The Next Great Bucs Linebacker?

January 31st, 2012

One would think the Bucs would look to free agency or a trade to land a beast of a linebacker to help shore up the mess that’s there at the position right now.

But the Bucs might also snag the best linebacker they can find in the draft. Draft guru Justin “The Commish” Pawlowski, pregame and postgame host on the Buccaneers Radio Network, says the Bucs might have a bit of drool on their chin for Zach Brown out of North Carolina. The Commish, via, pegs Brown as a late first-round, or early second-round pick.

Brown is one of the fastest linebackers in this year’s draft. He has good size (6’1” 236lbs), but excellent speed, explosion, and athleticism. The linebacker position has been undervalued in recent years, which might have Brown slip a little. If Butch Davis joins Greg Schiano’s staff in Tampa, you’d have to wonder if the Buccaneers would make a move to grab Brown later in the 1st round.
Possible Targets: Buccaneers, Lions, Giants, Eagles

Joe surely could see this happening. Scoring a stout middle linebacker in free agency — Jonathan Vilma after he’s cut? — and having Brown, Mason Foster, Quincy Black and Dakoda Watson and more fighting for snaps wouldn’t be so bad.

35 Responses to “The Next Great Bucs Linebacker?”

  1. Captain Stagger Says:

    I’ve watched Brown in film and I’m not sold. He isn’t as physical at the point of attack, and doesn’t show the violence I want to see. If we are trsdinb back into round one I would rather see Burfict or Hightower or just wait and grab Ronnel Lewis.

  2. Captain Stagger Says:

    Damn iPhone typos…….

  3. Brad Says:

    I’m not a college specialist and not sure where the linebacker from Alabama is projected but he seems to be a big nasty type that we need. These smaller linebackers are fine but we need a Ray Lewis type to instill some toughness. I’m not sold on Mason Foster yet and I would think the entire Linebacker core on this team needs to be upgraded. Foster might be good at adding depth but don’t think he’s ready to be a starter. I’d cut Black and Hayes immediately.

  4. Meh Says:

    If he’s there in the 2nd it is a no brainer pick. I’m not sure he will be. I’d also like to see us make a huge push to get DQwell Jackson via free agency, whether we intend to target Brown or not.

  5. Meh Says:

    One other thing about Brown, his coverage skills are also very good.

  6. adam ant Says:

    I am all for improving the LB corps and creating competition. I totally agree that we should have an experienced Mike Linebacker (Vilma would be great) and move Foster to Strong side LB. The Weak side (that Brooks played to perfection) is where we need the speed. Go Bucs!!

  7. raphael Says:

    great 2nd rd pick ….btw mcnulty is talking to the cards so we might end up with him as OC.

  8. Chris FWC Says:

    Why in the world did we resign QBlack? We can’t cut him, he’s garanteed $ next season. Have you ever seen Qblack make a hard-nosed form tackle? He tackles like a yssup. <—- Hold it in the mirror Quincy, because that is you.

  9. Bulldog Says:

    Disagree about Foster,,he did real well when you factor no off season, lack of quality coaching and being shoved in a critical starting role. I also think putting him back to his natural position will only elevate his game. I’m with ya on the Jackson long as he can stay healthy..or one of the other LB FA’S…I would try to target the LB who can step in and take over the Middle. One that can LEAD as the position requires. Think Thump & Tackle..

  10. Northend Says:

    Meh,ur right on.brown can turn and cover,very quick.always around the ball.jackson would be a great addition.him or tulloch

  11. MTM Says:

    Schiano needs to pick up anybody from Alabama’s defense. They are all great tacklers and I am a Gator fan. They need some one to come in that smashes RB’s period from day one. No more of this work in process sh*t. Tackling is tackling if they need to be coached to tackle. Child please!

  12. TheProsUseAdvoCare Says:

    Vilma would aid in our pass defense, but he would prolong the suffering in our run defense.

  13. Macabee Says:

    Zach Brown has legitimate WR speed, 4.48/40. He is projected to go in the bottom half of the 1st round. This guy will be a good weakside backer, but because of his speed, I think he will end up being a pro bowl SS. He doesn’t have the bone-crunching stopping power that I would to see at the Mike position.

    I’ve also signed up for membership in the “Trade Down” club. If the Browns take RGIII with the 4th pick and Richardson is sitting there, I’m trying to work a deal with Cleveland for their other 1st round pick plus a 2nd and a 4th. They covet Richardson as a replacement for Peyton Hillis. They have the extra picks (acquired from Atlanta) to make this trade.
    I would then look at Janoris Jenkins, Luke Kuechly, Dre Kirkpatrick, Zach brown or one of the other Bama LBs. They can all help! As for as the off-field issues of Kirkpatrick and Jenkins, I’m not deterred by that. Dominic has drafted a host of team captains and choirboys that haven’t played very well. I want ballers that with coaching and guidance will mature with experience. We need draft picks and impact players.

    I know Dominic has committed to go to FA, but will we be able to attract the top-level Fas to come to Tampa regardless of the size of the offer? I think we need to get the biggest bang for our buck in the draft. Trade Down!

  14. TheProsUseAdvoCare Says:

    I like the idea of Watson at Will. Its funny because he is arguably our biggest LB but so far he is the fastest and best LB against the run, pass, or blitzing. I don’t understand why he hasn’t been utilized more….. Oh wait.

  15. jvato24 Says:

    He is considered the Fastest LB in the draft. But lacks physicality, Not the most instinctive and is considered within league circles immature which will surface more as the draft gets closer.

    Not so sure this is what we need with one of the worst Defenses against the run for the last 4 years.

    Rather have a smaller more physical and instinctive Lavonte David.

    Most people that like this guy have just heard hype and not actually seen him play.

  16. Bricen Says:

    Imagine trading down to like 10 somehow, gettting luke k, using the picks we got for the 5th spot to trade up and get zach brown, or get lavonte david late second. Imagine Brown/david WLB Luke MLB Foster SLB. Hard to say how they’d preform without andvet leadership, but this could be a scary core for the next decade.

  17. Pete Dutcher Says:

    Brad Says:
    January 31st, 2012 at 10:30 am
    I’m not sold on Mason Foster yet and I would think the entire Linebacker core on this team needs to be upgraded. Foster might be good at adding depth but don’t think he’s ready to be a starter. I’d cut Black and Hayes immediately.

    Personally, I think Foster will be fine. The MLB spot is the quarterback of the Bucs…so I think Foster should at least have the time a QB should have to develop.

    Some people say he’s too small, which I disagree with, but they also fail to factor in the fact that he is only a year out of college and is certain to put on bulk and strength this year and next. Give him time and he will be up to par.

    In the past, our MLBs have prepared behind someone…this is something I would not be opposed to if the Bucs could get a 29-31 year old veteran to buy Foster a couple years of development.

    I’m also not sold on switching him the OLB, but if our new coaching staff thinks it’s the right thing to do, who am I to protest? Certainly, if we do get a vet MLB, switching Foster outside once in a while would get him more playing time and experience.

    On cutting Black and Hayes…I would say that depends on a number of factors. First, are they going to be replaced? If so, will it be rookies replacing them? If it is rookies, holding on to Black and Hayes (if possible with the roster limit) for one more year might be the smart move…sort of like Foster would have benefited from Ruud being here another year.

    And then, of course, the Bucs need to be willing to eat contract money on Black…personally, I think Black would make fine enough depth. Overpaid depth, but depth.

    And then, of course, you have second winds…
    If Raheem Morris was doing as badly as suspected, it could be Hayes and Black are salvageable. It will be up to the coach to determine that.

    TheProsUseAdvoCare Says:
    January 31st, 2012 at 11:20 am

    Vilma would aid in our pass defense, but he would prolong the suffering in our run defense.

    But the run can be addressed in other ways. Vilma would be the best player on our team.

    However…we will never get him here. No way he leaves where he is at.

  18. Pete Dutcher Says:

    Oh…I wasn’t aware ANY linebackers were worthy of being taken in the first round this year?

  19. Real Talk Says:

    Dqwell Jackson is a must. This guy is a beast he averaged around 10 tackles a game last year. If we can land him and Draft Zach Brown Or David from Nebraska we will be headed in the right direction

  20. cspann Says:

    raphael Says:
    January 31st, 2012 at 10:48 am
    great 2nd rd pick ….btw mcnulty is talking to the cards so we might end up with him as OC.

    raphael do you have a link?

  21. TheProsUseAdvoCare Says:

    Vilma would hardly be the best player on our defense. He would definitely be the best MLB we have though.

  22. raphael Says:

    Long links don’t work in here. Sorry.– Joe

  23. Jamaal Matthews Says:

    Yea I think burfict would be the right pick up along with two other outside linebackers black sucks and shouldn’t be on the team and they should try geno Hayes at strong safety he’s bigger and faster than sean jones and he’s pretty good in coberage. Plus, I don’t really no about any safeties this year.

  24. Jamaal Matthews Says:


  25. thibs5599 Says:

    Levonta David. He is smaller, but he is also fast and sheds blocks and attacks better than Brown. What about Dan Connor, he would come cheap and I think he is ready to be a starter for where ever he plays, can not be stuck behind John Beason and longer, and he could also play OLB as well.

  26. Perceptor Says:

    Doesn’t this sound like a re-hash of when Derrick Brooks entered the draft? Oh, he was too small and maybe not physical enough to play LB, but if he would make the switch to safety, teams would try him out and he may have been drafted earlier than he did. He stayed put and became a HOF LB.

  27. Macabee Says:

    The Senior Bowl is just a snapshot, but Lavonte David did not account himself very well. Perhaps he can change that perception with a solid performance at the Combine. The LB that did impress was Bobby Wagner, Utah State.

  28. raphael Says:

    @ Cspann – story in pewter report last sentence of the Butch Davis story.

  29. Brandon Says:

    I’ve been saying this for a while. Trade down, grab either Kuechly or Brown with a pick in the early 20’s. Stockpile picks to fill more roster holes.

  30. Architek Says:

    Foster is the only LB on our team that gets any recognition and respect at his position. Everyone else is either not mentioned or people don’t know them. I have heard people in my barber shop in Dallas talk about how bad Tampa was but they respected Foster ands see his potential. I have even heard of people wishing he were their young MLB.

  31. jvato24 Says:

    Foster was the equivalent of a college player playing MLB for the Bucs last season. No Offseason. No Veteran. What seems no Coaching. Thats impressive.

    Lets give the kid a look this year before we judge him negatively.

  32. thibs5599 Says:

    Kuechly all day over Brown 100%.

  33. cspann Says:

    thanks raphael

  34. Jessup Says:

    Typical overhyped speed guy. He is the Sabby Piscatelli of linebackers. He is soft and his biggest mark is his lack of physicality. Last thing we need is another super fast LB that takes bad angles and get’s man handled by blockers.

    Burfict and Lavonte David are the guys we should be targeting.

  35. Bucs55 Says:

    I think the bucs will pick a LB in the later rounds someone like spence from the U I think someone similar to Derrick under size good speed and good play awareness plus Shannon would vouch for spence as a play maker I think these guy will be someone special in the making