Washington S Budda Baker - Photo courtesy of Univ. of Washington
PewterReport.com continues its daily feature previewing the upcoming NFL Draft with position-by-position analysis. PewterReport.com’s Mark Cook analyzes what the Bucs have currently on their roster at each position and Trevor Sikkema provides a comprehensive overall ranking of the top players at that position going into the draft. Scott Reynolds makes his projections for Tampa Bay with PewterReport.com’s Bucs’ Best Bets – one early round pick, and one from the later rounds.
The series began with quarterbacks, followed by running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, offensive tackles, offensive guards and centers, defensive ends, defensive tackles, linebackers, cornerbacks, and now, finally, we wrap things up with the safety group.
WHAT THE BUCS HAVE AT SAFETY
Many fans were surprised to see the Buccaneers bring back free agent safety Chris Conte over Bradley McDougald, who eventually signed with Seattle. Conte, like most on Tampa Bay’s defense, had his early season struggles in Mike Smith’s scheme, but turned the corner and ended up having a solid 2016 campaign. Conte finished the year with 69 tackles, five pass breakups and two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown against the Bears.
Bucs S Chris Conte – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Late in the season Conte was injured and backup Keith Tandy had an opportunity to showcase his talent – and Tandy delivered. So much, in fact, that he most likely heads into the offseason as a starter. Tandy started five games in 2016 and tallied 56 tackles, nine pass breakups and four interceptions.
The Bucs replaced McDougald with former Cowboys safety J.J. Wilcox, who will compete for a starting role beginning this offseason. Wilcox notched 49 tackles, one forced fumble and one interception for the Cowboys in 2016.
Isaiah Johnson is currently the only other rostered safety.
WHAT THE BUCS NEED AT SAFETY
With only four safeties on the roster the Bucs at the very least need depth. Tampa Bay could actually go safety early, even possibly at No. 19. The good news for Tampa Bay is this class of safeties is deep and even if they don’t draft one in the first round, a down-the-road starter can still be found later in the draft. The Bucs will also most likely add additional bodies via the post-draft free agent frenzy that takes place Saturday evening.
Click the next page to see the top projected safeties in this class.
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]
I don’t think we’re going to go early rounds for a Safety.
Horse, I don’t either, I say 3rd round a safety OR as I stated in one of the other forums, if our “most wanted” list is gone by 19 and we trade down and get some additional picks i.e. 2 second rounders, I think we go a skill player on the offensive side of the ball and then a safety.
I can see why you say that. We were okay with undrafteds and late rounders starting but a really good one could really put us over.
So many S in this draft. I agree Horse 3rd rd maybe the S from Florida.
Woods in the 4th is a no brainer assuming the Bucs don’t draft a safety earlier.
How’s he in coverage against big guys
I do think the BUCS go safety in the first 3 rounds. It’s a need. I like Baker as a top end 2nd rounder or Maye as a top 50 pick.
If the BUCS trade back Safety will be a pick in the top 2 picks.
I like Maye from 2015 you think we’d get that guy or whoever he was in 2016. Hey he’s familiar with Hargreaves why not?
Trevor, I am surprised Peppers didn’t even make your top 12.
Mike Mayock says Mallik Hooker will fall to Tampa at 19. Wouldn’t that be a hoot. Stanger things have happened. Enjoy the draft. I sincerely hope your favorite player gets picked. GO BUC’s.
Mayock slotted Hooker to us at 19. That would be fantastic.
What if D. Cook and M. hooker were there at 19? What does Licht do? Interesting draft this year. Almost every year I’ve had a good idea who was coming, save for the Barron pick, That one still hurts. This year, I’m stumped. So, a short letter to Mr. Licht.
Please draft us the very best players you can. For years we have been faithful and true, even though we had every right to backslide. Us fans deserve you to do your very best. I for one believe that you are doing just that. So this fan has some advice.
Please stay away from any trades with the Browns. Anything to do with them in the draft ALWAYS fails. Bad mojo up there.
And no reaching. Reaching is bad!
This fan has complete faith in what you are going to do. Hopefully we will be toasting you on Sunday with the beverage of our choice.
LONG TIME FAN AND SUFFERER
Trevor, you did not state whether any of our current safeties are capable of the free safety role. Also, you are underrating Josh Jones of NCS. His combine numbers are nearly identical to Obi and he plays with much better instincts. Most ratings I have seen have Josh, Budda and Obi ranked very close and some have Josh ranked highest. He is an excellent free safety prospect, while most, even you, have Obi and Budda at strong safety.
What does it mean when a player is a free safety? My understanding is that he’s playing the weak side of the defense, usually the guy playing over top as a safety net if that’s accurate then I think we got 2 capable free safeties in Conte and Tandy.
I know JJ Wilcox is known for laying wood so I think we’re okay at strong safety.
But if we can get Eddy Jackson which can play either and help us disguise our coverage that’d be clutch
I can’t respect Obi after he about hurt himself trying to tackle Donnel Pumphrey at the senior bowl.
If you can get Budda in the 2nd yeah otherwise Woods later for depth. I like film room junkies.
Mr Thompson is the sleeper that probably won’t ever be unfortunately more so for lack of opportunity than a lack of talent. I just get that feel on him.
Mayovk talking about us drafting Hooker. What you think about that Tampa Bay Tre?
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