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The Pewter Report Bucs Monday Mailbag is where Mark Cook answers your questions from our Pewter Report 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: I just read Jon Ledyard’s Rookie Expectations column. Wouldn’t they have been better off trading those Day 3 picks for some 2022 draft capital?
Answer: Depending on the success of the Day 3 selections down the road, perhaps that would have been the smart move. But people tend to forget that a trade requires a trade partner. Bucs G.M. Jason Licht can’t just snap his fingers and make a trade. Add in the fact that this wasn’t the greatest pool of draft talent, so finding teams willing to give up future picks likely made it even more difficult to find if Licht even considered that.
Bucs GM Jason Licht – Photo by: USA Today
We talk about the talent on this team and the lack of needs after winning a Super Bowl making it hard for rookies to even make the 2021 squad. Well, if the Bucs win it all again, not a lot changes. Guys like Rob Gronkowski, Ndamukong Suh and Jason Pierre-Paul might retire, but are the Bucs going to replace them with Day 3 picks in 2022?
I think the Day 3 guys this season – if the Bucs hit on them – might be even more impactful this season than Joe Tryon, Kyle Trask or Robert Hainsey. Likely their impact is on special teams, but that is one thing most are in agreement needed to improve this season.
Question: Which team is the Bucs’ biggest threat within the division? The Saints w/o Brees, the revamped Falcons, or the re-building Panthers?
Answer: I believe in the future it will be the Panthers, mainly because Matt Rhule has a history of turning programs around. Granted, winning at Temple and Baylor is different than winning in the NFL. Even the greatest college coaches have struggled. Go back and look at Nick Saban’s stint with the Miami Dolphins.
Panthers HC Matt Rhule – Photo by: USA Today
Going back to Carolina, they spent a lot of draft capital on the defensive side of the ball last season and the quickest way back to at least respectability is to build a defense. Now there is a difference between spending a lot of draft picks on one side of the ball and getting the right players. But the Panthers flooded their defense last year then focused on offense this season. The law of averages says a number of those players should turn out to be solid NFL contributors in years to come.
However, teams still need a competent quarterback to lead an offense, and who knows if Sam Darnold is that guy. The Panthers may end up kicking themselves down the road by not drafting Justin Fields.
I am not sure what to make of the Falcons. Can Matt Ryan stay healthy over the next couple of years? Can the Falcons get their defense playing Top 10 football fast enough to complement their offense, which should be really good this year, especially with the addition of Kyle Pitts?
New Orleans will always be a good football team with Sean Payton as head coach. The wild card of course is what they get from the quarterback position over the next few years. I like the pick of Payton Turner, who should make a their good defense even better. But I was very surprised to see them not draft a wide receiver until the seventh round.
Question: Out of all draft picks, which one will have biggest impact this upcoming year?
Answer: It’s still kind of crazy to think the Buccaneers are world champions isn’t it? Crazier to think all their starters are coming back. Barring a major injury, the team won’t count on any of the new Buccaneers to step in and play a significant role in 2021.
Yet the easy answer to this question would be outside linebacker Joe Tryon, the Bucs’ first-round pick. While he won’t be pushing Shaq Barrett or Jason Pierre-Paul out of the starting line-up, I do expect him to push Anthony Nelson down the rotational order. If that is the case then expect Tryon to pick up a few sacks. Nothing earth-shattering in his first season, but even if he can notch three or four, that would be big for the Buccaneers. Quarterback Kyle Trask, the team’s second-rounder, won’t see the field unless a “Doomsday” scenario happens. Lineman Robert Hainsey at best is the 2021 version of Joe Haeg.
North Texas WR Jaelon Darden – Photo courtesy of North Texas
Some of the Day 3 guys might find themselves the most impactful rookies for Tampa Bay in 2021. I am especially excited to see what Jaelon Darden is able to do in the return game. I have been harping for a few years about the lack of a dynamic returner. The Bucs may have finally solved that problem with the speedy Darden. He might also see the field with some specific offensive packages to showcase his shiftiness and speed. Darden is fast, but actually plays faster than his 40-time. Count me in as intrigued.
Lastly, keep an eye on Grant Stuard. The feisty, long-haired linebacker could end up being a special teams ace. Bucs G.M. Jason Licht compared him to former Dolphins standout Larry Izzo. If Stuard makes the team, he looks like one of those Alan Cross-type fan-favorite players. A player who can relate to the every day fan.
Question: What’s with the Kyle Trask hate?
Answer: Seminoles fans? I am kidding as there isn’t a bigger FSU fan than myself, and I actually loved the pick. Here is something I’m not particular proud of, but I watched every game that Kyle Trask played while in Gainesville. Not because I like the Gators. But because I hoped they would lose. A Gators loss on Saturday is almost as satisfying as a Seminoles win as far as I’m concerned. Other than his bowl game last season against Oklahoma, there wasn’t a game I didn’t come away impressed with Trask and his play.
Florida QB Kyle Trask – Photo by: USA Toda
Cool in the moment, confident in his ability and a more than adequate, accurate arm, he was the single biggest reason the Gators have had the success they’ve had the last two seasons. Imagine if Florida had had even a decent defense in 2020? Trask single-handily kept the Gators in the SEC championship game with Alabama. That was a game that most didn’t expect to even be close. Trask had 408 passing yards, three TD passes against the Crimson Tide.
I love what Bruce Arians had to say about what he likes about Trask.
“Everything about the guy,” Arians said. “He’s accurate, he’s smart, he’s tough, he knows how to move inside the pocket. We don’t draft guys to run, we draft them to throw. And he’s accurate as hell.”
That pretty much sums it up for me, too. He gets the endorsement of “The Quarterback Whisperer.” That’s all I need to hear, despite the chirping from the couch potato scouts on Twitter.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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