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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  1. 1


    Baker is great but nothing has pointed to him being drafted in the top 20, so he isn’t a 19 pick. Trade back to get him.

    Obi is a gamble, I wouldn’t gamble with a 1st round pick when the team still needs so much, he’s out.

    Hooker is great but no way should the BUCS move up into the top 10 to get him, now way.

    Trade back to get Baker OR (my gators brother) pick Marcus Maye in the 2nd! What is the REAL difference between Maye-Baker-Obi? (Kiper & McShay have them graded almost the exact same) Move all the way out of the 1st, get multiple picks in the 2nd, get value at Safety and TE or RB (Mixon :)). It is also VERY possible that Baker slips to the top of the 2nd round because he is a shrimp.

  2. 2

    Buc 1976

    PLEASE NO MORE 5’10 DB!! If defense is what the Bucs want to go in first rd. Take a DL a great D line makes average DB look great!

    1. 2.1

      Trevor Sikkema

      I won’t disagree with the last part!

  3. 3


    I don’t like trading up, so for me, Hooker and Adams are out and of those two, I’d rather have Hooker. Baker would be my pick at #19 and I’m pretty sure he’ll be there, but I wouldn’t touch Melifonwu at all. Honestly, my 4th safety would be Peppers because of his athleticism and his additional ability to take over punt and kick returner abilities. I think Peppers could have the same impact as Hooker will, it just might take a half year or more to get there for him. But, I agree with MudMan, I think Marcus Maye could be had in the 2nd round and honestly, he’d be just as good as Baker would be and cost less.

    If we can’t get an offensive weapon at #19, I’d rather pick a DE or CB than any available safety at #19.

    1. 3.1


      Actually, at this point, the defensive back I think I’d target is Kevin King, the 6’3″ cornerback from Washington. Again, that assumes that the offensive playmakers are not there, but with the sudden interest in quarterbacks that seems to have been growning the last couple of weeks, I’m pretty sure a wide receiver, tight end or running back that would really help our team will still be there where most mocks were indicating they would be gone before our pick. I’m thinking at least two quarterbacks and maybe even three could be off the board before we pick at #19. That is only going to push talent down to us.

  4. 4


    You’re feeding right into my emotions here Trevor. I’ve been infatuated with the idea of Baker being on this team for a while now. Then you point out how perfectly he fits on the money side at 19 as well and now I’m excited to think about the real possibility of getting him there. I wouldn’t be upset with niteys’ pick above with Kevin king either but Baker with those instincts, I wouldn’t be able pass up if I were Licht. Guys are hating on the 5’10 DBs with the instincts but if rather have a smaller guy in the receivers hip pocket than a big DB 3 yards away.

    1. 4.1

      Julian Jordan

      5’10” as a safety who is supposed to be player over top? Or 5’10” and <200lbs in the box? No thanks. Safeties don't do hip pocket.

      1. 4.1.1


        Earl Thomas is 5’10” 200 pounds. I hear he’s a decent safety.

  5. 5

    Julian Jordan

    Gotta balance out building intrigue and getting to the point. You lost me in the 1st slide thankfully 3rd slide summed it up. Melifonwu and Baker aren’t in the same league as Hooker and Adams. Hooker and Adams are not the same kind of safety.

    For what we want Adams would do the trick but there’s value to be had in this draft therefore DB in round 1 isn’t necessary.

    There’s so much depth in Desmond King, Justin Evans, Eddy Jackson, Nate Gerry later in the draft.

    We did fine with a undrafted free agent, Chicago cast off and I forget if Tandy was a 5th or 6th rounder but I know it was late in the draft.

    Melifonwu plays soft. (See: Senior Bowl)

    And we don’t need to spend a 1st on a glorified nickel back in BB.

  6. 6


    Trev, I had time to watch some taped shows yesterday, and at the bottom of the list was the last Buc game vs Carolina so I watched. Starting the 4th quarter Tandy had 2 picks, and 12 solo tackles. That game our offense put up a grand total of 10 points ! Carolina’s offense looked just as bad, and we escaped with a 17, 16 win. Conte looked like he had another pick that was ruled incomplete. So with 2 picks, 12 solo tackles from one safety, what looked like a pick from Conte, both returning, and a 2 point conversion broken up by McDougal that would’ve won it for Carolina, granted Olsen slipped on the play, do you still think we need to use our first round pick on a safety? Look at this years super bowl. Defense, certainly safety play didn’t rule the day, offense did. The game was a score fest even though both teams came into the game with highly touted defenses. We’re not going to beat teams like N.E., Atlanta, N.O., with great safety play, we’re going to have to out score them. We were among the leagues worst at converting 3rd, and short, probably 4th, and short too. Had we been better on offense this year keeping drives alive, scoring more points, we would’ve made the playoffs. Defense, certainly safety play, wasn’t our down fall, lack of scoring, and offense was. Don’t care about value charts when picking a player. This team needs to use it’s first pick on an offensive play maker.

    1. 6.1

      Trevor Sikkema

      I appreciate the time you took to get some ideas and analysis yourself! I always like that.

      If you asked me personally, No. 19 would be an offense player. It seems like Corey Davis is somehow going to slide to around there. If he was there, I wouldn’t think twice. I’d also draft Njoku before a defensive player as well.

      But, I’ll say these two things: the first is that the team seems more honed in on a defensive player in the first round since the guys I think they really want on offense (McCaffrey and O.J. Howard) will be gone. That said, picking a player like Baker would not be a bad thing. I like him a lot. The more good football players you have on your team the better in the long run.

  7. 7


    Trevor, if the Bucs don’t take Baker at 19 where do you see him being picked?

    I have seen grades on Baker and Melifonwu that put them in the lower half of the second round. I have also seen grades on Josh Jones that are higher than either. King is being projected as a safety. My favorite of the bunch are Josh Jones and Baker. Instincts are it for the safety position and both Jones and Baker have them along with everything else we want. With four players that can fill the bill we should not be afraid to trade down. So, I think we should trade down but how far do you think we should go? We would be able to get that starting safety at the top of the second round and a whole lot more besides.

    1. 7.1

      Trevor Sikkema

      I think Baker still ends up being first round player, even if the Bucs don’t take him. He’s smallish, I know, but he really is one of the best football players in this class. I think a lot of teams realize it.

      1. 7.1.1


        Baker’s an interesting one. More than just about any player, I’ve seen a huge range of values on him. It truly wouldn’t shock me for him to be taken in the top 15. It also wouldn’t be a huge surprise to me for him to fall all the way to the middle of the second round.

        It only takes one team, which makes me lean further to the earlier pick of that range than to the later one, but anything could happen with him, even more so than is typical with other players, I think.

      2. 7.1.2


        Trade down in the first round and take Budda Baker;
        Trade down in the second round and take Alvin Kamara
        Trade up in the third round and take Bucky Hodges

        Three potential stars at three need positions. l would be happy with this draft.

  8. 8


    I would be happy with baker, think it might be early but I like his versatility and we won’t get him in the 2nd. I like him much more than obi or peppers so I am onboard. Would not mind trading back if possible either. I’m all about the d in the 1st unless one of top 3 wr or oj fall to us.

  9. 9


    Thumbs up for the Bane joke.

    I’ve been all for Obi since the beginning and still am. I think the guy is just clay you can mold. You can’t teach that sort of athleticism.

    Hooker is obviously the best, but will be long gone. No way the Bucs should trade up this year. Maybe Adams falls but I doubt it. I’d be fine with Baker although his lack of size is concerning. It really depends who else is on the board. If a CB, DE, Cook, or Davis slip, I’d take them over Baker.

  10. 10


    To answer your questions: 1) This draft is too deep to trade up, even a few spots, for anyone in the first round. 2) For me, Baker’s size is too much of a downside at #19 and I wouldn’t want Obi at all. 3) Several safeties slated for later rounds (Maye, Jones, Evans, Williams, Johnson) seem like they could be just as good as anybody not named Adams or Hooker. 4) I’d love for Adoree Jackson to be our 2nd pick if he makes it to #50 rather than a safety. 5) Imagine if last year we traded into the 2nd to pick Vonn Bell instead of a kicker!

    So you love stats and hate running backs. Ok then, here are some stats to consider. The Bucs had 755 offensive plays last year where someone other than the QB touched the ball. What position group the most touches? Running backs at 465 touches (61.6%) Who were the top five players in terms of touches? Martin 158/20.9%. Rodgers 142/18.8%, Evans 75/12.7%, Sims 75/9.9%, and Humphries 60/7.9%. Top two and three of the top five were running backs. Given that I fail to see how RB could not be a position of value at 19.

    After seeing the stats above, how could you possible EVER consider a TE in round one?? Know how many touches the TE group had last year? 72 or 9.5% of the offensive snaps went to a TE. That’s less than Charles freaking Sims who was a part time player and only on the field for seven games! Yes TEs block but other than Howard, just about every TE in this class has blocking listed as a weakness. That’s what I call lack of value at #19, $11M for less than 9% off offense. FYI, Brate had 57 plays for 7.5% of the offense.

    1. 10.1

      Trevor Sikkema

      I don’t hate running backs. You don’t win in football games without first establishing the run. I’m simply pointing out that the NFL is a bit hypocritical with how they value some of the best backs in the NFL relative to how much they want to value/pay running backs who have yet to play a snap in the league. I don’t love the idea of a running back in the first round just in general, but, for example, if the Buccaneers were to take Cook, I wouldn’t be “mad” about it. He’s a great player and would produce. I’m just giving some stats and angle here and there to make us think and be sure we’re getting the best value at all times – which contributes to that “best player available” that we love to talk about.

      1. 10.1.1


        Bell-Cow running backs take a tremendous amount of hits. They don’t last long in this league. We need them but it is better value to take a player that has a better chance of lasting 10 years. If in both cases you get a star, the RB lasts five years and the other lasts ten years, we get twice the value on the ten year player. So Running Backs have become a position filled with later round draft picks, for the most part.

    2. 10.2


      Well I mean, offensive tackles never touch the ball, so I guess teams should just stop drafting them altogether, huh?

      Percentage of snaps on which a guy touches the ball is an incredibly random stat. I don’t see how such observations benefit any discussion about draft value. I mean, I guess Roger Craig was more important to those 80s 49ers teams than Jerry Rice was, right? I mean, the most touches Rice EVER had in a season was 122, whereas Craig had more than that in every single one of his Niners years. That’s how this works, right?

      1. 10.2.1


        It’s just a counter point to the idea that RB isn’t of value in RD1 because of current salary trends. I think Cam Robinson should be the pick at 19 but every indication is the Bucs are happy with the current OL and won’t pick one early if at all. I still think number of touches for TEs is pretty telling.

  11. 11


    Budda Baker is the best safety in this class. He can do it all. If he is still there at 19 draft him!

    1. 11.1

      Trevor Sikkema

      All I’ll say is that there are certain people who agree with you that he is worthy of No. 19.

    2. 11.2


      Right!? Count me in! Baker is the most complete safety in the class. Maybe not the stud box skills of Adams or the elite range of Hooker but he’s 1b in each of those categories with the football IQ and instincts 2nd to none. With that being said.. I’m taking Davis no doubt if he falls like you mentioned.

    3. 11.3


      I prefer him as a full time nickel but I do love his game.

  12. 12


    Greatest need is TE; we have nothing after Brate. If not TE, then CB, WR, RB. If Cook is available at 19 then I’m for him as he is special in my opinion.

    1. 12.1


      I agree Horse. We need a tight end the can run and catch, and block. They are a rare combo, but there are 2 or 3 this year. Go get one.

    2. 12.2


      Buc TE’s overall last year only account for 9.5% of offensive touches last year. Brate was at 7%. I agree the position needs depth upgrade but not with early draft picks! Except for Howard, non of the top TEs can block. Butt would be a good pick in the middle of the draft but he might not even play this year.

  13. 13


    Hey Trevor, no Jabril Peppers on your list? I personally think he is not worth #19, but you have to consider him. He’s in the conversation with Obiwan and Budda for sure. Any thoughts? Great football manes by the way.

    1. 13.1

      Trevor Sikkema

      Well, I don’t think Peppers is really a safety. So, in a bit of a tip of my hand, we’ll go over him as a fit vs. other cornerbacks next week.

      1. 13.1.1


        The beautiful thing about Peppers is his athletic ability, durability, and versatility. His versatility makes him a no-brainer at 19. He can play dime LB, Safety, nickel corner, and kick returner. Shoot, the kid could probably play slot receiver if you asked him to.

        I look forward to your cornerback article next week!

      2. 13.1.2


        I don’t think he is a great corner prospect, but I agree that it’s his best fit. Playing corner would require him to read and think after the snap as little as possible, which is crucial for him, I think. He’s not a GREAT cover guy, I don’t think, but if he’s going to end up being special anywhere, it’ll be there. He’s got the physical tools, and he definitely flashes the ability to be sticky in man coverage on film. It’s boundary corner or bust for Peppers, IMO.

  14. 14


    I was certain Bucs would pick an offensive weapon with the first pick, but it looks like all the ones I have my eyes on will be gone before the bucs get to 19. Regardless, this is a deep draft and if the Bucs are patient, they will come away with several players who could potentially start and make an impact. I am totally against the idea of moving up. Bucs love to do it and in most cases it has not gone well for them. If we take one of the top safties with 19 it won’t be as exciting as getting Howard, Cook or Ross but the likelihood is those players will be gone. We could still get a top safety or corner and come back in second and get a starting running back or receiver. Hopefully we will not be moving up in the second round to get a punter….just kidding.

  15. 15


    One thing I have learned over the years is once you get past the 5th or 6th pick anything goes. I’ve seen 2nd & 3rd RD players go in the top 15. One year I took a completed draft, compared it to 3 reliable prospect analyst, and matched it up with 10 of the top mocks. The average margin for error was +/-5 players by the end of the first round. We spend months trying to speculate how these players will line up, who will get who, who will fall, and who will trade. Don’t even try to guess how any player outside the top 50 will go the probabilities are astronomical. Now days I just sit back and enjoy the crap shoot and listen to Mel try to justify why he blows most of his projections. Love the draft, but you gotta know no one including Mike Mayock has a clue how it will turn out.

    1. 15.1


      Anything else is purely for entertainment purposes. I will be shocked if any Mock Draft gets more than 10 correct projections. Having all of Mel Kiper’s books, it’s funny to go back and read the forecasts/player evaluations a few years later. Bottom line is, “don’t take these prognostications as facts.” They all get failing grades when it’s all said and done.

  16. 16


    I definitely love the pick of Baker, by I feel we can get him at 50. Like I said on a previous article, I just have a feeling we won’t spend the first round pick on a RB because I get the feeling the organization really wants to stand by Doug so for me #19 is still a crap shoot.

    But Baker jumps off the tape as a can’t miss prospect. Yea he’s only 5’10, but so is Earl Thomas. Plus JJ Wilcox gives us sufficient size on the back end. I say we grab Baker at 50, then get his running mate Sidney Jones in the fourth

    1. 16.1


      It’s possible Baker could be there at 50, but it’s also unlikely. If the team has a first round grade on Baker, banking on him slipping that far would be dumb. There is ample talk of him being targeted by multiplt teams at the end of the first, as well as other teams in the early second.

  17. 17


    In past posts I have shown the number and quality of picks that can be obtained from the #19 pick. This article shows that more players can actually be obtained for cost less.

    The Bucs need to be patient and let the draft come to them. This is not something Licht has been good at.

  18. 18


    That was a good read Trevor. It’s always interesting to put the finances back into the game. Cap management is a huge part of creating a contender that remains a contender and this article illustrated some shortcomings teams drafting in the top ten face.

    I’ve been standing on my soapbox for a DB in the first round for a couple of months. I prefer Ohio State CB Gareon Conley if he’s available, but certainly could get behind the Bucs taking a versatile safety in the first round, whether that’s Bob Sanders clone Budda Baker or Cam Chancellor look-a-like Obi Melifonwu.

    VH3 was targetted more than any CB in the league last year and gave up 1069 yards, which was the most in the NFL. Grimes is entering his final year of his 2 year deal. Jude Adjei-Barimah has been a pleasant surprise, and Ryan Smith is switching back to CB, but I sure hope the Bucs have a better long term solution.

    1. 18.1


      I think there little doubt that at least one or two DB’s (most likely a safety) will be drafted by the Bucs. There are only four safeties on the current roster. That tells me something.

  19. 19

    Honey Bear

    If by some miracle OJ Howard drops to 19, I think he is a no-brainer. The tight end pool is deep, but I don’t believe any can impact both the run game and pass game as much as he can. I see him being an All-Pro quickly. If not, I would go with the top-ranked edge defender available or trade down. Charles Harris, Taco Charlton, and Derek Barnett are incredibly talented and one of them will probably be available. It all starts with the front four!

    R1: Charles Harris
    R2: Joe Mixon
    R3: Justin Evans
    R4: Josh Reynolds
    R5: George Kittle
    R6: Speedy Noil
    R7: Chad Kelly

    I would also be happy with R2 being a safety (Maye or Josh Jones, unless we trade up for Baker or Peppers), and R3 going with Kareem Hunt. I like Mack, Foreman, and Hill as well, but Mixon and Hunt are my favorite 3-down guys.

    1. 19.1

      Biron Smythe

      3 Aggies! Not complaining, Evans and Reynolds are both extremely talented.

      1. 19.1.1

        Honey Bear

        Mike Evans worked out, go with what ya know!

    2. 19.2


      Dude Justin Evans is so bad…did you see his Tennessee tape? You’ll be screaming for a shot of Sabby Piscitelli to wash down that swill. Love Reynolds and Kittle though.

      1. 19.2.1


        +1 for Justin Evans being terrible. He plays so soft! Every tape I can find of the guy he looks so uninterested in making contact. Of all the safety footage I’ve watched Evans is the one I’d stay the furthest away. Don’t like the guys playing style one bit.



          Completely agree. He takes absolutely atrocious angles and has horrible tackling form. I think he missed 10 tackles in that Tennessee game and may have missed 20 if his angles weren’t so terrible. Since then I’ve watched the Alabama and LSU tape and he was equally as awful in those games.

  20. 20

    Biron Smythe

    I absolutely love Budda Baker and, agree with you Trevor, would have no problem at all taking him at 19. Every time I see him blitz from the secondary I can’t help but see Ronde Barber. Could the Bucs be on the cusp of drafting another guy capable of joining the 20 sack 20 interception club?

    1. 20.1


      I see a lot of Ronde in him too.

  21. 21

    Michael Sylakowski

    Why knock Baker because of his size? He’s about the same size as Ed Reed and is bigger than Tyrann Mathieu. We all know how impactful those players are. For some reason I do think either Cook or Davis will drop to 19. I feel a few qb needy teams will reach and/or make trades to grab a few of the signal callers in the top 20. I’d rather get an offensive weapon than a safety. Hopefully coach Koetter will have a big input and get the Bucs another much needed weapon for Jameis. Brate going down last year really hampered the offense getting in the end zone.

  22. 22


    Dude, your articles are gold. So much insight and some nice humor shots. Great read.

    I am down with a traceback for Baker, or draft Barnett if he falls. I am also down with Harris in a trade back if Barnett and Baker are off the board in the mid-twenties. I feel like we need defense with our first pick. Defense led us to our late surge last year, keep adding to it!

  23. 23

    Hank Scorpio

    Assuming OJ Howard and Corey Davis are off the board, Budda Baker has been my preferred rd 1 pick for awhile now.

    Melifonwu and Peppers are the only rd 1 picks that would make me yell at my TV

    1. 23.1

      Honey Bear

      I agree on Melifonwu. Combine warriors do not make good first rounders! I would also be happy with Corey Davis, although WR is deep and it’s not our biggest need. I like Budda, but I don’t think he warrants the pick at #19. I think we could trade down to the bottom of the first and still land him, or possibly even trade up in the 2nd. If we ended up with one of the other safeties I mentioned (Jones, Evans, Maye, or even Marcus Williams) may be a better value in the 2nd or 3rd.

  24. 24


    The only defensive player I’d hope would fall to the Bucs, and would jump up, and down for is Allen, DT from Alabama. Licht said we might draft a player where some would say that doesn’t seem like a need, having McCoy, but Allen would pay off big time. I was hoping Scott was right last year about drafting Rankins. Rotating Allen, and McCoy in our D line would be a nightmare for opposing O lineman. It would impact our defense more so then any safety could.

    1. 24.1

      Hank Scorpio

      Outside of Allen’s uncle releasing a video of him smoking a gas mask bong 20 minutes before the draft starts, there’s no way he gets out of the top 5. IMO he’s the best player in this draft.

      And I agree that I think we could trade back to the mid 20s and still land Baker (that would be the ideal scenario imo), but I also won’t be upset if we can’t find a trading partner and pick him at 19. I think our ability to trade out of the 19th spot depends largely on which QBs are still available. If only 1 QB is off the board, I could easily see a team in the 20s or top of the 2nd working out a deal.

  25. 25

    Buc 1976

    Kieth Tandy 5’10”
    VHIII 5’10”
    Grimes 5’10”
    So alot of people want Baker 5’10” . Well GOOD LUCK WITH ALL THE 6’3″- 6’5″” WR just in our division!!

    1. 25.1


      While I agree those numbers look bad for us on paper…let’s also remember that we didn’t have all that much trouble shutting down those big receivers last year. In fact, if our defense is firing on all cylinders as it did in the later half of 2016, we have a good chance to run the table in the NFC South

      1. 25.1.1

        Buc 1976

        Really watch red zone CB from Carolina just walled off VHlll. Smaller DB are ok BUT NOT EVERYONE. IF WE move down I think OBI would be a good pick.

  26. 26


    Trevor, I think it may be time for yourself and the rest of the PR staff to start using your media connections. Let’s get some rumors started and make some of our big targets fall to #19. If all the big targets are gone, I’m 100% in on trading back and getting an extra pick or 2 with the depth available in this draft

  27. 27


    I tend to think the Combine is a beauty show. Melifawu scares me. He has freakish size and speed . But when he is described as having to take a second to respond, that is a the difference between being a player and being toast in the NFL. If the other top safeties are not there at 19 move on. Bucs need to not reach with their first pick.

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