Bucs GM Jason Licht - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
There isn’t a position the Bucs couldn’t use at least a little help at.
Some more so than others.
One position that would seem to be a little further down the list, is tight end, but both PewterReport.com in our last mock draft, and ESPN’s Todd McShay have Alabama’s O.J. Howard slotted for the Bucs to pick at No. 19.
“The Buccaneers have bigger needs than tight end – defensive line, safety and wide receiver among them – but Howard, my No. 12 overall player, is the best value on the board,” said McShay. “He was the best player on the field all week at the Senior Bowl, showing great athleticism for a guy who measured just over 6-foot-5½ and 249 pounds.”
Alabama TE OJ Howard – Photo by: Courtland Richards
Scott Reynolds, who’s mock came out on on the first of February, makes a good case for Howard, despite the presence of Cam Brate who emerged as a weapon in 2016.
“At just under 6-foot-6, and weighing 249 pounds, Howard used his size and speed to create mismatches against linebackers and safeties to make big plays downfield. Howard had 14 catches of 30 yards or more at Alabama, which shows his explosiveness, but was incredibly under-utilized in his four-year Crimson Tide career.
“The Bucs could use another tight end to team with Cameron Brate in 2017 and allow Dirk Koetter to go back to his original plan of using both Brate and Austin Seferian-Jenkins together in 2016 before a DUI prior to Week 3 prompted ASJ’s release. While Brate enjoyed a breakout season with 57 catches for 660 yards eight touchdowns, which tied for the NFL lead among tight ends, his presence as sorely missed in the final two games of the season when he suffered a back injury at New Orleans and Tampa Bay’s passing game nearly ground to a halt.”
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, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. 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 [email protected]
I’m down with the pick, but If Howard is gone and the cat from Miami (Njoku) is there, how far apart are the two in the scout’s eyes? Would Bucs pass on him and look for TE help in the 2nd/3rd?
As in every single draft, the Bucs and every other NFL team can always use help or depth at just about every position, including the Pats and Falcs.
But we are such that we have no full emergency-all hands-on-deck needs either, anywhere on the roster.
Meaning, fortunately the Bucs are in a near perfect position to draft whoever is the best guy sill on the board. And if OJ Howard is the best guy on the board at 19, I expect Licht will take him … and if someone better is still there, that’ll be the pick. Offense or defense, skill position or lineman.
I would say having the worst kicker in the NFL who couldn’t make a kick over 43 yards is a bit of an emergency, but we all know Licht is going to try to salvage that move for one more season. I would also ask you who you think the No. 2 WR on the team is, because Humphries is a slot guy and I can’t imagine anyone taking Russel Shephard as a starter seriously. You’d be stretching things if you weren’t wondering who the starting RB was or said safety wasn’t a weak spot either, so I’d really have a tough time seeing how you feel the Bucs are in a “near perfect position” to draft BPA.
Chances are very good that Licht will pick up a vet WR in free agency capable of performing as a no. 2 WR, or even an UDFA, just as Cameron Brate was undrafted. In any event, a no. 2 WR is not a burning need when we have one of the top 2 or 3 WRs in the league (PFF just released their “Top 101” and named Mike Evans the second best WR in the league, only a hair behind Julio Jones), and we also have one of the best pass-catching tight ends in the league too.
Kickers are never a burning need – too many decent ones can be had for next to nothing. We’re likely to try out at least several in training camp and Aguayo may or may not still be on the roster come opening week. Licht has already demonstrated he’s ready to cut the cord on any non-performing person, whether a highly paid FA or a second round draft pick with a DUI.
Kicker can be had off of waivers. R1 is interesting. I think we need to go with the player most likely to change games, even another DT(?) ; R2- ROT ; R3-OG/C
R4 and later RB, CB, WR, LB…depth
Keep looking online, OJ Howard is great, but how far from the other really good TE is he? Jabrill Peppers is making more sense to me. Fills a lot of areas we could get better at, KR, PR, S, WR. Then find the best TE later. Might be better looking OL in the 2,3
Yeah, I agree with this. We have more important needs. However, If he is the pick, I will still be pleased because he is such a good TE. But truth is as you say, there are plenty of good TE’s in this draft and that is unusual. This Draft is deep in Corners too and Defensive lineman. We could go with a Receiver early, and come back to TE, DE RB and Corner or Safety, although Safety is not as deep as Corner.
Peppers is nit the right type of safety for us. He is strictly an “in the box” SS. Enticing, but no thanks.
OJ Howard is a big YES. He’s the perfect pick at #19. I too like Njoku.
Peppers isn’t a strictly “in the box”safety. He has good cover skills also. He was a CB all through high school. Michigan had him switch to safety and even play some LB because the kid can hit. Peppers is also fast. He ran track in high school (100 & 200 meter). He won both at state champions.
I would be happy with Howard as the pick, but I still think we have bigger needs at Receiver, Running back and Defensive Line.
We have a bigger need at WR, but the 1st rd is all about value. If Davis and Williams are off the board by 19 like most people think they will be, we need to go a different direction, and either Howard or Njoku would be perfect. I argue that they would fill 2 needs in a play making pass catchet and a blocker to seal the edge.
Having two play making TE’s would be awesome, and if Howard really is a good blocker it might help our running game too. The Receiver crop is deep and so is the running back crop. We can pick up a player at all three positions into the third round that may even be able to start. This is a good draft, and hopefully bucs are patient and let the draft come to them, instead of reaching which they often do.
We think alike Seat. I do think Licht will lean the Draft towards acquiring the more explosive players. With finally some stability in the coaching staff, schemes and a better understanding of the roster, the self-described “Meathead” should be better prepared to select the right players.
Only he and the Bucs staff know how they evaluate the players on the roster. So while we novice GM’s may believe an upgrade is needed at certain positions, Licht just might think we have a developmental guy like Horse’s Ben Gottschalk, only needing an opportunity. It may also be true that a position or player we think adequate because we recognize the names, is a weakness that hasn’t yet revealed itself.
Hank, that was what I liked about Howard not only would he give Jameis another big target but can help the o-line also. IMO, the 1st round pick must be a play maker on offense even if it requires trading up a few spots to get the right guy
With so many people jumping on board with my OJ Howard selection Im starting to think he may not be there. The Titans pick just in front of us and my fear is they might take him since they need as many if not more weapons than we do. It might be time we start looking at the TE from Miami Njoku as OJ might be gone. That said I don’t get the perceived need at safety, re-sign McDougald and probably Conte and we can get reliable play from that spot. Conte is not going to be given a starting job anywhere he goes, so why not make him compete with McDougald in a scheme he’s mroe familiar with. I still think the Bucs will take a long look at Desean Jackson which will calm the need for a WR in round 1. He can still do exactly what we HOPE the Ross kid can do which is stretch the field and take the pressure off Evans. Oh and he can return punts in big situations which only adds to his value. I hope FA is spent signing a player like Poe who KC can’t afford to keep if they pay Berry or Kawann Short since the Panthers are known to let talented players walk. Pay a disruptive DT some money and an explosive WR then sit back and hope the Sweezey experiment played out which could still give us the flexibility to move Ali to center if he’s the player they claim he is. Then we walk into the draft needing playmakers and can take BPA to build a stronger roster.
I have a feeling Bucs address Defence in FA,and draft Offensive in the draft because WR is probably 3rd deep. OJH can run as fast as some WAR’S. The running back class is very deep. With 3 guys six five in the red zone should equal POINTS. And don’t forget Adam H. Sneak’s in sometimes.
If we look at NFC South we also need Defense just look at the points Atlanta score, New Orleans scores and if Carolina gets help on OL they will improve. I think top to bottom NFC South is becoming one of the toughest Division in The league.
Here’s my opinion…..Do what we need to do and Draft Dalvin Cook, it’s a win now league gents, plenty of CAP room to go get some other spots in need if we had to give up for example, our second round pick to move up and grab cook. Resign our studs and get rid of the duds, plane and simple. Remember, going after free agents does not necessarily mean emptying the pocket book, just upgrading the talent from what we had or did not have in our position holes from last season. OJ Howard may be good, but he’s not what we need lining up opposite of Mike Evans and I am quite happy with Brate’s production at tight end last year. We need another receiver that has both size and speed to stretch the field. I just think that it’s possible to move up and grab Cook with the right incentives that does not include giving up everything in order to do so.
Westdominguez, I’m confused by your post. You talk about needing another WR to go opposite Evans and then talk about giving up our first 2 picks to trade up to grab a RB. RB isn’t that big of a need for us and this draft is deep in RB talent. Why waste 2 picks? Do you believe we will find a good WR toward the end of the 3rd round or later? If so, who was you thinking?
There are other ways to get a WR wnb, i.e. free agency. ANY of those receivers that are free agents like the Jeffrey’s, Jackson’s, Still’s of the world are better than what we had opposite of Evans this year. Look, and I mentioned about this being a WIN NOW league, we need playmakers other than Evans. If that means we draft someone like Mike Williams from Clemson and then bring in a running back like AP to win now, or flip flop and get Cook in the draft and a receiver via free agency, then great, i’m fine with that also. What were you’re expectations this year? 6/7 wins like most people thought, then we won 9 and even with those 9, a lot of fans to include myself said, damn, we could have won 11 (losing to a bad Rams team, the Raiders game in OT and even the Arizona game where we were embarrassed). With that being said, what do you think the expectations will be this year? Those expectations coupled with the fact we have the SB runner up twice, SB champions at home, Lions, Giants, Packers, Dolphins, Bills and Vikings along with our normal NFC south grind with NO and CAR. We got to go big this off season, but smart big or it’s back to the cellar.
I know there are other ways to get a WR like FA but there aren’t many WR in FA that have “both size and speed to stretch the field” with the exception of maybe Jeffreys. Unless cook falls in the draft for some reason I don’t see him being drafted lower than 10th. The 10th pick in the draft is 1300 points. We are drafting 19th which is worth 850 points. Our 2nd round pick is worth 390 points which still leaves us 60 points shy. Our 4th round pick is worth 65 points which is what we would have to give up to get him. I don’t think Cook is worth a 1st , 2nd, and 4th round picks. I don’t think there is a player in this draft even worth both 1st and 2nd round picks. This draft is loaded in talent in the top 2 rounds especially at RB. I would love for the Bucs to sign a play maker at WR like Jeffreys and DT Poe in FA. Then we could draft BPA with our first pick. If cook is still there then I am all for the Bucs drafting him, if not I’m good with Howard. We could always go after Forman or McCaffrey with our 2nd pick even if we have to trade up to get him. Could you imagine Evans and Jeffreys at WR, Howard and Brate at TE, and Forman or McCaffrey out of the back field. Talk about mismatches. We would be loaded with play makers.
Devashar, u might not have gotten an arguement from me in regards to the Bucs being weak at safety during the first half of the season.
However, even then a number of the plays made against them were the result of wrak pressure on the QB due to the unhealthy status of the starters.
But during the second half of the season their INT rate went up and their play and communication improved once they became acclimated to Smith’s new defense.
I’d be happy if they resigned them all to play next year.
With the ages of three of our four starting defensive lineman being or approching in the 30s, the Bucs need to continue to improve the DL.
A nasty pass rush going after the oppositions QB with extreme prejudice. Is a DBs best freind.
I agree with you drdneast that we should keep our safety group together this season. One publication graded our secondary in the top half of the league in 2016 at 15th. Since that was for the whole season, we were probably in top 10 in the second half. Their communication should only get better with another year together.
I got a feeling that OJ Howard won’t be there at 19. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Saints don’t snatch him up at 11 with their pick. I think they might view Howard as their next Jimmy Graham, and give them what they have been missing since he was traded. With that said, I would like to see the Bucs go after a explosive playmaker like Cook, or Corey Davis. I do think the Browns will go after a QB with that first pick, unless they trade it and grab one with the 12th pick. Lets face it, you can’t really turn a franchise around without a franchise QB. For the Browns, it’s now or never. This will shake a few things up in the top of the draft, or at least in this mock draft. Or may be not, as teams might be expecting this.
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