Each week PewterReport.com’s Mark Cook answers your submitted questions about the Bucs. You can have your question answered by asking on Twitter using the #PRMailbag hashtag and also on the message boards. Here are this week’s five questions.
Question: Any concerns over why OJ Howard fell as far as he did? Why would the always astute Ozzie Newsome pass on him for a worse player?
Answer: I sure don’t have any concerns, and I don’t think there is any reason for anyone to have any concerns. As we talked about on our radio appearances and podcast the last couple weeks, expect the unexpected. And that is exactly what happened, starting with Bears moving up for Mitchell Trubisky and then Tennessee going with Corey Davis, a player I had heard from multiple people, would slide.
Howard is a unicorn in today’s football world, meaning we have heard of those blocking and pass receiving tight ends, we just haven’t seen many around. The spread offenses we are seeing more and more in college have hurt the overall skill sets of tight ends the last five or so years, and even offensive linemen. It is taking longer and longer for them to develop in the NFL for the most part due to having to adjust to pro-style schemes. Alabama ran multiple types of formations over the last few years, but when it was time to pound it, they went jumbo, and the tight end was kept in to block. Howard isn’t perfect, and will still need to adjust to the skill level of NFL players, but he is head and shoulders about any other tight ends in this year’s draft, and the Bucs were fortunate to be able to nab a player than head coach Dirk Koetter can’t wait to get involved in the offense.
Question: Between Roberto Aguayo last year and Justin Evans this year, why does Jason Licht reach on players who regressed over time in college in the 2nd round?
Answer: I think it is way too soon to start criticizing Licht for his second round picks, particularly Evans who hasn’t even strapped on a pewter helmet. I understand the concern, Aguayo was bad in 2016, and Evans had some deficiencies in his film. However, Evans has a some outstanding intangibles – work ethic, physicality and more – that were attractive to the Bucs, and it isn’t like he will be just thrown to the wolves this season. J.J. Wilcox, Keith Tandy and Chris Conte all are experienced players who made their share of plays in 2016, and an improved Vernon Hargreaves, and a hopefully better all around defense should make like easier for the safeties. It was no coincidence that the safety play improved the same time the overall defense did. As the last line of defense, the safeties are only as good as the nine players in front of them. I am willing to take a wait-and-see approach for both Aguayo and Evans before casting any judgements. Austin Seferian-Jenkins however? Bad move.
Question: Who do you think will start at running back Week 1? Can we count on Doug Martin to contribute more in 2017 than 2016?
Answer: It think by default we see Jacquizz Rodgers start Week 1 and hold it down until Martin’s three-game suspension is over. Of course that is based on Martin even still being on the team. However, the fact the Bucs didn’t take a running back until the fifth round speaks volumes on how the team sees Martin fitting into their plans for 2017. If Martin stays clean and healthy, he could be Comeback Player of the Year (do they still award that?). By all indications we will see the 2015 Martin as opposed to the 2016 Martin who came into training camp last year looking a little less spry, if that’s the right word, than in 2015. As Scott Reynolds pointed out recently, and I agreed with him, there just seemed to be something different about Martin in last year’s offseason and training camp. But hopefully things all go well for Martin and he returns to form.
Question: Should we be worried that Vegas has set the over under at 8. Unfortunately they do know about the NFL.
Answer: I asked someone of Twitter last night for a loan so I could go bet the over in Vegas. I don’t know that eight is a terrible starting point to open the odds at. I think last season it was around 6.5. But if this team can stay relatively healthy, despite a tougher on paper at least schedule, I see 10 wins minimum next year. This is a better football team that last season’s nine-win team. But we will see. A Jameis Winston, or Mike Evans major injury and I will have wished I had bet the under.
Question: Which undrafted free agents should fans keep an eye on?
Answer: I gave PewterReport.com beat writer, and draftnik Trevor Sikkema first crack at it, and he had this to say:
I liked the addition of Appalachian State’s DB Alex Gray because he’s different. Gray is a 220-pound safety at 6-foot-2 with a wingspan measured at 80 inches. He was three-year starter at App State, with 197 career tackles and three interceptions, so the production is there. His size makes him standout from the rest of the Buccaneer DBs. For that, he’s a guy to keep an eye on.
The other is Duquesne LB Christian Kuntz. I know a lot of fans wanted Jackson State’s Javancy Jones, but since he signed with the Cardinals, Kuntz is that kind of player to watch out for instead. He had an insane 71.5 tackles for loss and 30.5 sacks during his career (most of them in three years). With Kendell Beckwith most likely starting the year on the PUP list, Kuntz has a chance to make the depth chart in that role and as a special teammer.
Two players Scott Reynolds and I like from this undrafted group is Arizona linebacker Paul Magloire and Canadian (Laval) TE Antony Auclair. Magloire is a high-motor guy who has played quarterback, safety and linebacker at the college level, even some running back.
Auclair is a tight end that caught the eyes of those at the week of East-West Shrine game practices, and scouts say he is a solid blocker, with very good athleticism and a large wingspan. There are some things he needs to polish up, but with the good NFL coaching, there is a chance he could stick and one day become a productive NFL tight end. First, he has to survive the Florida heat this summer after playing collegiately in Canada.
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, 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]
“As Scott Reynolds pointed out recently, and I agreed with him, there just seemed to be something different about Martin in last year’s offseason and training camp.”
correct me if i’m wrong, but i don’t recall PR or any other outlet raising even a faint alarm last summer that Doug was a lesser player than the one who ran over defenses in 2015. In fact it seemed like people were going out of their way to talk about how good he looked. Reports to the contrary would’ve at least created a meaty training camp debate or plot line. i recall posters speculating, but not reports from the folks covering practices or locker rooms to that effect….was it more of a feeling than a verifiable concern?
not a criticism, a sincere question. to me, the preseason DM buzz i was reading added to my confusion around how poorly his year ultimately went. It also makes me very wary of sunny reports on his progress this summer
It wasn’t something that struck me at the time, but when SR brought it up there was definitely a difference from the previous system. Only because he stood out SO much that year. Dancing during practices, running handoffs 80 yards, just a different vibe the previous year. Something I didn’t really think about until Scott brought it up.
Last (2016) Doug Martin was the 4th Highest Paid RB.
This year (2017) he will be the 3rd highest.
is it enough said? Because I have absolutely no idea what your point is, lol.
Martin should not be paid like the 3rd or 4th best running back in the league because he isn’t.
If the Bucs do not REPEAL & REPLACE Martin’s deal he will be paid 5 times more that Jacquizz, 7.5 times more than Charles Sims, 10x more than Barber.
Wouldn’t you like to see 5 million more put towards the OL? That would make all the RBs better.
Why are people down on Evans he is a great safety..5th best in the draft…Conte and Evans will be a great team.
Since you asked for the concerns, per PFF:
“38 missed tackles in two seasons; ranked 219th in tackling efficiency among FBS safeties in 2016. Ranked 210th in run-stop percentage among all FBS safeties. Lacks the strength to consistently bring down bigger ball carriers. Too aggressive – he overcommits to everything, leaving him susceptible to double moves in coverage, as well as cutbacks by runners. Looks sloppy, off balance in transition at times because he does not use a proper back pedal and tends to get his feet crossed up.
Does not recover well once a ball carrier makes a move on him, in large part because he is far too often not square to his target or taking too aggressive an angle; also can get his weight too far on his heels when changing directions.”
He, of course, has positive attributes too (and hence why he’ll be a starting safety on our team) – but you asked about the concerns.
Those things are WHY a player does not get picked in top 25! With NFL coaching most can be corrected.
I don’t know where people get this idea that Justin Evans was a reach… Just because they hadn’t heard his name much? Read the draft pubs. Watch the highlights. He’s a better football player than Obi Melifonwu, who everyone was drooling over because of measurables. Evans is going to be a very good safety and will probably end up in the starting lineup by opening day. Tackling, which was the only knock on him, can be taught.
I watched all of his tape a few weeks before the draft because I heard we liked him in the 2nd…his tape looked like the 2nd round would be a massive reach. He’s good in coverage…but he is a massive liability against the run. He takes really bad angles, over runs plays, completely misses guys, and just misses tackles left and right. Go watch his 2016 game against Tennessee. The Alabama and LSU games were bad as well. His 2016 game against UCLA was a little better. His best game tape available is the 2015 game against South Carolina, where he looked much more controlled and didn’t do anything bad that stood out.
Now, he is a very talented player. He can light guys up and make dazzling interceptions and can run when he gets the ball in his hands…but if they can’t clean up what he does against the run, he’ll be a bust, because you won’t be able to put him on the field.
And it isn’t just the tackling…his tackling is bad but I’m almost more concerned about how often he takes really awful angles that give him no chance, or just flies by a guy without touching him because he was coming in too fast to make a big hit. Those are instinct things. I hope his deficiencies can be fixed, and I think he’ll be a really good pick if they are…I just don’t think you should take a player who is a massive liability on half the plays he’s gonna see, in the 2nd round.
How awful that Jason Licht, and his team of scouts, and the Bucs defensive coaches and head coach, all a bunch of crazily underqualified nimrods in the game of NFL football, never watched a single frame of game film on Justin Evans before crazily picking him sight unseen as their second round draft pick.
What idiots they must be to have declined to retain you as their chief scout and analyst for the draft this year.
This is no big deal but just to keep the record straight, Duquesne LB Christian Kuntz is not a free agent but a tryout player. If you go by the money paid the Bucs really like LB Richie Brown – he got 15k (5k bonus, 10k gtd).
BTW, If any of you guys see Horse, tell him the Bucs just cut C Ben Gottschalk! Horse thought a lot of this guy. I did too, but not to be. Good luck Ben!
Clarification: Kuntz is not an undrafted free agent (UDFA).
I’ll take Ali with a big smile . My main point was the other two Centers starting ahead of Gottschalk were awful. Glad the Bucs saw it too.
As I recall, you don’t do Twitter. So just keeping you up to date re C Gottschalk if you haven’t heard already. Good looking out, my friend.
Greg AumanVerified account @gregauman 14h14 hours ago
Bucs’ Ben Gottschalk is listed as being waived with a failed physical. Went on injured reserve in November with a knee injury …
find it hard to believe that if Jon Robinson was willing to take Corey Davis at 5 that Licht would’ve passed on him at 19… even though that was what PR was reporting … these NFL teams are getting really good at misleading the media LOL
Well based on the fact that Licht passed on JuJu Smith-Schuster in the 2nd round (who I believe will end up being the 2nd best WR taken in this draft behind Davis), Yes, I would believe it.
I really like the receiver out of Boise State, Thomas Sperbeck, he flashed alot while watching McNichols tape. Just seems like a really solid, smart player…wouldn’t be surprised if he makes the team.
I know that not everybody likes or watches the ESPN shows, but today on Insiders/Live, they had a Dracket or something like that, where they pitted division foes against each other on how they did in the draft and picked a winner at each level. The 1st round, they had the Bucs’ beating the Falcons, then beating the Saints, then beating, I believe, the Vikings, making it to the Final 4 where they lost to the NFC Dracket champion 49ers. They especially like the McNichols pick, saying that he should have went in the 3rd round. Take it for what it’s worth. Was nice to see, though!
How do you think they would have rated the Bucs draft, if OJ Howard did not fall in the Bucs lap? Replace Howard with any of the names mentioned in PR as possibilities, and they probably get knocked out in round 1.
As I have stated many times, my criticism of Licht is that he does not let the draft come to him (except in the 1st round). How many times has Licht traded back to accumulate picks vs trading up and giving up picks.
I’d be willing to take a wait and see approach on Aguayo if it were May 2016 but it’s a year later and I’ve waited and seen enough. Apparently, so have the Bucs who paid 3/4 million Bucs for his replacement. Statistically, he was at the bottom of the kicker pile and can fairly be called a bust. I trust Licht and his staff on field player evaluations but not with kickers. If I hear about him never missing a kick from inside the 40 one more time, I’ll puke. His senior tape showed a complete lack of accuracy and precision. Sure, he made the kicks but they were all over within the uprights, some just sneaking in. The variability comes from his fingerprint follow through where no two are alike. Most kickers follow through on the left side with momentum carrying them naturally through on a line between the left upright and the left corner flag. Sometimes he does this but more often than not, he breaks hard left, almost perpendicular like he’s jumping out of the road, avoiding an oncoming truck. I know there’s big and bad men coming at you but if you’re concerned about getting hit to the point that it dictates bad body mechanics, you’re in the wrong business.
Kicking requires consistency in your setup, approach, strike and follow-through. I’ve been doing and teaching it my whole life, hitting footballs, soccer balls, heavy bags and human body parts. Aguayo is consistent on kickoffs and that makes me think it’s a contact-avoidance issue. If the Bucs have the money and roster spot for a kickoff guy, go for it but I’ve seen enough.
Ill add one last thing. Aguayo follows through correctly on kickoffs because of the speed through the ball required. If he did his crazy 90 degree break to the left on kickoffs, he’d either fall down or blow out his knee. That is the most likely reason for his accuracy Deteriorating on longer field goals. Longer kick equals faster speed through the ball, equals inability to follow-through along his preferred, incorrect angle. Bad technique, bad body mechanics, bad results and bad spirits inside the head. Not your basic formula for success.
Interesting info Kyop. I don’t know anything about kickers except it looked real dumbass when the other Gramatica (Bill) jumped up in excitement and blew out his knee.
I think the issue with Roberto was that he missed his first kick and it was in his head from then on. He kept questioning himself. His whole psyche was shaken.
I equate it to a guy who considers himself a great lover. Then one night he experiences an “equipment problem”. From then on, each time he is called to task, he worries about another system failure. He chants the Falcons “Rise Up” slogan. But in spite of his desire to perform, he wilts under the pressure. He looks down at his fallen friend and says, “Now I know why they call you a prick.”
Hopefully Roberto will regain his former prowess.
Interesting breakdown Kyop. I was wondering why he’s so bad on long FG attempts when his kickoffs actually have good length, so it doesn’t seem to be a leg strength issue. He is just so inconsistent at contact.
Funny story – In High School, I was the FG kicker for 35 yds and closer. We had a big leg kicker for beyond that, but he was very inconsistent. We were in the county finals and with less than a minute to go, we were down by 1 point. It was 4th down and it would be a 42 yd FG. So the coach didn’t even consider me and he told the other kicker to go in. He refused because he knew he would be blamed for the loss. So instead we ran a fake FG and our holder ended up running it for the TD. How many times in history has the holder become the MVP of a game?
You guys GOT to be kidding me!
You actually want us to believe you sat down and watched the entire game films of Justin Evans.
Seriously, you are either flat out lying or you have such ridiculously boring useless lives you actually viewed the film for reasons I can’t even fathom to understand.
I hope for your sakes you are just lying to make yourselves seem knowledgeable and you are simply frauds.
I really doubt if our scouts and Licht, who are paid to watch tedious game film, saw the same horrible things you did, he would have ever been drafted in the second round.
drdnest I am still LAUGHING after reading your post! How true !
Buc1976 so you say how true, you then know this from experience???
Go Bucs !!!
Inspesto I just agreed with drdnest!
IMO some people try to imply that they watch countless hours of tape on players, which is impossible to get unless they are NFL scouts. I also wonder how many have even played FB at any level.
Yes, and did anybody else hear weeks before the draft that the Bucs were seriously considering Evans, and were planning on picking him in the second round??? We all could have gotten that one correct in our pick the draft contests!!
Safety has to be the most difficult position in football to watch on video. If you do not know the defense they are in and the defensive play called, you have no idea if the Safety is in the correct spot or not.
About the only thing you can tell from video is if the player is able to tackle.
Wow Scubog, you certainly took the comparison to a very new and adult level.
My thought on the process is a little more athletic and pedestrian.
I equate his problems with those of a golfer.
There are some shots you stand over and you have all the confidence in the world you are going to make a solid strike and land up on the green or the middle of the fairway.
Then there are others that cause you concern for some mythical mental reason. Perhaps the ball has a different lie, or the angle to the landing point is a little different or it brings back memories of a horrible shot you made in the past.
Whatever the case, the mental aspect of the shot crawls into your mind and it causes the muscles to tighten up a little bit or it causes you to make one small imprecise move that affects the others.
Whatever the case, the mental aspect causes a swing imperfection and splat, a bad golf shot or a ball clanging off the upright is the ultimate outcome.
Erectile dysfunction, hmmmm.
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