The Safeties

February 11th, 2017

Key to safety question.

Yes, it is 26 days and counting before the free agency dinner bell rings throughout the NFL.

Of course, Bucs fans have their ideas who the Bucs should chase. Joe’s concepts have been clear: wide receivers and versatile defensive lineman Calais Campbell should top Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht’s to-do list in free agency.

Andy Benoit has other ideas. The Xs and Os savant for and typed an article of each NFL team’s top needs in free agency. Benoit is of the mind the Bucs should be chasing safeties more than any other position.

Defensive coordinator Mike Smith likes to play a variety of zone coverages, often with a disguise, and you don’t necessarily need great safeties to operate like this, although the better you are at this position, the better your disguises. Both of the Bucs’ starting safeties, Chris Conte and Brad McDougald, are free agents. Conte, a poor tackler who lacks range in coverage, lost his job to the much headier Keith Tandy in the final weeks of 2016 and should not be re-signed. McDougald is a quality downhill run-filler, but he can be a little hit-or-miss in coverage. Whether he’s retained will largely depend on how Tampa Bay’s front office feels about the NFL’s 2017 draft and free-agent class.

As Joe has written, the key is Keith Tandy. Which is the real Tandy? The guy who couldn’t make a tackle in the ugly loss to the Rams or the guy who went wild in the final month of the season and played like a Pro Bowler?

If the Bucs believe December Tandy is the real player, then they are pretty much set at safety, so long as another team doesn’t go drunken sailor and overpay Bradley McDougald (it only takes one).

If the Bucs believe Tandy’s play in December was a fluke, then yeah, Joe can see Licht shelling out Team Glazer loot for a new safety (or two).

26 Responses to “The Safeties”

  1. Pickgrin Says:

    Budda Baker in the 2nd!! Instant upgrade.

    Or if one of the 3 highly rated safeties falls to #19 – that should be a consideration in the 1st as long as the Bucs brainstrust loves that player and feels the value is high enough.

    The bottom line is – we have to improve at Safety. McDougald has had 3 years as a starter to develop and its obvious to most we need an upgrade there. Re-sign him to compete and for depth but you better get some more talent in here on the back end Jason.

  2. bucs_365 Says:

    They will be drafting safety in the first 3 rounds. I’d be shocked if they didn’t. As for free agents, I’m not sure there will be good value. Even though Joe is an advocate of irresponsible spending, we know Licht is a value shopper. Eric Berry ain’t happening.

  3. Defense Rules Says:

    I can see the Bucs re-signing McDougald but not Conte, then bringing in a FA (no, not Eric Berry, but someone competitive) plus drafting a safety this year, then letting them all compete with Keith Tandy for the 2 starting spots. Budda Baker has some excellent talent, but if he’s really 5’10” & 180 lbs I’d rather pass. Much prefer safeties with excellent range, but who can bring the wood when they need to. Safeties like Marcus Maye (6′ & 216 lbs) or Obi Melifonwu (6’4″ & 219 lbs) should be available in the 3rd & 4th rnds.

  4. Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    I think Tandy is the real deal. I don’t see us drafting a S before the 4th round, then who knows? We need DE in the 1st rd, then WR or RB in the 2nd rd, depending on who we sign in FA.

  5. MadMax Says:

    Im under the impression we’ll sign someone, but if not, its definitely an issue to be addressed in the early rounds.

    Another Evans (why not) Justin Evans

  6. MadMax Says:

    Desmond King

  7. I'm a Tandy Man Fan Says:

    Hey Keith got his chance and showed everyone he should have been playing all along instead of standing on the sidelines. I can assure you that what you saw the last 4 or 5 games is what you will continue to see until god forbid he gets hurt or retires. He will prepare weekly and bring it every Sunday!!!! If the Bucs need another Safety it will be to replace McDougald or Conte. One side of the field is in good hands with Tandy….Nuuffff Said!!!!

  8. MadMax Says:

    Obi is 1st or top of the 2nd….just trust me on that one. And if he was still there bottom of 2nd, no way we dont trade up for him.

    Need to get Tandy some help and some rest when he needs it. Im all in for hanging onto him, he came on strong late.

  9. BringBucsBack Says:

    Pass rush, pass rush, pass rush makes all DBs better. All the safety play got better late last year; I would even be fine with Conte in a limited role. Tandy did ball late and McDougal can thump. It seems there are greater needs but, I wouldn’t mind more talent, just not so early in the draft.

    Did I mention pass rush?

  10. Joeypoppems Says:

    As I mentioned on the previous article about safeties, Quintin Demps makes the most sense to me in FA as a bridge player that can step in and immediately play. I would still resign McDougald and then draft a rookie too on Day 3. I havent looked anything up on him but walter football has had Fish Smithson mocked to us in the 4th round for over a month now. Eddie Jackson is another name that can be there in round 4.

  11. duthsty rhothdes Says:

    wait genious licht passed on safety help round 2 last year then grabbed ryan smith from HCC in the 40th round… ATTENTION LICHT: teams needs OL, RB, WR DE and Safety help… maybe GM help too

  12. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    MadMax – whats good brotha? Hope all is well with you & the family.

    Desmond would real good addition – I just wonder how long will it take…
    …for him to make the transition from corner to safety. Couple years ago… a very similar prospect out of Iowa – Micah Hyde was drafted by Green Bay. He’s shown promise – but he’s still learning all the different nuances of the position.

    Now Justin Evans – is a very solid prospect – that I’ve got Mad LUV 4.
    Even though I thinks his former teammate – Armani Watts projects better in the NFL.

    But I don’t agree with is this whole premise that – all of sudden we’re set at safety.

    Chris Conte & Bradley McDougald are FA’s – and at this point in their prospective career – neither are considered the cream of the crop. I’ve heard of us bringing one back – but not both. So there’s at least roster spot to fill.

    As for Keith Tandy – I’ve seen marginal improvement in his play.
    He’s a converted from corner – so I expected him to display decent to above coverage ability attacking the seams. But he’s still a little skittish – filling the alley against the run consistently IMHO.

    So I see two safeties – with a promising developmental project – Isaiah Johnson in the wings. So yeah – we need to address the position through FA’s, and the draft if possible.

    • S/SS Bradley McDougald
    • SS Jonathan Cyprien

    • Justin Evans

    • FS – Bradley McDougald |Keith Tandy
    • SS – Jonathan Cyprien | Justin Evans

    If McDougald bolts – I would go after FA- Barry Church as his replacement.

  13. martinii Says:

    I like Obi Melifonwu, even in the 2nd if necessary. Budda ranks higher in most prospect analysis but it is still very early in the draft season. We need several DB’s over 6’0 in the NFC South with the cast of receivers we see twice a year. I realize Conte is odd man out, but he did come through on some big plays and the number of tackles he made did suggest his role in Smith’s scheme may have been a little different than we perceive as that of a typical safety. I say add a FA or Draft pick into the safety mix and let them compete.

  14. MadMax Says:

    All is good Bro….other than a stalker wannabe comic sticking to my a$$ at times LOL. Im def on board with Cyprien! I know Berry is out of reach, but if somehow someway we could, then that frees the draft for more pressing issues like DE and WR.

    Curious, whats your first round rec at 19? no trading up, whats your “position” draft? (not a player, no names, but feel free to drop a name lol)

  15. Pickgrin Says:

    Defense Rules – Budda Baker is listed at 192lbs – but to discount him based just on what the measuring tape and the scales read is a big mistake. Dude is a playmaker – with excellent coverage skills, a great tackler and has closing speed that you normally don’t see from the safety position. Have another look and tell me this dude is not one hell of a football player…

    Bucs would be crazy not to seriously consider the Budda if they haven’t addressed the position yet and he’s sitting there in the 2nd round for us.

  16. Ben Says:

    Jon Cyprien is a solid safety that wont command big bucks. I think PFF ranked him the 4th best overall safety last year. Go get him and add depth in draft.

  17. Ben Says:

    Im not loving the pick of howard at 19. Id try and trade down a couple spots and get another mid round pick. Id like to see another DE added first round. I like Charles Harris. Pure pass rusher. Id then use the acquired pick to move from 3rd round back into 2nd so have 2x2nd picks or at very least add more depth at a position.

  18. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Ideal situation – 4 the Defensive Backfield

    • S-Bradley McDougald
    • S-Jonathan Cyprien
    • CB-Josh Robinson
    • CB – A.J Bouye

    • CB Cameron Suttong
    • S Justin Evans

    Depth Projection
    • LCB – Brent Grimes | Josh Robinson
    • RCB – A.J. Bouye | Cameron Sutton
    • SCB – Vernon Hargreaves | Jude Adjei-Barimah
    • FS -Bradley McDougald | Keith Tandy
    • SS – Jonathan Cyprien | Justin Evans

    With a few guys in the wing – serving as a insurance policy / battling for a roster spot.

    • CB – Ryan Smith
    • CB – Javien Elliott
    • S – Isaiah Johnson

    It’s quite possible Josh Robinson walks – and Ryan Smith takes over his spot at gunner.

  19. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    *CB Cameron Sutton

  20. MadMax Says:

    LUVing that right there! WTH you not getting paid for this? I dont know. But hopefully the right eyes hit this post.

    And hang in there as best as you can Mr.Duemig, prayers sent #dogstrong

  21. Defense Rules Says:

    Pickgrin, I like Budda too, just not as a safety (would probably make a great nickel). ( lists him at 180 lbs, that’s where I got that number. Still, with so many other needs, can’t see us using a #2 rnd pick for a safety (3rd rnd, maybe; 4th or 5th rnd more likely). Our top picks need to be WR, RB, TE, DE/DT (not necessarily in that order).

  22. WhatdaBUCisthis Says:

    @LUV… Wut it do?
    Did I read that right, your moving VHIII to the slot? Who is this A.J. Dude lol… I’m lazy when it comes to research on this interweb…

  23. Capt.Tim Says:

    We definitely need safety help. Either thru Free agency or the draft.
    I trust Licht to strengthen the position.

    Between Free agency and the Draft, we need
    1) Wr
    2) Rb
    3) Te
    4) Safety
    5) Rt
    6) Center
    Not Necessarily in that order
    You wont get all those guys in the draft, So you have to find some high caliber, low price Free agents

    Licht will have his hands full. I wish him luck

  24. SB Says:

    What BringBucsBack just said

  25. StPeteBucsfan Says:

    I can live with a safety at 19…why not have a safety since the slowest skill players in the NFL will insure another tough year for #3. At least that would be filling a “need”?

    What will drive me nucking futs is drafting a TE at 19…ANY TE…we are not DESPERATE there…we are desperate for some team speed and a #1 RB but hey…let’s draft a safety.

    AGAIN…show me the money!!! Safeties are the lowest paid position in the NFL!!
    Why is this? Could it be because they do not make the same impact as ALL the other positions which are paid higher than them?

  26. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Franchise Tag by Position
    • QB -$19.953M
    • DE -$15.701M
    • WR -$14.599M
    • LB -$14.129M
    • CB -$13.952M
    • OL -$13.706M
    • DT -$13.651M
    • RB -$11.789M
    • S -$10.806M <
    • TE -$9.118M
    • K/P -$4.572M