The East-West Shrine Game and the Reese’s Senior Bowl have concluded. The NFL Scouting Combine is over and  the 40 times and medical reports have been collected. Now Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht, director of player personnel John Spytek, director of college scouting Mike Biehl, head coach Dirk Koetter and the team’s scouts and assistant coaches are attending pro days and hosting private workouts, and will soon begin hosting NFL Draft prospects at One Buccaneer Place and stacking their draft board.

The Bucs have spent the fall and winter scouting prospects for the 2018 NFL Draft where Tampa Bay has the 7th overall pick due to a 5-11 finish to the regular season. The focus needs to be on bolstering the Bucs’ defense, especially in the secondary, in addition to improving Koetter’s running game on offense.

Ex-Bucs RBs Doug Martin and Charles Sims - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Ex-Bucs RBs Doug Martin and Charles Sims – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

The Bucs have moved on ineffective running back Doug Martin and won’t re-sign free agent running back Charles Sims, who is too one-dimensional and doesn’t make enough plays. The team believes in Peyton Barber, but needs another running back or two with some explosive running ability.

The offensive line is a concern for many Bucs fans, but offensive tackles Donovan Smith and Demar Dotson are in the top half of the league at their respective positions, and Dotson had one of his best seasons before getting injured in late November. The real issue was in the interior where the guard play was sub-par. That has been aided with the signing of center Ryan Jensen, which moves Ali Marpet back to guard, as PewterReport.com forecasted back in January.

The return of J.R. Sweezy from a back injury was supposed to help Tampa Bay’s struggling ground game and prompted the move of Marpet from right guard to center. Marpet was a better guard in 2016 than he was center in 2017, but now it will be Jensen snapping the ball to Jameis Winston. Marpet may move to left guard to replace Kevin Pamphile, who signed with Tennessee. Evan Smith was re-signed for depth at both center and guard. The  addition of Jensen, who starred in Baltimore, should greatly help the Bucs’ running game.

Tampa Bay’s defense definitely needed help along the defensive line as the team finished dead last in sacks with 22. Noah Spence is coming off his second shoulder surgery in 12 months but can’t be counted on to make the kind of necessary impact the team needs to effectively rush the passer. If he gets five to eight sacks upon his return that should be seen as a bonus.

So Licht addressed defensive end and defensive tackle in free agency with the signing of nose tackle Beau Allen and defensive end Vinny Curry from the Super Bowl champion Eagles squad and versatile defensive lineman Mitch Unrein. The Bucs moved on from defensive tackle Chris Baker and defensive end Robert Ayers as PewterReport.com forecasted back in January. Baker had half a sack despite getting paid $6 million as a free agent signing last year and failing to beat out Clinton McDonald, who will be a free agent in March. The oft-injured Ayers had two sacks last year after posting 6.5 the year before.

Bucs DE Jason Pierre-Paul and GM Jason Licht / Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs DE Jason Pierre-Paul and GM Jason Licht / Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

But the biggest defensive line news came when Licht traded a third-round pick and swapped fourth-round picks with the New York Giants for defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul to help Tampa Bay’s pass rush. Pierre-Paul, who played one year at nearby USF, had 15.5 sacks and two forced fumbles over the past two years.

The Bucs re-signed cornerback Brent Grimes, who turns 35 this year, and reserve safety Keith Tandy this offseason, but still need to address the secondary in the 2018 NFL Draft. Tampa Bay had the league’s worst pass defense in 2017 as neither second-year cornerback Ryan Smith nor Vernon Hargreaves III, who was the team’s first-round pick in 2016, played well. Tampa Bay could also use a strong safety to develop next to free safety Justin Evans, last year’s second-round pick, and compete with Chris Conte.

PewterReport.com offers up its fourth edition of the Bucs’ round-by-round draft projection in 2018, focusing mostly on adding players for Tampa Bay’s defense and players to bolster the team’s running game. PewterReport.com’s 2018 Bucs 7-Round Mock Draft is sponsored by Holliday Karatinos Law Firm – the official personal injury attorney for PewterReport.com. Call attorney Jim Holliday for a free consultation at (813) 868-1887 or visit them on the web at HelpingInjuredPeople.com

Round 1: Florida State SS Derwin James – 6-3, 215 – 4.47– Junior

Previous pick: Washington DT Vita Vea
Assuming that Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson, North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb and Penn State running back Saquon Barkley are off the board by the time that Tampa Bay is off the clock, the Bucs stay in-state and draft James to bolster their secondary if the team can’t – or chooses not to – trade down to acquire more picks.

Tampa Bay’s defense needed to be overhauled this offseason after ranking last in 2017 in pass defense and in sacks. Bucs general manager Jason Licht revamped the defensive line, cutting Chris Baker and defensive end Robert Ayers, Jr. and finding upgrades in a trade for defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, and signing free agent defensive end Vinny Curry, defensive tackle Beau Allen and versatile defensive lineman Mitch Unrein.

But outside of re-signing starting cornerback Brent Grimes and reserve safety Keith Tandy, improving the secondary was largely ignored in free agency and will need to be addressed in the draft. That’s where James comes in.

FSU SS Derwin James - Photo by: Getty Images
FSU SS Derwin James – Photo by: Getty Images

The Bucs love James’ athletic traits, length, tackling prowess and leadership ability. He’s the top-rated safety on Tampa Bay’s draft board ahead of Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick, and could very well be the highest-ranked defensive back ahead of Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward, who also might garner consideration with the seventh overall pick.

Tampa Bay is looking for a premier strong safety to pair with free safety Justin Evans. Licht has put a lot of resources into trying to make improvements at safety, which shows how important the position is to him. He spent a second-round pick on Evans last year, signed J.J. Wilcox and then upgraded to T.J. Ward, who was paid $3.875 million last year.

James has drawn comparisons to Kansas City’s Eric Berry – although James is bigger – and Seattle Kam Chancellor – although he’s faster and more athletic. The buzz in the NFL scouting community is that James is a Day 1 starter and has the makings of a Pro Bowl safety, and he can affect the defense in many ways.

The Haines City, Fla. native had a sensational freshman season, recording 91 tackles and 9.5 tackles for loss and was a menace to opposing teams’ running games. James is an angry tackler, who shows no fear making hard hits at or near the line of scrimmage. He also showed he could be an effective blitzer, registering 4.5 sacks with two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

James succumbed to a season-ending knee injury during the second game of his sophomore season, logging just 11 tackles and one interception. He bounced back last year and notched 84 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and showed more range in pass coverage, defending 11 passes and having a career-high two interceptions, including one he returned for a touchdown.

James’ Florida State Career Defensive Stats
2017: 84 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 11 PBUs, 2 INTs, 1 TD
2016: 11 tackles, 1 INT
2015: 91 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sack, 4 PBUs, 2 FF, 2 FR

One of James’ best qualities his competitiveness and leadership. Jacksonville Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey played with James one year at Florida State and handed off the leadership baton to him when he left after the 2015 season.

“Leadership comes in a lot of different ways,” Ramsey said. “No matter how he does it, he can affect other players around him. He can affect the whole team. He is going to come in, work hard, do his job and lead by example. Guys will follow him just by of just the strength of what he is doing.”

The Bucs have quality leaders on defense with their trio of Pro Bowlers in the front seven – defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and linebackers Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David. What the defense lacks is a leader in the secondary, and that’s the role James can assume.

Tampa Bay plays in the pass-happy NFC South division against Pro Bowl quarterbacks like Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Cam Newton, and needs an every down defender to slow down the aerial assault and make plays. Whether it is breaking up passes, picking off passes or blitzing the quarterback, James is used to being used in many different ways as Florida State’s STAR defender, which is a hybrid linebacker-safety role.

“Derwin is special,” Ramsey told ESPN. “He has a true position as a safety and a lot of NFL teams will look at him as ‘OK, he’s the best safety.’ But not only that, he’s the best whatever you line him up at. That’s not always the case with guys. Yeah, you can line guys up and they can get the job done at those positions, but when you’re truly the best at it … it’s clear that he is the best safety in the country. It’s clear when he’s moving for a blitz package, he is the best at doing that, so really he’s totally different than Jabrill Peppers. So versatile on the defensive end and can change the game.”

Former Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher sees a bright future for James in the NFL and praised his football I.Q.

“He has the physical tools to do it, but he has the intelligence, too,” Fisher told ESPN. “People don’t realize, you have to be able to understand what’s going on around you. Not, let’s line up at the position, but to actually play the position. He understands that. I talk to him a lot about letting your athletic ability be the last thing you rely on.”

James replaces Washington defensive tackle Vita Vea, who was atop the last two PewterReport.com 2018 Bucs’ 7-Round Mock Drafts, but the Bucs haven’t ruled out Vea. Yet the more pressing need in Tampa Bay is at safety, and if James and Vea are about equal on the Bucs’ draft board as I believe they are, the Florida State defensive back will become a Buccaneer.

Click below to view Tampa Bay’s second-round pick in 2018.

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Scott Reynolds is in his 24th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his son's Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]

51 COMMENTS

  1. 1- Derwin James S FSU. YES!
    2- Nick Chubb. Acceptable but I’d prefer Jaire Alexander CB UL. He’s my #1 CB.
    We need a good corner to replace Grimes.
    3- Gone.
    I’m not feeling any of the picks beyond this point.
    4-Dante Pettis WR Washington
    5- Royce Freeman RB Oregon
    6- DJ Reed CB KSU
    7- Kevin Ford RB TAMU

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    • Keith Ford, sorry autocorrect.

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    • Chubb looks pedestrian to me, even in 2014. The 4th round runner looked even worse.

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  2. This is a really nice draft!! Taking Chubb in the 2nd may be a reach, but, like you said, he may not last until the third!! Closing out with 2 CBs and the WR are smart depth moves!! This draft has a different feel now that Licht has addressed the most pressing needs!!

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    • If Michel is available at our 2nd round pick there better not be any chance we take Chubb over him.

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    • The following would be nice:

      1st – Chubb, Nelson…or trade down and get a good OL and DT in the first round (Ward/Vita if available still at 12 – assuming the trade down involves buffalo).

      2nd – Sony Michel…if not available, try to trade down to get an extra pick and draft RB Chubb later in the second round.

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  3. Will not get worked up over a mock draft but again not a fan at all. I usually agree with you guys but this year not so much. Chubb is a reach with our 2nd rd pick and we will be leaving better players on the board by making that move. I like Derwin but I would not draft him before Chubb Nelson Barkley or Ward I think all 4 are better talents at more pressing/premium needs. If for some miracle their all gone ( I give it 100% chance that at least 2 will be available when we pick) then I would trade back and try and acquire an xtra 2nd and/or 3rd round pick. I know we need a RB/RBs but forcing a puck rarely works. Chubb is a 2 down back and while he’s a good one he’s not special. I wouldn’t mind having him just not with our 2nd rd pick.

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  4. Vita Vea?? What? In what world did that even make sense for the Bucs?

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  5. I’m thinking we need an earlier CB. Not sure who fits the bill but waiting until the 6th round seems crazy when we don’t have a starter alongside Grimes although I do like the depth with doubling up. VH3 might be tried out again on the outside but he will probably be relegated to the slot.

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  6. I’d try hard to trade down and get 2 for 1. That way we recoup that 3rd rd loss. And I’d still take another DE with one of our top 2 picks. You can never have enough good pass rushers. I’m not crazy about safeties and CB’s taken high when you got more pressing needs. There is great value for the Defensive secondary in the later rounds. Solidify your trenches!!

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  7. No doubt McCoy, Kwon and David are all great players, but believe the jury’s still out on their leadership abilities. Understand that because they’re the foundation of the D, it’s easy to assume they’re quality leaders. But are they? Multiple players, including McCoy himself, have spoken on how there has been a definite lack of holding players accountable for their actions, missed assignments, etc. While that is an indictment on the coaching staff, it also points to a lack of leadership in the locker room as well. Hopefully some of the new blood can assist in getting this rectified.

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  8. Like the double-dip at RB and think Chubb and Hines would compliment each other well. Would prefer another FA CB was added instead of relying on a 5th or 6th round rookie CB to produce. Assuming the staff has more confidence than me, but if Grimes goes down we’re probably looking at VH3 and Smith as our starters with Elliot at nickel. Scary thought imo. Hoping Smith at least adjusts his concepts to take better advantage of what his DB’s do well.

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  9. I’m no judge of personel as I have said many times. I usually just listen to the so called experts who get 50 percent of thier picks right like the GMs.
    The draft is a crap shoot or how else would guys like Cameron Brate, Richard Shermen and even the great Tom Brady fall so far in the draft or not even get drafted at all.
    The reason is that no scouts, or GMs can measure the intangibles like heart and desire.
    The Bucs drafted a great guard No. 1 one year and then it turned out he had the heart of a grape and didn’t last past four years in the league because of it.
    As for leadership, I think Kwon Alexander is biting at the bit to become the defensive leader if Gerald McCoy would just get his passive ass out of the way.
    As we all know, last year Alexander, who was 90 pounds lighter, was ready to throw down against the larger Swaggy Baker for screwing up on a play and laughing about it.
    Winston was ready to go after him too.
    Where was McCoy?
    Why wasn’t he the one who was in Baker’s face.
    Hell, he should have been in his grill on the field.
    I don’t buy into fiery speeches and histronics. I like my leadrers calm and cool like Tony Dungy, But sometimes there is the right time to get angry and let someone see it and when Baker responded like the play was a joke, that was certainly the time to do it.

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    • Aaron Sears was a second round pick.

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      • The 2007 draft was a strange one with truly unforeseeable results for the Bucs. I can’t fault the GM, Bruce Allen or the Head Coach, Jon Gruden for what happened.

        We drafted DE Gaines Adams with the fourth pick of the 1st round. We drafted LG Aaron Sears with the third pick of the 2nd round. They both looked like wonderful picks after their first years in the NFL.

        Adams was considered a “bust” by fans and media. He was traded to Chicago later and eventually cut. He died of a heart condition at the age of 26.

        Sears left the team after it was reported that he was suffering from severe depression. It was discovered later that he had damage from a previous concussion.

        I can’t say I know the whole of either story. Read about both tragedies in Wikipedia for more details about their careers and their lives.
        ________
        It is seldom easy to find out everything about a draft prospect in advance or even after the fact, sometimes.

        When Licht and team selected Austin Seferian-Jenkins I cannot remember reading about or hearing about any problems with alcohol at the time.

        Fortunately having O. J. Howard fall to the 19th pick for us in the draft has “made up for” the loss of what we had hoped for with ASJ.

        ___________
        Go Bucs!!!

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  10. Scott like 1st pick James. I’m more incline to find CB or DE in 2nd & 4th round. 5th & 6th I’m looking for RB or OL. OR QB. 7TH CB

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  11. No to Chubb. I want Sony Michel. To me it goes 1a. Barkley and a close 1b. Michel. Michel is special. Chubb can be grouped with RBs 5-10.

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  12. Good draft, but where the hell is the guard?! We need another guard

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    • Right there w/ ya BD-W….
      I kept expecting to see OL additions/depth.

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  13. This is a perfect example of reading too much into combine stats. Michel will be a better running back in the NFL than Chubb, despite being .02 slower and a little weaker. He’s a better football player.

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  14. Guice will be the RB we take someway.

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  15. I would like to have every player you named. But, can we risk so much on Sweezy/Smith at Guard?

    And, if we can, isn’t Cornerback a bigger need than Safety?

    I have to hope for a trade of our number seven pick down to Buffalo.

    Round 1 pick 22 from Buffalo – Guard – Wynn or Hernandez;
    Round 2 pick 38 from Tampa – Running Back – Chubb will be perfect with Barber;
    Round 2 pick 53 from Buffalo – Safety – Reid, Harrison, Edmonds?
    Round 2 pick 56 from Buffalo – Cornerback – Davis, D. Jackson, J.C. Jackson, Alexander?

    The rest as you called them.

    But, what has to happen for Buffalo to want our number 7 pick?

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  16. Yes Derwin James is a big physical specimen but he is absolutely no playmaker with only two interceptions all of 2017 and only 11 passes defended and was hurt all but two games in 2016 so there is a clear durability issue with him and there is no way we should waste a 7th pick on James. If the big 3 aren’t available at 7, trade down with Buffalo. Grab G Hernandez at 12 and Penny with the other first pick. Yes our coaching is no good at developing a top CB, but you already have a veteran playmaker, Tandy, who was a Star CB at WVa., who needs to be moved there now, and pick a good Strong Safety with your 2d pick. Then in the 4th round get Miami Hurricane’s DE Thomas. At that point you have fixed our trenches on both sides of the ball and you have a great RB to give us a great running game which will also help in the end zone. Get a backup Tackle to develop with the 5th pick since Licht erred by letting Pamphile get away. In the first sixth round pick take Pinero to develop as your Place Kicker of the future, and with the last 6th pick and the seventh pick to draft fast Special Team Specialists, unless the small school DT that Licht Felt has good promise but hurt his hand and did not play in the East West Shrine game drops this low and we can pick him up to develop to one day play the three technique to replace McCoy when he retires.

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    • You should start off every one of your posts with that “Two Bits” cheer.

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    • Well he blew his knee out that year and hasn’t missed a game outside of that so not sure exactly what durability “issues” you’re talking about. As for ball skills, those stats are good for a safety. If you’re going strictly on college ball skills, I guess Jalen Ramsey wouldn’t have gotten drafted at all.

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  17. I would feel bad about missing Vea but James is a decent pick.

    Drafting 2 RB’s in a row is a disaster – especially those 2.

    You should be trading down in the 1st and 2nd if you are drafting those players. Otherwise this is terrible.

    Jones in the 5th is great but a pipe dream. He is a straight up gangster and going much earlier than that.

    Jones in the 4th and Justin Jackson in the 5th with Michel NOT Chubb in the 2nd and it isnt nearly so terrible.

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  18. I would love Derwin James but hate every other pick.

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  19. Rd 1 – If B Chubb and Nelson are gone, I’d be ok with James, Ward, or trading back
    Rd 2 – Chubb seems like a bit of a reach here, Michel or Guice should be our target. If they’re gone we can trade back to make up for the 3rd we traded away.

    After the first 2 rounds it’s a BPA draft imo. I don’t think doubling up on RB is a good idea when our secondary needs so much help though. Waiting till the 5th seems too late to address the position to me.

    We’ve set ourselves up well for this draft with our FA moves. We can now settle in and go BPA just about the whole draft without feeling too much pressure to reach on picks for need. Our biggest need went from DL to the secondary and this draft seems to be fairly deep there. I’m still holding out hope that we land Gaines before the draft which would really open things up for us.

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  20. It all comes down to how many Q.B.’s are drafted ahead of us. If four go, one of the big three falls to us, and fills a need. If only three are taken, it’s a given Barkley, Chubb, Nelson are gone. It’s easy to say trade down if that happens, but someone has to be willing to want our spot. We do need to draft two R.B.’s, say what you want about fantasy football not being real, but if you don’t have a good stable of backs you’re screwed. We’d be gambling on two late round D.B.’s, they might have to play sooner rather then later. I don’t know what the plan is for guard, but we need to draft one, Billy Price could fill that roll, also plays center. Is Sweezy staying, and where’s he playing, left, or right guard? There’s still F.A.’s, and cut players we pick up a long the way, so the draft isn’t an end all.

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  21. At this time I don’t see Chubb being available when we pick at 7. Barkley is also unlikely to be available. My scenario is:

    1. Cleveland, QB
    2. NYG, QB
    3. NYJ, QB
    4. Cleveland, Barkley or Chubb
    5. Denver, QB
    6. Indy, Chubb, Barkley or Nelson
    7. TB
    8. Chicago, [Trubisky]
    9. San Francisco [Garoppolo]
    10. Oakland, [Carr]
    11. Miami, [Tannehill]
    12. Buffalo {needs a QB}

    Should a quarterback that Buffalo wants be available they may wish to jump past Miami, who would be the only viable competitor for the quarterback as I see it. In that case, they could have four possible teams to negotiate with, namely TB, Chicago, San Francisco and Oakland in order to trade up.

    If Cleveland takes Barkley then Indy takes Chubb in my scenario. If Cleveland takes Chubb then Indy takes Barkley. If the Bucs are not able to trade down then they are left with a choice between Nelson or James (or Vea or Hurst or ?).

    Derwin James is the wiser choice. James should be able to supplant Conte by next year. He can compete for KR or PR this year. He also has the versatility to be cross-trained as a CB for emergency backup purposes.
    _______________
    Scott, a good mock for our discussions. I especially liked the selection of DT Justin Jones in the 5th.

    _____________
    Go Bucs!!!

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  22. P.S. Looks like we will have to choose between the best available CB, RB or G in the second round because we no longer have a pick in the third. Let’s hope that Licht is able to find more help in the remaining time before the draft among possible released players, free agents and/or trades.
    ____________
    Go Bucs!!!!!

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  23. you must have smoked some dust this weekend bruh…the 2nd and 4th picks are hilarious…chubb is gonna free fall in this draft with that reconstructed knee…he is not a back teams are going to grab too fast…go watch his knee injury – it is straight brutal…if he is an everyday nfl back he will surely have a setback…it’s the nfl and injuries just happen…the bucs will not draft him…forget the dude in the 4th…i gave up reading after that because you definitely got smoked out before hitting the ipad on this one

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  24. Going into offseason he was a list of top defenders according to the experts
    Here’s was a breakdown of the top 15 free agents by defensive position for 2018:
    Which one did Tampa pick up ???

    Edge defender:
    Julius Peppers
    William Hayes
    Trent Murphy
    Pernell McPhee
    Aaron Lynch
    Alex Okafor
    Adrian Clayborn
    Kony Ealy
    Connor Barwin
    Jeremiah Attaochu
    Junior Galette
    Derrick Shelby
    Barkevious Mingo
    Kareem Martin
    Erik Walden

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  25. I would change the first pick to Denzel Ward, CB Ohio State. Ward is a game changer with speed to burn, great instincts and ball skills. We need someone with this speed in our secondary and as much as we need a strong safety type, a CB is just as big a need and has a bigger impact on the game. It is also a position of need as Hargreaves is not working out and even if he does we need 3 CB’s. Also, as mentioned on this site, Grimes’ career is coming to a close and we don’t know when it will be over. It usually happens quickly and without much advance warning. He could be ineffective this year or next, so we should be drafting top tier talent to fix this now.

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  26. BUCS MOCK DRAFT

    Draft Strategy

    *This mock draft assumes that both DE Bradley Chubb and OG Quenton Nelson are off the board. If not either will be taken at #7 in RD1.
    *This mock also assumes that a veteran CB will be signed in late free agency, DRC, Bashaud Breeland, etc.
    *The Bucs at #7 (1500 pts} trade down with the Bills at #12 (1200 pts). Bucs get Bills #12 (1200 pts) and Bills 2nd #53 (370 pts). 70 point differential is cost of doing business. With the loss of our 3rd round pick, we pick up an additional 2nd.

    RD1 DE Marcus Davenport 6-5 264 4.58 (pick #12)
    *Signing JPP in FA is reassuring, but Tom Coughlin says you can never have enough pass rushers. Marcus Davenport is raw and a development project, but at every point he’s been tested he passed with flying colors, Senior Bowl, Combine. If you want an elite edge rusher in today’s NFL that doesn’t cost a fortune, you’ll have to develop your own. Look no further than Ezekiel Ansah and Demarcus Lawrence or even JPP. In this mock draft we trade down with the Bills and pick up a 2nd.

    RD2 OG Will Hernandez/UTEP 6-3 327 5.15
    *This is a hope and a prayer that either Hernandez or OG Isaiah Wynn/Georgia would still be here in the 2nd. Both are outstanding guards slated for the late 1st round. A trophy left guard is needed to complete the Bucs desire for a mauler-style O-Line. If necessary the Bucs may have to couple a late round pick to move to the top of the 2nd round. Steep fall off after these two are gone.

    RD2 RB Rashaad Penny/SDSU 5-11 220 4.46 (pick #53 from Bills)
    *Penny is an electric back that can do it all – from inside running to catching passes from the backfield. His ST play is excellent. His pass blocking needs work but will improve in time. This pick makes a lot of sense if RB Charles Sims is not re-signed. The Bucs have a private visit scheduled with Penny in Tampa.

    RD3 – Traded to Giants for DE JPP

    RD4 CB/S Dane Cruikshank/Arizona 6-2 209 4.41 (pick #102 from Giants)
    *Dane is another Combine phenom. He is a converted Arizona Safety that came out as a CB. Even though he has CB speed, I still think he is a safety and has the size to play in the box and the speed to play deep. He could be the eventual replacement for Chris Conte.

    RD5 RB Ito Smith/So. Mississippi 5-9 201 4.50
    *Ito Smith is the Tarik Cohen/Bears of 2018. He could be the second coming of Darren Sproles. He is not OJ Simpson, but he could be Judge Ito. I can hear Buc fans chanting “here come da judge” lol.

    RD6 CB Michael Joseph/Dubuque 6-1 190 4.49
    *As a senior, Joseph totaled 56 tackles with 8 INTs and 8 PBUs. Joseph made 4 picks as a junior and 3 as a sophomore. So why the 6th round? Joseph has the talent to work with but because he is a D-III player and hasn’t faced the kind of competition he would have seen at the D-1 level, his transition to the NFL will likely require some time and development.

    RD6 DE Ade Aruna/Tulane 6-5 262 4.60
    *Aruna is my “sleeper” pick in this draft. He is late to big league football and has been under the radar until his explosive Combine performance. This guy can play – go watch his tape.

    RD7 WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling/USF 6-5 206 4.37
    *Why is a WR in this mock when the Bucs currently have 8 WRs on the roster? For one that’s 4 too many and Scantling is 6-5 206 that has Mike Evans measurables and RAC ability – something the Bucs are missing. Scantling had a blistering 4.37/40 with a good Combine performance. He might be gone!

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    • Mac, best mock draft I have seen so far this season. As someone recently wrote you can never have to many pass rushers. The Bucs have two (JPP and Curry). Spence cannot be counted on to be there, if he is great, if not the Bucs need another pass rusher. Like both of your 6th round picks.

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    • I’m impressed

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  27. Hmm, I love the Derwin pick in the first assuming the big three are already gone. This is also assuming we don’t trade back , which is what I would prefer. You might even be able to get Derwin there as well. In the second round, again, we don’t know who will be gone, but I’d love a DB there. This leaves us to the fourth round to get a back, which isn’t a good idea, so maybe we trade up into the third? The trade for JPP was worth it, but I really think Licht will try to get another pick back. If a QB needy team needs our spot. No telling what they would pay for it.

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  28. Nice list Scotty, I always look forward to this time of the year. You’re never too far off on what the are or should be thinking. The only problem I have is the 7th round. I loved your pick of Marred Carter. I hope that’s the pick vs Watson.

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  29. I’m not a big fan of D. James as he left too many plays on the field last year as a leader on a defense that underperformed last year. I was disappointed in him more for giving up plays in the passing game but he didn’t wow me with his run defense either. To me Fitzpatrick was a little better and that’s who I expect the Bucs to pick if they stay at #7, which I don’t think they will. I think they’ll trade down to the #12 spot for both of the Bills first round picks. Then they can draft a DB and a RB.

    However I still think the best player available at #7 (and he may still be there at #12) is QB M. Rudolph.

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    • I do like Chubb in the 2nd round. Unlike most though, I think this is a little late for him to be going rather than early. I think he’ll actually go in the second half of the 1st round.

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  30. I, like everyone else, was smitten with Michel during the Bowl Championship Series. However, upon further review some questions were raised. Like last year, I looked up the fumble rate of the draft eligible RBs. They were rated as Elite (150 or bettor); Above Average (125-149); Average (100-124); Below Average (76-99); and Red Flag (75 and lower). Michel was rated Red Flag with a score of 54.6, next to last. N. Chubb, 98.6; D. Guice 100.6; R. Penny 105.8;R. Freeman 114; J. Kelly 123.3;J. Adams 174; K. Johnson 1191.3; S. Barkley 193.3; R. Jones 207.7; and D. Williams 359. The Buc’s already have a turnover machine QB we don’t need a RB who turn’s the ball over at a Red Flag rate. You might want to reconsider Michel as a primary back. Remember his fumble almost cost Georgia the game against Oklahoma. Just a thought.

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  31. Scott, as far as mocks go this is a good discussion piece. The Bucs still need pass rushers and a left guard. RB, DT, CB and SS are also needs. James is an above average SS. He won the combine, but his numbers in uniform don’t match his combine numbers. He would be a mid-to late first rounder for me, not a top ten, his game performance doesn’t support a top ten. With other needs I would not double up on RB that early in the draft. Finally, another 5’10” cornerback. Einstein said to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results is the definition of insanity. How many years do we have to live with 5’10” cornerbacks trying to guard 6’4″ WRs. It doesn’t work. Its time the Bucs move on from defending the Smurfs from the Redskins. The WRs have gotten bigger and the DBs need to get bigger. Grade: Better than some, worse than others.

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  32. I’m hoping a QB falls to us and we trade down with BUF for their 2 ones:

    1 – CB – Denzel Ward / Jaire Alexander
    1 – G – Isaiah Wynn
    2 – RB – Derrius Guice / Kerryon Johnson / Sony Michel
    4 – S – Siran Neal / Deshon Elliott
    5 – RB – Jordan Wilkins / Roc Thomas
    6 – CB – Danny Johnson / Michael Joseph
    6 – S – Dane Cruickshank
    7 – G – Jacob Alsadek

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  33. If going with 2 RBs in this draft I’d go,

    Rd1) SS Derwin James
    Rd 2) RB Sony Michel
    Rd 4) CB J.C. Jackson
    Rd 5) RB Kalen Ballage
    Rd 6) OT Jamarco Jones
    Rd 6) WR Daurice Fountain
    Rd 7) DT Deadrin Senat

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    • Nice! Would like CB Brandon Facyson in the 4th as well.

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  34. Macabee, I would love your scenario or something along the similar line of thinking. No one can pick the actual real outcome. Getting all of the possible combinations including what other teams will do is a lot like actually figuring out by logic what this week’s numbers will be for Powerball.

    Good educated guesses are a lot of fun!
    ____________
    Go Bucs!!!

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  35. This draft is inane. Licht must have done it, because I thought you guys were smarter than that.

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  36. like the first two picks.

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  37. I pray we don’t wait that long for a cb!!!

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  38. I’m now hoping on of the 4 QBs is there at 7, trade down with Buffalo. #7 for #12, #22 and #65( get a 3rd round pick back, traded ours for JPP).

    If Derwin James is not there at 12,

    Rd 1) CB Josh Jackson/Mike Hughes
    Rd 1) DE Marcus Davenport
    Rd 2) RB Sony Michel
    Rd 3) LG Braden Smith
    Rd 4) SS Kyzir White
    Rd 5) RB Kalen Ballage
    Rd 6) WR Jaleel Scott
    Rd 6) OT Jamarco Jones
    Rd 7) DT Deadrin Senat

    If James is there at 12,

    Rd 1) SS Derwin James
    Rd 1) DE Marcus Davenport
    Rd 2) RB Sony Michel
    Rd 3) LG Braden Smith
    Rd 4) CB J.C. Jackson
    Rd 5) RB Kalen Ballage
    Rd 6) WR Jaleel Scott
    Rd 6) OT Jamarco Jones
    Rd 7) DT Deadrin Senat

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