FAB 5. SR’s Buc Shots
• Sorry, I’m having a tough time buying all the hype around Alabama running back Joshua Jacobs being an elite running back – much less a top 10 pick. Let’s look at the evidence, or lack thereof. Jacobs had 251 carries for 1,491 yards (5.9 avg.) and 16 touchdowns in his three-year Alabama career, including 120 carries for 640 yards (5.3 avg.) and 11 touchdowns last year as a junior. Injuries – a torn hamstring and a broken ankle in 2017 and a shoulder injury in 2018 – have played a big part in his reduced carries, and that’s a legitimate concern.
Let’s not forget that Jacobs is a good receiver out of the backfield, so add in those numbers, too. He had 48 catches for 571 yards (11.9 avg.) and five TDs in three years with the Crimson Tide, including 20 receptions for 247 yards (12.4 avg.) and three scores last year.
Now let me pose a question. Is Nick Saban a dummy? Is Saban stupid? He’s had two Heisman Trophy-winning running backs in Mark Ingram and Derrick Henry and what did he do with them? He fed them the rock. Ingram had 271 carries when he won it as a sophomore in 2009, and Henry had 395 carries as a junior when he won it in 2015.
So if Jacobs was that good, why did perhaps the smartest head coach in college football only give him 120 carries, while giving Najee Harris 117 carries and Damien Harris 150 carries? And if Jacobs was truly an elite, Top 10-caliber running back, why was he the third-leading rusher on the Crimson Tide last year behind Damien Harris’ 876 yards and Najaee Harris’ 783 yards?
If the answer is injuries, then that’s a red flag for NFL teams as the greatest ability in pro football is availability. Injury-prone running backs don’t get drafted in the Top 10 – maybe not even in the first round.
Why would an NFL team want to draft the Crimson Tide’s third-leading rusher last year in the first round, when most NFL teams have the Crimson Tide’s leading rusher, Damien Harris, who had double the college production with 3,070 yards and 23 rushing touchdowns along with 52 catches for 407 yards and two scores, rated as a second-round pick at best?
Why would an NFL team want to draft Jacobs in the Top 10 when Henry, who had elite size at 6-foot-3, 242 pounds and amazing speed to go with it at 4.54 in the 40-yard dash, went in the second round in the 2016 NFL Draft after producing 3,591 yards and 42 touchdowns on 602 carries (6.0 avg.) during his Alabama career, including 395 carries for 2,219 yards (5.6 avg.) and 28 touchdowns as a junior Heisman Trophy winner?
I’m not saying Jacobs is a bad player or even that he won’t be a first-round pick. I’m saying that given his injury-riddled career and lack of production at Alabama, he shouldn’t be a first-round pick.
And I will say this: scratch Jacobs off your first-round mock drafts, Bucs fans. It won’t happen.
Personally, I’d take Memphis’ speedy running back Darrell Henderson, who is projected to be a second- or third-round pick, seven days a week over Jacobs – and twice on Sundays.
• NEW PODCAST ALERT! As the Bucs inch closer towards the NFL Scouting Combine and the start of free agency the Pewter Report team of Mark Cook, Matt Matera and I talk about the release of Vinny Curry, the future of Adam Humphries in Tampa Bay and team captains in the new, appropriately titled Pewter Nation Podcast Episode 108: Cuts, Catches And Captains. This one has a TON of great Bucs discussion and insight – make sure you check it out!
PewterReport.com’s Trevor Sikkema has been busy with The Draft Network this offseason, but dropped in to to join Mark Cook, Matt Matera and I for a Pewter Nation Podcast last week. There is tons of great Bucs analysis in this one as we discuss left tackle Donovan Smith, the Bucs draft and more in Pewter Nation Podcast Episode 107: The Return Of The Man-Bun. Make sure you listen to this one, as Sikkema says something that makes Cook laugh and send Powerade up his nose in the process.
There is no better time to listen to a new Pewter Nation Podcast than on your drive home from work on Friday or running around doing errands or at the gym on Saturday. The next Pewter Nation Podcast will be taped during the middle of next week.
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• If the Bucs are going to explore the possibility of trading DeSean Jackson in March, general manager Jason Licht will use his time at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in a few weeks to gauge the market. That’s where he began talks last year with New York Giants general manager David Gettleman with regards to acquiring defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul in a trade for Tampa Bay’s third-round pick in last year’s draft.
The fact that this year’s wide receiver market in free agency appears to be weak, in addition to just an average draft class at the receiver position, could help create more of a market for Jackson, who could fetch a Day 3 pick. Of course, Jackson won’t be the highest-profile receiver on the trading block this offseason. That distinction belongs to Pittsburgh’s Pro Bowler Antonio Brown, who is expected to command at least a second-round pick.
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If you aren’t following PewterReport.com on Twitter please do so right now so you don’t miss out on Bucs press conference and interview footage as well as breaking news and injury updates. I’ll be heading to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis later this month and will be reporting plenty of news via our Twitter account.
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• If the Bucs decide to part ways with wide receiver DeSean Jackson and can’t re-sign wide receiver Adam Humphries, then Justin Watson, the team’s fifth-round pick from a year ago, quickly ascends up the depth chart. The former Penn standout had just one catch for five yards last year while playing mostly on special teams.
One of the bright spots of Jameis Winston’s three-game suspension last year was the fact that he was the backup quarterback in the preseason last year and developed a rapport with Watson last August. Watson recorded 12 receptions for 130 yards (10.8 avg.) and one touchdown during the preseason. Watson caught four passes for 54 yards, including a 21-yard touchdown pass from Winston in a 30-14 win at Tennessee.
Look for the rapport between Watson and Winston to continue this spring when the Bucs’ offseason program begins on April 1. Tampa Bay will be getting an extra three-day mini-camp this year due to having a new head coach. That mini-camp is expected to take place either the week before or the week of the 2019 NFL Draft, which is April 25-27.
• New Bucs head coach Bruce Arians took in his first Tampa Bay Lightning game this past week and was interviewed by JP Peterson and the Lightning TV broadcasters about what he thinks of the current Bucs players.
“I think it’s a heck of a roster,” Arians said. “Jason Licht has done a good job of putting players on the team. I’ve never walked into a situation with this many skill players – I mean loaded up skill players at every position.”
Arians said he’s excited to inherit quarterback Jameis Winston, who is entering his fifth-year option season, and has already named him the team’s starter for 2019.
“I’m really excited,” Arians said. “I think this guy – the sky is the limit. He’s got a great work ethic. He’s talented. We’ve got guys around him. I think Byron Leftwich and Clyde Christensen will do a great job with him.”
Peterson asked Arians how he can change the culture at One Buccaneer Place.
“I just talk about accountability,” Arians said. “Guys have to be accountable to each other – on and off the field – at all times. Every decision you make has to be with a ring in mind.”
— FOX Sports Florida (@FOXSportsFL) February 10, 2019
• And finally, you hear us talking about Ford’s Garage restaurants all the time on the Pewter Nation Podcasts. Now it’s time for you to experience all the deliciousness for yourself at Ford’s Garage, the great auto-themed restaurant that is expanding across the state of Florida. Ford’s Garage offers an assembly line-style burger order concept, in addition to other great menu items like a great lineup of mac and cheeses, appetizers, grilled chicken, steak and a huge cocktail and craft beer menu.
There are now 10 Ford’s Garage locations across the state of Florida including Wesley Chapel, Brandon, Westchase, Countryside, St. Petersburg, Lakeland, Estero, Cape Coral, Fort Myers and the new location at the Orlando Premium Outlet, in addition to a location in Dearborn, Michigan. Visit FordsGarageUSA.com for driving directions to the Ford’s Garage nearest you and to browse the menu. Be sure to try their new Roadsters 1/3 pound burgers, join the Ford’s Garage Motor Club loyalty rewards program – and tell them that PewterReport.com sent you.