• In my conversation with former Bucs wide receivers coach Skyler Fulton, I presented a different side of the DeSean Jackson situation, and perhaps revealed why new Bucs head coach Bruce Arians is interested in keeping him in Tampa Bay. I’m not necessarily saying that’s a great idea, especially after speaking with a former Bucs assistant at the Senior Bowl that agreed with what the Tampa Bay Times reported in December about Jackson’s behavior behind the scenes.
Bucs WR DeSean Jackson – Photo by: Getty Images
One of the bones of contention I have with Jackson is about his lack of willingness to play defensive back and break up an errant pass that’s coming his way. There were more than a few instances last year where passes were picked off right in front of Jackson and it looked like he wasn’t interested in trying to break up the interception, and that bothers me. So I asked Fulton about it from his perspective.
“I mean, I think that’s all just perspective,” Fulton said. “I think when you look at what’s going on in games and the kind of positions a guy’s in, a guy can always argue both ways. I don’t think that DeSean’s competitiveness or will to win or desire to win is ever going to be in question. If people do question that I just think it’s good to start conversation. It’s just a good conversation starter.”
• There is one more former Cardinals player that played under new Bucs head coach Bruce Arians that might get some consideration in free agency. Arizona defensive end Markus Golden was a second-round pick in 2015 and posted 123 tackles, 19 sacks, six forced fumbles, three pass breakups, one fumble recovery in the desert, including 51 tackles, 12.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and a fumble recovery in 2016 before tearing his ACL in 2017.
The 6-foot-3, 260-pound Golden had a modest 30 tackles and 2.5 sacks last year in his first season back from his knee injury. It’s not uncommon for players returning from an ACL tear to take two years to get back to their original form, and maybe 2019 will be a more productive season for Golden wherever he lands in free agency if he leaves Arizona.
Bucs DEs Carl Nassib and Jason Pierre-Paul – Photo by: Mary Holt/PR
But don’t expect the Bucs to be hot on his trail in March. Tampa Bay already has two productive edge rushers in Jason Pierre-Paul and Carl Nassib, who combined for 19 sacks last year. Nassib will be entering a contract year and the Bucs would rather reward him for a great first season in Tampa Bay than bring on a newcomer who is still recovering from an ACL tear. And keep in mind that Golden didn’t arrive in Arizona until 2015 and never played for defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, who became the Jets head coach that season.
One landing spot for Golden if he doesn’t stay with Arizona could be Oakland, which is need of edge rushers. The Raiders just picked up Golden’s former defensive line coach with the Cardinals, Brentson Buckner, to coach Oakland’s defensive line.
If you haven’t listened to the three previous Pewter Nation Podcasts – which are the three most listened to podcasts we’ve done to date – they are worth listening to, so spend some time catching up on them this weekend.
There is no better time to listen to a new Pewter Nation Podcast than on your drive home from work on Friday or running around doing errands or at the gym on Saturday. The next Pewter Nation Podcast will be taped Friday afternoon following the Bowles press conference, so make sure you listen to Episodes 101, 102 and the new episode – 103 – this weekend.
• The Senior Bowl Offensive and Defensive Practice Players of the Week were named this week and there were some surprising names on the list. Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham was named the QB of the week, but most scouts and media in attendance believe that Missouri’s Drew Lock, who is slated to be a first-rounder, is the better prospect and had a better week of practice.
Boston College G Chris Lindstrom (75) – Photo by: PewterReport.com
Notre Dame’s Dexter Williams had a good week and there wasn’t one true, dominant runner, so that makes sense. South Carolina wide receiver Deebo Samuels had a great week, but was it better than Ohio State’s Terry McLaurin? Probably not. But North Carolina State guard Garrett Bradbury was named the top offensive lineman with USC left tackle Chuma Edoga was named the top overall practice player, and those were very curious selections.
Boston College guard Chris Lindstrom was widely regarded as the best guard in Mobile, Ala., and the performances by Mississippi State center Elgton Jenkins and Texas A&M center Erik McCoy were better than those of Bradbury, who was often pushed around in 1-on-1 drills. Lindstrom will be drafted higher than either Edoga or Bradbury.
Alabama’s Isaiah Buggs didn’t stand out to me (or anyone else on Draft Twitter) at all during the Senior Bowl practices, yet he was the guy chosen over Mississippi State defensive end Montez Sweat, who dominated all week, or Texas’ Charles Omenihu or TCU’s L.J. Collier? Notre Dame’s Drue Tranquill was named the linebacker of the week, while Maryland’s Darnell Savage was the defensive back of the week.
I think the reason why a lot of these unheralded players get these awards is because the Senior Bowl wants to boost their awareness and draft stock. The same thing happened when North Carolina’s M.J. Stewart was the defensive back of the week at last year’s Senior Bowl. He apparently boosted his resumé with that honor, but to be honest, I didn’t notice him a single time in practices last year.
Bucs CB MJ Stewart – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Stewart didn’t stand out to me at all. Yet he wound up being drafted by the Bucs in the second round – ahead of Carlton Davis – and his Senior Bowl practice player of the week award was something the Bucs touted to the media after he was selected. The only time Stewart stood out to me last year during his rookie season was when he was constantly getting torched by opposing receivers as he was miscast by the coaches as a nickel cornerback – a position he clearly doesn’t have the speed, quickness or athleticism to play.
I had two NFL scouts tell me at this year’s Senior Bowl that the Bucs over-drafted Stewart, and that he had a fourth-round grade – not a second-round grade. So take the Senior Bowl practice awards with a grain of salt.
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• Outside of Missouri’s Drew Lock, there weren’t a lot of really good quarterbacks in Mobile, Ala. this year. West Virginia’s Will Grier and Duke’s Daniel Jones were the most high profile QBs outside of Lock. Jones has the chance to be a first-rounder due to his physical traits and intelligence, while Grier has the chance to go in the first round because there are always teams desperate for quarterbacks and the Senior Bowl can help artificially inflate some QBs’ stock, evidenced by former Senior Bowl MVPs Christian Ponder and E.J. Manuel being drafted in the first round, but bombing in the league as a starter.
The Bucs will be looking for a quarterback to back up Jameis Winston, as neither Ryan Fitzpatrick nor Ryan Griffin may return to Tampa Bay in 2019. New Bucs head coach Bruce Arians might want to draft one, and general manager Jason Licht hasn’t selected a QB since choosing Winston with the first overall pick in 2015.
Buffalo QB Tyree Jackson – Photo by: Getty Images
One of the players that shows some interesting physical skills as a developmental prospect is Buffalo’s Tyree Jackson, who had a decent, but not great week in Mobile. He was a junior that was eligible to play in the Senior Bowl, and he told PewterReport.com that he met with the Bucs.
“Yeah I have,” Jackson said. “It’s a great opportunity. It’d be awesome to [be drafted by Arians], you know the fact that he he coached Andrew Luck and Ben Roethlisberger and Carson Palmer and all those great quarterbacks. It’d be awesome to learn from a guy like that and continue to grow my game.”
Believe it or not, some NFL teams are happy when players don’t perform that well at the Senior Bowl and elevate their stock a round or two in the process. Jackson showed enough in Mobile to be considered a legit Day 3 draft pick, and that may benefit the Bucs if they like him enough because I don’t think Tampa Bay would consider drafting a quarterback in the first three rounds with more pressing needs elsewhere.
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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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