FAB 4. More Bucs Draft Notes

I received a lot of positive feedback about my Bucs Draft Notes from last week’s SR’s Fab 5, so I decided to include some more of my thoughts about the upcoming NFL Draft in this week’s SR’s Fab 5 column.

• The more I hear the excuses about Wyoming quarterback’s Josh Allen’s accuracy – he completed less than 57 percent of his passes in college – the more I am reminded of former Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman, who had similar size and a strong arm. Neither Allen nor Freeman had a particularly good offensive line in college. Allen had a sensational running back in Brian Hill to hand off to before his senior season, but lost Hill to the NFL Draft last year, which put more pressure on the quarterback last year.

Ex-Bucs QB Josh Freeman - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Ex-Bucs QB Josh Freeman – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Allen completed 56 percent of his passes for 3,203 yards as a sophomore along with 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions, but struggled as a junior, completing 56.3 percent of his passes for 1,812 yards with only 16 touchdowns and six interceptions. At Kansas State, Freeman had a very good sophomore season when receiver Jordy Nelson was a senior, completing 63.3 percent of his passes for 3,353 yards with 18 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. As a junior in 2008, Freeman’s stats dropped as he completed only 58.6 percent of his passes for 2,945 yards with 20 TDs and eight INTs.

There are some NFL Draft pundits that believe that Allen should be a second round quarterback, and I agree with them. If I’m an NFL team I have a hard time drafting a QB that completed 56 percent of his passes for less than 2,000 yards and fewer than 20 touchdowns in his final year in college. I think it’s crazy that Allen is being talked about as a Top 10 pick or even the first overall selection by Cleveland.

• I feel awful for North Carolina State defensive end Kentavious Street, who tore his ACL during a workout for the New York Giants. I had the chance to meet Street at the East-West Shrine practices in St. Petersburg, Fla. and came away very impressed with this hard-working, versatile defensive lineman. It’s a shame that this injury is going to affect his draft stock, which was in middle rounds before he got hurt.

I want to write that draft prospects should not be subjected to pre-draft workouts by teams other than the NFL Scouting Combine and their pro day, but I realize that these injuries are rare. Serious ACL injuries often happen in non-contact drills, such as the injuries that beset Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill and Minnesota’s Teddy Bridgewater. Street could have been working out on his own with a personal trainer when this injury occurred. It just looks a little worse that he did it working out with an NFL team, and I’m sure the Giants feel bad for the kid.

Injuries are part of the game. Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith, who was a potential Top 10 pick a few years ago, had a serious knee injury in his bowl game, as did Michigan tight end Jake Butt in his bowl game in 2016. Both of their draft stocks tumbled as a result. I remember being at the Senior Bowl several years ago when Oklahoma cornerback Aaron Colvin tore his ACL. Last year during his pro day, Washington’s Sidney Jones, a likely first-round cornerback, tore his Achilles tendon.

These are only a handful of injuries compared to the thousands of draft prospects that go through the pre-draft process of all-star games, workouts and pro days unscathed. But if I’m an NFL agent, I let my prospects’ college tape speak for itself and limit the risk of injury by having my client skip workouts for teams and only perform at the NFL Scouting Combine if he gets the invite and his pro day. You only get drafted once and the risk seems far greater than the reward.

Bucs QB Jameis Winston and GM Jason Licht - Photo by: Bucs
Bucs QB Jameis Winston and GM Jason Licht – Photo by: Bucs

• With the talent available this year, where the Bucs are picking and the players they have brought in for pre-draft visits, I feel pretty good about the prospects of Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht having a very good draft again this year. If the Bucs can have another draft similar to the one the team experienced in 2015 when Tampa Bay drafted quarterback Jameis Winston, offensive linemen Donovan Smith and Ali Marpet and middle linebacker Kwon Alexander, and last year when the team selected tight end O.J. Howard, safety Justin Evans, wide receiver Chris Godwin and linebacker Kendell Beckwith, this franchise should solidify a roster that has enough talent to be a perennial playoff contender for at least the next five years or so.

Then it’s up to the players to work hard and live up to their talent, and the coaches to use their players wisely and continue to develop them. If Licht plays his cards right and comes away with a strong safety, a cornerback, a pass-rushing defensive tackle, a guard and two running backs in this draft class the Bucs should theoretically not have any glaring weaknesses on their roster – provided that there aren’t any major busts from this haul.

• Two late-round safeties to keep an eye on in Tampa Bay are Wisconsin’s Natrell Jamerson and Penn State’s Troy Apke. The Bucs had defensive backs coaches on both campuses to work out Jamerson and Apke, who have one thing in common aside from being Big Ten safeties – speed.

Jamerson, who hails from Ocala, Fla., turned heads with a 4.40 time in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine and benching 225 pounds 20 times despite being 6-foot, 198 pounds. Jamerson started his Badgers career at nickel cornerback before moving to safety during his senior season. Jamerson returned kicks at Wisconsin, and had one touchdown, in addition to being heavily used on the coverage teams where he recorded 20 tackles over his career. Jamerson needs to spend a developmental year learning the nuances of playing safety, but can shine on special teams in the meantime.

Apke, who is 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, opened eyes at the NFL Scouting Combine when he blazed a 4.34 in the 40-yard dash. He also dazzled in the 20-yard short shuttle with a 4.03 time, and in the three-cone drill with a 6.56 time. Apke, who only started one year for the Nittany Lions, needs to work on his ball awareness and his tackling, but could star on special teams as he develops.

Notre Dame LT Mike McGlinchey - Photo by: Getty Images
Notre Dame LT Mike McGlinchey – Photo by: Getty Images

• It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Bucs brought in Notre Dame left tackle Mike McGlinchey for a Top 30 pre-draft visit. The top offensive tackles usually go in the top 15, and McGlinchey is the best of this year’s class, and also played next to guard Quenton Nelson, who is considered to be a Top 10 pick in this year’s draft. McGlinchey

Some NFL scouts believe that McGlinchey is better suited to play right tackle – where he can be great – rather than left tackle in the NFL – where he can be good. Tampa Bay right tackle Demar Dotson is entering his 10th season with the team and will turn 33 in October. With the Bucs planning on moving Caleb Benenoch to guard this year to compete for a starting job with J.R. Sweezy, Tampa Bay could use an heir apparent to Dotson.

McGlinchey also squared off against North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb and Florida State defensive end Josh Sweat, and could have provided some draft intel on both of those players to the Bucs’ brass. Don’t be surprised if the Cleveland Browns select McGlinchey with the fourth overall pick as they lost future Hall of Famer Joe Thomas to retirement this offseason. The Browns will use their first-round pick on a quarterback and will need a left tackle to provide blindside protection.

• If I had to guess who the Bucs will select at No. 7 right now, I would say Penn State running back Saquon Barkley or Florida State strong safety Derwin James. Either way, I see the Bucs going with a cornerback near the top of the second round. Stay tuned to PewterReport.com as the 2018 NFL Draft is less than two weeks away.

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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]

28 COMMENTS

  1. Will Pewter Report be live streaming during the draft like last year?

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    • They announced on the “Bear Necessities” podcast that they will be.

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      • Thanks, I must’ve missed that while listening

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  2. Scott, I’m guessing that the girlfriend didn’t work out if you were going to watch rounds 3-7 in the basement all day? My first draft hook as a Hurricanes fan was Testaverde-to-Tampa and I became fascinated with all things draft after that. Speaking of drafting a wide receiver; my favorite Hurricane entering the draft this year is WR Braxton Berrios. He’s in the 7th-free agent area, but the kid is clutch. He reminds me of Wes Welker. He beat your Seminoles on the last play this year. He did that all year. Great returner as well. I hope the Bucs keep an eye on him.

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    • Agreed. Barrios is the perfect “slot” receiver and runs very good routes. I’d love him in the 7th. And if we go with safety and line in the first two rounds, Mark Walton if available in the fourth would be a great grab. His injury screwed his draft status. Kid can catch out of the back field as well

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      • He may not last until the 7th… I saw a draft board on an NFL board that had him going in the late 5th… I like Walton as a later pick up if they don’t address RB early.

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  3. Scott the WR from USF I can’t remember is name but he is 6″5 and ran 4.4 I think. Do you think the Bucs are interested in him at 6th round or 7th.

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    • WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling/USF 6-5 206 4.37

      Scantling is 6-5 206 has Mike Evans measurables and RAC ability – something the Bucs are missing. Scantling had a blistering 4.37/40 with a good Combine performance. 13 other USF players, but Scantling not at Bucs local workouts today!

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      • I like MVS too. I could see the bucs adding a potential KR/PR late. Could be at WR or maybe a 2nd RB or DB.

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      • Mac that is very surprising!

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  4. Berrios was always making plays for the Canes.

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  5. Been looking at it more objectively lately and hard to see why a team would choose us as a trade up option for a QB. After Denver at #5, the next team that might need a QB is Miami @ #11. If Buffalo @ #12, Arizona @ #15 or NE @ #23 are wanting to move up ahead of Miami, they just simply need to get to anywhere from #6-#10. Obviously the lower they they go the less it costs. Don’t think anything will happen until draft day when we’re on the clock, but depending who’s on the board, think Licht might be working the phones regardless.

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    • Good analysis. I’d maybe add GB at 14 to the mix. What the bucs need is 2 or more of those teams wanting to leap frog each other, and we’re the top lilypad at 7.

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      • If Denver passes on a QB, Indy would really be the top lilypad at #6, but agree on your thought. In a trade down scenario, it would actually help the Bucs if a couple of the top teams passed on QB’s where a couple of them are still sitting there at #7. Seems like one of the more unpredictable drafts in years, should be fun.

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  6. Like Penny as well, but both WalterFootball.com and NFL.com have mentioned Penny might be a bit slow learning the playbook. Know that’s one thing that ultimately doomed McNichols, curious if they’d take a chance on Penny if he has similar issues.

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  7. I think Pettis would be a great 4th round pick if we have already addressed either running back or corner. He would be able to learn behind Humphries and Djax this year. And just focus on improving our return game for now. Then next year when we need to pay our guys and Djax and humphries are let go I thnk a core of Evans, Godwin, and Pettis would be a great group of guys that can stay together for 3 more years at least for about $7 million a piece on average.

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  8. When I was 16 my big brain would’ve wanted to watch the draft, but if a girl came to my cave looking to please I’m afraid my small brain would’ve took over! Like the kid from Penn. He didn’t let one ball hit his body, strong soft mitts on that boy. I hope it is Barkley, but I’m afraid it will be James. Not that it would be bad, but people don’t pay to watch safeties. Barkley would have much more impact touching the ball over 20 times a game. Good info Scott, nice job.

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  9. I’d still like to see a trade of D. Jackson and even McCoy for more picks. Patriots have perfected maximizing trade value of star players with one or two good years left to get premium draft picks. Both guys are over 30 and will not be part of the team when we are in a position to make a serious playoff run.

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    • Looking at the roster, what’s keeping us from making a serious playoff run this year??

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      • D line might be better but old and still thin. D backfield is weak. On O line – LT , LG are suspect, hoping Dotson can still perform at a high level. Pretty sure we’ll get a good RB this draft and some good additions, but I just think we’ve still got quite a few soft spots. I’ve also been advocating that I’d move on from McCoy, not crazy about D. Jackson in the locker room and we’ve got great young talent in receiving corps. I know I’m the outlier here, but those two guys are just about done and have good trade value today.

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        • IMO Djax is not as good as Godwin!

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  10. Scott
    No wonder it took you so long to get married!

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  11. Scott, you can get drafted twice… Bo Jackson… Rare, but could happen again.

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  12. Great Fab 5 Scott.
    I think there are several other clear options for the Bucs to get some cap space for Winston, Marpet, Alexander and Smith extensions.
    JR Sweezy will most likely be released this year(If Bucs draft Nelson or Hernandez) or next year. Will Gholsten is another almost certain cap casualty after this year.

    So if the Bucs cut/trade the following after the 2018 season:
    Gholsten $3.75M
    Sweezy $5.125M
    Jackson $10.00M
    McCoy $13.00M

    That would free up an additional $31.875M to extend and resign Winston, Alexander, Marpet and Smith.

    Additionally, throw in the $20.922M option the Bucs will give Jameis, $20.00M in additional cap space added and the $9.00M the Bucs have available. All of this would give the Bucs $49.922M available for these four Bucs core players and the 2019 draft picks.

    I know the Bucs do not like to do it, but they may have to do signing bonuses for proration purposes to sign these four core players.

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  13. ANSWER? NO. please NO..Hell NO!!!!!!!! Shore up this pityful Defense. The worst (arguably..visually in the NFL!!) I’d go DE, RB, and the rest Defense. Ok…maybe Hernandez at Guard if he is there. But Nelson? I would not take him with my top pick. Yes, he is a long term solution and he will be good. BUTT..when has a guard ever changed the outcome of a Bucs game? I’m tellin yas all..If koetter and his sidekick, pressbox Smitty do not have a winning season? They will be dumped…like a bad habit!!!!!!!!!!

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  14. I would be shocked if Glazer’s gave a green light to use next year’s 1st,2nd, or 3rd rounds picks for any type of trade tool in this year draft.

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  15. Love Penny.

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  16. Hmmmmmmmm. I’ve always enjoyed the Draft and have watched it from start to finish for the past 35 plus years on ESPN. At 16 years old and a girlfriend wanting to give me a birthday gift; I’m pretty sure that battle between the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other would have been an easy victory for Satan. I could miss a pick or two……….maybe even an entire round.

    I like the current broadcast format whereby the first round is on Thursday evening, the second and third rounds on Friday evening and the remaining four rounds on Saturday afternoon. At least we get a bit of a break to review. Now I flip back and forth between ESPN and NFL network.

    Nothing will top the “Who the Hell is Mel Kiper?” Draft.

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