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FAB 1. If He’s There, Bucs Must Draft Barkley At No. 7

You’ve heard the draft day scenarios where four quarterbacks are selected ahead of Tampa Bay, which has the seventh overall pick, and Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson slides right to the Buccaneers. There have been some mock draft scenarios that has North Carolina State’s Bradley Chubb, the top pass-rushing defensive end in this year’s draft falling to Tampa Bay at No. 7.

But here’s a scenario no one is talking about.

What if Penn State running back Saquon Barkley slides past the first six teams in the draft and is suddenly available at No. 7? You know Barkley – the guy who stole the show at the NFL Scouting Combine by running a 4.40 in the 40-yard dash at 6-foot, 233 pounds, had a 41-inch vertical and pumped out 29 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press?

Before I reveal what I think Tampa Bay would do, let’s see how this scenario could plausibly play out. Cleveland owns the first pick and is selecting a quarterback – likely USC’s Sam Darnold.

The New York Giants pick next and could also use an heir apparent to Eli Manning, who just turned 37. The guess here is that it is a quarterback or Nelson, as new general manager David Gettleman puts a premium on offensive linemen and missed out on Pro Bowl guard Andrew Norwell in free agency.

The New York Jets traded up to No. 3 with Indianapolis for a quarterback and will get the second or third signal caller, depending on what the Giants do at No. 2.

Cleveland is up again at No. 4 and here is where it gets interesting. Early mock drafts had Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick going to the Browns to team with Jabril Peppers, but Fitzpatrick is a Top-15 player – not a Top-5 player. More recent mock drafts have Cleveland taking Barkley to pair with free agent addition Carlos Hyde.

But what is Cleveland’s biggest need right now? It’s left tackle due to the sudden retirement of Joe Thomas, and this is not a great draft for left tackles.

Do you think the Browns want to invest the first overall pick in a guy like Darnold or UCLA’s Josh Rosen and then leave it up to Shon Coleman to protect him? Heck no.

There is only one left tackle that truly carries a first-round grade and that’s Notre Dame’s Mike McGlinchey. Sure the Browns could trade down a few spots to try to get him and add another pick or two, but quality left tackles are at a premium and if Cleveland moved down too far – say around 12 – they could risk landing him. While McGlinchey is probably closer to the 12th overall pick than he is the fourth, if you’re Cleveland and you have a first-round grade on him you take him at No. 4.

I’ve covered two decades worth of NFL Drafts, and there are always a couple of surprise moves in the top 10 every year. Last year it was Chicago trading up one spot to draft quarterback Mitchell Trubisky at No. 2, Carolina taking running back Christian McCaffrey at No. 8 and Kansas City trading up to No. 10 to draft quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

In 2016, Tennessee trading up to select offensive tackle Jack Conklin early at No. 8 reminds me of the way Cleveland could be approaching McGlinchey this year, and linebacker Leonard Floyd going to Chicago at No. 9 was also a surprise. In 2015, San Diego shocked the league by drafting defensive end Joey Bosa third overall, and in 2014, Jacksonville stunned the NFL – and its fan base – by selecting quarterback Blake Bortles with the third overall pick.

Penn State RB Saquon Barkley - Photo by: Getty Images
Penn State RB Saquon Barkley – Photo by: Getty Images

So if McGlinchey goes fourth overall to Cleveland, which doesn’t need a guard, Denver takes Nelson at No. 5 and Indianapolis chooses Chubb at No. 6 that would leave Barkley there for Tampa Bay at No. 7.

So what does general manager Jason Licht and head coach Dirk Koetter do?

Draft Barkley.

No, he’s not necessarily my favorite running back in this year’s draft, and I don’t care that this is a deep draft at the position. There’s no denying Barkley’s talent and production. He’s a special athlete and a special player, and running back is a huge position of need.

If Barkley is there, the Bucs must take him. He’s a sensational football player, a die-hard worker, and a man of impeccable character.

To help further Jameis Winston’s development he needs to have some of the weight taken off his shoulders like only a great running game can do. The Bucs need to be racking up 400 yards of offense with 250 yards passing and 150 yards rushing – not with 300 yards passing and 100 yards rushing like they have the past two years. Winston throwing the ball fewer times for fewer yards should lead to fewer forced passes, and ultimately the opportunity for fewer interceptions.

If Licht waits until the second round to address running back, which I believe the Bucs will do if Tampa Bay picks anyone but Barkley, who may or may not be there at No. 7, they may have to settle for what’s left because I anticipate there will be a run on running backs in the late part of the first round and/or the top of the second round.

This might be the last year for running back Le’Veon Bell in Pittsburgh, so the Steelers could be in play for a running back like LSU’s Derrius Guice or Georgia’s Sony Michel at No. 28 overall. New England, which has 31st overall pick, lost Dion Lewis in free agency and could be interested in drafting either one of those rushers.

If the Browns pass on Barkley, a junior, with both of their first-round picks, they’ll start the second round by drafting a running back at No. 33 overall. The Giants could draft Nelson at No. 2 overall and then a running back in the second round. Cleveland picks again at No. 35 and will draft another positional player, but Indianapolis will surely draft a running back with either the 36th or 37th overall pick.

Georgia RB Sony Michel – Photo by: Getty Images
Georgia RB Sony Michel – Photo by: Getty Images

Tampa Bay has the sixth pick in the second round, which is the 38th overall selection, but five running backs could be off the board by the team the Bucs are on the clock again. That could mean that Barkley, Guice, Michel, Georgia’s Nick Chubb and USC’s Ronald Jones II are gone and Licht will be forced to take whoever is left.

The Bucs do like San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny, and believe he’s worth a second-rounder, and they also like North Carolina State’s Nyheim Hines, but he’s more of a third-round pick. The problem is that Tampa Bay traded away its third-rounder to the Giants for defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, and several more running backs will go in the second and third round, such as Auburn’s Kerryon Johnson and possibly North Carolina State’s Jaylen Samuels, Tennessee’s John Kelly and Oregon’s Royce Freeman.

Both Penny and Hines have pre-draft visits scheduled with the Bucs, and Hines had a private workout with running backs coach Tim Spencer. But the last thing that Licht wants to do is reach for a player and draft for need – but with a roster that has just Peyton Barber and Jacquizz Rodgers, running back is a huge need that can’t be ignored like it was last year.

“I don’t think it’s any big secret – we can’t go into the season with two running backs,” Koetter said. “We’re going to be adding a running back here somehow, someway between now and when fall camp starts.

“Our confidence level is high in Peyton. I’ve said many times that if a guy is on our team I have confidence in him. If he is on our 53, especially, I have confidence in him. As we sit here today, Peyton is our starter at running back. Now that might change based on the draft. Shoot, we’ve already seen one trade that came out of nowhere. You just never know what’s going to happen. He started games for us last year and if Peyton is our starter then that’s fine. We have a lot of confidence in Jacquizz as well.”

Penn State RB Saquon Barkley - Photo by: Getty Images
Penn State RB Saquon Barkley – Photo by: Getty Images

Licht doesn’t think Barkley will be there when Tampa Bay is on the clock, but he and his team of scouts and personnel directors will mock every possible scenario, including this one where the Penn State stud falls to No. 7. And the Bucs will realize that having the chance of selecting the top running back in the first round or potentially the sixth running back by the time the Bucs pick in the second round is very real. Tampa Bay waited too long to draft a running back last year and got burned by Jeremy McNichols in the fifth round last year. McNichols was cut at the end of training camp and didn’t make the roster, opting to sign with San Francisco’s practice squad instead.

For the Bucs there is too much risk to pass on Barkley, even for a safety like Florida State’s Derwin James or a defensive tackle like Washington’s Vita Vea. Koetter’s offense incorporates the running back into the passing game. Barkley had 102 catches for 1,195 yards and eight touchdowns in his three-year career at Penn State, including 54 catches for 632 yards (11.7 avg.) and three touchdowns during his junior season in 2017.

According to Pro Football Focus, Barkley had 586 yards after the catch, which was the most of any running back in the 2018 NFL Draft class. Against Michigan, he lined up in the slot as a receiver for seven snaps, as an outside receiver for three snaps and in the Wildcat formation as a quarterback on five snaps, which shows how versatile of a back he is. He does need some technique work in pass protection, but is a willing blocker.

Penn State RB Saquon Barkley - Photo by: Getty Images
Penn State RB Saquon Barkley – Photo by: Getty Images

Barkley is special with the ball in his hands, and had three consecutive 1,000 yards seasons for the Nittany Lions. After rushing for 1,076 yards and seven touchdowns on 182 carries (5.9 avg.) as a freshman, Barkley had a breakout year in 2016 with 1,496 yards and 18 touchdowns on 272 carries (5.5 avg.). During a junior campaign in which he was a Heisman Trophy candidate, Barkley rushed for 1,271 yards and 18 touchdowns on 217 carries (5.9 avg.).

Barkley had 15 games of 100 yards rushing or more, including five in which he rushed for 190 yards or more. He also ripped off 14 runs of 40 yards or more, including five from beyond 60 yards with a long of 92 yards in his last game at Penn State, a 35-28 win over Washington. Barkley had six catches of 40 yards or more in his career, including a long of 85 yards.

With an ultra-quick stutter step, instant acceleration, breakaway speed, tremendous balance, a make-you-miss quality, electric moves, glue-like hands and springy legs that make him hurdle over defenders, Barkley is truly a generational talent. He’s more elusive than powerful, and similar to Arizona’s David Johnson.

Don’t think Barkley will be there with the seventh round pick? Well, Adrian Peterson was there at No. 7 in 2007, proving that anything can happen in the first round of the draft.

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  1. I’m really torn about this. Yes, Barkley is good. But I see at least 5 quality running backs in this draft who..given a good O line will do just as well as Barkley. I am really hopin we can trade down and get that..2 for 1 deal. Course now if Chubb is there at 7…He is a must take. But I do not feel that way about Barkley. Everybody has got a take on this. And mine.

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    • Agree

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    • I’m right there with u Mike. The difference being that if Chubb is there, there isn’t a close 2nd in the DE category. If we pass on Barkley, there are 4-5 comparable RBs we have a shot at in the 2nd. Especially if we can manage to get Nelson in the 1st

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  2. In my mind, we can’t go wrong with where we are at. Barkely is a freak, and everyone knows it. We’ll get a blue-chip player this draft, but I just don’t know what position:

    RB Barkley
    CB Fitzpatrick
    OG Nelson
    DE Chubb

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    • Denzel Ward of Ohio State is a true cornerback, and can start right a way opposite Brent Grimes. I am OK with Derwin James, but if in the scenario where James is gone, Ward would be my pick.

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      • if everyone else is gone, I’m torn between Ward and James

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    • Minkah is not a top 10 talent, nor is he fit on our team.

      Pass, pass and pass. No thank you

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      • Agreed Jonathan. I’m not sold on him at all. I’d take Darwin any time over him. Minkah reminds me of a “super athlete” Jabrill Peppers and he hasn’t done much either.

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      • You guys are nuts.

        Ward has 2 INT’s in his career. James has 3. They both played in 26 games over three years.

        Fitzpatrick has 9 INT’s (4 for TD’s and ~275 return yards), 16 TFL’s, and 6 sacks…while playing safety, CB, and dime LB. he had 6 INT’s in 2016 en route to a championship. The guy is a stud. He also played 42 games in 3 years. I might agree that he’s not a polished man-cover corner …but we run a soft zone so idk how playing 3 positions doesn’t ‘fit’ our defense.

        Ryan smith and Hargreaves got SMOKED by Julio Jones for 200+ yards. putting the same secondary on the field next year and getting different results is wishful thinking.

        Everyone at OSU knows lattimore was better than ward, he’s not even an option at #7. Ward is also a liability in the run game. When I watch film of Derwin, I see mark Barron v2.0

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    • Derwin > Minkah

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  3. I know the kid is good but I don’t see it for the Bucs at 7. Trade back and get 2 for 1. Trade back up into late 1st to get Sony. Defense should be 1st pick.

    I hope the extend Licht. I do believe he is a good talent evaluator & Good gm. Bucs are lucky to have him. He can only bring in the player but can’t coach…that’s Koetter job!

    In Licht we trust!

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    • @MudManVA It always takes two to make a deal. If the Bucs can get a fair trade to move out of #7 and drop down and get extra players I’m all for it. I’m fine with getting the 2nd or 3rd or even 4th rated running back in the lower first round and still getting a good defensive player with the first pick. But, if no good trade option exists, I’d still pick Barkley over James or Ward. Barkley’s career may be shorter than either of those two, but I suspect for the first several seasons, he’ll outshine both of those players.

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    • I feel the same way about our gm. He has a great eye for talent and finds the right players most times, but if we can get Barkley that would be a steal. Nobody knew Howard would be sitting there for us so hey anything is possible. All the other teams has more important needs right now anyway.

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  4. Too much risk in PASSING on a RB at 7 and extending Licht? Is than April Fool’s article?

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  5. I’ve said much the same thing in the forums that if Nelson and Chubb are gone and Barkley is there, you take him. He still fills a big need for the team and while I acknowledge the need of another safety or cornerback, I’m not completely sold on either James or Ward as possible pro-bowl players. I do think Barkley can be that guy.

    However, I trust in Licht, if he passes on Barkley and takes either James or Ward (or even someone else), he’ll have a reason. But waiting until round 2 to take a running back, definitely could be chancy if 6-7 running backs are off the board like Scott says. If that many running backs are going before pick 36, then we should still be able to grab the 3 or 4th rated cornerback or safety at #2. I’d rather have that combination rather than the reverse.

    Finally, I agree with Scott, I do think Licht has done well enough as a new GM to get a 2nd contract. He has made mistakes, but rather than keep those on the roster, he has cut them quickly, hopefully learned from them and moved on. I’m still not sold on Koetter and Smith – but I think Licht has done a pretty fair job of putting together a decent roster. This team should have been better than 5-11 last season and it wasn’t his fault. That’s on the coaching staff.

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    • Perfectly put

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    • Totally agreed, this roster was FAR better than their 5-11 record last year and that’s not on Licht at all

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  6. P.J. Hall did not have a very good game again North Dakota St. The offensive line did pretty much whatever they wanted with him.

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  7. Scott, I am genuinely curious about one thing. Why are all Bucs fans and writers so hard on Koetter, but think Licht is the best GM ever. The Aguayo pick, well I won’t even go there. Let’s just talk about last year. Our depth was so bad that we were giving big minutes to players such as Ryan Smith, Ryan Russel, Will Clarke, Pat O’Conner, chris conte, Siliga, etc. It was apparent as the season went on that we weren’t as talented as other teams. I saw a lack of talent that couldn’t be coached up by the best of them. I think Mike Smith is the one who needs to be under fire, Koetter consistently puts out a top 10 offense in the NFL. All the guy does is squeeze the most out of our talent on offense and he gets bashed left and right, but he is doing his job at a high level! He was calling plays to get Desean wide open, but Jameis was just missing him. I just think that we gave big minutes last year to players who are borderline nfl talent, that’s on Licht to give us depth, not Koetter.

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    • Read a few falcon posts to see how they feel about Koetter & Smitty!! Let me just say they are reeeeal glad their gone. That being said I hope it works for them in TB, but early reviews are mixed.

      Licht has been pretty darn successful in upgrading the roster, and hey if you are going to make your living relying on PEOPLE your gonna make mistakes

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    • Koetter went 9-7 in his first year, the best record of any team Licht has put together in 4 years and by the 5th week into Koetter’s season Scott was writing about replacing him with Gruden.

      No one should be happy about Koetter’s perfomance last year, but his 14-18 coaching record is far FAR more respectable than Licht’s 22-42 GM record. Licht, after all was the one who helped to hire Koetter in the first place, so this “Licht doesn’t coach” BS argument is invalid. Licht kneecapped Love, interviewed coaching candidates and hired Koetter, but now he shouldn’t be held responsible for the lack of success of the teams he built and coaches he hired?

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  8. Licht’s results are dismal. Horrible record under two different head coaches, multiple busts, free agent disasters.

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    • Agreed. It’s clear to me Licht and the players on this team aren’t judged by wins and losses, but by what PR thinks of them. Licht runs the team very closely to the way SR would run it if he were in charge and they seem to have the same mental approach to football (and probably things outside of football). I believe it clouds SR’s judgement in terms of declaring when it is time to pull the plug on a GM. No GM with Licht’s record would be suggested for a new contract unless the person suggesting it was biased.

      Also, I was too busy this week to comment on it at the time, but reading what one of the Glazer sons said in that interview…well I can sum it up in two words…loser talk. That’s exactly how losers sound when they talk about something they are about to engage in and lose. Not once did he mention the Super Bowl. He spoke of wanting to see improvement, even though we didn’t improve last year and the Glazers fired no one. He spoke of being disappointed every year we don’t make the playoffs, but talking about being excited for the 9-7 season. He gave excuses (a big part of any loser talk) like the hurricane adjusted bye week and injuries, even though the Dolphins had both of those and still finished with a better standing than us. The Bucs aren’t going anywhere with the Glazers running things and Licht, Koetter, Smith and Winston are all an extension of that.

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      • I’m not sure where you come up with some of your posts Pink. I used to enjoy your posts and now a days all you seem to be is negative. You say Winston is an extension of a loosing culture? Didn’t he win a championship in college? So that’s a looser mentality? Tampa lost SIX games by 6 points or less. That falls in the coaching which we all no is very suspect. How this falls on licht is beyond me. He can only put the players on the field, not coach them. Yes he’s had misses like EVERY gm has. The problem with this team was coaching hands down. Not some DB with skinner legs, or a QB who had arguably the worst defense, offensive line, and running game in the nfl. For you supposedly being a “scout” you sure miss a lot of the little details.

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      • How is Winston an extension of that? I guess it was that losers mentality form Jameis that said screw leaving it up to a kicker week 16, I”m just gong to win this myself? As for losers mentality, you still root for the team knowing this, I guess that means you’re part of that losers mentality aren’t you?

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  9. If DE Chubb and OG Nelson are gone this a no brainer. However, if it were to happen that both RB Saquon Barkley and OG Quenton Nelson were on the board at #7, this would be the proverbial horns of a dilemma for me – but a good one to have. If Nelson is the sure HOFer as advertised and Barkley is a generational RB this is a can’t lose decision, but one that is not easily made.

    You only get 10 minutes at draft time in round one to make this decision, but presumably a scenario that has been played out beforehand. It would make it easier for me if the Raiders were at #8 instead of the Bears, I would trade down and sell Barley for 2 picks and select Nelson at #8. That can’t happen as the Bears would take Nelson in a heartbeat. So, I make the hard choice with my rationale being there are more alternatives at a premium RB in later rounds than having a shot at OGs Hernandez/UTEP or Wynn/Georgia who may be gone in the late 1st round.

    Decision: I would take OG Nelson.

    Here is the only mock I could find or have seen with this scenario. Josh Norris/RotoWorld chooses Barkley.

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    • I agree Mac, if for some reason we get a choice between Barkley and Nelson I’d pick Nelson.

      But then doesn’t that force you to go running back in the 2nd or do you hope you can find one in the 4th? The only thing I don’t like about taking Nelson is that defense ends up possibly waiting until the 4th round for it’s first selection or you are taking the 10-12th rated running back or hope for the best with the after draft cuts.

      While I’d love the Nelson selection, I think it will be easier to find a serviceable guard after the draft or even after the draft than it will be to find a good running back.

      Like you said, tough decision.

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      • Yes Nitey, that is true, but it is also true for any pick at #7. The only way to avert that is to trade down and pick up another 2nd. That might be hard to explain with premium picks on the board – quantity over quality. One could make the case that with the 2nd pick in the 4th round, Jason licht has been known to couple a later pick and move back into the 3rd. Too many scenarios to examine. I’ve got the feeling though that this is going to turn out just fine!

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    • Mac they are both generational players.

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      • Ok, 76Buc. Who would you choose between both generational players if they were both at #7. And what would be your rationale?

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        • I think it depends on timing. If they want to win NOW, they take Barkley. Building long term they take Nelson.
          also, people may be writing off out current guard too soon. It takes a lot time to recover from back sergery.

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    • Yep, IF Nelson is as good they say then 10-14 year pro bowl lineman.

      RB 5-8 years

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  10. Barkley was on ESPN First Take and was adamant that he’s really a 4.2/4.3 40 guy. He pointed out that if you look at the tape from the Combine, you can see that he stumbled and didn’t get of the starting blocks good enough. I remember thinking that when I was watching it too. still to run a 4.40 with a bad start is still very impressive.

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  11. Penn St. running backs do have a pretty dismal history as high draft picks; Curtis Enis, Ki-jana Carter and DJ Dozier. I’m really hoping that Nelson or Chubb are there at #7 in the end. I think our spot is a little high to draft Derwin James as well. I would hope that a QB is sliding and someone wants to trade with the Bucs. As far as later round running backs, Mark Walton is not to shabby and keep an eye on Miami DT Rocky McIntosh & Kendrick Norton as well.

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  12. There is a scenario where we guarantee a Barkley pick. Trade up.

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  13. IMO this year’s draft night is going to have many surprises. 1-6 or 7 many things can happen. It should be fun to watch. I really hope Chubb falls to 7 if not trade down if possible.

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    • Well, I never expected Howard to last until pick #19 last year, so I wouldn’t be totally shocked if Chubb lasted until #7. But I think the odds are pretty small (like win the lottery small 🙂 )

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      • I agree.

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    • Jason doesn’t like to trade down in the first. Makes no sense when you can just pick the player at 7 rather than hope they will still be there later

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      • Licht traded down a couple spots to select Hargreaves.

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  14. If Barkley is there at seven, you find someone as fast as him, and have them run the card up to the comish. Most of us thought Licht would be fired after the season for draft blunders, Berto, to F.A. busts like Baker. After four years under Licht we still have one of the worst pass rushes in the NFL, and holes in the secondary due to a poor pick of VH111. Now Licht has had a decent off season, but talk of extending him are a bit premature. Let’s see how the draft at least pans out first. For those who think we should draft Ward he struggles against bigger receivers, and we have to many of them in our division. The indoor facility can be a valuable tool if used properly. Does anyone have faith in Koetter’s plan for it’s use? You get use to the heat just by living in Fla, I wouldn’t practice outdoors more then twice a week during July through September.

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  15. How can you say Licht is a good gm? The bucs has LOTS of needs on this team year after year which falls on him!!!

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    • The Bucs were a big pile of poop when they hired him. How many drafts does it take to reconstruct a team…..a bunch

      Abra cadabra twinkle Dinkle POOF: perfect roster in 3 drafts!! Come on

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  16. Barkley will go 3rd. Jets traded up with Indy to get ahead of Cleveland at 4. That means the Jets are guaranteed to get a top 2 QB or Barkley. Indy might have taken him at 3, but I think they are OK with taking Chubb, Nelson, or Fitzpatrick at 6. No way does Barkley reach Tampa at 7.

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  17. My problem with Barkley is that if you look at his stats from last year, when he was hit behind the line, he only averaged .46 Ypc. That’s terrible and the only slight in his game is that he dances behind the line always looking for the homerun. That doesn’t work in the nfl. Just ask Charles Simms. Plus he had over 6 games last year under 100 yards rushing. Our line proved how bad it was at run blocking so can we trust our first pick to be a homerun if we go with a Rb? I just hope we can trade back and late in the first round get michel from Georgia and either Darwin or vea with our trade back from day, the bills. Don’t get me wrong, Barkley is emmensely talented and a damn good football player, I’d just sooner take a running back in the second or late first and pick up a needed defensive player in the first.

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  18. Finally, someone making sense about the other teams ahead of us needs at different positions not including RB. Mocks forget that teams 1-6 has major needs at QB, OL, DB, DL. These same teams can get a RB in the 2nd round easy. I for one believe there’s a 65% chance he’ll land on our pick. Top 3 backs for me is Barkley, Michel, & Penny -tie- Guise.

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  19. I am not a fan of drafting a running back at spot 7. I wouldn’t sign lit until several games into the season. All we did in free agency is basically makeup for a horrible free agency last year. I do not see that much improvement yet to be competitive against our foes.

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  20. All good takes. My pick is Nelson all day long. I saw Barkley play OSU this past year. 44 yards on 21 carries, and a KO return (which happened often to the Buckeyes last year). He reminded me of watching our backs last year. Two steps and then dropped. Please beef up the line.

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  21. Hell naw. IF Barkley, Nelson, James, are still on the board, they better not get Barkley. The chance of getting an effective starting running back in the 2-5 rounds are much greater than finding a good starter at safety in those same rounds. Chris Conte is NOT a starter and he should not be going into next season. He makes some splash plays, but he also makes some horrible plays. He’s a good backup, not a starter. We can have okay corners with 1 really good safety (James) and an up-and-comer in Evans and we can be okay in the backend. The safeties can make up for corners who struggle, not the other way around.

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  22. Are we talking about the same P.J. Hall here?

    O.k. he got an int; after that, he didn’t do anything. He must have done most of his damage against some pretty weak comp.

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  23. Well I would be a little surprised if Barkley is there, but I don’t think he’s this transcendent back everyone else thinks he is. AS Boho pointed out above, I’ve never seen a transcendent back have 8 games under 100 yards rushing. Hell he had three 3 games under 3 yards a carry! Someone explain how that is transcendent other than he is a workout warrior who looks good in a gym? I don’t really put much emphasis on the combine, I’m a college production kind of guy.
    Here’s two stat lines for you

    217 carries 1275 yards 5.9 YPC 18 TD’s rushing 632 yards receiving 3 td’s faced 2 top 10 defenses
    Against those top ten defenses 4.2 yards a carry and 4 total TD’s
    288 carries 1765 yards 6.1 YPC 19 tds rushing 485 yards receiving and 1 TD faced 4 top 10 defenses
    Against those top ten defenses 6.9 yards a carry and 4 total td’s

    The top line is Barkley, the second line is Dalvin Cook which nobody wanted to draft in the first round last year.
    That’s both of their last years, so why is Barkley the transcendent back? I know the down votes will come from the Nole haters, but I’m just using Cook to prove a point. Heck a third rounder led the NFL in rushing last year in Kareem Hunt. And to even consider trading up for Barkley as some would consider is absolutely the worst idea possible.
    While running back is a need of ours the drop off between the top 5 isn’t as large as the drop off in secondary talent. I think our secondary is our biggest need and it’s not even close. We have a 400 year old grimes, vernon, smoking the bud Hargreaves, and Ryan smith. Does that sound good to any of you? And that doesn’t include our SS being Conte.
    I’m all for trading back and hope that happens. Then we Takes Derwin or a CB in the first and grab our RB in the second or first depending on trade.
    When it comes to Hines, I’ve seen him play and he lit up FSU when they played, which isn’t saying much with Charles Kelly calling the plays, but he would be the typical third down back for sure. He’s quick and was literally all over the field when NC state played FSU.
    This Hall kid I know nothing about but that production is absolutely eye popping. AS I stated above, I’m a stat guy and those are incredible. Now it’s against much more inferior competition but damn that’s dominant. I would absolutely take this kid in the fourth if he’s there, but with those stats I don’t think he makes it past the third. Good eye on this one Scott, I’ll have to look at this kid.
    As for Licht, I think he’s done a pretty good job. The jury is still out on his Free agent pickups as they haven’t been very good. And his Roberto trade up will go down in history as a blunder, and even the Nole in me couldn’t reason that one. We got a strong young Nucleus on this team and he’s a reason for that. And if his free agents hit this year, there’s no doubt he will be resigned.
    Good fab five scott.

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    • cg, I do not even really watch college football, but if I look at just those 2 stat lines that you provided I think I still take Barkley. I’m not giving you a thumbs down, but I slightly disagree with you. Those stat lines are very similar and Cook, if I’m not mistaken, was on a much better offense and had a much better QB than Barkley did. That makes a big difference. Almost the same yards per carry, and Barkley has the much better receiving stats. Also, the rushing TD’s are only 1 off, but Cook did that on 71 more carries! A top 10 defense would be much more able to game plan to stop a RB like Barkley if they didn’t respect the pass as much, and I think that was Barkley’s problem, even though he still averaged 4.2 yards per carry and had 4 TD’s. Actually, Barkley had 4 TD’s in only 2 games vs top 10 defenses and it took Cook 4 games to score that many. Just pointing out those stats are a little misleading… maybe?

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  24. Have no problem with Barkley at #7 if he’s there, though like most, if an acceptable trade down scenario presents itself it would be hard to argue against coming out of the first 2 rounds with three new starters (as well as JPP in the 3rd). May even be able to get a fourth starter if Licht is somehow able to get back into the 3rd. Still starting spots open at RB, G, CB an S.

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  25. The Bucs like PJ Hall. Don’t let his size fool you – same size as HOFer John Randle sans the face paint. He is one of several invitees for a private visit with the Bucs. Private visits don’t equate to a draft pick, simply says they are willing to spend a little money to get a closer look.

    FYI – other players where Bucs have shown interest so far:

    Bucs – Private Workout. Members of an organization working out a player in private (WOR)

    Austin Allen, QB, Arkansas (WOR)
    Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama (WOR)
    Joshua Frazier, DT/3-4DE, Alabama (WOR)
    Jamar King, DT, Alabama (WOR)
    Mark Walton, RB, Miami (WOR)
    Derrius Guice, RB, LSU (WOR)
    Nyheim Hines, RB, NC State (WOR)
    Jalen Wilkerson, DE, FSU (WOR)
    Austin Corbett, OT/C, Nevada (WOR)
    Mike Love, DE/OLB, USF (WOR)
    Kendall Donnerson, OLB, SE Missouri State (WOR)
    Tre’Quan Smith, WR, Central Florida (WOR)

    Bucs – Pro Day or campus meeting (PRO)

    Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado (PRO)
    Dante Pettis, WR, Washington (PRO)
    Natrell Jamerson, S, Wisconsin (PRO)
    Elijah Marks, WR, Northern Arizona (PRO)
    DaeSean Hamilton, WR, Penn State (PRO)
    Josh Sweat, DE, FSU (PRO)
    Billy Price, G/C, Ohio State (PRO)
    Elijah Marks, WR, Northern Arizona (PRO)

    Bucs – Private visit. Prospect making an official 30 visit (PRI)

    Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State (PRI)
    Vita Vea, DT/3-4DE/NT, Washington (PRI)
    Mike Hughes, CB, Central Florida (PRI)
    P.J. Hall, DT, Sam Houston State (PRI)
    Justin Lawler, DE/3-4OLB, SMU (PRI)

    Bucs – Local visit. Local area prospect making a visit (LOC)

    Ish Witter, RB, Missouri/Alonso High Tampa (LOC)

    *Info provided by WalterFootball

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  26. Great analysis, Macabee! 🙂

    I agree with your choice. Having a top-tier offensive line for years to come outweighs having an elite “generational” runningback who may be able to carry the offense to a large degree. If you already have a high powered offense assembled then you look elsewhere to build your team’s strength.

    All draft selections ideally should be determined by BPA weighted against the team’s prioritized needs. This principle is easy to state but very hard to follow in the real world. “The buck stops here” applies for all NFL general managers alike.

    Last year’s unanticipated selection of O.J. Howard is the best recent example for us.
    Go Bucs!!

    P.S. Giving a regime the time to rebuild trumps the pressure to win now in my book. I think the Glazer triumvirate has seen the light. This is, of course, a whole other discussion or debate.

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  27. Darnold
    All gone by time Bucs pick Derwin James, DB, Florida State or Denzel Ward, DB, Ohio State is who Bucs will get and for the next 15 years we will be the team that pasted on Baker Mayfield,

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    • WHAAT !!! By your thinking, there will actually be 6 OTHER teams that passed on B Mayfield. Plus, we are the team who already HAS a QB, unlike all those others. They will have all made the MUCH bigger mistake than us. Maybe we will be the team that passed on Fitzpatrick or J Jackson!! The draft is basically a big crap-shoot and the teams who get the luckiest and do the most homework usually look like they had the best draft. People look back and say what a horrible draft but sometimes the team picks the PERFECT player that is the perfect fit and he turns into a huge bust. There is usually no way to tell until the players start playing. Remember, everyone thought that Ryan Leaf was a can’t miss pick, look how that turned out. Or G Adams, or K Carter, or Bo Allen, or practically the entire first round of the 2013 draft!! And so on and so on…

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      • Looks like you’ve paid attention to the Draft’s history of uncertainty.

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  28. I think you’re all missing the point Scott was trying to make by drafting Barkley if he falls. There might not be all the options you think we have drafting at R.B. later with no 3rd round pick. Right now our backs are UDFA Barber, and over the hill Quizz, you all O.K. with that? Ya’ll make it sound easy finding a good back in the later rounds, like we did last year? Don’t know why fans still devalue R.B.’s. If picked in the first round you get them on rookie scale for the best five years of their careers. No one knows if Barkley will be the next generational back, but if he comes close, we’ll win a lot of games. Like Scott says, he’ll take the pressure off Jameis. We couldn’t score in the redzone last year, teams could play coverage, and never have to worry about our ground game, or lack there of. We could’ve drafted Peterson back in the day but went with Gaines Adams I believe, we could’ve drafted E. Smith, but our coach thought he was to slow, if Barkley is there we better to not make that mistake again.

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    • surferdudes:

      I agree with you 100% when you say that if Barkley falls to us we need to take him. With any luck we won’t be in a position to draft a talent equal to him in the first round for a long time and if we do I can assure you Koetter and Licht won’t be around to see it.. There are so many ways he can help our offense and Jameis. I believe he is a plug-in player and no I’m not a “Go for a pass rush first type. I think FA has definitely improved our D-line and those guys that have to cover the monster WR and QB’s in the NFC.
      However do you remember what it was like when we First got Caddilac. and Doug. They had great years right up until they started getting injured. Running backs take so much punishment and while I am comfortable with our O-Line I used to cringe every time Warrick disappeared into a 1000lbs of D-Line. Barkley doesn’t seem to be a punishing runner like Zeke, or the A-train. In fact I’ve read he dances a lot to avoid contact. He would be like a new toy where the other two Grubb and Nelson are beast that look for contact. Finally I would take hime if he fell to us, but I would feel better if one of the others did and we could prioritize a second or early 4th round RB.

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  29. There’s a far more likely scenario where a guy like Barkley could get to us – a QB feeding frenzy!

    And if the feeding frenzy doesn’t happen, that means we still got good QBs on the board when we pick. We call up the other teams and say “Hey, we got (Rosen/Mayfield/Allen/Jackson). What you trying to do?”

    Win-win either way.


    I really hope the Bucs are not high on Hines or Walton because they really are Charles Sims clones. Their skills are more in line with that 3rd down back mold. If that’s the case, just go and resign Sims again and don’t waste the pick.

    I feel the Bucs should be looking more for a 3-down back, not a 3rd down back. That means Barkley, Guice, Chubb, Penny, Johnson. Guys like Michel or Jones II could be in that discussion but they’re more projection right now. Everyone else you just have to hope they grow into it.

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  30. Fab 5s are my favorite weekly must read as a lifelong Buc fan. Thanks SR. And yes please re-sign Mr. Licht.

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  31. I’d like to know where all these teams are that have such brilliant GMs that they have no holes, only a perfect roster with legitimate backups. They don’t exist in today’s NFL. The salary cap and the 53 players limit as well as the draft have changed all of that. There are no dynasties, though certainly one must acknowledge the sustained winning of the Patriots—while still wondering how well they would do in some other divisions. No doubt, Licht has made his share of mistakes. But he has done a better job with the draft than anyone since the miracle year of McKay. Free agency is largely a crap shoot and many of the top franchises like Pittsburgh shy away entirely.

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  32. I think we should take the Alexander Mattenson of Boise State if he comes out. Then trade up for the Gator’s punter.

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  33. Agree that the Bucs should absolutely take Barkley in all cases unless Chubb is on the board. I think that the Bucs will take Barkley and this is how it could go down.

    1. Cleveland Browns – Sam Darnold, QB
    2. New York Giants – Josh Rosen, QB
    3. New York Jets (from Indianapolis Colts) – Josh Allen, QB
    4. Buffolo (From Cleveland Browns via Houston Texans) – Baker Mayfield, QB
    5. Denver Broncos – Bradley Chubb, DE
    6. Indianapolis Colts (from New York Jets) – Quenton Nelson, G
    7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Saquon Barkley, RB

    The Bills have done too much to come away empty handed. They talk the Browns out of the #4 pick the week of the draft. The Bucs happily select Barkley who lands in their lap. Barkley is most likely to be the single greatest impact rookie in 2018. JMHO

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    • This actually seems to be one of the more logical top 7 mocks i’ve seen. I’ve read some mocks where all 3 fall to the Bucs which is absolutely insane. The Colts will most certainly take either nelson or chubb as both of their lines are so horrid. I would think that they would bank on Nelson for Luck and the running games sake. With that being said Colts take either Chubb or Nelson right? If this Mock is true, in which Buffalo trades the 12th for the 4th and selects Mayfield…then good news. The Bucs just got the most electrifying player in the draft and a 1st round steal again.

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  34. In terms of talent not needs he’s the best player in the draft period., nuff said. I really doubt he’s going to be there. If he’s there we take him no question regardless of who’s still on the board.

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  35. Come on Pewter Report there is virtually no chance 5 running backs are off the board before the Bucs 2nd round pick. If 5 have been taken at that point it would be great news for the Bucs because that would most likely result in at least one of the following available:
    Josh Jackson, Mike Hughes, Will Hernandez, Isaiah Wynn or Taven Bryan.

    Derwin James or Quenton Nelson in the first with one of those five in the second should significantly improve the Bucs team.

    Then in the 4th or 5th round the Bucs could target
    Royce Freeman from Oregon
    Bo Scarbrough from Alabmama
    Justin Jackson from Northwestern

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  36. Have you guys noticed how awkward it is doing a mock draft without a 3rd round pick. it drops from 38 to 102 which happens to be the sweet spot for a lot of RB’s and DB’s. Of course after about pick 15 it becomes a crap shoot anyway, but the popular prospect lists are out the window for the Buc’s mid round needs. Maybe this will force us to go best available 4 thru 7.

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  37. I think getting Barkley would be awesome. But then you better give me a guard with our next pick. Then defensive players the rest of the way. But I love the bit about Jason Licht, definitely think he’s been the best GM we’ve had in a long time. And I like probably most Bucs would agree that the start to his tenure was rather weird, I think this guy will at least resign Ali Marpet and Kwon Alexander to finish our resignings if not also Donovan Smith. And will nail this draft that will get us the help we need. It absolutely is on Koetter and the coaches at this point. Not only should he be extended no matter the outcome of this season, but allowed to hire his own head coach, with him being the headhunter no interference…if that were to fail after, then you can get rid of him. But right now Licht or The Glazers aren’t the issue with this franchise.

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  38. This time of year is always so enjoyable with all of us fans convincing ourselves that we could easily be the GM of a NFL team and do as good a job. We always expect perfection. With the declining success rate of draftees, as the Draft progresses through nearly 400 chances, I suppose luck might fall our way a time or two. But look what we do. We are, for the most part, using information gathered by other people. We watch all of those “experts” on NFL Network and ESPN, read the Draft magazines on the racks at Publix and our own Pewter Report gang’s offerings, maybe watch a few Youtube videos and watch some college games on which to base our minuscule evaluations by comparison. Of course the focus is primarily on the anticipated top 50 or so players. NFL caliber players identified by someone else…..not us.

    Instead of coming up with a half dozen scenarios when there is virtually nothing at stake (like your job) and then later regurgitating the “woulda, coulda, shoulda” before the final results of a player’s NFL journey are known; try an exercise more in line with what a GM actually has to face.

    When each Bucs’ turn comes up, make your pick, write it down and then follow that player’s career, as well as the player actually selected by Jason Licht, and see how you’d have fared in 3-5 years. Not so easy. Decisions in the heat of battle with the clock ticking and so much on the line are not quite the same as deciding whether to get the banana cream or coconut cream pie for desert.

    Every GM the Bucs have had made what turned out to be great picks and many not so great picks. The dumbest for me was OG Bret Moritz in 1978, not PK Roberto Arguayo. Sometimes it’s pure luck or pure misfortune. Overall, I think Jason Licht’s Drafts and undrafted college free agents have been very good as long as VH111 develops this season. Focusing on the unconventional selection of a kicker who seemed very safe at the time is missing the bigger picture. Maybe the holes in the roster were much bigger than we thought when Jason arrived.

    They are like holes in a leaking roof. Much easier to fix if you know where those holes are. Right now the holes are less than many think and easily identified. Time is near to get the Roof Patch. The biggest need for me is CB followed by RB then DT, OG and OT to a lesser degree. Hopefully when Jason is “on the clock” the needs and BPA will align.

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    • I to look forward to this time of year. Scubog gets to lecture posters this time of year on how ridiculous many of the comments are. LOL, what you stated is completely true. I guess the morale of this post is that this time next year I will look for your post so articulately well written fall on deaf ears yet AGAIN. What the sickest part is though is we will occasionally glance at a few of them! Keep em coming SCUBOG!

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      • Thanks DBuc63. I enjoy this time of year since traditionally it’s all we had to look forward to back in the Bucco Bruce days. Back then I wasted a lot of time trying to find out any tidbit of information on which to make my hoped for predictions.

        Now I just find some of the comments totally hysterical. I also find many of them very thoughtful and thought provoking. People take a lot of time researching and coming up with limitless scenarios that should be for fun. It’s when the people blow their stacks if someone mentions a player neither know much about and scoff at the opinion that cracks me up.

        Me, with my limited knowledge, I think OG Quinton Nelson is probably the safest choice at #7. But he could turn out to be OT Charles McRae (also a 7th pick). Hard to top a star running back when, even as a rookie, they can make an impact.

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  39. Licht gets a lot more flak than he deserves from posters on PR. First off, he’s brought us Winston, M Evans, J Evans, Alexander, Marpet, Beckwith, VH3 (Jury’s still out), and arguably D Smith (I still think he may be a better G than LT.) Those are quite a few starters he’s drafted in 4 years. Sure, some will argue that M Evans and Winston were “no brainers.” But there was A LOT of debate, and still to this day, regarding Winston vs Mariota. I’m also happy we got M Evans instead of OBJ.

    It’s easy for us to point out the misses like Aguayo, but let’s all be honest with ourselves, NOBODY saw that dumpster fire coming after his college career. People call VH3 a bust but I think it’s more how he’s being played than his skill level. And again, being honest with ourselves, after Ramsey was drafted, VH3 was the clear pick at DB behind him. Hindsight is 20/20 and many on here act as if they wouldn’t have made the same choices at the time with the info available.

    Licht has a knack for finding talent, proven by getting Alexander in the 4TH ROUND, Beckwith in the 3rd, and trading back up into the 2nd for Marpet. I’d also argue that J Evans turned out to be a pleasant surprise in the 2nd round as well, playing better than expected.

    FA is a crap shoot either way you look at it. There are countless reasons players underperform and don’t live up to expectations. DJax and Swaggy were praised as FA wins…until they weren’t. Anyone who says they weren’t happy about those signings at the time is either lying or a glass half-empty thinker.

    They haven’t hit the field yet, so it’s far too early to judge this year’s crop of FA. One thing is for sure though, Licht definitely targeted the available players in positions of need to set us up for a great draft. Some of these players may not pan out, but he has no control over that.

    I’d like to see Licht signed to a long term deal. He’s done a great job rebuilding the roster so far. He’s far from perfect, but then again so is every other GM out there. I trust him to continue building the roster the way he sees fit and getting us back into the playoffs.

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  40. I agree with Plopes and that Licht deserves an extension but with regards to this draft. I think this draft is his make or break tenure for this team. He’s had many ups that have been mentioned and obviously remembered. He’s had a few downfalls that have been mentioned and very obviously remembered…Cough** aguayo AGUAYO!!! cough** im not even coughing at his recenet 6th and 7th round draft picks just cause well they are 6th and 7th round draft picks and damnit who didnt love Dan Vitale the superback?? Either way selecting Barkley or trading down should make us all very happy.

    Looking back on Lichts picks he has done quite well with the young core while the free agents have been a wreck. I havent looked closely other teams free agent activity but other teams signings have had to be more successful then ours doesn’t it? When we signed Desean Jackson we hoped for Emanuel Sanders production didn’t we? When we signed Anthony Collins we hoped for Donald Penn (i know…i know…) Hell back when we signed Carl Nicks we hoped the MRSA that ruined his career wouldn’t ruin the entire facility. Thankfully he had a great signing here and there (looking at you Brent Grimes) and even a decent one (looking at you Robert Ayers. Hope you find a job soon bud). Point is this years Free Agent signings feel like all the years past signings…Solid. I like the signings we have made, they dont feel over the top (even though we made the richest center of all time) and really help our team out in departments we need. So lets look at Lichts best strength and get to draft day strategy and for sakes of this article lets follow it to a tee. the No.7 pick is available to us and there on the board is the most sought after player now. Saquan Barkley. No more Chubb, No more Nelson. No more Quarterbacks worth taking at 7. The Bucs now have a running back in their hands that over the last two years the Cowboys (Ezekiel Elliot) and Jaguars (Leonard Fournette) have had. Respectively those two running backs had taken their teams to the playoffs right out the gate in their Rookie year. So why shouldn’t the Bucs?

    The fact of those previous seasons for those teams makes it okay for me for the Bucs to take Barkley. Think about it. The bucs wouldnt have to worry about the running game and would be an incredible weapon out of the backfield catching passes. It would ultimately help Winston and the offense and with our revamped offense including Howard picking up blocks we could be set for a great offense resurgence. Im not saying this would be Lichts plan with Barkley at 7. In fact trading back with a team willing and selecting a defensive back much like the draft with Hargreaves could be possible. But considering its a deep draft at CB and we beefed up our line somewhat, having Barkley fall to 7 might just save Licht and the Buccaneers for the next many years.

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