Upgrade At Safety Coming?

February 9th, 2017


A lot of Bucs fans grumble that safety is in a must-need upgrade.

Joe isn’t so sure.

As you will hear in today’s world-renowned Ira Kaufman Podcast, this subject came up. A lot of Bucs fans, for reasons not quite clear, loathe fan favorite Chris Conte and can’t to see him pack his bags.

Joe isn’t among this group. But if what Jenna Laine of ESPN.com predicts comes true? Maybe Conte isn’t long for the Bucs?

Chris Conte and Bradley McDougald are both set to become unrestricted free agents, and Ryan Smith, whom the Bucs drafted last year with the vision of becoming a safety, failed to play a regular-season down at that spot and will move back to cornerback, so Keith Tandy is the only safety from last year’s 53-man roster currently under contract for 2017. While the position saw growth toward the latter part of the season, it was a liability as a whole.

Joe isn’t totally in lock step with Laine here. The key, in Joe’s eyes, is Keith Tandy.

Which Keith Tandy will return in 2017? Is it the Tandy who couldn’t tackle and had garish whiffs in the loss to the Rams? Or is it the Tandy who went nuts in the final month of the season and looked like the second coming of Ed Reed?

If the Bucs think Tandy’s final few games in 2016 were more a blip than the real deal, then yeah, Joe could see the Bucs getting another safety. Bradley McDougald is not a bad safety and is largely a solid player. Joe would be surprised if the Bucs didn’t hang on to him.

37 Responses to “Upgrade At Safety Coming?”

  1. gbobucsfan Says:

    This is the first I’ve heard of Smith moving back to CB? Am I late to the party or is this breaking news?

  2. BCB Says:

    Hurray for selling speculation as news. Bust like your buddies at BSPN.

  3. macabee Says:


    For your review.


  4. dmatt Says:

    Please let’s get us some play makers at safety n let mcdougal n conte walk. The old saying is it’s not how u start but how u finish. Tandy played lights out ball the past several games. He was consistent. I have watched mcdougal over the past year n he is inconsistent n a poor tackler. He received rave reviews for the game winning int against Seattle. Heck, any average high school safety could’ve made that play. Mcdougal arm tackles n often plays out of position. If we r going to compete with the likes of falcons saints panthers then go get game changers i.e., ed reed, Ronnie Lott, John lynch type etc n not another lemon behind the wheels at safety.

  5. macabee Says:

    Round 2 and Round 6 from my PR Mock Draft. I think we need two upgrades.

    RD2 – SS Obi Melifonwu/UConn 6-4, 205, 4.58
    *I assumed FS Budda Baker/Washington would be gone. If Obi Melifonwu has a good combine he could solidify a 2nd round grade. I need to be cautious here because I remember highly rated freak FS Javon Kearse/Clemson from 2016 – he eventually went in the 6th round. My second choice would be FS Marcus Williams/Utah.

    RD6 – FS David Jones/Richmond 6-2, 210, 4.53
    *David Jones is a local kid graduating from St. Pete High School. He is a ball hawk and a hitter. Injured for most of 2016, in 2015 he led the FCS with nine interceptions (his four interceptions against Albany tied the NCAA record) He finished second on the team with 97 total tackles and would be a higher draft pick but for his choice of small school Richmond.

  6. Mikep4bucs Says:

    Yes we need help at Safety. Conte flashes but we need safeties that are instinctive and good to great each week. If you haven’t seen Budda Baker go check him out. Great instincts and a ball hawk. One mock had him going to Bucs in 2nd but I don’t see him lasting that long, as that would be a steal!

  7. USFBUC Says:

    Just did a little reading up on this subject and while Joe doesn’t normally like the stat geeks they did rate Conte as the 17th best S in the NFL this season. McDougald was 49th and Tandy was not ranked probably because of a lack of playing time.

    Maybe we don’t need to change the safety position up. Still want to draft Eddie Jackson.

  8. USFBUC Says:

    We’d an edit button, those rankings were from the end of 2015 season.

  9. USFBUC Says:

    So now my question is what happened to Conte that he went from being one of the top rated Safeties statistically to one of the worst?

  10. Joeypoppems Says:


    The new scheme.

  11. Joeypoppems Says:

    An upgrade at Safety is definitely a need. I still say resign McDougald so we at least have both of our starters from last year back. Idk where to look for the upgrade tho.

    In FA maybe they target a guy like Johnathan Cyprien or Quientin Demps. Not getting my hopes up for Eric Berry.

    In the draft I haven’t watched a lot of the safeties. Don’t think round 1 is a good spot unless either Malik Hooker falls to 19 after his surgery or Budda Baker impresses enough to be worth a top 20 pick. Haven’t watched many of the others. I like Eddie Jackson in the 4th if he is there, Obi Melifonwu impressed at the senior bowl and maybe he can also jump into the 1st round the way Keanu Neal did last year.

  12. Joeypoppems Says:

    Actually Queintin Demps makes a lot of sense to bring in as a bridge player. A vet that can come in and start immediately.

  13. Defense Rules Says:

    Bucs need 4 safeties, for competition and in the event of injuries. With Tandy still under contract (he’s a FA in 2018), Bucs need to re-sign McDougald, add 1 Safety in FA and draft another. Prefer not to draft a safety in a high round (too many other priority needs), so hopefully we can sign a FA who can compete for a starting job. If we can’t, then little choice but to draft one high (2nd or 3rd rnd) who’d be a potential starter. Macabee I like Obi Won and Jones also.

  14. Ryan Says:

    Joe almost seems like you’re being contrarian for the sake of being contrarian when it comes to Conte. The reason he’s hated by so many bucs fans is because he’s simply not good. Granted he picked up his play in the second half of the year, I won’t discredit that, but Alex smith and Andy Reid said it themselves after the game: they picked the play they did specifically attacking his spot because he hadn’t made that play at all. Kudos to him for momentarily seeing the light a year and a half into his bucs career but he was clearly putting some trash on tape during that time period for the chiefs to attack him so confidently.

    Now all that being said if he were to come back on a very cheap deal as a backup, I think that would be okay considering the experience he has now in this system, but his starting days should be over indefinitely.

  15. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    • S-Brady McDougald
    • SS-Jonathan Cyprien

    Its always good to go back a couple years – and reviews prospects you wanted the BUCS to draft

    LUVMYBUCS Say (Reflectiing on the 2013 Draft/FA Period)s:

    *Combination of Comments from February 6th – 16th

    Yeah, this is the 1st time I’ve been able to save the entire season on my hardrive. To cure my football Jones.

    Sure Ronde did make some splash plays, but you can make a stronger case that he was out of place 2/3 of the season. With the entire secondary picking up its play the final 1/3 of the season.

    And Poor Ahmad black is completely overmatched against TE ‘s.
    Everyone keeps talking about we need corners, but outside of Barron. Our Safeties are lacking bigtime. Injuries have derailed a ounce promising career of Cody “The Werewolf” Grimm. So we need depth behind Barron

    Prospects to watch:

    • 6-0/209 – Jonathan Cyprien (2nd Round Projection)
    • 6-0/211-Shawn Williams (3-4th Round Projection)
    • 5-11/214 -JJ Wilcox (4-5th Round Projection)

    Should also intrigue the organization:

    • 5-11/210 – D.J. Swearinger (3-4th Round Projection)
    • 6-1/212-Robert Lester (5-6th Round Projection)
    • 6-1/213 -Rashard Hall (7th Round Projection)

    Draft S Jonathan Cyprien out of FIU in the 3rd.
    Dude’s got some real nice coverage skills, plus he hits like a mack truck.

    • Sign-Patrick Chung to Play safety.
    • Move Ronde back to the Slot.

  16. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    *once promising

  17. gotbbucs Says:

    Since we most likely won’t have a chance at Hooker or Adams in the 1st round, I’m liking either Fish Smithson in the 2nd-3rd round area or Tedric Thompson in the 3rd-5th round area.
    Not upgrading the Safety position this offseason is about as careless as not upgrading the WR position last year. They drafted Ryan Smith with every intention of him stepping in at Safety within the next year or two, it didn’t work out. What makes anybody think they won’t still be trying to add talent at that position?

  18. Gencoimports Says:

    Whatever the Bucs do, DO NOT draft a safety in the first round. Please.

  19. SB Says:

    With good DL and CB play Corners can be average.

  20. pabucsfan Says:

    I think Tandys emergence in the 2nd half of last year shows just how mediocre our safety play has been the previous season and a half. It was nice to have a safety making impact plays throughout the course of a game. It wouldnt be the worst thing in the world if our safeties next year were Tandy and Mcdougald but if we can find a upgrade why not do it? And what if Tandy doesnt sustain his level of play? Id like us to resign Mcdougald if he doesnt want too much and still go out and get someone like Tony Jefferson or Cyprien or draft a safety in the 2nd or 3rd round. Then we could have those Tandy Mcdougald and a free agent/drafted safety battle for the two starting safety spots and have good depth there.

  21. gotbbucs Says:

    @ SB

    Either go back and look or try to think back and remember how many big plays in the passing game were given up this year where a safety was supposed to be over the top and didn’t get there.
    Great safeties close out wins at the end of a game just as much as pass rush does. We do not have a center fielder. We have two strong safeties out there. That doesn’t cut it in today’s NFL.

  22. LakeLandBuc Says:

    Obi Melifonwu is my 2nd Round pick also. But he’s 6’4 220 instead of 6’4 205.I would resign Bradley Mcdougald as FS and let him compete against Keith Tandy.

  23. SB Says:

    Gotbucs…….go back and re-read my post.
    Let me reword it for you. With a Dominant OL and Dominant CB play Corners can be average.
    That is just simple football fact

  24. SB Says:

    Meant Safties …….not Corners
    I am not saying that having a great Saftey isn’t a good idea.
    I am just saying that a Dominant OL won’t give the QB enough time to test the Safety position. I played S in HS behind an OL that was so nasty the ball rarely got back to me.

  25. Bucsfanman Says:

    I hate to rain on everybody’s parade here but Tandy’s been with the Bucs for 4-5 years. He’s had one month of good football play in that time. In short, the position needs an upgrade. The problem is that you can’t replace both positions without ignoring bigger needs. If you retain all of them, you know what you have and can upgrade the D-line. Maybe you draft a guy, but unless you land an Eric Berry, you stay put for now. Like SB said, a good DL will disguise a lot of weaknesses in the secondary.

  26. Joeypoppems Says:


    There is a lot of middle ground between upgrading what we have and Eric Berry lol

  27. Buc4Lyfe79 Says:

    Dead on point, Joe, In terms of which player has been more consistent throughout their career between Conte and Tandy, the Tandyman doesn’t hold a candle to Conte. Why wouldn’t you want to bring back Conte, who already knows the system, and had become so comfortable in it last season that he was sealing games for you? Makes NO SENSE.

  28. Bucsfanman Says:

    @Joey- LOL! Fair enough! But players like Berry are rare.
    I guess I look at the fact that there are so many other more glaring needs like WR, DL, OL(?), RB that I don’t see the position as “desperate”. YET!

  29. Joeypoppems Says:


    That’s fair. I also don’t see why we can’t roll on with McDougald and Tandy for 1 more year. I wouldn’t mind if they did take a Safety Day 3 tho as depth/development

  30. Bucsfanman Says:

    ^My sentiments exactly!

  31. ARGH_M8E Says:

    Peep this cat ~~~> DESMOND KING, possible 2/3rd rounder https://youtu.be/3-_FyahyghU

  32. gotbbucs Says:

    So the majority of Bucs fans want to go ahead and continue to start a combination of Tandy, Conte, and Mcdougald? Am I reading things right?

    Ok, I look forward to the intense bitching next year. Conte is garbage. Mcdougald is decent one play and out of position the next, Tandy is probably starting caliber on an average to bad team. Tandy is under contract so we won’t worry about him, Conte needs to be allowed to walk, I would offer Mcdougald a middle of the road contract and let him test the waters. In the meantime, sign someone better that fits in the system.

    This is not a Super Bowl contending roster right now, all positions can and should be upgrade if the opportunity to do so is available. Why does this team and fan base insist on settling? Bill Belichick is still making roster moves the week of the Super Bowl.

  33. LakeLandBuc Says:

    I believe our biggest problem at the safety position, was at SS. We need a big SS who can come up and make plays at the LOS. 6’4 220 Obi Melifonwu is that type of SS. He can also play Strong Side LB, he has the speed and length to cover a TE. With that being said I believe Bradley McDougald is a decent FS and deserves a chance to start. He did have 91 tackles and 10 Pass Defense last season.

  34. BigMacAttack Says:

    Safeties need good game speed, not just be fast in underwear, but good instincts and quick bursts of sudden speed. The Bucs have been way to slow at the position for way too long.

  35. Kansas95Bucs Says:

    Maybe I’m crazy but I think if we could get more pressure on the oposing QB, the safety spot wouldn’t be that big of a concern.

  36. Joe Says:

    Maybe I’m crazy but I think if we could get more pressure on the oposing QB, the safety spot wouldn’t be that big of a concern.


  37. Owlykat Says:

    Start Tandy and keep McDougle and Cante and find a big Safety who is fast to develop in the 5th to 7th round, unless we get a proven big Safety in free agency. Get a big DT to push back the pocket and pressure the QB and a good DE.