talent we need to play SLB; so we don't have to waste a pick on that. Get QB Landry from Okl with the 4th round pick and some good backups and a run back specialists with the rest and we should be great this year.
  • avatar

    owlykat: What do you think of the idea of Goode at Mike and Foster at Sam? If they've been able to teach Goode pass defense skills, he seems to me like the better fit at Mike. He's a big time run stuffer, which is Mike work, and he definitely has the speed to get deep down the center when we want to play cover-two. And I've read many times that Sam is Foster's more natural position.
  • avatar

    SLb might not be on the field much on third downs, but by having a stud SLB, your chances of having third and long increase.
  • avatar

    also making it possible to go to 3-3 instead of nickel and the offense won´t know who´s coming on a blitz (if heat is coming). It´s all about keeping them suspect like Steelers defense, you never know who´s dropping coverage/who beats youre a..
  • avatar

    Past drafts were horrible (like the Stoker trade up etc. you already mentioned). Last years under the Shiano/Stokes regime was great (despite missing out Mo Claiborn; but Cowboys leapfrogged/beat/suprised us; now we lack that one No.1 Corner). But hey, just keep up the good job of last year, keep building through draft and finish this by next season (getting that CB) we have the cap and the picks to do that!! Plenty of good picks available this year at 13th: DT Star, TE Ertz, Slot-WR/Retruner Austin.... Dont screw it by a Revis trade... but i think we all are realizing: We are Bucs fans and the Bucs are about being a bad-above average team..... if they get Revis and screw this team again..its not worth wasting time/emotions anymore
  • avatar

    The highlights for Zach Miller are for the ASU grad who was drafted by Raiders and now plays for Seattle we have the Zach Miller who is from Nebraska who played for the Jags for the past 3 yrs
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    Good Article Scott; very fair analysis. I think the output is about what was expected; not necessarily of what we wanted from Stocker. If he can stay healthy again this year, he will be our starter. I did see improvement from him last year. I was hoping that he had added a few pounds to be a better blocker. Very good point about the RB situation. There's is a bunch of rumors all over the place and so many fans are believing them. I too believe that Revis is coming here, but I would be surprised if it was our 13th spot pick. If there is no trade by Wednesday, I don't see it getting done unless we have permission to check Revis out by Buccaneer Doctors and the Coach on Wednesday; and Revis agrees to a contract by Thursday afternoon. I just hope we get a 3rd or 4th pick from the Jets to go along with Revis.
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    Horse- it will absolutely be our 13th pick to acquire Revis, the Jets won't take anything less.
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    Stocker cost 2 4th round picks, Arrelious Benn cost a 2nd a 5th. Hopefully Doug Martin and Lavonte David are indicators of progress in Dominik's ability to judge when to go after a guy he covets.
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    Everytime we talk about Stocker it always reminds me that Dominik and Hickey are a poor judge of talent. To trade up for Stocker was a waste of two picks by our GM and scout dept.
  • avatar

    the zach miller video highlights is great but this is another player from arizona state drafted by the Oakland raiders and now is the starting Te at seattle.
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