PewterReport.com is beginning a new offseason feature, giving readers an opportunity to get their questions answered by the PR staff. Today, Mark Cook answers five questions taken from Twitter submissions using the hashtag #PRMailbag. Each week one of the questions used will earn the person who asked it a PewterReport.com T-shirt.
Answer: We had the opportunity to speak to a couple former coaches over the last month and they both said Smith has the potential to develop into a full time starter, but even with a couple years under his belt, he still needs to work on better technique. They both also thought he could be a 10-sack guy if he continues to develop, and of course if he can stay healthy and play a full season. However we also learned that won’t prevent the Bucs from looking to draft a starter if they find one in the upcoming draft they feel could step right in and provide an upgrade. And I suspect that is exactly what happens whether it be in the first round or second, but I believe the Bucs will address the position early. Of course if they decide there is a seasoned veteran in free agency that could do the same thing, then that could change things up. But I would still put my money on the Bucs looking to upgrade their defensive ends via the draft this year and do it early.
Answer: Hey thanks so much Dan! We don’t hear from many English Bucs fans, except for a handful like our good friend Paul Stewart who runs one of my favorite sites, BucsPower.com. We believe Tampa Bay loves Florida State’s Jalen Ramsey, but barring a terrible NFL Combine this month, the Bucs would have to jump a number of teams to have a shot at him. Vernon Hargreaves is another player that possibly could be there, but he fell off a little late in the season, and word is that could affect his draft position a little. But like Ramsey, a great combine performance could even move him up higher in the Top 10. Both of those players in my opinion would be instant starters for the Bucs, and probably impact players. However it is doubtful the Bucs will have a chance on either so now it really becomes best player available. You just can’t reach based on a need with a Top 10 pick. So really it is wide open at this point. As we get closer to the draft, hopefully we will get a little more in tune in where they might be looking early, but even with a good relationship with the organization, getting anything definite is nearly impossible. And who can blame teams for not leaking that type of stuff?
Answer: Nothing would surprise me to be honest. I mean with Lovie Smith as head coach, did anyone believe this team would draft only one defensive player over the previous two seasons? I certainly didn’t. As Scott Reynolds pointed out in his Monday post-Super Bowl article, Sunday night showed the importance of offensive linemen. The Broncos won that game because they got to Cam Newton and the Panthers lost because they couldn’t protect him. The same thing happened when the Broncos played the Patriots in the AFC Championship game. For all the new rules in favor of offenses in the NFL, it still comes down to who can protect and who can rush the passer the best in many games. Especially in the playoffs.
Answer: That’s a great question and one I can only guess on. Although really when it comes to defensive backs, isn’t it about the ability to cover and then come up and tackle? Darrelle Revis at 5-11 isn’t a huge guy. Certainly no Richard Sherman type. And we all saw the success that Ronde Barber had and he was far from being confused with being a bigger cornerback. I think with DBs it will be more based on if they can cover, turn their hips and their timing on defending passes more than size. I mean any coach would love a player with those traits and are 6-3, but those are very rare. We should be getting an opportunity to meet with the new assistants in the next couple weeks and I will try and get more information on what they prefer.
Question 5. @The_Lehtonen
@PewterReport Any news/ideas, how Buccaneers gonna replace Jon Robinson? #Bucs #PRMailbag
Answer: Another good question but one that hasn’t been determined yet. When we spoke to Jason Licht about it at the Senior Bowl he told us he has some ideas but wasn’t going to rush it or in a real big hurry to fill it. It could come internally or be an outside candidate. He really likes his current group of guys so it wouldn’t surprise me if it comes from in house. I would expect it to not be much longer though as draft prep has already begun and I am sure he would want this person to be involved.