SR’s Fab 5 column on the Bucs is exclusively sponsored by Edmonson Electric • AC • Security –the official smart home and security company of PewterReport.com
Table of Contents
For the past 40 years, Edmonson Electric • AC • Security has proudly served central Florida with electric services and now proud to add state-of-the-art “Smart Home” technology, security systems and air conditioning to its roster.
Whether it’s surveillance cameras, home theaters, or smart lighting, Edmonson Electric • AC • Security is automating your dream home. Visit EdmonsonElectric.com to find out more about controlling, monitoring and securing your home or call 813.910.3403 for additional information.
Control. Monitor. Secure.
FAB 1. Howard Needs A Big Year To Remain A Buc
The good news for tight end O.J. Howard is that the Bucs picked up his fifth-year option despite battling through injuries in his first three years of an up-and-down stint in Tampa Bay. Howard only played in four games last year and saw his season end prematurely due to an Achilles tendon injury in Week 4. The bad news is it hasn’t worked out so well for the Bucs that have recently had their fifth-year options picked up.
General manager Jason Licht picked up the fifth-year option for quarterback Jameis Winston, the team’s first-round pick in 2015, for the 2019 season. But after watching Winston throw a league-high 30 interceptions Licht wisely walked away and pursued Tom Brady instead. The move was undoubtedly the right one was it resulted in a Super Bowl championship last season.
Licht also picked up the fifth-year option for cornerback Vernon Hargreaves, Tampa Bay’s first-round pick in 2016, but he didn’t even make it to the 2020 season as the team cut him during the 2019 campaign.
Here’s hoping Howard has better luck.
He needs it.
When Howard has played well, he’s gotten hurt. And when he’s been healthy, he hasn’t played well.
In four year since being drafted 19th overall Howard has yet to play in all 16 games of any season. He showed promise in Dirk Koetter’s offense as a rookie, catching 26 passes for 432 yards (16.6 avg.) with six touchdowns. That earned him a 61.4 overall grade from Pro Football Focus and a 64.8 receiving grade. An ankle injury caused him to miss the last two games of the 2017 season.
Howard had an even better year in 2018. He a career-high 34 receptions for 565 yards (16.6 avg.) and five TDs. Yet he missed the last six games of the season due to a knee injury. Howard struggled to adjust to Bruce Arians’ offense in 2019 and had a career-high four dropped passes. Some of those drops resulted in costly interceptions. Howard also a big fumble in the season opener against San Francisco.
Yet he still caught 34 passes for 459 yards (13.5 avg.), but only scored one touchdown. A year after posting an 88.9 overall grade from PFF and a 90.2 receiving grade, Howard had a career-low 54.7 PFF grade with a 58.8 receiving grade in 2019. The dropped passes and lack of touchdowns negatively affected Howard’s confidence.
Howard’s Career In Tampa Bay
2017: 14 games – 26 catches for 432 yards (16.6 avg.), 6 TDs 2018: 10 games – 34 catches for 565 yards (16.6 avg.), 5 TDs 2019: 14 games – 34 catches for 459 yards (13.5 avg.), 1 TD 2020: 4 games – 11 catches for 146 yards (13.3 avg.), 2 TDs
Howard refocused heading into the 2020 campaign. He was also excited to work with Brady and future Hall of Famer Rob Gronkowski, who was a great mentor for him. There was talk in the media that Howard might be traded with the addition of Gronkowski. But that was never the Bucs’ plan at all.
Bucs TEs OJ Howard and Rob Gronkowski – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
“I think the trade talk was outside the building,” Arians said during training camp. “I never talked to him about it. All I talked to him about was getting better and he was going to be here for a while and believe it. I think with Tom helping him confidence-wise. And watching Gronk work, they’ve been a good combination helping each other – him helping Gronk learn the offense. It’s been great for him. He’s still a young player, and to be around a great player [will] elevate your game.”
Howard had a sensational camp and he and Brady quickly developed a rapport, especially in the red zone.
“He’s had a great camp,” Arians said in August. “He came back in great mental shape and physical shape. He’s making plays every single day, so I can’t say enough about him right now.”
Bucs tight ends coach Rick Christophel noted that Howard made some serious strides in August.
“I think compared to last year, right now he’s probably a lot better than what he was,” Christophel said. “He’s starting to learn to run routes – how to get out of routes. And I think being around Tom has helped him too because Tom’s given him some pointers. I’ve been in the business so long, [but] I don’t have all the answers. I know there are other guys that know how to do things better, and that’s only to help him. And I think once he keeps doing those things, and he sees those things, it’s going to help him become an even better player than what he is right now.”
Despite being the No. 2 tight end behind Gronkowski instead of the starter, Howard was off to a great start through the first four games of the 2020 season. He caught 11 passes for 146 yards (13.3 avg.) and two touchdowns, including a key score against the Chargers in the Bucs’ comeback win despite trailing by 17 points. Unfortunately he ruptured his Achilles tendon right after his TD and was placed on injured reserve. In limited action, Howard earned an 80.1 PFF grade, including an 85.3 receiving grade.
Bucs TE O.J. Howard – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Had Howard stayed healthy for the 2020 season and continued at that pace he would have set new careers with 44 catches for 584 yards and eight touchdowns. But that’s been the problem – staying healthy.
Howard is scheduled to make $6,013,000 in 202o. In order for him to cash in on a long-term extension he’ll need to avoid injuries and pick up where he left off from.
“What a huge addition to have him back because he was having a great year,” Arians said last week. “I think, again, the sky’s the limit for what he can do in this offense.”
Arians noted that Howard’s recovery is progressing to the point where he could be available to participate this offseason.
“He’s really close,” Arians said. “He’s not running on the grass yet but he’s really close. The last time I checked it was 85% body weight running in ‘AlterG’ and [he] looks fantastic. I don’t see any setbacks. If and when we can get together in this offseason program, he’ll be ready to go.”
Now that he’s spent two years in Arians’ system he’s much more comfortable in his role and ready to become the weapon he was drafted to be in the first round.
“It’s always a tough position in a lot of offenses from the different things they ask you to do in the position,” Howard said during last year’s camp. “But here, like coach said, it was kind of a different level taken to it with some of the things we had to learn in the offense. Last year it took some getting used to [in 2019]. Year two has slowed down for everyone in our room. … It’s just different things that they ask us to do in this offense at the tight end position that you may not have done in the past. Year two, like I said, is a lot simpler. It makes a lot more sense and now it’s making sense to all of us in the room.”
Bucs TE O.J. Howard – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
The key was Howard finally knowing Arians’ offense well enough to help teach it to Gronkowski. In turn, Gronkowski helped build Howard’s confidence. He also helped teach him some of the tricks of the trade he had learned in his five-time Pro Bowl career.
“I think the biggest thing for O.J. was just learning what we’re trying to teach,” Arians said. “That’s a very difficult position in this scheme and he’s come in and he’s got a great handle on it right now. I think Rob’s helped him confidence-wise – seeing how good he is and telling him how good he is. When you’ve got a guy like Gronkowski and Brady telling you you’re good, you’re probably pretty good.”
How good can Howard be in 2021? The Bucs can’t wait to find out.
FAB 2. Tampa Bay Has The Luxury Of Drafting Best Players Available
The Bucs are going to select the best player available with the 32nd overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
With every starter back from the 2020 Super Bowl championship team, why not?
Bucs GM Jason Licht – Photo by: USA Today
The only spot where Tampa Bay’s first-round pick would see the field as a rookie would be running back – if that player could steal some carries from Leonard Fournette or Ronald Jones II. Perhaps a first-round outside linebacker could rotate in with Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaquil Barrett as a designated pass rusher.
But where else would a first-rounder get any playing time in Tampa Bay in 2021?
It doesn’t matter, according to Licht.
“That’s a luxury we have this year,” Licht said. “We can pick who we think is going to be the best player in two years. That’s always how we set our draft board – what’s this guy going to be in two years? Everybody wants it to be in two games, but we’re going to take the long view here and get a player we’re going to be happy with in the long haul.”
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians didn’t rule out taking the ultimate luxury pick – a quarterback and an eventual successor to Tom Brady – but there won’t be a QB worth taking at the end of the first round. Don’t rule out a quarterback like Florida’s Kyle Trask or Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond later in the draft for Tampa Bay.
With such a well-stocked roster thanks to Licht and director of football administration Mike Greenberg re-signing all of Tampa Bay’s big free agents in March, the Bucs will be living in the lap of luxury throughout the draft. Not just in the first round.
“To be honest, you always wanted to be sure you set your draft board where you weren’t pushing your positions of need up too high because that’s where you make your mistakes,” Licht said. “Sometimes it just naturally happens and you’ve got to put the reins on it so you don’t make those mistakes – as many of those mistakes. It is a really good feeling this year that literally just about any player at any position we could take. I guess I’ll say I won’t take a kicker.”
Re-signing Ryan Succop has officially taken the kicker position off the board for Licht. I’m guessing the Bucs will probably abstain from drafting a punter too with Bradley Pinion still under contract.
What isn’t off the board is potentially trading back out of the first round, although staying at No. 32 would allow the Bucs to draft a player with a fifth-year option in their rookie contract.
Bucs GM Jason Licht and head coach Bruce Arians – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
“We’re not going into this saying we’ve got to trade out of that pick or that we’re going to stick with the pick no matter what,” Licht said. “That will present itself as the draft goes and we get closer to our pick. There has been several times I think when – and we’ve been picking high lately – it gets down to the 32nd pick and I’m like, ‘Oh man, I wish we had a pick right here because I really like this guy here.’ Picks 1-32 they all have a 50 percent chance of being a player, so the chances of a guy being good, being a very good player are just as good at 32 as they are at 1.”
Regardless of whom the Bucs select with their first pick, Licht and the organization will be drafting a future starter.
“We have to take the long view,” Licht said. “There are other positions as well that we’re going to need down the line, in the future. So we don’t want to pigeonhole ourselves into saying we have to take a certain position high in the draft. I think that’s one of the good things about our situation right now. We can take the best player.”
So which positions will the Bucs need to draft for down the line? Let’s take a look at those in Fab 2.
FAB 3. Bucs’ Positions Of Need – Now And In The Future
General manager Jason Licht said the Bucs aren’t ruling out any positions in the 2021 NFL Draft. Outside of kicker and punter, of course. But what positions make the most sense when it comes to Tampa Bay drafting a future starter?
First let’s take a look at the starters who are slated to become free agents in 2022.
Bucs’ 2022 Free Agents
WR Chris Godwin CB Carlton Davis III OLB Jason Pierre-Paul DT Ndamukong Suh TE Rob Gronkowski TE O.J. Howard RB Leonard Fournette RB Ronald Jones II C Ryan Jensen RG Alex Cappa DE Will Gholston SS Jordan Whitehead
The guess here is that Godwin gets re-signed and Davis either gets a contract extension or the franchise tag in 2022. As for the rest of the future free agents, the Bucs will have to wait and see which ones are worthy of bringing back after the 2021 campaign.
Based on immediate future needs, here are the five positions the Bucs would be wise to zero in on during the 2021 NFL Draft.
Texas OLB Joseph Ossai – Photo by: USA Today
Tampa Bay has three prominent, aging starters who are near the end of their professional careers in Suh, Pierre-Paul and Gholston. Suh will be 35, Pierre-Paul will be 33 and Gholston will be 31 in 2022. Finding an edge rusher to eventually replace Pierre-Paul would be a good idea sooner rather than later. There are some talented pass rushers in this year’s class, but guys that may need a year or two to develop, which is fine as long as JPP stays healthy in 2021.
Texas’ Joseph Ossai, Washington’s Joe Tryon and Houston’s Payton Turner are good outside linebacker candidates early, while Miami’s Quincy Roche and Northern Iowa’s Elerson Smith would be solid picks in the middle rounds.
It’s a bad year for defensive tackles, and the Bucs might be wise to punt on the position entirely in 2021. Washington’s Levi Onwuzurike, Louisiana Tech’s Milton Williams or Texas’ Bobby Brown III would be the best fits on Day 2, as would BYU’s Khyiris Tonga on Day 3 if Tampa Bay wanted a backup nose tackle behind Vita Vea.
Houston’s Payton Turner, Iowa’s Chauncey Gholston, Pittsburgh’s Rashad Weaver and Florida State’s Janarius Robinson have the size and scheme versatility to possibly replace Gholston as mid-round picks.
Gronkowski signed a one-year deal at age 31, and Howard, the team’s first-round pick in 2017, is in his fifth-year option. Add in the fact Cameron Brate will be 31 next year and is set to make $6.8 million, and it’s hard to imagine he’ll be on the team. If Gronkowski decides to retire or not return, and if Howard can’t stay healthy, it’s not out of the question that tight end could be a pressing need sooner rather than later.
The Bucs could go from having the league’s best collection of tight ends to a barren cupboard in one year. Boston College’s Hunter Long or Ole Miss’ Kenny Yeboah could be ideal developmental prospects in the middle rounds with the potential to start in a year or two.
North Carolina RB Javonte Williams – Photo by: USA Today
With Fournette and Jones II both in contract years and with a vacancy on the roster with the departure of LeSean McCoy, the Bucs seem destined to draft a starting-caliber running back in 2021. Don’t rule out a feature back candidate like Clemson’s Travis Etienne, Alabama’s Najee Harris or North Carolina’s Javonte Williams with the team’s first pick, whether it’s at No. 32 or if the Bucs trade back in the second round. Memphis’ Kenneth Gainwell might be an option after that.
In the modern day NFL it’s been proven that teams should draft running backs – not pay them. A quick look at the Rams’ and Falcons’ disastrous decision to pay Todd Gurley, and the fact that the Broncos overpaid for Melvin Gordon is proof that most running backs won’t be worth signing to a big second contract. Even the Cowboys and Panthers haven’t gotten the bang for the buck for Ezekiel Elliott and Christian McCaffrey since they’re re-signed with their respective teams.
Could Fournette or Jones return in 2022 on a cheap, one-year deal? It’s possible, as Fournette re-signed with Tampa Bay on a one-year, $3.75 million contract this year. The Bucs will need to re-sign Chris Godwin in 2022, and the star receiver likely commanding at least $16 million. Tampa Bay’s money is better spent on Godwin than Jones or Fournette next year, especially if a starting-caliber back on a cheap, rookie contract is drafted.
Reserve Kevin Minter will be an unrestricted free agent after this year at age 32, but the Bucs only have three inside linebackers on the current roster right now. Tampa Bay will need a drafted rookie to play on special teams right away and fill out the roster, as the team will carry four linebackers. But given the fact that Minter might be playing his final year in Tampa Bay and starter Lavonte David will be 32 next year, lining up David’s eventual replacement might be wise.
Kentucky’s Jamin Davis and Purdue’s Derrick Barnes would be ideal fits early. North Carolina’s Chazz Surratt, TCU’s Garret Wallow or Boston College’s Isaiah McDuffie would be solid mid-to-late round picks.
Interior Offensive Line
Wisconsin-Whitewater C-G Quinn Meinerz – Photo courtesy by Wisconsin-Whitewater
Jensen will be 31 next year, and Cappa might be worth more than the Bucs are willing to pay with another good season. Cappa was the only starting offensive lineman to not allow a sack in 2020. There is a chance that both return – or possibly getting Aaron Stinnie back on a cheap deal to replace Cappa if he’s worthy – but it’s also time to draft some quality depth and future starters.
Alabama’s Landon Dickerson would be a heck of a first-round pick at No. 32. The top-rated center in this year’s draft is coming off a torn ACL and Tampa Bay would be in no rush to get him on the field. The Bucs could also bolster the interior of their offensive line with the selection of Tennessee guard Trey Smith or Wisconsin-Whitewater center-guard Quinn Meinerz on Day 2 or Indiana center Harry Crider on Day 3.
FAB 4. Tampa Bay Only Has A Dozen Open Roster Spots In 2021
Just how talented is Tampa Bay’s 2021 roster? So talented that there are only about a dozen roster spots available considering the Bucs re-signed every free agent who was a starter on the team’s 2020 Super Bowl squad.
Let’s break down the current roster and see which starters are locks and which reserves are likely to make the Bucs’ 53-man roster this year. That will tell us exactly how many roster vacancies Tampa Bay will have heading into training camp after the draft.
Offensive Starters That Will Make The Roster
QB Tom Brady RB Leonard Fournette WR Mike Evans WR Chris Godwin TE Rob Gronkowski TE O.J. Howard LT Donovan Smith LG Ali Marpet C Ryan Jensen RG Alex Cappa RT Tristan Wirfs
Defensive Starters That Will Make The Roster
OLB Shaquil Barrett DT Ndamukong Suh NT Vita Vea DE Will Gholston OLB Jason Pierre-Paul ILB Devin White ILB Lavonte David CB Carlton Davis III CB Jamel Dean NCB Sean Murphy-Bunting FS Antoine Winfield, Jr. SS Jordan Whitehead
Special Teams Starters That Will Make The Roster
K Ryan Succop P Bradley Pinion LS Zach Triner
That’s 26 starters – yes, we included 13 starters on defense due to the team’s heavy usage of nickel defense – that are guaranteed to make the 53-man roster. We’re about halfway to filling the Bucs’ 2021 roster already. Now let’s look at the reserve players that appear to be locks right now to make the 53-man roster as it stands right now.
Offensive Reserves That Will Make The Roster
RB Ronald Jones II RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn TE Cameron Brate WR Scotty Miller WR Tyler Johnson OT Josh Wells G Aaron Stinnie
Bucs RB Ronald Jones II – Photo by: USA Today
These seven reserves on offense push Tampa Bay’s roster to 33 players. Keep in mind that if the Bucs re-sign backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert as expected, and possibly wide receiver Antonio Brown, that number climbs to 35.
The Bucs will likely draft an offensive lineman or two this year, as the contracts for Jensen, Cappa and Stinnie expire at the end of 2021. That rookie/rookies will battle center Donnell Stanley, tackle Brad Seaton and guards Nick Leverett and John Molchon for a roster spot/spots.
Tampa Bay will also draft a running back later this month, as the contracts for Fournette and Jones are also up after this year. That means that C.J. Prosise will have an uphill battle on his hands to make the team as the team typically keeps just four running backs on the roster.
Codey McElroy and Tanner Hudson are in the mix for the fourth tight end role, and don’t rule out the Bucs drafting a tight end for competition as both Gronkowski and Howard are in the final years of their contracts.
With Evans, Godwin, Miller and Johnson the Bucs will likely only keep two more receivers, and Justin Watson, Jaydon Mickens, Cyril Grayson, Travis Jonsen and Josh Pearson are already on the roster. If Brown re-signs that will give Tampa Bay five receivers and leave just one more available roster spot. Will the Bucs draft a wide receiver for the fifth or sixth final spot, or just stand pat? We’ll have to wait and see.
Defensive Reserves That Will Make The Roster
OLB Anthony Nelson DT Rakeem Nunez-Roches DL Patrick O’Connor ILB Kevin Minter CB Herb Miller FS Mike Edwards
Add in these six reserves that are poised to make the 53-man roster and the Bucs are at 39 players. It becomes 41 if Gabbert and Brown are re-signed. Will Tampa Bay re-sign veteran cornerback Ross Cockrell, who played well as a reserve last year? If so, the Bucs will be at 40 or 42 if Gabbert and Brown come back, too. Don’t rule out Herb Miller making the team again at cornerback, too. He’s got really good size at 6-foot-1, 190 pounds and snared his first career interception at Detroit last year.
The team is also high on reserve safety Javon Hagan. But don’t rule the Bucs out when it comes to drafting a safety as Whitehead is in a contract year.
Khalil Davis’ growth was stunted during his rookie year due to the team not having a preseason. The Bucs like him, but considering he was a sixth-round pick he’s not a lock to make the team. Especially if Tampa Bay spends a high draft pick on a defensive tackle.
Bucs ILB Kevin Minter – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Jeremiah Ledbetter and Benning Potoa’e are current favorites to make the 53-man roster over newcomers Kobe Smith and Sam Renner. But they can’t be considered locks just yet.
With just three inside linebackers on the roster, the Bucs will surely draft one more for depth and special teams. Outside linebacker Cam Gill made the roster last year as an undrafted rookie free agent and contributed on special teams. He also snared half a sack in the Super Bowl. Yet neither he nor Quinton Bell is a lock for the roster, especially if the team drafts a linebacker early.
So with 39-42 players already assured of roster spots – depending on the fates of Gabbert, Brown and Cockrell – that means that there are only 14-17 roster spots available for the defending Super Bowl champions in 2021. I can’t remember when such few roster spots were open heading into a season.
Because the Bucs have never released a draft pick higher than a fifth-rounder (fifth-round running back Jeremy McNichols in 2017) during Licht’s tenure as general manager, the first four players Tampa Bay drafts will make the 53-man roster in 2021. That reduces the number of open roster spots even more to between 10-13 players.
With the Bucs currently having four draft picks in rounds 5-7 it might be difficult for some or all of those Day 3 selections to make Tampa Bay’s roster in 2021. This could be the year where Licht packages some of those Day 3 picks to trade up in the first round or on Day 2 for a more premium player or players. Or Licht might be in the market to trade away a Day 2 or Day 3 draft pick this year for a more premium draft pick in 2022 and begin to stockpile future picks.
FAB 5. SR’s Buc Shots
• BUCS LIKE CB MILLER: Bucs G.M. Jason Licht spoke with the media on Thursday and was asked which young, players he liked behind the scenes. Licht mentioned wide receiver Travis Jonsen and cornerback Herb Miller. While Jonsen was a practice squad player for Tampa Bay in 2021,
Bucs CB Herb Miller – Photo by: USA Today
“We always want to bring in corners,” Licht said. “We really like Herb Miller and we thought Herb was really doing well in practices last year. Then he had a chance to play in Detroit and had a pick. He was doing that in practice all year. Really excited about him. We’re looking for depth at all positions, and special teams is something we want to upgrade and have some upgrades and get better at.”
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Miller went undrafted out of Florida Atlantic due to a pedestrian 4.57 time in the 40-yard dash. But he had decent production with 102 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 14 pass breakups, two interceptions and two forced fumbles in four years with the Owls.
Tampa Bay has yet to re-sign veteran cornerback Ross Cockrell and might not decide to in order to give Miller more of an opportunity to impress in training camp and the preseason to make the 53-man roster.
• THE BUCS ARE STILL BEATING THE EAGLES: Spotrac had an amazing stat when it comes to the 2021 salary cap and the offseasons in Tampa Bay and Philadelphia. The Bucs were able to re-sign all of their Super Bowl starter free agents, while the Eagles traded away their former No. 1 pick in quarterback Carson Wentz.
The #Buccaneers bring back Chris Godwin, Leonard Fournette, Lavonte David, Shaq Barrett, Rob Gronkowski, & Ndamukong Suh at a projected $33.25M of combined 2021 cap, or $600,000 less than the #Eagles dead cap hit for #Colts QB Carson Wentz.
• BUCS PRESS CONFERENCE COVERAGE ON THE PEWTER REPORT PODCASTS: The Pewter Report Podcast is energized by CELSIUS and broadcasts four live episodes each week in the offseason – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at our original 4:00 p.m. ET time slot. This week saw the Bucs have four press conferences with running back Leonard Fournette, head coach Bruce Arians, owner Joel Glazer and general manager Jason Licht. The Pewter Reporters offered up their reaction during this week’s episodes.
Here are the four latest editions of the Pewter Report Podcast to watch in case you missed an episode.
Pewter Report’s Jon Ledyard and Scott Reynolds react to the re-signing of running back Leonard Fournette and Reynolds shares a previously untold story about former Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman.
The Bucs officially announced their 17th game of the year this season with the Colts and Pewter Report’s Jon Ledyard and Scott Reynolds react to that and Bruce Arians’ press conference.
Pewter Report’s Jon Ledyard and Mark Cook break down Joel Glazer’s press conference on Wednesday’s episode.
Pewter Report’s Jon Ledyard discusses his top EDGE rankings for the 2021 NFL Draft and answers questions from fans.
Watch the Pewter Report Podcasts live on our PewterReportTV channel on YouTube.com and please subscribe (it’s free) and add your comments. All of our Pewter Report Podcasts will be archived there so you can go back and watch the recorded episodes if you missed it live.
The audio versions of the Pewter Report Podcasts will can be found on iTunes and Soundcloud. There is no better time to listen to or watch a new Pewter Report Podcast – energized by CELSIUS – than Friday afternoon on the way home from work, or early Saturday morning during your workout or while running errands.
• BUCS ARE DEFINITELY RELOADED: The Athletic’s Greg Auman notes just how much the Bucs offense has been reloaded with the re-signing of running back Leonard Fournette. Will Antonio Brown return too? The wide receiver’s asking price is too high right now. Stay tuned.
Let me try this one more time: Bucs now have 95.5 percent of their 2020 defensive snaps back under contract for 2021, and 88.7 percent of their offensive snaps. If they bring back Fournette/Brown, the offense goes up to 94.6 percent.
• SLEEPER PASS RUSHER IN 2021 DRAFT: The Buccaneers are fond of signing undrafted free agent pass rushers from small schools that either have tremendous athletic ability or great production against lesser competition. The was the case in 2019 with Khazin Daniels from Charleston and also last year with Cam Gill from Wagner and Quinton Bell from Prairie View A&M. Gill wound up making the 53-man roster as the fourth-string outside linebacker and recorded half a sack in the Super Bowl. Bell made the Bucs’ practice squad and will push Gill for a roster spot in 2021.
One small school edge rusher that Tampa Bay might have its eyes on this year is Concordia’s Chris Garrett, who has racked up 36.5 sacks in three years and set a FCS record with 15 forced fumbles. Check out the highlight tape of the 6-foot-2, 248-pound Garrett.
Scott Reynolds is in his 25th 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 sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
PewterReport.com prides itself on being the most complete, comprehensive news source covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and delivering inside scoop on the team found nowhere else.