About the author

Trevor Sikkema

Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: [email protected]

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40 Comments

  1. 1

    Cody

    Trevor,

    I don’t even have to read this to know that I’m going to love it. Thank you!!!

    1. 1.1

      FLBoy84

      Who knew you’d be the first one to comment lol

      1. 1.1.1

        Cody

        Haha! I had to be the first one for my boy Minkah!

  2. 2

    surferdudes

    Did you watch the super bowl Trev? The losing team threw for over 500 yards, and three T.D.’s. The biggest play of the game was a sack fumble, and there was only one sack out of how many passing plays? This should tell you the best way to win is by protecting your own Q.B., and getting pressure on the opposing Q.B.. We wasted a second rounder on a safety last year now you want to use the 7th pick on another one? Fix the trenches!! Fitzpatrick played for Alabama, they put pressure on Q.B.’s, we don’t, he’d be as useless as T#t’s on a bull playing for us! It’s impossible covering receivers in todays NFL, Fitzpatrick won’t be able to get away with what he did in college. Protect your Q.B., knock the other one down, you win. Fix the trenches!! Licht has spend a first rounder on a corner, a second rounder on a safety, but has only picked two D linemen in four years! One was a gamble reach in the second round, one a friggin seventh rounder!! That’s why we’re losers, not because we can’t cover, but because we can’t get pressure on the Q.B., or stop the run. I’m disappointed in you son, I thought you were smarter then this.

    1. 2.1

      RootsCrew

      Fix the trenches with who? If Chubb, Vea, and Nelson are gone, who are you drafting at 7 worth that pick? I want the trenches to get fixed too, but reaching for a player is how bad teams draft. BPA is 99% the best way to draft in the 1st round regardless of depth. Minkah would instantly add talent and attitude to our defense.

      1. 2.1.1

        Brobear

        Vea will not be gone before 7 and we should absolutley take Minkah over him.

        1. 2.1.1.1

          RootsCrew

          I’m not disagreeing. I was giving a scenario of who would be left to fix the trenches to pick at #7 if all those guys were gone. Minkah would be a great addition to our team.

    2. 2.2

      Trevor Sikkema

      I wasn’t saying they have to pick him at No. 7! I’m letting you guys decide. I just think he has the ability to be a shutdown corner, that’s all. Trench play is still their No. 1 fix, priority wise. But, will the prospects left on the board match what they need in the trenches? If not, perhaps Minkah comes into play.

    3. 2.3

      Brobear

      So what you got from a ton of passing in the super bowl is….not fix our secondary. What??! Also calling Evans a wasted second round pick is absolutely absurd. If Chubb is gone, picking any other D lineman is a reach at 7. Id be fine with Nelson or Minkah but how many times to we have to complain about shit safeties and corners before we actually draft a stud. Minkah is a stud.

    4. 2.4

      Dman

      Absolutely agree – last time we picked a S from Bama – Mark Baron – hype was all around. Playing behind that Bama D’line makes DB’s look great! Needs to be trenches first an then build back from there, both sides of the ball.

  3. 3

    Cody

    Suferdudes, all that Trevor is doing is writing articles about potential options for the Bucs to draft in April. As you can see if you look back over the past few Cover 3’s that he didn’t even start with Minkah. Also, the trenches weren’t the problem in 2016 when we were the #10 team in terms of sacks. The truth is that we lost our second most important player on defense for most of the season (Noah Spence) and that crippled the entire team. Once we get Noah back and even just add one other pass rusher then we will see a dramatic improvement in the defense. Therefore, it’s important to take the best player available whether that’s Bradley Chubb, Quenton Nelson, Vita Vea, Saquon Barkley, or my personal favorite Minkah Fitzpatrick.

  4. 4

    SMW34

    Trevor,

    Great breakdown on Minkah. I got watch a lot of him and tend to think he’ll be an excellent prospect at the next level. Two things concern me: 1) I’m not sure he’s a outside corner in the NFL. He plays with the fearlessness of a Ronnie Lott which means he needs the freedom to read, improvise and react. Playing on a loaded Alabama defense allowed him, in part, to have that freedom. Drafting him at 7 as a Nickel or Safety when we have so many needs may be high. If the Bucs are able to drop back a couple of picks and accumulate additional draft assets and get him (or Derwin James – who I tend to lean more towards as a really high upside guy) I’d be ok with drafting him. 2) The Bucs secondary lacks an Enforcer. I’m not suggesting that the Enforcer needs to be a crazy hitter but more of a guy who puts some fear in opposing QBs, WRs and TEs. In the absence of a dynamic edge rusher, what gives QBs pause is knowing that someone on the back end can entirely screw up passing attack. The question is who fits that mold more: James or Fitzpatrick?

    1. 4.1

      Trevor Sikkema

      If you are drafting him as a nickel/safety, I agree, No. 7 is a stretch. But, if you do think he can be a shutdown corner, then No. 7 becomes more in line with potential value. All depends how you see him. Top cornerbacks get picked high for a reason and nickel/safety players don’t get picked as high for a reason. I think everyone knows he’s really talented, but use matters.

  5. 5

    Destino102

    Great Article! I love learning the “hows” and the “whys” when it comes to our schemes, players and potential players. I think Minkah is a luxury pick for a team without many holes. The Bucs do not have the luxury of taking him though. If Chubb or Nelson is not there, then we should trade down. This draft seems stronger than most and with so many QBs probably going early, a lot of talent is going to be available at pick 10-15. I am excited to see who the Bucs come away with.

    1. 5.1

      Trevor Sikkema

      Thanks! Glad to hear you’re getting more in tune with the “hows” and the “whys.” That’s why I write it the way I do. One day you guys won’t need me, you’ll already know!

    2. 5.2

      Brobear

      How is the top defensive back a luxury pick? Our entire secondary besides maybe free safety is a hole.

  6. 6

    Ja'crispy

    I dont know if this coaching staff can put Fitzpatrick in the best position to be successful. You talked about in your cover 1 that they arent even using our corners correctly. The average person can watch the bucs and be blown away as to why they let Hargraves and ryan smith play so far off coverage. They should know that is wasnt working and they would be better at playing press closer to the receiver. I would be worried that they wont use Fitzpatrick correctly and let him play to his strengths.

    1. 6.1

      FLBoy84

      Chances are, if Smith & Co. continue to misuse their DB’s in 2018, there will be a new staff with new ideas working with them in 2019.

  7. 7

    Buc 1976

    A better pass rush would make our DB’S play better!!

    1. 7.1

      Cody

      Noah Spence about to come back with a vengeance in 2018. Believe it.

      1. 7.1.1

        SMW34

        Cody,

        Believing in Noah Spence at this point is like believing in a lambskin condom. I mean it might work out but I wouldn’t bet on it…..

        1. 7.1.1.1

          Brobear

          Because he got hurt, didnt fix it, and then was hurt again? Logical. Its been two seasons.

    2. 7.2

      Trevor Sikkema

      No debate here. Pass rush is king. But, the philosophy of the secondary HAS TO change regardless of how improved the pass rush becomes for 2018.

      1. 7.2.1

        Spartan01

        Let’s fix the secondary through FA since there are some decent guys out there. Dump Grimes, Ward, McClain, and pick up Breeland and Fuller to strong deals, move VGIII to slot corner, then draft Justin Reid in the 3rd to pair with Evans at safety. Keep Conte, Tandy, Robinson, Smith as your #2s. There is no Minkah in there, but it’s an upgrade across the board, and we use the 1st pick to fortify the D-Line and dovetail to a 3-4 on DEF as PR has been espousing.

        (Trade down with Arizona for a 3rd would be ideal if they wanted to get Allen or Nelson)
        1st Rnd: V. Vea/D. Payne [DT]
        2nd Rnd: I. Wynn/W. Hernandez/B. Smith [OG]
        3rd Rnd: O. Okoronkwo/ U. Nwosu [3-4 OLB / DE]
        3rd Rnd (From Trade Down): J. Reid/D. Elliot/K. White [S]
        4th Rnd: R. Penny/M. Carter/N. Hines [COP RB]

        As PR and many have commented on this site, let’s go with a youth movement –
        Dump: Sweezy, Martin, Rodgers, Sims, Ayers, Baker, Grimes, Ward, McClain, McDonald, Evan-Smith (Almost all over 29 years old)
        Re-Sign: Brate, Humphries, Pamphile, Tandy, Siliga (24-28 year olds)
        FA: Crowell, Norwell, Breeland, Fuller (25-26 year olds)

  8. 8

    cgmaster27

    Great cover three as always Trevor. First thing is first, as Mark would agree, right now FSU is DB-U. haha
    I agree that the secondary philosophy needs to change, but do you think he will do it? I don’t. For some reason, this guy is scared to death of playing press coverage. Hell even as a NOles fan I knew Hargreaves was a much better press corner than an off guy. Yet smith still plays him off 15 yards.
    Anywho, I like Fitzpatrick a lot. Watching him a few times , he seems to be really smart player with a ton of athleticism. It come down to how the Bucs would use him. I think he would start as a free safety, but as you stated we already have Justin Evans, who I thought played much better as the season went on. If you’re going strong safety, I’d go with Derwin all day at that spot. You could probably even get him if you trade back a few spots.
    This all of course is tough without knowing who’s going ahead of us. But another strong cover three.

  9. 9

    surferdudes

    Noah Spence has never been a difference maker for the Bucs, expecting him to come back strong this year is delusional. Judging how well Fitzpatrick will be as a pro is difficult, Alabama’s defensive line had more talent then ours last year. Nick Saban is also a better defensive coach then anyone on our staff including Mike Smith. I’d rather draft one of their D linemen then Fitzpatrick. Yes Evans was a wasted pick when you consider we could’ve had the offensive rookie of the year in Kamara, think he would’ve helped us more then Evans. Remember the last time we drafted a sure fire safety from Alabama, how did that work out? Better to reach for any help along either line then draft a safety that high.

    1. 9.1

      Bucsfan1983

      Barron was no sure fire safety, when he came out of Alabama. Fitz is WAY WAY better.

  10. 10

    Bucsfan1983

    Why is there never any mention for Derwin James?? He’s equally as good a player, DB as Fitz. Both are head and shoulders the top 2 DBs in this draft. If Chubb and Barkley are off the board at 7, and Fitz and or James are available, I have no problem taking either. Fitz can play CB and S, James can play S and LB in some packages like he did at FSU.

    James is getting slept on by too many people. He can rush the passer when down in the box, and is an excellent blitzer. We didn’t see Fitz blitz or rush the passer barley. Look up highlights from James freshman season(2015), watch his tape vs Florida that year. He absolutely destroys their RT with ease on the way to the QB. At 6’3 218, James destroys UF’s 6’6 312 right tackle.

    1. 10.1

      Trevor Sikkema

      I’ll get to James!

      This cover 3 was just about Fitzpatrick. James’ Cover 3 is coming. Don’t worry. We’ll certainly be able to weigh both by draft weekend.

  11. 11

    lowlife

    He’s a bigger, more athletic Budda Baker. I think he’ll end up in a similar role. Base strong safety and coming down into the slot in nickel. Is that type of player worth #7? Possibly. Jamal Adams went pretty high, though he was a much more polished player.

    If you want an outside corner… Why not just pick a player who’s played that position his entire college career and been dominant at it. Just pick Josh Jackson.

    I’m of the same sentiment as most, the pick has to be a trench player unless Licht goes crazy in the FA/trade market.

    1. 11.1

      Trevor Sikkema

      Jackson plays very similarly to how the Bucs like to use their corners, or at least the way they have over the last two years. So, to your theory, trading down a bit and getting Jackson would be a fit if they chose to go that direction and if a trench player is not suitable at No. 7

  12. 12

    Charlie

    If you’re talking about a shutdown corner, I would take James over Fitz if only for where he came from FSU already producing Ramsey and James being bigger with most everything else equaling out. But I’m still sold on Vea. He is the type of berzerker this defense SORELY lacks.

    1. 12.1

      Bucsfan1983

      No, James is a Safety all the way, who can play some OLB in 3-4 packages. Fitz is a CB/S, he would be the better shut down Corner.

  13. 13

    martinii

    Whoa, Great debate guys, I am so confused because you all have logical cases for the player you support. Initially I was a fix the lines guy, but I am concerned that Grubb goes to Indy and Nelson while a 10 year investment just doesn’t have the appeal at 7. Shut down corner would be nice and Fitzpatrick certainly would be a great catch except for the fact (mentioned above) that Alabama’s D-line was better than half the teams in the NFL. What’s he do when Matty Ice has a 5 count to find Julio 50 yards down field in full stride? You could trade back and get Vea, Key, Davenport, Derwin James, or Conner Williams. And to make thinks more confusing, what are you going to do if Saquon Barkley falls to 7. Don’t say it can’t happen, 2 highly respected draft sources show him going to the Buc’s.
    Guess at this point in the process I go with a “Wild-Ass Guess, and take the sure thing, Quentin Nelson at 7. Boring but solid.

  14. 14

    Horse

    Not sure we are the team to take a risk at this point at spot 7. Good article Trevor.

  15. 15

    tnew

    We will learn a ton at the combine. I like Minkah if Chubb is off of the board and he projects well as an outside corner. If Minkah, Chubb and Barkley are all gone, then its either trade back (which could be likely as good QBs would still be there) or draft Nelson and hope he is the next Logan Mankins. I just hate spending premium picks on interior lineman.

    If Minkah looks as smooth as we anticipate on the drills and runs anything at 4.41 or faster, I would encourage the pick. If he looks great in his footwork but runs anything north of 4.41, I just have to pass at 7. I’m not in the D line or bust category like so many here are. I know the argument that the D-Line helps the secondary but there was so little fear for a QB to drop 3 steps and release the ball. No fear that the DB’s would show the instincts or ability to jump a route. This defense needs young talent.

    As far as an earlier poster saying Spence didn’t make an impact, he really did when you watch the film. I was fearful he was rushed back too quickly from last season’s surgery and I am hopeful that this surgery will correct the issue. Being said, until his shoulder shows that it can last a season , he can’t be counted on. Still would love to see him used as a 3-4 rush edge guy but I don’t see that changing.

    1. 15.1

      Bucsfan1983

      If Fitz, Chubb and Barkley are all off the board at 7, you have to strongly consider Derwin James before trading down. Just like Fitz, James is worthy of a top 10 pick.

  16. 16

    Matt

    Minkah Fitzpatrick and Derwin James are exactly the same player. I think who goes first of the two will depend on how they perform at the combine (sort of a tie breaker). The reason I say this is because both of them resemble Jalen Ramsey and we see what he’s doing for the Jags. I remember many folks saying the same stuff about him ,”Ramsey is a safety , he’s not fast enough to play CB, blah blah blah”. I think both of these guys are worth the Bucs possibly taking. Yes I would take Chubb first and and foremost but if he’s off the board you have to go with the best player available and I think we need to draft defense early and often.

  17. 17

    LondonBuccaneer

    Watching the play where Minkah takes on the lead blocker reminds me of Lavonte’s first snap on defence of the regular season back in 2012. Lavonte obliterated Mike Tolbert on an outside run that allowed the rest of the defence to mob DeAngelo Williams (go back and watch it – it’s one of my favourite Lavonte plays).

    Selfless players like that allow others to shine. For Mike Smith’s defence to work requires players to do their job so selfless players like this are so important.

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