FAB 5. SR’s Buc Shots

• Buccaneers defensive tackle and Oklahoma alum Gerald McCoy was asked about the prospects of Tampa Bay drafting Sooners pass rusher Ogbonnia Okoronkwo while he was at the Pro Bowl this week.

Oklahoma DE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo - Photo by: Getty Images
Oklahoma DE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo – Photo by: Getty Images

“He can rush,” McCoy said of Okoronkwo. “He can rush. He’s a real rusher, not just running around guys. He has a gamut of different moves. If we can get him, then that’s great. I can help him out and school him up. He has what it takes.”

McCoy doesn’t think the 6-foot-1, 243-pound Okoronkwo is big enough to play defensive end in a 4-3 scheme.

“I don’t think so,” McCoy said. “He’s a stand-up guy. That is what he did for the past two years. But if we get him and need to put his hand it the dirt, we can make it happen.”

• North Carolina defensive ends Bradley Chubb and Kentavius Street have been getting a lot of attention this offseason as draft prospects, but the interior defensive linemen that played in between them – defensive tackles B.J. Hill and Justin Jones – both had a very good week in Mobile, Ala. at the Senior Bowl. Jones was perhaps a bit more dominant in one-on-one pass rushing drills, but both Wolfback defenders, who tip the scales at over 310 pounds, made a very favorable impression.

However, the top defensive lineman at the Senior Bowl was Fort Hays State defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd, who is from a Division II school. Shepherd, who was profiled in last week’s SR’s Fab 5, weighed in at just under 6-foot-4, 310 pounds. He broke a bone in his hand during the practice on Wednesday and won’t play in the game, but opened plenty of eyes with his size, strength and ability to penetrate. Check out this rep against UTEP guard Will Hernandez, who had a fantastic week in Mobile.

• If Tampa Bay doesn’t draft Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson in the first round there could be two great options in the second round. UTEP guard Will Hernandez is huge at 6-foot-2, 340 pounds and has good lateral movement for such a big, strong man. He’s a small school guy that really stood out and helped raise his stock.

The other guard that was noteworthy was Georgia’s Isaiah Wynn, who was profiled in last week’s SR’s Fab 5. The 6-foot-2, 303-pound Wynn played left tackle for the Bulldogs last year, but has a future at guard in the NFL because of his size. Wynn is tremendously quick and athletic, and is a very good technician.

• Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter, defensive coordinator Mike Smith, offensive coordinator Todd Monken, special teams coordinator Nick Kaczor, offensive line coach George Warhop, safety coach Brett Maxie didn’t attend the Senior Bowl this year. However, tight ends coach Ben Steele, running backs coach Tim Spencer, offensive line assistant coach Butch Barry, defensive line assistant coach Paul Spicer, cornerbacks coach Jon Hoke, and offensive quality control coach Zack Grossi were in attendance in Mobile to watch the practices along with general manager Jason Licht and the entire Bucs scouting staff.

• There is no news on the contract front with regards to extensions for Buccaneers players, and apparently there is no rush. The team doesn’t mind waiting until the summer or training camp to get some deals done.

The Bucs would like to work out a long-term contract extension for tight end Cameron Brate instead of offering the restricted free agent a one-year tender. Tampa Bay would also like to get a long-term deal done for wide receiver Mike Evans, who is entering his fifth-year option year.

Bucs CB Brent Grimes - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs CB Brent Grimes – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

The team also wants to re-sign cornerback Brent Grimes and wide receiver Adam Humphries, both of who are free agents, but is undecided about guards Kevin Pamphile and Evan Smith. While running back Doug Martin is expected to be released this offseason, the Bucs haven’t made up their minds as to whether to offer a contract to third-down back Charles Sims, who will be a free agent in March.

Tampa Bay is also looking into the possibility of doing some early contract extensions for members of the 2015 draft class, including left tackle Donovan Smith, center Ali Marpet and middle linebacker Kwon Alexander. Those extensions may or may not happen this year, but the team is laying the groundwork for them.

• Bucs linebacker Adarius Glanton suffered a broken leg in the Monday Night Football Game on December 17, but word has it that it was a clean break and is healing nicely. One member of the Bucs organization told me that if you had to break a bone, you would want to break it like Glanton broke his leg.

There is a good chance that Glanton, a special teams ace who showed a lot of promise last year with an extended look on defense, could be ready to go by training camp. Glanton is a restricted free agent this offseason and despite the injury the Bucs are expected to tender him a one-year offer.

• We’ll have a new Pewter Nation Podcast next week on PewterReport.com wrapping up our Senior Bowl coverage, in addition to a new PewterReport.com 2018 Bucs’ 7-Round Mock Draft on Monday.

 

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Scott Reynolds is in his 24th 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 spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his son's Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]

30 COMMENTS

  1. Trust me Scott, my expectations will be real low this coming year, I wouldn’t want to make Licht cringe again! Besides, why expect better results with no coaching changes, and maybe bringing guys like Sims back?

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  2. Scott I feel you are swinging way too hard to the negative side now this year, but I suppose that’s fine 😛

    On a bigger note, if we really are going to a 3-4, don’t be surprised if we keep guys like Barker and Siliga. While the draft is filled with a lot of guys that project as 3-4 OLB pass rushers, the only reason those kinds of guys are able to do work is because they have fat guys in the middle eating up blocks and shedding them to capture RBs. McCoy is wasted in that role, and I think it would be silly to think 7th round rookie Stevie T is going to step in and dominate like that.

    Baker especially has worked out of a 3-4 front before, so I can see him being opposite McCoy if we go 3-4. But who to plug in nose? Stevie T? Siliga? McDonald? Then there’s depth to consider even if we get new pieces.

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  3. fixed that for you SR: Until this team changes the losing, stubborn, trust my system, never make any adjustment coaching that exists at One Buccaneer Place and ultimately proves it by making an unexpected postseason run I won’t believe in the Bucs and won’t overhype this team again.

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  4. My expectations were reasonable last year and I think overall we will be better this year. I never thought we were a 9-7 Team the year before and I don’t think we are a 5 and 11 team this year. We have a few obvious holes on both sides of the ball but with some good drafting and aggressive Free agency picks, we can be a playoff team in a year or two.

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  5. Surferdudes is right.
    Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting a different result.
    IMO Desean Jackson should be released and Chris Godwin should replace him. Far too much money (like Baker) with little to show for it.

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  6. Bucs, how did passing on Calais Campbell and signing Jackson and Baker work out for you?

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  7. Scott, The Bucs PASSED ON KAREEM HUNT!

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  8. I think just about everyone bought in. It was hard not to. It wont happen with me again next year either. I also dont care if they go 3-4 or 4-3. Either way they must stop playing so much cover 2 zone. Theyve gota be more aggressive and play more man and blitz more or it wont get much better. Yeah where were the double a gap blitzes? Same thing i said all year. Well that and where were more slants to djax? First went for 41. And more draw plays? First went for 36. Then they dissapeared. The lack of coaching was unbelievable this season. Im stunned they kept the coaches. They must have promised some sort of changes. Cant wait to see what. I hope its starting now with the coaches drawing up schemes…considering they all skipped the senior bowl. Wow nothing to see there I guess. And I hope it then turns into a real training camp where they practice tackle football. That would be a great start. Bucs coaches, please take heads out of rear ends! Thanks

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  9. All this chatter about Baker getting a Half a sack and being released but nothing about our high priced defensive end Gholston and his zero sacks getting the boot.

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    • He may get the boot if they feel it would be an upgrade. Depends on who they think they can sign and draft. You can bet this year there will be alot of change on the Dline. Its apparent to licht that smith is not going to adjust, so he either gets a new crop of linemen or loses his job…maybe both.

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  10. I been a Buc fan too long. I remain optimistic and have high hopes for the Bucs this year – wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve been a glutton for punishment so long that I now consider it a badge of honor. We never give up or retreat, we simply advance to the rear! Go Bucs!

    However, there is something that I would like for anyone to clear up for me. Where/when did the Bucs ever say they were changing to a 3-4 defense? Where did that talk come from?

    Last I heard from our still DC Mike Smith as for the difference between a 4-3 and a 3-4, Smith doesn’t think there’s much of a difference. Here’s what he said “We’re going to base out of a four-man front. But again when you play with a four-man front, you over shift and you’re in a 3-4. You start in a 3-4, you over shift and you’re in a 4-3. There’s not a whole lot of difference in terms of what you do, it’s a matter of how you’re going to put your shell in the back-end. And I think that’s the thing that you have to do, you have to give the quarterback different looks. Your front, there’s only so many things you can do.”

    Serious question! When did he or anyone at the Bucs say different? I apologize in advance if I missed the update.

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  11. Seem to recall Smith tried to run more 3-4 during his last year in Atlanta and it didn’t go well, though I could be mis-remembering that. Hoping the results are different if he decides to go that route in 2018.

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  12. welcome to the no-hype zone, Scott. when schiano’s 7-9 team with a horrible secondary landed revis and dashon goldson, i thought we had ourselves a steady playoff contender. freeman on the rise, doug martin projecting as a stud, lavonte looking like an MVP type player….what could go wrong? that was the last time i allowed myself to get optimistic about this team prematurely

    since then i’ve been resolved to not get excited about the bucs until they are relevant around thanksgiving. at least i had 2016….

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  13. And I just don’t get the love Sims gets from Licht and the coaching staff. I understand he’s evidently a great guy and all, but come on, when he’s in the game he might as well wear a sign that reads ” we’re running a pass play”. There’s tons of other “receiving” backs out there that can actually returns kicks and punts and offer more production in the run game.

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  14. To all of the Pewter Reporters. Thank you for so much insight into the players at the Senior Bowl. Your hard work is much appreciated.

    In the “bad old days” all we Bucs fans had was hope and the Senior Bowl always served as the beginning of the Season of Hope. We checked out the college draftees and knew just one or two of those guys would be the saviors that would elevate our team to well…………mediocrity. We knew in a few weeks we’d get Mel’s Big Blue Book in the mail so we could figure out which players we should, could, would select. Of course then Draft Day would come and the Bucs would choose players who often weren’t even in the book.

    So now, the Pewter Reporters have become naysayers even as macabee, Horse, Surfer, Martini and the other Baby Boomers’ long awaited Season of Hope is barely underway. Say it isn’t so Ethel.

    But alas, I still vaguely remember coming off another 5-11 season in 1978 when no one had much hope for a “New Day in Tampa Bay”. As Gomer Pyle would say, “Surprise, Surprise.” “Worst to First” indeed. “Remember the Jaguars”.

    I have learned to temper my enthusiasm over the years. I don’t ride Raheem’s emotional roller coaster as I once did. I have hope for a lot of things much more important than the Bucs…………like waking up each morning. So until I’m told by my doctor, “Scubog, I HOPE you have a good life insurance policy, you’re a gonner”, I’ll have hope to relive that day 15 years ago in San Diego when Gene screamed the words, “There’s the dagger” and it wasn’t in my heart.

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  15. What could the coaching staff have going on that’s more important than going to the Senior Bowl practices? Considering the thin ice below their feet, you’d think they’d want to get a really close look at these prospects.. i also think the idea of a 3-4 base defense is a good idea.

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  16. I would trade two high draft picks for a local fan base that could fill our stadium with BUCS fans and would cheer our team through thick and thin. We seem to have the opposite of a home field advantage. I am so jealous of the huge advantage that the Patriots, Eagles, Cowboys, Seahawks, Steelers, etc, have.

    Regarding local sports writers who are so good at pointing out team weaknesses and dampening fan enthusiasm, I know lots of people who have ugly, under-performing kids, but it rarely does any good to point that out and rub it in.

    On the positive side, at least we don’t live in Cleveland.

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    • Ahenneke. Im glad youre not the GM. Its a bandwagon city buddy. Trust me Ive been going to games since about 82. The place was packed when they won around the time of the new stadium. The waiting list drove up the prices. I paid 6 bucks in around 1990. The bandwagoners drove up the prices then never went because the play fell off. Its a shame. Im one who believes a losing team needs the fans much more than a winning team. Too bad it doesnt work that way with most.
      Also the local writers have nothing to do with dampening fans enthusiasm. They write what they see and hear. We judge off the games played. Just like us they want the team to succeed too. Ya cant let others judge for you.

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  17. Scubog, hope, and expectations are to different things. With this team moving forward, I’ll be hoping for the best, but expecting the worst. My UCF Knights lost all their games two years ago. When they hired Scott Frost, and old man O’Leary retired I saw he had that it factor, and my hopes were rewarded with progress then a once in a life time perfect season. Sorry to see him go. Frost quickly changed the culture, the offense, the attitude, you could tell things were going to be at least different if not better. I’ve seen enough of Licht the last four years, and Koetter the last three to realize what we’ve seen is what we’re going to get. Don’t expect Smith to switch to a 3-4, don’t expect Koetter to become a genius in the red zone, or have his troops practice harder. The ping bong table will stay, McCoy will make the same we need to do better statements. My hope is the Glazers find the right people next time around, I’ll still be here waiting. Hopefully Frost wants to be an NFL head coach next year, and we make it happen.

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  18. Sorry Scott, but I see us better than your win prediction of yours. Yes we need DdE’s, but if there are no worthy players in the 1st or even 2nd round then we can fill those two spots with other needs or trade down and draft those DE’s in 3rd and 4th rounds. I will agree we have seen enough on the DL that Baker, Ayers,Silgva, and yes Gholston should go too; let younger players try to become starters. The Buc world has not come to already predicting another awful season; it actually is just starting for us in another week. I’m hopeful like many;t most of us don’t let it ruin our day to day life if we lose games. Now if we start off very poorly as to our performances from players and coaches then I’ll join the bandwagon to say NEXT! Can some of you please stop looking in the past of players we should have, could have, didn’t get, and move on to the thought of what are we doing about making this a better team. Most of us know just about enough of the game to understand we are all knowing of nothing. Go Bucs! Make it our year!

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  19. Bucs fell in love with Kareem Hunt at the senior bowl last, hopefully they continue to do due diligence, I know early on you guys were on Rashad Penny, then the switch to Sony Michel, however, I can’t see how Penny’s senior bowl will move him up or down, his film hollers loudly as a big play back, watched him in the bowl game where he went crazy and a few other games during the year, hoping he would stay under the radar even though can’t, I would love to see this guy in Pewter, but I do not think he will be there in round two, given the success of RBs lately in the NFL

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    • You know what’s hilarious? The spin that the Bucs loved Kareem Hunt. Sure they did, they loved him so much the passed on him THREE times and let him fall to the 86th pick (they had the 84th pick).

      If that doesn’t show you Licht and Co loved a player in the draft (after he becomes the leagues leading rusher) then what does?

      It’s almost as bad as the “rumor” that ownership comandeered the draft room to take Aguayo. Ignoring the fact that the GM paid a heavy price to trade up in the 2nd round to draft him. Now that, my friends, is love. Not whatever BS spin Scott and Licht want you to believe about Kareem Hunt.

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  20. Rashad Penny showing up in the senior bowl so far in the second quarter. 73 yard TD reception and a plus 40 yard run

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  21. I cant believe the OL staff didnt even attend the Senior Bowl. If they stick with this OL and they dont sign any free agents or draft any OL AND they extend the awful Donovan Smith, then I will stop wasting my time watching them.

    Philly was just named the PFF OL of the year and they’re in the Superbowl with Nick Foles as their QB.

    If they are that stupid, fire them all after next year. Lame ducks is what they are. Extremely lame

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  22. The only reason they’re going to win any games this year, is because of the weaker schedule. Roy Cummings hit the nail on the head, when he said that they were just going through the motions during training camp last year, lethargic etc. Most Buc fans are foolish optimist, but hey, what else do you have as a Buc fan. The Glazers are the real problem. They need to sell the team to someone who can run this team the right way!

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  23. On one hand Scott has finally come around to the idea that the roster is full of holes and limitations that keep it from being a playoff team.

    On the other hand, Scott refuses to assign any accountability to the GM who is in his 5th year building said swiss cheese roster. Instead Scott writes that he doesn’t “envy” the man who is most resposible for being in the position he is in.

    You’re a funny guy Scott.

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  24. Licht needs to draft down and get two second picks, then take Oklahoma’s Brown LT in the first round; then Cherry in the second (feature back and break away run back specialist both) and then Okoronkwo DE also in the second round, Stephen Shepherd as your nose tackle in the third round, Michigan State’s Center falls to the fourth round with all the controversy at his college and we take him so we get our All Pro RG back. If any undersized DEs are left take one of them in the fifth round, Pinero from FL Gators in the sixth, and a fast Special Teams Ace in the seventh. Use Free Agency for a DB and a Safety and a back up OL. Keep Dotson, Pamphile (as a back up OT), and Beneoch (only a back up Guard only), and our backup Center (not Smith).

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  25. That way you don’t need to draft a top LG, just shift Smith to LG and he will be an All Pro there. Save money cutting backup Center Smith, Sweezy, our pudgy Free Agent DT Bust, our old DE, and have McCoy as the three technique DE in the new 3-4 and put our 6’8” DE for the 5 technique from Michigan State who is solid against the run despite no sacks as the DE on the other side. Put our two LSU MLBs in the middle and David on one side as an OLB and Okoronkwo as the OLB on the other side. Make those changes and insist on our DC playing more man to man and an aggressive 3-4, and I will be optimistic next year.

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  26. Thought provoking SR5

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  27. You are rounding back into style SR. 3 in a row, albeit late, but good. You know I am the ever optimist. And It sucks not to have hope. But with all being considered I’m kind of waiting for the shoe to drop and we go hunting for a new front office…ugggghhhh

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