Bucs QBs Tom Brady (12), Kyle Trask (2), Blaine Gabbert (11) and Ryan Griffin (4) – Picture by: Cliff Welch/PR
SR’s Fab 5 is a group of reporting and evaluation on the Bucs from yours actually, Pewter Report’s Scott Reynolds. Listed below are 4 issues that caught my consideration this week, plus some random tidbits in my Buc Photographs part on the finish. Get pleasure from!
FAB 1. 5 Bucs On Offense That Want A Large Offseason
The Bucs offseason program is underway and OTAs (organized workforce actions) and mini-camps will quickly be right here. Let’s a check out a few of Tampa Bay’s offensive gamers that have to profit from the offseason and achieve some momentum heading into coaching camp.
QB Kyle Trask
After mainly redshirting final season as a rookie, Tampa Bay’s second-round choose in 2021 will get an opportunity to problem Blaine Gabbert for the appropriate to again up Tom Brady this 12 months. Trask was basically the workforce’s fourth-string quarterback. He was even behind veteran Ryan Griffin, who was on the apply squad because the workforce’s emergency QB. Trask spent his rookie season engaged on his physique. He slimmed down and labored on pocket quickness and mobility, along with faster releases of the ball.
Now it’s time for Trask to stand up from a psychological standpoint and show to the coaches that he can execute a sport plan and make all the mandatory throws. When Trask did get to throw the ball in apply final 12 months it was normally working the scout workforce offense. Trask might be working Byron Leftwich’s playbook this offseason and must make a robust impression. Gabbert is in his fifth 12 months on this system and has a determined benefit from that standpoint. But when Trask is worthy of a second-round choose, he must make a transfer this offseason and actually problem Gabbert for the No. 2 QB position.
WR Scotty Miller
Miller went from at one level main the workforce in receiving yards in 2020 earlier than Antonio Brown’s arrival to being a backup later that season. Then he went from catching a tremendous, vital landing at Inexperienced Bay within the 2020 NFC Championship Recreation to being an afterthought final season. Miller damage his foot in Week 3 and nearly vanished from the offense – even when he was wholesome later within the season. The reason being as a result of he’s a little bit of a one-trick pony, merely getting used as a vertical man on deep routes. Miller is extra quick than fast, and that’s a motive why he isn’t used on vast receiver screens extra usually.
This offseason he must show to the teaching employees that he can do extra as an beneath receiver. Late final 12 months Miller had some success on end-arounds, scoring on a 33-yard run in Week 17 towards Carolina. Miller is in peril of not making the workforce this 12 months, and should additionally discover a approach to stand out on particular groups. He had success in a restricted position as a gunner in 2021. Maybe it’s there the place he finds his area of interest.
OL Robert Hainsey
Hainsey spent his rookie season behind the scenes transitioning from taking part in proper deal with at Notre Dame to taking part in middle in Tampa Bay. Final 12 months’s third-round choose was lauded by the coaches and beginning middle Ryan Jensen for choosing up the offense so shortly and dealing so exhausting in apply. The place Hainsey has to enhance this offseason is reshaping his physique to look and function extra like an inside lineman. Meaning engaged on his trunk and decrease physique within the weight room, including measurement and power.
With Jensen re-signing this offseason, the coaches are cross-training Hainsey to play guard. Ali Marpet retired this offseason and left guard is a giant gap to fill. Hainsey is predicted to compete towards the likes of Aaron Stinnie, Nick Leverett, Sadarius Hutcherson and John Molchon for the appropriate to begin. The Bucs traded for Shaq Mason to interchange Alex Cappa at proper guard. Stinnie has extra expertise and is the early favourite to take over. But when Hainsey can hit the load room exhausting and achieve the mandatory decrease physique power, he could make it an actual battle at left guard in camp.
WR Jaelon Darden
The choice of the 5-foot-8, 174-pound Darden within the fourth spherical final 12 months was a curious one. The Bucs even traded as much as get him. Not solely is Darden very undersized by NFL requirements, he’s not even that quick, operating a 4.46 within the 40-yard sprint. Bruce Arians might need thought Darden might develop into the subsequent John Brown. However Brown was a blazer, operating 4.34 when he entered the 2014 NFL Draft. Darden is extra fast than quick, however even that quickness didn’t serve him nicely. After shining in coaching camp, Darden struggled when the pads got here on and the video games started. The North Texas product didn’t have a easy transition from a small faculty to the NFL.
He had simply six catches for 43 yards with an extended of 29, and didn’t excel with the restricted alternatives he received with vast receiver screens. One of many fast passes he tried to catch went off his arms and became a pricey interception at Washington. Darden was pressed into the position as a returner and floundered there, too. He averaged simply 19.9 yards per kick return and seven.5 yards per punt return. Darden would additionally hit the bottom and slide early to keep away from getting hit. He wants a giant dose of confidence and braveness this offseason or he dangers not making the roster.
TE Codey McElroy
As of proper now, McElroy is one in every of solely two tight ends on the roster. Veteran Cam Brate, who turns 31 this summer season, is the opposite. Tampa Bay hopes to re-sign starter Rob Gronkowski this offseason and can probably draft a good finish this 12 months. With O.J. Howard transferring on to Buffalo, there’s a emptiness on the depth chart that McElroy can fill with an awesome offseason and coaching camp. McElroy has spent years on the Bucs apply squad growing behind the scenes.
The workforce loves his size and athleticism, however it’s time for the 6-foot-6, 256-pounder to point out he can constantly block and catch the ball. Though he’s thought-about a first-year participant, McElroy is 29 years outdated. Brate is probably going in his final 12 months with the Bucs, and if Gronkowski returns it’s going to probably solely be for the 2022 season. McElroy has the prospect to not solely earn a roster spot this 12 months, however can set himself up for some actual taking part in time sooner or later if he could make the mandatory enhancements in his sport. As a result of he’s hardly ever performed McElroy has loads of tread left on his tires, however it’s now or by no means to make the 53-man roster.
FAB 2. 5 Bucs Defenders That Want A Large Offseason
After analyzing the 5 offensive gamers in Tampa Bay that want a giant offseason to get their careers on track, let’s take a look at the defensive facet of the ball with the identical mission.
CB Sean Murphy Bunting
No different participant on protection enters the 2022 offseason below extra scrutiny than Murphy-Bunting. Coming off a 12 months by which he missed eight video games because of a dislocated elbow, Murphy-Bunting had simply three cross breakups and no interceptions in 2021. What’s even worse is that Murphy-Bunting allowed 13.7 yards per reception and a 113.7 passer ranking when QBs focused him. By comparability, Carlton Davis III allowed 10.2 yards per completion and an 80.4 passer ranking. Jamel Dean allowed 10.5 yards per completion and a 60.7 QB ranking.
The Bucs signed veteran Logan Ryan this offseason. He’s anticipated to see a while within the slot difficult Murphy-Bunting for taking part in time. Murphy-Bunting is in an important contract 12 months and must play with extra confidence and tighter protection this offseason. He additionally must get again to his playmaking methods. Murphy-Bunting had a team-high three interceptions, together with a pick-six, as a rookie. Then he had three interceptions in three straight playoff video games in 2020.
S Mike Edwards
Edwards doesn’t have the physicality to be a field participant like Jordan Whitehead. So he wasn’t a perfect substitute for Whitehead at sturdy security. However with Antoine Winfield, Jr. turning into a Professional Bowl free security final 12 months, Edwards probably gained’t have a beginning job on the Bucs protection but once more. The Bucs signed veteran Keanu Neal to play sturdy security. So Edwards will probably must star as soon as once more as a rotational participant, splitting time with Winfield at free security and Neal at sturdy security.
Edwards enters a pivotal contract 12 months, but made large strides final season incomes extra taking part in time. He had 4 begins because of Whitehead and Winfield’s accidents and performed in 14 video games. Edwards had a career-high three interceptions, together with a pair of pick-sixes versus Atlanta in Week 2. He additionally had a key pressured fumble at Indianapolis. Edwards must preserve making splash performs in protection throughout spring ball to point out the coaches that they should discover a approach to get him – and preserve him – on the sphere. He additionally must erase an unsightly efficiency versus the Rams within the Bucs’ playoff loss.
ILB Okay.J. Britt
Britt, a fifth-round choose final season, earned a roster spot together with his particular groups capacity and promise on the linebacker place. At 6-foot, 235 kilos, Britt is a throwback linebacker who performs downhill. He ran a 4.76 in his professional day and that brought about his inventory to drop to the center of Day 3. Does Britt have sufficient velocity and athleticism to be something greater than a man protecting kicks and punts?
Britt must work on his protection capacity if he’s to be extra than simply Kevin Minter’s substitute as the first backup to Devin White and Lavonte David. Meaning engaged on lateral actions and his drops into protection to develop into extra fluid. The Bucs might want to discover an eventual substitute for David, and initially that doesn’t seem to be Britt. If he can develop into faster and sooner this offseason with velocity coach Roger Kingdom’s assist he would possibly change the minds of the Bucs’ brass.
OLB Elijah Ponder
As of proper now, the Bucs have 4 exterior linebackers with taking part in expertise. Shaquil Barrett and Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, final 12 months’s first-round choose, are slated to be the starters. Jason Pierre-Paul, an getting older, oft-injured veteran, isn’t anticipated to be re-signed. Anthony Nelson, final 12 months’s major backup at exterior linebacker, had a breakout season with 5 sacks. He’s getting into a contract 12 months in 2022. The ultimate exterior ‘backer with taking part in time is Cam Gill, a seldom-used designated cross rusher and particular teamer.
Until the Bucs draft one other exterior linebacker, Gill might be Ponder’s fundamental competitors for a roster spot. The 2 are fully totally different gamers. Gill is 6-foot-3, 240 kilos, whereas Ponder is 6-foot-3, 275 kilos. Ponder was a 3-4 defensive finish, which is an inside D-line place, in faculty at Cincinnati. Whereas he performs with power and quickness, Ponder gained’t be allowed to point out his energy till the pads come on in camp. Within the meantime, he’ll have to impress this spring with an improved get-off and preliminary quickness.
DL Benning Potoa’e
Potoa’e has been on the Bucs apply squad for the final two years and it’s time for him to interrupt by means of this offseason. He’s solely seen motion in two NFL video games – one in 2020 and one final 12 months – in a reserve capability. As of proper now, the Bucs have but to re-sign Ndamukong Suh and Steve McLendon. Final 12 months, Pat O’Connor beat out Potoa’e for the ultimate roster spot within the line of defense room. With a purpose to win a roster spot this 12 months, the 6-foot-3, 290-pound Potoa’e must kick off an awesome offseason by displaying he generally is a issue on particular groups. That’s the place O’Connor made his mark and earned a spot on the 53-man roster.
Potoa’e gained’t get to point out what he can do bodily till the pads come on in coaching camp. However an awesome offseason can kick begin a vital preseason for Potoa’e, who wants to point out he can stuff the run and stress the passer. If he does he may very well be Tampa Bay’s sixth defensive lineman on the opening day roster. Potoa’e will get the stiffest competitors from O’Connor and fellow practice-squader Willington Previlon (6-5, 287).
FAB 3. Bucs Don’t Need To See These Guys Drafted In NFC South
If you’re a draftnik like me, there are particular gamers you develop draft crushes on every year and hope the Bucs find yourself deciding on within the first spherical. Conversely, there are additionally some gamers that I dread Tampa Bay’s division rivals will draft as a result of they may grow to be future Bucs killers. Atlanta tight finish Kyle Pitts would possibly find yourself being a type of kinds of gamers sooner or later.
However who’re a few of the gamers I don’t wish to see wind up within the NFC South – except they’re carrying crimson and pewter – this 12 months? Let’s check out the Bucs’ division rivals and the gamers they may goal within the first spherical.
Carolina – No. 6 general choose – Alabama OT Evan Neal
NFLMockDraftDatabase.com has Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett, Mississippi State deal with Charles Cross, North Carolina State deal with Ikem Ekwonu and Neal because the probably candidates to be drafted by Carolina. The Panthers know that Sam Darnold isn’t the reply at QB and may very well be tempted to draft one other sign caller at No. 6. Pickett has a relationship with Matt Rhule, who dedicated to play for him at Temple earlier than Rhule left to educate at Baylor. As soon as that occurred Pickett de-committed and opted for Pitt as an alternative.
Pickett was a late bloomer for the Panthers and I might be wonderful if Carolina drafted him as a result of I don’t suppose he’ll be an elite professional in anyway. He’s not even thought-about to be the perfect quarterback within the class. There isn’t a consensus No. 1 man on this 12 months’s sub-par QB class.
The Panthers additionally want offensive line assist badly. Left deal with Cameron Erving is a weak hyperlink and the workforce isn’t certain if backup Brady Christensen could be ok as a full-time starter. Cross and Ekwonu are pure left tackles, whereas Neal performed guard and proper deal with earlier than transferring to left deal with final 12 months.
Neal is an enormous man at 6-foot-8, 337 kilos. If he reaches his potential he may very well be the perfect of the bunch. Large offensive tackles like New Orleans’ Ryan Ramczyk and L.A.’s Rob Havenstein and Andrew Whitworth have all the time given the Bucs’ edge rushers suits.
Atlanta – No. 8 general – DE Kayvon Thibodeaux
NFLMockDraftDatabase.com has Ohio State vast receiver Garrett Wilson, Florida State defensive finish Jermaine Johnson and Thibodeaux because the three probably gamers to be chosen by Atlanta. The Falcons need assistance in every single place, however vast receiver and defensive finish could be an awesome place to begin.
If the season started at the moment Olamide Zaccheaus, KhaDarel Hodge and Damiere Byrd could be Atlanta’s beginning receivers. I’m not kidding. If Tampa Bay has the perfect receiving corps within the league, Atlanta simply has the worst. I receives a commission to cowl the NFL, and folk, I’ve by no means heard of these vast receivers. Wilson would give the Falcons the passing sport the juice it wants with out Calvin Ridley, who’s suspended for playing. And his velocity and talent would take some stress off tight finish Kyle Pitts.
The Falcons signed Lorenzo Carter to assist rush the passer, however he’s common at finest and coming off a five-sack season with the Giants. I like Johnson, who had 11.5 sacks at Florida State, however not at No. 8. That’s a bit early. He performs with relentlessness and physicality, however he’s not the athlete that Thibodeaux is. If Thibodeaux slides to Atlanta at No. 8 he may be too tempting to cross on. If the Oregon cross rusher is targeted and motivated he could make extra of an instantaneous influence and have a better ceiling than Johnson. He had 19 sacks in three years, together with seven final 12 months.
New Orleans – No. 16/No. 19 general – WR Treylon Burks, DT Devonte Wyatt
New Orleans traded away future draft picks with Philadelphia to seize one other first-round choose on this 12 months’s draft. With a pair of mid-first-round picks, the Saints might not be performed transferring up, both. The educated guess is that New Orleans desires to get a franchise left deal with to interchange Terron Armstead, and will must commerce up into the Prime 10 to seize one.
NFLMockDraftDatabase.com has these mostly mocked gamers to the Saints – Alabama receiver Jameson Williams, Ohio State receivers Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, Tulsa deal with Tyler Smith, Northern Iowa deal with Trevor Penning, Burks and Wyatt. Most suppose that the Saints want a receiver and an offensive deal with. Smith has loads of athletic upside and Penning has loads of physicality, however neither participant would scare me if I had been the Buccaneers. The identical goes for Williams, Olave and Wilson. Good receivers, however nothing particular.
Burks, nevertheless, is a particular receiver. At 6-foot-3, 225 kilos, he’s a load. He wins contested catches, has loads of run-after-catch capacity and he’s robust to deliver down at his measurement. Until Burks is in crimson and pewter, I don’t wish to see him within the NFC South. The identical goes for Wyatt. The Saints might use one other defensive deal with to workforce with David Onyemata and Shy Tuttle inside. Take into account that new head coach Dennis Allen is defensive-minded. Seeing Allen presumably draft Wyatt at No. 19 would sting.
FAB 4. The Participant The Bucs Ought to Commerce Up For In The Draft
This might be my ultimate SR’s Fab 5 column earlier than the NFL Draft the place I’ll be discussing draft prospects. I’ve received one thing totally different and particular deliberate for subsequent Friday’s SR’s Fab 5 on April 24.
So I’ll use this chance to debate the one draft prospect the Bucs ought to think about buying and selling up for within the first spherical. That’s Arkansas vast receiver Treylon Burks. I believe he’s the perfect receiver within the 2022 NFL Draft, and Pewter Report’s Jon Ledyard agrees.
No, receiver isn’t almost the urgent want that defensive deal with and tight finish are for the Bucs. Tampa Bay simply re-signed Chris Godwin to a three-year extension that averages $20 million per season. And the Bucs simply added receiver Russell Gage on a three-year deal price $10 million per 12 months.
But the Bucs offense is receiver-driven. All of us noticed what occurred within the playoffs final 12 months with out Godwin, Breshad Perriman and Cyril Grayson, Jr., who had been out with accidents, along with Antonio Brown, who defected through the Jets sport in Week 17. With actually simply Mike Evans at vast receiver, the Bucs scored solely three factors within the first half of the playoff loss to the Rams.
Having 4 starting-caliber receivers in Tampa Bay is a should for the offense to maintain performing at a 30-point-per-game stage. Assume I’m overacting over one dangerous 12 months injury-wise? Do not forget that the Bucs offense additionally sputtered down the stretch in 2019 when Evans, Godwin and Scotty Miller had been all out of the ultimate two video games of the season with hamstring accidents.
Burks is a particular receiver with a singular mix of measurement (6-3, 225), velocity and athleticism. Whereas some may be disillusioned at his 4.55 time within the 40 and anticipated a sooner time, Burks doesn’t get caught from behind on the sphere. As Evans confirmed within the playoff loss to the Rams the place he smoked Professional Bowler Jalen Ramsey for a 55-yard landing, operating a 4.53 on the NFL Scouting Mix, which Evans did in 2014, doesn’t imply you’re gradual.
Transferring as much as draft Burks may be needed. Though some mock drafts have him sliding to Tampa Bay at No. 27, if he will get by New Orleans at No. 16 and No. 19, New England (No. 21), Inexperienced Bay (No. 22), Arizona (No. 23) and Dallas (No. 24) might pounce on him. The Bucs would possibly have to name Pittburgh (No. 20) or New England to make a transfer for him if they need him.
Burks had a school-record six 100-yard video games final 12 months at Arkansas the place he caught 66 passes for 1,104 yards (16.7 avg.) and 11 touchdowns. His finest sport was towards Alabama when he had eight catches for 179 yards and two TDs in a 42-35 loss. Burks performed principally within the slot, however has the body and talent to play exterior on the subsequent stage. I like the truth that he generally is a slot receiver too, simply in case Godwin’s rehab stalls and he’s by some means not prepared for Week 1.
This man simply has the appropriate psychological make-up to be an awesome professional, too. A part of my draft analysis course of is attempting to get a really feel for the individual and never simply the participant. As normal supervisor Jason Licht has instructed me, the Bucs draft the individual and never simply the participant. Watching interviews can provide some perception into who the individual is, and I got here away impressed together with his perspective. Listening to him communicate, Burks jogs my memory a lot of Godwin. See for your self.
In a current ESPN story, Burks’ highschool coach Bo Hembree praised his team-first perspective. He’s an awesome passage from that article.
He was solely the second freshman to ever begin for Hembree, and he did all of it. As soon as, as a junior, he scored 5 touchdowns 4 methods in a sport: twice speeding as a Wildcat quarterback, one punt return, one interception return and one bubble display screen he caught as a receiver and ran 61 yards to the home.
However he wasn’t a stats man, Hembree stated. In the event that they had been up by two or three scores, Burks would take it upon himself to place his backup within the sport. He’d burn a defensive again in apply and as an alternative of taunting, he would circle again and stroll the DB by means of what he’d performed improper.
“He’s not a self-promoter, he’s a team-promoter,” Hembree stated. “That’s what’s going to make him an awesome professional.”
There are sufficient passes to go round in Tampa Bay the place Burks would get lots – even because the fourth receiver on the depth chart. Tyler Johnson was focused 55 occasions for instance. Burks isn’t the form of man who will complain a couple of lack of targets, both.
And the truth that Mike Evans will flip 29 in August can be noteworthy. Evans nonetheless has loads of good soccer left in him. However by the point Burks’ fifth-year possibility rolled round in 2026, Evans could be 33 at the moment. Tampa Bay would have already got an unimaginable in-house substitute for him in Burks – if Evans determined to retire after an illustrious 13-year profession.
FAB 5. SR’s Buc Photographs
• HERE’S ANOTHER REASON TO DRAFT BURKS – THE MAN HUNTS BOARS … WITH A KNIFE! One of many wildest elements of Arkansas vast receiver Treylon Burks isn’t that he hunts boars. It’s that he hunts them with a knife! Not a gun, bow and arrow or a crossbow … a knife! Take a look at this passage from Arkansas head coach in a current ESPN story.
“He hunts wild boar together with his canines and the entire 9 yards,” Pittman stated.
Sure, you learn that appropriately. Burks doesn’t simply fish. He doesn’t simply hunt deer with a crossbow. He goes out into the woods in quest of wild boar with nothing however his canines and a knife.
Primarily what occurs is that this: The canines discover the hog and nook it. Then one other canine is distributed in to carry the wild animal in place. If it’s too small, they’ll flip the hog unfastened. But when it’s large enough to feed them and others, it’s time to go in.
Emphatically, Burks defined, “We don’t use weapons.”
“Utilizing a gun takes the enjoyable out of it,” he added. “Having a knife, it’s extra of a thrill that you simply’re getting up on a wild boar that might kill you. Actually it’s only a thrill being on the market together with your family and friends and having a great time.”
Burks is aware of how all of this sounds. The common wild boar is round 200 kilos. They’re highly effective and their tusks are there for a motive.
“Some individuals in all probability think about me loopy,” Burks stated, “however that’s simply how I’m.”
Draft this man, Jason Licht.
• I HOPE T-KRAS IS RIGHT: The Bucs could be thrilled to see all three of their NFC South rivals draft quarterbacks this 12 months like good pal and WDAE host Tom Krasniqi thinks will occur. This isn’t a great crop of quarterbacks, and having to attend years for every of them to develop might preserve Atlanta, Carolina and New Orleans down for years. After all the Bucs must discover the reply at QB themselves as soon as Tom Brady strikes on – presumably in 2023.
• BUCS DRAFT PREVIEWS CONTINUE ON THE PEWTER REPORT PODCAST: The Pewter Report Podcast is energized by CELSIUS and broadcasts 4 dwell episodes every week. Pewter Report Podcasts sometimes air on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 4:00 pm EST within the offseason.
Jon Ledyard and Scott Reynolds analyzed the newest Pewter Report Bucs 7-Spherical Mock Draft on Monday’s present.
Reynolds and Matt Matera mentioned what transpired within the Bucs’ press conferences on Tuesday.
Ledyard and Matera evaluated the 2022 NFL Draft prospects on the defensive deal with place on Wednesday.
Ledyard, Kasey Hudson and JC Allen did a dwell Bucs 7-Spherical Mock Draft on Thursday’s present.
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• RONDE RULES: The truth that Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber hasn’t been inducted into the Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame but is against the law. As probably the greatest defensive backs in NFL historical past, he ought to get inducted on this stat alone.