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Pewter Report’s Scott Reynolds answers your questions from the @PewterReport Twitter account each week in the Bucs Monday Mailbag Submit your question to the Bucs Monday Mailbag each week via Twitter using the hashtag #PRMailbag. Here are the questions we chose to answer for this week’s edition.
QUESTION: Is there a way that the Bucs could trade up into the Top 10? What would they have to give up?
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ANSWER: Could the Bucs trade up from No. 27 into the Top 10? Technically yes, but the question is what player would the Bucs trade up for? This is not a great first-round draft class. The value in this year’s draft is the deep middle rounds. So I’m not sure which player would warrant trading up for in the Top 10.
Georgia DT Devonte Wyatt – Photo by: USA Today
There are some really good offensive tackles and some fine edge rushers. But Tampa Bay has a tremendous pair of tackles in All-Pro Tristan Wirfs and Donovan Smith. Shaq Barrett and Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, last year’s first-round pick, is expected to be a dynamic duo for the next few years. So the Bucs wouldn’t even get a full-time starter as a rookie in 2022. That would represent some really bad value.
Plus, Tampa Bay would have to likely trade next year’s first-round pick and some other premium picks (either this year or next) to make a move up 17 spots to get to No. 10. It just doesn’t seem feasible or likely. The Bucs’ biggest needs due to their current depth chart are defensive tackle and tight end. There is a chance that Georgia’s Devonte Wyatt could be there at No. 27.
But even if he’s not, Wyatt is not worth trading up for because he’s not an elite player. Wyatt had just five career sacks at Georgia, including 2.5 last year. Six other Georgia defenders had more sacks than Wyatt did last year. And keep in mind that Wyatt is already 24 years old. The oldest first-rounder that Jason Licht has drafted was Vita Vea, who was 23 in 2018. Tampa Bay could wait until No. 27 and grab Houston’s Logan Hall, who at age 22 might even be a better fit.
QUESTION: Do you think the Bucs use one of the early picks on a TE like Trey McBride and a later pick on a RB like Isaiah Spiller?
ANSWER: Yes, that would be ideal. In the previous question I mentioned how tight end is one of the team’s biggest needs. The Bucs could grab the third defensive tackle off the board at No. 27 – assuming Georgia’s Jordan Davis and Devonte Wyatt are gone – in Houston’s Logan Hall or UConn’s Travis Jones. But the Bucs would also have a shot at Colorado State tight end Trey McBride, who is the top-rated player at the position, at No. 27.
Colorado State TE Trey McBride – Photo by: USA Today
Pewter Report almost put McBride in at No. 27 for the Bucs in our final 7-Round Mock Draft. Don’t be surprised if McBride is Tampa Bay’s first-round pick. It could happen. We put McBride in as the second-round pick in our mock draft, but in reality, the Bucs would likely have to trade up to get him. He won’t last until pick No. 60.
As for Texas A&M running back Isaiah Spiller, the Bucs are big fans. Like McBride, Tampa Bay had Spiller in for a pre-draft Top 30 visit. Spiller’s services will be in demand, and the guess here is that he’s gone by the time the Bucs pick in the third round at No. 91. The Aggies star could be in play for Tampa Bay’s selection at No. 60, but drafting a running back that high seems a little unlikely.
The Bucs have brought a slew of running backs in for pre-draft visits, including Florida’s Dameon Pierce and Arizona State’s Rachaad White. It seems more likely that Tampa Bay would use a third or fourth-round pick on a running back instead of its second-rounder.
QUESTION: Which is the biggest need to address in the draft – guard, edge rusher or defensive line?
ANSWER: I don’t see guard as the biggest need. Many mock drafts are still mocking Boston College’s Zion Johnson or Texas A&M’s Kenyon Green to Tampa Bay at No. 27. The only problem with that theory is that if either Johnson or Green doesn’t beat out Aaron Stinnie, Nick Leverett and Robert Hainsey in camp, then the Bucs’ first-round pick is on the bench for his rookie season. If the Bucs draft a defensive lineman like Houston’s Logan Hall, a tight end like Colorado State’s Trey McBride or a safety like Georgia’s Lewis Cine at No. 27, that player can rotate in and see plenty of action as a rookie.
Michigan DE David Ojabo – Photo by: USA Today
Call me crazy, but I think the competition between Stinnie, Leverett and Hainsey, last year’s third-round pick, can make the cream rise to the top. Whoever wins the battle for the left guard spot out of those three will be a capable starter in 2022. I don’t believe the Bucs need to spend their first-round pick on a guard.
Pewter Report has Hall at No. 27 in our final Bucs 7-Round Mock Draft. But the real surprise pick could be Michigan edge rusher David Ojabo, who suffered a torn Achilles at his pro day. Ojabo will likely be out for all of his rookie year, and that won’t help the Bucs’ quest for another Super Bowl in the 2022 season. But if Tampa Bay stays true to its board, he could be in play as the team views him as a Top 10-15-ranked prospect.
Ojabo had a breakout junior year in his first season as a starter. Playing opposite Aidan Hutchinson, Ojabo had 35 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 11 sacks and five forced fumbles. Certain players just have a knack for strip-sacks. Bucs legend Simeon Rice had it, and current Bucs edge rusher Shaq Barrett has it. Ojabo has it, too.
While he wouldn’t help Tampa Bay at all this year, Ojabo could eventually replace Barrett, who turns 30 in November. Ojabo and Joe Tryon-Shoyinka could give the Bucs a pair of bookend pass rushers for years to come. Not predicting it will happen, but not ruling Ojabo out at No. 27.
QUESTION: Which coaches do you believe that Jason Licht has the most confidence or trust in player evaluations for the positions they coach?
ANSWER: That’s a great question, and one that I don’t really have an answer to. What I will say is this. Bucs general manager Jason Licht trusts this coaching staff. It’s as solid as any coaching staff that Tony Dungy or Jon Gruden fielded in Tampa Bay. The strength of this coaching staff is player development. This is a great group of experienced teachers. I can’t really say that Licht trusts one certain position coach more than another. I just don’t have that information.
Bucs GM Jason Licht and VP of player personnel John Spytek – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
But Licht also trusts his scouting staff, and that group works well with the coaching staff. There is no friction in the war room between the scouts and the coaches whatsoever. Licht wouldn’t stand for it in the first place. But this group has worked so well together since Bruce Arians’ arrival in 2019. When the coaching and scouting staffs work in concert, a team gets great draft picks.
That was the case in the 1990s under Rich McKay’s scouting staff and Dungy’s coaching staff. That’s why the Bucs drafted a slew of Pro Bowlers, including fullback Mike Alstott, running back Warrick Dunn, kicker Martin Gramatica, cornerbacks Ronde Barber and Donnie Abraham, as well as Super Bowl XXXVII defensive back heroes Dexter Jackson and Dwight Smith. When Gruden arrived in 2002 he was at odds with McKay and the team’s drafting suffered.
There wasn’t the same harmony within the building between the scouts and the coaches under general manager Bruce Allen and many of Tampa Bay’s draft picks were wasted on poor selections. The Bucs drafted just one Pro Bowler in Gruden’s seven years in Tampa Bay – first-round guard Davin Joseph in 2006. While running back Carnell “Cadillac” Williams, a first-round pick in 2005, never made the Pro Bowl, he was the AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
QUESTION: Everyone knows we need interior defensive line help. Are we still looking for gap shooters or bull rushers to collapse the pocket? Still don’t get the Khalil Davis failure.
ANSWER: Ideally, the Bucs are looking for gap shooters. They already have some bull rushers in the likes of Pro Bowl nose tackle Vita Vea, Will Gholston and Rakeem Nunez-Roches aka Nacho. Ndamukong Suh, whom the Bucs hope to re-sign, fits this description, too. However, whatever quick, penetrating-type defensive tackle the Bucs select – if they do – needs to be able to stop the run. In Todd Bowles’ defense, stopping the run is the priority because it forces teams to then throw the ball. The Bucs have ranked first, first and third in the NFL in rushing defense since 2019 when Bowles arrived.
Bucs DT Khalil Davis – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
That was the downfall of Khalil Davis. He was a quick, athletic defensive tackle. But at 6-foot-1, 303 pounds, he just didn’t have the strength and ability to consistently hold his gap in run defense. Keep in mind that despite his athleticism, Davis was a sixth-round pick for a reason. There were holes in his game coming out of Nebraska. And it’s also fair to point out that he’s on his third team in three years. After a brief appearance in Indianapolis after Tampa Bay cut him, Davis now plays in Pittsburgh.
There aren’t a lot of quick, athletic defensive tackles in this year’s draft class that can do both. It’s really a down year for the defensive tackle class. Georgia’s Devonte Wyatt and Houston’s Logan Hall are probably the best at rushing the quarterback and stopping the run. Both are Bucs’ Best Bets this year for that reason.
Wyatt is a classic three-technique defensive tackle, while Hall is versatile enough to play three tech and defensive end (think Will Gholston) in Bowles’ defense. And he could also play on the edge in some packages due to his versatility. That’s a big reason why Pewter Report has him atop our final Bucs’ 7-Round Mock Draft.
QUESTION: Any chance we draft Troy Andersen? If Lavonte David or Devin White get injured we’re screwed
ANSWER: Montana State linebacker Troy Andersen is an interesting prospect. An incredible athlete at nearly 6-foot-4, 243 pounds, Andersen ran a 4.42 at the NFL Scouting Combine. That was the fastest time of any inside linebacker. But Andersen is still a project, having moved from quarterback to linebacker during his junior year.
Alabama LB Christian Harris – Photo by: USA Today
While he’s a playmaker that can fill up the stat sheet with his chase-and-tackle playing style, Andersen is not the most physical linebacker. He has trouble shedding blocks and filling gaps at the point of attack. That likely comes from years of playing offense. For all of his physical tools, Andersen’s lack of physicality and instincts show up on tape. I don’t see him being a Bucs fit for that reason.
If Tampa Bay wants to draft an eventual replacement for Lavonte David this year, the best fit is Alabama’s Christian Harris. He’s a fast, physical heat-seeking missile that ran a 4.44 at the NFL Scouting Combine. Harris had 10 sacks over the last two years for the Crimson Tide, including 5.5 last year and two forced fumbles.
The 6-foot, 226-pounder plays bigger than his size, and has six pass breakups and an interception in his career in coverage. Two of his pass breakups last year resulted in interceptions for his Alabama teammates. Harris projects as a second or third-round pick.
Scott Reynolds is in his 27th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive coordinator/defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]
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