FAB 5. SR’s Buc Shots

• One of the most respected names when it comes to analyzing the draft is NFL Network’s Mike Mayock. In a recent interview on Houston’s sports radio show “The Triple Threat” Mayock revealed that he was miffed that he wasn’t in consideration for ESPN’s Monday Night Football to replace Jon Gruden or the new Thursday Night Football on Fox.

NFL analyst Mike Mayock – Photo: Heavy.com

Mayock has broadcast Senior Bowl games and some NFL games on Thursday Night Football in the past, and is also a color analyst for Notre Dame football on NBC Sports. I think he is one of the most insightful commentators and it’s a shame that he is not getting considered for a more high profile role. Mayock believes that his lack of experience playing football – he was a decent defensive back at Boston College and a 10th-round draft pick by Pittsburgh in 1981 – led to him being overlooked.

Instead of hiring a former player with NFL credentials, I think the league should look at the best commentators – period. Gary Danielson, a former Purdue quarterback, had a decent career in the NFL with the Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns, but is known more for being the college football analyst on CBS than he was for his NFL career. Danielson is one of the smartest, most insightful football commentators I’ve ever seen and I learn something about the game of football every time I watch him. I feel the same way about Mayock, who is always gracious enough to give PewterReport.com a draft preview interview at the East-West Shrine Game.

• Another week closer to the 2018 NFL Draft and another Pewter Nation Podcast for you to enjoy as Trevor Sikkema, Mark Cook and I talk about the Bucs’ pre-draft visits, discuss former Bucs center Joe Hawley’s van tour of America, and other various topics. Be prepared to laugh as you’ll be informed and entertained with this edition of the Pewter Nation Podcast.

You can click here to listen to Episode 69: Bear Necessities Of The Bucs Draft

Pewter-Nation-Podcast-Pewter-ReportIf you didn’t get a chance to listen to our previous Pewter Nation Podcast, which was also quite funny as Cook was in a very bad mood, you can click here to listen to  Episode 68: Draft Talk With The Angry Gringer

If you haven’t listened to this week’s podcast yet, it’s the perfect way to enjoy your lunch on a Friday afternoon or battle rush hour traffic on your way home from work. 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.

• One of the players that Tampa Bay is using a Top 30 visit on is SMU defensive end Justin Lawler, who had a good career with the Mustangs with 226 tackles, 40.5 tackles for loss, 20.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. The 6-foot-4, 265-pound Lawler is only a decent athlete, and most of his production, including 15.5 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks and two forced fumbles last year, comes from being physical and showing high effort.

Lawler, who is a fringe draft pick/undrafted free agent, is attractive to the Bucs, who are looking for mentally and physically tough players. That’s been the theme for Tampa Bay this offseason – finding tough guys.

But toughness can only go so far without athleticism, as tough guys like Lawler often lack speed and agility. Lawler didn’t get invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, and only ran a 5.01 in the 40-yard dash at his pro day. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Bucs use a seventh-round pick on him or signing him as an undrafted free agent, which seems more likely since they used a Top 30 visit on him to help in the team’s effort to recruit him if he does go undrafted.

• Bucs general manager Jason Licht and Titans general manager Jon Robinson are very good friends and have a relationship that goes back to their scouting days together in New England. Robinson worked under Licht in Tampa Bay as the director of player personnel for two years before being hired by Tennessee in 2016.

Jon Robinson and Jason Licht - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Jon Robinson and Jason Licht – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

So it came as no surprise to see the Bucs and Titans agree to practice together in Nashville prior to their August preseason game in Week 2. Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston and Tennessee QB Marcus Mariota have a friendly rivalry that dates back to college when Mariota’s Oregon Ducks beat Winston’s Florida State Seminoles in the Rose Bowl during the 2014 season, into the 2015 NFL Draft where Winston was drafted first overall and Mariota was drafted next, and into the 2015 season opener where Mariota’s four touchdown passes helped the Titans beat Winston’s Buccaneers.

It will be a treat to see these young quarterbacks square off in practice together for a few days prior to the preseason game. And it will be great to see Robinson again, who is a great guy and was always kind to PewterReport.com with his time.

• PewterReport.com is on the quest for 30,000 Twitter followers due to our continuous updates in free agency and breaking news about which draft prospects are visiting Tampa Bay. Stay up to date with the latest Bucs free agency news and Bucs draft news by following us on Twitter. Help us grow to 30,000 by draft weekend. To follow @PewterReport on Twitter please click here, and to follow us on Facebook please click here.

• Don’t be surprised to see Bucs general manager Jason Licht come up with another draft pick in the second or third round by trading up. In 2015, Licht moved up in the second round to draft guard Ali Marpet after selecting left tackle Donovan Smith earlier in the round. Licht infamously traded up in the second round to draft kicker Roberto Aguayo after choosing defensive end Noah Spence near the top of the second round. And last year, Licht maneuvered up in the third round to grab linebacker Kendell Beckwith after spending the team’s original third-rounder on wide receiver Chris Godwin.

Without a third-round pick this year as trade up ammunition due to the trade for defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, how will Licht be able to trade up on Day 2? Don’t be surprised if Licht does something uncharacteristic and dips into the 2019 NFL Draft to trade away a future draft pick for a selection this year.

Why not? The Bucs are in a “must-win” mode right now as Licht and head coach Dirk Koetter are on the hot seat in 2018 and need a bounce-back year. Licht needs to pull out all the stops in this year’s draft to fill the team’s needs and stockpile talent, and that may include dipping into next year’s draft for some additional trade ammunition.

I don’t blame him for having that option on the table. Why leave all of the draft picks for the next G.M. if Licht and Koetter don’t survive in Tampa Bay after this year?

“Sometimes you have to strain,” Licht said at the NFL Owners Meeting in Orlando, Fla. a few weeks ago when discussing the trade for Pierre-Paul. But Licht could also have been talking about straining next year’s draft a bit for help in this year’s draft.

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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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