Legendary Bucs CB Ronde Barber - Photo by: Getty Images
It’s draft week.
Aside from the first week of Bucs training camp, this may be the busiest week of the year for myself and my fellow Pewter Reporters.
PR’s Scott Reynolds and former Bucs CB Ronde Barber – Photo by: Mark Cook/PR
I have a section dedicated to the Bucs’ draft plans (or what I think the Bucs draft plans might be) in Fab 2, but because PewterReport.com’s draft coverage began last September during college football season and has continued during the entire offseason I’m itching to talk about something else. The draft can’t get here fast enough. While I’m looking forward to it with great anticipation, I also want it to be over.
Having said that, I’ve decided to lead off this SR’s Fab 5 column with a former Bucs legend and a person that is near and dear to my heart. My favorite Buccaneer of all-time and one of the top 5 players in franchise history, the one and only Ronde Barber – and my quest to get him inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
After you read this column, I want you to Tweet out #Ronde4HOF today to help all of the sportswriters and Hall of Fame voters out there understand that Barber needs to be discussed, debated and his name needs to be at the forefront of those who take part in the 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame voting process. Now on to this week’s SR’s Fab 5.
SR’s Fab 5 is a collection of inside scoop, analysis and insight from yours truly, PewterReport.com publisher and Bucs beat writer Scott Reynolds. Here are a few things that caught my attention this week at One Buc Place and around the NFL.
FAB 1. BARBER HAD A HALL OF FAME CAREER FOR THE BUCCANEERS
The next Buccaneer to been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame won’t be safety John Lynch, who split his career between Tampa Bay and Denver.
It will be legendary cornerback Ronde Barber, who is eligible for the Hall of Fame voting for the first time this year.
But don’t expect Barber to be enshrined into the Hall of Fame this year. Most don’t think he’s a first ballot Hall of Famer like defensive tackle Warren Sapp and linebacker Derrick Brooks were.
“It’s kind of a short list of first-ballot guys,” said former Bucs defensive back Dwight Smith, who played with Barber from 2001-04. “There’s no knock to not being on the first ballot. When you are the only one to do something or the first one to do something like Ronde was, and when you are talking about the 28 sacks and the 47 interceptions, it speaks for itself. I don’t know that he’ll be on the first ballot, but if he doesn’t make it in, then what is a Hall of Famer?”
Former Bucs CB Ronde Barber and ex-Bucs S John Lynch – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Barber wasn’t the caliber of player that Sapp and Brooks were, but he’s a lot closer to those two than Lynch was. How could that be you might ask, considering Lynch posted 1,058 tackles, 26 interceptions, 16 forced fumbles and 13 sacks, while making nine Pro Bowls?
Lynch has been eligible for the Hall of Fame for the last four years and was a semi-finalist the last two, competing with former Philadelphia safety Brian Dawkins. What makes it difficult for Lynch to get in is the fact that there are only 11 true safeties in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, including Emlen Tunnell (1948-61), Jack Christiansen (1951-58), Yale Lary (1952-53, 1956-64), Willie Wood (1960-71), Larry Wilson (1960-72), Mel Renfro (1964-77), Paul Krause (1964-79) Ken Houston (1967-80), Kenny Easley (1981-87), Ronnie Lott (1981-94) and Rod Woodson (1987-2003), who played cornerback and safety.
Only two safeties that played in the 1990s – Lott and Woodson – and only one that played in the 2000s – Woodson – have been enshrined into the Hall of Fame in recent years. Easley just got selected for the Hall of Fame this past February and he’s been retired for 30 years.
“That safety position is tough,” Smith said. “When outside people think of defensive backs the first thing they think about is interceptions, and we know Lynch didn’t have many of those. The one thing I know about the NFL and the Hall of Fame is they are always looking for somebody to compare you to. And if they can’t find anybody to compare you to you are left out.”
Lynch’s 26 interceptions don’t compare favorably to that of Easley’s 32, and certainly aren’t close to Lott’s 63 picks or Woodson’s 71 career picks.
Even Dawkins has superior numbers to Lynch with nine Pro Bowl appearances, 1,131 tackles, 37 interceptions, 36 forced fumbles, 26 sacks and two defensive touchdowns as a member of the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team, of which Lynch is not a member.
I really like Lynch and believe he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, but it may only come years down the road after his contributions to San Francisco as the team’s new general manager help boost his stock – if the 49ers are successful. I think Dawkins makes it in before Lynch even though Dawkins doesn’t have a Super Bowl ring and Lynch does.
But let’s focus on Barber’s case, which would be helped if he were to be enshrined into the Bucs Ring of Honor later this year as I suspect he’s next for that honor. An announcement could come in the next few weeks.
Bucs SS John Lynch – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
In an effort to boost Lynch’s chances of making the Hall of Fame the Glazers selected Lynch to be inducted into the Bucs Ring of Honor the same year that he was inducted into the Broncos Ring of Honor. I believe the Glazers will try that tactic with Barber and affix his name to Raymond James Stadium permanently this year.
Barber is a shoo-in for the Bucs Ring of Honor, but how about the Hall of Fame? I had a recent conversation with Ira Kaufman, who holds the Hall of Fame vote representing Tampa Bay, and he believes Barber could face an uphill climb to Canton, Ohio based on recent conversations with other Hall of Fame voters.
Kaufman has been an ineffective 0-for-4 in his bid to get Lynch into the Hall of Fame after assisting in Tony Dungy getting enshrined in Canton. Kaufman pitched Sapp and Brooks to the committee, but truth be told, Kaufman didn’t have to do much persuading. The careers of both Sapp and Brooks screamed first-ballot Hall of Famers – they were slam dunks.
In reality, Kaufman should have an easier time presenting Barber’s candidacy because he’s simply a much better candidate with several things working for him. First is longevity. Barber, a third-round draft pick in 1997, played 16 years in Tampa Bay where he recorded 1,028 tackles, 166 pass deflections, had 47 interceptions, 28 sacks, 15 forced fumbles and scored 14 touchdowns – 12 of which came on defense.
Barber was a five-time Pro Bowler (2001, 2004-06, 2008), a three-time first-team All-Pro (2001, 2004, 2005) and a two-time second-team All-Pro (2002, 2006), in addition to being a member of the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team, which is of great importance to the Hall of Fame voters. Barber also led the league in interceptions in 2001 with a career-high 10.
Like Lynch, Barber was a part of Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl XXXVII championship team, but the twin brother of Tiki Barber has three unique things that separate him from his Buccaneer brethren and quite frankly every other cornerback that will be considered for a hallowed place in Canton, Ohio.
My friend Kaufman needs to take some notes.
The first unique fact is that Barber was the first cornerback to make the 40-20 club in terms of interceptions (47) and sacks (27). Future Hall of Famer Charles Woodson just recently joined that elite club in his seventeenth season in the NFL as he reached 20 sacks to go along with his 65 interceptions. Yet bump it up five more spots and Barber becomes the only cornerback with at least 45 interceptions and 25 sacks – a unique position in the NFL for a cornerback.
“It’s going to be debated,” said former Bucs defensive end Simeon Rice, who played with Barber from 2001-05. “But his numbers say what they say, and he played a long time. On that alone, yeah, he’s a Hall of Famer. The fact that he played so long and he was able to accomplish what he was able to accomplish, you have to put him in. With the defense that he was in and what he was asked to do, you have to say that he was able to do some awesome stuff and become a special player. If you look at Russell Westbrook and what he is able to do – that’s Ronde, especially playing corner. He has all these unique statistics. How many sacks did he have? He had more sacks than some defensive linemen in the Hall of Fame. You have to look at him as a football player. I know he wasn’t beating somebody off the edge – he was blitzing – but being able to get there? Name another cornerback with that many sacks. And there were timely sacks, too – on third downs.
Former Bucs CB Ronde Barber – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
“Ronde had a unique set of numbers. You can’t ignore them. Well, you shouldn’t. To his detractors or people that don’t want to legitimize him, they shouldn’t. The Hall of Fame is about having a special career, right? That’s what it’s about. It’s not about being the best corner that ever played because those guys get in. It’s about having a Hall of Fame career. It’s about having Hall of Fame numbers. If he doesn’t get in, it’s personal then. The numbers are the numbers. The numbers don’t lie. He has the numbers to get in.”
Barber also had a signature play that defined his career – the 92-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter at Philadelphia in the 2002 NFC Championship Game that sent Tampa Bay to its first and only Super Bowl. The Bucs had lost two straight playoff games at Veterans Stadium in Philly in 2000 and 2001, but Barber’s play was the dagger through the heart of the Eagles, who closed down the Vet for good in with a loss to Tampa Bay in the final game.
The pick-six was classic Barber, who was one of the smartest players in Tampa Bay history. Barber, who had sacked Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb earlier in the game on a nickel blitz, had showed blitz during McNabb’s pre-snap read inside Tampa Bay’s red zone but backed out of it at the last minute after McNabb audibled. Barber’s film study showed that when given that blitz look McNabb would audible to a quick slant behind the blitzing nickel cornerback.
The only problem for McNabb is that Barber didn’t blitz and instead jumped the slant, picked off the pass and turned in the most important play in franchise history.
“That’s a play that he should play at the Hall of Fame,” Smith said. “It epitomized his career. He was always at the right place at the right time and when he got the ball in his hands he was trying to score with it. That’s the type of head games he would play. Ronde Barber, Derrick Brooks and Warren Sapp – if one of them three didn’t know the play before it was run then it was a play that had never been run before. Playing with those three guys made playing football very easy.”
So Barber deserves a gold jacket like Sapp and Brooks, right?
“You heard the three guys I named, right?” Smith said. “When I first got to the NFL I didn’t know what studying film was. My thing in college was to find out what a team ran on third down and get ready to sit down for a curl route on third down. I got in the league and learned about film study because of Ronde Barber. I wanted to understand how a guy that wasn’t as physically gifted as I was, that couldn’t run as fast as me, would be in the right place all the time. Ronde taught me how to study film.”
That’s the type of play that few Hall of Fame candidates – even Lynch and Dawkins – don’t have on their highlight reels.
“He not only had interceptions, but timely interceptions,” Rice said. “Interceptions that iced games. He took us to the Super Bowl by icing the game for us in the NFC Championship Game with that pick-six. He had so many pick-sixes. That’s a Ronde thing – taking it to the house. He was a playmaker. That’s the one thing about Ronde – he was a playmaker.”
Barber has the unique stats, the accolades, the Super Bowl championship and the signature play, but there is still one more point that needs to be made to the Hall of Fame voting committee. Barber wasn’t a Cover 2 system cornerback – he was a unique cornerback.
In base defense Barber would play right cornerback in Monte Kiffin’s defense and then move inside to nickel cornerback on third downs or obvious passing downs and play a completely different position – seamlessly.
Stylistically, was he that match-up corner – that nightmare corner? No, and that’s what [Hall of Fame voters] might look at,” Rice said. “But to a football team, he was a complete football player. He wasn’t the prototypical, 6-foot-2 cornerback that some were looking for but he would still come up and hit you. He didn’t have that smallness that some cornerbacks played with. In our defense, he was a run supporter and a blitzer. He was a complete player.”
Rice said the “system cornerback” label that some have placed on Barber is nonsense.
“The detractors are going to detract,” Rice said. “You can speak to them, but they are there to detract. Ronde was an unbelievable football player. I know this is about the Hall of Fame and you’re speaking to a body of people that is judging you on merits that they are not stimulated by because if you look at the numbers – he has unique numbers. He was a quasi-linebacker, a quasi-safety playing inside and a quasi-corner. He represented so much as a player for us.”
Barber revolutionized playing cornerback and not a lot of players can make that claim.
Barber was a revolutionary player that became the prototype nickel cornerback in the NFL much the way that Brooks became the prototype coverage linebacker and helped break through a Hall of Fame voting process that previously favored sacks from linebackers and not interceptions. Barber shouldn’t just be judged on his interceptions. Judge the dude on his sacks because they are a vital statistic, too. Just ask any defensive lineman or linebacker trying to make the Hall of Fame.
Bucs CB Ronde Barber – Photo by: Getty Images
“It’s funny you bring that up because Warren Sapp was at my house yesterday and I don’t remember which year it was but five or six games into the season Ronde was leading the team in sacks,” Smith said. “He went back and watched those third downs and there was a whole bunch of Ronde blitz calls. When you have a guy like that who is a special blitzer, you get a little trigger-happy because you know if Ronde gets a one-on-one with a back he’s going to beat him. The guy was a talent.”
That year was 2000 when Barber had 4.5 of his career-high 5.5 sacks in the first month of the season and did lead Tampa Bay in sacks into October. Barber made blitzing out of the slot look cool and easy and redefined the importance of the role of the nickel cornerback in the process.
“There are defensive tackles in the Hall of Fame that don’t have as many sacks as Ronde Barber, do you know what I mean?” Rice said. “I’m going to leave it at that because that’s real.”
Tampa Bay played nickel defense just over 50 percent of the time in Barber’s early years, but as the NFL has transformed into more and more of a passing league that figure has climbed to nearly 70 percent in recent years. In a day and age of match-up football more and more teams are placing greater significance on finding a great nickel cornerback that has the talent to support the run game as a quasi-linebacker and the ability to cover big tight ends off the line and down the seam, and small, quick receivers in the slot, too.
That’s why a player like Arizona’s Tyrann Mathieu is so valuable to the Cardinals defense, and why Washington safety Budda Baker, whose game has been compared to that of Barber’s, will likely find his way into the late first round in the 2017 NFL Draft.
“Everybody refers to Ronde as the original nickel corner, and he was,” Smith said. “People don’t understand how smart he was as a football player with him being able to read keys and tendencies. That’s what you need at that position. It takes a lot of film study and preparation and toughness, and he made it look easy.
“People don’t really remember but that’s how we started the Super Bowl. We were in nickel. That was the type of game Oakland ran. They wanted to get Rice, Brown and Porter on the field at the same time. Most of the days these tight ends aren’t true tight ends. They’re big receivers and you have to put somebody on the field who can match up. That nickel position is becoming more and more important. Ronde started it all.”
Barber wasn’t the first nickel cornerback, but he was the first star nickel cornerback.
Back in the day it was the third-best cornerback on the depth chart that was brought in when needed. Barber’s greatness changed the way teams think about the importance of the nickel position into the modern day.
Legendary Bucs CB Ronde Barber – Photo by: Getty Images
That’s a point Kaufman needs to drive home, and given his swings and misses with Lynch, I have my concerns that he will properly position Barber to make it to the Hall in 2019 or 2020 after his name appears on the ballot for the first time in 2018 alongside the likes of first-ballot guys like linebackers Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher, wide receiver Randy Moss.
Barber wasn’t a system guy. He was the prototype for the Cover 2 – or Tampa 2 as the Bucs famously called their scheme. Barber never came off the field, playing outside on first and second down and moving inside on third downs. Today’s nickel corners rarely do that, as they are more or less nickel defense specialists.
Barber wasn’t a specialist. He was just plain special.
“Break it down like this, ask any cornerback if they would like to have Ronde’s numbers?” Rice said. “Yes, they would, because those are unbelievable numbers. Do you know what hypes that up to the umpteenth power? Media. If the media celebrated everything he did he’d be in. The media is what makes the numbers sing. If he played in New York and did that, without a doubt he would get in. If he played in Chicago and did that, no doubt he’d be in. We were a small market team, but we did big market stuff. Nonethless, he should be able to enjoy the spoils of his career. He should get all of the things due to him, but sometimes it doesn’t work out.
“I’m one of them. Look at me, I’m one of five players that averaged double-digit sacks – Bruce Smith, Reggie White, L.T. (Lawrence Taylor) Leslie O’Neal and myself. Me and L.T. averaged the same amount of sacks in our career, but I’m the one who can’t get in. I’ve got 100-plus sacks and the Super Bowl [win] but all that stuff doesn’t matter. [The Hall of Fame committee members] come up with all these narratives, do you know what I mean? ‘He was a system corner’ they say. Maybe, but look at the unique numbers and he played the longest of all of us. What makes you relevant is the things you do on the field, and that’s making plays – that and a very long career. I know people that did less that are in the Hall of Fame.”
It won’t be long before Barber’s name is announced for the Bucs Ring of Honor. His enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame should soon follow – if the case can be presented properly.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
We have a very rough schedule having to play most NFC games in the last half of the season. This is usually when it is tough to have enough quality players still healthy. Harn Knocks doesn’t help either.
Maybe Hard Knocks does help. Hard Knocks teams make the playoffs at a 45% rate. The league in general sends 12 teams to the plyoffs out of 32…37.5%
Totally agree with you Horse!
It was interesting that Licht would consider spending a premium pick on a SAM LB if he had the added value as a pass rusher. Does this include the first round. I wonder if Haason Reddick is not getting a look? He’s checks a lot of the boxes… great character kid as well. It’s interesting that Rueben Foster had that issue at the Combine and there are reports that he failed a drug test? If a player like that slid to 19, albeit doubtful, would the Bucs consider him for the SAM spot?
Thanks Scott and I think next weekend will give us plenty to read & jibber jabber about. Draft time is almost here!!!
I like “no risk it, no biscuit” Licht, that is how the BUCs have gotten here. Home run hitters are going to strike out, but he has hit on more homeruns than struck out. Aguayo isn’t done yet, and “most” rookies struggle their first year. He was the best kicker in collegiate history, so he doesn’t stink. Competition is good for him, and hopefully he lights the world on fire in year 2. I think the world of Licht as a GM & draftnik, and fully support his judgment however it plays out.
My counter to your interpretation of Licht:
-The BUCs have always said they are looking for “big Play”/”homerun” players. Solid/safe doesn’t usually get you that… Perine-ish
-The thinnest depth issues the BUCS have is at WR, TE, S. I just don’t see how the BUCS are going to get those types of potential year 1 starters in rounds 3-5 (especially WR). 1 injury away from disaster.
-Every draft publication I’ve seen (which is a lot of them) doesn’t have Bakker in the top 20 (cause he is a shrimp). I hope they move back to get him.
-Everything that is said publicly in April is a lie in the NFL.
Question for you…why has PR gone silent/dark on Josh Reynolds? He was a pick in PR’s first 2 mocks then zippo. He is solid & safe 🙂
Rhonde will get in, it’s just about how long it takes.
Thank you for the great work PR does on the BUCS and thank you for not just writing but responding-answering all our posts. That is what makes PR special. Any publication can just throw out articles & opinion, but very few have direct dialogue. That’s called “value added” service.
Go BUCS, In Licht we Trust, and thanks PR. 7 more days!!
Thank you very much, MudManVA. I like Josh Reynolds … just not sure the Bucs do. Our PR mock drafts are supposed to be a reflection of what we think the team will do – not what we want them to do.
MudMaVA, Bob Sanders was a “shrimp” and the best safety in the game.
Of the 5 players you listed as “safe” and “clean” picks, I’d have to rank the order of preference as
1. Jordan Willis
2. Budda Baker
3. David Njoku
4. Adoree Jackson
5. Charles Harris
Bond will not be our starting Sam LB. I doubt he will even make the team. Id like to see Spence play the spot if he has that kind of positional flexibility. If not, I could see us spending a mid round pick on that position.
It’s just too early to say. Devante Bond is definitely in the mix to start at Sam, though. He’ll get a shot this offseason.
What I read into Sapp’s comment is that he was always an ass and is still an ass. Only cares about himself.
Bucco I couldn’t AGREE MORE. He is an embarrassment to to this community. When a player is selected for the ring of HONOR and does the S**t he has done then he should be removed ABSOLUTELY NO HONOR does Sapp have!!
I’m amazed that Sapp has turned out as well as he has. He grew up in the most deplorable conditions in the state of Florida. Most of the kids that grow up there are shot and killed or in prison. Apoka Florida is a horrible place to start a life. He can definitely be little more classy, but that is how he is. It’s the edge he had growing up hard scrabble like he did that made him a great baller.
Yes, he’s an A-hole, but he is our A-hole.
He is on the ring of honor because of his play on the field, not for his citizenship, and we would have never changed our losing culture or won a SuperBowl without him.
Personally I dislike him, if I knew him I would probably hate him, but I would rather have him on my team than against me. You see guys, football is a violent game played by violent men. It is about winning; in the NFL they don’t give trophies for trying, or citizenship, community involvement, chastity, etc.
This didn’t feel like the longest Fab 5 ever, so it must have been a great read! Great job as always Scott!
Thank you, Brian! Greatly appreciate that. It didn’t feel that long writing it … until the very. I think I’m going to bed tonight at 6:00 pm.
I know I’m starting to sound like that annoying guy from season’s past who would just never shut up about the Bucs finding a way to get Noah Spence and Jameis Winston (that was me!)…and Luke Kuechly (that didn’t work, Dominik didn’t stalk me on social media for my scouting prowess like Licht does).
But if Jason Licht wants “safe and clean”…there might not be a safer, cleaner prospect in this whole draft than Christian McCaffrey. What’s his floor? Brian Westbrook? I think we’d all be happy with that but he’s a lot more talented than Westbrook. I realize we would need to move up to get him at this point…but what more surefire way to not bust on your 2nd round pick than to not have one! I’m sure they don’t want to give up the resources to go get him but just based on what I know about Licht and what he looks for and what I know about McCaffrey and the type of character, work ethic, and passion for the game that comes with him, I have a hard time believing that Licht would not LOVE to get him in Tampa, and the fact that there hasn’t been so much as a peep about him considering all that makes me believe it even more.
McCaffrey will be a bust for any team that drafts him and uses him a 3 down back. He is way to frail. If drafting a RB in the first round, they better be a 3 down back.
Please explain to me how he is “frail”? He carried a bigger load and stayed healthier than Cook and Fournette. What’s a “three-down” back? A guy that gets 25 carries? Regardless of who we draft or put back there, that isn’t this coaching staff’s style. Even when Doug was lighting it up in 2015, they were still giving several drives to Sims.
He’s a lot bigger than some guy named Warrick Dunn who did pretty well here.
He could be a 3 down back, just not all at RB.
Love listening to Rice talk. He’s such a cerebral guy. How he isn’t in the HoF is a shame. He was literally a guarantee for double digit sacks every year. And while everyone was getting outran by Michael Vick, Simeon was owning him. Agreed Scott that he is by far the most athletic player in Bucs history. As for Ronde, no one has done what he”s done , so there is no reason he shouldn’t be in the Hall. IT’ll take a little time though. Simeon is dead right though about it being tougher in that small market.
As for Licht, his second round has been a little down the last couple of years and it’s a good year for a rebound. I think the bucs go Defense in the first. I would really like a trade down if we wanted to select any oft hose guys there. Maybe trade back with the Texans and grab another pick.
I do think LIcht plays it a little safe his year, and I don’t see any trade ups from him. Maybe in the 3rd, he’ll play around a bit. Damn I can’t wait for this draft.
My only concern about the schedule, and it happened last year a little too, is that all of our division games are crammed into the last 8 weeks. That sucks playing the same team back to back like that.
I too love listening to Simeon Rice. One of my all-time favorite players to cover professionally. Wish I could go back in time and spend more time talking with him in the locker room back in the day.
Licht’s second round picks/reaches have been poor. Just the way it is;
Licht’s second round picks/reaches have been poor. Just the way it is; ASJ, Roberto, Smith all created holes we are already having to fill. As did Sims In the 3rd. We are left as a result of these mistakes needing to redraft starting caliber TE, LT and RB. Frankly if Spence ends up playing a role that’s on the field less than half of the snaps he looks like a reach where he was drafted also.
Also as illustrated by the article on the Bucs’ own website, if you look at the draft day trades Licht’s record is only marginally positive, with the two picks wasted on Roberto at least partially offsetting the benefit of Marpet and Kwon. That’s why the choker collar may be on this year.
Great Fab 5 Scott,
Won’t be surprised to see a defensive pick in round one.
On the other hand I won’t be surprised to see one or more of the coveted offensive players available at 19 too. The mocks are all over the place as to who goes where, and there are always surprises on Day 1. If none of the offensive skill players are available, there should be no tears shed by Bucs fans as the defensive talent is very heavy this year. Another DE, DT, S, or CB will be welcome, or one of those versatile LBs who can pass rush too.
Should be exciting!
I agree with you. One of those skill guys is going to be available…but at this point it may be Cook and they’d have to be okay with his character. I think there’s a decent chance that Corey Davis is there as well.
Davis and never look back
Agreed. He was my favorite guy in this draft until I really dug into McCaffrey tape. I’d be thrilled with Davis. He played in the slot a lot at WMU as well so he’d be a perfect fit immediately.
Davis will be the best WR taken in this draft. But it will be a few years until that comes to pass.
I don’t think Cook will be the biggest bust of the 1st round but whoever drafts him will be disappointed.
Thank you, Naplesfan. I appreciate it.
Great read Scott, one of your best efforts. I’ll go ahead and do the #Ronde4HOF on my twitterfeed for all 16 of my followers .
Anyway, I’m still going to beat the drum for Peppers at #19. You can’t ask for a cleaner prospect and honestly he’s going to be a safe pick as well. Go back and look at Trevors article on Peppers, he can do everything that Baker can do, just as fast, taller AND solves your kickoff and return needs as well as being able to either move into the nickel position or even as a box safety. He can contribute to the team from day one, is a film junkie and even though he knew that when Harbaugh asked him to play linebacker and seal the edge, he did it without complaint and sacrificed his draft position. He is a leader and a total team player. He would also be an exciting player for Tampa. I know Baker has better tape, I understand the need for pass rush, but special teams let us down a lot last season and with Peppers you can fix that and still get a guy that will be a contributor in the defensive backfield from day one.
I have friends in Pittsburgh and they pick a few places down from us and they are just drooling for Peppers to be there.
I know a lot of others here don’t want him, but I’ll stand by my prediction that this guy is going to star in the NFL.
Another link to an article about Peppers: http://www.espn.com/nfl/draft2017/story/_/id/19186468/doubting-jabrill-peppers-michigan-wolverines-place-nfl-just-watch
I’m telling you, he’s going to be special. I really believe it and I’ve seen almost all his games.
I appreciate it, nitey. Thank you. My problem with Jabrill Peppers is that he’s a L.O.S. (line of scrimmage) guy. I didn’t see him doing much covering receivers and tight ends down the field, so I question if he could make the transition to safety in the NFL where he’ll be asked to do that. I think he’s a great weakside linebacker candidate – just too small.
Is it draft day yet? Hurry up calendar and move! Can’t wait, it’s gonna be a good draft no matter what Licht and company decide to do. Whether we go with Cook, the best TE or S, or even if we trade back, we will fill a need and improve the team. DJax alone has already made our offense much more dangerous, the draft will only enhance that.
It’s gonna be an exciting year to be a Bucs fan! Can’t wait to see Noah play a larger role in our defense. He was the biggest steal of last year’s draft for us. If we can hit on a few more picks this year, we will be playoff contenders for years to come.
With the exception of Njoku, the other four listed are all big reaches at 19. Most mock drafts have them as late first but mostly 2nd rounders. If Licht really wants one of those four, let’s hope he finds a trading partner as moves back.
Can I vote twice for a thumbs up on this Skipper! Right with you…click, click, click on the thumbs up
Njoku is a reach there too…maybe more of a reach than the others besides Adoree Jackson because he’s really raw. You watch his tape and all he does is run fades/seams and screens. He reminds me a lot of Vernon Davis.
I still believe quarterbacks will be picked earlier then predicted, therefore an offensive play maker like Cook, or Davis could fall to us. As far as UDFA goes, does anyone think being on Hard Knocks could be a deciding factor for some of the top ones signing with us over other teams?
suferdudes, that’s a good point I haven’t thought of. That will be a good selling point. Go Bucs!!!!!!!!!!
That would be an interesting article for PR to write. Would take a little research and interviews of past players.
Interesting point, surferdudes. Never thought of it that way.
Great thought provoking read, Scott, especially Fab 2, regarding Safe and Clean. One could interpret Licht’s use of those terms as smoke screens where he plans on going after Mixon or another player with off-field issues like he did Jameis and ASJ. I don’t think so. I agree he is getting better at this each year. For a long time I was a Dalvin Cook hopeful, but his level of “Safe,” diminishes with each of the 18 teams that have to pass on him for him to fall to us. Obviously the vast majority would do so because of need but there is still some nagging issues management needs to consider. I can see an edge rusher at 19 if Cook is still on the board.
The last time the Bucs won consistently and brought home a Super Bowl they did it with defense and they did it with a Guy named Simeon Rice. I can understand why 4 of the 5 players play defense with 2 DE/OLB. Some day we are going to need to find better QB pressure so I am perfectly comfortable taking a top rated DE end every draft until we do.
Different era M. It’s an offensive NFL world with just enough D. A few exceptions like Denver.
Thank you, martinii. I would take Dalvin Cook, the player, at No. 19. I just don’t know enough about Dalvin Cook, the person, that is giving some of these teams such pause.
Another Great Fab 5!!!! Thanks Scott. I’m looking foreword to S Rice’s Movie. Draft almost here!! WooHoo!!!! I think the Bucs will draft either a DE or TE in first Rd. If possible. Bring on the Draft!!!! GO BUCS!!!
My pleasure, WinstonMVP. Thank you!
Well all the pics of Ronde and others in old uni really makes me want the old Pewter back!!
IS IT POSSIBLE THAT WE CAN BRING OUR 2013 SEASON UNIFORMS BACK?.seems like no one has answers anywhere
Yes, the Bucs can bring back the old pewter and red uniforms for a throwback game and I’m sure they will at some point. The team won playoff games and a Super Bowl in those uniforms.
Enjoyed the Fab r immensely. Didn’t really have to read about Barber though. Anyone who doesn’t think he belongs in the Hall is biased against the Bucs.
Not only that, but I doubt if Barber is every going to embarrass the NFL shield later on in life.
I particularly found the piece about Logan Mankins being missed of particular interest.
I have stated for month that the Bucs line missed Mankins more than anyone thought and was the key reason why they played at a C level last year rather than at the A minus level they did the year before.
And I’m sorry, it just wasn’t Mankins leadership and intelligence that the line misses, it was his physical presence on the line.
Makin’s was a real road grader which is why the Bucs went after JR Sweezy to replace him.
Now that’s not to say Pamphile can’t get there, but it’s time for him to realize he was the weakest link in the Bucs line last year and he can’t use inexperience as an excuse anymore.
Finally , I wish people would quit looking at a safety too improve the defense next year.
The problem isn’t in the backfield and it will continue to give up medium to deep passes if the QB is given 4 to 5 seconds to survey the defense.
The Bucs defense in the Sapp years was great because they made the QB’s life hell with pressure and forced them to make mistakes and get rid of the ball early which often led to INT’s.
So please, if one is available and isn’t a reach, go for a DE if he is close to being the best player on the board.
I totally agree with you drdneast! I would really like another DE added to the mix as long as we think he will make an impact. We will need to replace Ayers very soon and we need depth for injuries. Same goes with the CB position. We will need to replace Grimes soon and we need more depth with the division that we are in. My two favorite picks are the DE Willis and the CB A. Jackson. Would LOVE to be able to trade back a little and still get one of them. Jackson can even help us on ST. It would be a tough decision if C. Davis fell to 19. I think we really need some more quality WR depth for Jameis and he would probably be the best value pick, but the D needs some help too. I am so glad that Light will have to make that decision in a week instead of me.
Thank you, drdneast!
Hey Scott, if you swapped Barnett instead of Harris, and Engram instead of Njoku it would be my exact top 5 players for the Bucs. Pretty awesome. And on a side note, the more I watch Jordan Willis, the more I really like him. He reminds me of Demarcus Ware who also was supposed to be an early 2nd round pick according to the reports and he went I think No.11 to Dallas. Willis is built differently then Ware, though he has a really solid base and it looks like he has room to grow on his frame. A slightly bigger version of Demarcus Ware is about as high a ceiling as you can get. He is a 1st round prospect for real. Thanks for another great article SR
I appreciate it, GoldsonAges. I personally think Jordan Willis is a little more like Michael Strahan than DeMarcus Ware (who reminded me a bit of Simeon Rice), but I get your point.
A decade later, Jordan Willis isn’t the fastest riser in the 2017 draft class, but he’s perhaps the steadiest riser. He is in Tampa meeting with the Buccaneers today, one of his 15 private workouts or team visits, and it seems feasible he could sneak into the first round. A 6′ 4″, 255-pound pass rusher from Kansas State—a defensive end who could transition to a 3-4 outside linebacker—Willis made a statement at the combine with a 4.53 40 time (best of all defensive linemen) and 39-inch vertical leap (second to Myles Garrett). [b]At his pro day, he moved seamlessly between linebacker and defensive line drills, quashing concerns he appeared stiff on film.[/b] Scouts routinely compliment Willis on his hand work, a byproduct of working with Hall of Fame offensive lineman Will Shields, one of his mentors. Willis is a darling of Pro Football Focus, which ranked his 80 total quarterback pressures in 2016 as second most in the country. A three-year starter, Willis graduated third in Kansas State history with 26 career sacks.
Ronde is one of my all time favorite Bucs players. A framed autographed photo of “the pick” hangs on the wall in front of me. It’s well documented that his 16 season career didn’t start off so well. Some folks here would call him a “shrimp”. Lucky the Bucs brass at the time didn’t judge him too quickly like so many are prone to do.
Simeon Rice should have been the MVP of the Superbowl. His early sack of Rich Gannon set the tone. He, like Paul Gruber and James Wilder, deserves more national recognition than he ever received.
I guess “safe and clean”, which sounds more like a slogan for the EPA, is replacing the “no risk it no biscuit” theme of Licht’s previous Draft strategy. I don’t think Jason thought it was a risk to select Roberto Aguayo last year since he was willing to move up to get him. More likely he identified him as “safe and clean” due to his college prowess. I suspect if a highly ranked player, who has a few dubious notes on his evaluation sheet, drops in his lap, Jason will still have a hard time passing.
Scott mentioning “his antenna going up” during Jason’s press conference about the upcoming Draft reminded me of my high school days. Sitting in Biology class and seeing Janet wearing a mini-skirt and a mohair sweater at the same time was too much to take and often made my antenna go up. Made it tough to get up from my desk when the dismissal bell rang. A lot of us boys just sat and smiled as she made her exit. No blue pill needed then. 50th reunion coming up this August. I hope she hasn’t changed enough to wipe out that memory .
Scu, if you want to keep that old vision of Janet locked, and loaded, you better skip the reunion.
Nicely done Scott. Fab 5’s make me happy, not much does these days. I like the new start page, showing all of the recent post instead of hitting the little dot is an upgrade. Of course just going online and reading is better than waiting for the snail mail to deliver a copy of the old mag.
How can anyone not think that Barber should not be in the HOF? I would vote him in today if I could,Simeon Rice also.
After all the posts about the Ring of Honor and James Wilder and who else should be included makes me think Rice should be in there too.
I have no idea who Licht will take at 19. D line or O line would be my preference.
Thank you, chetthevette! Thank goodness the old snail mail rag is gone! And yes, I hope Simeon Rice makes it into the Bucs Ring of Honor one day, too.
About Ronde, Lynch and Ira Kaufman. First of all, IMO Ronde Barber and John Lynch should be in the HOF and one day will be. I agree Ronde could get in earlier but it’s highly doubtful it will be first ballot. And so WHAT? Once a player is in, he’s in. Forever a member of an exclusive club. Nobody is counting how many votes it took to get him in. This first ballot crap is highly overrated IMO.
As for Ira Kaufman, I can think of no better a voice in Canton for our Buccaneer players being considered. To infer it is his fault that John Lynch is not in is just wrong IMO. The numbers game got Lynch, nothing more.
Off topic, I know….. but while there is an obvious rivalry between Buccaneer sources like Pewter Report and JBF, as well as between sorts reporters from newspapers past and present, I think it’s important to read and listen to more than one source. The Commish and Ira podcasts I get on iTunes by way of JBF are must listen every week. So is the Pewter Report podcast, also on iTunes. Hey, both PR and JBF get airtime on WDAE.
Guess I’m just hoping the Ira dig is not related to something it should be.
Mild rant over.
Except Kenny Stabler. What a sham that was. A shame also.
You’re right. Snake getting in after he died IS a shame. He was CLEARLY a HOF QB IMO and should have been voted in long ago.
Being shunned by the media means he must have been a good guy. The key word here is suspected, which to the media means gospel… tried and convicted.
Garv, I remember when he had just retired and I was sitting at a bar at MIA. He was sitting at a table. His named was announced on the intercom and I looked over and our eyes met and he raised his beer glass to me. No, I didn’t know him. I think he was special. He didn’t kiss media ass so that hurt his chances for the HoF.
I didn’t say it was Ira Kaufman’s fault that John Lynch hasn’t gotten in the Hall of Fame. A good deal of that is that safeties just have a hard time getting in and Lynch’s numbers in some categories, such as interceptions, are good, but not great. Ira admitted to me that’s 0-4 for Lynch and he’s the one responsible for getting him in. Those are just the facts whether he, I, you or Lynch himself likes it.
I have no beef with Ira, who told me that Barber might have a tough time getting in. I just have some concerns that because Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber has to be positioned in a certain way in order to get into the Hall of Fame. He’s not the same type of cornerback that Deion Sanders, Darrell Green or Mel Blount is. He needs a unique kind of presentation to get in, and this column served my blueprint of how it should be done. That’s all.
Scott, while Ira may be the presenter at the HOF meetings I don’t think he’s the one responsible for whether or not a player he is presenting gets in. The player’s record is, the voters are. Ira gives his presentation and I have no doubt it is a thoughtful and well researched one. But there are other players, coaches and owners being presented as well and it really ends up a numbers game.
But at the very least your comment about Ira is going to be taken as an attack on his credibility as a presenter and frankly it already has been. All over Twitter today in fact. I think you’ll have to own that as it comes from your article.
Maybe it’s just because everyone is mocked out and impatient for the actual draft in two days and to some this firestorm is entertaining. To me it just is not.
BTW, on the draft. I really enjoyed the way it used to be done on the weekends during the day. PR had some great draft parties at Champps in those days. Now it’s three days, two at night late into the evening with a lot more drinking involved…… oh dear God now I sound like Unc. Well hell, a damn good man to be on the same page with on some topics!
Garv, Stabler was shunned by the media after he was suspected of planting cocaine on a sports writer in Louisiana and informing on him to the local authorities.
Not a real upstanding thing to do to anyone.
If Barber does not make the Hall of Fame first ballot SOMETHING IS TERRIBLY WRONG!!
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