Proper Questioning For Dalvin Cook And Alvin Kamara, Lynch Clashing & “Big, Bad Media” — Ira Kaufman’s Monday Column

February 27th, 2017


In a couple of days, Dirk Koetter and Jason Licht will stand at a podium in Indianapolis and address the so-called enemies of the people.

That’s right, we’re talking about the big, bad media.

Licht and Koetter will field questions from a horde gathered at the Indiana Convention Center for the NFL Scouting Combine, where 330 prospects will be poked and prodded by teams looking to hedge their draft bets.

Information is king heading into the draft, but don’t expect much intel dropped by the Buccaneer brain trust Wednesday.

Koetter and Licht will talk in general terms about the depth of the 2017 draft. What they won’t do is tip their hand.

Sorry, media. It’s not personal, it’s strictly business.

The Buc contingent is flying to Indy on a mission — find out everything possible about these prospects and adjust the preliminary draft board accordingly.

That means tough character questions for running back Dalvin Cook and a rigorous medical exam for wide receiver Corey Davis.

Each club is allowed to conduct private 15-minute interview sessions with up to 60 players.

The Bucs want to know if Leonard Fournette is willing to make the sacrifices necessary to be great. They will question Christian McCaffrey’s mental toughness and the selflessness of Alvin Kamara.

Access Skepticism

In their continuing efforts to get fans involved in big-time events, the NFL is opening the combine to the public, granting access to drills and press conferences.

Not every NFL executive is thrilled with this more inclusive approach.

“I don’t want it to become a marketing opportunity that supersedes the necessary football business that has to happen in that seven-day period,” says Steelers GM Kevin Colbert. “There’s so much work that gets done, because to get 330 physicals and visits, if we didn’t do it in that setting, it would be impossible. We can’t lose sight of the fact that it’s football first, entertainment second.”

This will be the second time around for the Koetter-Licht tandem, and they know exactly what they’re looking for. As any Buc fan will tell you, find a few playmakers for Jameis Winston and add another dynamic defensive lineman to the mix.

Free agency will undoubtedly help shape Tampa Bay’s draft board, but even if the Bucs sign a DeSean Jackson or Alshon Jeffery, they need to groom another speedy young target opposite Mike Evans.

“You can’t have enough playmakers,” says new Rams coach Sean McVay. “Certainly, that’s something that we’re always looking to upgrade. That receiver position is very important —  a lot of yards and offensive production goes through that room.”

Simple Search

Licht and Koetter are sure to cross paths with new 49ers GM John Lynch, who is trying to revive a franchise that has lost 31 of its last 45 games. San Francisco is armed with 10 picks, including the No. 2 overall choice, and the cash-flush 49ers could end up competing against the Bucs for several prominent free agents.

Those private grilling sessions can be a critical part of the process, but there are limitations. Last year, Falcons assistant coach Marquand Manuel asked defensive back prospect Eli Apple if he “liked men.”

When the story went public, Manuel apologized and attended an individual counseling session.

Recently promoted to defensive coordinator, Manuel is headed to the NFL’s La La Land this week to prove he now has a firm grasp of the combine’s ground rules.

For Licht and Koetter, the protocol is simple.

You don’t ask if a prospect likes men.

You ask if they love football.

13 Responses to “Proper Questioning For Dalvin Cook And Alvin Kamara, Lynch Clashing & “Big, Bad Media” — Ira Kaufman’s Monday Column”

  1. Nole on Sat- Bucc on Sun Says:

    They should allow Fameis to interview Dalvin. One question would suffice. Fameis “Bro you ready to go win this first chip???”. Dalvin’s response “lets go get it den”.. No other dislodge needed.

  2. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    You never cease to cook up a splendid headline there Kaufman.

    Great column sir, as per usual. Now we need more Podcasts!

  3. Jim Says:

    Ira, do you really think McCaffery would want to come to Tampa? He’s been talked up, but I doubt this young man would choose Tampa Bay over other options…

  4. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    Jim? Are you suggesting that Christian McCaffrey would pull an Eli on us?

    Why do you assume that he would?

  5. Jim Says:

    Well Blake, we shall see. I just have a hard time seeing McCaffrey listening to Winston screaming “WE KNOW WHO WE ARE!!!” before every football game.

  6. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    uhh. ok.

  7. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    It doesn’t matter where Christian McCaffrey wants to go. He goes to whatever team picks him, regardless. Won’t be Tampa either way.

  8. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    Jim, why just McCaffey? If you don’t think he would like Winston, why do you think that other players would. I’ve never heard a bad word about McCaffery’s character. I really don’t get your point.

  9. Wausa Says:

    If Dalvin makes it to the 12th pick in the draft, I would offer our 1st and 2nd round pick until someone took it or Dalvin is off the board.

  10. Hig Says:

    Another sterling article Ira. Keep up the good work because there are many of your friends who know B.S. from knowledge.

  11. RustyRhinos Says:

    Wausa, So very glad you are not the Buccaneer GM. What happens if Mr. Cook where to get bitten by the injury bug, or is not quite as good in the NFL as he was in college. We gave a 1st and 2nd round picks for what? A RB? To high a price for a RB imo. That does not build well for long term success in the NFL. Giving up two premium draft picks to help out our team. A 1st round player, 2nd round player, and 1st round player should equal 3 good players added to our team, not just 1 good player. We did nearly the same thing to get Coach Gruden! (thanks for the Super Bowl!) I think this is what caused his time as our HC to not be as successful as it could have been with those draft picks. Not enough 1st 2nd round draft choices. Our record with high draft choices as a franchise is not always so super. We need all the high draft choices we can have to help even those lopsided draft facts.

    Go Bucs!

  12. Pickgrin Says:

    “find a few playmakers for Jameis Winston and add another dynamic defensive lineman to the mix”

    Sure but you are neglecting the need for at least one more talented Safety and also the need for a better Center and RT. A more athletic TE who can also block well would be very helpful also.

    WR, Safety, RB, DL, Center, TE, RT, another WR, and SLB – and one of the WRs needs to be fast and a good KR/PR as well. Those are our legit needs and in roughly that order of importance.

    That’s at least 7 starting spots that need upgrading. Licht will do well to find 5 more talented starters between Free agency and the draft this year.

    Just sayin… An NFL GMs work is never done. In 2-3 years Licht will be scrambling to make the number$ work and will then have to rely pretty much strictly on good drafting (hopefully from a late position each year) in order to keep it rolling.

    We need for at least 2 players who are currently “in development” to reach beyond their pre-draft potential and become solid starters within the next year – just like Kwon, Pamphile, Brate and Humphries have achieved. Guys like Benenoch, Ryan Smith, Hey Jude, Elliot, Wester, Devonte Bond. A couple or 3 of those guys need to transform into solid starters for us to be in good shape moving forward.

  13. unbelievable Says:

    Preach brotha Kaufman, preach!