After an eventful week of free agency that saw Tampa Bay extend the contract of wide receiver Mike Evans, re-sign a slew of players, including tight end Cameron Brate and cornerback Brent Grimes, and land center Ryan Jensen, defensive linemen Beau Allen, Mitch Unrein and Vinny Curry, kicker Chandler Catanzaro, Buccaneers general manager Jason is hitting the road this week to visit the pro day workouts of some of the top NFL Draft prospects. Where Licht goes this week could offer a hint as to which direction the Bucs will head in when they are on the clock with the seventh overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Licht attended the pro days of wide receiver Mike Evans and quarterback Jameis Winston, the team’s No. 1 picks in 2014 and ’15 when Tampa Bay was selecting inside the top 10 Licht was at the North Carolina State pro day on Monday, but not just to see Wolfpack defensive end Bradley Chubb work out.

Chubb is believed to be a top 5 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, but could slip to Tampa Bay at No. 7, so it’s important for Licht and the Bucs to do their due diligence. But the Wolfpack has three other defensive linemen that could be intriguing to the Bucs, too. Defensive tackle B.J. Hill had a great week at the Senior Bowl and the 6-foot-3, 311-pounder could be drafted in the second round. Hill has more pass rush ability than fellow N.C. State defensive tackle Justin Jones, who figures to be a Day 3 selection.

And then there is Kentavius Street, who performed well at the East-West Shrine Game. Street is a muscle-bound, 6-foot-2, 280-pound defensive end that played opposite Chubb. Street had 1.5 sacks in the Wolfpack’s bowl win without Chubb, and also had 1.5 sacks in the East-West Shrine Game to go along with four tackles and three quarterback hits.

North Carolina State’s Nyheim Hines is one of the fastest running backs in this year’s draft. The 5-foot-8, 198-pound Hines ran a 4.38 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Bucs GM Jason Licht and his scouting staff - Photo by: Scott Reynolds/PR

Bucs GM Jason Licht and his scouting staff – Photo by: Scott Reynolds/PR

But Licht is intent on doing as much research as he can and getting to know the Bucs’ potential first-round picks as much as possible. That’s why he was checking out Chubb at North Carolina State on Monday and is expected to travel to Florida State to watch safety Derwin James, a likely top 10 pick, perform at his pro day on Tuesday, March 20.

Tampa Bay could use a safety to compete with Chris Conte at strong safety to play opposite free safety Justin Evans. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound James is big, fast and physical and comes with great leadership qualities.

Also in attendance for the Seminoles will be defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi, an accomplished run stuffer, cornerback Tarvarus McFadden and defensive end Josh Sweat, who ran a 4.53 at the NFL Scouting Combine at 6-foot-5, 251 pounds.

Or Licht may head to Penn State instead of Florida State where running back Saquon Barkley, who figures to be a top 5 pick, will be in attendance. The Bucs drafted wide receiver Chris Godwin from Happy Valley, Pennsylvania last year, and they could opt for another Nittany Lion in 2018. Aside from Barkley, Penn State has safeties Marcus Allen and Troy Apke and Day 3 cornerbacks Grant Haley and Christian Campbell.

Where Licht goes on Wednesday, March 21 could be telling as Georgia and Boston College both have pro days. The appeal at Boston College is defensive end Harold Landry, who measured 6-foot-3, 252 pounds and ran a 4.64 in Indy, had 26 sacks in his final three seasons with the Eagles, including 16.5 as a junior before an ankle injury limited him to just five sacks in nine games last year.

The Bulldogs have a slew of players with appeal to Licht and the Bucs, including running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. The Bucs only have two capable running backs on their roster in Peyton Barber, last year’s leading rusher, and Jacquizz Rodgers. Chubb and Michel are the second- and third-leading rushers in school history behind only Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker.

Isaiah Wynn played left tackle at Georgia, but at 6-foot-3, 313 pounds, he’ll move inside to play guard at the next level. Regarded as a late first- or early second-round pick, Wynn had a fantastic Senior Bowl.

The guess here is that Licht heads to Georgia where he can also check out a pair of defensive tackles in agile 6-foot-3, 288-pound Trenton Thompson and big John Atkins, who is 6-foot-3 and weighs 321 pounds. The Bulldogs also have a pair of edge rushers worth investigating in Lorenzo Carter, who ran a 4.46 at 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, and Davin Bellamy, who didn’t receive an invite to the NFL Scouting Combine and will need to impress NFL scouts in attendance.

Notre Dame left guard Quenton Nelson – Photo by: Getty Images

The pro days for Notre Dame and Ohio State fall on Thursday, March 22. Will Licht visit South Bend, Indiana to scout guard Quenton Nelson, who is a top 5 pick that could slide to Tampa Bay at No. 7, or will he be in Columbus, Ohio to check out the plethora of defenders the Buckeyes are sending to the NFL this year, including cornerback Denzel Ward, who is a top 10 talent?

Aside from Nelson, the Fighting Irish also have big wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown and running back Josh Adams, who didn’t work out at the NFL Scouting Combine due to a foot injury.

But the guess here is that Licht will be at Ohio State watching Ward, linebacker Jerome Baker and defensive ends Sam Hubbard, Tyquan Lewis and Jalyn Holmes. Offensive tackle Jamarco Jones could draw the Bucs’ interest. Tampa Bay needs help on the defensive side of the ball and could use a cornerback like Ward and one of Ohio State’s defensive ends.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

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: sr@pewterreport.com
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Brooks Dunn-Winston
Brooks Dunn-Winston(@brooksdunn-winston)
3 years ago

This year’s draft is loaded, just not at the DE position.

Mike Wright
Mike Wright(@defenser)
Reply to  Brooks Dunn-Winston
3 years ago

Loaded or not. When You finish in the top 5 worst NFL Defenses? You need Defense. Hell, even Stevie Wonder can see that!

FLBoy84
FLBoy84(@flboy84)
Reply to  Mike Wright
3 years ago

Agreed, as long as Licht & Co. avoids reaching and picking guys way above where their actual grade is, we should focus on D. Believe we’ll see Licht do his usual maneuvering to move round the draft board to get the targeted players he wants.

24/7BucFan
24/7BucFan(@winstonmvp)
3 years ago

DB’s are deep this year. I wouldn’t take one with the 7th pick unless they graded much higher on my board than anybody else. I would be happy with either Chubb, Vea, Nelson or Barkley. In that order. Barkley would be great but if all 4 of these players turn out to be worth there draft pick and pro bowler quality players RB will most likely have the shortest career.IMO. I would Love! to see our draft board during the draft.To see what order Licht and crew graded everybody. Of course they don’t just grade on talent which some fans… Read more »

SenileSenior
SenileSenior(@xpfcwintergreen)
Reply to  WinstonMVP
3 years ago

I like your order of picks. Or is it a pecking order? … Naw, just funnin’ ya’.

No Matter what happens I think we will do well with our first pick.

____________
Go Bucs!!!

24/7BucFan
24/7BucFan(@winstonmvp)
3 years ago

Im hoping our first 3 picks are DE, DT , RB . In whatever order it works out. Of course in a perfect world without reaching for none of them. If anything trading up to get our guy at each position. GO BUCS!!!

makski
makski(@makski)
Reply to  WinstonMVP
3 years ago

Can’t possibly trade up for all, not enough picks. As soon as you trade up for one, you will be out of picks!

24/7BucFan
24/7BucFan(@winstonmvp)
3 years ago

Or DE, DE, RB. lol GO BUCS!!!

seat26
seat26(@seat26)
3 years ago

DT, DE, RB, OL, CB, S. There are too many holes to fill.

Hank Scorpio
Hank Scorpio(@hank-scorpio)
Reply to  seat26
3 years ago

Don’t forget QB! ;)

Bucs2021SBChamps
Bucs2021SBChamps(@jw4lyf36)
3 years ago

I’ve come to the conclusion that Bucs reporters and fans are being more vocally upset with the teams off-season choices than they really are internally to balance out last years extreme hype that lead to a tough year….I’m thinking what we’ve done so far with our re-signings and pick ups has been solid. Siege

Buc 1976
Buc 1976(@robmckenz17gmail-com)
3 years ago

IMO Barkley doesn’t get past NY. Indy is the wild card do they get much NEEDED help on the OL to protect Luck they missed out on Jensen. So Nelson could be and I hope high on their list.

Horse
Horse(@horse)
3 years ago

I hope he doesn’t trade!!! We need picks 1-5.

makski
makski(@makski)
Reply to  Horse
3 years ago

Only trade back for more picks. I hope we just stay and make all of our picks and make good ones. I love our chances at getting one of our top 3 non QB’s, but I’m starting to wonder if it would be a good idea to trade back and acquire a lot more picks. Gives us a better chance at hitting 3 or 4 of them. Kind of like getting the 2 Buf 1st rounders, but not really sure who would still be available at that point. Go Jason, get us another real good haul !!

Mike Wright
Mike Wright(@defenser)
3 years ago

A smart team would have simply tanked that last game against the Saints. That is..a smart team..Movin right along…Yes, there are some good offensive players in this yrs draft. But when you finish in the top 5 of the NFl’s worst Defenses? Even Stevie Wonder can see what you need to concentrate on!

Buc 1976
Buc 1976(@robmckenz17gmail-com)
Reply to  Mike Wright
3 years ago

Last year even when we win we lose. Number 5 would look VERY GOOD now.

Mike Wright
Mike Wright(@defenser)
Reply to  Buc 1976
3 years ago

Yep..thats why I have said, A smart team.. a team truly concerned about its future.. would have tanked! But we are the Bucs. 4-12 might have gotten us Chubb or Barkley. But we had to show’em. and 5-12 gets us ?
Man, this Buc organization needs a shot in the arm..BigTime!

Mike.Seven
Mike.Seven(@mikeseven)
Reply to  Mike Wright
3 years ago

The Owner gave the moron coach assurance he was coming back before the last game with a wink and he still went out and won a no matter game to lose a shot at best running-back in 20 years. This team is in serious trouble looking at 01-6 square in the face 2018.

Mike.Seven
Mike.Seven(@mikeseven)
3 years ago

Winston Bucs QB in last 4 years no QB has thrown more interceptions, had more fumbles and Winston loses71% of the games he starts, not to mention he looking at off-field situation that has 50-50 chance of suspension 8-16 games next year so why would Bucs want to look at one of the 4 potential great Qb in this year draft ?

Bucnut2
Bucnut2(@bucnut2)
Reply to  Mike.Seven
3 years ago

GREAT point! I agree. We have to grab Mayfield if he’s there. I would trade Winston to the Giants and swap number 1 picks and draft a QB. Last year most posters were scoffing at Wentz and Goff. you would have to be a fool not to tea either one of those guys over Winston! Let’s draft a QB!

Mike.Seven
Mike.Seven(@mikeseven)
3 years ago

Correction last 3 years

drdneast
drdneast(@drdneast)
3 years ago

How true Mike Wright. You always go about establishing a winning culture by telling your team to tank a game.
While you are at it, try telling Winston he needs to tank the game. Or put someone in his place and see how a healthy Winston reacts to that move.
I could go on, but really, what would be the point.

SenileSenior
SenileSenior(@xpfcwintergreen)
Reply to  drdneast
3 years ago

I am sure that most of our guys hate losing. They were not thinking about who we might draft during the NO game!

_______________
Go Bucs!!!!!

makski
makski(@makski)
Reply to  XpfcWintergreen2
3 years ago

Right on drdneast and XpfcWintergreen2!!! I would rather have the players that want to win and not the ones trying to tank a game on purpose so we MIGHT get a better draft pick. Heck, why didn’t we just go 0-16 and make sure there was no doubt we would get who we wanted! Haha

scubog
scubog(@scubog)
Reply to  drdneast
3 years ago

Those folks hoping to lose that last game against New Orleans weren’t sitting behind a Saints fan and looking across to the east side of OUR stadium at the gold and black in the lower bowl.

Mike.Seven
Mike.Seven(@mikeseven)
3 years ago

Happy happy happy it like the Lego movie everything thing is awesome Bucs last in there division losing season they happy with coaches keep them, Bucs happy with there players give them big raises, free agents sign couple guys that their last team did not want and go watch the other teams like Jets and Broncos make big moves to draft in front of them ignore the Winston off-field investigation all the time singing everything is awesome.

makski
makski(@makski)
Reply to  Mike.Seven
3 years ago

Just leave the site if you want to be so negative. If we are so bad, go find another team to “cough” root for, we don’t need you here.

makski
makski(@makski)
3 years ago

Now that the market has settled, I hope we can go out and sign EJ Gaines and a S, maybe E Reid. I think that will be enough to get us by until the draft. Maybe a few others for depth. I actually wouldn’t mind O Darkwa for depth at RB. He is still very young, should come very cheap, and he actually did well behind that horrible NYG OLine last year. Just good competition for Barber and our draft pick/UFA.