Koetter Appears To Tip Bucs’ Draft Hand

March 27th, 2018

Joe’s always looking for quality lines to read between when it comes to the NFL Draft.

And candid Dirk Koetter isn’t one to blow many smokescreens.

Today at the NFL coaches breakfast, the subject turned to the Buccaneers secondary and adding more talent there.

Koetter went right to the draft and took a tone that sounded like it’s obvious the Bucs will be selecting a new defensive back or two.

“We said at the end of the year, the No. 1 thing we had to do is get Brent Grimes back. And we did that,” Koetter said. “Also, Vernon Hargreaves finished the year on [injured reserve], so when you have those two guys coming back, plus the experience that Ryan Smith got, and then Justin Evans coming back for his second year at safety. So then with all that said, now that the defensive line has had so many additions I would think secondary (chuckles) — it’s logical to think that would be a place that would be an area of target in the draft. Again, I think it’s a strong group in the secondary in this year’s draft. I know I’ve watched a bunch of guys and there’s a lot of guys I like.”

Ok. Koetter thinks it’s logical to hit the draft for fresh talent in the secondary. Fair enough.

But consider that Koetter didn’t mention cornerback Javien Elliott, who was recently re-signed. And remember what he said this morning about Hargreaves’ prowess at nickel back — complete with a hypothetical that left Joe raising an eyebrow.

“I mean, if Vernon was your starting nickel and you had another guy you liked at the other corner opposite [Brent] Grimes, there isn’t another team in the league that wouldn’t like to have Vernon Hargreaves as their nickel,” Koetter said today.

It sure smells to Joe like, as of today, the Bucs plan to draft a cornerback who can compete for a starting outside gig with Ryan Smith. Round 1? Round 2? Round 4?

Joe asked general manager Jason Licht this afternoon if he planned to add more defensive pieces in free agency prior to the draft, or whether the Bucs are done there for now. Licht was non-committal.

$20 all-you-can-eat buffet kicks off at 6 p.m. and runs all night long. Be there!!

77 Responses to “Koetter Appears To Tip Bucs’ Draft Hand”

  1. Easy Says:

    Denzel Ward please. Like I said when Joe was bashing about drafting a CB: You are in a division with 2 elite passing QBs and top WRs you need someone who can cover.

  2. Wausa Says:

    Derwin James SS round 1
    Mike Hughes CB round 2

    If the Bucs do that they will have solidified the secondary.

    The Bucs on paper would look very strong at all three levels of defense, which is not bad considering they were the worst defense in the NFL last year.

  3. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    Smells like nothing to me…….absolutely nothing

  4. Dwight Says:

    My guess is CB or Safety at 7.

  5. DB55 Says:

    Elliot plays better than Ryan smith. Not sure why they don’t start him.

  6. tmaxcon Says:

    keeping a short, slow, and stupid ONE dimensional CB is a waste of a roster spot in today’s passing league. Just admit it was a HUGE reach taking a 6th rd talent in the 1st rd and move on. easily replaced with a more versatile CB who will not make an ARSE out of himself weekly. if vh3 is counted on for anything more than guarding Cancer93’s sideline doll collection the bucs are in serious trouble once again.

  7. BucEmUp Says:

    I thought he hinted toward drafting a guard. When asked about sweet playing right guard and being cleared he just had a look of disapointment. I think they are aiming for Nekson

  8. BucEmUp Says:


  9. BucFanFromOhio Says:

    Easy Says:
    March 27th, 2018 at 3:19 pm
    Denzel Ward please.

    Please please stay away from Ward. VHIII clone, hard pass.

  10. First Down Tampa Bay Says:

    Id be fine with Ward at 7. Seen a lot of his play extensively over the past couple of seasons and he is a stud. Would be solidify our secondary for sure.

  11. Blake_Bucsfan Says:


    How can Ward be a Hargreaves clone when he is so much faster than him?

    4.32 vs 4.5

    From what I’ve seen of Ward he looks pretty solid for a 1 year starter.

  12. pete Says:

    IF: Q Nelson and B Chubb are both gone
    THEN: CB or Safety at 7

  13. 813bucboi Says:

    round 1 derwin james-SS…..
    round 2 will hernandez-OG…..
    round 3 sony Michel-RB…..
    round 4 Josh Sweat-DE…..
    round 5 Holton Hill-CB…..
    round 6 Bo Scarbrough-RB…..

    BPA the rest of the way…..

    #NOEXCUSESIN2018!!!!!…..GO BUCS!!!!!

  14. 813bucboi Says:

    derwin james only IF nelson is gone

    #NOEXCUSESIN2018!!!!!…..GO BUCS!!!!!

  15. Blake_Bucsfan Says:


    we don’t have a 3rd round pick.

  16. SteveK Says:

    Trade back and get a DB. 7th pick is for trenches. Barkley, Chubb, Belson, Davenport, or Vea please!

    Unless Denzel Ward is the second coming of Darrell Green, no thanks at 7.

  17. Greecosuave Says:

    We need more draft picks. Ward, D. James, RB, OT, another DE… to

  18. 813bucboi Says:

    forgot we didn’t have a 3rd round pick…..sratch that!!!….lol….

    #NOEXCUSESIN2018!!!!!!….GO BUCS!!!!

  19. 813bucboi Says:


  20. Bucsfanman Says:

    I’m not seeing Ward as a #7, I’m sorry. I truly hope our draft is made easy for us so as not to commit the same error as when we drafted Mini-Me Finger-Wave Hargreaves!

  21. doctor_berto Says:

    Hard NO on Ward. Another small corner that can’t cover the big boys in the NFC south. Derwin or Nelson

  22. TJ Says:

    I like Denzel ward but he does get away with a lot of illegal touching. Go watch some film and this is coming form a Ohio state fan. I would rather have James Ward is the sime size as Hargves and has the simialr build and scouting report. Ward is good but he is no Marcus Latimore.

  23. Realty 43 Says:

    I was gonna be rude but decided against it. If Michele is available in round 3, I will give you my wife for a week

  24. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    That’s easy for him to say because…..if we don’t trade down we will likely have a choice of at least 2 of the 3…….Minkah, Ward, James in round 1….
    I think we will go RB in 2…..so that leaves round 4 for a CB or S…..

    It still doesn’t mean we wouldn’t pick Nelson, Chubb or Barkley @ 7…..

  25. Lord Cornelius Says:

    If we want S or CB at 1 it better be after we trade back and get another 2 or 3



    2-CB/OG if Hernandez/Wynn still on board


    My thought process here being if we go Nelson or Barkley at 1 we should emphasize the counter piece in R2 and go all in on offensive line/RB. Or if we get Chubb then get your secondary player R2.

    Ideal scenario is trading back imo either way – so you can grab a CB/RB/OG in the top 2 rounds. Then grab some developmental DT/DEs with the 4-7 rounders plus another RB – BPA all the way

  26. Lord Cornelius Says:

    and my thought process is the same as it’s been for a while:

    A- 4 Qbs go in the top 6 or
    B – 3 Qbs go in the top 6; and we become the first team willing to be a trade partner for that 4th QB at any sort of reasonable price

    I’d be shocked if we don’t get one of the big 3 and stand pat with teams like Buffalo & Miami and others that would be making calls about whatever QB was just sitting on the board of the big 4

    Big 3 or trade down.

  27. JimmyJack Says:

    I’m not high on VHIII but I always give players three years. There’s tons of players across the league that take a bit of time to develope.

    For now we need to look for an upgrade at outside corner and maybe even at Nickle. Vernon won’t be handed a job this year. It will be fun to see how he responds.

  28. mog2010 Says:

    Ward is lightweight, we just do not need another punchbag db.

  29. JimmyJack Says:

    Lord Corn….Earlier in the offseason it was the “Big 4” with Fitzpatrick. What happened?

  30. JimmyJack Says:

    I’d be cool if they landed Minkah round 1.
    RB round 2

  31. BigPoppaBuc Says:

    I’m with you Jimmy jack. I haven’t quite given up on VH3. His best attribute is his balls skills and the game should be slowed down enough for him to start making more plays. He’s not the fastest but he does have great footwork which is why he may be better suited closer to the LOS in the slot. If we get more pressure on QBs this season guys like Grimes and Vernon are good at grabbing the football when it’s there.

  32. The Buc Realist Says:

    You want to help VHIII???? Get a beastly DT!!!!!!!!! I will be highly disappointed if they only added to the trenches thru free-agency!!!!!!!!!

    GO Bucs!!!!!!!!!!!

  33. Lord Cornelius Says:


    It’s never been in my 4 really although most have had him there. Most everything I’ve read about this guy says he can’t play outside Cb and is more of a FS than SS who can also play nickle. If we end up with him I’ll embrace it but I’d rather go Derwin James if we’re going the S route

  34. Lord Cornelius Says:


    My dream is trading back for another 2 and another 3


    5 value picks. DE/DT/OG/RB/CB or S depending on BPA

    D-line rebuilt. Secondary player added. O-line built. RB added.

    Sign another secondary player and we’re ready to roll. Or stay pat at 7 and hope we hit on our 5th/6th round picks lol

  35. Wausa Says:

    PFF has Derwin James ranked as the 4th best prospect in the draft:
    Here is their analysis:

    James has all of the tools to become a game-changing playmaker at the next level. His size and athleticism allow him to make plays in coverage against the run and as a pass-rusher. All of James’ skills led to him becoming the nation’s top-graded safety in both 2015 and 2017. He can be a coverage weapon in a two-high safety look or in man coverage against tight ends and slot receivers, while his size allows him to be a force in the run game and to get after the quarterback.

    Denzel Ward is their 20th ranked prospect:

    Here is their analysis of him:
    Ohio State has been a cornerback factory over the past few seasons, and Ward is the latest player to hit the NFL from that secondary. He has elite athleticism and quickness, with all the tools to be a top cover guy at the next level. He has extensive experience playing man coverage within that defense, but actually flashed some really excellent plays in zone coverage, so shouldn’t be a scheme-specific player. He allowed just 35.1 percent of passes thrown his way to be caught in 2017.

  36. JabooBuc Says:

    Derwin James is someone that can help all over the field. Defense gets both bigger and faster. And, he’s an alpha dog which is something needed on this team. He’s probably one of the top 3 athletes in this draft. You can pick corner later in the draft of pick up free agents later after cuts. There are no Derwin James clowns later in the draft or in free agency and that’s why you take him at 7.

  37. Defense Rules Says:

    I see lots of neat guessing as to what Licht will do come draft day, but then I remember last year. Something tells me that the Bucs never in a million years expected OJ to be there at #19. But when he was, they felt compelled to pull the trigger. Koetter & Smitty may be dying to spend our #7 on a CB or maybe even a Safety to improve our Secondary, but my gut says that if an ‘OJ’ talent is still there at #7, Licht will pull the trigger. Could be Barkley, could be Nelson. Might even be Chubb, who knows. Still cautiously optimistic …

  38. Defense Rules Says:

    @JimmyJack … “I’d be cool if they landed Minkah round 1. RB round 2.” I’m with you all the way on that one JimmyJack. But I’d be very surprised if Licht is.

  39. Pick6 Says:

    given the way the offseason has gone for this team, i think the bucs’ would jump at a chance to trade down if they could get at least 2 more Day 1 or Day 2 picks.

    it’s hard (IMO) to construct many realistic scenarios right now where a 4th or 5th QB goes in the top 6. If only 3 QBs go in the top 6, Licht needs at least one team ahead of him to ignore the overwhelming consensus about the top non-QBs (Chubb\Nelson\Barkley) in the draft if one of those guys is to fall to the bucs.

  40. Issic haggins Says:

    Not often does a rook corner play all that well .

    Even the best ones !!

  41. JimmyJack Says:

    I do think it’s nuts when you look at this draft.

    One team already traded up for a QB. There’s no telling how the draft falls to us.

    Barkley, Chubb, Nelson, Ward, Fitzpatrick, James……Even some fans still wanting Vae.

    Those names are just for starters. Throw in the trade down possibility and basically Any first round player is in play.

  42. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Exactly what I pointed out when I heard that second quote earlier this morning.

  43. Hodad Says:

    I don’t think they were targeting a T.E. with their first pick last year till Howard fell to them. They will draft secondary help, I just think with the 7th pick you take highest rated non Q.B., W.R.. Nelson, Chubb, Barkley, hope we get one of the three.

  44. Kobe Faker Says:

    Kobe agrees with alot of posters above

    “Get off the Densel Ward bandwagon”

    He is not built for the NFL ala Lattimore

    It sucks but similar to 2016, this draft doesnt have shutdown corners

    im not sure Smitty knows how to use a hybrid Fitzpatrick/Derwin James CB/S combo in his defensive system

    “Kobe thinks Licht Beer really Fvked up not picking the top 4 FA cornerbacks this offseason…..BECAUSE THERE IS NO SHUTDOWN CORNER IN THE 2018 DRAFT”

    Kobe Faker

  45. OneBucPerson Says:

    If we go Fitzpatrick at 7 we’re converting him to Corner.

  46. Kobe Faker Says:


    Yes we will convert him to corner…but more and more evaluators are stating he doesnt have the skills of a Ramsey to be a corner and more of a natural safety like lamarcus Joyner

    “Forrest Licht is making a huge mistake again and trying to put a rookie into the 1 position we need to make the playoffs. making a mistake by not bringing another FA corner to compete and strengthen our weak coverage…It will be Gumps 2018 downfall”

  47. Eric Says:

    If he really wants a particular player or position last thing he would do is mention it.

  48. Hunter Says:

    Getting a 3 down dynamic back is more important than anything

  49. passthebuc Says:

    If the stud guard Nelson is there, you take him. If Fitz is there you take him. other than that, trade down. If Barkley is there, take as many picks as you can get and move on.

  50. Mike Johnson Says:

    If you are just gotta take a DB in the 1st, I’d go with a an interchangeable guy like Fitzpatrick. I still have hopes though we will trade down and get 2 for 1. That would allow us to pick up yet another DE who could sponge off of JPP.

  51. Alan Says:


  52. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Joe, just read this on PFT:

    “The NFL has made a major rule change aimed at player safety, banning all plays on which a player lowers his head to initiate contact with his helmet.

    “It is a foul if a player lowers his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent,” the new rule says, according to the NFL. “The player may be disqualified. Applies to any player anywhere on the field.

    Do you know if this includes Running Backs????

  53. Bird Says:

    Fitzpatrick is being touted as slot corner /free safety hybrid. Maybe I’m wrong but probably not smartest pick at 7. Evans looked good at free safety

    I really wanted Denzel ward until I saw 5’10. We can’t have 3 corners 5 10 or less on field.

    Now Derwin James is area of need. A true strong safety I could see him and Evans becoming best safety tandum in nfl.

  54. Bucballbaby84 Says:

    We got Jude adjei-barimah too who is someone I know ppl are sleeping on but I’m not. It will be safety. Derwin James would be nice.

  55. Kobe Faker Says:


    what scares me is Wards 185lb frame

    Lattimore is 6ft 193lb and has the dog in him to go 1 on 1 with julio jones and MEME

    Ward is not built for the NFL

    Derwin James will be the next Shaun Taylor

  56. Gambelero Says:

    We’re ignoring the two top 10-12 linebackers, Edmunds and Smith, because because we don’t need one. I’ve seen Edmunds mocked to Indy at 6. If only three QBs go and we trade down to 12 and 22, both these guys go ahead of us. Also, expect several tight ends and wide receivers to blow everyone away at pro days. We’ll have our druthers for two of three of James, Ward and Fitzpatrick at 12 and three of four of McGlinchy, Wynn, Davenport and Michel.

  57. Rod Munch Says:

    “It sure smells to Joe like, as of today, the Bucs plan to draft a cornerback who can compete for a starting outside gig with Ryan Smith. Round 1? Round 2? Round 4?”

    When that sentence says starting and has Ryan Smith in it, you need to remove those question marks, it should be Round 1 AND Round 2 AND Round 4.

  58. Gambelero Says:

    At 22.

  59. since1976GoBucs Says:

    Just sign Dominick Rodgers Cromartie. The Giants made a huge mistake putting him as slot , he was always a great jam and cover on the outside and fast as any receiver. Barkley will not be there , but Brown may be and the best way to keep a team from scoring is to grind the clock with your running game. Fitzpatrick is fine if not the above , Minkah will make you thinkah about slanting across the middle.

  60. Bird Says:

    It’s rough

    3 huge needs in db, strong safety and running back but no third round pick so if they could move back a few spots , pick up extra pick and still get their guy then that would be perfect.

  61. Rod Munch Says:

    I’m happy they’re not giving up on VH3, he had a solid rookie year (for a rookie) and he looked fine the preseason and the opening game, but that trip to Minnesota seemed to do something to him, he wasn’t the same after that. Then again dummy Mike Smith had him lining up like 15 yards off the LOS – which people in here said was VH3’s fault, that he choose to line-up that far off the line, which I rightly pointed out was really dumb since the coaches would tell him NOT to do that if they didn’t want him doing that. But nope, Smith did that all year with everyone and they were all awful except for Grimes who seemed to have more say in how he played and lined up.

    As for Ryan Smith I’ll again bash him because he’s really that terrible, he has no business being in the NFL at this point. Maybe with another decade or two of learning the defense he could become something, but I doubt it. I’ve never seen a guy look so lost and get burned so many times and be out of position so many times as that guy, he’s literally the worst corner I’ve ever seen, ever, and shouldn’t be considered for anything except maybe waterboy.

  62. WutdaBucisthis Says:

    Screw all this secondary help with the first pick talk…Fμ©k THAT!!! Vea with the first pick IF the big 3are gone

  63. WutdaBucisthis Says:

    c’mon JOE

  64. Joeypoppems Says:

    Im kinda hoping they can find a trade partner to move back and they target Jaire Alexander.

  65. mike10 Says:

    Picks 7-10 can quickly become the crappy spots in this draft if the big 3 (QBs aside) are taken.

    Derwin and Minkah are no where near top 10 talents. I’ve yet to talk to a Buc fan who follows FSU that wants DJames, that says A LOT to me!

    If the big 3 are gone, you HAVE to trade back.. hopefully get 12 and 22 from BUF

  66. Steve Says:

    First four picks go quarterback. And we could be sitting at 5 with a loss to New Orleans to end the season!!! Damn!!!

  67. Kobe Faker Says:

    Too Many Milli Vanilli Hargraves Apologists!

    Munch, You lost all credibility!

    VH3 cant jamb and play man because he is too slow and cant recover…ITS NOT SMITTYS DECISION

    After the Minn game, all offensive coords did was throw it toward VH3 anywhere he was at…and was succesful

    He doesnt have the skills to be outside and exposed. He is somewhat acceptable in the slot because of the traffic and off coords having more of a difficult time trying to exploit the slowpoke

  68. Jjones Says:

    I just can’t and will never understand why they played Vernon the way they did. If you can see he’s struggling lined up that far off receivers than why not move him up to the LOS? We all obviously saw this, why didn’t Smith? I still believe he will be better, he’s only played 25 games and to write him off this soon is kind of ignorant. 90% of CB’s are not break out stars, they take time to develop. Josh Norman didn’t reach pro bowl form until 2015 and played 37 games( technically 53 games)and he was benched quite often because his play wasn’t starting caliber per his coaches.

  69. SteveK Says:

    Preach, realist!

    Trench warfare for the premium picks!

    If the big three are gone, likely, then flip a coin for Vea or Davenport. If they’re hell bent on a DB, then trade the hell back!

    Patrick Peterson, or Sean Taylor (RIP) are not in this draft!

  70. JimmyJack Says:

    Kobe……The deal here is VHIII looked better in his rookie season then he did last year. Something is wrong with that pattern.

    And it ain’t on the coordinator, or HC, or secondary coach. It’s all on Vernon. Because you are right he got picked on and was very very bad. He needs to figure that out and straight up play better.

    It’s all on Vernon though. The Bucs are going to bring somebody in for that CB spot. They are going to bring in somebody that has higher expectations too. Vernon is going to have to straight up outplay them. He is going to have to show better ability or he will be on the bench half the game.

    But the fact still remains he will have a chance to earn that spot. I will let him count himself out with poor play before I do.

  71. RawBucsFan Says:

    Sign SS Eric Reid!!! If we could trade down with Buffalo, Miami or Arizona that would be the best case. I would draft DT Vita Vea(McCoy isn’t getting younger & has no one to replace him in case of injury) in Rd 1. RB (Guice, Michel or Penny) Rd 2. If trade down happens CB Donte Jackson Rd 3. DE, OG, RB in rounds 4-6 based on best player available.

  72. Kobe Faker Says:

    To be a legit outside starting corner you have to have recovery speed and quickness

    You need that stop and go skillset to “jump routes” to intercept and turnovers. If a QB/offensive coord knows you cant do that and all you do is “follow” …..your done

    When did VH3 ever jump a route for a interception in his rookie year? Never, because he cant

  73. Doctor Stroud Says:

    Coach Koetter, please stop being such a breath of fresh air on a crisp, Spring day with all of the doors and windows wide open! We can’t take it anymore!

  74. Blake_Bucsfan Says:

    I personally don’t mind drafting a smaller corner, especially with today’s rule change eliminating lowering of the helmet to initiate contact. Plenty of great corners have been 5’10 or 5’11, and several very good corners today.

    Chris Harris Jr, Casey Hayward, Brent Grimes, Darrelle Revis, Joe Haden, Janoris Jenkins, Malcom Butler, Logan Ryan, Tre’Davious White, and Morris Claiborne are all 5’11 and below. Heck Darrel Green is one of the all time greats and he was 5’9.

    So whether we draft Ward at 7, or Trade down and take Jaire Alexander or get lucky enough for him to fall to us at #38, A corner’s size is ultimately not going to prevent a guy who is great from being great.

  75. denjoe Says:

    I hope that is a smoke screen! Corners take time to develope and developing them is not this teams strong suit. Why not bring in a solid Veteran opposite of Grimes? They leave too many things to chance. This is starting to feel like last year all over again. I wanted a pass rusher but now I hope nelson is there, So they don’t waste a pick on a Corner or safety!

  76. Batman Wood Says:

    Speaking of smoke screens, how about the one coming out of VHIII’s mouth. Looks like our draft plans may be changing.

  77. Crockett69 Says:

    Wausa, I like your train of thought! I like this and then multiple DE’s in rounds 4, 5, and on.