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.

Question: LSU linebacker Devin White is a beast. Do you see the Bucs picking him No. 5 after running a 4.42 40? Or are there bigger needs players like CB Greedy Williams etc?

Answer: There are so many good players that may end up being available when the Bucs are on the clock, but LSU linebacker Devin White fills a huge need for this team and from everything we learned at the Combine this week, including his performance, you have to include him as a player that is worthy as well. There is a reason why PewterReport.com was the first media outlet to have White going to the Bucs at No. 5 back in January.

Kwon Alexander, who is coming off an ACL tear, has yet to be signed, and the feeling here is that he will get to test the free agent market. The feeling the PewterReport.com staff got at the NFL Scouting Combine was that Kendell Beckwith’s ankle injury last year could be career-ending. If that’s the case, linebacker becomes the No. 1 need, especially since Jack Cichy, last year’s sixth-round, is also coming off a torn ACL.

So now the dilemma begins for Tampa Bay. The one thing we know is the Bucs have, or are in the process of, mapping out all the potential scenarios. And that includes even a player like Alabama defensive lineman Quinnen Williams or Kentucky outside linebacker Josh Allen somehow falling to No. 5 and standing pat, or possibly trading down to acquire more draft picks.

If there was any doubt about how the Bucs felt about White, I think he checked all the boxes this weekend. He is the fastest linebacker in the draft with a 4.42, strong, and came across as the type of player you want, at least from his interview at the podium. We don’t have all the intel that the Bucs and the rest of the NFL have on him, or any of the players, but you can almost guarantee the team has a list of at least five players who they deem worthy of the fifth pick, and how can White not be one of those?

Of course, White’s LSU teammate, 6-foot-2 cornerback Greedy Williams, ran a tantalizing 4.38 time in the 40-yard dash on Monday morning. Add him to the list of players the Bucs should be considering in the Top 10.

Question: The way it’s unfolding, it’s looking like the best DB, best LB, and one of the premier edge rushers will be available. Which way do the Bucs go at No. 5, assuming they stay there?

Answer: I wish we could get in the mind of general manager Jason Licht and head coach Bruce Arians, because the scenario you just mentioned is most likely true. The best player at least two of those positions very well could be available. And even if you are assuming Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa is the best pass rusher in the draft, and is off the table, who is to say that a guy like Mississippi State defensive end Montez Sweat or Michigan defensive lineman Rashan Gary doesn’t turn out to be the best five years from now?

Bucs GM Jason Licht - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs GM Jason Licht – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

The question now is, which position does this staff and front office feel is the biggest need, if we assume all things are equal, and the best defensive back, linebacker and pass rusher are still on the board at No. 5? I would imagine it will be something that is bantered and debated about over the next month and a half, even right up until draft night and the minute the team is on the clock.

Like many, we assumed the most likely scenario would be to trade out, and it still very well could happen, but after the performances of we saw the last three days, it will make that decision to do so, even more difficult. But what a great problem to have for Tampa Bay.

Question: With limited cap space is it logical to say in the second wave of FA we will sign three or four players like safety Deone Buchanan, guard Ramon Foster and maybe cornerback Morris Claiborne/or Pierre Desir? What positions do you think will be addressed in FA?

Answer: All of the players you mentioned make sense, and most likely are players that last past the opening gun of free agency. Maybe.

Deone Bucannon seems like a great fit, as he was very effective in his first season with the Cardinals under Bruce Arians in 2015. Injuries took a toll over the next two seasons, and he struggled when the Cardinals switched to a 4-3 defense. The Cards are switching back to a 3-4 this year and many in Arizona think the Cardinals will want the former first-round pick back and to see what new defensive coordinator Vance Joseph could do with him. But look for the Bucs to have an interest in him if he does make it to free agency.

The guard position is one that almost certainly be addressed in free agency, but as you mentioned, in the second wave and not right out of the gate. Despite the Bucs still holding out hope that Alex Cappa will be better in 2019, and even if the Bucs decide to address the position in the draft, Tampa Bay could use a veteran at that spot, and a player like Pittsburgh’s Reuben Foster could be that bridge. As as we have mentioned all offseason, Mike Iupati, a former Arizona Cardinal, is a player that could fill the role until a rookie, or Cappa, is ready to become a full time starter.

And cornerback will also be a position the team will address in free agency, or the draft, and even more than likely, both. This team believes Vernon Hargreaves can be a slot or even an outside cornerback, but the big question is, can he stay healthy? That’s something that has been a problem in his young career.

There are a handful of the second wave free agents corners that should be available – players like Morris Claiborne, who played for Todd Bowles in New York, and Indianapolis Pierre Desir as you mentioned, but also Oakland’s Rashaan Melvin and others who won’t break the bank.

Question: I understand what the Bucs staff is saying, but do you guys at Pewter Report think this team is talented enough to only add bargain free agents and rookies? Strengths become weaknesses fast if Adam Humphries and DeSean Jackson go.

Answer: I don’t think anyone would argue that losing players like Adam Humphries and DeSean Jackson would make the wide receiver room weaker. The object, and main job of general manager Jason Licht, is to replace these players with someone hopefully as good, or close to it – and maybe get lucky and find a better player out there.

Or perhaps the Bucs have developed younger players that are ready to fill in and perform. Maybe Justin Watson or Bobo Wilson can out up the same numbers as Humphries did. Every team will go through times when they just can’t afford to keep everyone on the roster.

Look at the New England Patriots for example. They have their foundation players on both sides of the ball, but the organization does a great job of identifying players who can come in and be complimentary players to the core guys. Those are the teams that tend to always be playoff contenders, and in the case of New England, Super Bowl contenders.

The question now is, how good and dependable are the Bucs’ core players, and how much complimentary talent can Licht and Bruce Arians surround them with? The way Tampa Bay is posturing, the Bucs’ brass feels that the problem was coaching last year – not talent – so don’t look for wholesale roster turnover this year at One Buc Place.

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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]

28 COMMENTS

  1. The reason why we were upset about the Aguayo pick was not because he was Bust, it was because you don’t draft a kicker that high. It’s called replacement value. If you are sitting at 5 and Quinnen Williams or Bosa are still on the board you don’t ask yourself if you should draft a linebacker. Last dominant LB that was taken in the top 5 was Junior Seau 1990. Let’s not overthink this.

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    • Agreed. If Bosa, Allen, or Williams are there you take them without hesitation. If not and you move back, to, say ten, then you could still get white, sweat, or an O-lineman. This draft is so deep that picking up a few extra picks would be a smash unless those three are available.

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      • I think there would still be some temptation at no. 5 to trade back a few spots if Williams is there – not because he won’t be a stud DT, but because that position is so deep this year. This reasoning assumes the Bucs keep McCoy. If they don’t, then hell yes, take Williams at no. 5 if available. If not, take Ed Oliver.

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    • Right on Captain. Reason I didnt like Aguayo pick was same reason I didnt like a few of his picks. He traded up and traded away picks/players. Stay put and take him in the 3rd round when your time comes. Then you have another pick coming shortly after. The more the merrier in the draft. We all know the hit/miss %. Licht trades up far too often for guys he doesnt need to. Otherwise tho I think he is doing a good job. We will see that this year with a legit coaching staff.
      And no way Greedy Williams goes over Devin White. The guy is allergic to tackling. Overrated. I wont be surprised if he is the 3rd or 4th corner taken even after the 4.38. And I’m all for trading back as much as i love the draft but its always about who is there and compensation. Gota play it smart. Stop trading up tho Licht! Your trade up record isnt very good!

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  2. The Bucs core talent still isn’t a playoff team imho and that hurts to say. I am so excited about Arians and this staff though. It will be relatively quick turnaround I bet. Just don’t know about first year.

    Bucs are in great position if they trade down or not. If they stay put and take best player at 5 I have no doubt it will be a huge impact year one type player.

    Go Bucs!

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    • Not popular opinion, but totally agree 9-7 or 10-6 would be a great start in the right direction, make the playoffs and all teams have a chance to make the final four. Five year plans are long past, but solid three year plans make sense if you look at age of HC, moderate turnover, stability if assistant coaches, etc. We all want instant gratification, but 10-6, 11-5, 12-4, means you’re knocking on the door for a retirement splash and turnover to the young guard of coaches and players reaching that 2-3 year window when they are average or special. Need to keep a strong core of vets (obviously not all) who have shown they are team oriented and willing to train their replacements while hoping for the stars to align in their final years, obviously, JPP, McCoy, David, etc., come to mind – though if it is a 3 yr plan, then none may be back for next year without sacrificing some dough and some may not to wait until a true core (with legitimate depth) come to age. Same with DJax, Kwon, Jameis, etc. Except for Jameis which I truly believe BA was brought in to see what this season will show, I think everyone is on the table except for Smith, due to a chronically weak LT class. That being said, Tackles, Guards, D-Line & Linebackers should be signed as FA’s every year and drafted every year as well as a QB. Secondary is always great, but the NFL has skewed the rules so much to protect QB’s & WR’s, that your only real chance is getting in the QB’s face. I also agree with those who say pressure & disruption are much more important that sacks in today’s NFL. Sacks give up a few yards and usually lead to a 2nd or 3rd chance, pressure & disruption lead to bad decisions, interceptions, and happy feet – even for the best of the best QBs in the league. Hope we keep what we can as far as TE’s, WR’s – Jameis has a breakout year and we start developing a replacement as only a team on the cusp can invest 25-30 million of cap value. Only Brady has taken below market to keep a core around him – don’t blame the others, just a fact. Best scenario, Jameis proves the doubters wrong, becomes a true franchise QB and you develop someone who can help the team build depth. This assumes that success will bring a crippling cap hit at the QB position, but when they start chewing up 15% or more of the CAP, you’re ready to move on. Of course, he could take the Brady course and chase titles, but I’m not sure why or if anyone would in a small market without the ability of endorsement and jewelry to make up the difference. Of course the players themselves could solve the whole situation in the new CBA, but like politics the top 5% are going to rule the room and prevent a secondary CAP – they voted for a rookie CAP to make sure the vets get the big bucks, but will they address the biggest issue among veterans that “no position” can take up more than 10% of the CAP. I certainly won’t be holding by breath …

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      • That idea is BRILLIANT! Too bad the NFLPA would never sign off on something like that

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    • I disagree on paper we are just as talented as KC maybe more so in 2018. We had enough talent to make the playoffs. The problem is the locker room and the coaches never believed that and that’s at least half the battle.

      BA’s team could turn this around quickly as in this year. Not a sure thing by any means but I think the Bucs make the playoff in 2019.

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  3. Other than N Bosa and Q Williams if we had a choice among J Allen, D White, E Oliver and G Williams which would we take? All of the above named players are presumed to be ten year, All-Pro calibre talents. All are presumed to be of relatively equivalent value. This is the criteria stated by Arians recently.

    You take that guy you judge to be your ten-year man and don’t trade down in that situation. That is how I understood what Arians said.

    If we will be going to a 3-4 but still employing 4-3 as well as nickel schemes then I would choose Devin White.

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  4. There’s great depth at DT and DE/3-4 OLB in this draft, but ILB depth is rather weak (White, Bush, Wilson). Depending on what happens in free agency, seems targeting an ILB early and then going DT/DE/3-4 OLB later might be a wise course of action depending on the FO and staff grades of each player.

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  5. In my opinion, I think extending Mccoy was a mistake, I think that he’s above at best, I would also dare to say that franchising Smith is a mistake as ge is extremely slow. I would spend some of that money on resigning Humphries as he reminds me as a poor mans Edelman. Jackson could go as I don’t believe that he wants to be here anyway. The holes could be filled by the draft hopefully, and some free agents to build that bridge until the younger guys are ready to play. At No. 5 you always draft the Best Player Available!

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    • McCoy wasn’t “extended”, he will be retained. Extending him would actually be the smarter play as it would give him more years than his current contract and lower his cap-hit. Win-win for both sides. Right now he is not guaranteed anything, the FO could add two years to his current contract with a two year,or say $10M, guarantee on his extension at an $8M base. This, to me, would be optimal

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      • I’d count my chickens when they hatch on the Bucs “retaining” McCoy. His place on the team isn’t guaranteed any more than his $39 million dollar salary for the next 3 years. He doesn’t have a roster bonus and isn’t owed anything until the games start. Same thing with Desean Jackson. New league year starts in a week and the cap goes up by $11 mil.

        Licht did say he won’t restructure them. He said he believes players won’t play as hard if you ask them to take a pay cut. He’s been true to his word about that.

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    • No one has been extended, for every story saying they “would love for them to stay” there is a counter-story deferring to reality of the Cap and age. Except for Smith (which it appears we’re forced to keep), Jameis (probably) since that was the primary focus of the HC search and Mike Evans, I don’t believe a single player is safe. All we have really heard is (would love to keep all the playmakers and/or people you have to scheme for) and the reality of the cap which states any other than the other 3 are truly safe – again, barring a team coming in with an offer of players/picks, then “EVERY SINGLE PLAYER” is on the block – and should be for the right price.

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  6. I just don’t believe that he’s top 10. I might be missing something. When I think of a great DT, I think of Sapp. May be unfair, but, That’s my expectation.

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    • 6 x pro-bowler vs. 7 x pro-bowler and Sapp never was a pro-bowler again after leaving the Bucs. Sapp played with one of the greatest defensive cores behind him for his TB career, McCoy has played with average or worst. Not even counting schemes, assignments, etc. Not saying McCoy has ever had the success of Sapp and certainly won’t be a first ballot hall of famer – but has played for suck-ass teams his entire career and was well known injury prone his first two years. I just can’t believe the people who think a story or two about someone being retained think there is more than ounce of truth to it. Other than the ole NE Head Coach who don’t talk to anyone, everyone else is lying or withholding – if they’re not they shouldn’t be a HC or GM.

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    • Sapp spoiled us !!!

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  7. If you stick at pick five your scouting staff, head coach and general manager should agree on the perceived value of the player.

    If you don’t see any player as pick five worthy then you must go to plan B. Though you can’t force any other teams to want to trade up it is a given that you have done everything possible beforehand to give yourself a real chance at trading down.

    Warren Sapp was selected at 12 and Derrick Brooks was selected at 28. Gaines Adams was drafted at pick 4. No staff knows exactly what the outcome will be for their choices.

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  8. From all that I’ve read by coaches, analyst, and fans the plan seems to be set in stone. If one of the big 3 Bosa, Williams, or Allen (possibly White) are there at 5 you take him. If not move down, pick up a couple top players and extra picks. Really not much of a mystery this year. Wouldn’t waste my money on marginal FA’s. Maybe one or two young former Arian prayers. Finally my main concern is the unknown potential Buc’s that may have been playing out of position and thus considered bust that we otherwise might cut only to see as Pro Bowlers in 2020. This team may be loaded with untapped talent that BA can unearth.

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  9. Sooner or later you knew it had to happen. Here’s a mock draft that has the Bucs trading down and passing on DE Josh Allen and DT Quinnen Williams to select OT Jawaan Taylor at #10 after trading with the Broncos. Could it happen? You decide!

    http://www.drafttek.com/2019-NFL-Mock-Draft-Round1.asp

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    • If I take Arians to be honest in what he said about drafting a superstar then we stand pat and take Allen or Williams.

      If not convinced that one or the other are a “sure thing” the decision is easy. We trade down.

      It is easy for me to say as I am not in Licht’s shoes.
      _______________
      Go Bucs!!!!!!!

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      • I agree wholeheartedly! Go Bucs!

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  10. this draft is so deep on the D side of the ball you could trade back twice in the first round and come away with a very good defensive draft.

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    • That is true. Just have to determine which pool of players on your board have a first round grade. Because you don’t want to trade yourself out of nabbing a player with a first round grade. But if you have over 30 prospects with a first round grade then trading down twice seems very logical.

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  11. My Philosophy about the draft is if you are a perennial basement team, ( We definitely are) you have to abandon the notion of getting the best player available. YOU NEED TALENT. we can pretend that a coaching change will make us into a playoff team but that is unlikely. My first choice would be to trade down if the deal is good. But if not, at #5 there will still be some incredible talent on the defensive side of the ball, which I think we should harvest. We need an offensive lineman, but this is an incredibly strong draft on Defense. Grab one of the playmakers early.

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  12. Take white at 5 and never look back!

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  13. I really don’t play these guessing games, just enjoy the show live when it goes down.

    Having said that I hope PR live stream of the draft is even better than last years. The stream with live chat was awesome fun night and made the draft far more interesting. For me it was off the hook, maybe I should have gotten my hooks from TA Mahoney’s, lol.

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  14. We have a very good problem on our hands. Whether we stay or trade down, we will likely still get a great player or players. I tend to lean more toward a trade down as I think we can gain additional picks and still manage to grab a stud 1st rounder.

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