Fans can submit questions for upcoming mailbags via Twitter to @ScottSBucs (#BucsMailbag), through a message on the Buccaneers Official Facebook Page or via email at email@example.com. The One Buc Mailbag runs every Thursday and is not necessarily meant to reflect the opinions of the team's management or coaching staff.
1. Which Weapon?
Okay, I cheated a little bit with those second and third tweets because they weren't actually questions. However, the one from Josh was a reply to something I tweeted about Mike Evans and the one from Real Deal was in response to a tweet about last week's mailbag, so I think it's fair to include them in this conversation. My point in putting these two together is to point out that there really are a lot of different ways the Buccaneers could go at #19, and most of them are pretty exciting.
I'll start with Jim's specific question first: Why would the Buccaneers not draft Florida State wide receiver Dalvin Cook? Well, I can think of 18 reasons right off the top of my head. The Titans, Ravens, Redskins, Colts, Eagles…you get my point. Barring a trade, there will be 18 picks made by 16 different teams before the Buccaneers are on the clock. Okay, maybe we can rule out the first five or six teams (or maybe not) but there is still a very good chance Cook is off the board before pick #19. Winston, who would obviously love to be reunited with his Seminoles teammate, thinks that's the case.
"I’m just excited for Dalvin and following him in his draft process," Winston said on Monday as the Bucs began their offseason program. "Nineteen is our pick – I honestly think he’s more of a top 15 guy so I’m just excited for him."
READ: HARD KNOCKS COMING TO TAMPA BAY
Most mock drafts have LSU running back Leonard Fournette off the board well before #19. Cook's landing spot in the mocks is all over the board, and he is paired up with Tampa Bay fairly often (including in a handful of the most recent mock drafts featured in our weekly roundup). Some analysts also have the Buccaneers nabbing Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey. Of course, we must remember – and this is absolutely not meant as any kind of slight – that these analysts are mostly just guessing or matching up scouting reports with perceived needs – so we should take mock drafts with a grain of salt. My fellow Buccaneers.com contributors and I are going to throw our hats into the Mock Draft ring next week, and I'd say the exact same thing about our efforts.
Now, we can make the same specific objections to Josh's plea for Western Michigan wide receiver Corey Davis. Josh clearly acknowledges the likelihood that Davis will be off the board before pick #19 by calling for a trade up, and that's where he loses me. The Buccaneers do not have any extra picks this year, just their own selection in each round, which makes it harder to trade upward. Maybe "more painful" is a better way to put it. A move up of any significance in the first round – say eight to 10 spots – will almost certainly cost the Bucs' their second-round pick, and I think a first and a second is too much to give up for one player in this wideout-heavy draft. Perhaps if Davis slips and we're only talking about a move of a couple spots – maybe something that costs the Bucs' a fourth-round pick – then I'd be onboard, but I don't anticipate that being the situation. Quite frankly, in the position Tampa Bay is in the draft, I think a trade down is more likely in the first round, and then the Bucs would have some ammunition for further deals on Days Two and Three.
READ: WIDE RECEIVERS TO WATCH IN THE DRAFT
So, back to the general concept. A stud wide receiver at pick #19? Yes, please! Sign me up right now. I completely agree with Josh's reasoning above and would take one of the top receivers over one of the top backs at that point in the draft. I agreed with the idea of adding a running back just a few paragraphs up, but I think you can do that in a later round. If the Bucs could draft one of the Corey Davis/John Ross/Mike Williams trio and then get a useful back later, that would be ideal, in my opinion. However, if all three of those are gone, it's probably best to punt the position to the second round.
(All of that said, I'd still like to see the Bucs take a cornerback at #19. I just can't help myself!)
2. Safety First?
Hey Scott, My name is Tyri(Tyree) Originally from FL, but live in SC with Panther fans. My questions is would it be a good idea to draft Obi Melinfonwu as FS and JaBrill Peppers as SS and utilize him like a Toney Jefferson from the AZ. Cardinals? And Draft a RB in the mid rounds?
- Tyri (via email to firstname.lastname@example.org)
"I’d like to think that we have quite a few players that we think could be game-wreckers," said Licht. "I don’t want to get into the number. Like I said, you never know what can happen. One domino can fall and people move up for a certain position. This is a good draft."
So, to avoid that wishy-washy label, I'll first say that, given a shot at equally-talented prospects, I'd take a cornerback or a receiver before I'd take a safety. That doesn't mean Tyri's idea is a bad one, though. I would agree that safety is a position of need, maybe more so for the long run, even after the addition of J.J. Wilcox in free agency. Numbers-wise, that just kept the Bucs even as it balanced the departure of starter Bradley McDougald. In addition, second-year man Ryan Smith is moving back to cornerback, so that's one possible long-term solution at safety that is no longer there. I like the Bucs trio of Wilcox, Keith Tandy and Chris Conte (who was re-signed early in free agency), but I think the group could use a young and talented player to groom as a long-time starter. A playmaking safety is an underrated asset in the NFL, and when teams get one (such as Kansas City's Eric Berry) they usually make great pains to hold onto him.
READ: 5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT JABRILL PEPPERS
I'm a little confused by the specifics of Tyri's question, mainly because of the word "and" between Melifonwu and Peppers. I don't think there's a scenario in which the Buccaneers could end up with both of them, and even if one did precipitously drop into the second round, I don't like the idea of using the team's first two picks on the safety position. I'm going to guess that Tyri meant to say "or," particularly because the question goes on to say "utilize him like a Tony Jefferson" (my emphasis added).
Also, I'm not completely certain what is meant by utilizing him the way the Cardinals did Jefferson (before he bolted to Baltimore via free agency). I know Arizona had a lot of different extra-DB packages and have a very versatile (when healthy) player in Tyrann Mathieu, but I think Jefferson was pretty much a pure strong safety last year. Jefferson, a former undrafted free agent who gradually developed into his current role, does have some history in the slot in dime packages, so perhaps that's what Tyri means. Jefferson was moved around more in 2015 than he was in 2016. Or perhaps Tyri is referring to the fact that the Cardinals weren't shy about blitzing Jefferson, who has five sacks over the last three years.
3. Four Rounds Deep
High Scott long time reader, and fan.
So what do you think of this possibility on draft day; Round one pick#19 Forest Lamp. Round 2 Obi Melifonwu. Round 3 Sidney Jones. Round 4 Joe Mixon. Now I know there are some glaring questions but hear me out... Mike Mayock has favorably compared Forest Lamp to Zack Martin, possibly the best guard in the NFL. Obi Melifonwu has a first round grade, but could slide because of the late round rush on corners you suggested in one of your articles. That, plus a trade could get us within reach in round 2. I know Sidney Jones is hurt, but before that he was regarded as the best corner in this draft by several analysts. From what I know he had a muscle tear during a workout. So that doesn't sound long term (I'm not a doctor). I've heard from several outlets, that Joe Mixon may be the second best back, talent wise, in this draft. His off the field stuff will drop him significantly. If he is available in the 4th I think it's worth the risk. Now obviously this is a dream scenario, but I think it's possible. Do you agree, and do you like the picks? I mean you personally, of course. Thanks for what ever answer, and go bucs!
- George (via email to email@example.com)
I'm guessing on the questioner's name here based on his email address. (Of course, I'm guessing on the "his" part, too, based on my guess of his name.) I suppose that really only matters to George…if that is indeed your name.
My favorite part of this is Sidney Jones pick. I do not agree that he was regarded as the best corner in the draft before his injury, but he was probably a late-first or second-round pick. His injury, by the way, was an Achilles tear and there's a very good chance it will cost him most or all of his rookie season. That is actually not a particularly easy injury to return from, so there is some definite risk there. As such, I'd prefer to make a move like this in the fourth round if possible; the third seems a bit too high, and that pick is likely to return a player in this very deep draft who can help the team right away. So give me a shot at a potential long-term answer at cornerback, even with some risk, in the fourth round and I'll take it.
I do like Forrest Lamp as a prospect and I've heard the same Zack Martin comparisons, which is obviously very favorable. Not all scouts agree on that assessment, but he shows up in the first round of most mock drafts (perhaps in part because it's a weak year for offensive linemen). However, I don't think it's a first-round need for the Buccaneers. I've said it repeatedly on our Insider Live show: I think the Buccaneers' decision-makers are higher on their group of linemen than outside analysts. With Ali Marpet, Kevin Pamphile, J.R. Sweezy, Joe Hawley, Evan Smith and Caleb Benenoch around, the team is probably set on the interior line, at least for 2017.