Louisville DT Sheldon Rankins - Photo by: Getty Images
As the NFL Draft inches closer, teams are beginning to take a closer look at players by inviting them to their facility as part of the league’s 30 allotted visits. Who the teams’ decide to host – sometimes twice –can often be a strong indication as to what their plans are at the end of the month, such as the case with Tampa Bay.
Speculated to go defense-heavy after only drafting one over the last two years, all 13 of the Buccaneers’ reported visits to this point are with defensive players.
Here is the list of draftees scheduled for a trip to One Buc Place in the coming days:
Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida: A native of Tampa, Hargreaves has often been pegged to Tampa Bay in mock drafts. Many analysts consider the former Gator as the best cornerback prospect (if Jalen Ramsey is considered a safety), but the knock on him has always been size, at 5-foot-10, 192-pounds. Hargreaves III, known for his athleticism and strong play against SEC competition, had an impressive Combine and pro day performance and is believed to be a sure-fire Top 10 pick. If Tampa Bay selects him, Hargreaves would presumably start opposite Brent Grimes, whom he listed as one of the cornerbacks he looks up to in the NFL.
Myles Jack, LB, UCLA: Jack, a running back-turned-linebacker in college, is seen as one of, if not the, most athletic players in the draft. A knee surgery last September sidelined him through most of the 2015 season and the Combine, but the 6-foot-1, 245-pound backer is still widely projected as a Top 5 pick. In Tampa Bay, he would likely play Sam linebacker, next to Lavonte David at Will and Kwon Alexander in the middle. Given that the Sam linebacker doesn’t play every snap, and David and Alexander won’t be taken off the field, it might not be a realistic option for the Bucs, if Jack is even available.
Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State: It’s no secret the Bucs will be taking an especially close look at pass rushers this April, but No. 9 overall might be high for Ogbah, who’s dropped out of the Top 5 of defensive ends in many experts’ opinion. His college stats, however, speak for themselves, as he finished with 12.5 sacks and 17 tackles for loss in 2015.
Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky: The darling of the Senior Bowl in January, Spence cooled off a bit in Indianapolis. But the former Buckeye, who’s looking to convince teams that his off-field issues are in the past, is still a likely first-rounder. Before transferring to Eastern Kentucky, where he dominated the competition, Spence recorded 7.5 sacks as a sophomore at Ohio State. Spence stands 6-foot-2, 251-pounds.
Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville: PewterReport.com’s prediction for the Bucs in its last three mock drafts, Rankins would give Tampa Bay a dominant interior front, along with Gerald McCoy. The 6-foot-1, 299-pound tackle tallied 14 sacks and 26 tackles for loss over 2014 and 2015, and showed his superior athleticism by running a 5.03 40-yard dash and vertical jumping 34.5 inches at the Combine. Read about Rankins and how he fits the Bucs’ scheme in SR’s latest mock draft.
Vonn Bell, S, Ohio State: Bell, known for having a little too much confidence at times, finished his career at Ohio State with nine interceptions, including six during their Championship run in 2014. His instincts and tacking ability are often criticized, but he’s been described as a natural in coverage. Bell, projected as a second or third-round pick, would contrast Chris Conte and Bradley McDougald, two in-the-box safeties, if taken by Tampa Bay.
Cyrus Jones, CB, Alabama: If you listened to the way SEC wide receivers described Jones at the Combine in Indianapolis, you’d think he was hands down the best cornerback in the draft. Despite their praise, however, the wide receiver-turned-cornerback is seen as a late-round pick. And even then, many still consider him to be a kick returner at the next level, a position he thrived at in college with four punt-return TDs in 2015. The Bucs haven’t re-signed Bobby Rainey, so it’s conceivable that they’ll look for a return man in the later rounds.
Xavien Howard, CB, Baylor: The Bucs were well represented at Baylor’s pro day, and while that was likely more to see defensive linemen Andrew Billings and Shawn Oakman, they took note of Howard enough to bring him in for a visit. The 6-foot-0, 200-pound cornerback picked off nine passes and had 23 deflections in his last two seasons with the Bears. His lack of speed – 4.58 40-yard dash – will likely make him a Day 2 pick.
Robert Nkemdiche, DL, Ole Miss: Like Spence, Nkemdiche comes with off-field concerns but high upside and exceptional athleticism. The 6-foot-3, 294 defensive end recorded seven sacks in 2015, along with 26 quarterback pressures.
Aaron Wallace, LB, UCLA: The other, less-touted linebacker at UCLA, Wallace had limited starting experience in college and is seen as a late-round option. Though in 2015, when injuries to other players allowed him his chance, Wallace recorded 65 tackles with 12 for a loss, and seven sacks. The 6-foot-3, 240-pounds prospect also ran an impressive 4.57 at his pro day with a vertical jump of 36 inches. If Tampa Bay wants to go the route of speed linebacker and can’t land the other UCLA linebacker, Wallace could be a reasonable late-round pick.
Antwione Williams, LB, Georgia Southern: Another possible late-round option at Sam linebacker, Williams finished his senior year with four sacks, 10 tackles for a loss and four forced fumbles. In Tampa Bay the position is currently held by 34-year old Daryl Smith, so it’s no surprise that the Bucs are exploring late-round projects as a possible replacement.
Jonathan Jones, CB, Auburn: At 5-foot-9, 186-pounds, Jones’ size alone would definitely throw some teams off. The former Tiger did, however, post an impressive 13 pass breakups in 2015 despite only one interception. Jones, who would likely compete at nickel corner in Tampa Bay, has track-star speed, running a 4.33 40-yard dash at the Combine. He’s seen by most as a Day 3 pick this April.
Ryan Smith, CB, N.C. Central: Another small-school prospect (remember the Bucs success taking Hobart’s Ali Marpet), Smith impressed at the Combine with a 4.47 40-time and 36 inch vertical. Subpar competition in college and a 5-foot-11 stature will make him a late-round target, though. Like Jones, if selected by the Bucs, one would presume that it would be to compete at nickel cornerback.
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: [email protected]
Here’s my list!
Assembled from WalterFootball, Greg Auman, Adam Caplan, and other national media!
The following private visits have been held or currently scheduled with the Bucs: (official NFL 30 visits at OBP)
Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida
Xavien Howard, CB, Baylor
Ryan Smith, CB, North Carolina Central
Jonathan Jones, CB, Auburn
Vonn Bell, FS, Ohio State
Myles Jack, OLB, UCLA
Emmanuel Ogbah, DE/3-4DE, Oklahoma State
Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville
Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss
Noah Spence, OLB/DE, Eastern Kentucky
Aaron Wallace, OLB, UCLA
Antwione Williams, OLB, Georgia Southern
Rees Odhiambo, G, Boise State
Joe Thuney, G, North Carolina State
Jonathan Williams, RB, Arkansas
The following workouts have been conducted by the Bucs: (normally at player’s location)
Miles Killebrew, FS, Southern Utah
Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor
Will Ratelle, LB/FB, North Dakota
Cyrus Jones, CB/KR, Alabama
Brandon Allen, QB, Arkansas
Cody Core, WR, Ole Miss
Dominick Jackson, OT, Alabama
Zach Sterup, OT, Nebraska
Justin Murray, OT, Cinncinati
Elijah Shumate, FS, Notre Dame
The following local visits have been held or currently scheduled with the Bucs: (players who live in the Tampa Bay area not counted as official visit)
Jamie Byrd, FS, USF
Brynjar Gudmundson, OG, USF
Eric Lee, DE, USF
Tyriq McCord, OLB, Miami
Denzel Thompson, FS, So. Eastern Louisiana
Geronimo Allison, WR, Illinois
Private visits may be a glimpse into a team’s draft board, but they may be for other reasons. Please read below.
Very nice Mac…..my fingers would cramp up if I typed that much!!!!
I’ve got lots of free time, but not that much energy! I copied that sp!t, man. Lol. I use the ole blue line drag a leg copy and paste method. I put it on Word, then use Twitter for notifications and updates (sorry Horse).
Mac; that’s fine. I’m past complaining about it.
Thank you so much for this valuable information.This will help myself setup my bucs draft board.There a few more players that I will add to my draft board-Thank you and Go Bucs
When you look at the list of DL prospects they are bring in and others like Billings, Bullard, Lawson, Dodd, Robinson, etc…. it makes sense to trade down take one of them and get an extra 2nd pick that could be converted into a speed WR or OL.
“(Hargraves) would presumably start opposite Brent Grimes, whom (he) listed as one of two cornerbacks he looks up to in the NFL” – Oh, I think 5’10” Hargraves looks up to a lot more than just two corners
PR this is verification of additional visits:
RB Jonathan Williams also told me that he is meeting with Tampa Bay #Buccaneers on Thursday for a private visit. More visits on horizon.
Rapoport: 2016 Draft prospect OL Rees Odhiambo will visit with Vikings and Buccaneers; has private workout scheduled with Saints.
CB Cyrus will not visit Bucs, but will have private workout. Per National Football Post – Alabama corner Cyrus Jones visits Ravens, Eagles, Bills, Saints; works out for Buccaneers, Panthers
The Buccaneers will host North Carolina State offensive lineman Joe Thuney, a probable late-round pick, for a visit next week, tweets Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times.
And this just reported! Former University of Miami cornerback Artie Burns is in Tampa today visiting the Buccaneers, Jenna Laine of Sports Talk 1040 The Team tweets.
The Bucs are leaving no stone unturned!
Auburn tackle Shon Coleman (6-4, 305) says he is visiting Bucs on Wednesday. Wasn’t able to work out at Tigers’ pro day due to knee injury.
all defense! i like!
I’m surprised Deon Bush is not in there?
Good job Mac. We all have our wish list and and I have just 3 pebbles to add to your list. Leonard Floyd OLB, William Jackson CB, and Carl Nassib DE. But then you only get 30 so “In Licht I trust.”
Keep the faith. Just because you don’t see your player on the visits list doesn’t mean they’re not on the Bucs radar. That’s why I provided the link to say don’t read too much into it. Everybody remember! Donovan Smith and Ali Marpet was not on the visits list last year!
Isn’t Nkemdiche a DT…is there some school of thought that he’ll be a DE in the NFL?..have you heard something Scott/Mark?
Macabee- I agree, you have a lot of time on your hands you really should write for PR can’t be worse than some of the things said in earlier articles. I’m not gonna get into the 1,000 possibilities the Bucs could draft I do though like a handful of kids in this draft 1. M Alexander, 2. William Jackson III 3. Spence 4. Ogbah 5. Floyd 6. Dodd 7. Nassib
Meant agree about Macabee; not your drft picks jongruden.
i like Killerew
i like Killebrew
The more film I watch on Rankins, the more I don’t like the pick. Reminds me of watching Adrian Claybourn in college. Just not explosive on film.
Good comparison Crook. I’d say if Adrian Clayborn was stuck in quicksand that would be what Rankins looks like on film. This must be SR’s idea of a sick joke.
William Jackson III has great ball skills at CB. He just looks and acts the way a top corner looks and acts. He is becoming my favorite player in this draft, right behind Michigan State OT Jack Conklin.
Agree completely BucWild. I”m all for taking him at 9 even. I think he’s that good. He’s got both the size and the speed we would need. Not to mention the production top back it up. I’ve also had the pleasure of watching him torment my noles last bowl game. He’s legitimate and I think it would be a huge mistake to take Hargreaves over him, no matter how many Gator fans we have .
a lot of the finite pre-draft choices are probably spent on players they still have questions with. Some they might like a lot; other’s they’d like to like a lot more players.
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