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FAB 1. Bucs Draft Notes

If you are reading this on Friday, April 6, the 2018 NFL Draft is 20 days away. If you’re like me and you can’t wait to see which players general manager Jason Licht selects for Tampa Bay, I’ll have you know that there is only two more SR’s Fab 5 between now and the first two days of the draft.

Doesn’t it feel like the draft is closer now?

With that said, I’ve got some thoughts on the 2018 NFL Draft prospects that I want to share with you before Licht and head coach Dirk Koetter select the players that could ultimately make or break their tenure in Tampa Bay.

• I’m glad the Buccaneers don’t need a quarterback this year. Say what you want about Jameis Winston whether you are a supporter or a skeptic, but if Tampa Bay were to cut him loose tomorrow he would get gobbled up by a team in a heartbeat and given a multi-year contract somewhere in the Jimmy Garoppolo realm.

If I’m Tampa Bay I’d rather have Winston than any of the quarterbacks that are coming out in this year’s draft that are deemed to be first-round picks. I’m talking about UCLA’s Josh Rosen, USC’s Sam Darnold, Wyoming’s Josh Allen, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield and Louisville’s Lamar Jackson. I think Winston, Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota and Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz are superior to any of those five, although the future may prove me wrong.

I’m concerned about Rosen’s concussion history and durability. He had two this past season and missed six games with a shoulder injury in 2016. I also have some concerns about his personality and coachability, and the fact that he had good, but not great career touchdown and interception numbers (59 TDs, 26 INTs).

To me, Darnold is a more raw, less accomplished version of Winston without the tremendous leadership ability. Like Winston, Darnold will throw more picks than you would like and is far from being a finished product. Unlike Winston, I didn’t see him dominate enough and simply take over as many games as I would have liked.

I’m concerned that Allen is another Josh Freeman. The career 56.2 percent completion percentage scares the heck out of me, as do his lackluster stats (44 career TDs, 21 INTs). Like Freeman at Kansas State, Allen didn’t have much to work with around him at Wyoming. It doesn’t matter. The big, strong-armed Allen is not nearly as accurate as he needs to be to have sustained success at the next level.

Being a Kansas State alum, I’ve seen plenty of Oklahoma games featuring Baker Mayfield. If he didn’t have such a cocky, competitive attitude I think we’re talking about Mayfield as a second- or third-round pick because he is limited by his height and arm strength. Mayfield is extremely accurate, but I saw him really struggle in certain halves of football games, such as the second half of the Rose Bowl after Georgia’s defense made some adjustments. I think he needs to be in a West Coast style of offense and learn behind a great quarterback.

I’m concerned by his decision-making of Louisville’s Lamar Jackson for not hiring an agent and letting his mom handle it, him not running the 40-yard dash, which should be a bright spot for his questionable offseason, and for his alleged 13 score on the Wonderlic. He needs to work on his mechanics and improve his accuracy, which can be wild at times. If he’s developed properly when it’s all said and done, Jackson could be the best of the bunch.

This draft class reminds me a bit of group of QBs in the 2012 NFL Draft, where quarterbacks went back-to-back with the first two selections as Indianapolis took Andrew Luck first overall, followed by Washington, which traded up to select Robert Griffin III. Ryan Tannehill was also drafted in the first round in 2012. Yet the more successful quarterbacks thus far have been Russell Wilson and Nick Foles, both Super Bowl winners and third-round draft picks that year, as well as Kirk Cousins, who was a fourth-round pick by the Redskins that ultimately beat out RGIII.

I think some of the quarterbacks taken in the middle rounds might actually have just as much success if not more than some of the QBs projected to go in the first round. I’m talking about guys like Richmond’s Kyle Lauletta, Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph, Western Kentucky’s Mike White, Washington State’s Luke Falk and Virginia’s Kurt Benkert. Keep an eye on Lauletta and White, who performed very well in the Senior Bowl game with Lauletta taking the MVP honors.

Bucs QBs coach Mike Bajakian - Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR
Bucs QBs coach Mike Bajakian – Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR

• Speaking of quarterbacks, the Bucs have been busy investigating this year’s crop of college QBs, sending Mike Bajakian around to different pro days to see, meet with and work out some of the middle round talent. Bajakian was at Richmond to see Lauletta work out, as well as Falk’s pro day.

If the right quarterback drops to the fourth or fifth round the Bucs may take a flier on one this year to compete with Ryan Griffin for the third QB spot. Anticipating a possible NFL suspension to Jameis Winston due to the alleged groping incident from two years ago, the Bucs will need to carry two more quarterbacks into opening day and veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick will be one of them.

I don’t think Tampa Bay is sold on Griffin being the long-term backup to Winston because he has hardly played in any preseason games and has yet to make any throws in a real game. I know the Bucs would like to get a much better training camp arm than they got last year in Sefo Liufau, who was just awful and never had any pro potential.

• This is not a very good group of defensive ends in this year’s draft, and one player the Bucs will not be touching in the first round is UTSA’s Marcus Davenport, who did not have a great interview with the team. If he falls to the second round Tampa Bay might consider him then, but with more pressing needs in the secondary and at running back I think the team ultimately passes on him again.

Another pass rusher Tampa Bay is expected to take a pass on is LSU’s Arden Key. There are red flags galore around the character of this kid, whose weight has fluctuated this year from around 270 to 238, which is his current weight. Yet even at a trim 238, Key only ran a 4.84 in the 40-yard dash, which wasn’t spectacular.

• I think Boston College defensive end Harold Landry, who is considered to be a first-round pick, is similar to former Bucs defensive end Gaines Adams. Landry tries to run around guys left tackles too much rather than try to go through them. He lacks the power to have a bull rush, which every good defensive end needs, either as a primary move or a counter move.

Central Michigan DE Joe Ostman - Photo courtesy of Central Michigan Univ.
Central Michigan DE Joe Ostman – Photo courtesy of Central Michigan Univ.

Perhaps my favorite pass-rushing defensive end in this year’s draft class? Oklahoma’s Ogbonnia Okoronkwo. I think he’s got the chance to be a really good player at the next level. He reminds me of Noah Spence – only with healthier shoulders. I’m glad he’s out of the Big 12 so my Kansas State Wildcats don’t have to worry about him anymore.

My other favorite edge rusher is Central Michigan’s Joe Ostman, who was a NFL Scouting Combine snub. I really liked his game on tape, and loved his relentless motor and pursuit of the ball at the East-West Shrine Game practices. He’s got quick, active hands and a terrific inside spin move. He’s a sixth- or seventh-round pick, and if I’m the Bucs I take him over a player like SMU’s Justin Lawler because he’s quicker and he’s got more juice. Ostman is an underrated athlete, blue-collar tough and will always give you 100 percent.

• Don’t look for the Bucs to draft either Michigan defensive tackle Maurice Hurst or Florida defensive tackle Taven Bryan. Hurst is too light at 6-foot-2, 292 for the Bucs’ taste, as the team prefers bigger, tougher defensive tackles that weigh 320 pounds or more. Hurst is lauded by some as the second coming of Aaron Donald because of his quickness off the ball and ability to penetrate and his undersized frame. Yet where is the production?

Hurst recorded 32 tackles for loss, 13.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in four years at Michigan – the last three of which he was a starter. Hurst can’t hold Donald’s jock. In four years at Pittsburgh, Donald recorded 66 tackles for loss, 29.5 sacks and six forced fumbles. Donald had two seasons in which he had 11 sacks, including his senior year when he also had 28.5 tackles for loss. That’s almost as many as Hurst had his entire Wolverines career.

As for Bryan, whom the Bucs brought in to further investigate with a pre-draft visit on Thursday, it’s the same story. He can penetrate, but where’s the production? He totaled just 10.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 career sacks along with three fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and one interception. That concerns scouts, in addition to a lot of tape where he’s on the ground and he seems to lack instincts in terms of identifying where the blockers are coming from and where the ball is going.

If Tampa Bay is going to draft a defensive tackle in the first round it’s going to be Washington’s Vita Vea in the top 10 or trading down in the first round and drafting Alabama’s Da’Ron Payne – both of whom are very big, tough and strong. Although he played nose tackle for the Crimson Tide and recorded just five tackles for loss, three sacks and two fumble recoveries, the 311-pound Payne is athletic enough to move to the three-technique position, which could make his production soar at the next level.

• Don’t be surprised if Denver pulls a shocker and drafts Derwin James at No. 5. The Broncos apparently love the hard-hitting Florida State safety. I was surprised when I heard the rumors because it’s kind of out of left field, especially since the Broncos just traded for Su’a Cravens, who also plays strong safety. Denver already has Justin Simmons at free safety and he’s a rising star in the league. Perhaps James was the back-up plan in case the Broncos couldn’t land Cravens in a trade.

If Denver doesn’t pull the trigger on James I think the Broncos either draft a quarterback to compete with Case Keenum or select Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson with the fifth overall pick. We’ll see.

LSU RB Derrius Guice - Photo by: Getty Images
LSU RB Derrius Guice – Photo by: Getty Images

• The Bucs like LSU running back Derrius Guice, the player, and privately worked him out. He’s an angry runner with good production (471 carries for 3,074 yards and 29 touchdowns), but the team wonders if his violent running style will lead to more injuries. Guice played with an ankle injury most of last year, which did show a good degree of toughness.

Tampa Bay may not be too fond of Guice, the person, though. There are some character concerns with him, and the Bucs might opt for a safer running back in the first two rounds instead. The team would draft Penn State’s Saquon Barkley if he fell to Tampa Bay at No. 7, and if he didn’t the Bucs might take Georgia’s Sony Michel or Nick Chubb, USC’s Ronald Jones II, San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny or North Carolina State’s Nyheim Hines with their second-round pick. All six of those backs have cleaner slates than Guice does.

If I could pick a running back for the Bucs I would pick Michel or Penny. I really love both backs. My sleeper is Grambling State’s Martez Carter. He could be a late-round draft pick or priority free agent for Tampa Bay as a return specialist and a change-of-pace back.

• Speaking of running backs that run angry, there are two other backs that certainly don’t shy away from contact. Tennessee’s John Kelly and Miami’s Mark Walton are tough, but they don’t have breakaway speed. Walton ran a 4.6 at the NFL Scouting Combine coming off ankle surgery, and Kelly didn’t run – likely because he is not terribly fast. Kelly ran a 4.65 at his pro day, but was hand-timed at 4.5 on his second attempt. His tape certainly doesn’t show much speed.

Kelly had 327 career carries and 53 catches at Tennessee, yet only had three plays over 40 yards for the Volunteers in 380 touches. Walton didn’t fare much better with six plays over 40 yards in 450 touches (394 carries and 56 catches). I’m not a huge fan of either and I think both are fourth- or fifth-round picks on Day 3. If Tampa Bay drafts either one to be a feature back I think it’s a mistake. If Kelly or Walton, who are good receivers, are drafted to be complementary backs to replace Charles Sims, I’m okay with it because both are better runners than Sims was.

• I like Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward, but aside from a 4.32 time in the 40-yard dash, what makes him that much superior over any of the other 5-foot-10 cornerback? Is he really any more special than Louisville’s Jaire Alexander or UCF’s Mike Hughes, both of whom will likely be second-round picks?

If I’m the Bucs I draft the best player available at No. 7 – not a player necessarily at a need position. Ward is a good player, but I don’t think he’s a top 10 player in this year’s draft.

I get asked all the time, so I’ll just rank the top five players I would personally consider if I’m Licht and I have to stick and pick at No. 7.

SR’s Top 5 Picks For The Bucs At No. 7
1. North Carolina State DE Bradley Chubb
2. Notre Dame G Quenton Nelson

3. Washington DT Vita Vea
4. Penn State RB Saquon Barkley
5. Florida State SS Derwin James

Washington DT Vita Vea - Photo courtesy of Univ. of Washington
Washington DT Vita Vea – Photo courtesy of Univ. of Washington

You’ll probably question my decision to have Vea ahead of Barkley, especially after last week’s SR’s Fab 5 where I said the Bucs must take Barkley if he’s there at No. 7 (and Chubb and Nelson are gone). That’s the strategy that I think the team would employ if the Bucs were in that situation where he fell to them at No. 7 because he’s an elite player and running back is a huge need.

But this is my personnel list, and I always favor trench play in the top 10 unless there is a Patrick Peterson-type cornerback available, which there is not this year. I think Vea can be a special player and he fits the type of big defensive tackle the Bucs prefer. Don’t think he’s just a nose tackle. He could very well be the heir apparent to Gerald McCoy at the three-tech spot if the Bucs draft him at No. 7.

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Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]

40 COMMENTS

  1. I really hope Bucs trade down. We need picks desperately.
    My favorite scenario is the least likely, but we’d be in great shape if we traded with New England.
    Assuming the Bucs don’t draft stupid.

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    • Barring a couple questionable picks, especially the move up to draft “he who shall not be named”, Licht has a pretty solid draft history for the first 4-5 rounds. The FO seems much more in tune with the type of player they’re targeting, so wouldn’t expect any “stupid” moves, but ya’ never know I guess.

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  2. It’s amazing to me how many writers slavishly stick to and reference a point system for trades involving draft picks that is clearly outdated.
    Not only is the system outdated but it’s clearly completely useless when teams are trying to move up into the top 10 to take a QB. In literally every trade where a team has traded up to take a QB in the last 5 years, the team trading down’s value has blown away the point system.
    Basically, it’s worthless to use that chart to draw up trade scenarios. I can guarantee if the Bucs do trade back with the Bills it will be for more than what Scott proposes in this article.

    Also, taking Vea over Barkley would be a great way to alienate even more fans. I think there would be riots at all of the local draft viewing parties

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    • I agree. I think Bucs should throw the trade value charts out the window and get the maximum value for their pick. If a team wants to move up enough, that team will pay.

      The value of a pick is whatever somebody wants to pay. It’s not like trading stocks and bonds.

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    • I am hoping we pull off the NE trade, and your right about the trade value charts being irrelevant when it comes to a QB top 10 pick. If I am Jason, I would need both of NE 1st round pick, 1 of their 2nds and their 3rd. I would then try to trade the 23rd and the 2nd rounder we got from NE to try to get back into the top 15 to get either Derwin or Vita if they are still there. Take our RB with pick # 31, and our 2nd rounder on whatever CB we like. And we also got back a 3rd we can used on BPA.

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      • I would love to see it. But, those picks are worth a little more than Cleveland’s fourth overall pick. How long has it been since the Patriots paid that sort of premium?

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    • I really have no ideas what’s PRs fascination with Vea, they question Hurts stats but fail to mention that Vea only had 9.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss in his college career. Vea will not get drafted in the top 10 and I’ll take Ward over Vea everyday and twice on Sunday. Vea won’t hold Donald’s jock no matter how much PR wants to push him on us. I’m all for the trenches but to draft a Nose Takle in the top 10 better yet the 1st rd because he’s an underwear warrior is idiotic. If we make the mistake of drafting I hope he makes me eat all my words but I just don’t see it.

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  3. Nice Fab 5, Scott… I wouldn’t discount the Dolphins in a trade, either… They are hot for Mayfield. I like your list of players that you’d pick at #7… I’d go Nelson, Chubb, (Trade), James, Barkley, Fitzpatrick. I’m really rooting for a trade though…

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  4. So thankful that Tampa is staying away from Taven Bryan. Literally no idea why he is even being considered in the first round.

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    • Um have you seen any of his film? Hes a very good player, with a gerald mccoy-esque first step. I’d put money down he gets drafted in the first round. I agree though, would rather see the bucs help out some other positions.

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      • Yeah I’ve watched some of his film. He didn’t look nearly as good as Maurice Hurst, Vita, or Payne. Maybe I just watched a bad game he had though. Send me a good one that isn’t just a highlight tape and I’ll watch it.

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  5. I personally believe the Bucs can get more than Scott suggests here with the trade charts.

    QB related trades typically trash the standard trade values. Especially if there are multiple teams looking to move up. For instance, look at how the Jets MASSIVELY overpaid according to the charts. I do get that they were also paying for the most prime QB spot available.

    Still, with BUF, MIA, AZ, heck even the Saints and the Pats potentially looking to move up, I think Licht can squeeze a little more.

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    • Especially if 3 Qbs have been taken, that leaves 1 of the “top” QBs still on the board. Someone is going to want to pay a premium for one of the top QBs, theres a drop off after that where the remaining QBs are all very late 1st, or 2nd/3rd day picks

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  6. iF THE TOP 4 QB’S are gone, its gonna be real hard to find a trade partner to move down with. Even then, many teams will not bite. So I see the Bucs staying put. One of the top players will still be there. Barkley or Nelson. I’m not enthuised about either given our many needs. If you gotta go with a defensive back, I’d go with Fitzpatrick because of his versatility. Just hope we get a very good player. Now if only our Bucs had swallowed their pride and tanked that last regular season game, Think about where we could be?..Ridin in High Cotton!! Just like the Spurs did when they tanked for Tim Duncan. Look what that got them..20 yrs of Winning!!

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    • Never a good reason to tank for a better draft pick. If a team doesn’t have enough self respect to try and win, they shouldn’t be in the league.
      Spurs didn’t tank. Robinson was injured most of the season.
      If four QBs are picked in top six, we won’t need to trade down, we’ll have one of the big three left on the board.

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  7. Being that the Jets overpaid by 840pts (= to a #20 1st rnd pick) to move up from #6 to #3, don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect the Bucs to receive quite a bit more than just a mere 40pts in an overpay from Buffalo or 11pts from Arizona. If you’re trading up to secure a QB, it shouldn’t be an equal swap. Have stated before that deal making doesn’t appear to be Licht’s strong suit, guess we may find out in a few weeks..

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  8. Hughes being thrown out of UNC is a big deal for me. We’ve gone through enough years when we drafted these kind of guys. And yes Spence has stayed out of trouble, but he hasn’t been good either.

    There is a big difference between Ward and these other CBs because he sticks on WRs like glue. The others allow too much separation.

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  9. #5 would look really good now.

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  10. Congrats Scott. One of the better Fab 5s.

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  11. Scott – I loved this article. I like when you guys step out and just don’t follow the national media’s picks on who the Buc’s will be selecting. Last year, you were correct in stating that you felt like the Buc’s liked Justin Evans over a lot of other guys at safety. Great job there! I will be reading for your insights the rest of this draft season.

    Just a thought on Vernon Hargreaves. I agree that there is not much to get excited about. However, for a comparison, let’s look at LaMarcus Joyner’s career. A 2nd round draft choice (probably because of 5’8” height) for the Rams. He initially played slot corner and only had 8 PD and 0 INT’s his 1st two years and 26 games. He kept improving because he has been a student of the game and now is on verge of being an All-Pro. Last year he was used as a free safety, strong safety and nickel corner. I think it is too early to give up on Hargreaves.

    As a Buc fan, I would be more ready to give up on Noah Spence. From Profootball Doc: “Spence has not been so lucky. He underwent a shoulder labral repair for a chronic dislocation last offseason But in Week 3, it happened again, derailing his expected breakout season with another surgery. Revision surgery is always harder than the first time. I would expect him to continue to use a shoulder harness this season to avoid a third go-round.”

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  12. Scott, solid Fab 5! Here’s my thoughts. As much as I would like a trade down in the 1st Round I don’t see it happening unless one of the 3 QB’s is there at Spot 7. I think we have a better chance moving down in the 2nd Rd . I don’t see us taking a RB at Spot 7, but Barkley is hard to ignore if Chubb and James are gone and we can’t move down. Sure would like to pick up an extra pick in 2019; maybe trade a 2018 Round 7 pick for 2019 Rd 6 pick. My guard is up with Koetter & Smith; I hope this isn’t another Lovie Smith mentality and we waste another year.

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  13. Disappointing to not hear anything about Sony Michel or Lorenzo Carter. I assume the Bucs will go after Nyheim Hines in the third or fourth and use him as a change of pace back alongside Peyton Barber and Quizz. I don’t think running back is nearly as big of a need as a lot of people make it out to be. Obviously it could be better. But I feel pretty great about Peyton Barber.

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    • Who do you feel good about if/when Peyton Barber gets injured? 😉

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      • Lol. I’m just saying that we don’t have to spend a top pick on a running back. I still think I’d rather see us pick up a corner and another defensive end in the first two rounds.

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  14. Why is this team so keen to extend Donovan Smith? The dude is a turnstile.

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  15. It’s always exciting to get one of the most coveted players in the draft. But when you need as many holes filled as the Bucs do and you only have 7 picks in the draft, and most of them are south of #4, trading down and stocking picks is logical. But it takes patience and strategy. And things have to fall right for you. If QB’s have a run in the first 6 picks, lots of really good players will be available for the Bucs to grab and it will be tempting. But if QB’s don’t dominate the first 6 picks, a lot of the players that the Bucs are in love with will be gone, and Tampa will need to have a plan B. Trading down would be smart. Get an extra 1st, or maybe even a couple 2nds and a 3rd. Tampa has more positions to fill than it has picks for now. And if we do not improve the OL or the secondary or running back early, we could be looking at a long ugly Season.

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  16. The trade chart is a guide, not the law. It’s a reference point on what value should be, but not set on. I know we’re trying to resign our own, but I don’t see the need to get D. Smith done this year. I’d rather see them use some money for a vet corner who’s still available, or one who may get cut, and become available. I’d like to see us come out of this draft with two corners, and still bring in a vet C.B..

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  17. Very good fab 5 Scott, one of your better ones. Very informative stuff on the bucs not being keen on guys like Davenport or Guice. I’m really starting to think if the big three are gone, and they don’t trade back, which at that point I think they would since the QB’s would still be there. They draft Derwin or Vita. I am really hoping for a trade down with the BIlls. And as other stated above, that chart gets thrown out when you are talking about QB’s. Id make them pay both of their firsts and a second to get up to 7 minimum.Then we could really do some damage in the draft. Maybe still get either James or Vita at 12, a DB or RB at the second first round pick, and then best available of what you didn’t grab in the first. This will be very in interesting for sure.
    I’m not to worried about the Cap stuff as Greenburgh has done a fantastic job of keeping this team together. And don’t underestimate Jameis taking a little discount to win. He’s going to get paid, for sure, but how knows.
    I think Hargreaves will have a bounce back year this year as long as they keep him in the slot. I think that’s his natural position in this defense and he was playing well until injuring himself last year. We kind of have to keep him with those cap numbers. Unless of course he gets a dirty test, which would probably null and void a good bit of that stuff.
    In all it was pretty imperative that we got those DE’s we did in free agency as we all knew this wasn’t a good class for DE’s, but after reading this , yuk.

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  18. FAB 1: SR’s Top 5 Picks at No. 7

    I am with you wholeheartedly in your remarks. I have arrived at quite similar conclusions for some of the same reasons. (I am tickled pink as they say, to have arrived independently at these conclusions.)

    These rankings could be argued effectively based on BPA weighted against short-term needs and long-term needs. Others may well have the same 5 players placed in a differing order.
    ___________
    If we should somehow find ourselves with Buffalo’s 12th and 22nd picks I would be ecstatic if we came away with the likes of DT Da’Ron Payne and say CB Carlton Davis or CB Josh Jackson or RB Ronald Jones II or RB Kerryon Johnson.
    ________
    Go Bucs!!!

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  19. I’m an outlier, but I’d stay at 7, and trade D. JACKSON for a second or a third.

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    • I would trade Jackson for a second round pick in a heartbeat!

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  20. I am open to a trade down if we can still get either Vea or James. That would be ideal unless Chubb is there. If you take away the RB and OG my top players align perfectly with SR. Chubb, Vea and James.

    Mike Hughes and Jaire Alexander are my top 2 cb. If we can get in round 2 we must. We have drafted offense WAY too much since Licht got here we NEED to go defense this year BIG TIME

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  21. So the only reason Mayfield is being considered as a top ten pick, is because he’s cocky?! Otherwise he’d be a second rounder? Come on now. You do realize just how ridiculous that sounds?

    He struggled in the 2nd half against Georgia because Georgia’s defense started getting pressure almost every play.

    I’ll take the other angle. If Baker was 2 inches taller, he’d be the sure fire top pick. He’s the best QB in this draft despite his size.

    Vea is going to be a decently player, but this team needs a real difference maker at 7 or hopefully trade down. The reason you knock other players for their lack of production can be used against Vea as well. Payne will end up being the best DT in this draft.

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  22. There’s a lame 5-round draft over at NFL.com with the Bucs making only two picks in the entire draft… Oh, the disrespect.

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    • Licht trades for JPP and suddenly he’s Mike Ditka??

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    • I have seen a lot of mocks, but this takes the prize for the most idiotic. Trading up into the first and giving up picks to get a rb Bucs could have snagged in the second anyway?
      Please.

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    • e,

      I saw that mock and it is a 5 round Chad Reuter mock that has the Bucs taking Derwin James at #7, then trading back into the 1st round by taking their 2nd pick #38 and their 4th round pick #102 acquired from the Giants and trading back into the 1st round with the Patriots for pick #31 where they then select RB Derrius Guice/LSU.

      As you recall the Bucs traded away their 3rd pick and under Reuter’s scenario, do not pick again until the 5th round where they select DT PJ Hall. The Bucs would still have 2 6 round picks and the next to the last pick (comp pick) in the 7th round remaining.

      As someone suggested in a later post, I doubt that the Bucs would do this with just a few premium picks remaining and good alternatives left for a RB. I also question whether they pick at #7 instead of trading back for more picks if the Big 3 are off the board. Anyway, no more guessing after the 26th – can’t wait. Til then we hope for the best. Go Bucs!

      http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000925097/article/fiveround-mock-draft-saints-trade-up-for-baker-mayfield

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      • I think Pewter should give you a job, Macabee. I love your analysis. It is always spot on.
        And, you definitely have the best avatar.

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  23. Outstanding detailed article once again Scott.
    If four QBs go ahead of us we should have one of the big 3 to take and at this point we should take any one of them, even if it is a Guard. Second round I would trade down and get a third pick. Take Best RB with the second , hopefully Penny, pick and Best CB with the third round pick or move Tandy to CB and pick Best Strong Safety. In the fourth Miami’s DE who has the ability and size for our DL Coach to develop into an outstanding DE. In the Fifth best DT left. In the first Sixth get Pinero the best rookie Place Kicker to compete with our 86 per cent Pro. Constanzio, the Second Sixth and Seventh take the fastest Special Team players.

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  24. Another great read, thanks Scott. I’m liking the trade down scenario more and more as time goes by. Licht needs to not be nice though, and take both firsts from Buffalo at least. Franchise QB is the big prize every team wants and if they want it, they’ll pay big.

    As for the cap, it shouldn’t be much of an issue as we will have some good sized contracts coming off the books next year. Even if DJax has a big year this year, at his age, and with Godwin on the roster, it’s hard to justify keeping him on for 2019. Godwin is already the heir apparent, and Hump will come at a much lower price. Also, of all our FA Dline pickups this year, I doubt they’ll all be hits. At least one of JPP, Curry, Allen, or Unrein will be let go next year. Maybe we’ll be lucky and hit on all of them, but that’s highly unlikely.

    VH3 is nowhere near done, he’s a much better player than his stats would suggest. It’s all about Mike Smith playing him the way he plays well. Ditch this off coverage and get more physical on the outside. Our improved Dline will help the back end and allow our secondary to play more aggressively.

    As for who we should pick in the draft, like everyone else has said, it all depends on how the draft plays out in front of us. Much like he did last year, Licht will sit back and let the draft come to him. We need to hit on CB and RB at a minimum regardless of where they’re picked though. Additional help in the trenches will do well for us in the future as well. It seems Licht has got that message judging by his signings in FA this year. I expect him to stay with that mindset moving forward.

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