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The Pewter Report Bucs Monday Mailbag is where Mark Cook answers your questions from our PewterReport Twitter account. You can submit your question to the Mailbag each week via Twitter using the hashtag #PRMailbag. Here are the questions we chose for this week’s edition of the Pewter Report’s Bucs Monday Mailbag.
Question: With so few needs, what are the chances the Bucs trade some of this year’s picks to stockpile some extras for the future?
Answer: As we’ve stated in the Mailbag previously, this year is unlike any other in the team’s history. Anything is truly possible and all scenarios are wide open. Winning a Super Bowl – then bringing virtually the same team back – is unprecedented in the modern era of the NFL. Yet here the Buccaneers are.
Bucs TE Rob Gronkowski and QB Tom Brady – Photo by: USA Today
The Bucs don’t need their first round pick to step in and be an impact starter. That gives them a ton of flexibility this year. There will be some teams who will covet that 32nd pick, as it is still technically in the first round. That gives teams that option of picking up a fifth-year option on that player. We saw the Bucs do that late in the first round in 2012, trading up to take halfback Doug Martin.
A lot also depends on what happens in the first 31 picks as well. All it would take is a team to fall in love with a certain player and see them there at 32. They would be on the phone in a second with the Buccaneers, who could pick up more picks this year or picks in the future. This year will be fun for sure as the unknown factor creates a lot of intrigue.
Question: How much do players participate in scouting for their teams draft? Is there any chance Tom Brady could participate in interviews for prospective QB pick?
Answer: I’ve never heard of players being involved in the scouting process. I suppose it is conceivable that occasionally a coach or G.M. might quiz a current player about a prospect that the current player might have played with in college that a team is considering drafting. But as far as sitting in on meetings or things like that, I really don’t believe that happens.
Bucs QB Tom Brady – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Having Tom Brady as Tampa Bay’s quarterback is certainly unique and there could be some value to getting his input. But what has made Brady the best quarterback of all time doesn’t necessarily show up on film. If it did he would have been selected 198 picks earlier in the 2000 draft. The intangibles that Brady brings to the table are what has made him a seven-time Super Bowl winner. Brady couldn’t tell that from just sitting in a meeting or watching film with Jason Licht.
I don’t think any players would even want to be involved in that part of the business. They are in the process of decompressing from a long, crazy and taxing season. They want and need to take a break from football – not be in the building breaking down college prospects.
Question: Best and worst case scenario for the Bucs’ pick at No. 32?
Answer: I don’t know there is a worst-case scenario, other than just blowing the pick on a complete bust. The Buccaneers are in a terrific position. Tampa Bay can do a number of things. But the best case scenario likely is to just stick to the team’s draft board and pick the best guy available. And hope the Bucs’ evaluation is correct on that player.
Bucs GM Jason Licht and John Spytek – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Teams never want to blow a first-round pick whether its the No. 1 overall pick or the No. 32 pick. While the Bucs’ roster is in excellent shape for the near term, they always have to be looking two or three years down the road. Sure, the Bucs don’t necessarily need their first few draft picks to be starters in 2021, but will need them to be core players in the years to come.
When a team isn’t up against the wall with its first-round pick needing to step in right away, I don’t think it can ever go wrong drafting offensive linemen. The bust rate for offensive linemen tend to be lower than at other positions and with the fact NFL teams are starting five of them every Sunday they make up the largest units on a football team in terms of the 53-man roster. That also means teams have to replace and re-sign them at a greater rate than other positions.
Question: Any news on O.J. Howard’s progress on his injury?
Bucs TE O.J. Howard – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Answer: We haven’t heard any official word from O.J. Howard but head coach Bruce Arians said recently that his recovery appears to be on track, and a league source told me over the last couple days he hasn’t heard anything different. That bodes well for Howard to be ready to go by training camp. Having the Bucs players decide to opt out of on the field offseason work should only give Howard more time to recover and be 100 percent when camp opens in late July.
Howard is in his fifth year and needs a big season to quiet the critics, who think he hasn’t lived up to his overall No. 19 draft billing. Fair or not, Howard, who has been solid when on the field and healthy, is at a crossroads in Tampa Bay. Staying healthy would make the Buccaneers’ decision on what to do with him as an unrestricted free agent next season a little easier.
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