FAB 5. SR’s Buc Shots
We at PewterReport.com always prides ourselves on our Bucs draft coverage, and our hard worked showed this year in accurately forecasting the selection of three Bucs’ Best Bets in defensive tackle Vita Vea, offensive lineman Alex Cappa and wide receiver Justin Watson. With college football season kicking off this week, we’ll continue to have dual focus on not only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but also the draft prospects for the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft.
Some of the draft prospects I’ll be keeping an eye on this year are West Virginia quarterback Will Grier and Arkansas State quarterback Justice Hansen, Florida Atlantic running back Devin Singletary, West Virginia wide receiver David Sills, Missouri wide receiver Emmanuel Hall, Kansas State right tackle Dalton Risner, Missouri tight end Albert Okwuegbunam and Washington safety Taylor Rapp among others.
Grier has a chance to be a first- or second-round quarterback with a great year for the Mountaineers. He’s a little bit like Baker Mayfield in that he’s a gritty competitor with a great skill set. Hansen is a bit of an unknown sleeper prospect. Is he an NFL-caliber quarterback that can be a pocket passer at the next level?
Sills led the nation with an amazing 20 touchdown catches last year and over 1,000 yards from Grier. At 6-foot-4, he’s one part Mike Evans and one part Justin Watson. The 6-foot-3, Hall has nice size and speed to burn, evidenced by his 10 touchdowns and 24.8-yard average. He Okwuegbunam will catch passes from NFL prospect Drew Lock. Okwuegbunam is a 6-foot-5, 260-pound redshirt sophomore who caught 11 touchdowns last year.
Risner is one of the top right tackle prospects in the country, which is a position of need for the Bucs, but I think he moves inside to guard or center like former Kansas State tackle Cody Whitehair did with the Chicago Bears a few years ago. Rapp is the latest NFL-ready Huskies defensive back and has five interceptions, two sacks and two forced fumbles in his first two seasons at Washington. I’ll have more prospects to keep an eye on in future SR’s Fab 5 columns, so stay tuned.
• New Tampa Bay defensive line coach Brentson Buckner had a whole bunch of new Buccaneers that he had to incorporate into defensive coordinator Mike Smith’s system this year. So I asked him how difficult it is to watch Bucs film with defensive linemen that weren’t in Tampa Bay last year and make it relatable to the newcomers so they aren’t on the screen.
“It’s easy to see because you always learn how to do it, or how not to do it,” Buckner said. “There’s some plays on there where guys are doing exactly what Smitty wanted them to do, but then there’s plays where they weren’t doing what Smitty wanted them to do – and that’s why I’m sitting here. Now they can learn from that. ‘Oh, he’s not here anymore, they fired the D-line coach. That’s not the way we were supposed to do it.’
“It’s good learning tape. And even for Gerald McCoy, who’s been here. He knows. He’s had some bad plays, and I can say, ‘Hey Gerald, that’s not how it’s supposed to be. Now let’s go work on it.’ And I can go in there when he did it right and say this is what Smitty wanted and look how much success you had.”
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• One of the encouraging things about first-round pick Vita Vea’s absence is that he has been able to shed a few pounds during his rehab from his calf injury. There were questions about how a big 347-pound man like Vea would handle the heat and humidity of Tampa and if he would get used to practicing in those conditions.
“Do Eskimos ever get used to the cold?” Buckner said. “If they did they’d walk around in shorts. You don’t get used to this heat, you just learn how to tolerate it and get conditioned but he’s getting used to it. He understands he has to drink a little more water, he has to rest a little bit more, but it’s making him mentally tough and he’s like, ok, I’ve done all that and it’s still going to be hot? Then you’ve got to just fight through it.
“I’m blessed to have four or five veteran guys who can help him get through it and they’ve all been like a big brother to him. JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul), Gerald [McCoy], Beau [Allen], Mitch [Unrein] and Vinny [Curry]. They’ve all been, ‘Hey, we’ve been that rookie, come on.” And they’re going to help him get through it. I’ve told them, if we finish a race and one of our guys is still out there, we still lost. I’d rather us all lose together than all finish and him still be out there.”
• The 2018 Bucs regular season is one week away and we are doing two Pewter Nation Podcasts a week on PewterReport.com. The next one will be recorded immediately following Thursday night’s preseason finale against Jacksonville. The most recent one was recorded on Friday night and is well worth your time either on your drive home from work Thursday afternoon or on the weekend. Here is a link to Ep 90: Preseason Points Galore.
Be sure to check out Episode 91 on Friday or later this weekend after the Bucs vs. Jaguars game.
The popularity of the Pewter Nation Podcast continues to grow. In addition to listening to the Pewter Nation Podcasts on PewterReport.com you can also subscribe to the free podcasts at PodBean by clicking here and on SoundCloud by clicking here. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode.
• Although he missed most of training camp, Bucs defensive tackle Vita Vea did make an impression on Tampa Bay’s interior offensive lineman during the first few practices before missing time with a calf strain.
“He’s a big man,” said Bucs veteran guard Evan Center. “He’s a big man when he gets going in one direction and he’s hard to stop. He’s going to be a definite asset to us. Really good guy, though. You can tell he’s taken to the coaching and wants to work hard and wants to get better and be the impact player that they took. All the stuff they were looking at when they took him at the number they did. I’m happy he’s my teammate. He’s going to help us out. Like I said, it’s a struggle to block him when he gets that momentum going that way.”
• Bucs defensive end Noah Spence was actually a big fan of Vinny Curry growing up in Pennsylvania and is thrilled to be able to play with him in Tampa Bay.
“Being from the by the Eagles, and growing up there as my favorite team and everything, it gave me somebody to really look up to,” Spence said. “I’ve watched him his whole career and he’s someone that I try to emulate my game after and try to get some of that power rush in that he’s got. It’s been good to be able to talk to him and learn things from him. It’s just been a blessing.”
Spence also had a fan-boy moment with new Bucs defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.
JPP is another one that my dad used to send me film of when I was in high school, saying, ‘Do this this weekend – I’ll bet you get a sack doing this,’” Spence said. “It was weird because I have some of the videos still in my phone from high school when my dad sent them to me, and I showed it to him when he first got here. I said, ‘Do you remember this play? You got this sack on Tyrone Smith,’ and he said, ‘Oh shoot, yeah I remember that sack.’ I told him I’ve got it on my phone. I’ve got videos from those two guys and they were some of my favorite players growing up, so it’s been a blessing working with them now.”
• PewterReport.com has official partnerships with WFLA News Channel 8 and 620 WDAE that started during Bucs training camp. The PewterReport.com staff appears on News Channel 8 and the WFLA.com sports website regularly with insight and analysis from Bucs camp, as well as in-studio appearances on News Channel 8’s Bucs Bonus Show Sunday nights after the 11:00 p.m. newscast.
Be sure to tune into WFLA News Channel 8 to watch Thursday night’s Bucs vs. Jaguars game at 7:00 p.m. ET. PewterReport.com’s Trevor Sikkema is in studio with Sabo and Lucas this Sunday night for Bucs Bonus at 11:35 p.m.
• PewterReport.com’s regularly scheduled appearances on 620 WDAE continue with yours truly joining J.P. Peterson on-air Friday at 4:30 p.m. reviewing the Bucs vs. Jaguars preseason game and talking about roster cuts. Be sure to tune in!