Biggest Hole

April 5th, 2017

Is there a RB down there?

Joe has written the following over the past few months:

You know the Bucs need a running back; Joe knows the Bucs need a running back; a drunk in the bar knows the Bucs need a running back.

But Jenna Laine of ESPN doesn’t feel it.

In a list of the biggest holes on each team’s roster, Laine types that it is not a running back the Bucs need, but a safety.

The Bucs have the versatile Keith Tandy, they re-signed Chris Conte and they signed strong safety J.J. Wilcox as Bradley McDougald departed for the Seattle Seahawks. They’re also moving last year’s fourth-round draft pick Ryan Smith back to cornerback. Tandy and Conte showed a lot down the stretch last season, but the Bucs could really use a game-changer at the position. This 2017 draft class is loaded with talent in Jabrill Peppers, Budda Baker, Malik Hooker, Jamal Adams and Obi Melifonwu — and that’s just the short list. They’d be wise to draft one.

With all due respect to Laine — who Joe likes a lot, and Joe respects her hard work — Joe just can’t see it.

Could the Bucs use an upgrade at safety? Perhaps. It’s not a need, not even close to running back or even an edge rusher (still, an edge rusher!).

When the defense turned the corner last season, safety wasn’t even the weakest link. As Laine pointed out (if you can put aside your ConteHate), he played well before he was hurt and won the game in Kansas City. Keith Tandy played exceptionally well after taking over for Conte.

The reason the Bucs missed the playoffs isn’t because of the defense, or safety for that matter. It was because they Bucs struggled to move the ball late in games in December. If the Bucs had any type of run game much less a decent No. 2 receiver, they could have beaten the Cowboys and/or Saints and, thus, clinched a playoff berth.

47 Responses to “Biggest Hole”

  1. Buccaneer scotty Says:

    Last night mock draft live had us going OT

  2. Wombat Says:

    I would love to see us pick up Cook in the first round, if not him, hopefully one of the two TE’s. Both are studs and would be an upgrade, no disrespect to Brate. Two legit receivers and two legit TE’s, this could be a top 3 offense as early as next year. #weaponsforjaboo

  3. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    This draft is fairly deep in running backs, maybe we can get a good one, in the later rounds ?

  4. Fsuking Says:

    Jenna Laine has never written an article that I consider to be accurate or informing. Not one!

  5. NutterBuccer Says:

    It’s all gonna depend on opionion of licht and koetter and their big board. Also where they see value for different positions through draft. Honestly I could see the Bucs drafting one several dif positions heading into the draft, been a while since we have had this luxoury.

  6. gotbbucs Says:

    Of course they need more help at safety. If they were so happy with Conte and Tandy then why did they bring in Wilcox? Why not just use a mid round pick on a safety then? Safety is still a need on this team, maybe not a 1st round need, though I would look really hard at Obi Melifonwu there, but it’s still a need.

  7. Rob Says:

    Let’s see two years ago the runner-up leading rusher. Yeah he’s going to miss three games but I have a feeling he’s going to pull it together. Not to mention the other three backs we have that are serviceable. What we have at safety is there concern and she is smart to write that a higher need then running back. In a few weeks we’ll see what the guys in charge think

  8. Rob Says:

    Remember I don’t care how good your offenses are. Defense wins championships

  9. Kobe Faker Says:

    What! Which 1 of the 2-not- joes is making a move on my Jenna L?

    “I never liked the 1 with the whining voice” Kobe Faker

  10. Defense Rules Says:

    Need both a Safety and a RB. Plus a TE, DE/DT. Center, WR. Would be content with ANY one of them at #19 if they’re the BPA.

  11. Buc1987 Says:

    Rob..yes and in today’s NFL an average D can get to a SB along with a top 5 O.

    I’m a D wins championships kind of guy, but I’m slowly (stubborn) realizing that the NFL wants more points on the board. If a defender doesn’t slow up in time and makes even the slightest helmet to helmet contact a flag comes out.

    The NFL is making it harder on defenses. That might mean that the Bucs need to address it even more. I tend to side with addressing it even less.

    I was the guy banging the table last year for them to draft 3 DE’s in the first 3 rounds until they got one right. I’ve changed my tune. Also I’m a big Noah fan too.

    You don’t HAVE to have a dominant defense.

    Even the great Warren Sapp said you have to have an O or you ain’t getting there and in today’s NFL that means so much more than it did when he said it.

  12. Tampa Tony Says:

    When you turn the ball over multiple times and lose a one score game that means turnovers kept you out of the playoffs

    As for the biggest hole on the team, while Conte and Tandy played good for 6 games you can’t forget how bad they were the other 10. I’d still side with the Joes and say RB is the biggest hole.

  13. rrsrq Says:

    Because RB is a little deeper than safety, I would not be mad if we traded back if Baker or Obi was there, I prefer Obi for a couple of reasons, our CB’s are small, would like some size on the back end, because the NFC South receivers are not getting shorter and plus i want to hear Gene Dekerhoff say tackle by Obi-Kwon-Melifonwu

  14. Buc1987 Says:

    I wonder how many games around the NFL were TRULY decided by some defender doing something wrong to make a flag come out. Instead of 4th down it’s 1st down and the drives alive. Saw it quite a few times with the Bucs so I imagine it’s a league-wide problem. A problem to me. Perhaps not the NFL, but I notice it and it’s bothersome.

    Defenses have a target on the their back created by the NFL.

  15. Doctor Stroud Says:

    My prescription: with the Bucs drafting later in the first round, flexibility is key. Take what the draft gives, and select the top player in the top categories of need: 1st round (DE/TE/WR), 2nd round (DE/TE/WR/RB), 3rd-7th rounds (TE/WR/RB/S/CS). I hope that Licht can work some draft magic and get some extra picks while addressing needs.

  16. mike10 Says:

    Why do you keep saying the ‘Bucs didn’t miss he playoffs bc of the defense?’

    The defenses is as big a reason as any as to why they missed the playoffs. We lost most of the 1st half games bc of how gawd awful the D was. Didn’t the Rams come in not having scored a TD yet in the season, and put a whipping on us?

    They improved down the stretch, but several of those 7 losses came at the expense of the defense.

  17. ZZBucs!!! Says:

    RB, TE and WR… the order you choose,.
    I agree that saftys last year play good half of the games, but so as all defense…..I find that pretty clear……If you watch the first games every singly CB played poorly, there was no defense at all…but as the season was moving on the defense start playing better in every position, the system was working despite some mistakes………I have a lot of faith on the defense as it is with the two new players………….,I would rather focus on adding more weapons for # 3….we need a RB for sure, also on more TE, and 2 wr…..whats the depth on WR? Evans, DJ, Hump and……????? Thats it!!!!!

  18. R.O. Says:

    Joe… it’s about VALUE. 2 RBs probably have the value at 19 and both will be gone. It’s either TE or S in the 1st. I can see us Trading down and grabbing Mccaffery. I would be estatic if we walked away with McCaffery and Budha B. With our 1st 2 picks.

  19. tmaxcon Says:

    The Defense wins champions crowd need to research before spouting off their BS…

    Defensive teams that have won a superbowl are ONE and DONE minus the Steelers of the 70’s all the great modern defenses ravens, bucs etc… Have ONLY one Superbowl while the teams with franchise QB’s have WON multiple super bowls during the run. Now the bucs were at a disadvantage having to deal with the one dimensional bum Dungy and should have won at least one more if the bucs would have hired a real coach sooner to clean up mckay’s and dungy’s mess… Defenses win a single championship but it takes a Franchise Quarterback with weapons to Win multiple Championships.

  20. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    We lost the cowboys and saints games because our defense got torn up. Thats a fact.

  21. jvato24 Says:

    I love how Joe constantly references essentially the one game Chris Conte made a play in to validate he is a good player … We will just forget he gave up a TD about 2 drives later .. and about 8 other times TDs were directly on Contes head …

    Also the Bucs have what was considered a top RB a year ago this time … He has failed a drug test … but if he rights himself could be pretty good again …

    The Bucs dont just need a Safety … they need specifically a Play-Making Safety .. I agree they need a RB but I dont think it is needed to take a RB in the 1st round .. Rounds 2-4 Yes …

    Round 1 should be DE or Safety based on need but Jason Licht will take who he likes and could surprise some people

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

    87 starting to get it. 30 point offense is the new defense.

  23. Pickgrin Says:

    Safety, TE and RB are the strength positions in this draft. Tons of talent available at each of those positions. We need one of each along with a WR in the 1st 4 rounds. This draft should be a good one for the Bucs as we DO have need at all of its areas of strength and I believe Jason Licht will use that to our advantage.

  24. Pickgrin Says:

    RO says:
    ” I would be estatic if we walked away with McCaffery and Budha B. With our 1st 2 picks.”

    You and me both. I’d rather have Cook – but don’t expect him to be there at 19 and CMac just might be. We’d have to move up in the 2nd to get Baker but it would be worth it IMO.

  25. Bucsfan951 Says:

    For the first time ever and I can’t believe I’m saying this, I agree with tmaxipad 100%.

  26. BUC55 Says:

    Joe, love your site…..that said…..Jenna would make a much better GM than you. Conte, Tandy, and Wilcox are 2,3,4 quality safeties!!!!! Not sure what order to put them in but am sure none would be a #1 safety on any NFL team.
    I’m ok with all of them as decent players competing for playing time……as long as we get a young talented safety in the draft that will work into that #1 role asap. So yes please let there be one of the stud safeties available early in the draft

  27. Brandon Says:

    Runningbacks should be drafted later unless they are truly and exceptionally special. There are no truly and exceptionally special RBs in this draft. Fournette is too big, not a help in the passing game, and injury prone. McCaffrey is too small, isn’t a great inside runner, and would best be used as a complementary RB/WR type player and Cook is decent in all facets, but he’s a lot like Ryan Matthews… not particularly big, or fast, or quick… he does all things well… but nothing great. No thank you. Best RB in the draft is Mixon… and he’s got a ton of baggage.

  28. Ed Says:

    Best available athelete baby! Drafting for need has killed the Bucs in the past 5 years as they have missed on Defensive Ends and Secondary guys.

    Winston and Evans were BAA at time. Go with the guys that have the intangibles, speed, strength, attitude and love to play football.

  29. Maze Says:

    Ya she don’t offer much insight or maybe talent for that matter. Kinda cute thou I guess

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

    Brandon did you feel Marshall Faulk was exceptional coming out of SanDiego St.??? Dalvin’s numbers are basically the same as his were.

  31. DavidBigBucsFan99 Says:

    If we had a defensive line that can not only sack the qb but also put immense pressure on them along with being good against the run our back 4 would be much better and Conte and Tandy wouldn’t be liabilities. Our biggest need is TE/WR/RB for the Weapons4Fameis vigil. We get those taken care of and the defense plays like it did the last 6 games last year and we will make the playoffs.

  32. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    “Laine types that it is not a running back the Bucs need, but a safety.”


    The moment the Bucs let Macdougald get away, I said this position became our #1 need!

  33. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    “When the defense turned the corner last season, safety wasn’t even the weakest link.” – J0E

    That was before Bradley McDougald was gone.

    I’m sorry to say, but you are mistaken on this one, buddy. The top needs in order are:

    Defensive End
    Right Tackle
    Running Back
    Wide Receiver
    Kick Returner

    RB is 5th down the list, and rightfully so. Why? Because fixing RT and Center will open lanes that ANY RB can run through (just like the old Broncos offensive line back when all their RBs produced years ago).

    Really, Safety and DE are interchangeable because they are the top two needs.

    If the Bucs draft the BPA from among these positions in each round, they will fix the entire team.

  34. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Let me put it this way…if the defense is not beefed up, we will ALWAYS be playing from behind, and so the running game will be abandoned and the passing game will be used more…as we see year after year.

    RB is NOT a top priority.

  35. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    Brandon did you think marshall faulk was exceptional coming out of sandiego state? Donnel Pumphrey broke every one of his records and is the all tims fbs leader in yards gained, including nearkly 2k more than that guy from Fsu. Doesnt that make him better than Faulk and every Rb in this class?

  36. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    “RB is NOT a top priority.”
    I don’t always agree with Bonzai, but I do here.
    We most need a Safety or a Defensive End, who can really get after the passer.
    I think we should take the best available Safety, or D End at pick 19
    OR, like my Son says, move up to number one, and get that defensive freak that everyone wants.
    McCoy’s playing days are not forever, and maybe a freak like that next to McCoy can send us to the Super Bowl ?

  37. Capt.Tim Says:

    Agreed with Tmaxipad, also.
    In Mike smiths defense, Safety isnt physically hard to play- but it is a very mentally challenging position.
    Once Conte and Tandy caught on, they both thrived.
    I like both of them better than most. We still need so youth at the position, its not near as Dire of a need as De,RB, and WR
    History tells us that Desean Jackson will miss games.
    Then we are right back where we were last year.

    And if we move Marpet to Center,
    Then our roster looks like this
    Center-Marpet, Hawley,Evans,Gottschalk, Allen.
    Guard- Pamphile, Sweeney, ?
    I know Evans can also play guard, and possibly Benenoch.
    But leaves us light at Guard.
    And We really need an upgrade at Rt. Dotson is a great guy, a great Buc.
    But not a great Right tackle

    We can get a a really good young safety in the 4th or 5 th round. Great draft for Safeties. Young man named Fish, from Kansas, has the skills and intellect to thrive in Mike Smiths Defense.

    Its won in the trenches! But in todays NFL, offense wins it also
    Lines, skill positions.
    Secondary in the later rounds

  38. 813bucboi Says:

    @nole says, “30 point offense is the new defense.”….

    how’d that work out for ATL?…..defense wins championships….GO BUCS!!!

  39. The Buc Realist Says:

    Biggest “hole” was fixed when they fired lovie smith and promoted the “real” NFL Head Coach!!!!!!!!!!

  40. godzilla13 Says:

    Why do people think DE is a need? We have Robert Ayers, William Gholston, Noah Spence, Howard Jones and George Johnson? Safety is a huge need as well as RB, WR and TE. Lets not forget about CB, LB and most of all a kick/ punt returner. The question is which positions are deep enough to not have to pick in round one. With Safety, unless we draft one in the first there will be little opportunity to be able to plug and play someone. The safety who is getting little fanfare is Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers. He can play Safety and return punts and kickoffs. If not Peppers then go with Safety Obi Melifonwu whos measureable’s are as good as any but he tackles to high. Then do whatever it takes to get RB Joe Mixon in the second. If he is gone draft TE Bucky Hodges then RB Samaje Perine in third. Once again I forgot about the WR..

  41. Capt.Tim Says:

    Peppers is a big Safety, who cant cover,
    Or a small weakside linebacker. Thats Lavontes playground.

    We already drafted that guy- his name was Mark Barron

  42. FuNkYxMuNkEy Says:

    Joe you are wrong on this point. We have Ayers, Spawn, Smith, Gholston, and Baker plays some DE as well. Now compare that to Conte (below average safety in the league), Wilcox (SS that can hit but not the best over the top), Tandy (FS that had 1 good month in a 4 year career). And who else?? Nobody that’s who.

    This isn’t even close. Dont understand your logic on this one. To get a guy like Obi or Budda would be huge for our team. I like we should still draft a DE since this class is loaded and another young guy to pair with Spawn is super appealing. I personally love TJ Watt as ive stated too many times already I’m sure lol. But safety is a glaring hole that will be addressed in the draft I do believe.

    We should’ve kept McDougle and let Conte leave. That’s a big mistake by Light in my opinion. Fortunately those are few and far between with Licht.

  43. FuNkYxMuNkEy Says:

    Think* we should still draft…

  44. Dan Solaz Says:

    Would love to see budda baker in 2nd round..if he is not available then maybe josh jones from nc state in 3rd round. Jones is a thumper and could very well be our starting ss week one.. Tandy showed major upside last year as a playmaker at fs. I see safety as our major “hole” but imo wouldn’t draft a safety in rd 1… I’d prefer to see them draft dalvin cook rd 1 and wr rd 2 if budda is gone by time we pick rd2…if cook is gone id love te either Howard or kid from the U.

  45. Bucballbaby84 Says:

    I still want budda baker and Obi Melifonwu in the first two rounds and marlon Mack in the third round and I will never change my mind lol. Go bucs!

  46. Bucballbaby84 Says:

    Ppl on here are still crazy for Dalvin cook and it cracks me up. No way will he drop to 19. Never! Moving up to get him will not be worth it at all. Would be dumb to lose pics in a draft stacked with players like it is.

  47. FuNkYxMuNkEy Says:


    I would love our safeties to be Budda and Obi but never gonna happen. Would be a killer line up tho. Good idea