The 2017 NFL Draft is here and PewterReport.com has been working our sources for last-minute scoop and insight into what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have in store for tonight in the first round where the team is scheduled to have the 19th overall pick – for now.
BUCS WILL LOOK TO TRADE BACK
The report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Wednesday, April 26 was true. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are indeed looking to trade back and have had discussions with multiple teams – more than the three that Schefter reported yesterday.
The reasons are twofold. First, Bucs general manager Jason Licht would like to acquire an extra pick in rounds 2-4 because of the depth of talent in this year’s draft. Many believe there is little difference in the talent between a player chosen at No. 19 and a player picked at No. 50, which is where the Bucs select in the second round, because many late-round picks are about as evenly rated on draft boards as those that will be taken in the second round.
Bucs GM Jason Licht and head coach Dirk Koetter – Photo courtesy of the Buccaneers
And second, Licht, head coach Dirk Koetter and Tampa Bay’s front office are of that mindset and like several players that carry an early second round. Cleveland has two second-round picks and there has been speculation that the one of the teams the Bucs have spoken with is the Browns, who may want to trade up into the bottom of the first round and come away with three first-round picks.
Sources tell PewterReport.com that if the Bucs do trade down it could be moving down a few spots or out of the first round altogether, as was written about yesterday. But if Tampa Bay cannot find a trading partner and is forced to stick and pick at No. 19 that player might not be a guy that the media has as a first-rounder in mock drafts. The Bucs have several players with late first-round grades that many media members have ranked as second–rounders.
This will be a crazy and unpredictable 2017 NFL Draft – one where beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder due to a lack of consensus on which players are the top quarterbacks, running backs, offensive tackles, wide receivers, etc. Buckle up.
TAMPA BAY MAY PASS ON SOME BIG NAMES AT 19
Based on information I gathered on Wednesday from multiple sources – unless it was a smokescreen – Tampa Bay may pass on some big names that could send shockwaves through the Bucs fan base. Some I spoke with believe that Florida State running back Dalvin Cook may not be on the board when the Bucs select at No. 19. But what happens if the talented running back with the checkered past is there when Tampa Bay is on the clock?
Don’t be surprised if the Bucs pass on Cook.
The reason? This draft is loaded with talented running backs, including Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine, Texas’ D’Onta Foreman, USF’s Marlon Mack – all of whom have made pre-draft visits to One Buccaneer Place – in addition to Toledo running back Kareem Hunt, who had a private workout with Bucs running back coach Tim Spencer at Toledo weeks ago.
Florida State RB Dalvin Cook – Photo by: Getty Images
Cook also had a pre-draft visit in Tampa Bay, but there’s no telling how that visit turned out – good or bad. There are some concerns about the people Cook, who is from Miami, has associated with and the fact that those people would be four hours away from Tampa might give the Bucs some pause. Licht used the words “safe” and “clean” several times during his pre-draft press conference and that may be a glimpse into his mindset about this draft.
Also don’t be surprised if Miami tight end David Njoku, Western Michigan wide receiver Corey Davis and Washington wide receiver John Ross are out of consideration at 19, too. The draft is loaded at tight end and wide receiver. Njoku, who is one of PewterReport.com’s Bucs’ Best Bets, is a pass-catching threat, but not much of a blocker, and that may diminish his stock in the eyes of Tampa Bay’s scouting department. Koetter has stressed that he wants a complete tight end that can catch and block and there are only a few in this draft. Njoku also visited One Buccaneer Place, but we don’t know how that visit went.
As for Davis, the Bucs don’t think he’s fast enough (he didn’t run the 40-yard dash due to ankle surgery) to be an elite receiver at the next level. The team views him as another Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia’s second-round pick in 2014, who has come close, but hasn’t had a 1,000-yard season in his three years in the league. Matthews is similarly built at 6-foot-3, 212 pounds, but has a rather pedestrian 11.9 yards per catch average.
When it comes to Ross, there are some prognosticators that believe he’ll go early in the draft due to his rare 4.22 speed, but others believe a questionable medical report (microfracture knee surgery to repair a torn ACL and labrum surgery) could cause him to slide down the first round. Would the Bucs pass on Ross if he were there by No. 19? I don’t think he’ll get that far, but it would be stunning if they did because he’s a younger, faster version of DeSean Jackson, who happens to be his mentor, and he can help immediately in the kick return game while he challenges for the slot receiver role.
Also, don’t look for the Bucs to draft UConn safety Obi Melifonwu with their first pick. The team is intrigued with his size and athleticism, but feels he has questionable football instincts (think Sabby Piscitelli).
WHO COULD BUCS BE TARGETING IN LATE FIRST, EARLY SECOND ROUND?
If Tampa Bay indeed passes on some of the more familiar names mocked to the Bucs by PewterReport.com and other local and national media outlets, such as Cook, Njoku and others, who could the team be targeting? If Tampa Bay has a player or two rated higher than the NFL Draft pundits in the media do for selection at No. 19 or later if the team trades down, here’s a list PewterReport.com has put together with this criteria in mind.
USC CB Adoree’ Jackson
Tampa Bay had him in for a pre-draft visit and needs speed and playmaking ability at cornerback (and in the return game) with 34-year old Brent Grimes entering the last year of his contract. PewterReport.com has him mocked to Tampa Bay at No. 19.
Washington S Budda Baker
Baker is a bigger, faster version of Ronde Barber or Tyrann Mathieu who can play free safety, strong safety or nickel corner. He’s a great leader and worker with a high football I.Q. and great instincts.
Kansas State DE Jordan Willis
The Bucs worked Willis out at his pro day and had him in for a visit. His pass rush production and strength on film matches his athleticism and he has a tremendous work ethic. I’ve heard Tampa Bay likes him over Tennessee’s Derek Barnett, who’s stock is falling due to poor workouts.
Texas A&M S Justin Evans – Photo by Brad Marquardt
Texas A&M Justin Evans
There has been some low-lying buzz about Tampa Bay being enamored with Evans, who has late-first, early-second round potential. He’s a hard hitter and a great athlete with good ball skills. He could be the Bucs’ first pick at the bottom of the first round – the draft prospect out of nowhere.
Colorado CB Chidobe Awuzie
At 6-foot, 202 pounds and running a 4.43 in the 40-yard dash, Awuzie is a great mix of size and speed. He’s a physical cornerback that can play outside as well as in the slot where he was a fierce blitzer. He’s an under-the-radar kind of cornerback from a media standpoint, but he carries a first-round grade on some NFL teams’ draft boards.
Penn State WR Chris Godwin
Godwin has been in for a visit at One Buccaneer Place and the word is that he’s one of the top receivers on Tampa Bay’s board. An intriguing blend of size, speed, maturity and production has the Bucs excited about his potential as a possible No. 2 to Mike Evans in time.
Ohio State WR-RB Curtis Samuel
Tampa Bay had Samuel in for a visit and the Bucs like his 4.33 speed and playmaking ability. Is he a running back or is he a receiver? He played both for the Buckeyes and he’s a true wild card for Tampa Bay. Samuel could be a real upgrade over Charles Sims and fill that role as a runner-receiver even better.
Ole Miss TE Evan Engram
Could the Bucs like Engram better over Njoku? I don’t know for sure, but he’s 6-foot-3, 234 pounds and could actually be a big wide receiver rather than a flex tight end, running a 4.42 in the 40-yard dash. He’s a breakaway scoring threat with the ball in his hands.
Houston OLB-DE Tyus Bowser
Here’s a name you haven’t heard of being associated with the Bucs. The 6-foot-3, 247-pound Bowser is similarly built to Noah Spence, but is faster (4.65) and twitchier. This electric pass rusher could play Sam linebacker on early downs and defensive end on third downs. In hindsight, he’s our Bucs’ Best Bet at linebacker over Alabama’s Ryan Anderson.
Florida S Marcus Maye
The Bucs had Maye in for a pre-draft visit and love his physicality. He forced five fumbles last year for the Gators, and likely got a strong recommendation from Vernon Hargreaves. Maye could follow in Keanu Neal’s footsteps and go earlier than pundits expect.
Washington CB Sidney Jones
Jones was a potential top 10 player before tearing his Achilles tendon during his pro day workout. The coaches at Washington say he’s better than former Huskies cornerback Marcus Peters, and he could for be an absolute steal in the early part of the second round.
We’re not taking credit for any of these picks if they get selected – that’s what our Bucs’ Best Bets are for. But it is our duty at PewterReport.com to keep you as best informed on your favorite football team as we can.
VISIT PEWTERREPORT.COM FOR OUR LIVE DRAFT VIDEOCAST TONIGHT
With the growing popularity of the Pewter Nation Podcasts, PewterReport.com will continue its foray into multimedia coverage of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by debuting a live video interactive platform for this weekend’s NFL Draft, starting Thursday night with the first round at 8:00 p.m. ET.
We invite you to join us for PewterReport.com’s 2017 NFL Draft LIVE Streaming Videocast during all three days from April 27-29.
All you need to do is visit PewterReport.com on draft day and click on the LIVE Streaming Videocast story, then click on the video player within the story and begin watching and interacting with the PR staff live on PewterReport.com.
Pewter Reporters Scott Reynolds, Mark Cook and Trevor Sikkema will be reporting on the Bucs draft via a streaming videocast live from One Buc, while also taking your questions from @PewterReport on Twitter and the PewterReport.com Red Board and sharing our thoughts on the draft as it happens. It’s an opportunity for us to be able to watch the 2017 NFL Draft unfold with Bucs fans from around the world in a way that brings you all inside the Bucs’ facility as the drama of draft night goes down.
PEWTERREPORT.COM STREAMING VIDEOCAST SCHEDULE
• Thursday, April 27 – 8:00 pm ET – End of Round 1
• Friday, April 28 – 7:00 pm ET – End of Round 3
• Saturday, April 29 – Noon ET – End of Round 7
PEWTERREPORT.COM’s BUCS’ BEST BETS
In case you missed some of our PewterReport.com positional draft previews that included our Bucs’ Best Bets, or just wanted a Bucs’ Best Bet cheat sheet to have handy on draft day, here is a list of all 22 players we have selected. The premise behind the Bucs’ Best Bet is that if Tampa Bay were going to select a player at that position in the draft early (rounds 1-3) or late (4-7), this is our educated guess as to who that player might be.
Over the years PewterReport.com has correctly forecasted Tampa Bay’s selections that wound up being Bucs’ Best Bets. PewterReport.com had cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III as a Bucs’ Best Bet at cornerback and fullback Danny Vitale as a Bucs’ Best Bet at running back/fullback. In 2010, PewterReport.com not only correctly had the Bucs taking second-rounder Arrelious Benn, who was the early Bucs’ Best Bet at wide receiver, but also fourth-rounder Mike Williams, too, as he was the late Bucs’ Best Bet.
Here are PewterReport.com’s 2017 Bucs’ Best Bets:
QB Early (Rounds 1-3) – Pittsburgh QB Nathan Peterman
QB Late (Rounds 4-7) – Pennsylvania QB Alek Torgersen
RB Early (Rounds 1-3) – USF RB Marlon Mack
RB Late (Rounds 4-7) – Toledo RB Kareem Hunt
WR Early (Rounds 1-3) – Penn State WR Chris Godwin
WR Late (Rounds 4-7) – West Virginia WR Shelton Gibson
TE Early (Rounds 1-3) – Miami TE David Njoku
TE Late (Rounds 4-7) – Toledo TE Michael Roberts
OT Early (Rounds 1-3) – Utah OT Garrett Bolles
OT Late (Rounds 4-7) – Bucknell OT Julie’n Davenport
G-C Early (Rounds 1-3) – Western Kentucky G Forrest Lamp
G-C Late (Rounds 4-7) – Utah G Isaac Asiata
DE Early (Rounds 1-3) – Kansas State DE Jordan Willis
DE Late (Rounds 4-7) – Tennessee-Chattanooga DE Keionta Davis
DT Early (Rounds 1-3) – Albany State DT Grover Stewart
DT Late (Rounds 4-7) – Missouri DT Josh Augusta
LB Early (Rounds 1-3) – Alabama LB Ryan Anderson
LB Late (Rounds 4-7) – Eastern Washington LB Samson Ebukam
CB Early (Rounds 1-3) – USC CB Adoreé Jackson
CB Late (Rounds 4-7) – Miami CB Corn Elder
S Early (Rounds 1-3) – Washington S Budda Baker
S Late (Rounds 4-7) – Louisiana Tech S Xavier Woods
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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