The PR Bucs Monday Mailbag is where PewterReport.com’s Mark Cook answers your questions from our @PewterReport 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: I know Jones is compared to Jamaal Charles a lot, but I see a lot of Cadillac Williams before the knee injuries. What do you guys think?
Answer: I wasn’t on staff with PewterReport.com when the Bucs selected Cadillac Williams in 2005, so it is hard for me to compare their college tape, as I never really saw any of Williams. But, if Jones can produce the way Williams did early, and avoid the injury bug, then I think most people would be very happy. Williams produced over 2,000 yards in his first two seasons, including 1,178 yards on the ground as a rookie, that included a 71-yard TD dash that season. If Jones can be like Williams, but be more durable, then the Bucs got a heck of a player.
Comparing Williams’ NFL games against Jones tape in college I suppose there are some similarities, but I am like those who see more Jamaal Charles than Williams when watching what he did at USC. Williams weighed 218 pounds and was a bigger back than the 205-pound Jones. To me, Jones looks like he is more explosive and more elusive in the open field. I would give the nod to Williams as far as an inside-the-tackle runner, but not by much.
I like the pick of Jones and he was definitely in my Top 5 backs coming out; behind Penn State’s Saquon Barkley by quite a bit, but not too far behind LSU’s Derrius Guice. There were some rumors of some character concerns with Guice, although not really confirmed, and his draft position didn’t match up with his tape. Therefore you would have to think there may be some legitimacy to the rumors floated out there and the noted verbal spat between Guice and the Philadelphia Eagles staff at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Question: Draft is over, give me two names of players on the roster who should be nervous of who the Bucs drafted.
Answer: I would imagine every year at this time, some player get nervous. Ronde Barber once told us that Raheem Morris used to to tell him ‘We will keep you until we can find someone to replace you.’ Coaches and general managers don’t have the luxury of sitting around for years hoping a player develops, especially coming off a 5-11 season.
That record was earned, despite injuries, bad luck or whatever. If you don’t win, you get fired. It’s the same for players – perform or you will be replaced. Just looking at the draft picks and where the Bucs went with their picks, I would have to say there are some secondary players that have to be at least concerned, if not nervous. Tampa Bay selected two cornerbacks and a safety in hopes of upgrading its dismal secondary play in 2017. Those picks weren’t by accident. The team wants to be be better against the pass and the new guys will push the vets.
The rookie player that I think has the best chance to start the season at cornerback is Carlton Davis. Any cornerback not named Grimes should bring their best in 2018 or the former Auburn standout will gladly take their spot on the field. That doesn’t mean the Bucs would cut Vernon Hargreaves, Ryan Smith or Javien Elliott but it does mean they could be watching game from the sidelines. Davis is brash, confident and cocky, all things I like if I were coaching.
Question: With the draft picks on defense, are the Bucs looking to move more to a 3-4 or over type look with Vea in the middle and Evans as the high FS?
Answer: In all honesty I think the drafting of defensive tackle Vita Vea with the first-round pick, along with the free agents brought in this offseason, solidifies the Bucs sticking with a 4-3 base defense. I don’t really see many of Tampa Bay’s defensive ends fitting as stand-up 3-4 edge rushers, and I think the plan is to line Vea up at nose with McCoy at three-technique tackle to create nightmares for opposing offensive lines.
The pressure in the middle should help the outside pass rush considerably, and with new interior linemen Beau Allen and Mitch Unrein, Tampa Bay has a really solid defensive line rotation. Add Vinny Curry and Jason Pierre-Paul, and hopefully a healthy Noah Spence, and this is easily the most improved unit on the team. This roster has all the makings of a 4-3 front seven.
Question: Hey there Admiral Grump, what do you think is the likelihood of signing C.J. Anderson and Eric Reid now seeing that we only drafted one RB and one 4th round safety?
Answer: I would certainly take a look at both if I were the Bucs, and maybe they have. In fact I am sure they have. Now whether they think either are good fits or not, is still up in the air. The safety market has dried up and I think Reid could be signed fairly cheap to a one-year deal. I like Reid’s potential to get playing time at the strong safety position. He is a physical player and San Francisco had moved him to a Mark Barron-type hybrid linebacker before injuries forced him back to safety.
As for Anderson, the Bucs like Peyton Barber an awful lot and just spent a second-round pick on Ronald Jones II. Charles Sims was just re-signed to a one-year deal, and the Bucs trust Jacquizz Rodgers. I think that might be the four running backs on the opening day roster, although one injury to Jones and the team is right back to where it started with limited speed and play-making ability. Anderson is certainly worth exploring, but we are not aware of any serious discussions between him and Tampa Bay at this time.
Anderson, while having some mileage on the tires, had his first 1,000 yard season last year, and again, in my opinion, would be an asset in Tampa Bay. There is no doubt the Bucs see rookie Ronald Jones and Peyton Barber as the future, but they are only a couple hamstring or knee injuries away from Jacquizz Rodgers and Charles Sims being the starters. That won’t excite many Bucs fans.