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FAB 5. SR’s Buc Shots

STEWART IN FOR THE FIGHT OF HIS NFL LIFE IN CAMP: It is do or die time for cornerback M.J. Stewart in Tampa Bay. The former second-round pick was actually selected ahead of Carlton Davis, the team’s top cover corner, in what has become one of general manager Jason Licht’s most curious and questionable draft day moves.

Bucs CB M.J. Stewart

Bucs CB M.J. Stewart – Photo by: Mary Holt/PR

Stewart struggled playing outside cornerback and nickel cornerback during his rookie season where his lack of speed and athleticism were exposed. Stewart rarely saw the field after Week 5 last year as the two cornerbacks Licht was forced to draft because he missed on Stewart – Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jamel Dean – proved to be better than the North Carolina product.

Licht’s rationale for drafting Stewart was to potentially replace former first-round pick Vernon Hargreaves III, who struggled in his first two seasons in Tampa Bay. Stewart is similarly built at 5-foot-11, 200 pounds, but was considered to be tougher and more physical than Hargreaves. Unfortunately, he was far less athletic than Hargreaves was, and that is something that the Bucs didn’t pay nearly enough attention to, evidenced by these MockDraftable.com spider charts that show the athleticism percentile from both players’ numbers at the NFL Scouting Combine.

The difference in the vertical jump, broad jump and 20-yard shuttle – which are all used to measure explosiveness and the agility needed for change of direction – between Hargreaves and Stewart all stand out, and not in a positive way for Stewart. If Stewart is going to have any chance of beating out Mazzi Wilkins or newcomer Parnell Motley, he will need to find a way to increase his speed and agility this offseason to stick around as a reserve nickel cornerback behind Murphy-Bunting.

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McCOY IS STILL A BUCS FAN: It was very cool of former Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy to speak highly of the Tampa Bay organization and his former teammates on the Colin Cowherd show this past week. McCoy, who was the Bucs’ first-round pick in 2010, spent nine years in Tampa Bay where he became a six-time Pro Bowler before the team released him last year in a cap-cutting move in favor of signing Ndamukong Suh.

After McCoy spent a year in Carolina, he moved on to Dallas, signing a three-year deal worth as much as $20.25 million. That’s a great deal for the 32-year old McCoy, who will become a fixture upfront for the Cowboys defense. McCoy told Cowherd he hopes the Bucs go undefeated in 2020.

Former Bucs DT Gerald McCoy

Former Bucs DT Gerald McCoy – Photo by: Getty Images

“For me, I’m a lifelong Bucs fan. OK? And until we have to play them, I’m always going to root for the Bucs,” McCoy said Tuesday on Colin Cowherd, via RJ Ochoa of ESPN San Antonio. “I’m just telling you that. I hope they go undefeated and then they lose to us in the playoffs. I’m going to be honest. I’m a lifelong Bucs fan. One of my best friends is Lavonte David. I believe he deserves all the TV time he’s going to get. I believe he’s very, very underrated. I’m excited for all of them to get all of the publicity they deserve. I believe that Tom Brady can be what they need, and I hope they win, man. I really do. I hope everything that happens except the Super Bowl, because that’s for us.”

• NEW PEWTER NATION PODCAST COMING FRIDAY: We’ve got a brand new Pewter Nation Podcast coming Friday afternoon, but here is a link to our previous podcasts in case you missed them. The entire PewterReport.com staff gathered for a Zoom conference call to record a Pewter Nation Podcast last Friday, analyzing the Bucs’ Depth Chart. Make sure you give it a listen.

Pewter Nation Podcast Episode 194: Analyzing The Bucs’ Depth Chart

The PR staff – minus yours truly, who was on vacation – taped a Pewter Nation Podcast the previous, discussing among other things the Bucs’ potential interest in Jets Pro Bowl safety Jamal Adams, who was drafted in New York by former Jets head coach and current Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. Bucs general manager Jason Licht had a very high grade on Adams coming out of LSU years ago.

With Adams in a contract dispute with the Jets, would the Bucs be interested despite spending a second-round pick on Antoine Winfield, Jr.? Could Tampa Bay create the necessary cap space to acquire Adams in a trade? Listen and find out!

Pewter Nation Podcast Episode 193: Are The Bucs Interested In Adams?

There is no better time to listen to a new Pewter Nation Podcast, which is presented by Chris Garrido of Westshore Financial, than right now or early Saturday morning during your workout or while running errands. The next Pewter Nation Podcast will be recorded Friday afternoon. Stay tuned!

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. And of course the Pewter Nation Podcast is also available on iTunes. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode.

TWO BUCS VETERANS TO KEEP AN EYE ON: The Bucs are going with a youth movement for depth along the interior offensive line and at outside linebacker, and will be relying on players with only a year or two worth of experience to fill those roles. Yet there are two names to keep in mind as potential late-August signings if the young guys don’t impress in camp – Earl Watford and Sam Acho.

Bucs OL Earl Watford

Bucs OL Earl Watford – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Watford, who turns 30 on June 24, was the first lineman off the bench last year and started a few games at right guard for the injured Alex Cappa. He was also the team’s backup center and can play left or right tackle in a pinch.

Acho was a mid-season signing due to injuries to Carl Nassib and Anthony Nelson. The 31-year old Acho recorded three tackles and had a sack against Jacksonville. Both Acho and Watford played for Bruce Arians in Arizona and are familiar with the coaching staff’s offensive and defensive schemes. The coaches know what both players can do, so there is no need to have them in camp, taking valuable reps away from younger players who need them. But if injuries or ineffectiveness occur, both Watford and Acho remain unsigned and could return if needed.

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CONGRATULATIONS, ELLIE! On a personal note, I’m so proud of my daughter, Ellie, who graduated from Wiregrass Ranch High School last week. Her graduation was part of the reason there wasn’t an SR’s Fab 5 column last Friday, in addition to some business matters I had to attend to on behalf of PewterReport.com. The Class of 2020 had to overcome a lot this spring due to schools abruptly being shutdown over the COVID-19 pandemic. Students had to quickly transition to become full-time online students and graduating seniors didn’t have the opportunity to end their high school year surrounded by their friends on a daily basis.

Scott and Ellie Reynolds flashing the "WC" Wildcat sign

Scott and Ellie Reynolds flashing the “WC” Wildcat sign

Like most seniors, Ellie didn’t have a prom, a senior skip day, a senior celebration or even a real graduation where she could walk across a stage and be handed her diploma in front of her family and friends. Instead, her diploma came in the mail on Thursday. While missing these moments were unfortunate, it will strengthen her character and resolve, as it will the Class of 2020 across the country.

As I’ve told her in life, she needs not just a backup plan for when the master plan doesn’t go according to script, but she also needs an escape plan – a Plan C when Plan B and Plan A fail. Life doesn’t always go according to script, but it doesn’t mean that anyone can’t wind up working Plan C to get to their final destination with enough determination and grit. Ellie has plenty of that, and I’m so proud of her for finishing high school strong.

Now she’s off to Kansas State University, my alma mater. She’s been out there twice with me to watch two Wildcats victories over the years and she fell in love with Manhattan – which is also known as Manhappiness – during his campus tours. I love her and I’ll miss her, but I’m very happy for her.

Congratulations, Ellie – and to all of the Class of 2020 graduates, too.

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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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1 year ago

Scott, I can certainly see how this is a different situation than you and the others at PR have faced before. There has to be a lot of guess work for you and your staff regarding the players on the Bucs team due to the lack of contact with the coach’s and players. Could these bad things happen? Yes, of course, but it is only right that you advise the Bucs fans that bad things could still happen. I think that if there should be an announcement one day that a new medication had been discovered, that may be the… Read more »

1 year ago

I still have no idea why you guys are so high on Tyler \Johnson that you are already dusting off a space for his name on the Bucs Ring of Honor. He’s not considered especially speedy and he didn’t even run a 40 at the Combine to hide the fact. The jump to the NFL from college is extreme and their have been certified No. 1 picks who had trouble making the adjustment. In fact, we had one here last year by the name of Breshard Perriman. Until Jojnson goes through a training camp, I wouldn’t be so fast to… Read more »

Reply to  drdneast
1 year ago

Trust me, as a former slot/possession WR, you don’t need to be incredibly fast if you understand and can perform precise route running. That is precisely what Tyler Johnson does. It’s not like they are touting him as a Pro Bowerl, we’re talking about the 3rd WR spot lol.

1 year ago

After reading the first page of this article I quit. I don’t understand the overwhelming negativity. I’m not looking for fluff articles and I’m not trying to be overly harsh, but this Fab 5 was awful.

Reply to  Wausa
1 year ago

I make it a habit to not complain about stuff I get for free. Considering the lack of sports and available material to write about I am amazed at the quality of the content that Pewter Reports puts out on a regular basis.

Last edited 1 year ago by gcolerick
1 year ago

Why do I get the feeling that now that Scott’s daughter is going to Kan St, all the Bucs best bets in the draft will be from there! lol

1 year ago

“Resurgence?” Doesn’t it have to go down before it can resurge? Florida is over 60K infections. The challenge for the NFL is immense. How do you manage training camp and locker rooms with 90 players and a couple dozen trainers in camps? With players from all over the country in the most “contact” sport ever known? Empty Stadiums are a probability. The smart move would be to have empty stadiums through the pre-season, and see where the infection levels are among NFL Teams in the last week. I will miss up to date reporting during camp. I know this has… Read more »

1 year ago

Scott, can someone please tweet or text Brady to start wearing some Buccaneer shirts?

The Freeman
The Freeman(@the-freeman)
1 year ago

“Hudson made the practice squad as a receiving tight end following a great preseason and was later signed to the active roster to replace Auclair.”
Hudson was on the 53-roster all season!
inactive list until the bye week, then on the active list…
only inactive again for week 16 (Concussion).

1 year ago

There are some players in this article I hope make a big leap, in their 2nd year. Nelson is one and Bailey is another.
Nelson was injured alot last year, so I hope he is in great shape this year. Bailey was also injured. Cincey I like but seems to be injured alot. Go Bucs: And Covid 19 go the Hell AWAY!!

The Wall
The Wall(@the-wall)
1 year ago

Scott, I look forward to your Fab 5 every week. Couldn’t get past #1 this time. Are there any worst case scenarios you can think of ?

1 year ago

Scott, sounds like you need some anxiety meds for all the worrying you’re doing lol. Anyways, loved reading the article and thinking about the battles for the last few spots on the roster. For the 3rd WR job, I think it’s Scotty Miller’s to lose. If you think about what BA is looking for at that position, it’s speed. He wants to stretch the field in that package and neither Watson or Johnson have what Miller has in that department. If Watson can catch the ball in preseason games like he does in practice, maybe he can beat out Miller?… Read more »

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