General manager Jason Licht and head coach Lovie Smith understand the importance of this year’s draft after suffering an embarrassing 2-14 debut season in 2014. The Bucs have held a number of private workouts, visited numerous college pro days and have,or will, host several of the top draft prospects at One Buccaneer Place before the draft kicks off on April 30 in Chicago.
The Buccaneers are locked in on selecting a quarterback with the first overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft and have had both of the top-rated QBs – Florida State’s Jameis Winston and Oregon’s Marcus Mariota – in for visits. Tampa Bay will almost certainly draft Winston, the player that sits atop PewterReport.com’s 2015 Bucs’ 7-Round Mock Draft.
Every NFL club is allowed 30 visits to their team’s facility. NFL teams like the Bucs can work out as many draft prospects away from team facilities as they would like. Here is a list of offensive players the team has scouted in either visits to One Buc Place or personal workouts at the players’ respective schools or hometowns.
QB Jameis Winston Winston made a visit to One Buccaneer Place prior to his pro day at Florida State on March 31 that was heavily attended by Bucs coaches, including head coach Lovie Smith, offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and quarterbacks coach Mike Bajakian, and front office honchos, including general manager Jason Licht, director of player personnel Jon Robinson, director of college scouting Mike Biehl and scout Byron Kiefer. Winston, who is widely regarded as the team’s number one target for the first overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, also has a pre-draft workout with Tampa Bay scheduled for later this month.
QB Marcus Mariota In March, Mariota’s pro day workout at Oregon was attended by Licht, Robinson and Bajakian, but Smith was noticeably absent. However, Mariota visited One Buccaneer Place where he met with Smith and the Glazers, just like Winston did. And like Winston, the Bucs will do their due diligence and privately work out Mariota, too, even though he likely won’t be selected with their first overall pick. That workout will take place at Oregon on Tuesday, April 7, according to NFL.com’s Albert Breer.
QB Anthony Boone
First reported by Sports Talk Florida, Boone, who will likely be an undrafted free agent, was throwing to Duke wide receivers Jamison Crowder, whom the Bucs are targeting in the middle rounds for his ability as a slot receiver and return specialist, along with wide receiver Isaac Blakeney on April 1. Tampa Bay quarterbacks coach Mike Bajakian and wide receivers coach Andrew Hayes-Stoker were in attendance. Boone, who helped lead Duke’s resurgence, is being evaluated as an undrafted free agent possibility.
QB Hutson Mason
Fox 13 Tampa Bay first reported that Mason and Georgia wide receiver Chris Conley had worked out for the Bucs in mid-March. Tampa Bay is interested in Conley, who starred at the NFL Scouting Combine with a 4.35 time in the 40-yard dash and a 45-inch vertical jump, as a Day 3 wide receiver. Mason is being scouted as a possible undrafted free agent that could help throw during Tampa Bay’s rookie mini-camp and possibly training camp.
RUNNING BACKS South Carolina RB Mike Davis Matt Miller first reported that Davis would have a private workout with South Carolina’s leading rusherover the past two seasons. Davis ran a 4.38 at his pro day with Bucs scouts in attendance. He rushed for less than 1,000 yards last year due to a hamstring issue, and there are concerns about his conditioning. The Bucs could make him a third- or fourth-round pick.
Florida RB Matt Jones
Jones, a big, bruising running back at Florida that is from the Tampa Bay area, so his workout at One Buc Place on Friday won’t count against the Bucs’ 30 visits. The Bucs want to get a powerful running back to complement Charles Sims. Tampa Bay could consider him with a late-round pick.
Kansas State WR Tyler Lockett
PewterReport.com reports that the Bucs will have a meeting with the Bucs in April. Whether that meeting is a visit to One Buc Place or a private workout at Kansas State is unknown. The Bucs like Lockett’s 4.4 speed, his ability to separate from defenders with superior route running and his toughness as a return specialist (two punt return touchdowns and four kick return TDs). He could be a third-round pick by Tampa Bay.
Florida State WR Rashad Greene
The Bucs privately worked out Greene at Florida State on April 8 along with tight end Nick O’Leary and quarterback Jameis Winston. Tampa Bay had seen him a week earlier at the Seminoles’ pro day in Tallahassee. The Bucs need a shifty, playmaking slot receiver and FSU’s all-time leading receiver could fit the bill in the third or fourth round.
Duke WR Jamison Crowder
First reported by Sports Talk Florida, Crowder worked out for the Bucs with Duke quarterback Anthony Boone and wide receiver Isaac Blakeney, who will likely be an undrafted free agents, on April 1. Tampa Bay quarterbacks coach Mike Bajakian and wide receivers coach Andrew Hayes-Stoker were in attendance. Crowder, who helped lead Duke’s resurgence, is considered to be a fourth- or fifth-round pick and the Bucs like his ability to play slot receiver and be a return specialist (four punts returned for touchdowns).
Central Michigan WR Titus Davis
According to Tony Pauline, the Bucs met with Davis and had dinner with him after his pro day workout at Central Michigan. With good size (6-1, 196) and 4.5 speed, Davis is capable of playing outside or in the slot at the next level. He broke a lot of Antonio Brown’s records at CMU and finished with 204 catches for 3,700 yards and 37 touchdowns. Davis is considered to be a fourth- or fifth-rounder.
Georgia WR Chris Conley
Fox 13 Tampa Bay first reported that Conley and Georgia quarterback Hutson Mason had worked out for the Bucs in mid-March. Tampa Bay is interested in Conley, who starred at the NFL Scouting Combine with a 4.35 time in the 40-yard dash and a 45-inch vertical jump, as a possible Day 3 wide receiver that could play outside and in the slot.
East Carolina WR Cam Worthy
The Buccaneers met with Worthy, according to Brent Sobleski, but are also interested in James Hardy, Worthy’s ECU teammate. Worthy will likely go undrafted due to a foot fracture he suffered preparing for the Medal of Honor Bowl and getting suspended for two games. But he is a big (6-2, 211), physical playmaker that lit up Virginia Tech for 224 yards last year.
South Florida WR Andre Davis
As first reported by the Tampa Bay Times’ Greg Auman, Davis, who went to nearby Jefferson High School, is a decent-sized target at 6-foot-1, 205 pounds and carries a late-round draft grade. The Bucs are bringing him in as a local prospect and may consider signing him as a free agent if he goes undrafted.
Air Force WR Connor Dietz
As Auman reported for the Tampa Bay Times, Dietz, who has been stationed at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa for the past two years, played quarterback for the Falcons in their option-based offense, but will try out as a slot receiver as a possible rookie mini-camp invite. He may also be asked to pass the ball.
Florida State WR Christian Jones
Jones, a Tampa native who went to Tampa Catholic, is being brought in as part of the Bucs’ local workout this Friday. The Bucs first saw Jones at Florida State’s pro day in Tallahassee last week and are looking at him as a possible rookie mini-camp invite or an undrafted free agent.
Florida State OT-C Cameron Erving Erving was one of four offensive lineman that Warhop privately worked out on April 8 at Florida State when the Bucs’ brass descended on Tallahassee to privately work out quarterback Jameis Winston. Erving was Winston’s blindside pass protector for a year and a half before moving to center midseason in 2014. He wound up as an All-ACC performer at both positions and is expected to be a mid- to late-first-round pick.
Pittsburgh OT T.J. Clemmings
Clemmings is meeting with the Bucs, who like the fact that he has two years worth of experience at right tackle and the size, athleticism, quickness and frame to play left tackle. There are some similarities to Clemmings and Dallas’ Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith. Clemmings didn’t have a good showing at the Senior Bowl, which hurt his draft stock and could push him to the top of the second round.
Miami OT Ereck Flowers
Between a private visit and a workout, the Bucs are definitely interested in Flowers, who played left tackle at Miami, but has the size and power to play right tackle in the NFL. Flowers is likely a late first-round pick, which means Tampa Bay might have to trade up from the second round into the first round if they want to acquire Flowers.
Florida OT D.J. Humphries
The Bucs have a need at offensive tackle and Humphries, who started 19 games at left tackle for the Gators, would be a nice fit if he can stay healthy. Humphries missed seven games over the past two years due to injuries. Humphries is a big, physical nasty run blocker with enough quickness to be effective in pass protection. He’s likely a second- or third-round pick.
Florida OT Chaz Green
Green, a Tampa native, is one of the local prospects who will be visiting the Bucs later in the week for a workout. He played right tackle at Florida, but has the size and athleticism to play guard at the NFL level. Because Tampa Bay has needs at right guard and right tackle, the Bucs could spend a Day 3 draft pick on Green if he works out well.
South Florida OT Darrell Williams
Williams started 29 straight games at left tackle for the Bulls, and is getting a look at the Bucs’ local workout at One Buccaneer Place on Friday. Williams also has the quick feet necessary to play inside at guard and could be an undrafted free agent or a rookie mini-camp invite.
South Florida C Austin Reiter
Like Williams, Reiter has been invited to One Buccaneer Place for a local workout on Friday. Reiter has been a stalwart three-year starter at center for the Bucs. Despite his experience, he is an undrafted free agent candidate.
South Carolina G A.J. Cann
Cann, who is one of the top-rated guards, was a four-year starter with 51 games and is a powerful run blocker. Cann, who has met with the Bucs, spent the past three seasons blocking for Mike Davis, whom Tampa Bay is interested in drafting. Cann is likely a second- or third-round draft pick.
Florida State G Tre` Jackson
Jackson is a three-year starter at Florida State who blocked for quarterback Jameis Winston, whom the Bucs will likely select with the first overall pick. Tampa Bay got a good look at Jackson at the Seminoles’ pro day and worked him out with Warhop on April 8. Jackson will be drafted in the second or third round.
Florida State G Josue Matias
Like Jackson, Matias has plenty of starting experience at Florida State as the Seminoles’ left guard for the past few years. He’s further ahead as a pass protector than he is a run blocker at this point, and will be a fourth- or fifth-round pick as a result. Matias was one of four Seminoles linemen to privately work out for Warhop.
Florida State OL Bobby Hart
Hart is an extremely young prospect at the age of 20 having completed his senior year at Florida State. While he’s the least talented of the Seminoles’ draft-eligible linemen, he does have an upside and can play right tackle or guard at the next level. Warhop worked him out on April 8 at Florida State. Hart, who played in the East-West Shrine Game, is likely a late-round draft pick or an undrafted free agent.