The PR Bucs Monday Mailbag is where PewterReport.com’s Mark Cook answers your questions from our 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: Is this Bruce Arians’ offense with Byron Leftwich calling plays? Or is it Leftwich’s offense with Arians’ input?

Answer: It may be a combination of the two, but at the very least it is heavily based on philosophy coming from what Bruce Arians has done in Arizona, Indianapolis and Pittsburgh. I am not sure if that specific question has been asked of Arians. I don’t know that Leftwich has even been in the league long enough to develop his own offense. His first shot at calling plays was midway through last season when as quarterbacks coach for the Cardinals, he took over playcalling duties when Mike McCoy was fired.

I am guessing he just continued with the playbook that the team has spent the year learning, and just added his touch and maybe a few wrinkles to it. Similar to what Mark Duffner did last year for the Bucs defense after succeeding Mike Smith.

And honestly, if you are Leftwich, why would you try and reinvent the wheel, when Arians has a proven offensive system that has succeeded with multiple teams, including a couple of Super Bowls?

Question: Do the Buccaneers place the franchise tag on Donovan Smith for this year? And then draft somebody, groom them and takes Smith’s place in 2020?

Answer: It is possible they tag Donovan Smith, but a long-term deal is still not out of the question. As I wrote in my Bucs Battle Plan, a long-term deal saves money initially, as the average annual salary would most likely be less than the $14 million Smith would receive with the franchise tag. But the Bucs won’t give Smith a multi-year deal unless the new coaching staff is convinced he can play at a high enough level to justify it.

General manager Jason Licht, from what we understand will have some discussions with agents of Bucs free agents this week in Indianapolis where the Scouting Combine is happening. We should know more about the team’s long term plans with Smith shortly. Either an announcement of a new contract or their intentions on using the franchise tag.

Question: What’s the feeling about Justin Watson with Bruce Arians? He’s got great size at 6-foot-3 and 4.4 speed, and had a pretty good connection with Jameis Winston last preseason. Could he be the one that takes that next step?

Bucs WR Justin Watson
Bucs WR Justin Watson – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Answer: The front office is pretty high on Justin Watson, but we haven’t heard anything yet from the coaching staff on their assessment. Of course they have very little to go on, as Watson only caught one regular season pass in 2018. His preseason film was good in 2018 with 12 catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns, but it is difficult to really know how that translates to a regular season performance.

As you mentioned, Watson has the attributes to be successful, and Arians’ offense is a receiver’s dream as the ball gets thrown around a lot – much of that on downfield attempts. It isn’t a dink and dunk offense for sure. And if Adam Humphries is allowed to walk in free agency, then Watson gets bumped up a spot on the depth chart heading into the offseason workouts and training camp.

Question: Consensus seems to be that we’re taking an offensive tackle or a defensive lineman with the No. 5 pick. My favorite pick there would be LSU cornerback Greedy Williams. How does Williams compare to Denzel Ward? Cleveland took him at No. 4 and he panned out to be worthy the pick.

Answer: If the Bucs believe that Greedy Williams could duplicate Denzel Ward’s rookie season, then they would draft him in a heartbeat. I was one of those that thought Ward went a little high last season, but that is proof of why I am not an NFL scout. He had 53 tackles, 11 pass breakups, three interceptions, a fumble recovery and a trip to the Pro Bowl as a rookie, and was even more than the Browns thought they would get when they drafted him last April. But they are obviously pleased he exceeded expectations.

At 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, Williams is as impressive of a cover corner as there is in this year’s draft, but the knock seems to be his tackling and physicality in the run game. He has great ball skills and coverage ability, but is probably not worthy of a Top 10 pick in this year’s draft.

And most mock drafts have the Bucs selecting a defensive lineman or offensive tackle but all options are on the table. Mocks are merely speculation, and rarely factor in trades. I would still guess there is more than a 50 percent chance the Bucs trade out of the No. 5 slot to pick up more picks this year.

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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]

19 COMMENTS

  1. The Bucs need additional picks more than whoever they can draft at number five. I really hope they trade down. I think Miami or Washington would overpay to move up. Both teams are QB desperate right now. Washington is the best bet. I suspect we could trade five for 15, an extra second rounder, an extra third rounder, a late round pick and a high draft pick– a second or third round- for next year.
    Then if Bucs want to get really fancy, they might be able to trade that 15 spot to New England for two second rounders, a first, and a third. Of course, Bill Belichick wasn’t born yesterday and is far less likely to overpay.
    So, we could move from six picks to nine or more with multiple picks in the second and third rounds
    Go Bucs!

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    • When it comes to trading in the Draft, everyone expects way more in return than is realistic. Now if there is a bidding war from a few teams then that is when a late round and high pick next year could come into play, but unfortunately you can’t count on that.

      That being said I really think trading down is the way to go if we want to fill the team out like we need it. Only way we don’t is if they think the player we get at 5 would completely transform our Defense.

      Could you imagine trading down twice If we’re looking more to fill out the team And do this?

      5 to 15 and pick up and extra 2 and 3
      Then 15 and a 5th to Oakland and get 24 and 27
      We would have 24 and 27, 2 2nds and 2 3rds

      We could get OT, DE, OG, CB, LB, S or CB

      That would be eaxactly what we needed all within the first 3 rounds. A dream scenario as well but cool to think about.

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      • I like the second trade with Oakland, but think we would probably have to give up 15 and 46 and then have Oakland give us 24, 27, 106, and 196.
        So, we would end up with
        24, 27, 39, two thirds, two fourths, one fifth, one sixth, and a seventh.

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        • A bit pie in the sky, but I like your thinking. The only caveat is Arians wants to win now, so Mark’s turn at playing GM yesterday might be more in line than going young with a bunch of draft picks.

          No matter what happens, this is going to be a VERY interesting offseason!

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          • I think we have a really good chance of trading down with either Washington or Miami. Maybe 75%.
            I’d love to see a further trade down with either Oakland or New England, but that would be far less likely. The odds of any second trade down I’d put at less than thirty percent.

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  2. Lots of talk about WR Justin Watson, but don’t forget about WR Sergio Bailey, the most improved WR in training camp last year before going on IR. Could be a player this year. Go Bucs!

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    • Agreed. Also, Bobo Wilson is a burner. I rather like the WR corp, even with the departure of Humphries and Jackson

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  3. Always enjoy your Mailbag Mark.

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    • Thanks man, and I enjoy your feedback. Even when you don’t agree with me haha.

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  4. Agree that it’s highly likely we trade out of #5, unless Bosa or Allen are somehow sitting there (doubtful though). Not really fantasizing about somebody overpaying for the slot, as long as Licht gets good value for the pick. Fine if it’s a fair trade on both sides.

    Arians stated that Leftwich will call plays, but that he would be on the line as well to make suggest or to request a certain play. He mentioned game-planning will be a group effort, but have to believe they’re using BA’s offensive blueprint in whatever scheme they come up with.

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    • If Q Williams is gone before pick no. 5, and either Ed Oliver or Devon White are there at 5, I’d be really hesitant about trading down.

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      • Fairly certain both Oliver and White will still be sitting there at #5, and one or both might even still be available at #10. Obviously we won’t know, and no one can say for sure, until draft day. Really comes down to who’s still available at #5, how far the trade down is, and what we’d be getting in return. Curious how it plays out, but with a tight cap and limited $$ extra picks to address multiple needs might not be the worst idea. Really just comes down to the individual grades the FO has for each player and how they rank on their board.

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  5. We need more talent on O line. I don’t buy that coaching alone will fix it. Dotson and Benenoch, and Cappa all pretty lack luster. If they trade down or not hope some good O lineman or possibly LB (edge pass rusher) I also think they franchise tag Smith and end up Looking for replacement for him as well next year.

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    • Bennie was definitely a liability last year. But, he was also being used in zone blocking majority of the time. Not his strong suit. It seemed as though Cappa was all but ignored. Big Dot, yeah, the only positive thing I have to say about, or to, him is, thanks for the service

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      • Like Dot as a person and he’s a great interview on the PR podcasts, but agree his time has come here in Tampa.

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  6. My favorite mock draft scenario that I have seen is from DraftWire. It has us trading down to the 10th pick with Denver.

    1 (10) OT Jonah Williams

    2 (39) G Chris Lindstrom

    3 (70) DT Khalen Saunders

    3 (71) RB Damien Harris

    4 (100) DE/OLB Oshane Ximines

    (Perhaps RB Benny Snell could be taken instead of Damien Harris.)

    This kind of draft would address current needs very well.

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    • See that would look great to me, Oline has to come from the Draft… Except it leaves the other area of need wide open which is our Secondary… Which is why if we could squeeze at least 1 trade down in there it could really go a long way…

      I still think we are going to have more there with the guys we currently have along with hopefully a couple FA pickups… If we get a CB, S and or LB in FA then that Draft is exactly what we need… It’s all just gonna depend on what cream rises to the top after Evals and preseason, probably gonna have to cross our fingers for a couple spots and hope guys like Adams and Hargreaves and Davis really shine in the new Defense…

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      • Amen to that.

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  7. I suspect Chucky too is contemplating what he can pillage and plunder from a QB desirous team with his #4 pick. While in this Draft my preference is to trade down a bit; if a QB is taken at #4, we just might have a player or two still on the board who Licht won’t pass up.

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