FAB 5. SR’s Buc Shots
• One defensive player Tampa Bay was mighty interested in at the Senior Bowl was Michigan edge rusher Josh Uche, whose stock has risen to the late first round. While Uche measured just under 6-foot-2 and 250 pounds, he has incredibly long arms at 33 and 1/4-inch. To put that in perspective, 6-foot-5 defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw has 34 and 5/8-inch arms.
Uche was one of the best pass rushers in Mobile, Ala., and recorded 19.5 tackles for loss and 15.5 sacks at Michigan with 10.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks coming last year as a senior. Uche not only had a meeting with the Tampa Bay area scout, but also with general manager Jason Licht and some members of the top Bucs’ brass.
The Bucs feel like he might have some Shaquil Barrett to his game. Barret is similarly built at 6-foot-2, 250 pounds. Here is Uche’s highlight video from 2018 in which he recorded seven sacks.
• NFL scouts don’t fault seniors with first-round grades for skipping the Senior Bowl to avoid injury and to get a jump on training for the NFL Scouting Combine. But NFL teams do love it when top-ranked seniors opt to play in the Senior Bowl and compete before the scouting community.
That was the case with Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert, South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw and Houston tackle Josh Jones. All three are first-round-caliber players, and all three helped their draft stock with a good week in Mobile, Ala.
— PewterReport (@PewterReport) January 21, 2020
Herbert likely cemented his status as the No. 3 QB behind LSU’s Joe Burrow and Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, and ahead of Utah State’s Jordan Love, a junior who was also at the Senior Bowl, and Washington’s Jacob Eason. Kinlaw will battle Auburn’s Derrick Brown for the right to be the top defensive tackle in the first round, and Jones played his way into first-round draft consideration as the fifth best offensive tackle – behind Louisville’s Mekhi Becton and ahead of USC’s Austin Jackson.
Kinlaw had some tendinitis issues after the second practice and did not participate in Thursday’s practice, nor will he play in the game. But he showed enough in the first two days of practice to excite scouts.
— PewterReport (@PewterReport) January 21, 2020
• THE DRAFT STARTS IN MOBILE, ALABAMA – That’s the Senior Bowl’s motto and Taylor Jenkins, Matt Matera and yours truly of the PewterReport.com staff were in Mobile to cover this year’s top college all-star game. It started off with the Senior Bowl preview on Monday night and ended with the Senior Bowl wrap-up, which we taped on Thursday morning before heading back to Tampa. Make sure you give both of these Pewter Nation Podcasts a listen to become the most informed Bucs draftnik around!
The Pewter Reporters were also at the East-West Shrine Bowl as the 2020 NFL Draft scouting season officially kicked off. Listen to what the PR staff thought about the potential draft prospects in St. Petersburg, Fla., and also what NFL Network’s Charles Davis thought about Jameis Winston’s future in Tampa Bay and the Bucs’ chances for success in 2020. Davis’ interview is a must-listen.
The Next Pewter Nation Podcast: The Pewter Report staff will tape a brand new Pewter Nation Podcast during the middle of next week with final thoughts on the Senior Bowl game as well as the latest Bucs scoop and news to report.
There is no better time to listen to a new Pewter Nation Podcast, which is presented by Chris Garrido of Westshore Financial, than on your drive home from work on Friday or early Saturday morning at the gym or running errands.
The popularity of the Pewter Nation Podcast continues to grow. In addition to listening to the Pewter Nation 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 Nation Podcast is also available on iTunes. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode.
• In talking to scouts and officials from other teams, there is quite a bit of envy around the league over the Bucs’ young cornerbacks. Sean Murphy-Bunting, the team’s second-round pick last year, led all rookies with three interceptions, including a pick-six, while Jamel Dean, the team’s third-rounder, was tied for seventh in the league in pass breakups with 19 to go along with his two interceptions.
But it was Carlton Davis, a physical cornerback drafted in the second round in 2018, who really had scouts buzzing at the Senior Bowl when I brought up his name. Davis got his first career interception last year and broke up a career-high 20 pass breakups, which was tied for fourth in the league. Davis really showed improvement as the season went on and shut down Houston wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, holding the Pro Bowler to a season-low 23 yards on five catches.
I would be surprised if Tampa Bay brings in a veteran cornerback for two reasons.
First, because paying just an average veteran cornerback would cost between $7 million to $9 million per year isn’t part of the financial offseason plan as the Bucs are interested in spending their cap room to re-sign its own players like outside linebackers Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul, in addition to defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.
Second, signing a veteran cornerback means the Bucs would be dedicated to starting that player, and that would come at the expense of either Davis, Dean or Murphy-Bunting. One of those players would have their development stunted as a result. With three young cornerbacks on the rise while playing under rookie deals, Tampa Bay has a real bargain in the secondary for the next few years. Instead of bringing in a veteran, I could see the Bucs drafting a cornerback on Day 3 to add depth to the position.
• FOLLOW PEWTER REPORT ON SOCIAL MEDIA We appreciate the 34,000 Twitter followers we have on the @PewterReport Twitter account and passed that big milestone at the end of 2019. Now we’re on our way to reaching 35,000 in 2020. So if you don’t follow us on Twitter please take the time to do so, Bucs fans.
Also, make sure you follow PewterReport.com on all social media platforms this offseason as we cover the NFL Scouting Combine next month and the NFL Owners Meeting in March, plus any breaking Bucs news or press conferences.
• The second PewterReport.com 2020 Bucs’ 7-Round Mock Draft will be published next Tuesday. Big changes from the first one. Stay tuned!