Each week PewterReport.com’s Mark Cook answers your submitted questions about the Bucs. You can have your question answered by asking on Twitter using the #PRMailbag hashtag. Here are this week’s five questions.
Question: Who do you think the Bucs would be willing to trade up for at a reasonable price?
Answer: There are so many variables, and an impossible question to answer. I don’t think even Jason Licht would be able to answer this question in February. But for fun, we can take a look a few guys I like currently ranked by the pundits as players that will go before the Bucs pick at No. 19.
Of course if you read my Bucs Offseason Battle Plan, you know I love Dalvin Cook. Now it is no secret that I am a FSU fan, and it is easy to label me biased, but other than Jameis Winston, I have never advocated drafting any other FSU players. The Roberto Aguayo pick caused me indigestion. Ask Scott Reynolds, when that pick was made, I put my head on my desk in the media center at One Buc.
Here is what I counter the bias article with: As a fan I have seen every single snap Dalvin Cook has taken, including spring games. Therefore, from my untrained scouting eye, I have seen all of his strengths, and weaknesses. I can’t say that about Joe Mixon, Leonard Fournette, Chad Kelly, Corn Elder and so on. So what I am trying to say is, compared to all the running back I have seen, I know Cook better than say an Ohio State fan. That in no way means I can say he is better than other backs of teams I don’t watch regularly, however I know him well. And with one of my good friends, who was a member of Jimbo Fisher’s coaching staff until this past season, I have a lot of intel on him that a lot of writers don’t. I knew more about Jameis Winston than many as well. So if that is bias, then so be it. I prefer to call it, really, really informed about FSU players.
Again, in my opinion, Dalvin Cook is going to be a special back. And I very well could be wrong. It won’t be the first time. Or the last.
Getting back to your original question, other than Cook, two of my favorite players that could be selected before the Bucs have a chance to draft them, are Alabama tight end O.J. Howard, and Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams. The two biggest things I love is their ability to adjust to the ball in flight. Both have an uncanny ability to find the ball and make incredible catches. And I bring that up because Jameis Winston is most likely never going to be Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers pinpoint accurate. Mike Evans is the perfect receiver for Winston. And both Howard and Williams also have some traits that Evans possesses. As far as Howard, it is even more impressive due to his size. Both these guys could go around the 12-18 spot and it could be tempting for Licht and his staff to make a move.
I do agree with many of the readers that moving up could be too costly. However it worked out well for the Falcons in moving up for Julio Jones. If you believe in a guy, as a special player, I would be aggressive and go get him. Licht can’t be worrying about what a 2018 second rounder may being to the team, if that in fact is what thy have to give up to move a couple spots. Go get your guy. Win now.
Lastly though, so much of this question will depend on what the team is able to accomplish in free agency. Sign a No. 2 receiver and all of a sudden it takes the pressure off of deciding between another one on draft night, and say a defensive tackle or end.
Question: Why haven’t Bucs terminated the Doug Martin contract? They overpaid him and he gave them a way out of that contract?
Answer: The main reason is because there is no reason to yet. In fact, essentially the team has until Week 3 to make a final decision. Why not see how it plays out? See how he comes out of rehab, see where his heart and mindset is, and go from there.
Now I believe ultimately that is what they will do, but again, there is no urgency to do so. Say the Bucs draft a running back and he and Jacquizz Rodgers both blow out knees in the preseason. Now it’s Charles Sims and Peyton Barber. Martin is a hell of a consolation prize if that scenario were to play out, IF he is back to being the Doug Martin of old.
And lastly, why kick a man when he is down? The team and locker room love Martin, and it really is a close knit group of guys. What message does it send if the Bucs essentially abandoned Martin in the middle of his recovery attempt?
Question: This this draft what prospects in the secondary do you see being a fit in Mike Smith’s zone heavy scheme?
Answer: This is a tough question and one probably better handled by our new writer Trevor Sikkema. I sent him this question, and below was his answer.
The answer to this question is a bit involved since secondary players need to be broken up into three separate positions: Deep coverage, sideline coverage and nickel coverage. Smith does like to run zone more than he does putting his players on islands, but he mainly runs Cover 2 man or Cover 4, so each of these three categories requires some different skills.
For deep cover guys (safety), the important aspect to emphasize is being interchangeable. Yes, the free safety will drop back more often and the strong safety will help at the line more often, but Smith likes for these guys to stay fluid, if he can. So players like Malik Hooker, Jamal Adams, Budda Baker, Obi Melifonwu, Marcus Maye, Justin Evans and Tedric Thompson are some names to remember who are good enough to play both roles, if called upon.
For sideline cover players (outside CB), Smith focuses on high IQ, great recovery speed and solid tackling. I don’t really see them dipping into outside help too early in the draft since Grimes is still playing strong and Hargreaves’ best position was at outside CB last year, but if they do, Teez Tabor, Gareon Conley, Howard Wilson and Rasul Douglas are guys that would make a difference, if they wanted to push Hargreaves to full time slot.
Finally, the nickel corner position is the toughest. Smith still likes recovery speed, tackling and high IQ, but most of the time nickel corners are in man coverage because they have to play a receiver, running back or tight end who has the most room on the field to work with. Those cover players have to almost be the complete package, but with quickness and explosiveness (you’ll hear analysts use the term “twitched up”) as their selling point – nickel corner is one of the toughest positions to play in the NFL. For that position, keep an eye on Jourdan Lewis, Corn Elder, Marquez White and Aarion Penton, if they want to transition Hargreaves to a full time outside CB.
Question: Donovan Smith has been alright, but is still inconsistent.
Answer: I am guessing the question is, what do they Bucs do about it? And my answer is nothing. I have spoken to sources with the team and their feelings on Smith aren’t even close to what the folks at Pro Football Focus think. Or many fans for that matter. The organization knows Smith can be much better, and they expect him to in 2017. Smith expects to. But replacing Smith is very low on the priority scale for the team at this point. It doesn’t mean it won’t ever happen, but as of now, from all we have gathered, don’t expect any major shakeups on the offensive line this offseason.
Question: When Jason Licht announces we’ve signed a WR thinking D Jackson, when we’ve really signed A Jeffery! Who should we?
Answer: Well played sir. For those who don’t understand the question, it is play off of my tweet about La La Land and the Oscar flub on Sunday night. But getting back to your question, I would say DeSean Jackson. I love the speed element he brings and Jameis Winston is a big fan. Imagine Jackson, Evans and another drafted receiver on the field with Brate at tight end, and a revamped backfield. Weapons for Winston has been the battle cry for the Bucs this offseason, and Jackson is just that. Sure he is getting up there, but his production hasn’t slipped. And remember the “old man” Joey Galloway had three consecutive 1,000 yard seasons as a Buccaneer.
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, the beach and family time.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@example.com
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