SIKKEMA’S BUCCANEERS’ 2017 DRAFT PICKS

ROUND 2 – USC WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (via trade)
Second round, is that a typo? No it’s not; it’s a trade back. This is a deep draft, and, to be honest, Dalvin Cook, Corey Davis, Mike Williams and even O.J. Howard probably won’t be available at No. 19. So that would leave Tampa with either reaching for wide receiver John Ross (who has had serious knee issues), tight end David Njoku (who is an athletic tight end, but not the whole package) or maybe even safety Budda Baker (which wouldn’t make sense given their signings).

So instead I took a look at the top of the second round and got the brain working. Perhaps there’s a scenario where the Carolina Panthers select one of the top wide receivers or running backs at their No.8 pick, then see an offensive lineman they really want to get before the teams with luxury picks get on the clock. They trade Tampa Bay their second- and third-round picks from 2017 and maybe a fourth round pick in 2018 to jump up and get their guy – regardless of who it is, my phone would be open for a trade back if those guys are off the board.

In that scenario, the Bucs would pick at the top and bottom of both the second and third rounds, an ideal situation for such a draft class, if you ask me. My pick to start things off would be Smith-Schuster, who gets knocked for his lack of separation speed, but I still think he’s a complete wide receiver. He’s the youngest receiver in the entire draft, and player who could really blossom over the course of his rookie contract.

Oh, and when he was just 19 years old, he was doing stuff like this:

ROUND 2 – Toledo RB Kareem Hunt
You don’t have to look hard to find my love for Kareem Hunt. A good amount of national mock drafts and rankings have him going in the third or fourth round, but after the NFL Scouting Combine, you won’t see his name that low – he might even start getting second-round consideration.

In his four years as a starter, Hunt accumulated nearly 5,000 rushing yards and 44 rushing touchdowns. But the craziest stat of them all is that Hunt had only one fumble over 856 career touches (the fumble came during his freshman year and he recovered it). He’s the complete package with both speed, power, balance and reliability and the best running back option you’re going to find outside of the first round in this class.

ROUND 3 – Florida S Marcus Maye (via trade)
With the second pick from the Panthers, I’d select a player who will go lower than his talent deserves because of both and injury and the inability to gain steam while other around him have, and that is, Florida’s Maye.

I referenced earlier that reaching for Baker – though I love him as a prospect – didn’t really make sense given the re-signing of McDougald and addition of Addae. Adding Maye at this spot, however, makes perfect sense. Drafting Maye at this spot fills out the four players for safety going into camp, and honestly, there isn’t a weak link there. Maye really came on strong as a coverage man in space before breaking his arm in 2016. Such an injury usually doesn’t have lingering or re-occurring effects and Maye should be good to go.

ROUND 3 – Youngstown State DE Derek Rivers
This is a deep and talented pass-rushing class, and because of that, there will be some solid players to pick from in the second and even third rounds. If Derek Rivers happens to fall this far due to him coming from a smaller school or whatever the reason, I’d jump on him.

At 6-foot-4, 250 pounds, River has the body size you would want from someone coming off the edge. He also has consistent leverage and knows how to execute different kinds of pass rush moves such as arm rips and chest pulls. You can say whatever you want about already having Spence, Ingram, Ayers and Smith. If I see a guy with this much talent on the board, I’m taking him. You can never have too many great pass rushers. As Ayers (31) ages, Rivers comes into his own. 

ROUND 4 – Tennessee LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin
Going into the 2016 college football season, Jalen Reeves-Maybin was one of my favorite prospects. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to watch much of him at all as a shoulder injury early in the year sidelined him for his final season.

When healthy, Reeevse-Maybin is an explosive, tackling machine. He had over 100 tackles and double-digit tackles for loss during his sophomore and junior years before his senior season got cut short. He’s fantastic at shooting gaps trough the tranches and stopping plays in the backfield before they start.

He’s not a guy I would want to stick out there as a starter in the NFL right away, especially not having played even college ball in over a year. But if place behind the likes of Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander, I think JRM would be great as a back up, a SAM LB in 4-3 formations and as an ideal fill-in starter if either of the two starters were to get hurt.

ROUND 5 – Baylor WR KD Cannon
I know you were patiently waiting for me to give Tampa Bay a player who can truly stretch the field in the passing game. Well, fear not, for I have delivered.

The depth of this wide receiver class makes picking up a burner like Cannon this late a possibility. Cannon, listed at 6-foot, 180 pounds on Baylor’s website, averaged over 16 yards per catches during his collegiate career. Cannon also ran track in high school (100m, 200m, 4x100m, triple jump) at Mount Pleasant and was clocked at 10.63 in 100 meters and 21.48 in 200 meters. He’s a former Top 50 recruit who Baylor has made a top threat in their offense since his freshman season for reasons like the one below.

ROUND 6 – Utah RB Joe Williams
Williams played football for two seasons at Utah. The first was as a backup in 2015, and the second was where he rushed for over 1,400 yards in just nine games in 2016.

Williams story is a unique one. Just a few games into the 2016 season, Williams told his team he was leaving the program and quitting football entirely. After a month of not playing, Williams returned on the team and coaches’ requests due to multiple injuries to the depth chart. Williams accepted, and from that moment on rushed for more yards than any other running back in the country.

Until recently, the story had just been that Williams quit football under his own reason and was given a second chance. However, going into the NFL Combine, Williams wanted NFL teams and the world to know why he stepped away.

Williams decided to step away from football because his mind wasn’t there. Instead, it was on grieving the death of his sister, and event that happened a decade earlier. Williams’ 7-year-old sister died in her bed in the middle of the night from a disease that caused inflammation of her heart. Williams said that he spent years of his life somehow thinking he was responsible, or that he could have done something to save her – though this wasn’t true, going through that traumatized his rational thought process. It all got to a point where he could no longer focus on football, so he stepped away.

Since returning and coming to grips with reality and the truth, Williams says he is more focused than ever and in a much healthier state mentally. He’s a home run hitting running back who says he’ll run a sub-4.4 in the 40-yard dash. If he does, he can play on my football team.

ROUND 7 – Baylor QB Seth Russell
This is a personal draft motto of mine that I have learned from people far smarter than me while covering the draft over the last few years: Draft a quarterback ever year. It doesn’t matter if you have a completely solidified quarterback like the Bucs do, just take one. There is no greater payoff than to have a quarterback who is either good or who you can just convince the rest of the league that they are good – look at the Patriots.

The draft is about value; it’s about risk and reward. When you weight the potential reward for hitting the jackpot on a late-round quarterback, you take one. And if you need to take one higher to start, do that. Whatever it is, take one ever year. Most of these guys don’t make the team anyways.

Now let’s see how these free agent additions and draft picks affect the Bucs’ 53-man roster and depth chart.

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Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: [email protected]
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Hank Scorpio
3 years ago

I think this plan makes us a more complete team than Cook’s and Reynolds’ plans. I love the idea of taking a shot on Josh Gordon. I think wherever he goes, his contract will be structured in a way that negates most of the risk, making it a low risk/high reward scenario. I also like your draft a lot. While it lacks an elite playmaker on offense, there’s only a handful of those every year and they’ll all probably be gone by the time we would pick at 19 anyway. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00 No votes yet. Please… Read more »

nitey
3 years ago

I’m not sure that I’d say that I love this plan, but I like it the best of the three presented. I really like the draft trade back and selections. I’m not all that familiar with all the players, but the analysis and logic behind the picks all make sense to me and helps to solidify a decent roster. I honestly like the selection of JuJu and Hunt though. I also like the flyer on Josh Gordon. I know some folks here have touted grabbing Mixon, but if I had to take some PR flak, I might as well take… Read more »

e
e
3 years ago

Hi Trevor, pretty wholesale changes to the team, no? Would you worry that it might alter the chemistry with so many new faces? As it stands, the Bucs are a winning team and I’d wonder if they would want to be more conservative with their additions and subtractions? Great indepth work, by the way on the personnel side of things. PR just keeps getting better and better!

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big serious
3 years ago

i like everything but the drafting of Youngstown State DE Derek Rivers in the 3rd. Why not another young WR like Taywan Taylor or Josh Reynolds JUST IN CASE the Josh Gordon experiment does not work out. i really like trading back for more picks. I hope someone makes the call to grab the #19 pick

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big serious
3 years ago
Reply to  Trevor Sikkema

do you think that Derek Rivers is a 3rd DE. I don’t think so from looking at his film but that is just my opinion.

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SaskBucs
3 years ago

I agree with your 1st round analysis. If those 4 skill players are gone trade back or I am ok with drafting a Dlineman if they grade to that value. I would also love to see Gordon opposite Evans, who wouldn’t, instantly becomes best duo in the league if Josh can stay in the game. I have my doubts about that considering he could have came back last year (one of my fantasy squads banked on it) and instead he went to rehab. How can a guy, after screwing up a couple times already, have millions on the table as… Read more »

Iowabucfan
3 years ago

Of the three Plans, this is my favorite. I love it! Go Bucs!

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seat26
3 years ago

Trevor, I like this idea. Trade down get another pick. Maybe even two. This is a deep draft, and if the bucs are patient they could really make changes that will pay off two, three years down the road. The question is, are they that patient ?

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stlbucsfan
3 years ago

Trevor I smiled from ear to ear watching you bring so many of our Gators home lol. Dominique Easley would be an excellent fit here and give us an explosive DT to pair with or spell GMC. Not a fan of losing Goldston while retaining Spence but I will live. Josh Gordon is definitely an intriguing name that would be cost effective and COULD be a homerun signing IF his head of on straight. I’m in the minority but I think McDougald will be fine as a starter alongside Tandy. Still no OL addressed in this draft and considering everyone… Read more »

buccaneerNW
3 years ago

A couple of the ideas are interesting, but letting Ryan Griffin go as the only QB outside of Winston with system experience sounds a little dumb… Resigning him in no way prevents you from drafting that QB, by the way. There’s a lot of working parts in this one, and I’m not sure it’s realistic. It’s more of a fantasy-plan. I also think Josh Gordon isn’t a guy we (or any team) should count on. If we find a guy that we know will stick around as #2, then Gordon would be a bonus, and you cross your fingers and… Read more »

chetthevette
3 years ago

Hey TS, Battle plan #3 is more interesting than the veterans are. PR rookie looking to upset Mark and Scott. Josh Gordon – YES Never considered him before this. Melvin Gordon – YES Micha Hyde – YES YES YES Dominique Easley – NO he is not an upgrade over Gohlson, who we should re-sign. Ditch Chris Conte? Okay we know he screwed up a lot. but he got better as the season went on. I never thought I would say this, re-sign him also. Your draft is interesting. We can draft Hunt but, there is always a but. Dougie will… Read more »

chetthevette
3 years ago
Reply to  Trevor Sikkema

TS Is it just business? I have not paid any attention to Josh Gordon but he seems troubled to me. If we had a decent guard to replace Mankins Doug and the rest of our RB’s can do the job.
You can make an argument Doug is a top five talent also. Lets see what he can do running behind Sweezy.
Yes draft a replacement, Hunt works for me. 28 is not a death knell for an RB.
GO BUCS

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chetthevette
3 years ago

THIS IS THE OFFICIAL KEEP DOUG PETITION
All in favor say HELL YEAH
GO BUCS

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Destino102
3 years ago

I am OK with signing Josh Gordon if the Browns release him but I wouldn’t give him any guaranteed money. Trevor, what I am more interested in is some of these new FA’s Overall Madden numbers because we all know that’s what really matters.

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FilmBuc
3 years ago

Easily the best plan IMO. My main concern – and it is a concern with all the plans – is the lack of attention to arguably the most important position group in football… the offensive line. We have subpar tackles and other than Marpet no one on the line that is inarguably above average. The Bucs need another monster on the offensive line. The best thing the Bucs could do is find someone to seriously challenge and supplant D. Smith at LT. He will never be a Pro Bowl level talent on the outside. When you have a 23 year… Read more »

Bucmeister
3 years ago
Reply to  FilmBuc

FilmBuc I agree with you wholeheartedly. Look at the Buc offensive line: a second round pick who is struggling at LT, they don’t have a left guard (Sweezy has been out for a full year with an undisclosed back, and back issues usually don’t go away, and the Bucs expect him to step back in to a new position, left guard as opposed to his natural position right guard and play a full 16 game schedule), 2 centers neither of which should be starting,a solid right guard, and a right tackle who is past his prime and nothing more than… Read more »

Julian Jordan
3 years ago
Reply to  FilmBuc

It’s a weak draft and offensive lineman are hard to find especially at tackle.

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David DeLeon
3 years ago

I like this battle plan, I like it a lot! Trading back for another 2nd and 3rd round this year would be really good too.

I would like to see Doug but life is life.

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kram0789
3 years ago

Are you crazy, Seth Russell as our back up QB? Sorry, I can’t go with that. Put him on the practice squad. Hopefully Ryan Griffin is ready to be our back up. Otherwise I am not sure I like trading down and if I did I would be more inclined to take Kupp. My prediction on the OL is that Sweezy comes back, he is better than Pamphile but not the player we thought we were getting. The running game gets stuffed and the offense becomes one dimensional. Dotson deals with injuries all year and misses 8 games and Donovan… Read more »

bEubanks11
3 years ago

There’s going to a great nfl player for us at 19. Trading back for a couple extra maybe players I don’t like. Smith Schuster does nothing to excite me. Hunt the more I watch, the more I like. Reminds me of LT a little bit. All in all I’d take any of the battle plans and tweak each one but I like your go get em approach Trevor. I’m just excited for another influx of talent. Just like in madden my favorite part of the season is adding talent to the roster. We’ll be better in 2 months. Go Bucs… Read more »

seat26
3 years ago

I don’t necessarily agree with the choices, but Trevor you got the core of what this team needs. And trading down is smart. There is lots of talent in this draft. We need to cash in because we have so many holes to fill. I disagree with the criticism about taking a QB. Griffin is not a proven back up, we are definitely going to need to pick up one. If not the draft then in free agency. My disagreement would be with not taking a Corner in a draft that is so deep in quality cornerbacks. I also think… Read more »

scubog
3 years ago

It’s obvious that all three of you put in a lot of work and thought to offer up such interesting “battle plans”. Each one had a bit of, as someone once said, “Hope and Change”. Each had valid justification for the respective moves. Both Mark and Trevor could be called “homers” for their lean toward their alma mater. Scott refrained from pimping a K-State prospect since he has not fared so well in the past. I must say I thought each one could improve our favorite team and each one had some degree of risk that could reverse the progress… Read more »

Naplesfan
3 years ago

Trevor, it appears you are the PW compensatory picker … designed to counter Mark Cook’s Nole love with your Gator love! Aside from homer biases, I am not opposed to trading down for extra picks in this draft … but from no. 19 I am not sure there’s going to be any buyers for what the Bucs will be selling. These “trade down for picks” strategies usually turn out to be fan fantasies unless the pick to be traded is a top five pick overall. Besides, I don’t believe that there will be no quality players left on the board… Read more »

Naplesfan
3 years ago
Reply to  Naplesfan

darn .. “PR” not “PW”

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jshumaker
3 years ago

I had not realized that Josh Gordon is realistic because nobody had mentioned him. I think he would be a better gamble than Desaun Jackson.

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Naplesfan
3 years ago
Reply to  jshumaker

Gordon started only 19 of 64 games with the Browns … that’s less than 30% availability … he’s only produced an average of 688 yards per season (including his one year of suspension … since that was clearly his fault, that season belongs in the denominator. DeSean Jackson, however, started in 123 of his possible 144 games, that’s over 85% available, and his average production over his 9 seasons in the league is 980 yards per season, including over 1008 yards per season over the last four seasons, including 1,005 yards this past season. It’s impossible to justify Gordon over… Read more »

jshumaker
3 years ago
Reply to  Naplesfan

Impossible? I don’t think you can ever go that far in regards to an opinion. There is a statistical correlation between age of a player and the number of games a player is healthy for. Gordon’s problem has been drug tests/attitude. Which is a personal decision. Age is not. You also have to remember that drug issues can go away with a change of scenery. Chris Carter being the ultimate example. The ceiling for Gordon is much higher than Jackson’s and therefore a bigger payoff if you are right. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00 No votes yet. Please wait...

Naplesfan
3 years ago
Reply to  jshumaker

It’s all a matter of assessing risk … and the risk of Gordon is vastly higher, incomparably higher, than the very low risk acquisition of Jackson’s services. Gordon has produced at a high level only a single season in his four year NFL career. Heck, Doug Martin did better than that, and the entire PR crew and near half the commenters here want to fire Martin after a low production season! And DM’s best year he outproduced, by nearly 300 all purpose yards, Gordon in his best season. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00 No votes yet. Please wait...

Nick
3 years ago

Love the vast majority of this scenario. This is the first time I’ve seen Melvin Ingram’s name come up with regards to the Bucs by someone in the media and I had been wondering why. It makes so much sense. He is a freaky athlete who has had back to back great years and is well worth the money IMO. Charger fans will miss him dearly next year. My one reservation is the Smith-Schuster pick. I’m surprised that nobody else commented on that but I think where you have him picked is a massive reach. There are no less than… Read more »

jme0151
3 years ago

I think cooks was the more steady of picks and signings. I am a fan of trading back for extra picks though.

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cgmaster27
3 years ago

I love the re-signings you did, with WIlliam being the one I would resign differently. I also wouldn’t resign Hawley. I also like the gamble on Gordon, It wouldn’t cost you anything if he messes up as it would be a heavily incentive laden deal. As for DB, I would like us to take a look at Trufant from the Rams. They won’t franchise him again and he’s a taller DB, which we need badly. As for the draft, if those guys are all gone, I am all for trading back as you did and if we can get an… Read more »

mtbruning
3 years ago

I love the moves back and taking a chance in Gordon. The one place I think you neglected is the O-line. No additions in either free agency or the draft is just criminal. Hawley is a quality but average center. I would like to see a upgrade there either in free agency or the draft (or both). We should make a strong push Mangold (who got cut after this article came) and use on of those extra picks on Pocic or another quality center for the future. We neglected the O-line in the past and cost us, we should learn… Read more »

owlykat
3 years ago

I prefer Cook, Campbell, keeping Gholston, Pryor, Humphries, and building an Offensive Line that is strong up the middle. A new LT from free agency, move Smith from LT to LG, Marpet at Center (Hawley his backup), Sweezy at RG and Pamhile at RT (with Dotson as backup at both Tackle Positions)!

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76Buc
3 years ago

Although I don’t always agree, you are not an idiot. I love the way you think things through and use critical thinking to support your analysis.

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Mr. Incredible
3 years ago

How about a scanerio where we get Gordon and McCafree? Now that would be an offense if we can keep Gordon out of trouble. I think Gholston is fine but the real issue there is showing existing players the Bucs will pay performers. He’s pretty replaceable.

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Bschucher
3 years ago

Giving Gordon 4m a year sounds like a great idea… NOT.

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Julian Jordan
3 years ago

One thing we have to consider that none of you guys considered, as you guys are building a battle plan there’s someone that actually is game planning and I believe his contract is going to be up soon. As I’m sure Lovie Smith signed a 4 year deal maybe even a 5 year I don’t remember but more importantly this is year 3 going into year 4. Do you extend the contract of Jason Licht? The thing I like most about your battle plan here Tre is there’s risk taken yes but there’s a security in the risk. Your not… Read more »

drdneast
3 years ago

I really can’t take anyone’s plan seriously when they advocate someone be cut for nothing in return due in part to a minor drug altercation and then turn around and advocate signing a pothead who could star along side Cheech and Chong in one of their movies in the same story. Martin missed games because he was legitimately injured giving up his body for the team while Gordon missed entire seasons because he couldn’t keep his head out of a gas mask filled with the burning green. I mean how much lunacy is involved here. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit… Read more »

Julian Jordan
3 years ago
Reply to  drdneast

Gordon is a generational talent whereas Doug is not. Gordon call go another 5 years-can Doug?

Plus I learned a while ago with the Josh Freeman/Mike Williams/ASJ story lines-

There may be more out there then what’s being said at this time.

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EastEndBoy
3 years ago

The thing I appreciate the most Trevor is that your plan is well thought out, from start to finish….and includes a year-over-year draft philosophy for the later rounds (i.e., always draft a QB). It’s not my personal late round draft philosophy (which is always take a chance on a guy late that others are passing over for non-talent reasons – e.g., injury, threats of sitting out, may have to switch positions, etc.), but I feel like our GMs have never had a late-round strategy and it has cost us. In FA – I love the idea of Ingram…it’s really a… Read more »

drdneast
3 years ago

Hey, the Ravens just released tjeie safety for a pot issue.
Lets pick him up so at least Gordon will have a supplier he can share a bong with.
Jshumakee, it takes a lot more than a change in scenery to overcome an addiction.
Geesh, if life was only as simple as yoir mind.

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wnb0395
3 years ago

This battle plan is better than Mark Cooks. Trading up to get a Rb and giving up 2 high draft picks in this years draft is just crazy. This draft is too deep to give up so much. I love the idea of Gordon.

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XpfcWintergreen
3 years ago

As I have been frequently, I am late to the party. I loved all three plans and all of the discussion generated. Much to digest. Regarding SASKBUCS, (24th; 3:24 PM) comments on Josh Gordon and subsequent discussion … “Stay clean” … That is what Sapp did until he was through playing. He was surly at times but, fans loved him. He played his guts out! We lost ASJ and he apparently did not have any “red flags”, at least that I knew of, when he came out of college. Go figure! How Licht and staff can out-guess some of these… Read more »

David DeLeon
3 years ago

Well Melvin’s gone, do you think Richardson would be a good pick up by maybe a trade for a 2nd Rnder?

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