Why Linebacker?

February 4th, 2014
Maybe drafting a linebacker isn't as crazy as Joe once thought.

Maybe drafting a linebacker isn’t as crazy as Joe once thought, like quarterback nightmare Khalil Mack?.

Joe is not a mock draft kinda guy. Surely not this early. Joe has no respect for people who change mock drafts more often than they change their socks. That’s just trolling to get a reaction.

Like BSPN.

Though Joe has some respect for helmet-hair Mel Kiper, the fact he changes his mock drafts virtually weekly, well, Joe just ignores them. If you have to change your mock draft weekly, that tells Joe either your editors are demanding it (well, hello BSPN!) or you simply don’t know what you are doing. (Yes, Joe thinks Kiper knows what he is doing.)

Todd McShay? Ppppfff! The dude got only a couple right in the first round in his final mock draft last spring. A drunk in the bar could get as many right as McShay — and he ain’t getting paid six figures.

Joe will never forget the reaction of the one and only Chris “Mad Dog” Russo to McShay’s mock draft last year, and McShay in general. Russo went on a classic diatribe against McShay, BSPN and mock drafts on the show that bears his name, “Mad Dog Unleashed,” heard exclusively on SiriusXM.

“And I’m supposed to pay for this?! I wouldn’t urinate on it!”

Does Joe enjoy reading mocks? Yeah, in April, from guys he respects starting first and foremost with Mike Mayock. Peter King actually does a decent job with mock drafts even though he  is a self-proclaimed college football illiterate, and a largely unknown guy outside the Midwest who types for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Bob McGinn, is pretty good as well.

One reason why Joe hates most mocks is that they are little more than throwing things against the wall, like McShay’s notion last year the Bucs were going to draft receiver Tavon Austin. Any sober person who followed the Bucs just a little bit knew this was outrageous.

McShay crosses Joe’s mind when he reads people claiming the Bucs will draft linebacker Khalil Mack from Buffalo? An outside linebacker???

Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times put the notion of drafting a linebacker in perspective when he Twittered out the following:

@gregauman: That’s why I don’t see Bucs going OLB. Leonard Johnson as nickel had 691 snaps in 2013. Watson/Casillas combined 442 on defense.

That’s just it. Surely Jason Licht will not draft a guy to take Lavonte David’s place and why would you spend a first-round draft pick on a position that will play a little more than part-time in a pass-happy division? That’s just dumb.

Unless the Bucs think this Khalil can be converted to a defensive end. Noted draftnik Russ Lande seems to think so.

So what Joe simply dismissed as nonsense from various sources ( that the Bucs would draft an outside linebacker like Mack) it’s not that he could play linebacker, but possibly defensive end. So maybe drafting Mack isn’t as crazy as Joe thought on the surface?

Still, Joe has not moved from his desire for Licht to call Johnny Football’s cell phone on the night of the first round.

53 Responses to “Why Linebacker?”

  1. Patrick in VA Says:

    Good point Joe, I was in favor of drafting one of the highly touted LBs but hadn’t put together that Mack would be put in LVD’s spot, which is obviously not an option.

  2. Mike Says:

    At 250lbs I think he could just barely have enough size to play DE. But not sure how that pick would make sense

  3. Captain Stagger Says:

    Said it 1000, Mack doesn’t fit here. He is a 3-4 rush LB. Just like Barr. Clowney is the only defensive player worth taking at 7 if he falls.

  4. The_Buc_Realist Says:

    If the Bucs are serious about winning, they really need to put a for sale sign on anyone of value that does not fit the system. Clayborn, Foster, One of the two strong safeties that the Bucs currently have The Hawk or Barron, who ever they can get value pick for so the bucs can get a real Free-safety. On Offense as well Penn, VJ. The Bucs need alot of players in the draft, TE’s, a full-back that can get push. There are so many holes.

  5. Buc Neckid Says:

    Filling holes is great
    But don’t make any holes with a Fire Sale.
    A complete overhaul of the team is not necessary
    This team was good enough two years ago with most of these players
    and will be again with the new coaching and attitude and the addition of some key players to fit those EXISTING holes.
    Every Team, Every Year has holes to fill for the next year.
    The biggest problem around here last year was Shiano.
    Players play when they want to
    and they just did not want to for Schiano anymore

  6. Chris Says:

    I still think moving Jonathan banks to FS and signing Tillman and trading that piece of overrated garbage goldson is a good move.

  7. Patrick in VA Says:

    @Chris – I haven’t followed the Bears so i’m not sure but does Tillman still have his fastball? I know he’s getting a bit older. Perhaps bringing him in to Goldson’s spot and leaving Banks where he is would be the right move.

  8. Macabee Says:

    What? Somebody is not studying the draft board. There are two OLBs. One is Weakside (Lavonte David), the other is Strongside (should be Mason Foster). There are 4-3 OLBs and there are 3-4 OLBs.

    Kalil Mack is a projected 3-4 stand-up OLB in the vein of Vonn Miller. Too small for a hand in the dirt 4-3 DE, but could be a big 4-3 OLB.

    If Mel had said CJ Moseley, it would have made more sense because when Frazier commented on the pieces that were not in place, he said to make Lovie’s defense work, you need a pass rushing DE, a tackling CB, and a Mike LB. I took that to mean that Mason Foster is not the ticket. Moseley is the best ILB in the draft.

    Relax. Nobody is replacing David and Kalil Mack while an excellent run stopping OLB/DE, he is not likely to be BPA at #7.

  9. Macabee Says:

    *big 4-3 strongside OLB.

  10. Tim Says:

    Because the guy on passing downs can put his hand on the ground and get after the QB also he can drop back into coverage. He may stay on the field and Foster come off. Winning teams do one thing in the draft and that is take the best player available. Mack will be this draft Kuechly, I don’t see how drafting an all pro LB is a bad thing.

  11. Destinjohnny Says:

    Ya good point but we need a middle backer big time I mean big time- foster can’t cover and in lovies d the middle backer needs to be able to cover- thank god dom drafted baron or Luke- imagine the Luke David show wow – don’t be surprised if we get from alabama Cj Mosley

  12. jvato24 Says:

    I believe Mack is taken only to play DE, we will get a good idea at combine weigh ins if he can play DE, 6`3 260 would be good size for a RE, he is rumored at 248, we will see

  13. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    To be honest I don’t even pay attention to “Any on the Draftniks on BSPN anymore.

    Just a few resources I use

    *National Underclassmen Combines (NUC)

    – NUC Feb Events
    – NUC March Events
    – NUC April Events
    – NUC May/June Events

    *Under Armor All-American Game

    *U.S Army All-American Bowl

    *You following (By Region)

    • Greg Powers, National Recruiting Analyst
    • Ahmard Vital, Midlands Recruiting
    • Randy Withers, Midlands Recruiting Analyst

    • Allen Trieu, National Recruiting Analyst
    • Bill Greene, Ohio recruiting analyst
    • Brian Eldridge, FOX Sports Next Recruiting Analyst
    • Simone Scott, Midwest Field Reporter

    • Brian Dohn, National Recruiting Analyst
    • Brandon Huffman, National Recruiting Analyst

    • Chad Simmons, National Recruiting Analyst
    • Jamie Newberg, National Recruiting Analyst
    • Michael Clark, Regional Recruiting Analyst
    • Patrick Burnham, Recruiting Analyst
    • Yancy Porter, Mississippi Scout

    • Brandon Huffman, National Recruiting Analyst
    • Greg Biggins, National Recruiting Analyst
    • Jason Jewell, Southwest Recruiting Analyst

    With the names that I’ve listed above – Link your Youtube ,Facebook, and Twitter accounts for some of the top schools in the nation so you can stay up to date on the latest happenings.

    Following that up with…..

    • Watching College Football (Prospects vs Premium Counter Prospects)

    • Watching Bowl Games (Prospects vs Premium Counter Prospects)

    • East West Shrine Game (Prospects vs Premium Counter Prospects)

    • North vs. South Senior Bowl (Prospects vs Premium Counter Prospects)

    + Pre-Season Watch List & Award Winners.

    So after watching a full season (BUCS). Understanding your teams strengths, weaknesses areas of Improvements. Couple that with prospects that have scheme diversity. You should be able to make a more than reasonable assumption on who your team should pursue.

    And after hearing a few growing concerns about Khalid Mack’s psychological make-up+Fighting with teammates. Even despite playing in a inferior conference, he a good talent -I just don’t see the need to draft him in the 1st round (Just my Opinion). Especially when there’s prospect like Morgan Breslin (USC) in later rounds.


    LT should be the 1st pick
    -Greg Robinson
    -Taylor Lewan

  14. Joseph Mamma Says:

    We could incorporate him as a rush strong side LB like V. Miller does in Denver in passing situations if we got Mack or Barr. If the coaches can incorporate them into their scheme I would be all for more heat on QB.

  15. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    If we can grab an additional Second Round Pick

    -LB Kyle Van Noy
    -Jeremiah Attaochu

    Are great Strong Side Propects

  16. buccanAy Says:

    “trolling to get a reaction”…hum…anyway, one of this regimes biggest recent mistakes, besides letting Benett walk, was the signing to the uber contract of Dashon Goldson. Now, I do like DG’s aggressiveness, leadership, and his overall play as a STRONG SAFETY, but we already have one in Barron. I also believe the league was targeting DG, and also believe he will learn from this year. But, IMO, we need a real center-fielder FS, with extreme range and ball-hawking skills, which neither Barron or Goldson are, and now we are somewhat hamstrung in what to do with DG because of his massive contract. compare and contrast the style of the Seahawks safety’s in Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor.

    Not sure how to remedy this situation, but I think it’ become even more important to have an elite FS in what has become a passing league.

  17. Terrance in Philly Says:

    Mel Kiper? The same Mel Kiper who said Jamarcus Russell was the next Elway?

  18. Jeagan1999 Says:

    Personally, I’d love to see the Bucs trade down a few spots (some team will want to reach up to get Carr/Bortles,etc.. maybe Minn or Tenn?), try to pick up an extra 2nd or 3rd round choice and then get TE Eric Ebron or the best Guard or Center on the board. But, if we stay put at #7 (Clowney will be long gone by this point) Mack or Barr would be interesting choices. I think Anthony Barr (opposite LVD) fits our system better and would be a nightmare for opposing QB’s on blitzes.

  19. Kalind Says:

    Joe. I hear you, but this is a joke. Mack is an unproven talent who essentially played Countryside High School throughout college sans one game versus the perennially over hyped Ohio State. Woopdy friken do. If you want a DEnd go will be there move down (if they can) and take my man Tuitt from ND. The guy is bigger than GMC. Mack is smaller than my Aunt for goodness sakes. We don’t need a Steven Means Clone (they both went to Buffalo and had similar-ish numbers).

    Btw. If it isn’t Johnny F. I have been banging the drum for Louis Nix/Hageman for months.

  20. Kalind Says:

    Wild Card pick—Kelvin Benjamin. Imagine him with Jackson and Williams. Yiiiikes. Even Glennon could put up decent numbers throwing to those giants.

  21. Glennon Mob Says:

    If you look up Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs’ measurables they are very similar to Khalil Mack’s:

    Urlacher: 6’4″ 258 lbs

    Briggs: 6’1″ 244 lbs

    Khalil Mack: 6’3″ 247 lbs

    He would be an instant upgrade over Mason Foster at middle linebacker. Move Foster to strong side

  22. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Mike Says
    “At 250lbs I think he could just barely have enough size to play DE. But not sure how that pick would make sense.”

    They usually put on muscle weight after they enter the NFL (or some put on fat weight, lol). Simeon Rice weighed only 268, so it would not be too hard to imagine.

  23. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Glennon Mob, Foster will not be moved. He is now coming into his own, and doing a pretty good job there.

  24. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    The_Buc_Realist Says
    “If the Bucs are serious about winning, they really need to put a for sale sign on anyone of value that does not fit the system. Clayborn, Foster, One of the two strong safeties that the Bucs currently have The Hawk or Barron, who ever they can get value pick for so the bucs can get a real Free-safety. On Offense as well Penn, VJ. The Bucs need alot of players in the draft, TE’s, a full-back that can get push. There are so many holes.”

    Okay, that is so stupid I don’t care if I offend you. You want to sell off everyone that is worth a darn on the team to get a bunch of unknowns??? I sincerely hope you are not widely awake, because I thought you had more sense than that!

  25. Jordan Says:

    Joe, you think that NFL teams don’t already have a big board in progress? Teams already have their boards in development prior to FA opening. Are NFL teams foolish for keeping rankings prior to the combine? Why is it crazy for Mock Draft analysts to mirror the workings of an NFL team-scouting department.?

    It’s not foolish, and of course teams have a big board in progress, even two years in advance. However, those big boards aren’t mock drafts. Joe’s made his points pretty clear. Joe has no beef with those who enjoy a mock draft. It’s an easy way to start learning about the players in the mix. –Joe

  26. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Chris Says
    “I still think moving Jonathan banks to FS and signing Tillman and trading that piece of overrated garbage goldson is a good move.”

    I’m on the fence about Goldson. My instincts tell me he will cost the team too much in penalty yards because the refs target him…not to mention his next suspension is for 4 games.

    But a small part of me wonders if Lovie Smith can straighten him out. I saw an awful lot of hits in the Superbowl that the refs would have called Goldson on.

    As to Tillman, that is now impossible. He has come out and stated that he is staying where he’s at.

  27. Brook Says:

    I agree with several responders. Trade down……say with Giants…… pick up a third round pick. Draft CJ Mosely in the first round for mlb. Move Foster to ‘strong’. Pick up best DT available (Jernigan….) in the second round. There will be several good guards available in the third round. Sign one of the DE’s & Corners in free agency. Lovie should like that ‘D’. Now work on the offense.

  28. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Jordan, I think that is Joes point. If the teams themselves are still trying to figure it out, how could anyone else possibly predict with accuracy?

    This is why Mike Mayok doesn’t release his mock until a day or two before the draft.

  29. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Actually I heard this many times, that Most Scouts have a general Ideal on what their boards looks like; after the North Vs South Senior Bowl. Most the other events leading up to the draft process (Though Important) are just dress rehearsal.

  30. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    LUVMYBUCS, how did you get bullets to appear? If it from the character map or coded?

  31. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    -It’s not foolish, and of course teams have a big board in progress, even two years in advance. However, those big boards aren’t mock drafts. Joe’s made his points pretty clear. Joe has no beef with those who enjoy a mock draft. It’s an easy way to start learning about the players in the mix. –Joe

    Very True

  32. LUVMYBUCS Says:


    MicroSoft Word

  33. LUVMYBUCS Says:


    Lol, how do you get the bold font?

  34. Jonny 2.3 Says:

    Khalil Mack is a Von Miller type of athlete though not as good, probably 90% of VM’s athleticism. If Broncos are able to somehow utilize 230 LB Miller as a 4-3 OLB and DE on 3rd downs, it should not be difficult to do the same with a 250 LB Mack who also plays stronger for his size on tape. Guys like Watson and Casillas are good compliments and situational players, but their combo is nowhere close to matching the production we could possibly get out of Mack as the SLB.

  35. bucray1 Says:

    hey joe , what’s ya know? obviously not much when you attempt to overstate mel kiper’s football knowledge. and please jump off that johhny football bandwagon.picking the 4th best qb prospect in a qb class full of questions is lunacy. especially at #7. go out and get the #1 wr or #2 o-lineman.imagine the potential for points with 3 wide sets with that trio.even trent dilfer couldn’t mess that up.

  36. Macabee Says:


    I don’t know for sure if Foster will be moved from the middle any more than you know he will not. But here are some facts that I do know.

    Fact 1: When Leslie Frazier held his first press conference, His words specifically were “The defensive tackle and weakside linebacker along with the pass rusher and a corner that can tackle as well as cover will really help to solidify this defense, and you need a Mike linebacker than can function as well, but we have two pieces in place with Gerald and Lavonte, and that gives you a chance now to add to some of those other areas.”

    Fact 2: Mason Foster had the second-worst average of yards allowed per snap in coverage last year among all inside linebackers, according to ProFootballFocus, and gave up more touchdowns (four) than all but two inside backers.

    Now, my opinion: Frazier was not asked about Foster during his initial news conference, nor did he single Foster out as he did McCoy and David. But he suggested middle linebacker was an area of need while talking about all of the key pieces that make the defense work. I think Mason Foster was put on notice. Foster was a perfect fit in Schiano’s defense because he excels in an attack-oriented scheme. The Tampa 2 and variations thereof requires the middle linebacker to excel in coverage against second receivers, and that’s where Foster has struggled.

    I could be wrong but as I remember, Foster came out of UWA as a Sam linebacker and it sounds to me like he may play that position again!

  37. Paul Says:

    I’m sure he won’t be worth a top 10 pick as DE. Didn’t watch Buffalo so I don’t know what D they played, but he surely won’t be getting favorable matchups as a DE.

  38. SeanyMac in SC Says:

    Joe, I like how toss in the Johny Football love in your final sentence. I pray to God he does not become a Buc.

  39. $acbuc$ Says:

    Raheem put Mason at Middle Lb hackers. He’s played out of position since he has been in the NFL. I seen Mason play weakside lb and sam in college. LVD is a better weakside. Mason cant shed off blocker fast enough to make a play in the run game.

    Joe I told you 2 years ago when you was talking about Foster eating pineapple that he wasn’t sideline to sideline anymore. He had his best season this year. MF & LVD got snubbed for the pro bowl.

    Mason is to short to cover tight ends and not fast enough to cover the slot wr. If the RB has 4.3 speed then all he sees is dust trails!

    Don’t get me wrong I like 59. I rather keep him Watson and Casillas over ADAM HAYWARD. LET HIM GO!

  40. Brandon Says:

    You guys are nuts to suggest Mack would be simply a Sam LB or be moved to the middle. If the Bucs took him he would most likely play Sam on running downs and RDE on passing downs… or be switched full-time to DE

  41. Brandon Says:

    If the Bucs draft a pure LB type, there is no doubt that the LB will be the Mike stud from Bama…he’s the type of Mike that can be an outstanding playmaker/steady force on the defense for the next 10 years. I’m sure Lovie would love to have a combo of David and CJ Mosely to cover tons of ground in coverage and hit everything that moves like he had with Urlacher and Briggs.

  42. Joe Says:

    hey joe , what’s ya know? obviously not much when you attempt to overstate mel kiper’s football knowledge.

    Go look at Kiper’s draft accuracy the past couple of decades. Not the best, but usually pretty good. Better than most.

    please jump off that johhny football bandwagon.


  43. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Excuse me for being Ignorant to the facts. I’m sure (Lovie) will have opinions, suggestions, and even influence, but this will be Leslie Frazier defense right?

  44. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    And If thats the case. I can remember the Viking Defense being quite formidable with EJ Henderson (4.8 running downhill on a windy day) roaming the middle of the field. Along (Power Pig) NT Pat Williams & DT Kevin Williams(GMC clone) plugging the middle

  45. PRBucFan Says:

    I wonder who Lovie is going to get as his MLB, seeing how his defenses live and die by it as well.

  46. PRBucFan Says:

    As long as you don’t go mental and start posting about Manchild as a Cleveland Brown…

    Than it would be pretty fishy hehehe 😛

  47. phil Says:

    If the number one goal of this team isn’t to get a playmaker at quarterback aka Johnny Football the entire front office and coaches should be fired. To waste 7th overall pick on a linebacker not named Luke Kuechly would be stupid. Of course we could of had the DPY instead of Mark Barron.

  48. Buc1987 Says:

    Actually Tillman said he was going to test the FA market, but will retire as a Bear.

  49. PRBucFan Says:

    Yes, fire Lovie over an unproven question mark QB prospect. lol

  50. Colin Says:

    Its funny that you bring up Todd McShay’s terrible end of the year mock draft accuracy because I remember last year that Mel Kiper Jr. got a total of ZERO correct picks in the first round. NONE.


  51. PhantomVash808 Says:

    I say pick a LT at 7 or trade down to pick up more picks and possibly pick up CJ Mosely. The only defensive player worth taking at 7 is Clowney but I doubt he falls to the Bucs.

  52. Mike Williams (superfan) Says:

    As far as DE… to know the pick you gotta know free agency. Ill put my pride on this bet and say Jared Allen and/or Julius Peppers will be Bucs. With that said if Tampa doesn’t move up and get Jadeveon Clowney (20% chance) then Trent Murphy from Stanford will be the pick in the 2nd rd. I could almost guarantee that Austin Safari-Jenkins will be wearing Pewter and red next year. I dont know where but I cant predict trades and a trade will happen. All of what I mentioned could get erased if a Teddy Bridgewater is there at 7. If Clowney is gone and Matthews is there at 7 well then Matthews is the pick. Problem is Atlanta needs OLine desperately. 100% chance the Falcons draft a Tackle. Khalil Mack does not fit the Bucs scheme or a 4-3 for that matter. Nor does Barr and I would give either 1 of those a 10% chance of being drafted. Sammy Watkins is a great pick but NO WHERE CLOSE to 7. Thats negative value. I’d rather see (if WR is the pick) The Bucs trade down and pick up Kelvin Benjamin. When everything is said and done, he will be known as the best WR in 2014 draft class

  53. BoJim Says:

    Mike Williams (superfan)

    ‘Kelvin Benjamin. When everything is said and done, he will be known as the best WR in 2014 draft class’

    Benjamin is under rated. I’d like to see him as a Buc.

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