Out-Of-The-Box Thinking

April 7th, 2017

New Buccaneer J.J. Wilcox speaks

Interesting chatter on Wednesday from new Bucs safety J.J. Wilcox on SiriusXM NFL Radio.

Of course, Joe listened and took notes.

Wilcox is a rare NFL guy. The man is extremely humble. After signing with the Bucs, he even described himself as an “average-good” player, and said he was excited to play under Mike Smith because Smith had a record of improving average players.

During this week’s radio interview, Wilcox talked about how he primarily was a free safety, a center fielder, in the Dallas defense, and he downplayed his performance.

“I had to learn a lot on the deep end, you know, a lot of good stuff and a lot of bad stuff,” Wilcox said.

Wilcox, 26, lost his starting gig last season and Dallas chose to move on from their 2013, third-round pick.

Wilcox said he thinks the Bucs like his versatility and he believes he can succeed as an in-the-box safety, “if Tampa needs me to.”

It was clear to Joe that Wilcox sees himself as a free safety first.

After playing three years playing wide receiver at Georgia Southern before moving to safety as a senior, Wilcox says he has a lot of knowledge and tools other safeties don’t because of his experience in offenses.

Wilcox added he was four-phase special teams player in Dallas and praised Cowboys special teams chief Rich Bisaccia, who held the same job with the Bucs, for his teachings.

The Bucs sure have an interesting lot at safety. There’s fan punching bag Chris Conte, the last remaining free agent from the handpicked-Lovie haul of 2015. There’s talented Cowboys castoff Wilcox. And there’s Schiano man Keith Tandy, who had a breakthrough half-season last year at 27 years old.

Fans clamoring for a safety very early in the draft have valid reasons, including the loss of starter Bradley McDougald in free agency, but Joe still would be surprised by a move like that. The Bucs should have bigger priorities in three weeks.

24 Responses to “Out-Of-The-Box Thinking”

  1. JTHV Says:

    OFFENSE OFFENSE OFFENSE!! Keep the D off the field.

  2. bucNation Says:

    marcus williams or justin evans round 3

  3. Thibs5599 Says:

    Out of the three who is a strong safety? DOnt all 3 play free safety more often than not?

  4. Mick Says:

    @Thibs5599 Tandy had good success jumping routes in short zone coverage, I think he may end up being our in the box SS.

  5. Mick Says:

    It’s a passing league, if you can get by with 2 FS that are average but not great against the run, you get a lot more versatility in pass coverage.

  6. 813bucboi Says:

    I like our safeties and the depth we have back there….hopefully we can add Justin Evans or Rayshawn Jenkins in the later rounds….

    we have to start thinking about our linebacker depth….I cant name anyone without googling beside kwon, LVD, d.smith(zero production) and d.bond who was on IR last year….if either one of our 2 starters go down we’re screwed….we have zero depth at that position let alone quality depth….hope we can address that position with at least 1 quality player…not a UDFA….GO BUCS!!!

  7. Lord Cornelius Says:

    I’ve never seen Bucs fans and sites so divided on what our biggest need is in the offseason. I’d have to think that’s a good thing because it means we don’t have an obvious hole like we normally do..

    Bucsnation thinks it’s safety by far and they think it’s a FS. But to me the best S play we had all year last year was Tandy playing that role. And now Wilcox can apparently play that role as well. So even if I agreed with the idea that we need a S most I’m not even sure it’d be FS or SS. Even then I don’t think we list our safeties that way.

    Pewterreport & Bucsnation also have both mocked us taking David Njoku round 1. Not something I’m that big of a fan of. He could pan out but if we take a TE in this draft I want them to add another element. Njoku would basically be another move TE like Brate that isn’t a great blocker but more of an athlete. I don’t see him impacting the team much until he develops into a better all-around TE in a few years.

    The Joes seem to be all in on RB and I think it makes the most sense. We have a young franchise QB entering his 3rd year. His development and ascension to becoming an elite QB should be priority #1 of this team.

    Others think we need O-line bad. I think we need improvement there but just get a vibe we are going to roll with our deep young group this year and see how they pan out before saying we have a big hole at .

    This draft is deep at RB/TE/WR/secondary/pass rusher so those are the areas I hope we target in general. I can live without drafting a TE/secondary/pass rusher but we better take a RB and at least 1 WR to support our savior lord Winston

  8. tmaxcon Says:

    i find it funny when the NO BIG NAME free agent crowd get all worked up and are worrying about glazer cash like their last supper depends on it but when the bucs actually do sign a bargain or “non-splash” solid free agent like Wilcox they moan and find all his faults immediately versus accepting his strengths on special teams and versatility which will give smith options. Tandy is unproven regardless of what the fanboys want to spew it takes a little more than half a season to prove success. Like tandy though wilcox will be a beast on special teams. again wilcox is a great pickup for the big picture it’s not like they are overpaying him just for his smile and to disappear in the second half of games. He’s a sold role player with a bright future similar to vh3 not a star but a servicible DB that you can protect without too much harm to the scheme.

  9. Pickgrin Says:

    This is one of the strongest classes for safeties coming out in some time. We need to draft one. Budda Baker would be my target if I was GM. Hope Licht feels the same and pulls the trigger on a trade up in the 2nd round to get him.

  10. SOEbuc Says:


    Agreed. We need some LB depth badly and since we know that, I guarantee the bucs do. Maybe round 5.

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


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

    Bond we’ll see the field this season also.

  13. SOEbuc Says:

    I don’t think Tandy’s second half spiff was a joke last year. I think he’s finally found the defense and defensive coordinator to be able to use all of his potential he was not able to use with other teams.

  14. SOEbuc Says:

    *other Bucs teams.

  15. Defense Rules Says:

    @Lord C … “I’d have to think that’s a good thing because it means we don’t have an obvious hole like we normally do.” Another possibility? Maybe we have several obvious holes that have roughly the same priority? Bucs should realistically get 2 starters/key rotational players out of this draft class … hopefully 3. The rest (those who make it onto the final 53) will be developmental players & depth. I think the key question is ‘What 3 positions must be upgraded (via the draft) for the Bucs to contend for a playoff spot?’ Then you draft those 3 positions in rnds 1-3 … and hope for the best.

    If I were drafting, I’d go with RB, Safety & TE (not necessarily in that order). This draft is strong in all 3 of those positions, and within the first 3 rnds we should be able to get impact players. Wouldn’t be upset if a Center slid in there, in lieu of RB if the Bucs opt to keep Doug Martin (but still draft a RB in rnds 4-7).

  16. Getaclue Says:

    I would love a Tandy / Obi tandem at safety with conte and Wilcox for depth

  17. Capt.Tim Says:

    It was surprising, that Dallas played Wilcox at Free safety.,
    If you ask around the league, Wilcox reputation is as a hitter.
    He hits like a truck! A big truck.
    If Mike Smith can harnish that talent- with a bit more control and focus on the correct angles, JJ can be a punishing in the box Strong safety. And he definitely has some coverage skills.

    I think he was an intriguing signing. One of those times, were the team that drafted a talented guy- just doesnt seem to know how to use him.
    See the”Mark Barron” file here in Tampa. Drafted him. No clue what to do with him.
    Wilcox needs a little polish, but he was highly touted coming out of college, and at the combine

    Another great Licht signing.
    Wilcox at Strong safety would put WRs and TEs heads on a swivel.
    Tandy or Conte, who much better than thought of here, would both excell again at Free safety.
    Fans here hate Conte.
    They are wrong. Just like McCoy, Donald Penn, and others.

    We still need safety help. Just not early( Fish!Fish!)

  18. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Worst signing of the off season.

  19. tmaxcon Says:

    no I think the worst signing bonzi is the camp meat receiver out of the CFL you nuthug so often.

  20. I'm a Tandyman Bucs Fan Says:

    5 games 50 games…Your going to get same from Tandy. He is the real deal!! Wait and see that what I have told you guys he is a WINNER!!!

  21. AustinBucsFan Says:

    Wilcox is still developing as a safety, and could still have a very solid 8-10 years in the league potentionally. I say, slide him at SS, Tandy-man at FS (Conte backup) and draft a Wilcox backup in late rounds. This position really got it going towards the end of the year. That being said.. I wont be too upset if we get Budda for Nickel or FS.

  22. $acbuc$ Says:

    Look at the tape McDougald whiffed tackles more then enough times in the Saints game. Bradley was in a contract year and he forgot the last 4 games. He was having a great season to me besides getting worked by Greg Olsen. Conte will stick his face in there even if he get ran over. (Lovie quote) That’s heart you can’t teach psycho.

    Tandy just got his opt he is the last of a schiano/dominik draft. Look how many players he had to wait flop before he got his shot. He never got the big money contract and has been a model citizen off the field. He hits too..So Give him a Shot!

    Wilcox is a great signing we need that hard hitting presence in our back field.

    I WANT OBI. He can hold all the TE’s and BIG receivers in our division for years. 6’4 218 4.40 44′ inch hops. Plays FS SS and CB. Julio/Benjamin/Thomas after a while them little corners are not gonna get the job done. The league is changing let’s get ahead of EVERYONE. Trade down Draft OBI and 2 over 6 FOOT FAST CB’s in 3&4. Foreman 2rd and Zay/Juju/Samuel/Kupp with xtra 2rd pick. Tanzel Smart in the 6th. Licht Up!

  23. Pickgrin Says:

    Obi’s tape is nowhere near as good as Budda Baker’s. Size shmize – I’ll take an instinctual football player any day over a combine draft riser.

    Baker is the real deal. Hard hitter, very smart and good at anticipating, excellent coverage skills and his speed is terrific for a safety. If the Bucs were to draft him, I’d be surprised if Baker didn’t win a starting safety spot from day 1 of the season based on talent alone. Just like VH3 last year.

  24. Trubucfan22 Says:

    Just because you have a priority need, doesn’t mean it has to be first pick. We do need a safety, (at least a serviceable back up). So take one in the 4th or 5th. And develop him behind the other 3 safeties we have.

    I am confident in the scheme mike smith has on defense. So, while an elite talent safety would be awesome to have, I don’t mind the “middle of the road” talented safeties we currently have. I have faith they can be good enough to make this defense successful. And hopefully Tandy can continue to be a big play threat for us going forward. If Tandy can continue to ball hawk our safety group will do just fine as is.