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.
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
If 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.
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.