The PewterReport.com Roundtable features the opinions of the PR staff as it tackles a topic each week that involves the Bucs. This week’s topic: Who Is Your Bucs Draft Crush This Year?

Scott Reynolds: I Have So Many, But Barnes Is My Current Fave

A Bucs draft crush is defined as a draft prospect that I really love that I would want to see the Bucs draft – regardless of the round. The problem is that I have so many draft crushes this year! How can I pick just one? I love all top three running backs – Clemson’s Travis Etienne, Alabama’s Najee Harris and North Carolina’s Javonte Williams. I’m also quite fond of some middle-round running backs like North Carolina’s Michael Carter and Memphis’ Kenneth Gainwell. I even like a couple of offensive linemen in Alabama’s Landon Dickerson and Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Quinn Meinerz. Of course I like Florida weapon Kyle Pitts, but I won’t pick him because he’s a Top 10 prospect. The Bucs have no shot at drafting him without trading their entire draft to move up like Mike Ditka did for running back Ricky Williams in New Orleans in 1999.

Purdue LB Derrick Barnes

Purdue LB Derrick Barnes – Photo by: USA Today

Being a defensive-minded guy, I naturally have some crushes on that side of the ball. I’m fond of Texas outside linebacker Joseph Ossai, Northern Iowa outside linebacker Elerson Smith and Iowa defensive lineman Chauncey Golston. But my current Bucs draft crush is Purdue linebacker Derrick Barnes. This guy is a heat-seeking missile on defense. Whether it’s rushing the passer as an undersized edge rusher or playing off-the-ball linebacker, Barnes is an absolute stud. He’s passionate about football. Just watch his highlight reel and fall in love with Barnes yourself.

Despite being just over 6-foot and weighing 240 pounds, Barnes proved to be a very effective pass rusher with 11 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks and a forced fumble as a junior due to his 81-inch wingspan and 33-inch arms. He reminds me of a poor man’s Khalil Mack coming out of Buffalo. But his fit in the NFL will be as an off-the-ball linebacker and an occasional blitzer. In that manner Barnes reminds me a bit of Devin White. He’s not as fast, but he’s an explosive playmaker and big-time hitter. I’d love to see the Bucs draft Barnes, who I wrote about in my SR’s Fab 5 this week, in the middle rounds. He would be an ideal eventual replacement for Lavonte David in a couple of years.

Mark Cook: Surprise, Surprise – My Choice Is A Former Nole

Yes, I wanted the Buccaneers to draft Jameis Winston, Dalvin Cook and Derwin James. People assume it was only because they wore the garnet and gold in college. But the truth is, I believed they would be great pros. The jury is still out on Winston. Cook is a bonafide stud. James, when healthy, is one of the best young defensive talents in the AFC. But there have been plenty of former Florida State players I didn’t want the Bucs to touch. Anyone remember a certain kicker? And my pick this year was only a Florida State player for a couple of seasons. But he couldn’t stay healthy in Tallahassee and made the wise decision to transfer to Alabama. Center Landon Dickerson would be the perfect pick for the Bucs at the end of the first round. He’s this year’s Bucs draft crush for me.

Alabama C Landon Dickerson

Alabama C Landon Dickerson – Photo by: USA Today

Let’s face it. Football games are still won in the trenches. Yes, Tom Brady was terrific as the catalyst for the Bucs offense last year. But even the best quarterbacks don’t win if they aren’t protected, and if there isn’t at least a semblance of a running game. The Bucs beat the Chiefs in the Super Bowl, not because Brady threw for 450 yards, but because Tampa Bay’s offensive and defensive lines dominated. Dickerson would be the perfect fit to come in and while recovering from an ACL injury. He could sit and learn from Ryan Jensen, who is in the last year of his contract, and then take over full time in 2022.

Dickerson is a throwback ball player whose love and enthusiasm for the game is infectious. Ask any of his Crimson Tide teammates and coaches and they will tell you how much how meant to the program’s success over the last two years. Dickerson has had an injury history dating back to being a true freshmen at FSU. But having a year off to let his body rest and recover might be a blessing in disguise. The Buccaneers are in a terrific spot where they can take a bit of a gamble on a player with some injury concerns, and also the luxury of not needing him to start right out of the gate.

Jon Ledyard: Keep Loading Up Key Positions

Many don’t see cornerback as a huge need for the Bucs, and maybe it isn’t. But Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jamel Dean are far from sure things despite their improved play in the postseason. And Carlton Davis III is entering a contract year. If he’s still available at No. 32, Northwestern CB Greg Newsome fits exactly what defensive coordinator Todd Bowles wants in his secondary.

Northwestern CB Greg Newsome

Northwestern CB Greg Newsome – Photo by: USA Today

For six games during the 2020 campaign, Newsome dominated Big Ten competition. He broke up seven passes and intercepted another. His versatility will be attractive to Tampa Bay. Newsome is more well-suited for the zone-heavy defense Bowles’ ran during the regular season than any of the Bucs’ current corners. The junior also impressed in press man, especially down the field, where he found and defended the ball well on go routes. That’s a critical part of playing corner in today’s NFL. 

Newsome isn’t even 21 years old yet, and could be eased into NFL playing time due to the Bucs’ depth at the position. He would instantly man the CB4 role for Tampa Bay, before transitioning to a starting role when the team eventually decided not to re-sign one of their current Top 3 corners. Although he has rarely played there, Newsome could be an ideal slot corner option with the versatility to stay outside as well. He’s a good tackler who competes at a high level against the run and loves the game of football. Those are all qualities the Bucs love about Murphy-Bunting in the slot. But Newsome has more coverage polish than SMB. That makes him a more desirable fit for the slot, while still possessing the ability to play outside at a high level. If Newsome is there at No. 32, the Bucs should pull the trigger.

Matt Matera: Felton Gives The Bucs’ Offense More Variety

It’s great when a team hits a home run with a pick that works out in the first two rounds. But it’s even better when that happens with a later pick. If you don’t believe me, look no further than the excitement that comes every time former sixth-round pick Scotty Miller makes a big play. UCLA’s Demetric Felton has that explosiveness that teams have to account for anytime he has the ball in his hands. And the fact that he plays running back, receiver and returns kicks makes him the right fit for on the Bucs roster.

UCLA WR-RB Demetric Felton

UCLA WR-RB Demetric Felton – Photo by: USA Today

The Bucs have already had a virtual meeting with him back in March, so he’s at least on their radar. I love the idea of utilizing Felton in many roles, particularly as a third-down back and on special teams. With the kick return game uncertain at the moment, Felton can step right in and use his speed to be an instant threat to score if the ball is kicked to him. With Leonard Fournette re-signed and Ronald Jones II in a contract year, the Bucs don’t have an immediate need at running back. But Felton could be a huge factor on third downs as a receiving back that Tom Brady would look to quite often. He can also play in the slot as a receiver. He caught 99 passes at UCLA so he’s ready for that job.

Felton is essentially the definition of what a gadget player is. Are the Bucs ever going to run a wildcat type of package on offense while Brady is quarterback? No. However, Tampa Bay has entertained the idea of versatile players before. And that doesn’t mean they don’t like to run trick plays or those that you would consider outside the box. Remember, they ran a flea-flicker during the regular season and also attempted a pass to offensive lineman Joe Haeg in Super Bowl LV. They’ve had the John Franklin III on the practice squad before along with Travis Jonsen, who Jason Licht is a big fan of. They even signed undrafted quarterback Nick Fitzgerald in 2019 out of Mississippi State with the hopes that he’d be a Taysom Hill-type player. There are many roles that Felton could fill for the defending champs in 2021.

Taylor Jenkins: Going Against All That I Stand For, The Bucs Should Draft Harris

This is definitely a weird one for me. I’ve long been an opponent of large investments placed in running backs. That generally includes not spending high-round draft capital to select one. Even going as far as drafting one at some point in nearly every draft to create a self-sustaining position that never forces a team to give a running back a lucrative, second contract. The position is simply too easy to replace production in comparison to other positions. But this year, my Bucs draft crush is easily Alabama’s Najee Harris with the No. 32 pick.

Alabama RB Najee Harris

Alabama RB Najee Harris – Photo by: USA Today

A four-year player at Alabama, Harris was insanely productive with the Crimson Tide. Over his last two seasons alone, running for over 1,200 yards in each, Harris totaled 2,690 rushing yards on just under six yards per carry, 729 receiving yards on 70 receptions and 50 touchdowns. You read that right. He found the end zone 50 times in those two years. His skill set also helps the Bucs twofold. He’s a more than capable runner between the tackles or to the outside. And Harris is a natural pass-catcher who could immediately step in and prove himself as the best third-down back on the Bucs’ roster.

The presence of Ronald Jones II and Leonard Fournette would allow Harris to avoid being thrust into a full workload as a rookie. Yet both Jones and Fournette are set to hit free agency next offseason. Harris would then be in prime position to be the Bucs’ feature back in 2022. Add in the fact that he’s just a downright likeable guy. Whether it’s driving nine hours to an Alabama pro day that he wasn’t even participating in due to his cancelled flight, or saying that Todd McShay can “kiss my ass” over his analysis, Harris is unquestionably my Bucs draft crush this year.

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76bucsfan46
76bucsfan46
1 year ago

Scott I love your choice of Barnes in the 3rd to 4th rd. Matt I also like your choice of Felton in the 3rd rd. As for my pick at 32 I would have to lean towards Taylor’s Harris or Jon’s Newsome if still available at the end of the 1st rd.I really like Mark’s Dickerson or Meinerz in the 2nd rd. All great picks guys.

toofamiliar17
toofamiliar17
Reply to  76bucsfan46
1 year ago

If Barnes could be had in the 3rd or 4th round, I’d be down, too. But I don’t see him lasting that long. I’d be very surprised if he’s not taken by the first half of the 3rd round, if not all the way up in the 2nd.

BDOG
BDOG
1 year ago

Quinn Meinerz, OL, models our Jenkins and Brady idol, so should fit in well, fits Bucs need, tough as hell, versatile, OG or C, value only if can get in 2nd rd? might require a moderate trade up from 64. See him crush Wash, DT, Levi O!!!

The Wall
The Wall
1 year ago

Mark- If Jensen has another great year, we need to resign him. As much as I like Dickerson, with all the other options, and with Jensen in hand, I wouldn’t even think about it.

aredsoxfan1
aredsoxfan1
1 year ago

“The jury is still out on Winston.”
The jury reached its verdict long ago. In a league desperate for QB’s nobody wanted him. I think its time to give up your crush. He was a massive disappointment that set the Bucs back several years.

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
1 year ago

My personal crush is either of the big two running backs. We have to remember running back is an injury prone position, and after this year, the only running back on our roster will be Keyshawn Vaughn. And the jury is still out on him. I’m not sure if this is the route the Bucs will go as Bruce has always stated how he values running backs. However with Tom there, that changes things. Personally I think both backs will be gone by the time the bucs pick. In that instance I am growing to really looking at Asante Samuel… Read more »

toofamiliar17
toofamiliar17
Reply to  cgmaster27
1 year ago

I’d be surprised if we pick Samuel, only because he’s not built at all like a Todd Bowles corner. Every corner who plays a major role on this team, including both of the ones we’ve taken since Bowles and Arians got here (Dean and SMB) are at least 6′ or 6’1″ tall with 32″ arms or longer. The only other corner ever drafted into a Todd Bowles team before the last couple rounds was Juston Burris back with the Jets in 2016. He was 6′ tall with 31.5″ arms. Samuel is much smaller than all of those guys. I like… Read more »

jongruden
jongruden
Reply to  cgmaster27
1 year ago

How shocking you want us to draft a Nole thats gotta be a streak of like 10 years lol

aredsoxfan1
aredsoxfan1
1 year ago

I like linemen and corners at 32. Asante Samuel Jr., Teven Jenkins, Kelvin Joseph, Caleb Farley, Christian Darrisaw and Greg Newsome to name a few. Either position would provide depth and the ability to trade off an expensive veteran if the pick works out.

Spartan01
Spartan01
1 year ago

A mock assuming a trade down with WFT. These are some of my favorites at each pick with some roughly similar position/round/size/athletic comps from last year’s draft:

#51 Quinn Meinerz IOL (Damien Lewis – #69)
#64 Paulson Adebo CB (Michael Ojemudia – #77)
#74 Derrick Barnes ILB (Logan Wilson – #65)
#96 Jonathan Marshall DT (McTelvin Agim – #95)
#138 Janarius Robinson DE (Alton Robinson #148)
#177 Carson Green OT (Justin Herron – #195)
#218 Josh Imatorbhebhe WR (Dezmon Patmon – #212)
#253 Elijah Mitchell RB (Eno Benjamin – #222)
#261 Luke Farrell TE (Charlie Woerner – #190)

SoberInSac
SoberInSac
1 year ago

Mine is jeremiah owusu koramoah. I think he’s going to be amazing at the next level. I just see a bad a** foot ball player when I watch him. He is going to be a beast, hopefully he gets drafted into a good situation. With a defensive coordinator who knows how to utilize his talents.

jrwilson85
jrwilson85
1 year ago

Jason Oweh

flashgordon
flashgordon
1 year ago

I’m interpreting this as “what player do you like but no you should draft someone else.” For me, that’s wr Rondale Moore. He sure reminds me of of someone – Tyreek HIll. Tyreek might be a little faster; Rondale Moore might be a little more stronger. You want a Wes Welker, or one of those pass catching hb’s, to allow Tom Brady to do the things he did in New England . . . Rondale Moore is your man; he might even be more dangerous than those guys combined. I mean position versatility to boot! Then he can be a… Read more »

flashgordon
flashgordon
Reply to  flashgordon
1 year ago

If all your doing is to win now, why not just go with yet another weapon for Tom Brady?

toofamiliar17
toofamiliar17
1 year ago

No one will probably believe this, but my biggest draft crushes since I started getting heavily into draft prospect film study have probably been Lavonte David, Tavon Austin, Ali Marpet, and George Kittle. I feel pretty strongly that I nailed three of those four, and I was REALLY excited when you of those three ended up getting drafted by us. For this year, there isn’t one I like the way I liked those guys. I can’t just pick one. I’m gonna go with my biggest crushes at different stages of the draft. All of these are guys I really want… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by toofamiliar17
BucLife
BucLife
Reply to  toofamiliar17
1 year ago

Love your picks Toofamilar. Phillips would also be my dream scenario for Rd1, although I don’t think he will be there as I think he will go somewhere in the teens.
I haven’t looked at any of the CBs yet this year, but your analysis of Stokes sure sounds interesting. It made me curious.
Gainwell would be a great weapon for the Bucs to land in the 3rd round, although again I wouldn’t be surprised if he is gone by the mid 3rd.

toofamiliar17
toofamiliar17
Reply to  BucLife
1 year ago

Yea, I agree on both Gainwell and Phillips – good chances they’re not there for us when our picks come. But they’re my round by round dreams, haha. I also didn’t think OJ Howard would be there for us in the middle of the first round in 2017, or that Spence would fall to us in the 2nd round in 2016, or Tyler Johnson all the way down to the 5th round last year. We just never know how NFL teams are grading these guys compared to the general draft public. Landing Phillips at 32 would maybe be the most… Read more »

BucLife
BucLife
Reply to  toofamiliar17
1 year ago

You are right, sometimes you get lucky and guys fall further than you expected. Godwin was one of those guys that I thought would go in Rd 2 for sure so I was stoked when we got him in Rd 3. The Howard and Spence falls you pointed out also caught me by surprise back then. Even Wirfs fell a few picks further than expected. So here is to the Bucs luck to continue :)

jongruden
jongruden
1 year ago

Mark Cook like a Ex Nole, I literally fell out of my chair I was so shocked lol, “jury still out on Winston”? lol he played five yrs with top end targets and threw 30 ints and had 6 fumbles, the jury is out that verdict came out a few yrs ago. NOw, my Crushes this yr at 32 are Nick Bolton and Joseph Ossai, Bolton a tackling machine and Ossai and edge speed you can’t teach its either you have it or you don’t and he has it