The ‘State of the Franchise’ series continues with some more fan insights and will continue to keep us all entertained between now and the start of the new 2018 season. So, sit back and enjoy the thoughts from big Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan, Steve Probert (@stevieslick14).
Who is Steve?
Hi, I’m Steve Probert. A lot of people call me ‘Slick’ and I will be covering my Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As a huge Buccaneers fan and football junkie from the UK, I follow everything the Buccaneers do from the off-season through pre-season to regular season. I also play football for the Worcestershire Black Knights as a defensive back and outside linebacker.
Last Season’s Reflections
The seasons started with so much promise. We got DeSean Jackson through Free Agency and drafted some studs in OJ Howard and Chris Godwin. I honestly thought we could go 11-5 during the 2017 season.
Unfortunately though, we actually went 5-11!!
If I look back on the amount of close games we lost, we could have quite easily won them and it would have been a very different season. The defense didn’t live up to expectations and the offense failed to score early, with the run being very average.
When mother nature intervened with our season and hurricane Irma forced the first game against the Dolphins to be moved to our Bye Week, it meant we would have to play 16 games straight and I think this took a toll on our season. But, there’s always this year to be hopeful again …
Changes During The Off-Season
I’m going to focus on the 2018 NFL draft and I have to say I was very happy with what we did. I felt that Jason Licht did a fantastic job, and I really liked the trade in the first round.
We started with Vita Vea defensive tackle out of Washington. Now, this guy is big and will eat up blockers, good speed and size, and next to Gerald McCoy if both of these guys get double teams, that will free up Vinny Curry and Jason Pierre Paul to come flying round off the edge. This could give us a monster pass rush.
The first round trade …
With the first round trade we gained two second round picks, giving us a total of 3 second round picks. I am a firm believer that second round picks are day one starters, if picked correctly.
In the 2nd round we selected Ronald Jones ll, a running back out of USC. Ronald Jones II didn’t test as well in his combine or his pro day, but his tape says something different. He’s an angry runner with home-run ability and good speed.
And then came cornerback, MJ Stewart from North Carolina. At first, I wasn’t sure of this pick but I looked at the tape and he is physical so potentially, he could be moved to the safety position. If not, he could end up as a slot corner.
Next up was Carlton Davis cornerback Auburn University. I like this pick. He’s big, physical, got great wingspan and lovely size. An underrated player and great all round one at that.
Tampa Bay then traded up into the 3rd round and I liked them doing this as they ultimately got offensive tackle Alex Cappa from Humboldt State, a division 2 University. Now, this guy has a nasty tape, really aggressive and doesn’t care about anyone he’s up against. He went to the Senior Bowl and proved that he could handle division 1 college players. I think he will go to offensive guard. He is a little bit of a project, but I think with coaching this guy could be a monster -he’s got a very Ali Marpet feel about him.
The later rounds …
Then on to the fourth round where we took Jordan Whitehead out of Pitt. I looked at the tape and he looks good, but I’m not sold on him, though Jason Licht has proved me wrong before.
Moving on to our fifth round pick, we took Justin Watson, a wide receiver from Pennsylvania – an Ivy League University. I didn’t feel we needed a wide receiver however, look at this guy! I’m happy with this pick however, I probably would have gone with another offensive lineman or a defensive line man.
And then finally when the 6th round took off, we selected Jack Cichy out of Wisconsin University. He didn’t play football for a year and a half but when he did play, he played well and that’s what we’re looking for.
Ultimately, I am satisfied with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ selections, but for us to have the perfect draft, I’ve picked some alternative selections I’d have liked:
First Round = Derwin James: probably the best defensive back in the draft. The Buccaneers would have had fantastic value with this pick , 12th overall. I like the Vita Vea pick I just prefer James.
Second Round = Josh Jackson, a cornerback from Iowa. This guy was a projected 1st rounder and a lot of people had him going in the 20’s.
Derrius Guice, a running back out of lSU. This guy, again projected first round pick, seems to have a few problems but most people had him the second best running back in the draft, so to have been able to get him in the middle of the 2nd would’ve been fantastic value!
Third Round = Deadrin Senat of South Florida, defensive tackle. This guy’s got good production and can do the job at defensive tackle.
Fourth Round = Will Richardson, offensive tackle from NC state. I just like this kid! I feel like we need another tackle pressure on Donovan Smith to prove it this year.
Now, I am no draft expert, so I do not know better than the scouts, but these are just my thoughts and players who I really liked. I think the picks were brilliant overall and we will have 3 to 4 day-one starters which is sign of a successful draft.
Predictions For The New Season
So here we go, my game-by-game predictions …
@ Saints W
@ Bears W
@ Falcons L
@ Bengals W
@ Panthers L
@ Giants L
@ Ravens W
@ Cowboys L
10-6 … The Bucs to make the wildcard round.
All in all In Licht we trust!
Can’t wait to the season to start!
Editor Notes: Bucs fans, let us know your thoughts and tell us whether you agree with Steve’s reflections and predictions. Leave a comment or contact us via social media below: