PewterReport.com’s Bucs beat writers, publisher Scott Reynolds and editor-in-chief Mark Cook, conducted the Ultimate Bucs Draft during the summer prior to the start of Tampa Bay’s 2014 training camp. After conducting the draft, which was kicked off by Cook’s selection of defensive tackle Warren Sapp with the first overall pick, it’s time to analyze each Pewter Reporter’s Bucs team and delve into the reasoning behind the selections.
First up is Reynolds’ Bucs squad, which features one Hall of Famer, two members of the Bucs Ring of Honor and nine members of Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl team and a host of Bucs legends. Cook’s Ultimate Bucs Team will be featured tomorrow on PewterReport.com.
SCOTT REYNOLDS’ULTIMATE BUCS TEAM – OFFENSEQB – Brad JohnsonRB – James WilderFB – Earnest GrahamWR – Mark CarrierWR – Keyshawn JohnsonTE – Jimmie Giles
REYNOLDS’ COMMENTARY ON THE OFFENSIVE SPECIALISTS I put a premium on drafting Super Bowl champion Brad Johnson, the best quarterback in Bucs history, with my sixth pick and the 12th overall selection. James Wilder, who is the Bucs’ all-time leading rusher, gives me a back with the perfect blend of power, speed and pass-catching ability. He may be the most complete back in team history. Earnest Graham gives me the versatility of having a runner, blocker and a pass-catcher. The wide receiver tandem of Mark Carrier, who is the Bucs’ all-time leading receiver, and Super Bowl champion Keyshawn Johnson gives my Bucs squad a player that can stretch the field vertically and a possession receiver to move the chains and make big plays on third downs. Bucs Ring of Honor inductee Jimmie Giles is clearly the best tight end in Tampa Bay history and a real weapon in the passing game. My collection of skill position players is full of playoff experience, playmaking ability and a blue collar work ethic.
LT – Roman ObenLG – Carl NicksC – Jeff FaineRG – Davin JosephRT – Demar Dotson
REYNOLDS’ COMMENTARY ON THE OFFENSIVE LINE I wanted a tough, versatile offensive line, and I think I achieved that. I have three Bucs linemen with Pro Bowl experience in Carl Nicks, Jeff Faine and Davin Joseph, who is the best guard in team history. When healthy and in their prime, the Bucs haven’t had two more talented guards than Nicks and Joseph, who can power a strong interior running game. On the outside, Roman Oben is finely adept as a pass protector and didn’t allow a sack in the postseason in Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl run in 2002. Demar Dotson is a real up-and-comer and is currently the best offensive lineman on the 2014 Bucs team. He could be the best right tackle in team history when it’s all said and done. Jeff Faine brings great leadership, sound fundamentals and technique and feistiness to the center position. My offensive line is underrated, but solid enough to win a championship with.
SCOTT REYNOLDS’ ULTIMATE BUCS TEAM – DEFENSELE – Chidi AhanotuDT – Brad CulpepperDT – Gerald McCoy RE – Simeon Rice
REYNOLDS’ COMMENTARY ON THE DEFENSIVE LINEI’ll admit that my defensive line is not as stellar as Mark Cook’s, which feature Hall of Famers Lee Roy Selmon and Warren Sapp, but Super Bowl champion and Pro Bowler Simeon Rice is a ferocious sack-master coming off the right edge, and will be the cornerstone of my D-line. Under tackle Gerald McCoy is a two-time Pro Bowler and an All-Pro and is arguably the best three-technique tackle in the NFL right now. This QB hunter could have a legendary career in Tampa Bay when it’s all said and done. Brad Culpepper is strong and stout against the run, and fast and fluid as a pass-rushing nose tackle. He’s the sixth-leading sacker in Bucs history (33). Chidi Ahanotu is the fifth-leading sacker in Tampa Bay (34.5), and brings power and speed off the edge against the run and the pass. Getting to the quarterback should not be a problem with this unit as each player is capable of winning a one-on-one.
LB – Shelton QuarlesLB – Hardy NickersonLB – Derrick Brooks
REYNOLDS’ COMMENTARY ON THE LINEBACKERS My LB corps is comprised of the best three linebackers in team history and is the absolute strength of my defense, outside of my stellar cornerback tandem of Ronde Barber and Donnie Abraham. My linebackers are what gives my defense the decided advantage over Mark Cook’s Ultimate Bucs Team defense. Derrick Brooks, a Hall of Famer, is clearly the best player in franchise history and was a seven-time Pro Bowler along with Hardy Nickerson, who played an integral role in turning the Bucs defense into a juggernaut in the late 1990s. Brooks and Nickerson are the top two tacklers in franchise history and their leadership skills are off the charts. The ultra-quick and intelligent Shelton Quarles excelled as a strongside linebacker before moving to middle linebacker in 2002 and earning Pro Bowl honors while quarterbacking Tampa Bay’s defense in Super Bowl XXXVII.
CB – Ronde BarberCB – Donnie AbrahamFS – Cedric BrownSS – Mark Barron
REYNOLDS’ COMMENTARY ON THE SECONDARYMy team has some great pass rushers in Rice and McCoy but I wanted to help out my front four by drafting some top-notch cornerbacks that could cover and make quarterbacks pay by racking up the interceptions if the defensive line can’t get them on the ground. Ronde Barber, the fourth-best player in Bucs history, and Donnie Abraham are the top two interceptors in team history and have a combined 78 picks and 15 defensive touchdowns between them. I also like how Barber, the prototype nickel cornerback, is a big-time touchdown producer and a supreme nickel blitzer. The duo of Cedric Brown, the third-leading interceptor in team history (29), and Mark Barron, a real up-and-comer at strong safety, are equally adept at picking off passes and tackling ballcarriers. My secondary is very strong up the middle and elite on the outside at the cornerback position. I revel in the fact that I have the top three interceptors in Tampa Bay history.
SCOTT REYNOLDS’ ULTIMATE BUCS TEAM – SPECIAL TEAMSST – Dwight SmithKR-PR – Karl Williams K – Connor BarthP – Mark Royals
REYNOLDS’ COMMENTARY ON THE SPECIAL TEAMSDwight Smith, the only player in NFL history to return two interceptions for touchdowns in a Super Bowl, was one of the Bucs’ top gunners on special teams and was also a dynamite interceptor on defense, which gives my team great versatility. Karl Williams was Tampa Bay’s best punt returner with an incredible 10.7 average over eight years. His five punt returns for touchdowns still stands as a franchise record. I chose Williams, who also averaged 22.6 yards per kick return, over Clifton Smith because be brings value to Tampa Bay’s offense as a third-down receiver as opposed to Smith. Connor Barth is the most accurate field goal kicker in Bucs history (84.3 percent) and has more kicks of 50 yards or more in team history than anyone else. His 92.9 percent mark in 2011 set a single season record for the franchise. Mark Royals always averaged at least 40 yards per punt with a long of 66 yards, and never had a punt blocked in his five years with the Bucs. He was a clutch holder and was an impressive 5-of-7 passing on fake punt attempts. The kicking game is one-third of football, and I have drafted a superior unit that can put points on the board and really change field position.
Mark Cook’s commentary on his Ultimate Bucs Team will be featured tomorrow on PewterReport.com.
Which Pewter Reporter drafted the better Ultimate Bucs team – Cook or Reynolds? We want to hear from you. Bucs fans are encouraged to leave their opinions in the article comments section, on the PewterReport.com message boards and on PewterReport.com’s Twitter page.
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]
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