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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. 

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About the Author: Mark Cook

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 mark@pewterreport.com
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bEubanks11
4 years ago

Mark/Trevor.. I have to say I am not a Canes fan but absolutely love the way C. ELDER plays the game. He’s so aggressive, instinctive and a great tackler for any size player but especially for one of his stature. He reminds me a lot of the”Honey Badger”and I’d love to have a guy like that on our team. 3rd round grade on him? I have to imagine Licht is high on this guy.

chefboho
Reply to  bEubanks11
4 years ago

I totally agree. I am a huge canes fan and this guy would’ve been a higher draft pick but the old coaching staff at the I sucked and had no idea how to coach talent. He’s a definite late second rounder I would take a chance on. He’s aggressive and has good instincts.

surferdudes
4 years ago

If I were G.M., I’d come out of this draft with two new backs. Find it hard to believe cutting Martin would hurt the locker room. He let his team down, it’s a business, they know you’re one screw up away from football being taken away from you. Simms made the cut in everyones battle plan, not sure he’s a lock to return. We’ll know after the draft their fate, but I could see us taking a back high, then doubling down later in the draft. Rodgers resigned, Barber, and two rooks moving forward. That’s how I’d reshape our backfield.… Read more »

kram0789
4 years ago

I am seeing lots mocks that are not picking John Ross. Have you heard anything that is a knock on Ross? We know he had the knee injury but he came back and played great. Is it that or something else?

Naplesfan
Reply to  kram0789
4 years ago

Ross had a torn ACL that caused him to miss the 2015 season at Washington. He fully recovered from that and had a fantastic season in 2016, where he is considered to be the fastest WR candidate in this year’s very stacked draft class. He tore his labrum late in 2016, and it requires surgery to fix it … that’s a very common surgery and recovery is very quick and nearly always successful. Ross elected to defer his surgery until after the combine and the private team workouts, and he expects to be fully recovered by the pre-season. Some people… Read more »

jshumaker
Reply to  kram0789
4 years ago

I read somewhere that he has had more injuries and he might be very fragile. Which can be an issue with the smaller speedy WR;s

Chrislex
Reply to  jshumaker
4 years ago

Mark,I could be wrong but didn’t Ross have surgery on both knees,plus a microfracture surgery?

Naplesfan
4 years ago

I don’t see Jason Licht trading in the first round, probably ever. He knows that the secret to building long term success in the NFL is getting more draft picks, and the road to the basement is paved with draft picks given up in trades. He won’t do anything that will result in a net loss of the picks we already have. Licht might very well trade down in an early round, most likely to get an extra pick .. and then with that extra pick, in “playing with house money” he then might trade up or package it with… Read more »

Naplesfan
Reply to  Naplesfan
4 years ago

correction .. I left out “up” after “trading” in first sentence regarding the first round … I do see Licht potentially trading down a few slots in the first round if his top guy is still on the board and not likely to go before he’s on the clock

jshumaker
Reply to  Naplesfan
4 years ago

Every year is different and this year it looks like the top offensive players may be just out of the Bucs reach. I think this year they need to move up just a few spots. Although not as far up as PR suggested for Dalvin Cook. Now if the cost is too high to get a (Davis/Williams/Howard/Cook/Fournette) then I think the Bucs should move back a few spots to get either Njoku or McCaffery. IMO, Davis/Williams/Howard are worth giving up a 3rd round pick but not a 2nd Yes the Patriots do like to have more picks, but they also… Read more »

Naplesfan
Reply to  jshumaker
4 years ago

Brady is just a single player … Aaron Rodgers is probably Brady’s equal or better as a quarterback, definitely better as a passer,, yet the Packers have not had nearly the success in the last decade and a half that the Pats have had …

No. of Super Bowl Rings – Packers, 1; Pats, 5.

No. of Super Bowl games – Packers, 1; Pats, 7.

I rest my case.

jshumaker
Reply to  Naplesfan
4 years ago

Rodgers/Packers? Did you reply to the wrong thread?

Naplesfan
Reply to  jshumaker
4 years ago

No – you wrote “Yes the Patriots do like to have more picks, but they also have the luxury of having Brady. I cited Rodgers and the Packers as an example of a team with an equal or better quarterback that has not had near the success of the Pats. Belichick and his ability to assemble teams year after year with high value players is the principle reason for the success of the Pats. Brady was important, but not irreplaceable … if you only changed out Brady for Rodgers, or probably several other of today’s top quarterbacks, the Pats would… Read more »

Jameis
Reply to  Naplesfan
4 years ago

“He knows that the secret to building long term success in the NFL is getting more draft picks, and the road to the basement is paved with draft picks given up in trades.” … So he traded up into the second round to draft a kicker?

Naplesfan
Reply to  Jameis
4 years ago

No – you’re ignoring that the trade up was already paid for when Licht first traded down in the first to pick VHIII, the player he intended to pick anyway. He was “playing with house money”, trading away the extra pick he won on Day 1, for use on Day 3, to move his high 3rd round pick to a low 2nd rounder on Day 2 … that is a classic Bill Belichick move who does more draft horsetrading than any other GM. Every draft is a net of all the personnel and draft decisions made … the great draft-men… Read more »

Naplesfan
Reply to  Naplesfan
4 years ago

The bottom line for draft trading is, if you end up at the end of Day 3 with fewer picks than you started with before the draft, then you messed up, and your team will suffer.

Trading up without compensation somewhere else in at least the middle rounds, and ending up with a net total draft class with fewer picks than you started out with, is always a suckers bet.

wnb0395
4 years ago

Mark, there is a huge difference in trading up for Julio Jones and trading up for Cook. First the 2011 draft wasn’t projected and defiantly wasn’t as deep of a draft as this years draft is projected to be. Second, there is a huge difference between trading up for a WR or RB. Good starting RBs don’t have the same career length and tend to hit there peak at age 26 and then decline quickly where as good starting WRs tend to have longer careers, play well into there 30s and tend to peak at age 28 and decline slower.… Read more »

jshumaker
Reply to  wnb0395
4 years ago

Excellent point about this year’s draft being deep for RB’s. It just doesn’t make sense when there are plenty of 2nd/3rd round options at RB

wnb0395
Reply to  Mark Cook
4 years ago

No teams going to trade a first round 13th pick for our first round 19th pick. The 13th pick is where I am assuming we would have to trade up to in order to get Cook before Indy. You have to include a 2nd round pick and probably more. So you will be giving up a 1 & 2 pick at least (19th over all pick plus our 2nd rounder and maybe more) for Cook. That is what I was saying. There is not a player in this draft worth our 19th pick and our 2nd round pick (1 &… Read more »

drdneast
4 years ago

As you noted in your answer about Doug Martin, he is considered a good team mate, locker room presence and from what I know, has always been gracious to the fans and the media. Yet there remains an underlying tone of animosity for him by certain fans because they think he is “overpaid.” Remember small minded fans, “envy” is a deadly sin. First of all, it’s none of your business how much Martin is paid, it’s the Bucs. Secondly, the Bucs have plenty of money, aren’t hurting for any and have plenty to spend. And last, it’s not your money… Read more »

wnb0395
Reply to  drdneast
4 years ago

Drdneast, worrying about how much Martin gets paid has nothing to do with Animosity or envy and everything to do with winning championships. In the NFL, if you don’t get good value for your money than you are NOT going to win championships. That is a fact. The Patriots have made a dynasty off getting great value for the talent they a quire. There isn’t one championship team that doesn’t get good value for the money they pay there players. If we consistently over pay players then we will never be a great team. That’s why we worry about how… Read more »

chetthevette
Reply to  drdneast
4 years ago

preach it brother!!!!

BrianDorry55
4 years ago

I think your analysis of the Martin situation is spot on.

Another guy that I think would be worth trading up for is Corey Davis. If they want a top receiver there is a big gap between Williams and Davis and those who follow. I actually think Davis is a more complete prospect than Williams (who reminds me a lot of Evans). Simply hopping over Tennessee who could be looking to go WR in the first might be a worthwhile move.

Hank Scorpio
4 years ago

“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.”

I hate this reasoning because it’s completely misleading. The Falcons are in a good position now, but the trade for Julio really stunted the team’s overall growth, leading them to fall off a cliff in 2013, costing Mike Smith his job.

Hank Scorpio
Reply to  Mark Cook
4 years ago

That’s assuming the the Bucs have the front office leadership (they don’t) to navigate an on field collapse due to not having young talent to replace players that leave due to age or signing elsewhere, and that Jameis plays up to the level of Matt Ryan, which is 50/50 at best.

wnb0395
Reply to  Mark Cook
4 years ago

So you would sacrifice 5 years of mediocracy and a 1-2 play off record for a superstar WR and a super bowl berth 6 years later and the greatest sporting choke in NFL history. It seems like a steep price to pay considering we got a superstar WR and didnt have to give up anything.

BrianDorry55
Reply to  Hank Scorpio
4 years ago

Your comparison is also a little misleading. The Falcons had to move up from 27 to 6 to get Julio. Dalvin probably won’t be a Top 10 pick. So let’s assume that at most, the Bucs would have to move up 8 spots or less to get Dalvin. You could probably make that move for this year’s second round pick. The Falcons gave up (in addition to the first rounder) their second and fourth and the following year’s first and fourth. The Browns got squat with those picks – Phil Taylor, Trent Richardson, Greg Little, Brandon Weeden, and Owen Marecic.… Read more »

jongruden
4 years ago

Garnet and Gold Report by Mark Cook, who says “he’s not bias” let me see didn’t you also want us getting Cameron Irving in the second round and then trading up for Jalen Ramsey last year? Also over looking Fournette for Cook like Cook is a better back, hmmm, and if Cook can come into the league and have two 1,500 yd seasons until injuries slows him down lets hope he doesn’t come to the Bucs cause fans will want him gone even though we want unproductive TE’s who get 23 yds for a season who plays on a roster… Read more »

chetthevette
Reply to  jongruden
4 years ago

The Arizona heat is baking your brain dude. Does every post you send have to take a shot at Stocker?
GO BUCS

jongruden
Reply to  chetthevette
4 years ago

Yes,he is garbage TE worst in NFL and been on our team for 5 yrs so until he is gone I will complain its amazing to me that I’m the only Bucs Fan that does maybe this is the culture like having guys like Maurice Stovall and Luke Stocker on the team for yrs has made us hardened and more adapted to this type of lunacy

chetthevette
Reply to  jongruden
4 years ago

He is on the team to BLOCK. Tight ends are LINEMEN. We are better running team when HE BLOCKS. BLOCKING and tackling, the 2 most fundamental skills for a football player. If he never caught a pass I’d be okay with, because he BLOCKS.
GO BUCS

jongruden
Reply to  chetthevette
4 years ago

He sucked as a blocker last yr and hey guess what a ton guys can block as a TE and have more than 23 yds in a season, most teams use an extra lineman for certain run packages, Stocker sucks ass just cause he on team don’t have to wear the rose colored glasses

scubog
Reply to  jongruden
4 years ago

Jonny: Your obsession with Luke Stocker is really getting weird. As you state, “he’s been on the team for over 5 years”. Don’t you think he must be doing something right to remain a Buccaneer through four regimes when teams are always looking to upgrade?

jongruden
Reply to  scubog
4 years ago

So Maurice Stovall is on roster for 5 yrs and you think he did something right too?

chetthevette
4 years ago

Mark, “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?” Thanks for saying this. Its no secret I want him on the team. I’m not a FSU homer, if I was even a little bit computer savvy I’d put an avatar of, well you know who, next to your name. You were a homer for Winston. You were a homer for Ramsey. Now your… Read more »

jongruden
Reply to  Mark Cook
4 years ago

Mark- I like Winston too although he still needs to improve his errant throws he can be very erratic at the time when he came out I preferred Mariota now I think either way is a win win they both are good qb’s. I too Like Dalvin Cook I think he is the best rb in the draft ha but when writing these articles try and cover more prospects outside of Tallahassee you will get more credibility from us viewers when reading. I think rb’s are pretty deep this yr and can get a good one in a guy like… Read more »

drdneast
4 years ago

So far jongruden, Stocker has fooled two NFL GM’s and three head coaches with an ungodly amount of time in professional football. Theh we have yours based on well , really, nothing. You sound like a perfect expert for the present administration. As for Martin, if you are saying his performance doesn”t match his play well that has more to do with the porous nature of our OL last year. I lst count of how many times Martin was hit behind the LOS. With that being the case why not get rid of the OL since they were the cause… Read more »

scubog
Reply to  drdneast
4 years ago

You just can’t help inserting your all too worn out political views into an otherwise reasonable comment. How you weave it into the football conversation is truly amazing. Look, I agree with you that the Bucs should at least keep Doug Martin through his mandated suspension to see if he can return to his 2015 form or if 2016 was a hint that his skills are eroded. Both Peyton Barber and Jacquizz Rodgers had respectable yards per carry averages behind that same O-line in which # 22 couldn’t crack the 3 yard mark. I wouldn’t be so quick to hand… Read more »

jongruden
Reply to  scubog
4 years ago

Maurice Stovall lasted 5 yrs on the Bucs Roster what was he doing to get 5 yrs? So the Stocker claim of being on the roster is a joke

Naplesfan
Reply to  scubog
4 years ago

To be fair, drd referenced the current administration, which is all of five weeks old .. so hard to see how his views on that could be “all too worn out”.

scubog
Reply to  Naplesfan
4 years ago

Yes, and it’s already a broken record. Time to get over it like the Falcons must do.

drdneast
4 years ago

Sorry, scubog. I can’t help myself and it seemed to fit.

jongruden
4 years ago

David Johnson ran for 1,300 yds this season with 5 o-line starters out and were down to guys off the street coming in to play guard and tackle so whats your next excuse?

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