It is a new year and with it comes a new Bucs Monday Mailbag where we answer your Twitter offered questions. You can submit your question each week via Twitter using the hashtag #PRMailbag.
Below are the questions we chose for this week’s edition of the Mailbag. Read them over and offer up your thoughts in the comment section.
Question: Which Chubb are we most likely to draft, Nick or Bradley?
Answer: I’m no betting man, but if I had go lay a dollar down it would be on Nick, not Bradley. Who would I rather have? Not even close, Bradley. This guy could be a special pass rusher in the league. He checks all the boxes. Aggressive. Strong. Mean. Bradley Chubb, if healthy, could be a 10-sack rookie in the NFL, something that doesn’t come around very often.
Of course if Nick Chubb if still on the board in the third or fourth round, I think the Bucs could do much worse than drafting the former Georgia standout. Chubb most likely will never be the same back he was prior to a devastating 2015 knee injury, but there are plenty of injury free running backs in this year’s draft that wish they were as talented as Chubb post knee injury or not.
The problem for the Bucs is they won one too many games in 2017, and at No. 7 it is very doubtful Chubb would be sitting there. If by chance he is, expect Bucs GM Jason Licht to teleport to the draft and knock Roger Goodell off the podium to make the pick as Scott Reynolds said in last week’s Pewter Nation podcast.
Question: Who will be the Bucs kicker this year and what is the team looking for in free agency, what are are team needs for the draft?
Answer: It is wide open competition as of now. Incumbent Pat Murray will most likely be in the mix once the offseason starts, but we know the team had some concerns about his kickoff depth last season. And unfortunately he didn’t come through in the clutch late in the season. Granted there were a couple 50-plus yarders under extreme pressure, but the great kickers in the league make those. And Murray knows that and would be the first to tell you.
The needs for this team in both free agency and the draft start with pass rush help. 22 sacks again in 2018 will get you another 5-11 season and the organization blowing up and starting over. The team MUST address the pass rush and understands that as evidenced by the firing of defensive line coach Jay Hayes this past weekend.
Besides the pass rush upgrade needed, the team needs to address the cornerback position, especially if they are unable to re-sign Brent Grimes. They also should and will add running backs and most likely some interior offensive linemen. In my opinion those are the most critical positions that need attention this offseason.
Question: How likely is the chances that Jack Del Rio is given an interview or being reached out to, to fill the DL Coach / Asst. DC spot?
Answer: Not very. Not that he wouldn’t be a great fit and upgrade, but the likelihood Del Rio would come to a volatile situation with the future of this staff being on the hot seat most likely wouldn’t happen. Plus going from a head coach to a defensive line coach most likely doesn’t appeal to Del Rio who is on cruise control right now collecting large checks from Mark Davis and the Raiders for a while. Now, if the Bucs had fired Mike Smith, perhaps you could make a case that Del Rio would consider coming to Tampa Bay, but to me it is very doubtful he has any interest in replacing Jay Hayes.
Question: Donovan Smith thinks he’s one of the best LT in the game. Your thoughts?
Answer: Anyone who read my Most Disappointing postgame lists last season will know I wasn’t enamored with Smith’s game in 2017. With that said, he is a middle of the road NFL offensive tackle and the Bucs could be much worse off. Smith has a ceiling still and could be a top 10 tackle if he chooses to be. The tools are there. The one thing that bothered me as much as anything last year was Smith’s body language at times. You never want your quarterback’s blind side protector to seem disinterested at times. That doesn’t mean he was, I am just going by the body language. Lose the long sleeves Donovan and go pick a fight every once in a while. Drop a few pounds and bring some nasty to your game. You will become a very rich man and you’ll win over a lot of fans in Tampa Bay.
Question: If Buffalo offered both 1st rounders to jump to 7, would you do it, and who would you pick?
Answer: Yikes. That is a tough one. If one of the Bills picks were Top 15 ones, then yes, but two picks in the 20’s? I don’t believe I would honestly. Currently the Bucs sit at No. 7 and they need an impact starter with that pick. Of course you would like to think the Bucs could find two starters with the No. 21 and 22 picks, but once you move out of the Top 10, history says it is more difficult. Of course it all depends on how the Bucs big board is ordered. They may have a couple guys they think are Top 10 players who the other team don’t. What grades do the Bucs front office have on the first round picks? We have no idea right now. So based on that personally I would stick with the No. 7 pick and hope for the best.