Addressing Returner?

March 22nd, 2015

Might a Division II returner be the Bucs’ next main man?

One 2014 failure has yet to be addressed.

And yes, Joe considers cutting ghostly and ghastly Michael Johnson to be addressing the defensive end position via a glorious subtraction.

What Joe’s referring to here is the punt returner/kick returner slot.

The Buccaneers gambled and lost on undrafted rookie Solomon Patton last year, and then re-signed him late in the season. Patton was no better during his second act, before sitting out the final game with a foot injury. Before and after, guys like Jeff Demps, Chris Owusu, Marcus Thigpen and Trindon Holliday didn’t pan out.

Bobby Rainey handled returner duties in Week 17, but dating back to preseason, Lovie Smith never seemed to interested in having Rainey be a returner.

So what’s the Bucs’ plan to upgrade? That’s unclear. Ted Ginn, Jr., was on the market this month but Tampa Bay passed and now he’s in Carolina. Last offseason, Lovie’s close friend Devin Hester was available but the Bucs passed. Versatile Hester earns $3 million a year in Atlanta.

On the Bucs’ roster, wide receiver Robert Herron isn’t an NFL returner, and Louis Murphy and Mike James haven’t gotten much of a shot, though Joe suspects James might have the goods.

For a head coach that expects to force team into punting often, there’s a good chance the Bucs will look to the draft to find a returner ace.

Recently, “The Godfather,” scouting guru and former Cowboys architect Gil Brandt, said NFL teams might turn to little known Etauj Allen, a Division II standout. Brandt was impressed at the kid’s pro day.

Five NFL teams were in attendance, and the day’s standout player was Etauj Allen (5-foot-9 1/8, 171 pounds) from Ouachita Baptist. He posted 40 times of 4.40 and 4.46 seconds, including a 10-yard split of 1.48, which is phenomenal. He also had a 33-inch vertical, a 9-10 broad jump, a 4.44 shuttle, a 7.15 3-cone drill, and 10 strength lifts. Allen is one of the top punt returners in the country in terms of average, and with his speed and quickness, a team is likely to bring him into camp.

Joe doubts the Bucs would blow a draft pick on Allen, who led Division II with three punt returns for touchdowns. Maybe Tampa Bay would use a seventh-rounder.

On the undrafted free agency front, Joe suspects Allen would not find a better situation. The Bucs need a returner, and Lovie is from Allen’s native Texas and seems to love Texans.

25 Responses to “Addressing Returner?”

  1. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    Nice find Joe! This is the kind of gem that could really help and he can be had for peanuts.

  2. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    He sure does…

  3. Newbucsfan!!! Says:

    Lovie won with a lot of unknowns in Chicago and some of them went on to become probowlers. Some also went to other teams and became starters and won superbowls. I think after last years FA debacle he is going back to basics and what works.

  4. Newbucsfan!!! Says:

    I’m looking for the Bucs to have a breakout season and win their division. Still need to trade Glennon, Martin, Rainey, and maybe Goldson. Go into the season with a fresh young team and young new faces eager to learn and prove themselves.

  5. Newbucsfan!!! Says:

    It would really help if Herron/Simms have a breakout season along with Pamphile and/or Edwards.

  6. ddneast Says:

    Don’t be surprised if under a new regime and coach that Hester is cut.

  7. bucgator Says:

    He also had a 33-inch vertical, a 9-10 broad jump, a 4.44 shuttle, a 7.15 3-cone drill, and 10 strength lifts.
    Tim Tebow has a 39.5 vertical, a 9-7 broad, a 4.17 shuttle and a 6.66 3-cone drill, and does over 20 strength lifts. Man I wish someone could have talked that kid into switching positions!

  8. Dewey Selmon Says:

    If Lovie had kept Johnson for 2 million this year, the Bucs wouldn’t be in dire need for a DE. I had hoped Lovie using his texas love on Tyler Lockett TCU wr/kr. He would have solved our slot and punt return problems. Could of had him in round 3 after QB,OL picks. He will never be there in rd 4.

  9. Architek Says:

    Lets see Joe (follow my logic for a moment):

    – Lovie is hired with final say so over 53 – man roster
    – Lovie said “Good Def and STs can win you 10 games”
    – Lovie and Licht goes and spends $130+M in FA
    – Lovie and Licht fails to sign FA Hester over a measly $1.8 of a million
    – Lovie and Licht drafts Herron and Sims knowing we have gaps on OL and STs

    So Lovie claims he knows how to win and pumps his chest basically the adolescences are gone now and we will show you how it’s done (Ego…). Knowing there was no real proven ST returner on the roster – pays the Ghost and Collins as pro bowl / All-Pros (Big Hmm?). Then goes and drafts Sims and Herron when we have no real STs or OL depth (Hmm?).

    The ultimate kiss of death is the former Bear/ future HOF – goes to a division foe (over .8 million) and yet you pay a king’s ransom for a quitter LT and the former Bear / future HOF embarrasses you on national TV and sets records all over your team (Again – $1.8M) –

    So you decide not to pay an effective KR-PR and pay unproven talents.

    No Joe(s) I do not have confidence that Lovie will address the STs or QB position for that matter based on his actions since arriving in Tampa.

  10. MadMax Says:

    JJ Nelson. I was recommending him before he ran the fastest 40 at the combine. Probably a 6th rounder.

  11. Arealbucsfan Says:

    Ok so here’s what id like to see
    Rd1- Winston
    Rd2- Eli Harold
    Rd2- obviously we trade back in. Stephone Anthony
    Rd4- Donovan Smith

    Sign Wiz and move EDS to RG

    WABAM a decent line (on paper)

  12. Arealbucsfan Says:

    Along with a much better defense

  13. BucsFanInChina Says:

    Ty Montgomery isnt getting nearly the respect he deserves lately. Hands are a concern but put the ball in his hands and he goin to the ship. Late rounder – 5th, maybe 6th round steal.

  14. alanbucs Says:

    That kid Mario Alford from West Virginia looks like he would be a good pick up for the bucs at KR/WR as well. I could be wrong but it seems like the bucs have a very short patience for returners as well. I saw a couple of good runs Solomon Patton and then he began to dwindle. He has good speed but it also has to do with special teams blocking as well. You have to stick with a guy and develop him for a while to get the most out of him.

  15. P'cola Buc Says:

    Mario Alford- West Virginia- a great later round find that can fill our slot receiver slot with great speed. Ideal punt returner. Check him out.

  16. mac Says:

    There is a trade rumor going around… Doug Martin and Mike Glennon for Adrian Peterson… I could not find anything online about it but I would make that trade in a heartbeat… AP is getting toward the end but he is still an awesome back…

  17. P'cola Buc Says:

    @ Alanbucs
    Great timing! Great minds think alike buddy!

  18. alanbucs Says:

    @P’cola Buc

    Yes sir! I think Alford is everything we were hoping Jeff Demps would be. Again though I think the Bucs have to practice patience and not just give up on a guy if he is not Devin Hester every game. I think they should give Mike James a shot too. He had some success in college at KR.

  19. Brandon Says:

    Tyler Lockett and Jamison Crowder were among the best punt and kick returners in the NCAA last season. Lockett looks to be a 3rd round guy, while Crowder around round 5. Both look to be bery promising slot WRs as well. Ty Montgomery of Stanford was a dynamo as a returner but doesn’t look like much of a natural WR… still he should be there in round 3. There are many many other explosive return guys available. Once upon a time, Lovie reached into round 3 and picked a RB/CB/WR out of Miami that didn’t have a true NFL position, other than kick and punt returner…and Devin Hester turned out okay.

  20. Zam Says:

    sounds good to me!

  21. BlogTalkFootball Says:

    If I were L&L (and drunk), I would keep Glennon, trade Martin for a tackle or guard, sign Tim Tebow as backup QB and team chaplain and draft Leonard Williams in the 1st round!. At least the defense would be better.

  22. Buc1987 Says:

    Off topic : Hey Joes what happened to this stuff?

    Look at these 2 handsome devils…

  23. feelthepewterpower Says:

    Reminds me of the bust, Dexter Jackson. i wish the kid well….just dont take him high like Gruden did witht eh other DII pick

  24. Matt Says:

    My draft picks look more like this :
    1. Jamesis Winston QB
    2. Ty Sambrailo RT
    3. Tyler Lockett Slot WR/KR
    4. No picks but I have us trading up both of our (2) 5th round picks for a high 4th. This gives us a 4th rd pick now and with it I take the best OG available . TB has plenty of OGs on this team and they all lack elite talent . I would probably cut every guard on this team if it was my choice . That’s how bad they all are . Warhop would be fired too. Jake long would be the new O Line coach .
    6. Bryce Hager ILB
    7. Matt Christy Punter

    Yup I would got the entire year not stressing about LE if it was my decision .
    I would start Larry English or William Gholston there and probably pick up someone off the waiver wire by week 3

  25. BrianDorry55 Says:

    Kid seems like a pretty scrappy little corner as well.