February is here, and it’s time for PewterReport.com’s second Bucs mock draft of 2019.

Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht, director of player personnel John Spytek, director of college scouting Mike Biehl and the team’s scouts have been at the East-West Shrine Game practices in addition to the Senior Bowl practices as the Bucs prepare for the 2019 NFL Draft and begin to stack talent on the team’s draft board. Next up in the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in late February. Tampa Bay has the fifth overall pick due to the team’s 5-11 finish for a second straight season, which led to the firing of head coach Dirk Koetter.

Bucs head coach Bruce Arians and GM Jason Licht
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians and GM Jason Licht – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Bruce Arians was hired to replace Koetter and brings a veteran staff of coaches with him to Tampa Bay, including defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, who primarily runs a 3-4 scheme, but will adapt his defense to fit the talent on the roster. The defense needs more playmakers in the secondary, and could use some youth along the defensive line if the team moves on from six-time Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy, who turns 31 in February, and his $13 million salary. The Bucs could also use some immediate help at linebacker as Kwon Alexander and Jack Cichy are coming off torn ACLs, and Kendell Beckwith missed the entire 2018 campaign while attempting to recover from a broken ankle. Alexander has yet to be re-signed by the Bucs and is slated for free agency.

On the offensive side of the ball, more help is needed at running back where Peyton Barber was a one-man gang, while second-round pick Ronald Jones II struggled to earn playing time and didn’t do much with it once he got it after a very disappointing preseason that leads some to believe he might be a bust. The Bucs also need help along the offensive line where the right guard position is the weakest on the team, and aging and oft-injured right tackle Demar Dotson turns 34 this year. Will the Bucs re-sign underachieving left tackle Donovan Smith to a long-term extension, slap him with the one-year franchise tag, or not re-sign him at all this offseason?

Tampa Bay has a plethora of offensive weapons in the passing game, and Arians has said that Jameis Winston, who is entering his fifth-year option season, will be the unquestioned starter this year. But the Bucs do need a backup quarterback and it might be time to draft a developmental candidate after having veterans Ryan Fitzpatrick and Ryan Griffin serve as Winston’s backups for the past two seasons.

Some of these needs will be addressed in free agency in March before the 2019 NFL Draft rolls around in April, but PewterReport.com offers up its second Bucs’ round-by-round draft projections to provide some help in those areas. Tampa Bay had only six picks in this year’s draft after trading J.J. Wilcox to Pittsburgh in 2017, as that deal involved giving away the Bucs’ seventh-round pick in 2019.

In January, Tampa Bay traded its 2019 sixth-round pick to Arizona for the rights to Arians and received the Cardinals’ seventh-round pick in 2019 in the exchange.

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Round 1: LSU ILB Devin White
6-1, 240 – Junior

Previous Pick: LSU ILB Devin White
WE HAVE A TRADE! Buccaneer general manager Jason Licht likes to wheel and deal during the draft, typically trading up in the second and third rounds, but also trading down in the first round. That was the case in 2016 when he slid down two spots in a trade with Chicago to select cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III with the 11th overall pick, and also last year when Licht moved from No. 7 to No. 12 to draft defensive tackle Vita Vea.

With the first five teams in the 2019 NFL Draft – including Tampa Bay at No. 5 – not needing a quarterback, the Bucs are in a prime spot to trade down so that a quarterback-needy team like the New York Giants (No. 6), Jacksonville (No. 7), Denver (No. 10), Miami (No. 13) or Washington (No. 15) could move up to select the first one – either Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins, Missouri’s Drew Lock, Duke’s Daniel Jones or Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray. So let’s make a deal and have Licht and the Bucs move down two spots to No. 7 and pick up Jacksonville’s second-round pick, No. 38 overall, as the Jaguars can spare that due to having two picks in the third round.

Tampa Bay’s defense needs more talented playmakers for new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, and White is one of the most athletic and physical defenders in this year’s draft. With the likes of Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa, Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams and Kentucky pass-rushing linebacker Josh Allen already gone, the Bucs opt for LSU inside linebacker Devin White for the second straight mock draft on PewterReport.com.

Bucs MLB Kwon Alexander - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs MLB Kwon Alexander – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

At first glance, linebacker doesn’t seem like a position of need with Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander, until you remember that Alexander is coming off a torn ACL and has yet to be re-signed. The Bucs are determining whether to re-sign him to a one-year prove-it deal, or a long-term extension, but are hesitant to do so now, and might wait until early March before the start of free agency to get an update on Alexander’s rehab.

Will he be ready for the start of training camp? Or will he miss camp and target the start of the season for his return?

Will Alexander return to his pre-injury form in 2019? Or will he need a year’s worth of playing to get back to his Pro Bowl level during the 2020 season?

Keep in mind that Kendell Beckwith, a player capable of playing MIKE or SAM linebacker in Tampa Bay missed all of the 2018 campaign after recovering from a broken ankle last offseason. Beckwith, the team’s third-round pick in 2017, had setbacks with his ankle upon returning to practice in October after missing training camp and the preseason, and his status for 2019 remains in doubt.

The same could be said for Jack Cichy, last year’s sixth-round pick who tore his ACL in the Cleveland game shortly after Alexander tore his. Those are three linebackers whose immediate future in Tampa Bay remains cloudy, underlying the need for another playmaking linebacker that could play and make an impact in Bowles’ defense, which will feature a 3-4 Under scheme.

White, who just turned 21 in January, was the leader of the Tigers defense over the last two seasons in which he was a first-team All-SEC linebacker. After being a second-team All-American in 2017 for recording 133 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, three pass breakups and one interception, White was the 2018 Butkus Award winner as the nation’s top linebacker. As a consensus All-American last year, White terrorized the SEC, leading the conference in tackles with 123 stops, 12 tackles for loss, six pass breakups, three sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

White’s LSU Career Defensive Stats
2016: 30 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 FF, 1 FR
2017: 133 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 3 PBUs, 1 INT
2018: 123 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 6 PBUs, 3 sacks, 3 FFs, 2 FRs

One of the fastest and most explosive linebackers in college football, White has drawn comparisons to Patrick Willis and Ray Lewis, and has rare sideline-to-sideline speed. When he hits, White brings the full force of his well-built 240-pound frame, and is also a dangerous blitzer.

“I’ve been a part of Ray Lewis,” LSU head coach Ed Orgeron told Rivals.com. “I’ve been a part of Patrick Willis, and he’s right there. He’s one of the best I’ve ever been a part of as far as middle linebackers go. He’s very talented, and I think he’s still getting better.”

LSU ILB Devin White
LSU ILB Devin White – Photo by: Getty Images

White is a perfect fit for Bowles’ attack-style defense and can play on all three downs due to his speed and ability to blitz and drop in coverage. While he has to work on shedding blocks better at the next level, White has honed his instincts over the last two years and has a nose for the football. He also brings confidence and leadership ability to Tampa Bay’s defense.

LSU has a rich tradition for pumping out NFL-caliber linebackers with Tampa Bay having three of them in Alexander, Beckwith and Kevin Minter, who is also slated for free agency in 2019 after being a mid-season signing due to Alexander’s torn ACL. Other LSU linebackers in the NFL include Atlanta’s Deion Jones and Duke Riley, both of whom played with White, in addition to Seattle’s Barkevious Mingo, Detroit’s Kelvin Sheppard and Buffalo’s Corey Thompson.

White, a future Pro Bowler, is the third-rated player on Matt Miller’s Big Board on Bleacher Report and is featured in the Top 12 of many of the draft experts’ recent mock drafts. Bucs general manager Jason Licht has shown an affinity for acquiring LSU linebackers over the years, and White may be the most talented of them all and a player whose skill set aligns with Bowles’ attacking schemes. Check out his new highlight video below.

Click below to view Tampa Bay’s second-round pick in 2019

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Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd 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 enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]

46 COMMENTS

  1. If we draft Devin White with all of the other defensive talent that is going to be on the board (good chance of Polite, who may have the highest ceiling in the draft, Greedy Williams, Oliver) all on the board…

    Man oh man.

    And where is the evidence that he can cover? That position plays bracket coverage on RBs when the play Man and that’s only when the aren’t playing Matchup Quarters and when this position isn’t blitzing (which it is a LOT). They don’t play a lot of C2 or C3 Zone.

    So how do we know we aren’t getting yet another ILB who can’t cover?

    Then Allen in early rd 2 with all of the other talent invariably on the board?

    Those first 2 picks would be just like Jones and Stewart in round 2. Massive loss of value and an opportunity cost nightmare.

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    • Jachai Polite reminds me of Gaines Adams. Nuff said.

      I love Ed Oliver. He is my favorite player in the top of the draft. He sheds blocks better than anyone coming out this year. Guy is like Aaron Donald Part 2 IMO.

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      • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8wtF9zN4-M

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      • Polite reminds you of Gaines Adams?

        That might be the most unfitting comparison I could possibly imagine.

        Do you mean outside of the elite acceleration/get-off, the unique ability to bend the edge (only 3 players in this draft can Dip and Benc the edge at full-go; Allen, Polite, and Burns), the crazy lateral mobility/agility/body control, the violence and tenaciousness…

        And the fact that Adams was 6’6” with crazy length…

        Outside of those differences, they’re basically the same prospect?

        That is an apples to neutron stars comparison.

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        • I respect your strong opinion of the player. Its clear you really admire his ability. I tried attaching highlight video comparing the styles. It is “awaiting moderation” and will likely never make it to the boards. That said, if the Bucs end up taking the player, I hope you are right and I am wrong.

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      • Oliver is my favorite player in this draft, too

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  2. Love this draft.

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  3. This draft, in my opinion is loaded in a lot of positions of need for the Bucs…they just gotta pick the right fit for this team.

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  4. There is 0% chance the Bucs take a LB first round. At least 2 of the 3 injured you mentioned will be back. We have other bigger needs like O Line & Corner…

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    • I hope you’re correct, that both Alexander and Beckwith will both be back and in full form this September. However, in the event that Alexander’s rehab is NOT going as well as predicted, the White pick makes all the sense in the world.

      The other reasons to draft White, in my opinion, is for best player available at that pick and White may be an upgrade from Alexander. I like both Williams and Oliver in the first round, and I wouldn’t be disappointed in the least if the Bucs drafted either of those guys, but guys like White don’t come around every draft.

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      • Beckwith will not be back. His injury was most likely career ending,

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        • Based on Licht’s comments yesterday, I agree. I really wish it weren’t the case because I really liked Beckwith’s rookie season, but it is what it is.

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  5. I like this one better than 1.0

    That said, not sure I take a QB in the 4th round…even though we do need a backup, that seems a bit early for one. I’d prefer we add another CB earlier than the 7th round, too. And I still think taking a LB in the 1st isn’t necessary with our other needs, but with a trade back it’s a little more palateable. 2nd round is pretty good though, I like Allen and Lindstrom as potential targets at that point (probably would prefer Oruwariye and Lindstrom…with a DL in the 1st like Oliver, Polite, or Simmons…but overall pretty good).

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    • All of that said, this draft shows that if Quinnen, Bosa, or Allen are all taken before pick 5, trading down is probably the best route we can take. If we can address the OL, DL, and either CB or LB all in the top 2 rounds, that would be huge for this team.

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  6. 8.5 career sacks in college for your top 10 pick? No thanks!! Much better talent at T, CB, DT for the Bucs to pick.

    If it’s not Bosa or Allen, I’m not taking a DE, 3-4 OLB in the top 10.

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    • Allen was one of his 2nd round picks. Devin White was the top 10 pick (after a trade back).

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      • I’m talking about Josh Allen from Kentucky

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  7. I guess PR thinks the Bucs will pay Smith a kings ransom, and believe Dotson has another year left in him? Both players were a weak link on an offensive line that under performed last year, thinking they’ll be better this year could get Jameis killed. If they’re going to pay a LT franchise money, go after the Pats FA LT instead of Smith. The Pats have their other LT coming back, and rarely pay players, so I’d target him. Otherwise draft a LT with the first pick, and pick up a proven LB like CJ Mosely from the Ravens. Better find a replacement for Dotson in the draft, or FA, he’s had it.

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    • You want 2 or more rookies to start on the OL in September again? How’d that work out for us last time? The Bucs may not be in a position to do anything else but pay Smith franchise tag money. IMO, starting one new rookie on the OL is fine, but not two especially considering Arians is in a “reload” frame of mind, not a “rebuild”.

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  8. Like the trade down to add a pick. O Line, D Line are our weak links, with an honorable mention to the D backfield.

    I love Devin White, but we need to start with the O line, focus on the trenches. Drafting a RB is just dumb. And leaving CB to our last 7th round pick is even worse.

    C’mon Scott.

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  9. Yes, this draft is MUCH better than 1.0. But it’s still concerning that we don’t address the secondary until late. Are you assuming we add some veterans in FA? I think regardless we have to draft secondary at some point in this upcoming draft.

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  10. No RT and just a 7th rd at CB and yet we are taking a backup QB at rd 4? I would freaking riot. I also dont know about taking a DT in round 3. I would rather try to restructure McCoy or bring in depth in FA.

    Otherwise this is a decent draft. Take best RT or CB in rd 3 and maybe DT in rd 4 if necessary

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    • You think McCoy is willing to take $4-$5 million just to stay in Tampa and pray that Arians is as good as advertised? I just don’t see it but it’d be great for us if he did.

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  11. This draft works for me (depending on what we do in FA). However, if we bring back Kwon (which I don’t think we should do) or are able to sign Jordan Hicks or CJ Mosley (which I think we SHOULD do), then go for BPA at 5 which will likely be a game wrecking DL. If they do decide to trade down to 7, they may still be able to get Gary or Oliver, which would be huge. If they trade down further, perhaps Sweat. I think DL has to be the priority in the first round.

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  12. Love this mock! Khalen Saunders and Chris Lindstrom would be absolutely incredible selections!

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  13. Bucs Mock Draft – V2

    Draft Strategy – Trade Down

    I will look to trade down in this scrum of teams trying to get the best QB. There is no team before the Bucs that need a QB and to trade up before the Bucs will cost a premium. In this mock, we will trade down with the Jags at #7 to get Dwayne Haskins. To trade into the top 5 for only a 3rd round pick is not enough with the demand from 4 other QB needy teams between 6 and 15. Throw the trade values chart out of the window. Bucs will get a 2nd and 3rd round pick from the Jags. Jags have 2 3rd round picks now.

    RD1 – ILB Devin White/LSU 6-1 240 4.64
    RD2 – CB Amani Oruwayrie/Penn State 6-1 203 4.52
    RD2 – OG Ben Powers/Oklahoma 6-4 310 5.12
    RD3 – DT Gerald Willis/Miami 6-3 300 4.94
    RD3 – DE Charles Omenihu/Texas 6-5 275 4.86
    RD4 – WR Hunter Renfrow/Clemson 5-10 180 4.54
    RD5 – QB Tyree Jackson/Buffalo 6-6 245 5.02
    RD7 – RB Ryquell “Rock” Armstead/Temple 5-11 223 4.56

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFHY9E14nb0

    UDFAs

    CB Jordan Wyatt/Southern Methodist
    DT Armon Watts/Arkansas
    RB Devine Ozigbo/Nebraska
    DE Markus Jones/Angelo State

    Notes:

    *OG Chris Lindstrom/Boston College went in bottom of 1st round or the top of the 2nd round before the Bucs picked. The Bucs pick later in the 2nd round than the 1st round.
    *Had to draft Humphries clone WR Hunter Renfrow/Clemson in the 4th round. Got a feeling Hump is going to want too much money and he may get it somewhere else. If Hump re-signs with the Bucs, then substitute FS in place.
    *Bucs can’t afford to spend an early round pick on another RB. They will continue to develop ROJO, but Barber needs help. Middle-of-the-road FA or UDFA.

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    • This looks much better than Scott’s mock. Still not a fan of White with our FRP. However I do like the Oruwayrie and Powers picks. I could live with the Willis and Omenihu picks. Renfroe is basically Adam Humphries, and I think Hump will be re-signed. We needy a speedy WR, a true deep threat to replace MeJax, so I would be looking for faster than Renfrow/Humphries/Justin Watson type.

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    • What do you think out solution for RT and LT will be Mac?

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      • You don’t want to here my answer. Trust me! Lol. This is going to be a whole PR article all to itself. Gonna be a lot of disappointed Buc fans. I will use BA’s own words from a recent Sirius XM interview!

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        • I think most people know how I feel about smith..I’m sure he’s going to come back which ofcourse I don’t feel too good about, but if Arians sees him as good then I guess I’ll support it too..

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          • BucRY, Listen at this podcast starting at minute 3:25. It will shed some light. I will try to find the Arians interview for you.

            https://www.pewterreport.com/bucs-pewter-nation-podcast-episode-106-the-reclamation-project/

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        • Thank you Mac, you’re always a life saver.

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      • DT25 must have heard the same interview! Lol.

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      • I’ll give you my opinion. Re-sign Donovan(not at LT $), move to RT.

        Trade down, get more picks. Take Andre Dillard in round 1, there is your franchise blind side protector for Winston for 10 years.

        Grab a Guard like Powers end of rd2/rd 3.

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    • I like this one better as well. And to answer BucRy’s question, we’d likely franchise Donovan to push the need back a year, and Dotson would remain the starter at RT (which is all but certain to happen this year anyways).

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  14. We’re going to use a top 5/10 pick on a big inside linebacker who moves quick FOR HIS SIZE? Who hasn’t shown much ability to cover and thus is a bit of a question mark? In the ridiculously pass-happy stage that the NFL currently is in?

    I just do not get the hype surrounding Devin White. I mean, even the highlight reel posted with the pick was lackluster.

    I get that there will be some uncertainty in how Beckwith will look after being out all of last year, and that Kwon may or may not be back, but taking a questionable linebacker so high with all of the other glaring needs would be a horrible misstep, IMO.

    Not a fan of the rest of the mock, either. Whew.

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    • The only thing lackluster in White’s video is all of the celebration scenes from the first 60-90 seconds.

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      • 8.5 career sacks in 3 seasons for a pass rushing 3-4 OLB, is pretty low.

        For comparison sake, Von Miller had 33.5 sacks in 3 seasons in college.

        So yeah I’m not taking White at 5 or in top 10, like you would with Miller, who was picked 2nd overall.

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  15. Love the picks! I think I like RB Devin Singltary better but still all great pics.

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  16. I really like every one of these picks except the qb–get him later if possible–really good article, love the idea to trade down and still get Devin White–wow also a fan of Khalen Saunders

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  17. love this mock draft!!! even tho white is a beast its not a position need. If we gonna turn this around we need to start with the o line. protect your Qb!! so ill say draft jonah williams TACKLE first round . with that second round pick for sure take chris lindstrom GUARD . With these 2 we get consistent play and smart play no penalties . focus the defense with the remaining draft and free agency . look at the colts they solidify the o line with the draft last year and they went to the playoffs 🙂

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  18. McCoy just isn’t worth $13 million, more like the $8 million Curry was paid this year and he under performed for his money.
    Whatever the case, other teams see the same film as the Bucs do and no one is likely to over pay a 31 yo DT.
    McCoy might take less money to go on a team projected to go to the playoffs, but getting there is never a guarantee unless it’s the Patriots and the team also has to need a DT at the same time.

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  19. Didnt even bother reading the mock after seeing the 1st pick.

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  20. “including defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, who primarily runs a 3-4 scheme, but will adapt his defense to fit the talent on the roster.”
    That is exactly what Mike Smith said upon being hired. Let’s hold him to it this time PR.

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  21. I know BA doesn’t like Rookie LTs but once he sees Liedtke’s film on his first try as a LT and outplaying Turnstyle Smith in two Preseason Games with no holding penalties and no sacks, he is smart enough, if his excellent OT Coach can’t develop a 1st round OT quick enough, to realize he can trust Liedtke there til the rookie develops. Paying D. Smith Franchise Pay takes too much valuable cap space and putting D. Smith back at LT will cost BA the turnaround he wants and may injure Jameis again without a proven backup! That is just unacceptable and a bad Coaching decision!!! Besides three teams want D. Smith so let them offer picks for him. Offer GMC just what his Production last year can justify and remember he also mentored Nassib. Hire Hump back. Hire Free Agent OG and Safety that played for BA in the past. Move down and take Bama or Mississippi LT with the first pick and Oliver or other top DT to replace GMC when he retires and start half the time so GMC is fresh in the fourth quarters. Trade Jackson for a third pick. In the second round take the best pass rusher to one day replace JPP which should be Texas DE Omenihu, third round Delaware’s CB Nassib Adderley who can play jamming receivers at the line of scrimmage, with the second third round pick from the Jackson trade take Western Illinois DT Saunders and with the fourth round pick take either RB Pollard or Temple RB (BA came from Temple) Armsted 5’11” 212 lbs. (12 lbs. heavier than Pollard to run between the Tackles and block on third down), or Benny Snell Jr. 5’11” 220 lbs if he falls that low (looked to me like Cook in his FSU days), Fifth Round Buffalo’s QB Tyree Jackson to develop, Seventh Round BPA that can also play well on Special Teams or the FB in the Sr. Bowl if still available. Only keep Dotson as a backup and OT mentor on a reduced contract. Wester can hold down that RT position but with lots of Development Cappa may also start at RT if needed. We also need a second Place Kicker for long kickoffs and long field goals, and the Senior Bowl Punter.

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  22. like moving down for more picks,thats about it.

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