Five takeaways from the Bucs' rookie minicamp
It's going to be hard to match the success of the 2015 rookie class, but the Bucs did acquire at least three starters from the NFL draft if you include place-kicker Roberto Aguayo with CB Vernon Hargreaves and DE Noah Spence. There's a chance that FB Dan Vitale and/or S Ryan Smith could also be an eventual starters. Here are five takeaways from the rookie minicamp.
1. The Bucs look at Hargreaves and hope he's a poor man's Ronde Barber. Both players are listed at 5-foot-10. They're vertically challlenged against taller receivers. But Hargreaves has exceptional feet and great body control. He also is thick enough to be a durable tackler, which will enable him to play inside. In a perfect world, Hargreaves would start outside at cornerback during first down when teams go with two receivers, a tight end and a running back. When they spread out with three or more receivers, Hargreaves will move inside to the nickel slot position. Now if he could only play 16 years at a Pro Bowl level like Barber did.
2. Ryan Smith has a chance to become a starting safety before his career is over. Smith, the fourth round pick from North Carolina Central, played both cornerback and safety in college. He has very good speed and knows how to get a ballcarrier on the ground, evidenced by his school-record 168 solo tackles, which were the most in North Carolina Central’s history. That kind of speed to erase some mistakes.
3. The Bucs have two rookie linemen that could challenge for a roster spot. UCLA's Caleb Benenoch was working at right guard in rookie minicamp but can play tackle. He will be behind some of his teammates because the Bruins are on a quarters schedule and he can't participate until classes end. Dominque Robertson, who is the nephew of Bucs offensive line coach George Warhop, has great size (6-5, 324-pounds), speed and strength. He started his career at Texas Tech and transferred to West Georgia, a Div. II school. Both can also play tackle and will challenge for the seventh or eighth offensive line spot.
4. The Bucs probably needed to address the reveiver position in the draft. Former USF star Andre Davis was re-signed following a tryout during rookie camp. The Bucs will have to hope Kenny Bell (hamstring) and Louis Murphy (ACL) come back strong and players such as Adam Humphries improve. But for another year, they're counting on getting the bulk of their catches from Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson. You wonder if a veteran free agent might shake lose during a late phase of free agency.
5. It's hard not to root for Roberto Aguayo, and not only if you're Jason Licht. Not sure Aguayo ever stopped smiling during the rookie minicamp. He's not going to be perfect. No kicker is. But he also doesn't seem to be a guy who will let a miss affect him on the next kick. This pick will be a failure unless Aguayo is great and makes to another contract with the Bucs.