Make us your home page
Instagram

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.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

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

Loading...
  1. Cubs down Dodgers 3-2; force NLCS Game 5 Thursday

    Ml

    CHICAGO — Javier Baez snapped an 0-for-20 skid with two home runs, former Ray Wade Davis hung on for a six-out save and the Cubs avoided a sweep, holding off the Dodgers 3-2 Wednesday night in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series.

  2. Bucs' Vernon Hargreaves: 'I'm not making any plays'

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Eli Manning gathered his receivers together on the sideline during the Giants' Week 4 game against the Bucs and told them he planned to target the weakest link of the secondary all afternoon.

    Patriots receiver Chris Hogan gets position in front of Bucs cornerback Vernon Hargreaves for a 5-yard touchdown pass in New England’s win on Oct. 5.
  3. Lightning's J.T. Brown to stop anthem protest, focus on community involvement

    Lightning Strikes

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Lightning wing J.T. Brown will no longer raise his first as a protest during the national anthem before games.

    J.T. Brown says he will work more with the Tampa police and groups that serve at-risk young people.
  4. Signs point to Jameis Winston dressing vs. Bills

    Sports

    TAMPA — The Bucs didn't sign another quarterback Wednesday, which would suggest they are confident that Jameis Winston can be active as a backup to Ryan Fitzpatrick on Sunday at Buffalo if he doesn't start.

  5. FSU doesn't feel need for ongoing reminder of last year's beatdown at Louisville

    Sports

    Of course Florida State remembers what happened against Louisville last year. The 63-20 loss was one of the worst defeats in Seminoles history.

    Louisville's Lamar Jackson looks back at the action from the sidelines during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Murray State, Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)