Do The Bucs Want “Gold?”

February 22nd, 2014

SimeonJoe’s already written about how when talking man-to-man with Bucs general manager Jason Licht on Thursday in Indianapolis, Licht lost any semblance of a poker face when chatting about linebacker/defensive end prospect Khalil Mack, the pride of the University of Buffalo.

But that’s not a big deal, because it seems Mack is the recreational drug of choice among scouts and GMs.

Big headlines are on this morning after the NFL’s premier in-house draft guru, Mike May0ck, told a Minnesota radio station that Mack is the best overall player in the draft.

Would the Bucs and Lovie Smith possibly pass on the draft’s top defensive player, assuming that is Mack?

That would be hard to fathom, though it could be a tough question, given that Mack is considered a 3-4 defensive end who could quickly excel at strongside linebacker in a 4-3 defense. But it’s his edge-rush ability driving his value. Teams desire sacks as much as Joe yearns for blondes and pizza on a Saturday night. Yet there’s still a chance Mack falls to the Bucs at the No. 7 overall pick, if a team prefers defensive end Jadaveon Clowney.

Something Mayock said about Mack early this week really intrigued Joe on a different level.

Q.  Can you elaborate more on [Khalil] Mack?

Mike Mayock: Yeah, I put the tape on not really knowing what to expect. I knew he had a lot of positive reviews from around the country. But first tape I put in was Ohio State, and he blew them up.  He made plays all over the field, on the edge, dropping into coverage, explosion, hustle. Then I think the next tape I put in was Kent State and he made a one‑handed interception. He runs like a safety. He explodes off the edge. From my perspective in today’s NFL, guys that have natural edge rush ability are like gold; you’ve got to get them when they are available. I think he’s one of the elite edge guys in the draft, but he hustles, he’s tough, he can play the run game, and unlike a lot of these guys, he can also drop in coverage. So I have yet to find a hole in his game.

Mayock’s comment, “guys that have natural edge rush ability are like gold,” stood out. 

It made Joe think of soon-to-be free agent Dekoda Watson, who has that raw edge-rush talent, but it has yet to be honed, harnessed, and capitalized on. The last two Bucs head coaches simply couldn’t figure it out. Raheem Morris thought Quincy Black was a pass-rush phenom because of one big sack against the Panthers, which was set up by Gerald McCoy. Watson was a better pass rusher than most if not all Bucs defensive ends last season when you look at the handful of chances he got.

No, Watson is not Khalil Mack. But the Bucs will have to decide soon on Watson, and Joe thinks the new regime, one that wants the type of speed Watson has, will lock up Watson for his versatility and his “gold” potential.

As for Mack, Joe’s pleased to see his stock rise. That only improves the odds a certain Texas A&M quarterback could miraculously see his draft stock drop.

27 Responses to “Do The Bucs Want “Gold?””

  1. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    No…Joe….if Mack’s stock rises above the 7th pick then Clowney is likely to be our choice at 7….not Johnny….too bad!!

  2. lurker Says:

    people harping on your last comment in 3….2…..1….

  3. Quick66 Says:

    I would not have a problem with Mack being the pick. He would be a huge upgrade over Watson/Casillas. IMO, Mack and Matthews have the least bust potential.

  4. scotty Says:

    get over it! we are not getting johnny ! your acting like he’s A.Luck.he is not a can’t miss guy!

  5. SAMCRO Says:

    Texas will take Manziel, but they are posturing and listening. If they don’t hit the wheel of fortune, and sell out, they will select Manziel. If they do trade out, whoever it is, will select Manziel. So unless the Bucs sell their soul, they may have a legitimate choice between at least 3 blue chip players at #7.

    it could be Mack, Robinson, Watkins
    or Bridgewater, Mathews , Mack

    There will be several solid choices that the Bucs could pick from, but it’s a nice problem to have. Whatever path they decide to take will ultimately define the direction of the new regime,

  6. Jacko101 Says:

    Barr or Mack I really believe we will end up with one of those guys.

  7. biff barker Says:

    Dekota “maybe this is the year” Watson.
    Reminds me a lot of Geno ” I like the young booty” Hayes.
    Splash plays here and there, otherwise, not too good.

  8. tampa Says:

    4-3 isn’t a big deal. They can use Mack the SAME way Denver uses Von Miller.

  9. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    I have to admire the desire for Johnny Football, and I would love it if he fell to us here in Tampa.
    But, the Texans pick number one, and Johnny is a Texas Kid, so guess where he is going ?
    No worries, because at number 7, or even if we trade down, we will get help for our team.

  10. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    Clowney will go 1 or 2 regardless of what Mayock or anyone else says, so stop daydreaming about him being there at 7. Let’s talk about players that have a realistic chance of being there.

    Mack still has a chance of being there when we pick, simply because there are 3 QB’s, 2 LT’s, 1 WR, and 1 DE besides Mack who are considered potential top 6 picks. So adding Mack to the equation that makes at least 8 players who look to have possible top 6 type grades. That leaves us a choice of at least 2 of those guys.

    We’re gonna get a blue-chip player regardless.

  11. Clowney Says:

    I am sincerely hoping that Mack and Watkins are selected in the top 6. It would be even better if one of the offensive tackles is chosen up there as well. Then ATL trades back for a team desperate for a QB

    I was watching the combine this morning and heard them speak disparaging words about Clowney’s off field issues and Spurrier’s lackluster praise of his work ethic.

    May is a long way off, but I feel a perfect storm may be forming and Jadaveon Clowney wearing one of those cool new helmets.

    Garropolo in the 2nd would round out the perfect storm.

  12. Mort Says:

    There are four teams ahead of us that NEED a QB in the worst way.


    Johnny M. Won’t make it past all four. Zero chance.

    I’m 100% ok with that. We will end up with a blue chip PROSPECT either way.

    But if Vick signs with Oakland … –Joe

  13. LovieTheBucS Says:

    I see us getting Mack and him sacking Johnny Football into the ground. Man it would be nice to have another Simeon Rice. I think Broyles will be good with a good qb coach (insert Tedford here). Cant wait to see the new uni s and cant wait for the draft. Its a new era baby!

  14. Mike Says:

    And if he does I bet they still draft a QB

  15. Jake S. Says:

    I’m on the Bridgewater or bust campaign, the Bucs have never had a QB with truly elite accuracy. Bridgewater has the kind that can’t be coached as well as a strong arm with perfect timing on the intermediate(Most important) throws and he is in our range of the draft, go get him whatever it takes.

  16. Buc1987 Says:

    “May is a long way off, but I feel a perfect storm may be forming and Jadaveon Clowney wearing one of those cool new helmets.”

    “Garropolo in the 2nd would round out the perfect storm.”

    Clowney…I like your perfect storm.

  17. Rob Sullivan Says:

    I don’t think Joe is too off base here (believe it or not) If Mack is projected to be this good, he could go to one of the QB needy teams like Jacksonville or Oakland instead of Johnny Football thus sliding him to the Bucs – I think Cleveland takes Bridgwater or Bortals over Johnny.

  18. zam Says:

    The less exciting draft day is for your fans, the better your team will do. Dungy knew this, I think Lovie does too. So what’s the least exciting thing they can do?

    Stay at #7, don’t trade up or down, and then take an Offensive Tackle not named Matthews. Really boring, right up until playoff time. Slow and steady wins the race Eddy.

  19. bigpoppabuc Says:

    Zam you may be right… I keep thinking about Clowney in a Falcons uniform, and Penn just getting beat up twice a year. Matthews could be the pick if he’s there.

  20. Dougy balls Says:

    Mack to play Sam . And then RE when we go into nickel . Can be a three down guy using him all over the field . No reason he has to be limited to said position

  21. Jeremy Says:

    Joe – Why is it that you constantly crush on Dakota Watson. Dude sucks man you need to get over it

  22. Dougy balls Says:

    Watson is a special teams ace and can be a third and long pass rusher . Not every player can be a pro bowler. Always a place in the nfl for the watson’s of the world . You don’t have to be a football guru to see his value .

  23. Lou. Says:


    I read a lot of “experts” and others who complain about using Mack as a Sam — he will have to come off the field too much &c. Why wouldn’t the nickle package use David and Mack and let Foster sit?

  24. Brandon Says:


    Mack COULD be used at Sam LB by the Bucs, or other 43 teams, but on passing downs, probably any team that would take him would put him at DE. At the very least, he would be used the same way Von Miller is used in Denver…though he could also be a full-time 4-3 DE.

  25. Capt. Tim Says:

    Bigpoppabuc-” and Penn getting beat twice a year”
    Do you actually watch the games?
    Do you know what you are looking at?

    Those where hypothetical questions. The answer is No, you don’t.
    You have no so many others here.

    Penn played really well this year.
    Joseph was a blocking sled. Zuttah was a matador.
    Meredith was decent at pass blocking- fair at run blocking.
    Dotson was good at run blocking. Also at pass blocking, but at least once a game he would get totally beat by a speed move.

    Nicks – missing in action. Far more than he has played.
    Think he has retired, and plans to adorn the bench, and count money for 3 more years

    Penn was the only reliable linemen we had. He is the best LT in Buc history.
    Yes, better than Gruber- I watched both of them

    I think Penn is one of the few Bucs with Trade value. As I said earlier, I think we trade Penn to a contender, to try and regain badly needed draft picks

    So that they can field a winning team- for many clueless fans, who don’t know what they are looking at.

  26. PRBucFan Says:

    He was making a reference to Clowney beating him twice a year in the future since they would see each other twice a year genius.

    Which you could bet your ass Penn would not shut him down if he indeed comes as advertised.

    All that rambling for what?

    Penn won’t be our LT for too many more years.

  27. BoJim Says:

    Capt. Tim Says:

    ‘You have no so many others here.

    So that they can field a winning team- for many clueless fans, who don’t know what they are looking at.’

    Tell us oh wise one. What makes you anymore knowledgeable than everyone else. Please share.