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: Not since the days of Simeon has TB had a 10-sack season by one single player. If it happens this year, who does it? How many?
Answer: I thought he would last season, but I really think the wildcard on this defensive line is Jacquies Smith. He might have gotten there two years ago had it not been due to missing games with injuries. I really like his chances this season if he is 100 percent healthy. First, he has some experience now, secondly the overall line should be better creating better match ups for him, and lastly, he can really cash in during free agency next year with an exceptional season. Hashtag Motivation.
Of course we could see even two or more players hit that goal this season, depending on how healthy the whole line stays. Gerald McCoy is the easy favorite to reach that benchmark, especially with the addition of Chris Baker. And don’t count out the old man of the group Robert Ayers. I think Noah Spence has potential but needs another year to get close. But I wouldn’t mind being wrong on that assessment.
Question: O.J. Howard/David Njoku in the 1st, Joe Mixon in the 2nd, Juju Smith-Schuster in the 3rd. What do you think of that draft haul?
Answer: General manager of the year! Love all three selections. But unfortunately the likelihood of that happening is about the same odds of me winning a Pulitzer any time soon.
I love the idea of grabbing one of those two tight ends in the first round. I think about outstanding pass catcher at that position would dramatically make this offense better, and open things up for Dirk Koetter’s playbook. I have always felt tight ends were a little underutilized by most teams (Patriots don’t count) in the league, and can really exploit some mismatches in opposing defenses. While most aren’t sexy (again not counting what the Pats do) a two-tight end set means you are taking a linebacker and/or a safety out of the play essentially, giving your wide receivers more one-on-one opportunities.
As far as rounds two and three, I would guess the players selected will go in reserve of what you selected. I suppose someone might take a flyer on Mixon in the second, but I seriously doubt Smith-Schuster lasts until the third round. If the Bucs did manage to nab him in the third, I think it would be a steal. I love his catch radius, and he would give the, sometimes inaccurate Jameis Winston, a bigger target than Adam Humphries or whoever the third receiver would be. Not to say Humphries would be relegated to the bench, but imagine a DeSean Jackson, Mike Evans, Smith-Schuster receiver trio, with Cam Brate and Howard as options. Who do you double team?
Question: So what happened with Bradley McDougald? Any chance of a return? Any more FA additions coming?
Answer: This is speculation on my part, but it has to be more than just the team deciding Chris Conte was the best player available to bring back. I don’t know what exactly it was, but it appears the Bucs have clearly moved on from McDougald and are okay with Conte, Keith Tandy and J.J. Wilcox for now. I do expect them to draft a safety, perhaps very early as well. I did hear McDougald visited the Browns recently, and my end up with a deal there soon.
As far as additional free agents, I would guess there will be more, but will be under-the-radar type players. Probably more for depth, as opposed to players they would expect to be impact starters.
Question: I believe a running game helps the passing game. If Dalvin Cook drops, should the Bucs trade ahead of the Redskins for him?
Answer: You are asking the wrong person about trading up for Dalvin Cook. I got hammered by most when suggesting it in my Offseason Bucs Battle Plan!
I, like you, don’t really buy into the myth that running backs are a dime a dozen. Sure there are plenty of dime a dozen backs in the NFL, but special backs are rare. And if presented with an opportunity, you can’t pass one up. That is what I feel. To me, Cook is that special back, and not just because we are related (or so I like to tell people, even if it isn’t true). The fact is, he is a game-changer, and the Bucs, or whoever ends up with him, will be a better football team with Cook in their backfield. Of course, the cost to move up could be too high for Jason Licht to entertain the notion, but that could change come draft day, if Cook, does indeed start to slip.
Question: Any insight into which way One Buc is leaning draft pick wise? Last year you guys nailed it with Vernon Hargreaves.
Answer: Well officially we had Sheldon Rankins in our final mock draft, but the morning of the NFL Draft, Scott Reynolds and myself were in studio on 620 WDAE, and I went with Hargreaves when asked who I thought it would be.
But to answer your question, personally I don’t have a guess at all at this point. This draft is very deep in a number of positions, and when you get out of the Top 10, it gets much murkier when trying to guess. Coupled with the fact that there isn’t a glaring unit that needs an overhaul like the secondary did last year, it makes it tougher. That doesn’t mean we aren’t in our PewterReport.com laboratory putting together scenarios gleaned from our sources. We just haven’t finished running all the data for our prognosticating, soon-to-be patented draft-guessing machine we built recently with the help of NASA engineers and Miss Cleo.
That last sentence is false by the way. Keep coming back for our mocks though!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org