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FAB 1. Bucs Will Draft A QB, And It Could Be Trask

PewterReport.com and other media outlets have listed several positions of need for the Bucs in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft. Not immediate needs, mind you. Because all 22 starters return for the defending Super Bowl champions, Tampa Bay will be drafting for future needs in a few weeks.

The Bucs could use an outside linebacker. There is a need for the eventual replacement for 31-year old Jason Pierre-Paul, who is entering the final year of his contract.

Tampa Bay could also draft a running back, as Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones II and Giovani Bernard will all be free agents in 2022.

Defensive line is also a need, as Ndamukong Suh (34) and Will Gholston (30) are also not under contract next year.

Tampa Bay also needs a depth inside linebacker. The team has just three – Devin White, Lavonte David and Kevin Minter – on the roster.

One could argue that tight end might also need some bolstering. Rob Gronkowski, 31, is only signed through this year, and O.J. Howard is on his fifth-year option. Cameron Brate, who turns 30 in July, is set to make $6.5 million in 2021 and $6.8 million next year. That’s pricey for a backup tight end.

But the one position that has been overlooked is quarterback. Tom Brady, who turns 44 in August, is currently the only QB on the Bucs roster. It’s a safe bet that the Bucs will draft a QB. You could place a wager at Bet365.

Thank goodness the Tampa Bay players want to skip the offseason workouts. With Brady sidelined from knee surgery until the summer, the Bucs literally don’t have a QB that can throw passes in practice.

Tampa Bay is still interested in re-signing Blaine Gabbert. I suspect that Gabbert will be back as Brady’s backup when both sides agree on a price. But I could totally see the Bucs moving on from Ryan Griffin. He had a cap value of $1.645 million last year, and drafting a rookie to be QB3 this year would give the team a cheaper option. Not to mention a player that potentially has more upside.

PewterReport.com’s Jon Ledyard makes a good argument for Tampa Bay passing on drafting a quarterback this year, while PewterReport.com’s Mark Cook implores the Bucs to draft Florida’s Kyle Trask as early as the second round.

Bucs QBs Blaine Gabbert and Tom Brady

Bucs QBs Blaine Gabbert and Tom Brady – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

I’m not advocating that the Bucs draft a quarterback this year. But I think the lack of any other QBs on the roster right now signals to me that Tampa Bay plans on drafting one. Not at No. 32 – but perhaps as high as the second round.

“If the right guy is there that we think is a developmental guy that has the upside that outweighs every other position of those five-six guys that we’re looking at, then yeah,” Bucs head coach Bruce Arians said. “We wouldn’t be against it. Same thing in the second round and the third round. If we have five guys and one is a quarterback and we think his development’s better than those positions, sure.”

But who? Which QBs are fits in Tampa Bay?

The Bucs won’t be in the mix for Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, BYU’s Zach Wilson, Ohio State’s Justin Fields, Alabama’s Mac Jones or North Dakota State’s Trey Lance. Those five will likely be drafted within the Top 10. So let’s take a look at four QBs who could thrive in Arians’ system starting with the best fit.

Florida QB Kyle Trask
6-5, 236 • Senior

Some NFL Draft analysts have Trask as the No. 6 QB in this year’s draft class. Other analysts have Trask No. 7 behind Stanford’s Davis Mills. I think Trask is a better fit for the Bucs because he’s more accomplished and has a bigger, more durable frame. The 6-foot-5, 236-pound Trask is a classic pocket passer. Some within the Bucs organization have said he resembles a younger, slightly more athletic Brad Johnson.

Trask came in fourth in the Heisman Trophy race after passing for 4,283 yards with an FBS-high 43 touchdowns with just eight interceptions last year as a senior. After winning the job from Feleipe Franks in 2019, Trask threw for nearly 3,000 yards with 25 TDs and seven INTs in his first real year in Dan Mullins’ offense.

TRASK’S FLORIDA CAREER PASSING STATS
2018: 14-of-22 (63.6 percent) for 162 yards with 1 TD
2019: 237-of-354 (66.9 percent) for 2,941 yards with 25 TDs and 7 INTs
2020: 301-of-437 (68.9 percent) for 4,283 yards with 43 TDs and 8 INTs

Trask had a plethora of weapons to throw to over the last two years at Florida, including tight end Kyle Pitts and receivers Kadarius Toney, Van Jefferson and Trevon Grimes. Even if he doesn’t have the talent alone to carry an offense, that’s not a concern in Tampa Bay. The Bucs have the biggest and best offensive arsenal in the NFL in tight ends Rob Gronkowski, O.J. Howard and Cam Brate, wide receivers Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Scotty Miller and running backs Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones II and Giovani Bernard.

Trask doesn’t have an overly strong arm and he’s not very mobile. He’s more of a touch passer, but he’s accurate, has great ball placement and makes good decisions. Trask’s mechanics could also use some work.

I wouldn’t endorse the Bucs drafting Trask in the second round at No. 64, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they did. I’d feel better about drafting Trask if Tampa Bay used its fourth-rounder on him, but I doubt he’ll make it to Day 3.

Texas A&M QB Kellen Mond
6-3, 211 • Senior

Mond was featured as Tampa Bay’s third-round pick in PewterReport.com’s 2021 Bucs 7-Round Mock Draft 3.0. He is Texas A&M’s all-time leading passer with 9,661 passing yards, 71 touchdowns and 27 interceptions.

Mond showed improvement in each of his four seasons as a starter in terms of completion percentage. He averaged 22 TDs per season in each of the last three years, along with an average of just seven INTs. In fact, Mond threw just three picks in 10 games as a senior in 2020.

While Mond has good athleticism and sneaky speed, he doesn’t take off and run with the ball that often. Instead, he prefers to stay in the pocket and make plays with his arm. Mond has a live arm, which is necessary to push the ball down the field in Bruce Arians’ offense. Mond can scramble for first downs and touchdowns when necessary, as evidenced by 22 rushing touchdowns and 1,609 rushing yards and a 3.7-yard rushing average at Texas A&M.

MOND’S TEXAS A&M CAREER PASSING STATS
2017: 117-of-227 (51.5 percent) for 1,375 yards, 8 TDs, 6 INTs
2018: 238-of-415 (57.3 percent) for 3,107 yards, 24 TDs, 9 INTs
2019: 258-of-419 (61.6 percent) for 2,897 yards, 20 TDs, 9 INTs
2020: 188-of-297 (63.3 percent) for 2,282 yards, 19 TDs, 3 INTs

MOND’S TEXAS A&M CAREER RUSHING STATS
2017: 89 carries for 340 yards (3.8 avg.), 3 TDs
2018: 149 carries for 474 yards (3.2 avg.), 7 TDs
2019: 126 carries for 501 yards (4.0 avg.), 8 TDs
2020: 74 carries for 294 yards (4.0 avg.), 4 TDs

Mond raised his draft profile at the Senior Bowl where he was named the game’s MVP after completing 13-of-25 passes for 173 yards with two touchdowns and a pair of two-point conversions to lead the American squad back from a 13-0 deficit to take a 16-13 lead in the third quarter. He had a good week in Mobile, Ala. and likely boosted his stock to the third or fourth round.

Stanford QB Davis Mills
6-3, 217 • Junior

Mills opened some eyes with a reported 4.58 time in the 40-yard dash at his pro day on social media. But most scouts timed him in the 4.8s, which took some of the shine off his performance. The problem with Mills is his lack of experience. He started just 11 games at Stanford and threw for only 3,468 yards with 18 touchdowns and eight interceptions in his career.

Mills is an accurate passer, completing 65.5 percent of his throws, and tosses a catchable ball with adequate touch. But his lack of experience often shows up in his decision-making and sometimes he has trouble locating his second and third read.

MILLS’ STANFORD CAREER PASSING STATS
2018: 0-of-2
2019: 158-of-241 (65.6 percent) for 1,960 yards with 11 TDs and 5 INTs
2020: 129-of-195 (66.2 percent) for 1,508 yards with 7 TDs and 3 INTs

Mills has some real upside to his game, but it’s going to take coaching behind the scenes to develop him into an NFL starter. The Bucs like Mills, but I would hate to see them draft him before Day 3 because he’s such a down-the-road project.

Arkansas QB Felipe Franks
6-6, 234 • Senior

Franks had an up-and-down career at Florida in which he helped direct the Gators to a disappointing 4-7 record as a freshman. That was Florida’s second losing season since 1979. But Franks rebounded in a big way in 2018, leading the Gators to a 10-3 record and a bowl win over Michigan. A fractured ankle ended his junior campaign after just three games and he lost the starting job to Trask as a result.

Franks transferred to Arkansas, where he revived any hope of being drafted with greater maturity and better play. The big pocket passer completed 68.5 percent of his passes with 17 touchdowns and just four interceptions as a result of better decision-making.

Franks prefers to stay in the pocket and make plays with his cannon of an arm. Yet he has the wheels to scramble. Franks has 294 career carries for 642 yards (2.2 avg.) with nine touchdowns. He rushed for 350 yards and seven touchdowns on 110 carries (3.2 avg.) in 2018.

FRANKS’ FLORIDA CAREER PASSING STATS
2017: 125-of-229 (54.6 percent) for 1,438 yards with 9 TDs and 8 INTs
2018: 188-of-322 (58.4 percent) for 2,457 yards with 24 TDs and 6 INTs
2019: 54-of-71 (76.1 percent) for 698 yards with 5 TDs and 3 INTs

FRANKS’ ARKANSAS CAREER PASSING STATS
2020: 163-of-238 (68.5 percent) for 2,107 yards with 17 TDs and 4 INTs

Franks had a decent week at the Senior Bowl, but didn’t raise his draft stock. He’s a late Day 3 consideration as a developmental quarterback. His mix of size, arm strength and ability to chuck the ball downfield make him a good scheme fit in Arians’ offense. But Franks is far from a finished product and may never develop into anything more than a backup at the NFL level.

FAB 2. Ranking Licht’s Best Bucs Draft Picks By Round

While the fact that every point scored by the Bucs in Super Bowl LV came from a free agent who wasn’t in Tampa Bay in 2019 was a well-told narrative, that doesn’t fully tell the story of the Super Bowl Buccaneers.

There were 22 draft picks on Tampa Bay’s 53-man roster for the Super Bowl, including 12 of the 22 starters. Right guard Alex Cappa would have made it 13 starters had he been healthy. Great drafting by general manager Jason Licht and his scouts played just as big of a role as the top free agents and trade acquisitions he’s added over the last couple of years.

As Licht enters his eighth draft with the Bucs, let’s review his drafting prowess round-by-round and identify his best ever draft picks.

Best Round 1 Pick: WR Mike Evans (2014)

Bucs WR Mike Evans

Bucs WR Mike Evans – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Forget finding draft day gems on Day 3. The true measure of a general manager is how often he hits on first-round picks in the draft. First-round picks are supposed to be Pro Bowlers. They are the foundational blocks to help build a playoff team. And they have a 47 percent bust rate, according to the statistical analysis done by The Riot Report.

Yet Licht has drafted extremely well in the first round. His best first-rounder was Evans – his first ever draft pick in 2014. Evans has become the Bucs’ all-time leading receiver and has made three Pro Bowls. He’s also destined for the Hall of Fame after beginning his career with seven straight 1,000-yard seasons.

Inside linebacker Devin White (2019), nose tackle Vita Vea (2018) and right tackle Tristan Wirfs (2020) are Pro Bowl-caliber players. Like Evans, they are big-time first-round hits. Tight end O.J. Howard (2017) has Pro Bowl ability if he can just stay healthy. Licht’s only real bust was cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, a first-round pick in 2016. Quarterback Jameis Winston, the first overall pick in 2015, didn’t pan out in Tampa Bay after five years. But he did manage to set numerous franchise passing records and make one Pro Bowl.

Licht has four big hits – possibly five if Howard has a big year – out of seven first-rounders. That’s a tremendous hit rate and better than beats the 53 percent average. And Evans, who is one of the league’s Top 5 receivers, is still the cream of the crop.

Best Round 2 Pick: LG Ali Marpet (2015)

Due to trades, Licht has had 11 second-round selections in the seven drafts he’s presided over. The league hit percentage for second-rounders is less than 50 percent, Licht has once again fared better than the average. Because he’s had so many second-round hits, coming up with Licht’s best-ever pick in Round 2 is tough.

Marpet gets the nod because Licht traded up into the second round to get this small school gem out of Hobart College. After a great Senior Bowl, Marpet won a starting job as a rookie and has played at a Pro Bowl-caliber level. Marpet edges out left tackle Donovan Smith, who has already signed two contract extensions in Tampa Bay. Good left tackles are hard to find, and Smith is a franchise-caliber left tackle.

Licht has also had a few more obvious second-round hits aside from Marpet and Smith. Cornerback Carlton Davis III (2018), running back Ronald Jones II (2018) and safety Antoine Winfield, Jr. (2020) can be classified as hits. The great postseason Sean Murphy-Bunting (2019) had last year puts him in contention, too. That’s six hits out of 11 second-rounders.

It looked like Justin Evans (2017) had the chance to be a hit until foot injuries derailed his career. That’s not Licht’s fault. Cornerback M.J. Stewart (2018), defensive end Noah Spence (2016), kicker Roberto Aguayo (2016) and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (2014) were the misses. It’s clear that Licht has drafted better in the second round in recent years.

Best Round 3 Pick: WR Chris Godwin (2017)

Bucs WR Chris Godwin

Bucs WR Chris Godwin – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

The league’s hit percentage drops even further for third-round picks. Yet, Licht has thrived in the third round, finding several key contributors and a few starters. The best is Godwin, a Pro Bowl receiver in 2019 and the team’s franchise player after the 2020 season. Godwin is the perfect slot receiver in Bruce Arians’ offense, playing the Larry Fitzgerald-role exceptionally well.

Licht also found a couple of quality starters in right guard Alex Cappa (2018) and cornerback Jamel Dean (2019). Safety Mike Edwards (2019) has future starter potential, and was a turnover machine last year. And inside linebacker Kendell Beckwith (2017) had plenty of potential until a foot injury he suffered in a car accident ended his career. That wasn’t Licht’s fault.

Running back Charles Sims was Licht’s first third-rounder in 2014 and served the role of third-down back for four years, but never played after that. The jury is still out on running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn, who was last year’s third-rounder. In yet another round, Licht has hit on a higher draft percentage than the league average.

Best Round 4 Pick: MLB Kwon Alexander (2015)

Finding Day 3 gems is rare, but Licht found one in Alexander in 2015. The middle linebacker was a Pro Bowler in 2017 and led the team in tackles in 2016. A knee injury in 2018 derailed his career and he hasn’t been the same since. After signing a huge contract with San Francisco in 2019, Alexander was traded to New Orleans in 2020. He lasted half the season before becoming a salary cap casualty.

It’s not often that fourth-round picks start, but strong safety Jordan Whitehead (2018) emerged as a starter two years ago. Cornerback Ryan Smith (2016) lasted four years in Tampa Bay as a special teams ace. The jury is still out on outside linebacker Anthony Nelson (2019) as to whether he can be anything more than a wave edge rusher. Not having a preseason last year due to COVID-19 stymied his development.

Due to trades, Licht has only had four fourth-round picks since 2014. Yet none can be labeled busts, which is an outstanding achievement.

Best Round 5 Pick: G Kevin Pamphile (2014)

Pamphile started 33 games in Tampa Bay, including 29 at left guard during the 2016-17 seasons. While he wasn’t a very good player, Pamphile was serviceable until an upgrade was found when Marpet moved to left guard. Still, finding a two-year starter in the fifth round is an impressive accomplishment.

Licht has found a few more starters in the fifth-round in kicker Matt Gay (2019) and Caleb Benenoch (2016), who started 22 games, including 16 at right guard in 2018. Gay is kicking well for the Rams, while Benenoch is out of the league. Justin Watson (2018) has been a key special teams player, but hasn’t developed as a wide receiver.

Guard Kadeem Edwards (2014), wide receiver Kenny Bell (2015) and running back Jeremy McNichols (2017) were the only busts. But Licht is yet again beating the league average in the fifth round.

Wide receiver Tyler Johnson (2020) should be Licht’s best fifth-round pick when it’s all said and done. The Minnesota product posted 12 catches for 169 yards (14.1 avg.) and two touchdowns as a rookie. Johnson added two more receptions for 31 yards in the postseason. He will battle Scotty Miller for playing time in his second year. Give this kid a full training camp and a preseason to develop and watch out.

Best Round 6 Pick: WR Scotty Miller (2019)

Bucs WR Scotty Miller – Photo by: Getty Images

Bucs WR Scotty Miller – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Finding anything more than a reserve player for a year or two in the sixth or seventh rounds is a bonus. But Licht found a gem in Miller, who is the team’s WR3. Miller was the team’s leading receiver halfway through the season until the Bucs signed Antonio Brown. He finished 2020 with 33 catches for 501 yards (15.2 avg.) and three TDs. Miller added four catches for 80 yards (20 avg.) and a huge TD at Green Bay in the postseason.

Although he didn’t pan out in Tampa Bay, fullback Danny Vitale (2016) is still in the league. He has played in 44 games between Cleveland and Green Bay. Linebacker Devante Bond (2016) was just a special teamer, while receivers Robert Herron (2014) and Kaelin Clay (2015) didn’t work out. Linebacker Jack Cichy (2018) couldn’t stay healthy as a special teamer. And the jury is still out on defensive tackle Khalil Davis (2020), although the Bucs have hope he can develop into at least a rotational defender.

Best Round 7 Pick: LB Chapelle Russell (2020)

If there is one round that has been absolute crap for the Bucs under Licht it is the seventh round. Guess what? If there has to be a crappy round for Tampa Bay, let it be the seventh round! Licht hasn’t drafted well in the seventh round, but who cares?

Fullback Joey Iosefa (2015) and defensive tackle Stevie Tu’ikolovatu (2017) didn’t play a down in the NFL. Defensive tackle Terry Beckner, Jr. (2019) didn’t pan out in Tampa Bay. Neither did running back and kick returner Raymond Calais (2020). So Russell, who was also drafted in the seventh round, gets the nod by default. He actually suited up for 11 games on special teams last year before being released.

If Licht and the front office continue to field more hits than misses in the 2021 NFL Draft, look for the Bucs to be a playoff-caliber team and a threat to make the Super Bowl for years to come.

FAB 3. Licht’s All-Time Best Bucs Draft Picks

Now that I’ve ranked Jason Licht’s best Bucs draft picks for each round, I’ve got another list for you to consider. I’ve come up with a list of his Top 10 draft picks in Tampa Bay – in order. This list is going to be more subjective for sure, and if you disagree, tell me why in the article comments below.

Licht’s Top 10 Best Bucs Draft Picks

1. WR Mike Evans

Licht’s first ever pick has turned out to be his best, as Evans has been to three Pro Bowls. With an NFL-record seven straight 1,000-yard seasons, Evans is having a Hall of Fame career. Dynamic receiver. Hard worker. Selfless teammate. Team captain. Evans, the Bucs’ first-round pick in 2014, is the total package. He’s everything a team wants in a first-rounder.

2. LG Ali Marpet

Bucs LG Ali Marpet and LT Donovan Smith

Bucs LG Ali Marpet and LT Donovan Smith – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

While guard isn’t the most important position on offense, Licht traded up into the second round to land Marpet in 2015. In doing so, Marpet became the highest-drafted Division III player ever and a solid fixture on Tampa Bay’s offensive line. The Hobart College product is a Pro Bowl-caliber player and has become a team captain over the years. Licht rolled the dice on a small school product and the Bucs won big.

3. CB Carlton Davis III

It should be noted that Licht actually drafted cornerback M.J. Stewart, who was a bust, ahead of Davis in the second round in 2018. But he still gets credit for finding a very good cover corner in the second round. Every team needs one, and Licht thought he was getting one with first-rounder Vernon Hargreaves III in 2016. It turns out it was Davis two years later.

4. RT Tristan Wirfs

It first glance the drafting of Wirfs in the first round seems like a no-brainer pick for Licht. He was the best offensive tackle on the board and fit Tampa Bay’s biggest need. But Licht was bold enough to trade up one spot to keep another team from jumping the Bucs for Wirfs, which was a distinct possibility. The result of that aggressive move was landing the most talented lineman on Tampa Bay’s front five. Wirfs played at a Pro Bowl level as a rookie and is destined for greatness.

5. NT Vita Vea

Bucs DT Vita Vea and GM Jason Licht - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Bucs DT Vita Vea and GM Jason Licht – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Licht traded back to No. 12 to get Vea and acquire more draft picks in 2018. It was a bold move picking the big, athletic nose tackle over safety Derwin James from nearby Florida State. Yet it was the right move, especially since Tampa Bay switched to a 3-4 defense in 2019 with the arrival of coordinator Todd Bowles. Vea helps the Bucs versus the run and the pass and has developed into a Pro Bowl-caliber tackle while James has battled injuries the last two years with the Chargers.

6. LT Donovan Smith

Quality left tackles are hard to find, especially when they’re not drafted in the first round. Yet Licht found Smith in the second round of the 2015 draft and he’s been a franchise-caliber fixture at left tackle in Tampa Bay. Smith played his best football after the bye week in 2020 in helping the Bucs win a Super Bowl. And he’s already earned his second contract extension as a result.

7. WR Chris Godwin

In terms of mid-round values, they don’t come any better than Godwin. Licht’s third-round pick in 2017, Godwin has developed into a Pro Bowler capable of 1,000-yard seasons. He also just happens to be the exact style of receiver Bruce Arians needs for the physical slot role in the Bucs offense. Godwin is so good he was given the franchise tag after the 2020 season.

8. ILB Devin White

Bucs head coach Bruce Arians, LB Devin White and GM Jason Licht

Bucs head coach Bruce Arians, LB Devin White and GM Jason Licht – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

White emerged as a big-time playmaker at the end of his rookie season and continued that style of play in 2020. The fifth overall pick in 2019, White showed that it’s okay to draft an off-the-ball linebacker in the Top 5 when they are as fast and as athletic as he is. White is the emotional spark plug on defense and quickly became a team captain. He’ll be a Pro Bowler in 2021 and beyond as he continues to improve.

9. FS Antoine Winfield Jr.

Winfield, last year’s second-round pick, seems destined for stardom. With a skill set to play centerfield in Cover 1 or Cover 3, in addition to blitzing from the box, Winfield has the traits to do it all in Bowles’ aggressive scheme. Winfield played with a veteran’s savvy as a rookie and showed instant playmaking ability. A star was born in Tampa Bay last year, as Winfield showed Pro Bowl potential.

10. WR Scotty Miller

There are a few players that merit inclusion in Licht’s Top 10, including cornerback Jamel Dean and running back Ronald Jones II. Former Bucs linebacker Kwon Alexander and quarterback Jameis Winston – each of whom went to a Pro Bowl – were also considered. But Licht needs to be recognized for mining Day 3 and finding a gem like Miller in the sixth round in 2019. The speedy Miller had four big, clutch touchdowns last year in key wins against the Chargers and Vikings at home, and the Raiders and Packers on the road. And Miller will be even better in 2021.

FAB 4. Bucs Should Wait To Sign WR Brown

I’ve made it clear that I think the Bucs should pass on re-signing wide receiver Antonio Brown. He served his purpose last year as a mid-season insurance policy and helped Tampa Bay win Super Bowl LV. Bucs general manager Jason Licht and head coach Bruce Arians gambled and won that Brown was neither a distraction at One Buc Place nor was he a menace to society away from team headquarters last year.

I just don’t want the Bucs’ luck to run out.

WR Antonio Brown

Bucs WR Antonio Brown – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Some believe the Bucs should re-sign Brown, and the team has given no indication that it plans to move on from the veteran receiver, who turns 33 in July. Arians recently said that Brown is weighing his options, including an offer from the Bucs.

But if Tampa Bay wants to re-sign Brown, there is no hurry.

In fact, the Bucs should wait until the eve of training camp to pull the trigger if the team truly does want to bring him back. Brown already knows the offense after playing in 11 games last year and has developed a rapport with quarterback Tom Brady. And with the Bucs’ players stating they plan on not showing up for the voluntary OTAs this offseason, there is no point in having him signed and on the roster right now.

If Brown truly had a better offer from Seattle or another team, he should take it. The fact that he hasn’t signed anywhere yet leads me to believe that he feels his best chance to have success and money resides in Tampa Bay. So the Bucs clearly have the upper hand in these negotiations.

Without any real threat of Brown signing elsewhere, there is no advantage to having him on the roster right now. Especially given his volatile past off the field. I’ll remind you that he still has a court case over sexual assault allegations coming up in December, and that Brown has been far from a model citizen.

If Brown signs with another team before the draft, that’s fine. Tampa Bay can simply draft another receiver to fill his roster spot. Either way, I think the Bucs take advantage of a deep and talented receiver group in this year’s class and draft one.

With Pro Bowlers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin along with young talents like Scotty Miller and Tyler Johnson the Bucs are already stacked at wide receiver. In fact, I’d prefer to see the Bucs not re-sign Brown, who averaged an underwhelming 10 yards per catch, so more reps can go to Miller and Johnson in 2021.

WR Antonio Brown

Bucs WR Antonio Brown – Photo by: USA Today

There are still four months left in the offseason before training camp begins. Still plenty of time for Brown to do something distasteful while he’s away from the structure of his teammates and coaches. Still time to embarrass the Bucs organization before the season starts.

No thanks.

The Buccaneers should wait for Brown to make it through an entire offseason unscathed without any incidents before rolling the dice on this guy again.

FAB 5. SR’s Buc Shots

• BUCS ARE INTERESTED IN TONEY: If the Bucs are looking for a player with Antonio Brown’s skill set they should look no further than Florida wide receiver Kadarius Toney. At just under 6-foot and weighing 193 pounds, Toney is an electric play-maker with 4.37 speed and start-stop ability that reminds some in the organization of a younger version of Brown when he was at Central Michigan. Unfortunately, there are some off-field character concerns that require a lot of digging into by NFL scouts.

Toney was also injured quite a bit at Florida and really only starred for the Gators in just one season. Toney caught 70 passes for 984 yards and 10 touchdowns last year and was invited to the Senior Bowl. Despite having first-round talent, Toney could slip to No. 32 or into the second round because of those off-field concerns. He does have his share of fans at One Buc Place, though. Check out his highlight reel and find out why.

• BUCS OLB JPP IS STILL ELITE: Robert Mays has some interesting stats about 32-year old Bucs outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul and his durability.

• BUCS DRAFT DISCUSSION AND RB BERNARD ON THIS WEEK’S PR PODCASTS: The Pewter Report Podcast is energized by CELSIUS and broadcasts four live episodes each week in the offseason – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at our original 4:00 p.m. ET time slot. This week saw the PR staff continue to analyze the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft and the best fits for Tampa Bay. New Bucs running back Giovani Bernard also had a press conference. The Pewter Reporters offered up their reaction during this week’s episodes.

Here are the four latest editions of the Pewter Report Podcast to watch in case you missed an episode.

Pewter Report’s Jon Ledyard and Scott Reynolds break down the new PewterReport.com 2021 Bucs 7-Round Mock Draft 3.0 on Monday’s show.

Pewter Report’s Mark Cook and Jon Ledyard analyzed the Bucs’ re-signing of cornerback Ross Cockrell.

Pewter Report’s Jon Ledyard and Scott Reynolds reacted to Giovani Bernard’s press conference and discussed the return of Bucs defensive tackle Steve McLendon.

Pewter Report’s Jon Ledyard discussed several key positions for the Bucs on Thursday’s episode with special guest Matt Waldman.

Watch the Pewter Report Podcasts live on our PewterReportTV channel on YouTube.com and please subscribe (it’s free) and add your comments. All of our Pewter Report Podcasts will be archived there so you can go back and watch the recorded episodes if you missed it live.

The audio versions of the Pewter Report Podcasts will can be found on iTunes and Soundcloud. There is no better time to listen to or watch a new Pewter Report Podcast – energized by CELSIUS – than Friday afternoon on the way home from work, or early Saturday morning during your workout or while running errands.

The popularity of the Pewter Report Podcast continues to grow. In addition to listening to the Pewter Report Podcasts on PewterReport.com you can also subscribe to the free podcasts at PodBean by clicking here and on SoundCloud by clicking here. And of course the Pewter Report Podcast is also available on iTunes and YouTube. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode.

• THE BEST 199TH PICK – EVER: Have a look back at when New England drafted QB Tom Brady on ESPN.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

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: sr@pewterreport.com
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WeAretheChamps2002+2021
5 months ago

Mills would be a good developmental prospect that the Bucs probably could pick up in the third round. It will be interesting to see who the Bucs end up selecting.

danielob
5 months ago

Yeah, that Brady guy won’t work out, probably a career back-up at best when your drafting a guy at pick 199. Interesting to see if we get any of these later round quarterbacks this year. Always liked my guy Ryan Griffin, but he got his ring and his money, hope he catches on somewhere else.

toofamiliar17
Reply to  danielob
5 months ago

Here are some fun facts. Since Brady was taken, there have been a total of 76 quarterbacks taken in rounds 6 and 7. The BEST among that group is pretty easily Ryan Fitzpatrick. Behind Fitz, the best have been, in one order or another, Gardner Minshew (who lost a starting job to Mike Glennon last season), Tyrod Taylor, and Matt Cassel. There hasn’t been another career starter, much less anything even remotely approaching a franchise QB, taken in the 6th round since Brady back in the year 2000. Sorry, but I can’t help but think that is taking a QB… Read more »

LIBucsFan93
5 months ago

Personally I like Kellen Mond the best. I think he’s more pro ready that the Mock Draft pundits believe. Trask worries me a bit with just average arm strength. Maybe Trask develops but Mond with the 64th pick if he’s still around I could deal with. If Mond is gone then I like Mills next in this years draft.
LB/CB or Edge should be the 1st round selection depending on how the first 31 picks play out. A RB at 32 wouldn’t surprise me either.

The Freeman
5 months ago

Donovan Smith ahead of Godwin, Winfield and White? Are you high?

I like Toney with Brady but he’s yac receiver not really a deep threat… + we don’t need a slot receiver, it’s Godwin spot.

No to Trask and no to any QB on day 1 or 2… day 3 no problem.

KhanRada
5 months ago

Jason Licht’s undrafted picks were good to. Adam Humphries and Cameron Brate. The best Cameron Brate

PewterPose
5 months ago

My ranking of Licht’s best picks:
Tristan Wirfs
Ali Marpet
Mike Evans
Devin White
Vita Vea
Chris Godwin
Donovan Smith
Carlton Davis III
Antoine Winfield, jr.
Mike Edwards
Scotty Miller
Tyler Johnson

PewterPose
5 months ago

My ranking of Licht’s worst picks (from absolute worst to just meh):
Roberto Aguayo
Vernon Hargreaves III
Austin Seferian-Jenkins
Noah Spence
MJ Stewart
Kenny Bell
Jeremy McNichols
Charles Sims
Ke’Shawn Vaughn

danielob
Reply to  PewterPose
5 months ago

Way too early to give up on Ke’shawn Vaughn, I think the kid will work out if he gets the reps. Remember how bad RoJo’s rookie season was? Many ready to give up on him, he turned it around, lets give Ke’shawn a chance before giving up on him.

aredsoxfan1
Reply to  PewterPose
5 months ago

Winston at #1 overall would certainly be on my list of worst picks.

aredsoxfan1
5 months ago

I would rate Licht’s first round picks as average at best on the whole. A big part of the reasoning is draft position. With 3 picks in the top 7 spots, 6 picks in the top 13 and even the lowest draft position of #19, I would expect the GM to soundly beat the first round league average. With that in mind, 4 out of 7 doesn’t sound so great. That being said I would still rate him better than average overall in the draft and he seems to be getting better more recently. Last year was certainly a HR.… Read more »

Dave
Reply to  aredsoxfan1
4 months ago

Average at best? That’s being incredibly critical. I would say he’s completely nailed 4 out of his 7 1st round picks(Evans, Vea, White, Wirfs). And out of the other 3, Howard can still end up being a hit; if he can just stay healthy. Plus, he was picked at 21, so at least it wasn’t a top 10 pick. So that leaves Jameis and Hargreaves. Hargreaves was a clear 100% bust. Jameis was obviously a bust for us at #1. But I also don’t blame Licht for that pick. We clearly needed a QB. So it was either him or… Read more »

fredster
5 months ago

Pass on drafting QB this year please. None thrill me. Address next year or in free agency when Brady is done. We have had shit luck picking in top 10 so I have no faith we will find one worth a damn in 2nd or third rd. LOL.
I agree on Brown we got use of him and were lucky nothing happened, he’s a piece of shit and probably mentally ill. Count ourselves lucky noting happened last year. If he doesn’t take the deal they offered move on. I’d move on regardless but that’s me.

Last edited 5 months ago by fredster
BucHarbour
5 months ago

Ok, Scott, I’ve got to laugh about two comments on Trask: 1) not an overly strong arm, and 2) not very mobile. Keep in mind, I’ve seen every pass (every offensive play, frankly) the kid has thrown when I comment on this. He’s regularly put the ball 45+ yards (in the air) down field. Does he have the 60+ yard cannon arm? No. But I’d wager his arm is as strong as Brady’s, maybe a little stronger. In the NFL, you rarely get the time for a pass of longer than about 40-50 yards. 90%+ of the time, passes of… Read more »

aredsoxfan1
Reply to  BucHarbour
5 months ago

I haven’t seen Trask nearly as much but both of Scott’s comments are legitimate. That’s the scouting report on him. It doesn’t mean he couldn’t become a star in the NFL. I would lose the comparisons to Brady though, he’s one of a kind.

Theerealdiehl
5 months ago

My goodness, could y’all imagine Kadarius Toney on this team? Ya there are concerns but the talent has always been there. He should’ve seen the ball a lot more in his earlier years at UF but he sat behind 4 NFL WRs 2 years ago (Van Jefferson, Freddy Swain, Tyree Cleveland, Josh Hammond). Not to mention Kyle Pitts and Trevon Grimes (who I think is incredibly underrated) were on the same team this year.

Last edited 5 months ago by Theerealdiehl
Bradenton BucFan
5 months ago

Draft whoever falls to day 3, or Trask if he fall to late 2nd or early 3rd, I think Trask will be gone by middle of 2nd rd though. Trask is very similar to Bama QB & he could go as high 3rd overall. The difference being Saban & the overall talent on both sides of the ball at Bama.

buccaneerNW
5 months ago

Trask doesn’t excite me as a QB. He has adequate skills, but nothing pops out. With guys like that, you draft him for intangibles like intelligence and leadership, which need to be super high level if you’re a very average athlete/thrower.

toofamiliar17
5 months ago

I’ve only gotten through Fab1, just wanted to come say real quick – in what world is Trask the best system fit of all of these QBs for Arians? Huh? He doesn’t even have an average arm. That would be a bit kind. I’d peg his ability to push the balls downfield on throws outside the numbers, vertically, and down the seam as marginally BELOW average for the NFL. Mond is the best physical fit for Arians among the guys we might be looking at, and I don’t think it’s close. Maybe Frank’s right around there physically. I’ll be honest,… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by toofamiliar17
toofamiliar17
5 months ago

I’m not super bullish on Brown by any means, but if the team wants him back and he gets to the point that he’s ready to sign, then we should sign him then. This isn’t complicated. If he then does something dumb or gets in trouble off the field, you cut him, and he never sees a dime. No harm no foul to the team in the slightest. If you wait just for the sake of waiting, then yea, he could get impatient and take something somewhere else, and then you miss on a guy you wanted and could’ve had… Read more »

Dave
5 months ago

Godwin is Licht’s 7th best draft pick? Yeah, no lol. He was a better value pick than D.Smith(2nd) T.Wirfs(1st), V.Vea(1st) and C.Davis(2nd) I’d take a chance on Mond or Trask in the 3rd or 4th. Prefer getting Mond in the 4th if possible. But we’ll see. Much prefer Mond to Trask. I think Mond is a stud! Everyone talks about all the talent that Mac Jones had last year around him, but nobody talks about what Trask had around him. Pitts- easily the best player in the draft Toney- complete stud in the making Grimes- for where he’s being projected… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by Dave
Dman
5 months ago

Scott, completely agree on not bringing AB back. But I would draft an insider LB ahead of a QB because we don’t know who the head coach will be when Brady retires. I like your pick of Derrick Barnes out of Purdue, just worry about whether his average speed will allow him to be the player in the NFL he was in college.

Alldaway 2.0
5 months ago

I am going to join the crowd that says pass on a QB in this draft. The new way teams build teams is build the team first then draft a rookie QB on a five year deal in the first. And then continue to build team up due to five year rookie deal of a first round QB being dirt cheap.
I don’t see the value of drafting a QB to replace R. Griffin as a third stringer. An UDFA can compete against R. Griffins of the world.

toofamiliar17
Reply to  Alldaway 2.0
5 months ago

The only way I’d like to see is draft a QB is if it’s with a later pick (say, 4th round or layer) with the express intention of utilizing him as a backup. If the hope is to develop a guy into Brady’s long term successor, then for the exact reasons you laid out and more, it doesn’t make sense to do that NOW. We’d be wasting a significant portion (at least two years, and with the way Brady’s going, who knows, it could be more) of the biggest benefit of starting a QB on a rookie contract. In addition… Read more »

Go Bucs 72
4 months ago

Hard pass on Kyle Trash. Typical over hyped Gator nonsense. The dude sucks, period. Name one successful former Gator QB at the NFL level…….. I’ll wait.

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