In wrapping up PewterReport.com’s 2019 Reese’s Senior Bowl coverage, here are some players that really stood out to me that I would target for Tampa Bay if I was on Bucs general manager Jason Licht’s scouting staff.
Bucs Targets On Offense
• Boston College guard Chris Lindstrom had a really good week in Mobile, Ala. and displayed the ability to anchor in pass protection and control his man in the running game. He’s got powerful hands and a nice frame. The Bucs met with Lindstrom and he would be an ideal pick in the second round to step in at right guard and upgrade the position.
Oklahoma guard Ben Powers also impressed, more so than either of Wisconsin guards Michael Deiter or Beau Benzschawel. Powers has great mobility and didn’t give as much ground in pass protection as the Wisconsin guards did. I think he elevated his stock at the Senior Bowl.
The Bucs don’t need a center, but Mississippi State’s Elgton Jenkins and Texas A&M’s Erik McCoy were dominant in 1-on-1s and definitely made some money this week in Mobile. If the Bucs drafted either one as an eventual replacement for Ryan Jensen or to be moved to guard I wouldn’t object at all.
• As a Kansas State alum, I was expecting to see a better, more consistent showing from All-American right tackle Dalton Risner, but he struggled in 1-on-1 pass protection drills, which exposed his athletic limitations. I think he’s a much better prospect as a guard than he is a right tackle. Risner interviewed with the Bucs.
Washington State left tackle Andre Dillard didn’t meet with Tampa Bay, but he impressed me from a pass protection standpoint, as did Washington’s Kaleb McGary, a big, long 6-foot-6, 321-pound right tackle. Coming into the Senior Bowl he wasn’t as highly touted as Risner was, but I think he had a better week.
• With DeSean Jackson’s future in Tampa up the air and Adam Humphries slated for free agency in March, the Bucs interviewed some of the speedier wide outs at this year’s Senior Bowl. Ohio State’s Terry McLaurin may have helped himself more than any other draft prospect in Mobile. McLaurin was one of the fastest players and defenders really struggled to keep up with him. He went from a Day 3 pick to a Day 2 selection, and the Bucs could use another deep threat. McLaurin averaged 20 yards per catch for the Buckeyes last year.
West Virginia’s Gary Jennings and Georgia State’s Penny Hart also impressed, and both interviewed the Buccaneers, as did South Carolina’s Deebo Samuel, who was the Senior Bowl practice player of the week at wide receiver. Samuel vaulted his draft stock to the second round with a great week in Mobile.
The Bucs are set at wide receiver with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin in 2019, and the return of Humphries with a contract extension and/or Jackson’s return would only bolster the unit. But if Humphries and Jackson aren’t on the team this year, Justin Watson, last year’s fifth-round pick, and Bobo Wilson move up the depth chart and players are largely unproven due to limited playing time. So adding another wide receiver in the draft makes sense if Humphries and/or Jackson depart.
• I was impressed with North Dakota State running back Bruce Anderson’s hands in the passing game and yards after contact ability earlier in the week of practice, while Memphis running back Tony Pollard showed great hands, terrific speed and surprising toughness later in the week. Notre Dame’s Dexter Williams was named the practice player of the week at his position, and it’s hard to argue with that. Williams showed a nice burst and vision, as well as the ability to slip tackles. The Bucs would benefit from any of these runners being on their roster, especially given Ronald Jones’ disappointing rookie season.
Bucs Targets On Defense
• There were several standouts along the defensive line, especially from the North squad that caught my eye. Boston College defensive end Zach Allen has size, strength, tenacity and enough athleticism to intrigue me. I thought he got the better of Risner during the week in 1-on-1s. At 6-foot-5, 284 pounds, Allen has the size to play the 5 technique defensive end spot and set the edge in Todd Bowles’ 3-4 defense.
TCU defensive lineman L.J. Collier and Texas defensive lineman Charles Omenihu showed the versatile to rush inside and out during the Senior Bowl practices and gave the North offensive linemen fits all week. Both are at least 6-foot-4 and weigh in the 270s and have enough size to play defensive end in Tampa Bay.
Two defensive tackles that stood out to me with dominant performances were Texas A&M’s Daylon Mack, who was every bit the Mack truck he was last week in East-West Shrine practices, and Western Illinois defensive tackle Khalen Saunders. Mack is powerful and has a quick get-off, while Saunders has power, agility and great hands. The Bucs would be better with either defensive tackle for Bowles’ attacking one-gap scheme.
Mississippi State defensive end Montez Sweat had a great week in Mobile, and solidified his first-round draft status. But I don’t think he’s twitchy enough and has enough bend to be considered to be a Top 10 pick, and the Bucs pick fifth overall.
Louisiana Tech defensive end Jaylon Ferguson, the NCAA all-time sack leader, is a good, but not great player. Yet, if he is there on Day 3 in the fourth round, he would be a fine pick-up by the Buccaneers.
• I’ll admit that I didn’t study the linebackers too hard while in Mobile. I spent most of my time looking at the trench play, as the Bucs will be focusing on improving their offensive line and adding a player or two along the defensive line, especially if the team parts ways with Gerald McCoy and his $13 million salary due to salary cap constraints. I taped the Senior Bowl practices and will be watching the linebackers this weekend now that I have returned from Alabama, but I do know it was not a stellar crop of talent to begin with.
• I did keep an eye on the secondary as the Bucs could use some more help there, especially at cornerback. There were some good safeties at the Senior Bowl, and it was hard to not be impressed with Delaware’s Nasir Adderley, who is considered to be a first-round pick and had a great day of practice on Thursday.
The Bucs have some young talent at safety in Justin Evans, Jordan Whitehead, Isaiah Johnson and Andrew Adams, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the new coaches move M.J. Stewart, last year’s second-round pick, from cornerback to safety due to his lack of elite athleticism and speed. I could see Tampa Bay add a veteran safety in free agency before I could see the team draft another one, so I focused more of my time on the cornerbacks in Mobile.
Penn State’s Amani Oruwariye was good, but not great. He has good size, but I question his deep speed. I feel the same way about Texas’ Kris Boyd, who is a tough, competitive cornerback that lacks elite speed.
Three Senior Bowl cornerbacks that would really help the Bucs secondary are Houston’s Isaiah Johnson, James Madison’s Jimmy Moreland and Kentucky’s Lonnie Johnson. Isaiah Johnson has tremendous size at 6-foot-2, and speed to burn. He was one of the fastest playmakers in Mobile. Lonnie Johnson made some big hits, and showed very good closing speed and instincts in blowing up a couple of wide receiver screens.
Moreland, who impressed me last week at the East-West Shrine Game practices, is a ballhawk with great timing, quickness and anticipation. Moreland is undersized, but would make an ideal nickel cornerback in Tampa Bay.
I also need to mention Temple’s Rock Ya-Sin. I didn’t focus on him enough to make an honest evaluation, but what I did like was his constant talking during practice. He was loud and really brought a real energy and some swagger to the defense. I didn’t see Ya-Sin get beat much and he’s a player I need to go back and watch some tape on.
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
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