Sikkema’s Stat of the Week

The 2018 NFL Draft is just two weeks away, can you believe that?

I’m sure some of you are saying “Yes!” to the tone of excitement for what is to come, and I’m sure others are saying “Yes!” in a way that perfectly encapsulates your frustration from all these draft articles so we can get on with it and find out which players are going to be Buccaneers and analyze how they could help this team in 2018.

Whichever side of the fence you’re on, unfortunately we haven’t reached draft weekend yet, but, on the bright side, this is a good time to learn some last-minute information on which players could end up in red and pewter.

Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter and GM Jason Licht - Photo courtesy of the Buccaneers
Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter and GM Jason Licht – Photo courtesy of the Buccaneers

This also a good time for teams to put out smokescreens of who they might be interested in. Yes, we know that happens every year, and 2018 is no different. But, the draft process is still what it is, and interest from teams throughout the college football season, into the Senior Bowl and into the NFL Scouting Combine all come to a culmination when teams choose to give one of their precious 30 private visits to a prospect during the month leading up to the draft. If you don’t know how that works, I’ll explain.

Each team is allowed 30 private visits each draft season. These 30 visits could be used on any player of any position from any school. However, there are such things as local visits, which have the same function as a private visit, but are players from local universities or those who grew up in the surrounding area. These private visits are different than private workouts.

A workout is where a coach and a scout, or member of an organization either goes to a player’s school or attends their pro day and puts them through their own drills. An official private visit is something that usually takes a couple hours at a team’s facility and could include meeting with some of the coaches, scouts or decision makers. These visits are used more to see what kind of fit the player would be as a person with the organization, to answer any character questions or concerns or to put them in the film room to glimpse at their football I.Q. more than a judgment of their ability. However, if a prospect gets to that point with a team, it’s obvious they’re already a fan of their ability anyways.

Here are the players the Bucs have put through private workouts so far.

NAME

POS

SCHOOL

HT

WT

Austin Allen

QB

Arkansas

6-0

210

Austin Corbett

OT

Nevada

6-4

306

Minkah Fitzpatrick

CB/S

Alabama

6-0

204

Josh Frazier

DL

Alabama

6-4

315

Derrius Guice

RB

LSU

5-10

224

Will Hernandez

OG

UTEP

6-2

327

Nyheim Hines

RB

N.C. State

5-8

198

Jamar King

DT

Alabama

6-3

290

Mike Love

EDGE

USF

6-3

215

Kendrick Norton

DT

Miami

6-3

314

Braden Smith

OG

Auburn

6-6

315

Tre'Quan Smith

WR

UCF

6-2

203

Chad Thomas

EDGE

Miami

6-5

281

Mark Walton

RB

Miami

5-9

202

When a player goes through a private workout you know there is interest involved, but for whatever reason they either didn’t see or didn’t see enough of something in a player’s tape that they would want to have on their team. Sometimes it could be flipping from one side of the field to another. Other times it could be to see how quickly a player picks up coaching knowing they’re going to either groom him a certain way or have them switch a position.

Whatever it is, a team wants to have more time with that player on the field before making their final decision about them.

Then, on the other hand, there are the private visits, which we’ve explained have a deeper dive into the potential relationship of a team and a prospect.

These are the private visits that we know the Bucs have had so far in 2018.

(We will continue to update this list up until draft weekend.)

NAME

POS

SCHOOL

HT

WT

Jaire Alexander

CB

Louisville

5-10

196

Taven Bryan

DT

Florida

6-5

291

Bradley Chubb

DE

N.C. State

6-4

269

Nick Chubb

RB

Georgia

5-10

227

Minkah Fitzpatrick

CB/S

Alabama

6-0

204

Ryan Green (local)

RB

FSU

5-10

204

P.J. Hall

DT

Sam Houston State

6-1

310

Will Hernandez

OG

UTEP

6-2

327

Mike Hughes

CB

UCF

5-10

189

Donte Jackson

CB

LSU

5-10

178

Josh Jackson

CB

Iowa

6-0

196

Derwin James

S

FSU

6-1

215

Justin Lawler

DE

SMU

6-4

240

Mike McGlinchey

OT

Notre Dame

6-8

310

Quenton Nelson

OG

Notre Dame

6-5

325

Rashaad Penny

RB

San Diego State

5-11

220

Eddy Pineiro (local)

K

Florida

5-11

185

Vita Vea

DT

Washington

6-4

347

Armani Watts

S

Texas A&M

5-10

202

So, what does all this mean? How likely is it that the Bucs even pick one of these guys? Is a player taking a private visit an indicator of a true connection between the player and team? The answer to that question varies between each organization and those who call the shots, but, for the Buccaneers, history tells us there’s about a 1-in-5 shot for each of these players, no matter the round.

From 2012 to 2016, the Bucs had 39 draft picks. Per Inside the Pylon, eight of those draft picks were brought in for private visits, and two additional private visit players were signed as undrafted free agents. That gave the Bucs a 20.51 percent private visit-to-player selected ratio. Some teams are much higher. For example, the Steelers had nearly half of their selected players in for private visits during that time. The Bills, the Falcons and the Cowboys were next, all above 30 percent.

Bucs general manager Jason Licht hasn’t been in Tampa Bay since 2012. His hands have only been controlling Tampa Bay’s drafts since 2014. However, even last year he drafted wide receiver Chris Godwin after having him in for a pre-draft visit, and did the same with safety Justin Evans. That’s 33 percent (2-of-6) of their selections last year coming from the pre-draft visit list.

So, even if it’s not a dead giveaway, the Bucs don’t usually do this whole private visit thing for a smokescreen or a guy they’re not going to go after with a decent amount of aggression. This isn’t just in the first round or even for trade back scenarios, either. The Bucs do their homework on guys they’ll target throughout the draft.

Click to the next page to see which round each of the players on the 2018 private visit list are expected to get drafted in and how their skills could fit above the rest in a Buccaneers uniform.

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54 COMMENTS

  1. Group A is the best option. How is Barkley not on the list for potential picks at 7?

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    • Barley has not had a private workout or private visit with the Bucs to this point.

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      • Is that in the plans? I feel like he would be a no brainer at 7, with Chubb off the board

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  2. B solely due to the fact that you think we could grab Josh Jackson in round 2 (the best CB in the draft)! I would take Jackson in the first instead of Bryant!

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  3. C for me.

    And Trevor, here is a suggestion for you. Why don’t you do a “mock” where you outline what the Bucs would WANT to do. What I mean if everything fell right and they got their man in every round. Like a Chubb + Chubb round 1 + 2.

    Likewise a mock from the PR staff what they would want to do if everything fell right.

    I don’t mean something ridiculous like Quenton falls to the 2nd; Realistic, possible but a mock that would send Buc fans and the organization ecstatic. A perfect fantasy mock for want of a phrase.

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    • I could do this!

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      • Pls do! I read this stuff from Austria everyday and I have been meaning to ask for the same thing!

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  4. I dont LOVE any of the Hauls there. Dang, B would be fantastic if you just grabbed an RB instead of two CBS. I get it I get it, part of the game.

    SO if I have to choose the best of these… its between B and C.

    B would really solidify the defense, however I think the two CBs is wasting a pick when we have other needs. So I will go C. That offense will be legit. Just hope to outscore opponents

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  5. Group C…and by a wide margin. Would put A second and B in a distant 3rd

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    • Agreed.

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  6. I’m definitely good with group C. Group A is awful. Group B is okay because of Josh Jackson but I don’t like Taven Bryan at all.

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  7. No mixing & matching, come on Trevor!! (this is a trap!!) Look it is B. This team needs to fill holes on its roster & have quality depth, and B gets them there faster. Now I wouldn’t have picked all the same players you did in B, largely because you didn’t address one of the largest holes the team has, which is RB (you did in A & C which is why this is a trick on your part).

    Nelson & James are studs no doubt, but with no 3rd round pick the BUCS are limited. They are also a bit of a luxury pick in my humble opinion. Guard & Safety aren’t the BUCS biggest holes on their roster…RB and CB are. Grimes is one and done and Hargreaves is an unanswered question on what type of NFL player he’ll really be. We all know about the 2 RB’s on our roster, and that isn’t going to cut it.

    You’re good at responding so I have a question on your thoughts… I really think that Sony M. is a better back & fit for the Bucs than Chubb or Penny. I think Chubb is just a better Barber, and Sony is a game breaker. In your opinion what is the Bucs interest in Sony? No visits and crickets on him.

    Thanks for a fun Cover 3 (even though it is a trick)

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    • C’mon now. I can’t give you guys EVERYTHING you want!

      Haha, glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for your own notes on your selection, too. I like reading reasons. Helps give me a pulse on what you all think.

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  8. Group C

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  9. C for me too. Nelson might be the best player in the draft and would make 4 of our 5 OLine positions filled by young, promising players. Bucs need a RB in the draft after doing nothing in free agency on that front. Still wish we had a corner, but Bucs need safety help too. Going from their play in college, I think anyone who watched much tamu football would be surprised that Justin Evans was drafted higher than Armani Watts. He didn’t run the 40 predraft though, so maybe that is why he has fallen. He is a good football player though.

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    • I think you’re being a little generous on those young and promising labels. Jensen isn’t super young, and I’d say it’s an enormous stretch to call Donovan promising. Still, adding Nelson would certainly strengthen the line in a big way. We’d have well above average players at four different spots on that line, with the only potential weakness being Smith. Typically, teams can work around one weak link on an offensive line. And although he isn’t a GOOD player, Smith also isn’t a dumpster fire, so that would make it easier to work around the substantial holes in his game if we could solidify the interior.

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      • I sometimes don’t get the ratings on comments, lol. What about what I said was disliked by four people? Me saying that Donovan Smith is a weakness? If that’s it, I have to ask – what have you been watching these last three seasons? lol

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  10. You forgot to include a group that included trading up in the 2nd for Eddy Pineiro. He’s perfect from 50+ and we can’t forget how important mortar kicks are!

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  11. C is the best option imo

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  12. Group C. Run game and Oline baby. Helps protect Winston more both directly through improved Oline and indirectly through improved run game. moves the chains, makes us better in the redzone. its a hall of hame potential guard prospect and a RB whod be graded as a round 1 prospect in nearly any draft. completes the interior portion of the Oline with what would be on paper a top 5 interior Oline. can get secondary players any year we wanted… cant rehaul the oline and run game like this just any year. this is really specific to this particular years prospects and bucs draft position.

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  13. C for me as well, though none of the options are terrible. Re: Penny, has anyone else heard he might have trouble picking up the playbook (much like McNichols)?

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  14. I am going to cheat and pick A, but trade back in round two if the Bucs get Penny(I like Ronald Jones and Nick Chubb better if the Bucs don’t move back in round 2)

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    • CHEATER!

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  15. Playing your game, Group C.

    Two questions: 1) Also wondering why Barkley didn’t make the options at 7 list. 2) Why the interest in Chubb at RB over his teammate Michel? In the two games I saw this year, UF game and even more so in the Alabama game, Michel was the better back and by a wide margin! What gives?

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    • The lists are from a pool of guys who have had private workouts or visits with the Bucs.

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  16. C.

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  17. Gota be C. Other two are reaching on needs. Even tho I’d love PJ Hall, he wont be there in the 4th imo. C would help the defense stay off the field too. We dont really need corners as much as people think. Just need a pass rush and a running game. I still want licht to trade back more than anything. Gota add depth this year, not deplete it.

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  18. 69TH pick 2018 was lost for player Giants did not want old overweight and slower missed a lot of tackles not to mention hand.
    69Th pick 2017 went for Cooper Kupp with 62 receptions 869 yards for LA Rams twice of OJ Howard 432 yards last year!
    69th pick 2016 went to Pro bowler Yannick Ngakoue with Jacksonville who will pay him $716,000 for big numbers in tackles and sacks this year.
    For all those who did not mind the Bucs throwing away the 69th pic along with 10 million a year on a Giants reject.

    I will watch to see who Giants get with Bucs 69Th pick

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    • Come on.
      You can’t compare Kupps receptions and yards to OJs. For one it’s two totally different positions. Kupp is a slot receiver on the highest scoring offense. And OJ played a big role in the run game and started hit his stride as a receiver before he was injured to end his year. Believe me I wanted Kupp last year, he is a stud! I played him in highschool growing up in Washington. His high schoool, Davis, was in our league. He was a stud basketball player too! Had to hear “Cooper to the Kupp for 2!” over and over again it gives me nightmares to this day! lol
      And Ngakoue had a big year after being on the same d line as calias, jackson, and marcel darious. I mean he had one on ones every snap. Put JPP on jaxonvilles d line last year and how many sacks do you think he gets?
      Especially in this draft that is shallow on edge rushers. we were not gunna find a better player in the 3rd round than JPP. He is going to bring toughness, leadership, edge rushing and run defense. He’s also gunna allow us to conserve spence and let him loose on 3rd downs only. I’d do that trade again 10 times out of 10.

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      • Don’t waste your time resplying to this person who is just a troll trying to elicit responses. He is not a Bucs fan. He is a miserable person trying to make others miserable.

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    • Brilliant analysis. Except that JPP wasn’t a “reject” at all, nor is he fat. They had no use for him due to their change in scheme. They recognized that he wouldn’t be a fit as a 3-4 OLB, nor as a DE within that scheme. The guy is still a plus pass rusher, along with being a plus plus run defender, and defending more passes than any DE in the league other than JJ Watt.

      The 69th pick is certainly valuable. Not quite as valuable as you want to make it out to be, but we definitely paid a price for JPP. Just to show the other side of the spectrum, though, here are some other players that have been taken with 68th picks of past drafts – Charles Sims (RB), Rob Housler (TE), TJ Graham (WR), and Jason Williams (LB).

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  19. Good reading Trevor. Group B. No clue who to select so I’ll stick DL, CB, is the focus still. Presently we are very weak on the defensive side versus the offensive side; that’s why I’m going the way I’m going.

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  20. I would probably have to go with Group B here. The depth chart is paper-thin at CB. What would the Bucs do if they were to lose Brent Grimes to injury? Do you have confidence in anyone currently on the roster stepping in for him? Besides that, he’s 35 years old. The team needs to find a replacement sooner rather than later, and Vernon Hargreaves is pretty much a bust. Even if his play rebounds and he becomes a serviceable slot corner, that is poor value for a player who was selected 11th overall. It would be good value here to acquire two of the top CBs in the draft in the 2nd round. As noted in the column, Gerald McCoy is 30. He’s played a lot of snaps. Bryan is an underrated DT. He could come in and spell McCoy and learn from him. Lawler would help provide depth at DE, and that could be very important because as of right now, Noah Spence is a great unknown. Is his shoulder injury chronic? Can he play a full season and be productive? The fact that he has needed surgery on the shoulder twice due to recurrent separations has to be cause for alarm. If it cannot hold up to contact, then he is a bust, too.

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  21. Definitely Group C out of those options. Chubb and Barber will wear defenses down behind that mauling o-line!
    But how about a Group D?
    1st Round RB Barkley
    2nd Round G Will Hernandez
    3rd Round SS Armani Watts

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    • Day 3* not 3rd round

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  22. I’m going with C. It’s still about #3 right? An O line with Nelson, Jensen, Marpet, and Chubb running behind them, wow! Takes a lot of pressure off, and helps protect the franchise. Imagine grinding away on opposing D lines in the Fla heat setting up play action. I’d rather see Barkley, Hernandez, corner. Speaking of Barkley, why waste a visit bringing him in? Everyone knows he’s a top 3 player in the draft, if he falls to seven visit, smidgit, run up with the card!!

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  23. I have to go with option C. With the first two picks our o-line/ running game should be dramatically improved taking tremendous pressure off of our franchise QB. Watts on day 3 is an great value and he is an upgrade over our currently rostered SS candidates. The Hargreaves pick proves that expecting a cb to come in off the draft an contribute immediately is easier said than done whereas the safety position can contribute more effectively in this scheme (although the player’s individual makeup certainly weighs heavily, also). In addition, I believe that the additions of JPP and Vinny Curry alongside Gerald McCoy will greatly improce the secondary play bu reducing the qb’s processing time per play. Nice article Trevor besides the typographical error.

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  24. This has got to be C, even though not addressing a CB makes me sick. Not high on Watts, either. That offense would be fire! Honestly, almost no holes on that side of the ball with these additions.

    My ultimate draft at this point would be a trade with Buffalo. Land the 12th and 22nd.

    12-Vita Vea or Derwin James
    22-Josh Jackson
    Round 2- Sony Michel or Nick Chubb
    Round 4- Trade our 7ths to move into the 3rd for Frank Ragnow
    Round 5 and 6- BPA (S,CB,or DT)

    FIRE!!! We would address the d backs, have a RB who is a HUGE need and strengthen the run game with Ragnow who is going to be solid IMO.

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  25. I think Jason Licht is playing ventriloquist with Buccs fan right now when it comes to giving off hints of a favored pick. But honestly as a Bucs superfan, (First game I ever watched was actually the Bucs last playoff loss to Gruden’s stinkin’ Raiders…Been hooked ever since) One thing I can take from the naked eye and just being relevant is that I believe the Bucs front office are all in on the secondary as it pertains to this years draft. So sorry to the Barkley hopefulls or trade down theorists, but the more I take in context clues the more I believe Derwin James has been slated on Lichts mind with the 7th pick for…quiet some time actually. I think hes more a visionary GM and see’s the liking of pairing James with Justin Evans could prove vital for a playoff run. I would not be surprised at all if James is listed higher on Bucs draft board than Nelson and Barkley (Id take Nick Chubb in a heartbeat).

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  26. Like the idea behind group B, but didn’t like the choices. I am going with group C.

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  27. I’d go C. Get nasty on Em’

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  28. A

    I like James over Bryan, Jackson, Jackson, Lawler

    I like James over Nelson, N Chubb

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  29. Hey Trev, any chance you guys are going to do the youtube livestream during the draft again? I had a BLAST with that last year!

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    • Why would people downvote this? It’s a question. That’s all it is! LOL!

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      • People down vote random stuff all the time idk lol.

        But, yes! We will be doing that again.

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        • Careful Captain Manbun, they’ll probably downvote you for answering me! LMAO!!!!

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  30. Group c for sure. The 3rd player couldve been anyone. Chub and nelson with what we already have on the oline. Scary.

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  31. Option C by a landslide! We solidify our interior line and add a back that will wear down defenses and keep the chains moving. I don’t think secondary is AS BIG of a need as others seem to now that our pass rush will be improved. The SS to groom alongside Justin Evans is the icing on the cake.

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    • Problem is i dont see Watts as a good NFL strong safety. You do get Nelson who should be the safest pick in the draft and you get Chubbs who has a lot of upside but you leave your cornerbacks a mess. We got torched. We got so much talent on offense, i think we really need to focus on that defense. One injury to Grimes and GMC (which is very probable) leaves us with arguably the worst defense in the nfl.

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  32. I disagree with the assertion that if the team wants Derwin, then we’ll have to stay at 7 to get him. Safety isn’t generally a premium position, and reports seem to pretty consistently indicate that teams in the 8-12 range aren’t highly interested in him. If we want to go to the mocks, this SBnation mock compilation (https://www.sbnation.com/a/nfl-mock-draft-database-2018) shows that the highest frequency of Derwin going to a team in that range is the Niners, which have him being the pick in 18% of mocks (Minkah gets 22%, putting Derwin second for them).

    I’m not saying he’d definitely make it to 12 if we were to trade back to that spot. But it’s very possible he could. Maybe even likely at this point.

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  33. I actually did my own moch draft a few weeks ago and It was identical to pick A except the pick of PJ Hall. I had us trade back up into the 3rd to select Penny who I believe will fall just like Alvin Camera. But I would be more than happy with section A.

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  34. For me its Group B if instead of Donte Jackson you draft Penny which should still be available and then

    That would give us

    A solid DT in Bryan that is an immense talent that can take over after GMC gets hurt at whatever point in the season
    A really solid Corner in Josh Jackson who can line up opposite of Grimes and let Hargreaves man the slot
    A talented Running back In Penny that will be our 2 down guy and put Barber in pass blocking situations
    And finally more defensive line depth for what has been our bugaboo position for years and years

    We need defensive help big time. Getting 3 solid defensive players and our running back would improve this team a lot.

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  35. How about a trade back with Buffalo for their 2 firsts. Grab James (or Vea if he’s gone) @12, then Guice @22? Then grab the top CB available @38?

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  36. Group C – hands down….easy peasy.

    Understatement of the century, “Smith has had his struggles”….LOL

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