The Tampa Bay Buccaneers came away with of the biggest unexpected steals of the first round when Alabama tight end O.J. Howard, who was believed to be one of the top 10 talents in the 2017 NFL Draft, slid to No. 19 where general manager Jason Licht and head coach Dirk Koetter wasted no time in selecting him.
So what is in store for the Bucs on Day 2 of the draft where Tampa Bay has selections in the second round (No. 50) and third round (No. 84)? Based on the information we have been gathering since Janaury here are 20 players that Tampa Bay could be targeting next:
10 POSSIBLE DAY 2 BUCS TARGETS – OFFENSE 1. Penn State WR Chris Godwin
Godwin has been in for a visit at One Buccaneer Place and the word is that he’s one of the top receivers on Tampa Bay’s board. An intriguing blend of size, speed, maturity and production has the Bucs excited about his potential as a possible No. 2 to Mike Evans in time. Godwin may not be there at No. 50, but if he is, he’s going to be hard to pass up.
2. Ohio State WR-RB Curtis Samuel
Tampa Bay had Samuel in for a visit and the Bucs like his 4.33 speed and playmaking ability. Is he a running back or is he a receiver? He played both for the Buckeyes and he’s a true wild card for Tampa Bay. Samuel could be a real upgrade over Charles Sims and fill that role as a runner-receiver even better. Because of his speed and versatility he could be a highly sought after player in the second round and will definitely be in consideration if he’s there at No. 50.
USF RB Marlon Mack – Photo courtesy of USF
3. USF RB Marlon Mack
Mack is a homerun-hitting running back from nearby USF that has breakaway 4.5 speed and decent hands as a receiver. Mack is an explosive, big-play threat every time he touches the ball, but a deep running back class and a history of fumbling more than his coaches would like kept him out of the first round. The Bucs have shown a ton of interest in Mack and had him to One Buc Place for a pre-draft visit. He’s in play in the second or third round.
4. Oklahoma RB Samaje Perine
This 5-foot-11, 233-pound bruiser might be the best smash-mouth runner in the 2017 NFL Draft not named Leonard Fournette. Perine, who left after his junior season as Oklahoma’s all-time leading rusher, split carries the last couple of years with Joe Mixon, but set an NCAA rushing record with 427 yards against KU in 2015. He’s not the best pass-catcher nor is he the fastest (4.6), but if the Bucs want a banger and a chain-mover on offense Perine can get the job done. His game resembles that of Carolina’s Jonathan Stewart and could be a second- or third-round option.
5. Texas RB D’Onta Foreman
Like Perine, Foreman is a big back at 6-foot, 233 pounds, but he’s much faster, blazing a 4.46 at his pro day workout. Foreman’s stock is on the rise after a series of great interviews with teams who learned about his dedication to football after finding out that his infant son died before rushing for 341 yards and three TDs against Texas Tech. Foreman needs to develop his hands, but it’s his 2,000-yard rushing season that has the Bucs intrigued and looking at him as a the second- or third-round target.
6. Toledo RB Kareem Hunt
The Bucs love Hunt’s tackle-breaking ability and his wiggle to elude would-be tacklers, too. While not the fastest back with a 4.57 time, Hunt didn’t lose a single fumble in college and nearly rushed for 5,000 yards as a three-year starter at Toledo. Hunt shined at the Senior Bowl where he was the Most Outstanding Offensive Player of the Game with 118 yards, and he’s a good receiver, too. The Bucs really love this kid from his interview and would draft him in the third round. But don’t be shocked if he’s a surprise second-round pick for Tampa Bay.
7. Western Kentucky G Forrest Lamp
The Bucs don’t have a pressing need along the offensive line, but if Licht sticks to his draft board, Lamp graded out as a first-rounder and would be too talented to pass up in the second round. Tampa Bay loves Lamp and feels he’s the best offensive lineman in the draft. This former left tackle-turned-guard likely won’t make it to No. 50, but if he does the Bucs will pounce.
Florida State RB Dalvin Cook – Photo by: Getty Images
8. Florida State RB Dalvin Cook
Tampa Bay passed on Cook once in the first round due to character concerns and the slew of running backs the team also likes in this draft. Will the Bucs pass on Cook again if he’s there at No. 50 in the second round? The guess here is “yes.” He’s more talented than some of the other running backs listed here, but the folks he associates with apparently have quite a few NFL teams – not just Tampa Bay – a bit gun-shy about taking him.
9. Oklahoma RB Joe Mixon
It’s no surprise that Mixon didn’t get selected in the first round due to the fact that he punched a woman in the face as a freshman at Oklahoma and the incident was caught on camera, causing a public relations backlash against the talented runner. Mixon has top 10 talent as a runner and receiver in the mold of Le’Veon Bell, but will teams be willing to roll the dice on his questionable character? Will the Bucs pass on Mixon, who was brought in for a pre-draft visit, at No. 50? Like Cook, the guess here is “yes.”
10. USC WR JuJu Smith-Schuster Drafting Smith-Schuster, if available, would be an ideal wide receiver option for the Buccaneers, not only for next year, but in the long run as well. Smith-Schuster is only 20 years old; he’s one of the youngest players in the entire draft. Putting him in an offensive that already has Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Cam Brate and now O.J. Howard would mean the pressure on Smith-Schuster wouldn’t be too much as he matures into an NFL player. As Jackson ages, Smith-Schuster would already have two or three years of NFL experience under his belt by the time he would be the full-time starter at age 22 or 23. Between now and then, he would be one of the best WR3 options in the league, and if any injury would occur, would be able to pick up the sack and keep the offense efficient.
10 POSSIBLE DAY 2 BUCS TARGETS – DEFENSE 1. Washington S Budda Baker
Baker is a bigger, faster version of Ronde Barber or Tyrann Mathieu who can play free safety, strong safety or nickel corner. He’s a great leader and worker with a high football I.Q. and great instincts. He might not make it No. 50, so if the Bucs want him they’ll have to trade up to get him.
2. Kansas State DE Jordan Willis
The Bucs worked Willis out at his pro day and had him in for a visit. His pass rush production and strength on film matches his athleticism and he has a tremendous work ethic. Tampa Bay likes him, but like Baker, the Bucs would have to trade up in the second round to select him.
Texas A&M S Justin Evans – Photo by Brad Marquardt
3. Texas A&M Justin Evans
There has been some low-lying buzz about Tampa Bay being enamored with Evans, who has late-first, early-second round potential. He’s a hard hitter and a great athlete with good ball skills. Word is that he could be the player the Bucs are zeroing in on in Round 2.
4. Colorado CB Chidobe Awuzie
At 6-foot, 202 pounds and running a 4.43 in the 40-yard dash, Awuzie is a great mix of size and speed. He’s a physical cornerback that can play outside as well as in the slot where he was a fierce blitzer. He’s an under-the-radar kind of cornerback from a media standpoint, but he carries a first-round grade on some NFL teams’ draft boards and should go early in the second round.
5. Florida S Marcus Maye
The Bucs had Maye in for a pre-draft visit and love his physicality. He forced five fumbles last year for the Gators, and likely got a strong recommendation from Vernon Hargreaves. Maye could follow in Keanu Neal’s footsteps and go earlier than pundits expect. There could be a run on safeties in the second round with Baker and Evans also being sought after, but Maye is in the mix, too.
Houston DE-LB Tyus Bowser – Photo courtesy of Houston
6. Houston OLB-DE Tyus Bowser
Here’s a name you haven’t heard of being associated with the Bucs. The 6-foot-3, 247-pound Bowser is similarly built to Noah Spence, but is faster (4.65) and twitchier. This electric pass rusher could play Sam linebacker on early downs and defensive end on third downs. In hindsight, he’s our Bucs’ Best Bet at linebacker over Alabama’s Ryan Anderson. Bowser is slated to go in the second round.
7. Washington CB Sidney Jones
Jones was a potential top 10 player before tearing his Achilles tendon during his pro day workout. The coaches at Washington say he’s better than former Huskies cornerback Marcus Peters, and he could for be an absolute steal in the early part of the second round.
8. Villanova DE Tanoh Kpassagnon
Kpassagnon is a chiseled, 6-foot-7, 289-pound beast of a defensive end that may have more agility and pass rush ability than the ever-improving Will Gholston. Assistant defensive line coach Paul Spicer met with him prior to the draft and the Bucs were scouting him hard at the Senior Bowl. He could be a target in the second or third round.
Albany State DT Grover Stewart – Photo courtesy of ASU
9. Albany State DT Grover Stewart
Stewart’s stock is rising in NFL circles, but will this small-school beast climb into Day 2 as a third-round pick? There aren’t many 6-foot-4, 347-pound defensive tackles that moves as well as he does and run a 5.14. With the Bucs getting a little long in the tooth at defensive tackle, Stewart, who is a very good pass rusher, could be a great heir apparent to either Gerald McCoy or Chris Baker in time. The Bucs had Stewart in for a pre-draft visit.
10. Miami CB Corn Elder This week in Trevor Sikkema’s latest Cover 3, he broke down some of the characteristics of a “Buccaneer corner”. Though it isn’t always the case, the team usually prioritizes being smart over having size. In Mike Smith’s defense, anticipation, recognition and change-direction-speed are the key elements for playing cornerback. Corn Elder has all of those traits. He showed patience and instincts in zone coverage against some of the best offense in the ACC this year, and after a questionable 4.55 40-yard dash at the Combine, ran back-to-back 40’s in the 4.3’s at his Pro Day to show that Combine time was an outlier. He would be great nickel fit.
VISIT PEWTERREPORT.COM FOR OUR LIVE DRAFT VIDEOCAST TONIGHT
With the growing popularity of the Pewter Nation Podcasts, PewterReport.com will continue its foray into multimedia coverage of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a live video interactive platform for this weekend’s NFL Draft, continuing Friday night with the second and third rounds at 7:00 p.m. ET.
We invite you to join us for PewterReport.com’s 2017 NFL Draft LIVE Streaming Videocast, which began last night with four hours of analysis and draft insight during the first round.
All you need to do is visit PewterReport.com on draft day and click on the LIVE Streaming Videocast story, then click on the video player within the story and begin watching and interacting with the PR staff live on PewterReport.com.
Pewter Reporters Scott Reynolds, Mark Cook and Trevor Sikkema will be reporting on the Bucs draft via a streaming videocast live from One Buc, while also taking your questions from @PewterReport on Twitter and the PewterReport.com Red Board and sharing our thoughts on the draft as it happens. It’s an opportunity for us to be able to watch the 2017 NFL Draft unfold with Bucs fans from around the world in a way that brings you all inside the Bucs’ facility as the drama of draft night goes down.
PEWTERREPORT.COM STREAMING VIDEOCAST SCHEDULE
• Friday, April 28 – 7:00 pm ET – End of Round 3
• Saturday, April 29 – Noon ET – End of Round 7
PEWTERREPORT.COM’s BUCS’ BEST BETS
In case you missed some of our PewterReport.com positional draft previews that included our Bucs’ Best Bets, or just wanted a Bucs’ Best Bet cheat sheet to have handy on draft day, here is a list of all 22 players we have selected. The premise behind the Bucs’ Best Bet is that if Tampa Bay were going to select a player at that position in the draft early (rounds 1-3) or late (4-7), this is our educated guess as to who that player might be.
Over the years PewterReport.com has correctly forecasted Tampa Bay’s selections that wound up being Bucs’ Best Bets. PewterReport.com had cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III as a Bucs’ Best Bet at cornerback and fullback Danny Vitale as a Bucs’ Best Bet at running back/fullback. In 2010, PewterReport.com not only correctly had the Bucs taking second-rounder Arrelious Benn, who was the early Bucs’ Best Bet at wide receiver, but also fourth-rounder Mike Williams, too, as he was the late Bucs’ Best Bet.
Here are PewterReport.com’s 2017 Bucs’ Best Bets:
QB Early (Rounds 1-3) – Pittsburgh QB Nathan Peterman
QB Late (Rounds 4-7) – Pennsylvania QB Alek Torgersen
RB Early (Rounds 1-3) – USF RB Marlon Mack
RB Late (Rounds 4-7) – Toledo RB Kareem Hunt
WR Early (Rounds 1-3) – Penn State WR Chris Godwin
WR Late (Rounds 4-7) – West Virginia WR Shelton Gibson
TE Early (Rounds 1-3) – Miami TE David Njoku (already selected by Cleveland in Round 1)
TE Late (Rounds 4-7) – Toledo TE Michael Roberts
OT Early (Rounds 1-3) – Utah OT Garrett Bolles (already selected by Denver in Round 1)
OT Late (Rounds 4-7) – Bucknell OT Julie’n Davenport
G-C Early (Rounds 1-3) – Western Kentucky G Forrest Lamp
G-C Late (Rounds 4-7) – Utah G Isaac Asiata
DE Early (Rounds 1-3) – Kansas State DE Jordan Willis
DE Late (Rounds 4-7) – Tennessee-Chattanooga DE Keionta Davis
DT Early (Rounds 1-3) – Albany State DT Grover Stewart
DT Late (Rounds 4-7) – Missouri DT Josh Augusta
LB Early (Rounds 1-3) – Alabama LB Ryan Anderson
LB Late (Rounds 4-7) – Eastern Washington LB Samson Ebukam
CB Early (Rounds 1-3) – USC CB Adoreé Jackson (already selected by Tennessee in Round 1)
CB Late (Rounds 4-7) – Miami CB Corn Elder
S Early (Rounds 1-3) – Washington S Budda Baker
S Late (Rounds 4-7) – Louisiana Tech S Xavier Woods
Scott Reynolds is in his 25th 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 spent six years 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
PewterReport.com prides itself on being the most complete, comprehensive news source covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and delivering inside scoop on the team found nowhere else.