Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

5 questions Bucs hope to resolve before draft

The Bucs question how well Mike Glennon can function in Jeff Tedford's new offense, which puts a premium on accuracy and requires some mobility.


The Bucs question how well Mike Glennon can function in Jeff Tedford's new offense, which puts a premium on accuracy and requires some mobility.

TAMPA — The NFL draft still is two weeks away but the Bucs' most important evaluation period may be over the next three days during their voluntary (wink, wink) minicamp. Bucs coach Lovie Smith has only seen his players on tape, not live on grass and certainly not trying to execute his offensive and defensive schemes. How those players perform will greatly impact the draft. "If you're on the roster right now, we've seen something in you we'd like to explore a little bit more," Smith said. Here are five things the Bucs hope to discover during minicamp:

Can Mike Glennon function well in Jeff Tedford's offense?

No player has more to prove this week than QB Mike Glennon.

The Bucs felt the need to sign Bears free agent Josh McCown to a two-year, $10 million contract and name him the starter. That's not a ringing endorsement for Glennon.

The Bucs question how well he can function in Tedford's new offense, which puts a premium on accuracy and requires some mobility. If Glennon impresses, the Bucs may feel comfortable waiting at least another year to draft a quarterback, particularly in the first few rounds. If not, he becomes trade bait on the second or third day of the draft.

"What we like is how he came in as a rookie in a tough situation, lots going on, and he stayed focused," Smith said. "Things that Mike needs to work on, he's been told his whole life: mobility, (being) a little bit more active in the pocket."

Do the Bucs need to make the offensive line a big priority in the draft?

The Bucs believe they have three solid offensive linemen — RT Demar Dotson, LT Anthony Collins and C Evan Dietrich-Smith. They can't be sure what — if anything — they will get from G Carl Nicks, who has played in nine games the past two seasons. Nicks won't participate in this minicamp.

No team has five great offensive linemen, but you'd like to have four. And it's hard to evaluate linemen without pads.

The Bucs could draft a tackle at No. 7 and have spent a lot of time with Texas A&M's Jake Matthews, Auburn's Greg Robinson, Michigan's Taylor Lewan and Notre Dame's Zack Martin. All could play guard for a season or so before moving outside to tackle.

How big is the lack of playmaking ability at receiver?

The Bucs have a glaring lack of speed on offense, particularly at receiver. Vincent Jackson still is very productive, but he no longer scares a defense as a deep threat.

The Bucs traded Mike Williams to Buffalo because of character issues. The players they've signed — Lavelle Hawkins, Louis Murphy — aren't really upgrades from Williams on the field. Skye Dawson, Chris Owusu and Russell Shepard return without a ton of upside.

"We have young players who have potential," Smith said. "I know that's a scary word. I think there's a deep group of receivers in the draft."

Most mock drafts have the Bucs taking Texas A&M WR Mike Evans at No. 7. Eight or nine receivers could go in the first round.

What's the future for defensive ends Adrian Clayborn and Da'Quan Bowers?

Clayborn, who had 5.5 sacks last season, will get the first shot to start at left end, Smith said. Free agent Michael Johnson is the starting right end.

But it's hard to know how Clayborn and Bowers will fit in new defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier's scheme, which emphasizes pass rush ability over everything else. Bowers has been a disappointment. He had one sack and seven tackles last season. But give defensive line coach Joe Cullen — a Rod Marinelli disciple — some time to work with Bowers and who knows what can happen? The Bucs will use a rotation of seven defensive linemen.

Is Johnthan Banks a Cover 2 corner?

The Bucs love Banks, last year's second round pick from Mississippi State. He showed flashes as a rookie. But as a Cover 2 corner, he has to be physical and willing to set the edge in the run game. His ball skills are a plus and he should be in position for more interceptions in a mix of zone and man coverage.

The Bucs signed defensive backs Mike Jenkins and D.J. Moore. One of them will emerge as the nickel cornerback. The other could push Banks and likely serve as his backup.

5 questions Bucs hope to resolve before draft 04/21/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 22, 2014 12:33am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. College World Series: Gators, LSU face off in all-SEC finals


    OMAHA, Neb. — The matchup for the College World Series finals bolsters the case for those who say the best baseball in the land is played in the SEC.

    Florida’s Brady Singer, delivering during a CWS win over Louisville last week, is scheduled to start tonight against LSU.
  2. Jones: Fox Sports Sun shows depth in Rays coverage

    TV and Radio

    tom jones' two cents

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) makes a run home for a score in the in the final game of a three-game series between the Tampa Bay Rays and AL East rival the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, June 25, 2017.
  3. Brian Boyle says returning to Lightning a 'huge option'


    As former Lightning forward Brian Boyle approaches free agency this week, he said he's trying to stay busy.

    Former Tampa Bay Lightning player center Brian Boyle (24), on the ice during first period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa on March 16, 2017.
  4. Rays journal: Blake Snell to rejoin rotation, Erasmo Ramirez heads to bullpen

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — LHP Blake Snell is rejoining the Rays' rotation, but the move has as much to do with helping the bullpen as it does with Snell's improvement during his time at Triple-A Durham.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Erasmo Ramirez (30) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday, June 21, 2017 in St. Petersburg.
  5. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.