About the author

Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd 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 enjoys 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: [email protected]

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35 Comments

  1. 1

    nitey

    I think the top 5 make the roster and Stevie T making it to practice squad if he passes waivers. I’m hoping Beckwith can be healthy enough to start training camp and can at least push Bond for the SLB position.

    Not sure what to think about Evans, my first impression was that he could be a penalty machine in the NFL if he constantly goes for those high hits. But I do see the range and speed he has to offer and he certainly seems to be a willing tackler even if he misses. So if they can clean up his technique, he could be a fairly solid safety. I’m thinking Wilcox and Tandy start and Evans gets playing time as a rotational safety for much of the season.

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    1. 1.1

      Naplesfan

      The NCAA has also cracked down on such hits, more so than the NFL, with automatic game ejections for “targeting”. To my knowledge, Justin Evans was not ejected once for targeting.

      Hard hits do not mean illegal hits.

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      1. 1.1.1

        Alldaway 2.0

        In the NFL a lot of those hits are going to be called to protect the ball carrier. I was watching a McNichols highlight reel where he was literally clotheslined at the LoS. That is a big no no in the NFL for example.

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      2. 1.1.2

        nitey

        Have to agree with ADW here, the NFL is really paranoid about any high hits. I saw multiple cases last season where the hit was declared a helmet to helmet hit when the helmet never actually hit. Also the NFL is far more vigilant on ‘helpless’ player role than the colleges are. I’d be much happier if Evans lowered his target zone to the chest and below. Those shoulder hits that he uses concern me.

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  2. 2

    Buc-Up

    Agreed nitey…Dom tried that what when he drafted Barron 1st and signed Dashon in FA when the NFL was cracking down on those type of hits because of concussions. I remember lits of Unsportsmanlike penalties, fines, suspensions, and missed tackles!

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  3. 3

    BrianDorry55

    Great article Scott.

    One thing that I have trouble understanding…

    Why is Keith Tandy’s job even on the table? That dude was the best player on the field for the last 5 weeks of the season last year. I don’t think I’ve seen Bucs safeties have 5 games that good CUMULATIVELY, since the promising start of Tanard Jackson’s career (maybe).

    Yet, for anyone to toy with the idea of Adam Humphries losing playing time is blasphemy. We all love Hump, but let’s be real, he’s never had an impact like Tandy did late last season.

    I’m concerned with Evans tackling. I think that has to be one of the hardest things to fix/teach with modern day practice rules. They won’t know if he’s improved anything until he steps on the field. As far as him improving this pasta season, of the 5 game tapes available online, the only one where he tackled pretty well was the South Carolina tape from 2015…all four of the 2016 games were bad. I think he’ll start out as a rotational, passing downs safety, while Tandy and Wilcox start the majority of snaps.

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    1. 3.1

      Naplesfan

      Apparently the Bucs see it differently than you do, or any of the others who hate the Evans pick.

      I am much more confident in our actual GM than in all those second guessing him here.

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      1. 3.1.1

        cgmaster27

        Naples, Tandy was the highest rated safety in the NFL last year the last 5 games. Look it up, it’s fact. Now the Bucs want to get more athletic maybe and that’s why he was brought in. And maybe he’ll be out Wilcox and get our Strong safety spot. We get it,m you believe in our GM, we all do, but it’s ok to disagree as a fan. We don’t care if you liked the pick or not.

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        1. 3.1.1.1

          Naplesfan

          We don’t care that you don’t care … most of us care, however, that we have a very competent GM who is making the calls. If you don’t care about that, so what?

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      2. 3.1.2

        BrianDorry55

        They can see it differently all they want. Anybody who watched Tandy play at the end of the season and has properly working eyeballs could see that he was an asset to this defense.

        And they could very well be justified in where they took Evans…but nobody can look at his tape and tell me he doesn’t miss too many damn tackles. You don’t have a be a scout or a GM to tell that a guy is running around like a chicken with his head cut off costing his defense to give up big plays. It was blatantly obvious.

        I love Licht and Dirk…and I trust them…but if I wasn’t going to have an opinion on who they draft then I wouldn’t be here following this site in the offseason, or following all the draft-related crap they post on Buccaneers.com. It’s not like I’m not gonna root for the kid, just my opinion that it wasn’t a good pick. I’ve been smarter than our GM before, and I’ve been wrong many times too. It ain’t rocket science.

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  4. 4

    e

    It’ll be interesting to hear more about the Beckwith/Alexander connection down the road. I wonder if Alexander had any input during the scouting process? I’m really glad that they got more depth at LB as well.

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    1. 4.1

      savinlife4alivin13

      I think this was terrible pick. Just look at the film from the 2017 Alabama game. He is bad. Don’t know what Lighte sees in him!

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      1. 4.1.1

        Brobear

        Before his ACL tear he was a projected 2nd rounder so…saying he is bad is clearly wrong.

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  5. 5

    Alldaway 2.0

    The problem with Beckwith in a 43 under front is that he has to be able to flip his hips and run with an NFL caliber TE in pass coverage or be able to drop back into zone.

    Bucs have gambled in the past by using valuable 3rd round picks on SAM and it ha blown up in their faces for good reason. But a lot of those SAM LB’s were also athletic freaks (eg Marquis Cooper RIP, Quincy Black, etc) that could turn and run with TE’s in pass coverage.

    Logically, that third round pick should have been spent on a nickel CB even if the Bucs like their CB group, because that is the direction the NFL is going and that is what the divisional foes have shown will do.

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    1. 5.1

      Naplesfan

      None of those other Bucs draft pickers were Jason Licht.

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      1. 5.1.1

        Alldaway 2.0

        What makes Licht smarter than other GMs when it comes to drafting SAM backers in the third round?

        Drafting a two down player with a third round pick always has been bad value. Even more so with the Bucs.

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        1. 5.1.1.1

          Naplesfan

          Just as no player ever equals another player, no GM ever equals another GM.

          Jason Licht has his plan for the team, he has his likes and dislikes, the characteristics of players and coaches that he wants, and his own life lessons in the business, much of which was spent as understudies to some of the best the business has ever seen, including the incomparable Bill Belichick, who produced more success than any other GM or head coach in league history.

          So yes, so what if other GMs made mistakes. Tell us what Jason Licht is doing or trying to do that is not working and producing bad results.

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          1. 5.1.1.1.1

            deeznuts

            Licht spent 40+$ million dollars on his vision of:

            Michael Johnson
            Anthony Collins
            Austin Sefarian Jenkins
            Alterraun Vernor
            Bruce Carter
            Josh McCown (LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL)

            then there was the whole DE fiasco in 2015 when we wasted a draft pick trading the lions for George Johnson who lost his rotational role then went to IR

            …. not to mention drafting roberto aguayo in the 2nd round and keeping him on the roster while he kicks PAT’s like a schoolgirl on national TV..

            Lastly, Paul Brown is the most successful GM/coach hybrid in NFL history; Bill Belichick even admits this.

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          2. 5.1.1.1.2

            Naplesfan

            And then … drum roll … Jason Licht produced the first winning season for the Bucs since 2010.

            Not a word more needs be said.

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  6. 6

    Naplesfan

    As in most NFL drafts, the most likely Week 1 starters are the Day 1 and 2 picks, while the Day three picks are usually (but not always) relegated to backups if they make the roster at all.

    A recent exception was Kwon Alexander as a fourth rounder taking the starter job in training camp and pre-season.

    Amongst this crew, obviously OJ Howard is a pretty big step above our existing tight ends, including Cam Brate, with his combination of excellent speed as well as size, and his inline blocking ability in addition to his receiver skills. He’ll start immediately.

    Justin Evans will definitely challenge for a starting slot, but it remains to be seen how he works out in training camp and pre-season. Certainly Keith Tandy is going to compete for that position too, along with J. J. Wilcox. But don’t shed any tears if Tandy doesn’t win out over Evans …. that would just mean that our safeties got better this year!

    Chris Godwin will surely be a high quality backup at WR and potentially challenge at slot, and likely also help out in special teams with his speed.

    Jeremy McNichols will likely challenge for the starting RB position during the 3-week Doug Martin suspension, going against Jacquizz Rodgers – it remains to be seen who will win that slot … but after that it seems pretty obvious he’ll crack the minimum top four RB slots thereafter.

    Beckwith’s role as starter or backup will obviously depend upon how fast he recovers from his ACL, but if he is fully recovered he has a very good shot at winning the starter’s job, playing beside Kwon and Lavonte.

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    1. 6.1

      nitey

      I would agree with this.

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    2. 6.2

      magoobee

      The question I have, will Licht protect Evans if he stinks, like he did for Aguayo just because he was a high draft pick. Don’t you think Koetter would have wanted to get a better PK than what Aquayo showed in preseason.

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      1. 6.2.1

        Naplesfan

        Why do you say Licht “protected” Aguayo? He stated quite clearly this offseason that Aguayo didn’t perform well and that he was not guaranteed a spot on the roster … then he went out and signed at least one veteran kicker to compete with Aguayo (likely at least one or two other kickers are also going to be tried out during training camp and pre-season).

        Licht has shown repeatedly that when someone he signs – either a draft pick like ASJ, or a free agent pickup like Michael Johnston – who doesn’t perform will not be retained. That applies to anybody and everybody.

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  7. 7

    stlbucsfan

    My real problem with the Evans pick is that I dont think he’s THAT much better than McDougald who should’ve been resigned. That pick could’ve been used on Taylor Moton, who could’ve pushed for a starting job on the OL or Teez Tabor who would’ve excelled in our zone scheme due to his ball skills and brings some length which our secondary needs. That aside it was a very good draft, we addressed some key areas and put quality depth in places where it was needed.

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    1. 7.1

      Brobear

      I think Teez or Awuzie would’ve been better for our team but I don’t think Moton would see the field this year barring injuries.

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  8. 8

    Buc-Up

    Since most draft boards had Evans as a 3rd rounder and Godwin a 2nd-3rd rounder, just pretend Godwin was taken before Evans.

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    1. 8.1

      magoobee

      Can we pretend Aguayo was an UDFA and Peyton Barber was the 2nd round pick?

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  9. 9

    XpfcWintergreen

    Scott, Anyone,

    Can someone who knows how to research this confirm or deny the following.

    I have had the notion for long time that John Lynch had a similar problem early in his career as to that reported about Evans. He had to learn how to “wrap up” as a tackler in order to be effective. He already had the “heat seeking missile” hard hitting tendency early on.

    Lynch was a 3rd round pick whose career did not truly take off until his fourth year in the league.

    Of course no two athletes are necessarily comparable just because they might play the same position.

    Can anyone clear this up?
    __________
    Go Bucs!!!

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    1. 9.1

      magoobee

      That was a different defense. The Tampa 2 really was a bend don’t break & gang tackling mentality.

      I hear Evans is like Karl Joseph. Joseph’s tape looks great but because he hits so hard, he ends up injuring himself.

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  10. 10

    surferdudes

    Don’t count Mr.T, Stevie out. Smith likes big run stuffing nose tackles, and this Samoan mountain fits the bill. The tape I’ve seen on him you just can’t move him backwards. Besides, any man who can live with his wife out of a car, has to be tough as nails! Don’t get why some fans are down on the Evans pick. He’s raw, they all are. Let’s see how he does after some NFL coaching. You can’t teach the want to, and swag, this kid’s got that.

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  11. 11

    76Buc

    So will McNichols become known as the Muscle Gerbil?

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  12. 12

    76Buc

    Great news! The Bucs finally signed the long snapper I have been waiting for?

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  13. 13

    scubog

    Typical, typical, typical. We here in Bucville always have to anoint someone as the whipping boy. Many didn’t recognize the name or read about him as a Bucs Best Bet so the reaction is he automatically should have been passed over for someone more familiar. This season’s Draft folks have designated Justin Evans for apparently no other reason than he misses a tackle or two due to his ultra aggressive, no fear style. Tackle technique, understanding angles and knowing the safety responsibilities can all be taught. What can’t be taught is the swagger with which he plays. We should keep in mind that Evans was primarily a baseball player who is really just starting to learn the position.

    As for Keith Tandy; he has often made plays when he’s had a chance to get on the field. What always puzzled me about this late round pick, was that he was never able to unseat rather unheralded starters. No one can deny that his “splash” plays at the end of the season proved to be game winners. But what about prior years and the first part of the 2016 season?

    It was pretty evident that the Bucs were going to draft a safety fairly early in the Draft. One need only look at the rostered players. Street free agents in Conte, Johnson and Wilcox and a former 5th rounder in Tandy while another street free agent, McDougald was allowed to leave. That tells me that position is unsettled and wide open in Training Camp.

    Let’s give the kid a chance before some of you start nit picking to try to prove your point of who you think Licht should have drafted.

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  14. 14

    drdneast

    deezenuts, the one major item you left out of your diatribe abiut Licht, big surprise, was that thosr eere alll players Lovie Smith coveted.
    Since the morons exit, the selection of FAs has improvef dramatically.
    Do you consider that a coincidence.
    Geeeeeesh.

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  15. 15

    jp414

    Man, can’t nobody spell Stevie Tu’ikolovatu’s name, even Scott Reynolds!
    The guy should press for being called just ‘Big Stevie’ or ‘Mr. T’ or ‘Fat Tu’esday’.

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