The professional oddsmakers at some of the best online sportsbooks are dealing the Bucs at a lowly 80-1 to win the Super Bowl next season. Wander through the pages of SBR and you can read a YouWager review which provides unique insight into why YouWager is one of the industry’s best sportsbooks. YouWager, like many of the other top-notch online books, is offering healthy odds on a dream to come true in Tampa next season but skeptics believe that even odds of 80-1 aren’t enough to back Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers.
Yet, hope springs eternal in even the most desolate football wasteland, of which Tampa Bay is not one. There is plenty of reason for optimism, it just depends on your definition. If you believe that these Bucs will be Super Bowl contenders, then you’re probably a lot of fun at parties and better than a dose of Xanax when a friend has the blues. There’s nothing wrong with rose-colored glasses but as for the rest of us, we will put on our bifocals and take a look at what the No. 5 overall pick in April’s draft will render for the Bucs and how this could impact the fortunes of the franchise this year and beyond.
Many of the pundits believe that the Bucs should consider trading down, thus using additional draft picks to fill their myriad holes. But for the purposes of our discussion, let’s assume they stay put and draft the player that fills their most glaring need and one who will bear the most fruit in subsequent seasons. In order to do that, let’s hear from a few of those who get paid to talk about such things.
Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports – DT Ed Oliver, Houston “Oliver spent his college career terrorizing centers but he’ll be a three-technique in the NFL – where he’ll continue to dominate. The Bucs could be moving on from Gerald McCoy, and Oliver would be a solid choice to replace him in the lineup.”
All we can say about that is if indeed the Bucs will be cutting McCoy loose due to salary cap concerns then does it really make sense to spend a high draft pick on a guy who, if things go well, will do what McCoy did last year by getting a half dozen sacks at best? Maybe No. 5 grows up to be an All-Pro like McCoy but the Bucs tapped defensive tackle Vita Vea in last season’s draft and there is plenty of room for him to spread his wings and take over the defensive interior. The Bucs have not reached double-digits in wins since McCoy was drafted in 2010 and they need to stop making the same mistakes over and over again. Save the interior defensive line pick for somewhere down the line and search for an illustrious player at another position.
Maurice Jones-Drew, NFL.com – RB Josh Jacobs, Alabama “This pick is solely to help Jameis Winston. Bruce Arians loves to pair a downhill running game with his play-action passing concepts.”
No, no, a thousand times no. Josh Jacobs is a nice running back but not Saquon Barkley. He would be a tremendous value pick in the teens for a team looking to improve their ground attack but not a generational runner who should be selected this high.
Lance Zierlein, NFL.com – DT Quinnen Williams, Alabama “With all the help Todd Bowles needs on defense, the Bucs will be able to go ‘best available’ on that side of the ball here. Tampa adds an interior rusher to go along with Vita Vea and Gerald McCoy rather than reaching for an edge rusher.”
Projected to be a half click above Ed Oliver, the same case can be made for not choosing the DT route as we made above. The point is probably moot because Williams is expected to be gone before the Bucs pick at No. 5.
Chris Trapasso (Feb. 8) – CB Greedy Williams, LSU “No nonsense pick here for Tampa. Williams has the height, length, ball skills and athleticism to be the top cornerback for the Buccaneers immediately.”
Greedy Williams makes the most sense to us at this spot unless the Bucs decide to nab a top-tier offensive lineman like Alabama’s Jonah Williams or Oklahoma’s Cody Ford. Tampa Bay could trade down a notch or two and still get Williams if they have the right dance partner.
The Bucs need a dynamic player in their secondary and could then wrangle an offensive lineman in the second round. Jameis Winston needs more protection and the talent available in the second round will help in that regard.