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FAB 1. 2020 Buccaneers MVPs

Tampa Bay’s 2021 offseason is rapidly approaching, but before we dive deep into free agency and NFL Draft analysis, let’s close the door on the team’s Super Bowl LV championship season by naming the 2020 Buccaneers MVPs. The entire Pewter Report editorial staff consisting of Mark Cook, Jon Ledyard, Matt Matera, Taylor Jenkins and yours truly voted on all of the 2020 Season Awards in this week’s SR’s Fab 5.

2020 Bucs Season MVP

QB Tom Brady
Is there any doubt? Without the benefit of an offseason, a mini-camp, OTAs or a preseason to get to really bond with and form an on-field chemistry with his teammates, Brady had to use a truncated, three-week training camp to get ready for the regular season. After a predictably shaky start with an opening day loss at New Orleans, Brady became brilliant in guiding the Bucs to an 11-5 record and four straight victories in the postseason, including out-dueling Patrick Mahomes in Super Bowl LV.

Bucs head coach Bruce Arians essentially blamed a lot of the team’s problems in 2019 on former quarterback Jameis Winston when he told Brady that Tampa Bay was one player away in his sales pitch last March, and he was right. While Winston threw for 5,109 yards and a single-season Bucs record 33 touchdowns, he also threw a league-high 30 interceptions, including an NFL-record seven pick-sixes. Brady passed for 4,633, which was the second-most in Tampa Bay history, and broke Winston’s record with 40 TD passes and just 12 interceptions.

Brady also added three rushing scores in the regular season to score 43 touchdowns at age 43 for the Bucs, and helped set a franchise record with eight straight wins (four coming in the postseason), including Super Bowl LV. Brady threw 10 more touchdown passes in the postseason, including three in the Super Bowl to win his fifth Super Bowl MVP honor and his seventh Lombardi Trophy. Brady was everything the Bucs hoped he would be – the leader and playmaker – and more.

2020 Bucs Defensive MVP

ILB Devin White
Since Brady won the Season MVP and is an offensive player, we recognize White as the Bucs Defensive MVP during the team’s Super Bowl season. They say that a player’s biggest growth in the NFL is during the offseason between the rookie year and the second year. Well, White didn’t have the benefit of an offseason due to COVID-19, but still managed to have a sensational season in Tampa Bay.

Bucs ILB Devin White

Bucs ILB Devin White – Photo by: USA Today

White had eight games with double-digit tackles during the regular season and finished with a career-high and team-leading 140 tackles and 15 tackles for loss in 15 games. He was also a pass-rushing force as a blitzer, recording nine sacks, which ranked second on the team. White struggled early in the season in pass coverage with just four pass breakups and no interceptions, but that changed in the postseason.

Tampa Bay’s first-round pick in 2019 missed the season finale against Atlanta and the first round playoff game at Washington due to COVID-19, but once he took the field in the postseason he made up for lost time. White notched 38 tackles and three tackles for loss with double-digit stops in the last two playoff games and the Super Bowl. White also showed off his play-making skills by recording two pass break-ups and two interceptions, in addition to recovering two fumbles. It was a sensational year for a young star on the rise.

2020 Bucs Special Teams MVP

K Ryan Succop
Bucs general manager Jason Licht tried everything to upgrade the kicker position, which was the weakest link in Tampa Bay. He signed some premier free agents in Nick Folk and Chandler Catanzaro, and some in-season replacements in Pat Murray and Cairo Santos when they didn’t work out. He traded for Kyle Brindza. He drafted two kickers in Roberto Aguayo and Matt Gay. But Licht finally struck gold when Succop was signed in September right before the start of the season.

Bucs K Ryan Succop

Bucs K Ryan Succop – Photo by: USA Today

Keeping Gay, who showed promise, but was shaky in a few costly losses, would’ve been easy given the fifth-round draft pick Licht invested in him. Instead, Licht and Arians went with the veteran Succop and it was a bold gamble that paid off big for the Buccaneers. Succop had the best year of any Tampa Bay kicker, setting the franchise record for most points in a season with 136, beating Matt Bryant’s previous record of 131.

Succop connected on 28-of-31 field goal attempts (90.3 percent) – with one of those attempts being blocked in Week 1. The 12-year veteran was a perfect 20-of-20 on kicks inside 40 yards in the regular season, and set franchise records for extra points converted and extra points attempted with 52 and 57, respectively (91.2 percent) and two of his extra points were blocked due to poor protection. In the postseason Succop was stellar, converting 12-of-13 extra point attempts and was a perfect 9-of-9 on field goals, including a season-long 52-yard field goal against Kansas City in Super Bowl LV. Re-signing Succop has to be a priority for Licht and director of football administration Mike Greenberg.

2020 Bucs Assistant Coach Of The Year

Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles
If coaches were eligible for the Super Bowl MVP award there is a good chance Bowles would have won it for his masterful game plan against Kansas City in Tampa Bay’s 31-9 victory in Super Bowl LV. Bowles’ defense recorded two interceptions of quarterback Patrick Mahomes, sacked him three times and harassed him most of the night while keeping the vaunted Chiefs offense out of the end zone.

Bucs DC Todd Bowles

Bucs DC Todd Bowles – Photo by: USA Today

Tampa Bay ranked seventh in the league in scoring defense, allowing just 21.6 points per game in the regular season. Bowles’ defense was even better in the postseason, allowing just 19.5 points per game. Bowles deployed a press-man coverage scheme at New Orleans that helped create four takeaways, and then used a mix of man and zone at Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game to stymie Aaron Rodgers for the second time in 2020. Against Kansas City in the Super Bowl, Bowles stepped out of his comfort zone by not blitzing much and playing primarily Cover 2 and Cover 4 to frustrate Mahomes.

Bowles’ defense recorded 48 sacks this year, which ranked second in team history and was one more than a year ago. The 57-year old Bowles, who spent four years (2015-18) as the head coach of the New York Jets, and the entire defensive coaching staff will return in 2021 after he only received two job interviews during the playoffs. Other teams’ losses will be Tampa Bay’s gain this year as the Bucs look to defend their Super Bowl title, and Bowles might wind up staying with the team as Arians’ eventual replacement.

FAB 2. 2020 Pewter Player Awards

We’ve named the Bucs’ MVPs and top assistant coach for Tampa Bay’s 2020 season, but Pewter Report isn’t done yet. Now it’s time to dish out even more player honors and distinctions for the Super Bowl champion Buccaneers.

Most Improved Player – Offense

RG Alex Cappa
Cappa gets the nod over running back Ronald Jones II, but both Buccaneers deserve praise. Jones nearly rushed for 1,000 yards before COVID-19 and injuries struck at the end of the year. Cappa suffered a fractured ankle in Tampa Bay’s wild card win at Washington but played really well in the regular season and looked like a legitimate starting-caliber NFL guard because of the hard work he put in during the offseason reshaping his body from that of a former offensive tackle into a sturdy guard.

Most Improved Player – Defense

Bucs CB Carlton Davis III

Bucs CB Carlton Davis III – Photo by: USA Today

CB Carlton Davis III
Davis edges out inside linebacker Devin White for this award because of the ball skills he showed in his third season, leading Tampa Bay with a career-high four interceptions. A year after breaking up an NFL-high 19 passes, Davis swatted away 18 more in 2020 and proved to not only been an outstanding cover corner for the Bucs secondary, but also a playmaker with good ball skills. Davis is entering a contract year in 2021, so look out.

Most Disappointing Player – Offense

RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn
Vaughn didn’t have much of a chance to see the field with two proven veteran running backs like Leonard Fournette and LeSean McCoy joining Jones, the team’s starter, in the backfield during his rookie season. Yet when he did touch the ball he showed some flashes while averaging 4.1 yards per carry, but also turned the ball over a couple of times and had a few drops on his limited targets as a receiver out of the backfield. With Fournette and McCoy likely moving on in 2021, Vaughn could have earned the RB2 role with more consistency and production last year but failed to do so.

Most Disappointing Player – Defense

CB Sean Murphy-Bunting
Before there was “playoff SMB” there was “regular season SMB.” Playoff SMB recorded an interception in three straight postseason games leading up to Super Bowl LV and then had solid coverage and a key pass breakup in the end zone in the Bucs’ biggest game of the year. But the Murphy-Bunting we saw in the regular season was one that struggled with injuries and lost his confidence. After recording three interceptions and eight pass break-ups during the regular season of his rookie campaign, Murphy-Bunting notched just one pick in the 2020 regular season and only three pass break-ups.

Best Rookie

Bucs RT Tristan Wirfs

Bucs RT Tristan Wirfs – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

RT Tristan Wirfs
Bucs general manager Jason Licht hit two home runs with Tampa Bay’s top two picks in the 2020 NFL Draft with Wirfs and free safety Antoine Winfield, Jr. Both had stellar rookie seasons, but Wirfs’ rookie campaign was one for the ages as he surrendered only one sack (which was to All-Pro Khalil Mack in Week 5) and was the highest-graded offensive lineman in Tampa Bay by Pro Football Focus (82.2). In fact, Wirfs was so good he was the best rookie offensive lineman in the entire league and had the highest PFF grade of any offensive lineman in the Super Bowl since 2006 (91.7).

Best Free Agent Acquisition

QB Tom Brady
Brady – the Bucs’ best free agent acquisition in 2020? He’s actually the best free agent acquisition of all-time in Tampa Bay – topping the likes of linebacker Hardy Nickerson, defensive end Simeon Rice and quarterback Brad Johnson, among others. Brady brought play-making and outstanding leadership to the Bucs in helping the franchise win its second Super Bowl. Even at age 42 last offseason, Brady was the top free agent on the market and Licht and head coach Bruce Arians reeled him in. Brady took a team that was playoff-ready and turned it into a Super Bowl champion in just one year – and did so without an offseason or preseason, too.

Newcomer Of The Year

FS Antoine Winfield, Jr.
Wirfs is the Bucs’ best rookie and Brady is the Bucs’ best free agent, so Winfield gets the nod as the top newcomer – just edging out tight end Rob Gronkowski. Without the benefit of an offseason or a preseason, Winfield was a starter at free safety from the season opener and had 94 tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and an interception during the regular season. He also had six pass break-ups, including critical swats at New York and Atlanta that proved to be game-winners. Throw in the fact that Winfield had an INT and threw deuces in Tyreek Hill’s face in the Super Bowl and it was quite a year for Tampa Bay’s second-round pick.

Unsung Player Of The Year

Bucs TE Rob Gronkowski

Bucs TE Rob Gronkowski – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

TE Rob Gronkowski
Despite being one of the best pass-catching tight ends in NFL history, Gronkowski came to Tampa Bay with a team-oriented attitude and was a blocker first. Gronkowski’s 45 catches for 623 yards were his fewest in any 16-game season since his rookie year, but he averaged 13.8 yards per catch and scored seven touchdowns. Gronkowski added two more critical TDs during the Bucs’ Super Bowl win, but it was his unheralded and effective blocking this year that makes him Tampa Bay’s unsung player.

Most Inspirational Player

WR Mike Evans
Evans battled through hamstring and ankle injuries during the regular season to record 70 catches for 1,006 yards and 13 touchdowns. Just after topping the 1,000-yard mark for the seventh straight year to set a franchise record, Evans suffered what looked to be a serious knee injury. Yet Evans was an absolute warrior and didn’t miss next week’s playoff game at Washington where he shook off the injury and caught six passes for 119 yards. Evans played all 20 games for the Bucs and was never 100 percent during the season, which was quite an inspiration to his teammates and coaches.

Most Overrated Player

WR Antonio Brown
Brown played his part as an insurance policy at the wide receiver position in Tampa Bay this year, but underwhelmed statistically. He caught 45 passes for 483 yards (10.7 avg.) and scored four touchdowns in eight games during the regular season, and added eight more catches for 81 catches (10.1 avg.) and two more scores in three postseason games, including the Super Bowl. Brown, who turns 33 in July, was on his best behavior in his trial run in Tampa Bay for half a season, but is his worth taking a chance on and re-signing in 2021? He’s still a good receiver, but no longer an elite player.

John Lynch Gentleman’s Award (Best Interview)

CB Sean Murphy-Bunting
Murphy-Bunting edged out Jason Pierre-Paul for this award, which goes to the Buccaneer that gives the best interviews, due to his candidness. We loved Pierre-Paul’s energy in the media Zoom calls, but the gregarious and outgoing personality and brutal honesty about his own play that Murphy-Bunting brought to his interviews made him a favorite among the Pewter Report staff. Murphy-Bunting earned our respect and he’s the kind of guy you want to root for.

FAB 3. Pewter Performance Awards

Now it’s time to recognize the best individual and team performances during Tampa Bay’s 2020 regular season and postseason, according to the Pewter Report staff.

Best Regular Season Individual Performance: Offense

Bucs QB Tom Brady - Photo by: USA Today

Bucs QB Tom Brady – Photo by: USA Today

QB Tom Brady at Detroit – Week 16
Brady was nearly flawless against the Lions in the Motor City, winning, 47-7, the day after Christmas. He completed 22-of-27 passes for 348 yards with four touchdowns – in the first half – at Detroit. Brady completed 81.5 percent of his passes and there were even a couple of drops, which robbed him of an even higher completion percentage, which is crazy. Because it was a blowout win, it wasn’t Brady’s most important performance, but it was simply sensational.

Best Postseason Individual Performance: Offense

QB Tom Brady vs. Kansas City – Super Bowl LV
Hey, Brady won the Super Bowl and was named the MVP, so he has to have this distinction, right? Tampa Bay’s offense was quite balanced in the postseason with Leonard Fournette and Brady sharing the workload. Brady passed for 381 yards and a pair of scores in the team’s wild card win at Washington, but his three first half touchdowns in Super Bowl LV against Kansas City gave Tampa Bay a 21-6 lead at halftime. He only passed for 201 yards against the Chiefs, but he completed 72.4 percent, which was his third-highest completion percentage of the season in the Bucs’ biggest win in franchise history.

Best Regular Season Individual Performance: Defense

Bucs OLB Shaquil Barrett

Bucs OLB Shaquil Barrett – Photo courtesy of Tampa Bay Buccaneers

OLB Shaquil Barrett at Denver – Week 3
Devin White had several games with multiple sacks and double-digit tackles, but Barrett’s return to Denver was important because he helped key the 28-10 win with his first two sacks of the season in the third game of the year. Barrett finished with six tackles, a tackle for the loss and a safety – the first of his career and Tampa Bay’s lone safety of the season.

Best Postseason Individual Performance: Defense

ILB Devin White at New Orleans – Divisional Playoffs
White edged out Barrett’s performance at Green Bay where the outside linebacker had three sacks. The reason? White had his hands on two of the Bucs’ four takeaways at New Orleans, recovering a fumble and picking off Drew Brees in the second half. Both of those takeaways resulted in touchdowns in Tampa Bays’ 30-20 victory. White also had 11 tackles (10 solo) and a pass breakup. White missed the first round of the playoffs due to COVID-19, but made up for lost time with a command performance a week later in a monumental Tampa Bay playoff win.

Best Regular Season Win Of The Year

Bucs at Falcons – Week 15
Tampa Bay fell behind 17-0 at Atlanta, but Fournette’s two touchdowns and Brady’s two TD passes along with 390 passing yards helped fuel a 31-10 outburst in the second half for a 31-27 win. The offense took off in the second half in Atlanta and the Bucs would go on to score 30 points or more in seven straight games beginning against the Falcons. White’s 12 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and three sacks helped key the defense in the second half.

Worst Regular Season Loss Of The Year

Bucs vs. New Orleans – Week 9
This one’s easy. Tampa Bay lost 38-3 … at home … on NBC Sports’ Sunday Night Football to division rival New Orleans. Just awful. Nobody played well. The Saints dominated, winning their fourth game in a row. End of story.

Best Play Of The Year

Bucs WR Scotty Miller

Bucs WR Scotty Miller – Photo by: USA Today

WR Scotty Miller’s 39-yard TD at Green Bay – NFC Championship Game
Due to the sheer importance of the play and the magnitude of the game, Miller’s huge touchdown catch at Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game edged out Ronald Jones’ 98-yard touchdown run at Carolina. Miller’s diving score with eight seconds left before halftime gave Tampa Bay a 21-10 lead and all the momentum it needed to hang on for a 31-26 win en route to Super Bowl LV.

Early Record Projection For 2021

Bucs Will Finish 12-4
After finishing the 2020 regular season with an 11-5 record, why not aim a little higher next year in Year 2 of Brady in Tampa Bay? While it’s impossible to predict another Super Bowl win, a 12-4 record would earn the Bucs their first NFC South division title in 2007.

FAB 4. Remembering VJax

I just finished my 25th year covering the Buccaneers in the grandest fashion of all-time, watching Tampa Bay win Super Bowl LV at home in Raymond James Stadium, beating my favorite team in my childhood, the Kansas City Chiefs, 31-9.

A quarter of a century in, I still love my job. I love entertaining and educating you, the PewterReport.com reader and die-hard Bucs fan, by giving you the inside scoop on the Bucs’ personnel moves and analyzing what it will take for Tampa Bay to beat its opponents. I love interviewing the newest Buccaneers as well as my old favorites.

Former Bucs WR Vincent Jackson

Former Bucs WR Vincent Jackson – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

What I don’t like – at all – is chronicling the untimely deaths of players I’ve known or covered. Whether it’s Buccaneers legend and Pro Football Hall of Famer Lee Roy Selmon dying from a massive stroke at age 56, or former Tampa Bay first-round pick Gaines Adams dying in his sleep from an enlarged heart at age 26 after being traded to Chicago – writing about the passing of well-known Bucs or lesser known former Tampa Bay players is awful.

Former Tampa Bay linebacker Demetrius DuBose, a former second-round pick in 1993, was shot to death in an altercation with police at the age of 28. Former wide receiver Brice Hunter was shot to death in Chicago in 2004. Former Buccaneers defensive end Corey Smith and linebacker Marquis Smith drowned in a boating accident in the Gulf of Mexico in 2009. Both were in their 20s.

Just awful.

Now it’s former Bucs wide receiver Vincent Jackson, who has passed too soon at the age of 38. Jackson died in a Brandon hotel after being estranged from his family for weeks. While the autopsy results won’t be known for weeks, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister suspected alcohol contributed to his death.

Jackson starred in Tampa Bay as one of the team’s best free agent signings. He made an immediate impact in 2012, catching 72 passes for 1,384 yards (19.2 avg.) and eight touchdowns while earning a Pro Bowl berth, and followed that up with two more 1,000-yard seasons before age and injuries caught up with him at age 32 in 2015. After just five games into his 12th season at age 33, a knee injury ended Jackson’s career after 15 catches for 173 yards.

Jackson signed a five-year contract worth $55, 555,555.55 with the Bucs in Greg Schiano’s first year in Tampa Bay. Why all the fives in his contract? He was the weapon general manager Mark Dominik wanted to get for quarterback Josh Freeman, who wore the No. 5 jersey. Yes, that’s a true story.

You might not remember this, but the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Jackson was actually a Bucs’ Best Bet at wide receiver for the Bucs in the 2005 Pewter Report Draft Preview. Yes, I was very high on the Northern Colorado star receiver in the draft that year.

Former Bucs WR Vincent Jackson

Former Bucs WR Vincent Jackson – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Two things stood out to me during his first year in Tampa Bay. Jackson was immediately named a team captain, which spoke volumes about his leadership ability and how he was held in high regard by his teammates. And he had a 95-yard catch against New Orleans wearing the Bucco Bruce orange throwback uniforms – but he didn’t score. Instead, Jackson was tackled at the 1-yard line and the Saints stuffed LeGarrette Blount on three straight carries and Freeman on a QB sneak on fourth down for a goal line stand.

The Bucs would lose by a touchdown, 35-28, despite Freeman throwing for 420 yards and three touchdowns, and Jackson catching seven passes for 216 yards and a score. That’s how things were in Tampa Bay back when Jackson played. The best the Bucs fared in Jackson’s time in Tampa Bay was 7-9 in that 2012 season.

Jackson would play with four different starting quarterbacks in his five years with the Bucs – Freeman, Mike Glennon, Josh McCown and Jameis Winston. It was Jackson who went to the Bucs’ brass and told them to bench Freeman in 2013 after he started the season 0-3 while completing just 47 percent of his passes. And it was Jackson who caught the game-winning touchdown at Pittsburgh with seven seconds left in 2014. That was one of the Bucs’ two wins that season.

Jackson played a huge role in helping develop Mike Evans during his first two seasons in Tampa Bay. Jackson took Evans under his wing and they both recorded 1,000-yard seasons in 2014.

After he retired, Jackson, who was the Bucs’ Man of the Year in 2013 and ’14, continuing to work to support the military, which was his charitable passion while in both San Diego and Tampa Bay, in addition to other worthy causes in the Bay area. Jackson also became an entrepreneur, opening up the Cask Social restaurant in South Tampa in addition to becoming the CEO of CTV Capital.

Jackson seemed to transition well to life after football, but he appeared to be possibly battling some inner turmoil, well hidden from the public. Tragically, Jackson leaves behind his wife and three children. Jackson was such a kind man, always smiling, always thinking of others. Admired and loved by all he came in contact with.

Former Bucs WR Vincent Jackson, CB Eric Wright and G Carl Nicks

Former Bucs WR Vincent Jackson, CB Eric Wright and G Carl Nicks – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

One thing I’ve learned in over two decades of covering this Tampa Bay team. There are only three differences between NFL players and I. The Bucs players are more athletic, make more money and appear regularly on television. That’s it.

Outside of those three things they are just like you and I, having to deal with parental issues with their children, navigating relationships and sometimes getting divorced, losing parents or close family members and struggling with finances.

And sometimes tragedy strikes them too soon when they’re too young, and they pass away unexpectedly. Such was the case with Jackson.

FAB 5. SR’s Buc Shots

WILL THE BUCS SUCCUMB TO “THE DISEASE OF MORE?” NFL Network’s Peter Schrager posed an interesting question about the chances of Tampa Bay repeating as Super Bowl champions in 2021. Schrager said the thing that could stand in the Bucs way would be “the disease of more.” Watch this segment on Good Morning Football and see if you agree or disagree.

THE NEWEST EDITIONS OF PEWTER REPORT PODCAST: The Pewter Report Podcast is energized by CELSIUS and broadcasts four live episodes each week in the offseason – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at our original 4:00 p.m. ET time slot. Here are the four latest editions of the Pewter Report Podcast to watch in case you missed an episode.

Pewter Report’s Jon Ledyard and special guest Steven Cheah from Barstool Sports discuss whether or not the Bucs are an elite franchise fresh off their second Super Bowl victory in 18 years, beating Kansas City, 31-9, in Super Bowl LV.

Pewter Reporters Jon Ledyard and Scott Reynolds break down PR’s first 2021 Bucs’ 7-Round Mock Draft and also discuss Ledyard’s initial 2021 NFL Mock Draft for an entire hour. If you want draft talk, this episode’s for you.

Pewter Reporters Scott Reynolds and Mark Cook review the Bucs’ 2020 Super Bowl season with special guest Greg Auman from The Athletic, and take a look ahead to the 2021 offseason and discuss Auman’s new book CHAMPA BAY!

Pewter Reporters Jon Ledyard and Mark Cook take a look ahead to the 2021 offseason and discuss Tampa Bay’s personnel needs and how those holes can be filled in the upcoming draft.

Watch the Pewter Report Podcasts live on our PewterReportTV channel on YouTube.com and please subscribe (it’s free) and add your comments. All of our Pewter Report Podcasts will be archived there so you can go back and watch the recorded episodes if you missed it live.

The audio versions of the Pewter Report Podcasts will can be found on iTunes and Soundcloud. There is no better time to listen to or watch a new Pewter Report Podcast – energized by CELSIUS – than Friday afternoon on the way home from work, or early Saturday morning during your workout or while running errands.

The popularity of the Pewter Report Podcast continues to grow. In addition to listening to the Pewter Report Podcasts on PewterReport.com you can also subscribe to the free podcasts at PodBean by clicking here and on SoundCloud by clicking here. And of course the Pewter Report Podcast is also available on iTunes and YouTube. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode.

VJAX THROWBACK THURSDAY: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers social media team paid tribute to the late Vincent Jackson on Twitter with a Throwback Thursday video, showcasing some of No. 83’s highlights.

UNC RB WILLIAMS IS A STUD IN PASS PROTECTION: North Carolina RB Javonte Williams, who is the Bucs’ first-round pick in the first Pewter Report 2021 Bucs’ 7-Round Mock Draft, was not only the top-graded running back by Pro Football Focus in 2020, he was also the top pass protector among running backs. Bucs head coach Bruce Arians not only wants a running back that can catch the ball, but also one that can pass protect. Arians said that running backs that can pass protect at a high level right out of college are hard to find.

UNC RB WILLIAMS’ SIGNATURE RUN IN 2020: Was North Carolina running back Javonte Williams doing this to Miami in real life – or was this in a new EA Sports College Football game on Playstation? Check out Williams’ signature highlight run from last year.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 25th 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 sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: sr@pewterreport.com
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6 months ago

Javonte Williams reminds me of a young Shady McCoy. I like the prediction.

Reply to  BucNnole
6 months ago

I don’t see McCoy. McCoy lived almost purely off of his elite short areas quickness. Williams isn’t as fast or as quick as McCoy, although it’s not as if he lacks those traits. He’s a much physically stronger runner than McCoy, playing with much more physicality. He’s got insane balance as a runner. I have to say, I still hate the idea of a RB in the 1st, but I like what little I’ve seen of Javonte thus far. Need to get into something other than highlights to really judge him, though. And I have my doubts about his pass… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by toofamiliar17
Reply to  toofamiliar17
6 months ago

PFF overvalues what Williams does imo. The same people that graded Devin White one of the worst LBs in the league, have also graded Williams as a better prospect than Najee Harris which to me is insane. While I believe he has great contact balance and is a very good prospect, I’m not very sure he’s even the best rb on his own team.

Reply to  toofamiliar17
6 months ago

Looks like a poor man’s Clyde Helaire-Edwards to me, and CHE isn’t that good either. Not saying this kid’s gonna be bad, let’s just temper this.

Reply to  BucNnole
6 months ago

Agreed…all the way down to the #25.

6 months ago

Great article and clips of Jackson here Scott People forget our beloved Gladiators are just normal folk like us..blessed with athletic talent. I am compelled to share a story about a classmate who played professionally with the NY Jets for 7 yrs. We played HS ball together in Tallahassee. I saw him 4 yrs ago. He is now 50 and walks with a cane. He barely remembers me although we were best of friends once upon a time. His body is riddled with different forms of arthritis from all those football hits. And he does not think clearly. He played… Read more »

Kramerica Industries
6 months ago

He caught 45 passes for 483 yards (10.7 avg.) and scored four touchdowns in eight games during the regular season,

Considering his limited snap counts in many of those games, I would say having a near-1,000 yard pace after missing the last 1.5 seasons is actually pretty good, all things considered.

Reply to  Kramerica Industries
6 months ago

Eh, he also had an average YPC on par with a mediocre TE or an efficient pass catching RB. Consider that if you prorate his numbers, he’d have had NINETY receptions, and still finished with fewer than 1,000 yards. He generated some solid counting stats in the end, but he wasn’t really doing much to threaten or scare defenses, picking up yards in TINY chunks for a WR. I’m still glad we had him, and he did make some nice plays, but for the most part he was as much a detriment as he was a help for a lot… Read more »

Reply to  toofamiliar17
6 months ago

I can’t agree with either your take or Scott’s on AB. Dude was clutch to make first downs. He wasn’t asked to go deep that often, so his average is less, but he made clutch catch after clutch catch. And his average is enough for a first down. I think if he was used more often through a 16 game season, his average might creep up some, but, again, he’s not the guy they’re sending deep all the time. And how many drops came from those other receivers throughout the season? Quite a few. Mike Evans averaged 14.4 during the… Read more »

6 months ago

Enjoyed the Article Scott. I am surprised you are focused on a RB from a weaker ACC the last 2 years. For me,1st Rounds focus is DT,OLB, Future QB, RB, DE. I base this on the pass success with our present capable RB’s. Last years RB draftee will be better in the coming season if given more changes to succeed. He will continue to improve. I rest my case.

6 months ago

How soon we forget how bad our DL was and still we focus on the Offense and not the Defense. We have some serious age issues approaching on Defense. Go Bucs! Keep the dream alive!

Reply to  Horse
6 months ago

We have a lot of needs approaching EVERYWHERE, honestly. I don’t think a first round RB is a luxury this team should be considering. I’m with Ledyard in believing that we should be aggressively seeking trades back in this draft, and likely next draft, too. We have 3 offensive linemen making $10M+ per year. That’s not sustainable. We have literally our entire secondary playing on rookie contracts. That, clearly, won’t last long. Two of those (Whitehead and Davis) will be free agents next offseason. Suh is aging and won’t be around much longer, if at all. JPP is 32 and… Read more »

Reply to  toofamiliar17
6 months ago

Yeah of course we have team needs. Nobody is ever ALL SET. But as long as we draft decent, we’ll be fine. Even with holes on this roster, we still won the SB. You can win, and be flawed. It’s about having timely production. Which we did. But I’ve always been a firm believer that you maintain a winning team by drafting BPA. To me, the shining example of that for years has been Ozzie Newsome in Baltimore. For years, he’s always drafted BPA. And they’ve always had a consistent winner/playoff team because of it. As long as Licht takes… Read more »

Reply to  Horse
6 months ago

I seriously doubt S.R. has forgot about the lack of depth on our defensive line. Problem this year is the lack of depth in the upcoming draft at the defensive tackle / edge rusher positions. You can’t draft what isn’t there unless you want to reach. Trust in Licht and company. If they are not able to draft what they are looking for in the defensive trench, I would look for him to pull off some sort of trade or free agent move.

6 months ago

Correction: Marquis Cooper drowned with Corey Smith. Not Marquis Smith. Nice read, thanks Scott

6 months ago

Devin played very well in the playoffs overall, but this love for him has gotten completely out of control. Defensive MVP? He was a complete liability in coverage for the entire regular season. Up until the playoffs, he consistently made flashy plays while screwing up most of the snaps in between those plays. If we had had 11 Devin White equivalent players on defense this season, we’d have given up the most yards and points in the history of the NFL. He was BAD, people. Sure, his better play in the playoffs was awesome, but it doesn’t make him the… Read more »

Reply to  toofamiliar17
6 months ago

I think your take is a little strong! First off, the dude is in his 2nd season. He’s not going to be completely flawless. Seeing how much this guy progressed from year 1 to year 2, was amazing when he had no OTA’s, training camp, or preseason games. Which is why he started to really turn it on in the 2nd half/playoffs. If it was normal pre-season, and he got his normal reps in practice, he would have started to figure it out much sooner than the 2nd half of the season. He needed all those missed reps. But when… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Dave
6 months ago

Nice, like your picks. I keep hearing the Bucs were “one player away” in 2019. Seems to me there were many key new additions that were important parts to the teams success in 2020. Kind of disrespectful to downplay the roles of Gronk, Succop, Wirfs, Winfield JR, T. Johnson, Brown, McClendon….

6 months ago

We’re already seeing certain players get greedy. Barrett was the first to split and David even made a comment, I think David actually deserves reasonable money for his age but Barrett should be replaced if he tries to demand close to $20mil because he does not deserve that. I hope David understands $12-$13mil here is similar to $14-$15 somewhere else with income tax. I think Barrett can be replaced and that his production was due to the push up the middle and we saw what he could eek out on his own and it wasn’t much. I’d like to see… Read more »

6 months ago

I think PR has done a good job of trying to make people realize that even in the 1st round there’s probably only 15-16 people that are first round grades talent so we should let go of the idea that pick number 32 needs to be a certain position. I think if the absolute right guy is there at 32 like Harris or maybe Williams because he does look pretty solid, then pull the trigger, but if the right guy isn’t there or you think you can get your guy by trading back into the 2nd round then by al… Read more »

6 months ago

Hopefully Shaq Barrrett of “I want to break the bank” won’t suffer from the ‘disease of more’ this year.

6 months ago

Devin White is starting to bring a little of that Sapp/Lewis swag to the D. If he can continue to back it up and play at an even higher level, the D could be dominant for years to come as long as we continue to add talented youth/depth.

6 months ago

Excellent work, SR…an enjoyable recap on a magical season…I hate to see it end. I will continue to savor this season…by and large 18 years of mostly crummy football between SB titles with many unlikable players and coaches along the way…V-Jax (RIP) a an exception of course.

Unfortunately Peter Schrager is probably onto something…it’ll be difficult to repeat for a number of reasons.

Thanks to PR for all the quality content they put out…

6 months ago

Peter Schrager is right, you know. It’s nearly impossible;e to keep the “team first” ethos after a SB, and everybody wants to get paid.

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