The Case for Canton has been raised by Scott Smith yet again this year as former Buccaneer John Lynch was announced as a finalist for the 2019 Pro Football Hall of Fame Class. It's his sixth consecutive year up for the Hall and the lone former Buccaneer for 2019. The Pro Football HOF only inducts five members each year and with an ever-growing pool of HOF hopefuls, maybe the sixth time is a charm?
Scott Smith points out that of the 22 HOF candidates to be finalists six consecutive times, 21 have gotten in. That bodes well for Lynch this year and should it happen, would make him the first former Buccaneer since Derrick Brooks in 2014 to enter the coveted ranks. Warren Sapp was selected the year prior in 2013, and then Lee Roy Selmon in 1995 rounds out the list of Buccaneers with bronze busts.
The campaign for Lynch goes well beyond his numbers and stats as a player. It's the intangibles that often sets candidates apart, of which there are plenty according to Smith along with former teammates and opponents.
Adam Humphries 2.0 may exist in the 2019 draft class in the form of former Clemson wide receiver Hunter Renfrow. Not only do the two share similar characteristics on the field, but it turns out, they're friends off of it.
The Buccaneers were out in the community this week visiting four local middle schools with the Jr. Bucs Flag Football program. Students at Dowdell Middle School, Memorial Middle School, St. Peter Claver Catholic School and Monroe Middle School all received fundamental flag football instruction from Bucs youth development coaches. The flag football curriculum is part of the larger Jr. Bucs School Program that impacts over 200,000 Bay-area students.
Talking with Director of College Scouting Mike Biehl this week after the Senior Bowl, he let me in on the number one trait the Bucs are looking for in 2019 draft prospects. The Senior Bowl serves as a sort of extended job interview for players that are invited, typically the best seniors or graduated players in the country that have declared for the NFL Draft. The week of practices down in Mobile, Ala. allow NFL personnel staffs from each team to see how each prospect takes to NFL coaching. They also get to sit down with them briefly to get to know them as people more.
Biehl said that the Bucs are placing a big emphasis on players that love the game. To be invited to the Senior Bowl or to be in talks with NFL clubs prior to the draft, everyone has talent. But the passion for the game can also prove to be an 'X' factor in determining a certain player's success. Biehl also let me in on some differences this year now that the Bucs have a new coaching staff in place and some possible schematic changes to the defense. Read more here.
The 2019 NFL Pro Bowl was this past Sunday, as is traditional in the week before the Super Bowl. It was held at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla. and it was wide receiver Mike Evans who represented the Buccaneers. Towards the end of the game, things got a little goofy with offensive players trying their hands on defense. The Giants' Saquon Barkley and the Saints' Alvin Kamara, for instance, decided to be pass rushers, with Kamara actually getting a hand on the quarterback at one point. Evans decided he wanted in on the action, too, and lined up across from Cleveland's Jarvis Landry as a cornerback. The first play, he actually recorded what was technically a pass breakup after sticking on Landry the whole time. The very next play, Evans caught the ball and recorded an interception. It was pretty incredible and you can read about how I think (not really) he's been on the wrong side of the ball the whole time.