The PR Bucs Monday Mailbag is where’s Mark Cook answers your questions from our Twitter account. 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 PR Bucs Monday Mailbag. Read them over and offer up your thoughts in the comment section.

Question: Would you rather have Quenton Nelson or Vita Vea? I imagine Chubb is your first choice. And those two are the second and third picks. Just wondering on the order.

Answer: Yes, you are correct, Chubb is easily the first choice. In fact, if the Bucs have the overall No. 1 pick, Chubb would be the guy I would pick. He is the best pure 4-3 pass rusher in this draft, maybe in the last several. While rookies rarely become double-digit sack guys in their first season, Chubb could hit the 10 sack mark next fall. He checks all the boxes.

Second choice, I would say is Nelson. While drafting an offensive lineman in the Top 10 is usually reserved for elite left tackles, Nelson is a rare player and worthy of being a Top 10 pick by most all accounts. He is as pro ready as you will see coming out of college, and many scouts see him as a perennial Pro Bowler, maybe as soon as his first season. That is high praise.

My personal third choice would be all-around defensive back Derwin James. And no, not because he wore garnet and gold in Tallahassee, but because I think he would make an immediate impact for the Buccaneers, not only from a talent perspective. He will have what I call the “Ramsey-effect” right out of the gate. James won’t care he is a rookie, or who is currently on the team. He will walk in and take a leadership role. He is an alpha male, has a nasty streak and like Ramsey, his confidence will push him to greatness early. Of course he will have his bumps and bruises early, all rookies will, but losing confidence won’t be an issue. He can play safety, corner, nickel, and even come up and rush the passer off the edge.

As far as Vea goes, I wasn’t as sold on him as Reynolds and Sikkema, but after watching more and more and listening to them making a case, I am on board and would have no problem with the Bucs taking him at No. 7. The term “freak athlete” gets thrown around a lot this time of year, but it sure fits Vea. A man that big should not have the athleticism he does. And another thing I love about him is his attitude and work ethic which people from Washington have raved about. He and McCoy next to each other would create a nightmare for the interior of offensive line opponents.

All in all the Bucs are in a great spot and should walk away with an impact player that makes them instantly better.

Question: SR had Nick Chubb in the new mock draft? Isn’t Sony Michel better? Would he be available in the third?

Answer: I am not as big of a fan of Chubb as some, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think he won’t be an effective back in the NFL. I admire his ability to come back and play well after a devastating knee injury. Chubb would be a good value in the third round I believe.

I personally prefer Michel, and Reynolds does as well, but the odds of him being available in the third round are extremely small. He may even go at the end of the first round. I think the success of running backs like Alvin Kamara and Kareem Hunt drafted in the third round last year, will move some guys up a little higher than they might have been picked in year’s past.

Both have chance to be really good backs in the NFL, I just think there is a little more of a home run threat with Michel than Chubb. However, unless the Bucs want to go running back in the second round, they really don’t have a shot at Michel.

Question: Any chance the Bucs try to grab Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie?

Answer: I think there is always a chance, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Rodgers-Cromartie has 30 career interceptions and would upgrade this team, but may be a little bit of a head case. Walking out on your team like he did last season doesn’t sit well in the eyes of front offices, coaches or even teammates. He showed remorse and apologized, and let’s be honest, the Giants were a dumpster fire last season and Ben McAdoo made some really questionable devisions last season that ultimately cost him his job.

Maybe it was a bit overblown and not as big of a deal as the New York media made it out to be, but it certainly is something to think about. The other thing is, the Giants need secondary help even more than the Bucs and they are releasing him. That says a lot. If I am Jason Licht I am doing my homework for sure, but there are better options out there in my opinion.

Question: Would you rather have “Grade A” talented free agents who don’t care or would you rather have “Grade B” talented free agents who football is there life?

Answer: It isn’t even a question. Give me a team full of lesser talented players who love football over a team full of more talented guys who are doing it for the money and fame only.

If one thing stood out to me the most from Hard Knocks last summer, it was the scene where Jameis Winston was talking to some players, I think it the training room or lounge, and talked about how there was a difference in guys who play football because they love it, or just because they are good at it. I completely agreed with him. I mean you can have a good team if they consist of just talented players, you will win a lot of games for sure. But consistently over the long haul? And championships? Give me the guys who would play football in cow pasture or parking lot for little or no money.

Maybe it is because I am old, but I want my teams to be hungry, passionate, grinders, a team that works hard, takes nothing for granted and has a common goal – and that is to win. I remember one of my last years of coaching youth football and we had a kid named Lincoln. He was gangly, awkward, not athletically gifted, and seemed to have two left feet. Yet he had the heart of a lion. He always jumped in line first in one on one tackling drills. He would get his helmet spun around his head, wind knocked out of him nearly every play, and still was ready to go again. We also had a few kids who just woke up every day already great football players. They didn’t even have to try. But I would take 11 Lincolns all day, every day. We probably wouldn’t have won too many games, but it would have been fun to see.

Now the reality is you need talent to win. But the right mix is also crucial. I think the Patriots are the perfect example of that. Yes, they have elite talent as key positions, but also the middle of the road guys too. Players that might not make the rosters of the other 31 teams in the league. But Bill Belichick is the master of getting the most out of those players, and creating the right chemistry. I don’t know maybe I watched too may Rocky movies, or have seen Rudy more times than I should, but give me those gritty guys on my team.

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Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at [email protected]


  1. Depends on what the Bucs are trying do. Save Licht/Koetter/Smitty’s jobs or rebuild. If its the former then Vea is the logical choice. Chubbs gonna be long gone by our pick. Vea plays with a little Nasty streak. And God knows our Defense needs this.
    I’d also go DL with the 2nd pick to. Maybe Okoronkwo out of Okla. He also plays with toughness. Bucs really ought to go hard and get that RB out of Frisco in FA. But something tells me they won’t. Above all..Pass rush, Hurries, Defensive pressure is the Bucs top priority. How you gonna win games and you..cannot stop anybody?

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  2. Every time the Bucs go with grade A talent with big egos they get burned. Give me a guy who loves the game and fights his way into the starting lineup rather than one who thinks he’s God’s gift to the NFL and deserves to be there.
    Give me a Cameron Brate over a Desean Jackson every time.

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    • D. Jackson has been a difference maker on any team he has played for except the bucs. Is it his fault bucs don’t have an accurate qb ?

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      • Evans seems to do ok with an “inaccurate” QB. It’s not like Garo Yepremian is suiting up as QB for the Bucs.
        There’s a big difference between having a sucky QB and requiring a QB to throw perfect passes when you’re not being covered too closely.

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  3. Good Article, Mark. My choice if Chubb is not there at 7 is to take what looks like quite a stretch, but isn’t really, Taven Bryan DT. He presses 500 pounds and has a quick take off like McCoy. However, I would have our excellent DL Coach teach him how to play DE. Since he has very similar stats at the combine that JJ Watt had at his combine, it would not take long for him to really excel at pressuring and tackling the opposing QB and maybe better than Chubb does. He certainly would be able to stop the run dead in the tracks too. Then in the second round I would take Virginia Tech’s DT Settle and pair him in the middle of the DL with Stevie T. If you recall that our DC had two real big DTs when he was a success at Jax, it will be a DL that he is most familiar with and the best news is nobody will be able to run between the tackles on us this year either, and those two together should be able to shove back the OL in front of them and destroy the pocket for the QB to step up into on pass plays and also help the DEs to sack him. For the other DE I would put McCoy there. With his speed and quick first step and strength, he would make a dynamite DE too, and you know he can stop the run, and if he can’t get there he can jump up and knock down passes. We then could even cross train Noah Spence to play on third downs from weak side LB.

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  4. Mark:
    I completely agree with your assessment at pick number 7 for the Bucs. Any of the following three should have an enormously positive impact for the Bucs:

    1) Bradley Chubb DE
    2) Quenton Nelson OG
    3) Derwin James DB

    My 4th for the Bucs is a player most would say would not fit into the Bucs system and that is Tremaine Edmunds out of Virginia Tech. The guy has incredible production and at only 19 he is a freak athlete that I am confident could be elite as a rookie at Rush End.
    6’5″ 253 pounds with a 40 of 4.54. He led the #2 ranked scoring defense in tackles, tackle for loss, sacks and QB hurries last year. He is much bigger and much faster than Bucs starting DE Noah Spence.

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  5. Look, Vea is a fine player but it sounds like Scott and Trevor need to flush the cooked crack if they would really take him over Nelson. Vea is a guy that screams of projection, a “imagine what he could do with X size and Y speed” kind of guy.

    Only thing I’ve heard about Nelson is how unquestionably excellent his game film is. No guesswork there.

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  6. Good answers Mark!

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  7. I completely agree with owlykat! Focus on run’stuffing DT and move McCoy to defensive end. His speed and quickness will give him an advantage and at DE it will extend his career as well….unless he is traded to Oakland that is!

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