“From 2012 to 2016, the Bucs had 39 draft picks. Per Inside the Pylon, eight of those draft picks were brought in for private visits, and two additional private visit players were signed as undrafted free agents. That gave the Bucs a 20.51 percent private visit-to-player selected ratio. Some teams are much higher. For example, the Steelers had nearly half of their selected players in for private visits during that time. The Bills, the Falcons and the Cowboys were next, all above 30 percent.”
One thing we can assume is, if the team is spending money to fly a guy in, there is some interest. There is a occasional visit for the team to maybe collect intel on other players they may have more interest in, but they almost have interest in any player flown in. But, they can’t draft every one they bring in, obviously. And yes, there are a number of players that have been drafted that weren’t flown in for visits. However, it’s more rare the team drafts a player that they don’t have some contact with, whether it be at the East West Shrine, Senior Bowl, Combine or a college pro day.
That isn’t 100 percent though,as Scott Reynolds revealed on our most recent podcast, the Bucs drafted kicker Martin Gramatica in the third round and he said he never had any contact with the Bucs prior to the draft. And I am certain that has happened a number of other times.
Question: I’m curious: how long a visit from a prospect is, being they “work” them out, are they there for the day basically or 3 hours or so?
Answer: It can vary, but a typical visit starts with dinner with the staff the evening they come in. The next day starts around 8 a.m. with a full day of meetings with coaches, personnel department and others until around 3 p.m.. Of course, it is sometimes shorter and sometimes longer. But, that is the average schedule of a visit. This gives everyone who would be involved with the player a chance to check all the boxes. One thing Jason Licht has said that has stuck with me is, of the players he has missed on, a majority it was from the neck up. You can see talent on film, at workouts and such, but you only get a limited amount of time to determine what type of person the player is, and how much he loves football. I think that is the biggest reason for these visits. What is a player going to show up in the weight room or in a few on the field drills that he didn’t show in three or fours years of tape. The performance evaluation is almost certainly done long before they set foot at One Buc. Now it is time to test their football IQ, answer any character questions, things like that.
Question: With Dotson now out for the offseason program, is Caleb Benenoch going to train primary as the RT, even though he is viewed as the “wild card”?
Answer: That would be our guess. Benenoch can play every position on the line other than center, and probably could be taught that. But, the Bucs were pleased with his play as a fill-in last season. I think they were hoping to give him more reps at guard, especially with J.R. Sweezy’s health still in question. But, if Dotson missed all of the offseason then Benenoch appears to be the “next man up.”
The good news for the team and Dotson is the knee injury isn’t a serious ACL or anything along those lines. It was more of a clean up process, not uncommon for players his age and at his position.
Question: Are the Bucs planning on bringing Saquon Barkley in for a visit?
Answer: They still could, but I think in the case of Barkley, there really aren’t any unanswered questions. He has checked all the proverbial boxes, as they say. The film doesn’t lie, the character is impeccable, and as a member of the Bucs front office told us off the record last month when we brought up his name, “He is a special, special player.” If Barkley is there at No. 7 I think there is a great probability he will be the pick. Although I think it is unlikely he makes it to them. More and more signs point to him ending up in New York with the Giants. I think the Bucs feel they would have a complete offense with a back like Barkley, and the sky would be the limit on that side of the ball, but I don’t see it happening. Of course, no one saw O.J. Howard falling to the 19th pick last season either. The draft can’t get here quick enough.
Question: Could you see the Bucs walking away from Jameis Winston after this year if he doesn’t show any improvement?
Answer: I wish I could place the wide-open eye, surprised face emoji in this response. Seriously, it would take Winston falling off a cliff, suffering some major off the field issues or basically having to have a limb amputated for this team to walk away from Winston. The fact is, both Dirk Koetter and Licht would be in the unemployment line faster than a member of the presidential cabinet if this group doesn’t get Winston to a new contract. (Relax, just a little Trump joke to keep you on your toes.)
But, I think you get the point.
This organization is married to Winston, and if would be a very ugly divorce with lots of collateral damage if things fell apart.
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com 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, the beach and family time.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@example.com
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