Like tens of millions of People, the Bucs will likely be watching Tremendous Bowl LVI between Cincinnati and Los Angeles. However the motive why Tampa Bay’s personnel division will likely be retaining a eager eye on the motion is that each the Rams and the Bengals have a pair of potential free brokers that the Bucs is perhaps occupied with subsequent month. Let’s see who the Bucs may very well be scouting without spending a dime company.
Bengals DT B.J. Hill – 6-3, 303
2021 Wage: $1,011,970
After three non-descript seasons in New York, the Giants traded Hill to Cincinnati the place he has flourished subsequent to D.J. Reader. Hill is a run-stuffing defensive deal with that’s rising as a move rusher. He has 13 profession sacks, together with 5.5 sacks this season. Hill additionally had 50 tackles, six tackles for loss and 12 QB hits this season in a breakout yr.
Towards Kansas Metropolis within the AFC Championship Recreation, Hill had 5 tackles, half a sack and a key interception. He additionally had a sack in opposition to the Raiders within the first spherical of the playoffs. Hill, who had 70.4 Professional Soccer Focus grade this yr, turns 27 in April, and his arrow is pointing up.
The Bucs might use a youthful defensive deal with to pair with Vita Vea, particularly if Steve McLendon and Ndamukong Suh don’t return. McLendon, who’s 36, is anticipated to retire. There’s an opportunity Suh, 35, may wish to play one other season. However it is perhaps time to get youthful at defensive deal with, and this yr’s draft class has only some Bucs suits in it on the place.
DT Larry Ogunjobi – 6-4, 305
2021 Wage: $6.4 million
Ogunjobi has been a little bit of a disappointment in Cincinnati. Hill has been the higher acquisition, however that would imply that Ogunjobi will likely be a free agent in 2022 if the Bengals decide to re-sign Hill. Ogunjobi received’t be taking part in within the Tremendous Bowl as a foot damage landed him on injured reserve on January 17.
Whereas he hasn’t been the stout run defender that Hill and Reader have been inside, Ogunjobi has recorded a career-high seven sacks this season, along with 49 tackles, 16 QB hits and 12 tackles for loss. Ogunjobi, who turns 28 in June, spent his first 4 years in Cleveland the place he had a pair of back-to-back 5.5-sack seasons in 2018-19.
If the Bucs wish to add a participant with extra quickness and move rush capability to the line of defense, Ogunjobi could be a very good possibility. The large query is whether or not he’s a adequate run defender to play in Tampa Bay. Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles places an emphasis on defensive tackles being run-stuffers. Ogunjobi, a former third-round decide, had a 50.4 PFF grade, which was dragged down attributable to a 39 run protection grade.
Rams RB Sony Michel – 5-11, 215
2021 Wage: $2,406,674
The Rams traded for the Patriots’ former first-round decide earlier this yr when Cam Akers was out attributable to an Achilles damage. He’s racked up 3,137 yards and 18 TDs whereas averaging 4.2 yards per carry. However after a pair of 900-yard seasons to begin his New England profession, Michel fell out of favor with Invoice Belichick after foot and quad accidents.
Throughout his rookie season, Michel rushed for 129 yards and three touchdowns in opposition to the Chargers, whereas averaging 5.4 yards per carry. Within the AFC Championship Recreation, Michel ran for 113 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries (3.9 avg.). In Tremendous Bowl LIII in opposition to the Rams, Michel ran for 94 yards and scored the sport’s solely landing in a 13-3 Patriots win.
Michel, who turns 27 subsequent week, has 845 yards and 4 touchdowns on 208 carries (4.1 avg.) in Los Angeles. He’s caught 21 passes for 128 yards (6.1 avg.) and a landing. Michel ran for 67 yards in opposition to Tampa Bay in Week 3, however was held to only 4 yards on one carry by the Bucs within the playoffs. If the Bucs don’t re-sign Leonard Fournette in free company, Michel may very well be a gorgeous, low-cost choice to compete for carries and to play on third down.
Rams OLB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo – 6-1, 253
2021 Wage: $683,634
There’s a very good likelihood that Okoronkwo stays with the Rams. In any case, the workforce has a fifth-round decide invested in him. He’s an undersized situational move rusher that solely suits a 3-4 protection – not a 4-3 scheme. The previous Oklahoma product had 20 sacks, 33 tackles for loss and 5 compelled fumbles in faculty. He broke his foot throughout his rookie season, so he’s solely performed in three seasons within the NFL.
Okoronkwo, who turns 27 in April, has 4.5 profession sacks, together with two sacks this yr. He additionally has a career-high 15 tackles, three tackles for loss and two compelled fumbles as a reserve. Okoronkwo has a 79.2 Professional Soccer Focus grade this yr in 250 snaps. Is Okoronkwo one other model of Cam Gill? Or might he be a diamond within the tough like Shaquil Barrett was in 2019? Like Barrett was in Denver, Okoronkwo has been buried on the depth chart. He’s performed behind Leonard Floyd and Von Miller this yr and Floyd, Samson Ebukam and Justin Hollins final yr.
Okoronkwo, who has seen his taking part in time rise down the stretch, performed 17 snaps in opposition to the Bucs. He registered two tackles, a QB hit and a move defensed versus Tampa Bay. If Jason Pierre-Paul isn’t re-signed, Okoronkwo might compete with Anthony Nelson and Cam Gill for extra taking part in time behind Barrett and Joe Tryon-Shoyinka.