After the 2018 NFL draft comments

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After the 2018 NFL draft comments

Postby mdb1958 » Mon Apr 30, 2018 4:11 am

I just took a look and again many teams invested heavily on the D-line.

Redskins 2 DT's
Jax 1 DT 1 EDGE
Raiders 2 DT's 1 EDGE
Chiefs 2 DT's
Jets 2 DT's
Giants 2 DT's 1 EDGE
Bengals 1 DT 1 DE
Panthers 1 DT 1 EDGE
Chargers 1 DT 1 EDGE
49ers 1 DT 1 EDGE
Bears 1 DT 1 EDGE
Texans 1 DE 1 EDGE
Colts 1 DE 1 EDGE
Vikings 1 DE 1 EDGE
Seattle 1 DE 1 EDGE
Packers 1 DE 1 EDGE


I may have missed somebody but I just wanted to point out that half the league picked more than 1 player and some of these teams did pretty darn good.
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Re: After the 2018 NFL draft comments

Postby mdb1958 » Mon Apr 30, 2018 4:26 am

I count 77 players on the roster, I guess that means we can bring in 13 more?

Considering the sheer amount of DE's that will probably get cut, its disturbing we couldnt get some better fruit to come in and surprise us.

I just checked and it looks pretty bare. It does amplify what I say about 7th round picks, 2 DE's that would have been worth looking at.

Zach Sieler
Kendall Donnerson

If they werent NFL ready, they could have the hammy keep safe option.
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Re: After the 2018 NFL draft comments

Postby PrimeMinister » Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:40 am

I wonder if this is any different than years past. mdb find the DL draft numbers for last year to compare to this year.
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Re: After the 2018 NFL draft comments

Postby Doctor » Tue May 01, 2018 1:03 pm

It's a copy cat league and the cat right now is Philly. Is that not how that expression works?
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Re: After the 2018 NFL draft comments

Postby BucaRican » Wed May 02, 2018 9:25 am

I really like what GB did. They got probably the 2 of the 3 top corners in the draft and still got a talented inside Linebacker. That defense is going to be really hard to throw against if both of those guys become shut down islands.
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Re: After the 2018 NFL draft comments

Postby Bootz2004 » Wed May 02, 2018 10:28 am

mdb1958 wrote:I count 77 players on the roster, I guess that means we can bring in 13 more?

Considering the sheer amount of DE's that will probably get cut, its disturbing we couldnt get some better fruit to come in and surprise us.

I just checked and it looks pretty bare. It does amplify what I say about 7th round picks, 2 DE's that would have been worth looking at.

Zach Sieler
Kendall Donnerson

If they werent NFL ready, they could have the hammy keep safe option.


Not surprisingly you're wrong. We now have 91 players on the roster and that doesn't include our draft picks.
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Re: After the 2018 NFL draft comments

Postby Bucs N Beers » Wed May 02, 2018 10:56 am

Just for fun - the draft we almost had. The players picked ahead of our pick in each round:

11. Miami Dolphins - Minkah Fitzpatrick - S, Alabama
37. Indy Colts - Braden Smith - OG, Auburn
52. Indy Colts - Kemoko Turay - Edge, Rutgers
62. Minny Vikes - Brian O'Neil - OT, Pitt
93. Jax Jaguards - Ronnie Harrison - S, Alabama
116. Dallas Cowboys - Dorance Armstrong - Edge, Kansas
143. NE Patriots - Ja'whaun Bentley - ILB, Purdue
201. NO Saints - Boston Scott - RB, LA Tech

Wouldn't have been a terrible class, though obviously 2 safeties and 2 Edge would be a little bit overkill with what we already had.
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Re: After the 2018 NFL draft comments

Postby Bucs N Beers » Wed May 02, 2018 11:13 am

Just for fun - the draft we almost had. The POSITION player picked ahead of our pick in each round.

12. Vea was the first DT
38. Nick Chubb - RB taken 3 spots ahead of Jones
53. Josh Jackson - CB taken 8 spots ahead of MJ Stewart
63. Isiah Oliver - CB taken 5 spots ahead of Carlton Davis
94. Chuks Okorafor - NO other OG taken in round 3. Okorafor was the last previous OL taken 2 spots ahead of Cappa
117. Troy Apke - S taken 8 spots ahead of Whitehead
144. J'mon Moore - WR taken 10 spots ahead of Justin Watson
202. Foye Oluokun - LB taken 2 spots ahead of Cichy

-----------------
Chubb/Jackson/Oliver would have been a decent pull, but I think I like our late draft better than what went ahead of us. Overall I think we got pretty good value.
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Re: After the 2018 NFL draft comments

Postby mdb1958 » Wed May 02, 2018 4:58 pm

Bootz2004 wrote:
mdb1958 wrote:I count 77 players on the roster, I guess that means we can bring in 13 more?

Considering the sheer amount of DE's that will probably get cut, its disturbing we couldnt get some better fruit to come in and surprise us.

I just checked and it looks pretty bare. It does amplify what I say about 7th round picks, 2 DE's that would have been worth looking at.

Zach Sieler
Kendall Donnerson

If they werent NFL ready, they could have the hammy keep safe option.


Not surprisingly you're wrong. We now have 91 players on the roster and that doesn't include our draft picks.


Is that legal?

I do count 91 on the Buc site now, but it includes the draft picks. Post your link so I can check it out
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Re: After the 2018 NFL draft comments

Postby mdb1958 » Thu May 03, 2018 5:08 am

Eric Nzeocha, maybe he doesnt count Bootz.
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Re: After the 2018 NFL draft comments

Postby MJW » Thu May 03, 2018 5:35 am

Bucs N Beers wrote:Just for fun - the draft we almost had. The players picked ahead of our pick in each round:

11. Miami Dolphins - Minkah Fitzpatrick - S, Alabama
37. Indy Colts - Braden Smith - OG, Auburn
52. Indy Colts - Kemoko Turay - Edge, Rutgers
62. Minny Vikes - Brian O'Neil - OT, Pitt
93. Jax Jaguards - Ronnie Harrison - S, Alabama
116. Dallas Cowboys - Dorance Armstrong - Edge, Kansas
143. NE Patriots - Ja'whaun Bentley - ILB, Purdue
201. NO Saints - Boston Scott - RB, LA Tech

Wouldn't have been a terrible class, though obviously 2 safeties and 2 Edge would be a little bit overkill with what we already had.


Armstrong and Turay are pretty much the same guy, but this wouldn't have been an awful draft either. We could have done some interesting things with an Evans-Fitz-Harrison grouping, and I love adding Braden Smith AND Brian O'Neil.
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Re: After the 2018 NFL draft comments

Postby Mountaineer Buc » Thu May 03, 2018 8:13 am

So I finally got the opportunity to get a look at the draft as a whole so here's my quick impressions on each team's haul.

tl;dr-Denver all day

Bills- Not spectacular
Fish- They are going to love Durham Smythe more than Mike Giseki
Pats- Rich get richer
NYJ- Boooooring

BAL- Decent, they should be happy, but not excited.
CIN-They got a couple of parts but it's dull
CLE- Outside of Calloway, pretty good.
PIT- Very good.

Tex- Lots of roleplayers, but no worldbeaters
Indy- Overhaul in progress. 2 out of the 3 best guards and great value getting Cain @ 185
Jax- Smart drafting days 1 and 2. good work.
Ten- Had only 4 picks and didn't get much

Broncs- Elway drafted like a Boss. Slam dunk, best draft of the year.
Kc- bleh....
supahchagas- Pair of good safeties, but not much else.
Vegas- They are getting ripped for this haul, but nearly every pick is in the trenches which is how you're supposed to build a football team.

**** dallas- Bland. No stars.
NYFG- Not as good as Denver, but very good.
Iggles- Did not get better
Skins- Solid

Da bears- Solid until day three.
GB- All over the place. 2 great corners and then they just got weird.
Vikes- also weird. 2 good picks then a bunch of JAGs
Loins- If they get 1,000 yads rushing from Kerryon.....it'll all be worth it.

Cards- Offense got better.
LA Wham!s- added depth across the board. No way they could **** this up.
Niners- John Lynch is either a Genius or he spent the draft guessing.
Sea- WTF is going on up there?

Goons- Goddammit, they got some good players.
Kittties- Nobody scares me
Nawlins- More confusing draft than Seattle, but it's close.
Bucs- Ask Bootz
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Re: After the 2018 NFL draft comments

Postby Buc2 » Thu May 03, 2018 8:19 am

Mountaineer Buc wrote:So I finally got the opportunity to get a look at the draft as a whole so here's my quick impressions on each team's haul.

Bucs- Ask Bootz

It's your post, so why don't you answer?
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Re: After the 2018 NFL draft comments

Postby Mountaineer Buc » Thu May 03, 2018 8:29 am

Buc2 wrote:
Mountaineer Buc wrote:So I finally got the opportunity to get a look at the draft as a whole so here's my quick impressions on each team's haul.

Bucs- Ask Bootz

It's your post, so why don't you answer?

because the whole board is devoted to that question and opinions vary. I think Licht did a great job.
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Re: After the 2018 NFL draft comments

Postby mdb1958 » Thu May 03, 2018 8:51 am

Atlanta Falcons: DT dominoes
Calvin Ridley was a great addition to the offense, but when the Falcons passed on Taven Bryan, it surprised a lot of people. Outside of the first-round prospects, the team had shown a lot of interest in two guys at the position: Sam Houston State's P.J. Hall, and Fort Hays State's Nathan Shepherd. The former was taken one pick ahead of Atlanta in the second round, and the Falcons went with corner Isaiah Oliver at No. 58 instead of Shepherd, who was taken early in the third. So the team ended up with Deadrin Senat with its third round pick. Oliver was a good value, so it's hard to hate that pick, but I'm sure most expected the defensive tackle position to be a higher priority in this draft.
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Re: After the 2018 NFL draft comments

Postby DreadNaught » Thu May 03, 2018 10:13 am

Mountaineer Buc wrote:
Buc2 wrote:It's your post, so why don't you answer?

because the whole board is devoted to that question and opinions vary. I think Licht did a great job.


If you pay attention to metrics and draft value there was an excellent article by Tom Bassinger that talked about how Licht was able to maximize the value of this draft class.

We'll see how it plays out. Imo if you get 2-3 starters and 1-2 depth guys from a draft class than it's a solid draft. I'm optimistic about this class since Vea at worst will be a solid starter imo. Jones should be able to contribute early as most 2nd round RBs do. If one of the three DBs (Stewart, Davis, Whitehead) turn out to be worth a damn that is a win. Cappa should be at worst develop into a back-up linemen with versatility (the next Pamphile/Benenoch).

Obviously the ceiling is much higher for all those guys, but realistically they all won't develop into that potential.
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Re: After the 2018 NFL draft comments

Postby DreadNaught » Thu May 03, 2018 10:20 am

mdb1958 wrote:Atlanta Falcons: DT dominoes
Calvin Ridley was a great addition to the offense, but when the Falcons passed on Taven Bryan, it surprised a lot of people. Outside of the first-round prospects, the team had shown a lot of interest in two guys at the position: Sam Houston State's P.J. Hall, and Fort Hays State's Nathan Shepherd. The former was taken one pick ahead of Atlanta in the second round, and the Falcons went with corner Isaiah Oliver at No. 58 instead of Shepherd, who was taken early in the third. So the team ended up with Deadrin Senat with its third round pick. Oliver was a good value, so it's hard to hate that pick, but I'm sure most expected the defensive tackle position to be a higher priority in this draft.


Can't fault the Falcons for going BPA w/ Ridley and Oliver. But their Dline should be a concern, especially given the division they play in.

The Falcons have a solid front 4 in their sub package when Tack McKinley and Vic Beasley can be the DE's. But both are undersized guys to be base 4-3 DEs. The Falcons also lost Dontari Poe and replaced him with a much smaller Jack Crawford. Brooks Reed and Derrick Shelby don't exactly scare anyone either.

If the Falcons can play with a lead it will hide the deficiencies on their Dline. But I do believe they will be susceptible to having the ball run down their throat if the opposing offense has a decent Oline. The Falcons lost talent and depth on the Dline and didn't replace it imo.
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Re: After the 2018 NFL draft comments

Postby real bucs fan » Thu May 03, 2018 10:43 am

Watching Licht on GMFB, he specifically stated that "Vea was 4th on our board" and that he was the top guy on the board at 7.

Glad he pulled off the trade, clearly he had the big 3 ahead of him and trading down was the right move and still got his guy. That said, if James becomes a superstar which I think he will and our SS position is utter dogcrap, we might regret passing on him.
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Re: After the 2018 NFL draft comments

Postby DreadNaught » Thu May 03, 2018 10:54 am

real bucs fan wrote:Watching Licht on GMFB, he specifically stated that "Vea was 4th on our board" and that he was the top guy on the board at 7.

Glad he pulled off the trade, clearly he had the big 3 ahead of him and trading down was the right move and still got his guy. That said, if James becomes a superstar which I think he will and our SS position is utter dogcrap, we might regret passing on him.


James is a heck of an athlete and prospect. But Safety is not a premium position relative to Dline though. The Cowboys wouldn't even part with a mid 2nd round pick for Earl Thomas, Honey Badger was a cap casualty and signed a cheap 1yr deal, Vacarro, Reid, and Tre Boston are still unsigned.

The Bucs are like many teams in they they feel the demands they place on the Safety position don't require premium resources to be invested. I don't doubt Derwin was high on the board, but had Derwin not been a local product I doubt Bucs fans would be as salty about not drafting him.

Our pick had more to do w/ Vea and the impact a physically dominating DT can make on a defense than anything to do w/ James. I think James will be a good pro and likely make some pro bowls. But I'm happy the team went in the direction they did in round 1.
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Re: After the 2018 NFL draft comments

Postby real bucs fan » Thu May 03, 2018 2:41 pm

DreadNaught wrote:
real bucs fan wrote:Watching Licht on GMFB, he specifically stated that "Vea was 4th on our board" and that he was the top guy on the board at 7.

Glad he pulled off the trade, clearly he had the big 3 ahead of him and trading down was the right move and still got his guy. That said, if James becomes a superstar which I think he will and our SS position is utter dogcrap, we might regret passing on him.


James is a heck of an athlete and prospect. But Safety is not a premium position relative to Dline though. The Cowboys wouldn't even part with a mid 2nd round pick for Earl Thomas, Honey Badger was a cap casualty and signed a cheap 1yr deal, Vacarro, Reid, and Tre Boston are still unsigned.

The Bucs are like many teams in they they feel the demands they place on the Safety position don't require premium resources to be invested. I don't doubt Derwin was high on the board, but had Derwin not been a local product I doubt Bucs fans would be as salty about not drafting him.

Our pick had more to do w/ Vea and the impact a physically dominating DT can make on a defense than anything to do w/ James. I think James will be a good pro and likely make some pro bowls. But I'm happy the team went in the direction they did in round 1.

Speaking for myself, I couldn't be care less about the FSU connection. And overall agree about safety.

I just think James will be more impactful than Vea, but do hope I'm wrong.
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Re: After the 2018 NFL draft comments

Postby mdb1958 » Fri May 04, 2018 3:17 am

I think my biggest shocker in the 2018 NFL draft was PJ Hall going 57th overall. I"m
not sure how he will do in Oakland because I'm biased and I was convinced he would be a killer piece to add to our rotation.

I'm amazed at how quickly he climbed the rankings.
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Re: After the 2018 NFL draft comments

Postby VauntedTampa2 » Sat May 05, 2018 12:37 pm

real bucs fan wrote:Watching Licht on GMFB, he specifically stated that "Vea was 4th on our board" and that he was the top guy on the board at 7.

Glad he pulled off the trade, clearly he had the big 3 ahead of him and trading down was the right move and still got his guy. That said, if James becomes a superstar which I think he will and our SS position is utter dogcrap, we might regret passing on him.


When it is all said and done, Mark Barron > Derwin James, imo.

I see James following Barron's career path- oversized safety who ends up more as a LB- and I think Barron will end up with the better body of work (which isn't great in the first place, considering where he was drafted).

Glad we were able to acquire additional draft capital, while at the same time drafting the 4th best player on our big board. I'm going to assume 1-3 was a combination of Saquan/Chubbs/Nelson, which means we snagged the top player on our board @12.

Here's to hoping our young secondary develops nicely.
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Re: After the 2018 NFL draft comments

Postby real bucs fan » Sat May 05, 2018 3:53 pm

VauntedTampa2 wrote:
real bucs fan wrote:Watching Licht on GMFB, he specifically stated that "Vea was 4th on our board" and that he was the top guy on the board at 7.

Glad he pulled off the trade, clearly he had the big 3 ahead of him and trading down was the right move and still got his guy. That said, if James becomes a superstar which I think he will and our SS position is utter dogcrap, we might regret passing on him.


When it is all said and done, Mark Barron > Derwin James, imo.

I see James following Barron's career path- oversized safety who ends up more as a LB- and I think Barron will end up with the better body of work (which isn't great in the first place, considering where he was drafted).

Glad we were able to acquire additional draft capital, while at the same time drafting the 4th best player on our big board. I'm going to assume 1-3 was a combination of Saquan/Chubbs/Nelson, which means we snagged the top player on our board @12.

Here's to hoping our young secondary develops nicely.

The biggest difference between Barron and James is Barron was much more marginal as an athlete at S. He was a great athlete, but there's a reason he ended up at LB. Jame is going to be one of the best athletes at S in football. He really is going to be an impactful player, and was just a tremendous steal for the Chargers.
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Re: After the 2018 NFL draft comments

Postby Bootz2004 » Sat May 05, 2018 3:56 pm

VauntedTampa2 wrote:
real bucs fan wrote:Watching Licht on GMFB, he specifically stated that "Vea was 4th on our board" and that he was the top guy on the board at 7.

Glad he pulled off the trade, clearly he had the big 3 ahead of him and trading down was the right move and still got his guy. That said, if James becomes a superstar which I think he will and our SS position is utter dogcrap, we might regret passing on him.


When it is all said and done, Mark Barron > Derwin James, imo.

I see James following Barron's career path- oversized safety who ends up more as a LB- and I think Barron will end up with the better body of work (which isn't great in the first place, considering where he was drafted).

Glad we were able to acquire additional draft capital, while at the same time drafting the 4th best player on our big board. I'm going to assume 1-3 was a combination of Saquan/Chubbs/Nelson, which means we snagged the top player on our board @12.

Here's to hoping our young secondary develops nicely.


You truly don't know football if you believe that. James is way more athletic and a much better football player than Barron is. They honestly don't compare at all. Barron still can't tackle worth a damn and is still a liability in coverage. James is not a liability at all and has a much higher football IQ than Barron. He's also a better playmaker.

This is one of the worst comparisons I've ever seen. It's like comparing Suh to Akeem Spence.
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Re: After the 2018 NFL draft comments

Postby VauntedTampa2 » Sat May 05, 2018 4:46 pm

We will see. Dude is going to be 230 before you know it.
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Re: After the 2018 NFL draft comments

Postby Bootz2004 » Sat May 05, 2018 4:48 pm

VauntedTampa2 wrote:We will see. Dude is going to be 230 before you know it.


He could stand to fill out his frame some.
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Re: After the 2018 NFL draft comments

Postby VauntedTampa2 » Sun May 06, 2018 9:24 am

Who in the league do you compare him to?
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Re: After the 2018 NFL draft comments

Postby Super K » Sun May 06, 2018 9:35 am

Here's the thing..I don't like James, at all...

That being said, athletically he is a freaking phenom...he blows Mark Barron out of the water...

Athletically, he can be Troy Polamalu...blitz/run stuff/cover

Biggest question is, can he do it/show it on the field?...
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Re: After the 2018 NFL draft comments

Postby real bucs fan » Sun May 06, 2018 9:45 am

Super K wrote:Here's the thing..I don't like James, at all...

That being said, athletically he is a freaking phenom...he blows Mark Barron out of the water...

Athletically, he can be Troy Polamalu...blitz/run stuff/cover

Biggest question is, can he do it/show it on the field?...

I think so. Generally it takes a year back before guys fully recover from an injury and get back to previous form. When you watch his freshman tape, the guy was a phenom as not only an athlete, but as football player as well.
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Re: After the 2018 NFL draft comments

Postby Mountaineer Buc » Fri May 18, 2018 7:38 am

The NFL Draft Subreddit has a series called "Defending the Draft" and a piece is written by a guy from each team to draft gurus and fans of other teams. All props to u/mcsteel for the wite up. Comments in the link.

https://www.reddit.com/r/NFL_Draft/comments/8k8vny/defending_the_draft_2018_tampa_bay_buccaneers/



If you haven't followed the Bucs at all in the past year I'll give a very brief rundown.

I'm surprised there wasn't another hurricane in Florida after Irma from all the hot air the Bucs were spewing about playoffs in the 2017 offseason only for them to fall flat on their faces.

Without a bye week all season, injuries for the Bucs quickly piled up leaving them starting 4th string cornerbacks and signing practice squad players to the active roster in several key positions.

The Bucs did not live up to expectation in 2017. The offense wasn't bad but was better at gaining yards rather than scoring touchdowns. Their defensive line failed in all regards from sacks, pressures, run defense, etc. The secondary wasn't any better, maybe it was a product of a poor pass rush but they played soft all season.

Coming into the draft the Bucs put a lot of effort into building a deep defensive line through free agency. They also signed Jensen so Marpet can go back to his natural position at guard fortifying the o-line. Before the draft most people would say the biggest holes on the Bucs roster were secondary players and a feature running back.

In the off season the Bucs addressed their d line woes by signing JPP, Vinny Curry, Mitch Unrein, and Beau Allen. These are veterans who have proven the ability to get to the quarterback and it seems like the Bucs are finally getting the right players.

Now onto the good stuff.

The Picks

Round 1, Pick 12 - Vita Vea

Last year the Bucs spent 24.35 percent of the cap, second most in the league on the defensive line. Despite this the Bucs had one of the worst defenses in the NFL, their defense finished last in sacks (22), sack rate (3.9%), pressure rate (24.8%) TFL (71), third-down stop rate (48.1), yards allowed (378.1 per game), and yards per play (6). Jason Licht said after the draft, "A guy like that, you have to occupy him; he's going to take on double teams and it's going to free someone up." Ali Marpet would call Vea "an absolute unit" but for such a big man, his feet are extremely quick. Overall he’s freakishly athletic for someone his size and has the potential to be a pass rushing threat on every passing play if he develops his pass rush technique. Even though he’s raw, he will be impactful and immediately command attention from the opposing offensive line freeing up Gerald McCoy and JPP. In the run game he’s efficient at stacking and shedding, and has the unique ability to take on double teams then reset at the point of attack to take down the ball carrier. Having Vea will also keep Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David clean to chase ball carriers too. Vita Vea has versatile starting experience at UW's hybrid defensive line which will only help him adjust to the Bucs. The Bucs defensive line got a makeover they sorely needed this offseason, with the additions of Mitch Unrein, Beau Allen, Vinny Curry, JPP, and Vita Vea it finally seems like we have functional depth on the defensive line. In his first season, I think Vea will share early down snaps with Beau Allen to keep him fresh, in college he would get lazy with his technique when he was fatigued. He’ll likely be on the field for obvious passing situations as well with his ability to put pressure on the quarterback even against double teams. While I don’t think he’ll put up the best stats as a rookie, both our pass defense and run defense will improve because of him

Round 2, Pick 38 - Ronald Jones

Dirk Koetter has gone on record to say the 3 most important factors for having a successful offense are reducing turnovers, creating explosive plays, and avoiding sacks. "Your percentage of scoring a touchdown is going to go way, way up the more explosive plays you have." His standard for an explosive plays is 12+ yards for a run and 16+ for a pass, the Bucs only had 19 explosive runs by his standards which is tied for 2nd to worst in the NFL. When the Bucs did have the rare explosive run, their running backs were often too slow to outrun defensive backs, their longest run of 2017 being 36 yards. Another thing the Bucs have struggled with is red-zone efficiency, last year the Bucs ranked 24th in red-zone touchdown percentage with a 49.1% success rate. In comes Ronald Jones who's an explosive runner, with the ability to stop on a dime then quickly regain his speed. He's much faster than his 40 time suggests and consistently left NFL talent in the dust. In open space he's able to break down defenders, that combined with his speed makes him a scoring threat on every play. These traits make Ronald Jones well suited for Off-Tackle and sweep plays which will hopefully mean an end to watching Peyton Barber get stuffed at the line of scrimmage on a dumb play call. He also has a nose for the end zone, scoring at least one touchdown in 19 of the his last 20 games at USC. In his first season with the Bucs, Ronald Jones will likely be the feature back. He will probably split carries in a RBBC depending on if he can improve his pass blocking. If he can’t the Bucs will probably have Jones as the primary back splitting carries with Peyton Barber to be the thunder to his lightning, with Charles SIms or Jacquizz coming in as the 3rd down back. I think he’ll improve the Bucs amount of explosive runs significantly and will definitely break 1,000 yards.

Round 2, Pick 12 - M.J. Stewart

The Bucs cornerbacks couldn't cover much of anything but were especially bad on short passes. Their cornerbacks played far off the line of scrimmage, leaving vast amounts of space for receivers to make an easy 5 yard reception. Mike Smith has said that he gives the Bucs cornerbacks flexibility in how far off the line of scrimmage they play; Hargreaves played scared all season giving receivers huge cushions to gash the defense underneath. According to NFL GSIS tracking, the Bucs allowed a completion rate of 72.8 percent on passes to the short left (ranked 26th) and 70.9 percent to the short right (30th). This draft the Bucs decided to get the physicality back in their secondary, and started by drafting M.J. Stewart. He’s a fierce competitor and seems to enjoy fighting at the line of scrimmage with receivers. His technique is good in press coverage and from the tape his best coverage at UNC was on short to intermediate routes which is where most of his work would come from as slot corner. At UNC he was voted team captain and on the Bucs he'll create a culture of toughness for the defensive backs. Although he’s a talented player it’s questionable if he’ll be a starter his first season. At outside cornerback Brent Grimes has CB1 locked up and Carlton Davis and Vernon Hargreaves will be competing for the other outside corner spot. The coaches have said that currently Hargreaves is the starting nickel player in sub packages, so M.J. Stewart would have to beat out Hargreaves for slot corner where he projects to play as on the Bucs. Regardless he’s a versatile player that can potentially be played nearly anywhere in the secondary, Grimes is also on a 1 year contract so if he doesn’t get a chance to shine this season he’ll definitely be a starter next year.

Round 2, Pick 31 - Carlton Davis.

Another player to help with the Bucs soft defense woes is Carlton Davis. He’s another fierce competitor and just like M.J. Stewart, has the confidence a player needs to be a successful NFL corner. According to PFF, his strongest pass defense came on quick breaking routes which is exactly what the Bucs defense needs help with. He’s excellent in press coverage and has long arms to defend all sorts of catches. His long arms and above average frame will also help him against big receivers, which is the other reason the Bucs drafted him. For years the Bucs have been getting burned by the big physical receivers in their division (Julio Jones, Michael Thomas). This year they decided to do something about it. "We've been known for having smaller corners. We play in a division with big receivers. We wanted to get a bigger corner." The best way to stop a big physical receiver is by jamming them at the line of scrimmage. Carlton Davis is excellent at this and even if he’s not an immediate starter, I believe he will be used in certain matchups. This pick along with M.J. Stewart leads me to believe the Bucs will be running a lot more press man coverage. Davis will be competing for the outside cornerback spot with Hargreaves, and quite frankly I think he has a good shot at earning the starting position.

Round 3, Pick 30 - Alex Cappa

Just like their defense, the Bucs offensive line was soft leading to Jameis Winston being one of the most pressured quarterbacks in the NFL in 2017. To help get them back that mean streak they’ve been missing, they drafted Alex Cappa. Mike Mayock said about Cappa “he has the nastiest tape I’ve ever seen,” and he brings it every play where he dominated D2 opponents. When he gets his hands on a defender he shows technique, and has a non stop motor which he doesn’t stop mauling his opponent until the whistle is blown. The Bucs will also have Ali Marpet to guide him as a former D2 player. In his first year I don’t think he’ll be a starter because he’ll need to add some size and strength to compete with NFL caliber players. Although with the strength and conditioning program of an NFL team, there’s no telling how fast he can get where he needs to be physically. In my opinion he’ll most likely be quality depth for the offensive line and at best he’ll beat Sweezy for the RG spot.

Round 4, Pick 17 - Jordan Whitehead

After realizing Chris Conte has been on the team for 3 years and is still a starter, Jason Licht immediately knew he had to take a safety. Jordan Whitehead is an extremely athletic safety prospect who brings versatility and quality depth to the Bucs. He has a smooth backpedal and cornerback movement skills inherited from his cousin Darrelle Revis. His ability to anticipate where the ball is going makes him one of the better safety prospects at deep coverage in this class. He’s able to sniff out a play and bursts through the catch point to disrupt a play with his athleticism. In run support Whitehead uses his speed and anticipation to stop running plays for short gains. Despite trash talking Chris Conte at the start of this I think he’ll still be the starter at the beginning of next season. Jordan Whitehead has undisciplined technique and will need his bad habits hammered out of him before he starts, also Chris Conte isn’t that bad just pretty bad. I think Whitehead will immediately contribute on special teams with his explosiveness and has a chance at a starting position if he can work on his technique.

Round 5, Pick 7 - Justin Watson

In the later rounds, Jason Licht decided to draft players who could provide depth rather than taking a shot in the dark at some full back. He started this with Justin Watson, who has good nfl size and outstanding football character. The Bucs have been burned multiple times by players who were just in it for the paycheck (Chris Baker last year). His long fast strides and ability to track the ball will make him a good deep threat. He’s a work horse as well accounting for 47.6% of Penn’s total catches last year. In his first year he’ll have to earn a spot on the roster and it will be tough. The Bucs have a pretty deep receiving core with Evans, Jackson, Godwin, and Humphries basically guaranteed roster spots. This leaves one spot to compete for on the main roster, I think he’s capable of beating out Bobo Wilson but we’ll have to wait and see until training camp.

Round 6, Pick 28 - Jack Cichy

This was Jason Licht’s roll the dice pick of 2017 by picking an player covered in medical red flags, Jack Cichy. Although if he didn’t have the injury history he does, he’d likely be drafted much higher possibly in day 2. He’s a fluid player and has great lateral range. He has great acceleration in pursuit or blitzing, and is smarter than your average college linebacker able to diagnose plays. He’s a team first player and is willing to sacrifice his body to take out blockers so his teammates can make a play. In his first season, I think he’s likely to make the team if he can stay healthy and be able to start at the beginning of training camp. He’ll likely have to beat out Devante Bond for a roster spot but is also a good candidate as a practice squad player if he’s not signed to the final roster.

* * * *

I know every fan says this but I feel like the Bucs addressed their needs very well this draft and specifically attacked their weaknesses. Let me know what you think, hopefully the Bucs get off to a faster start next season than me posting this.
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