Time’s Up; No Guessing

April 24th, 2019


We’re in search of the holy grail, Buccaneer style.

On Tuesday, I asked Bruce Arians how far the Bucs could move back in the first round, pocket extra picks, and still be comfortable with the deal.

“It would have to be some hellacious picks, because there are five guys on the board I love,” Arians said. “You’d have to throw the bank and open a vault for me and Jason to probably move back. That’s not saying that we wouldn’t…just looking at the guys that are there. Really, [it’s] six guys that are once-in-a-generation type players. I feel great about this draft.”

So there we have it — six guys sit atop Tampa Bay’s draft board, six prospects that tower above the rest.

And while it’s always dangerous to invest too much trust into pre-draft banter, I believe Arians was being truthful.

So borrowing a famous line from “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” who are those guys?

Kentucky DE Josh Allen

My best guess is we’re talking about Nick Bosa, Quinnen Williams, Josh Allen, Ed Oliver, Devin White and Devin Bush.

Kyler Murray? Please. Not interested. Knock yourself out, Cardinals and Raiders.

“About three weeks ago, we were totally prepared,” Arians says of the Buc draft board. “We’ve gone over it and over it.”

The top six likely has remained unchanged.

“Moneymaker” Strength

You don’t have to be a math whiz to realize Arians and Licht are guaranteed to land one of their coveted prospects if the Bucs stick at No.5. And it doesn’t sound like Arians is in the mood to trade down very far and run the risk of seeing his top six players taken off his board.

Despite missing most of last season, Bosa is generally considered the best defensive player in this draft, blessed with athleticism and advanced technique skills.

Williams plays inside, but the Outland Trophy winner is no mere space-eater. He’s Bill Polian’s favorite D-line prospect for a reason.

Allen appears to be a good fit for a 3-4 base defense. He registered 31.5 sacks in 42 games at Kentucky and he has refined cover skills that can benefit Todd Bowles’ new scheme.

“His ability to get off the ball and attack the edge of a tackle is as good as there is in this draft,” says Kentucky defensive coordinator Brad White. “I think he’s vastly improved against the run, but his strength and his moneymaker is he’s going to be able to get after the quarterback.”

Oliver’s claim to fame is his quickness off the ball, a rare first step that potentially makes him very disruptive. Still, he posted only 3 sacks as a junior and 13.5 for his career.

“Overall, Oliver isn’t as powerful or polished as the Rams’ Aaron Donald was entering the NFL, but he has similar athleticism and should be a disruptive force for the team that drafts him,” says NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah.

No Guessing

White and Bush each boast outstanding speed and physicality at linebacker and the Bucs certainly need help at the position with the departure of Kwon Alexander and continued uncertainty about Kendell Beckwith.

White won the Butkus Award and projects as an inside linebacker while Bush, the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, will likely play outside.

“I’m a twitchy guy,” says Bush, who could excel at the hybrid linebacker-safety position so prevalent in today’s NFL. “I can cover, I can blitz, I can play the run. I can do it all.”

And although the Bucs crave a better pass rush, White and Bush loom as credible options for Thursday evening.

“You can’t draft for need,” says Arians. “You draft for need, you get fired. Draft the best player, and if you’ve got two of them now you’ve got three of them. Just take the best players available for you. Now, if you’ve got four players right there together and one of them is a need, that’s the home run.”

Buc fans are rightfully looking for the long ball in the first round, a player who can make an immediate impact on an overhauled defense.

Tampa Bay’s board is set, with a half-dozen prospects at the head of the class.

Study time is over. Start filling in the blanks.

No guessing.

Ira Kaufman began covering the NFL as a New York Giants beat writer in 1979. He arrived on the Buccaneers beat in 1985, and the corporate leash finally was removed from his neck when he joined JoeBucsFan.com in July 2016. The award-winning Ira Kaufman Podcast fires twice per week, and Ira’s columns appear thrice weekly, except when Ira is on special assignment. Tampa Bay’s only Hall of Fame voter also is a popular guest on various national radio and on local TV. 

Join Ira Kaufman and Joe at the annual NFL Draft blowout. Everything will get rolling around 5:30 p.m. at Buffalo Wild Wings in South Tampa. Indoors, outdoors, menu, buffet and beer specials. Oh, and hundreds of fired up Bucs fans, too.

25 Responses to “Time’s Up; No Guessing”

  1. Lord Cornelius Says:

    I agree with Ira’s guess on the top 6.


    When talking about the LBs in this draft BA consistently brought up Devin Bush when White was brought up.

    That said – if they view Bush/White equally and want to go MLB, they sure better trade back to like 10 or 11 because there is no way 2 off the ball LBs are going in the top 10.

    M Sweat is likely on the board if not for the heart.

    Other guys who could be in the top 6:
    Jonah Williams
    Brian Burns
    Jawaan Taylor

    Jonah Williams really seems like the most polished OL in the class and there isn’t really anyone close or am I missing something? He basically never missed assignments / gave up any pressures throughout his entire career practically.

  2. BrianBucs Says:

    Bruce would make a great used car salesman

  3. Cobraboy Says:

    I disagree somewhat about Kyler Murray. I see him as a faster, more athletic Russell Wilson.

    Bucs may not need him today, but might wish he was available a year from now, depending…

  4. AKickInTheBucNuts Says:

    Picks 1-4 will be studs.

    Dunce Cap blows the 5th pick for a bust.

    Picks 6-10 will be studs.

  5. AlteredEgo Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    If the Bucs were picking 9th this year… BA would be saying there are only 10 “once-in-a-generation type players”……

  6. AlteredEgo Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    too bad the Bucs didn’t play the QB dance…really left a ton of leverage out of the pre draft game….the best deal going in the NFL is taking a QB high in the draft and getting a 5 year look at them on a cheap rookie contract…by far the biggest return on investment

  7. 813bucboi Says:

    i agree with the top 6….imo, it outta QW or EO…..


  8. AlteredEgo Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    813bucboi Says:
    April 24th, 2019 at 12:50 pm
    i agree with the top 6….imo, it outta QB 🙂

  9. Bruce Blahak Says:

    Oliver sounds like the ice cream man 2.0…

  10. 813bucboi Says:

    cbssports has QW going #1 and oliver going #3…..has us taking white @5…..would rather trade down but i could see this happening….


  11. NOSBOS Says:

    Blahak he is the ice cream man 2.0.

  12. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Consider the odds. DRAMATICALLY better in the top 5…roughly a 77% rate of success. 60% 6-10 and 50% for the rest of the first round.

    These are just rates and odds not absolutes. Still aren’t we happy that the odds are on our side? And that it appears there are 5 studs not counting any QB’s and it looks like at least one QB appears headed to the top 4 meaning we’ll actually have a choice between 2-3 awesome picks.

  13. NOSBOS Says:

    See Blahak I’ve been saying basically the same thing about ol ed,but it’s only when they hear coming from a tv type do they begin to respect it. If it’s true he had a bad visit with the eagles I won’t be surprised if falls totally out the 1st round.

  14. Not there yet Says:

    Chucky Is crazy enough to draft white at 4 also just don’t trust him he’s the biggest wildcard there is at 4 and I hope that scenario has been addressed in the teams mock draft. Josh Allen or Ed Oliver should be there in that scenario and I’d be ok with either

  15. WhatTheBuc Says:

    I think BA is including Murray in his top 6. Oliver may not be the pick but he’s definitely not the same player as McCoy. Oliver has straight line speed on par with Sapp and Donald. Oliver is much stronger with 32 bench reps. McCoy had 23 bench reps. Oliver’s leg strength is only matched in this draft by Bosa. ESPN did a special on Oliver where he was riding a horse and his legs are like tree trunks. I’m not making any predictions about how he will do in the NFL but they aren’t the same players.

  16. NOSBOS Says:

    An in that interview with the horse he stands up and looks like a LB. To eye I’m like he’s smallish.

  17. NOSBOS Says:

    No way he’s 293lbs. At least not from that interview I’m sorry.

  18. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    WhatTheBuc Says
    “I think BA is including Murray in his top 6.”The

    That makes no sense to me, but the rest you said does.

    Murray is no generational player for one thing. For another, BA does not want or need a QB. He’s got a connection with Winston for now. I wouldn’t be surprised if Winston only has average stats this year, BA will still want him.

    No, I think Ira has the list right…but I will take it a step further.

    I think the pick is White or Bush, because it would be easier to get a good DL later than a good LB. But more than likely, the Bucs will trade down.

    Those saying a LB won’t go in the top 10 are listening to the biased talk from one of the Joes (Lee). While history supports him, there also has not been a LB like White available either.

    I think there’s a small chance it could be DT, but very small….unless they find a way to trade up to #2.

  19. WhatTheBuc Says:

    Bonzai, I’m not in favor of taking Murray. I’m saying that he is considered by some as the top prospect in the draft. It’s possible BA is including him as a top 6 guy. Listening to NFL radio where they interview GMs regularly, Murray is all over the board. Some have him at 1.

  20. NOSBOS Says:

    Only problem with Bush Bonzai is he is a weak side LB. We just moved LVD from the will. Why??? Shaq and Carl.

  21. WhatTheBuc Says:

    Nosbos, I generally agree with you but your eye is wrong. Oliver got weighed on the same scale as everyone else. I know guys drink water to gain weight but no 20 pounds of water. The only LB to play at 270 was Kirkland so I don’t know what LB he looks like to you.

  22. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    Murray is a reach anywhere is the top 10 WhatTheBuc. He is not on BA’s list. I think he pulled the number 5-6 out simply because the Bucs are picking 5th. I think Sweat could be the 6th player if there really is such a list in his mind.

  23. WhatTheBuc Says:

    Touchdown, BA doesn’t say that there are 6 players that he is looking at. He says that there are 6 generational players. Real NFL GMs have Murray rated #1 overall. I think what he is saying is that one of the top 6 will be Murray and that means we will get one of the remaining 5.

  24. Jeff Says:

    Ed Oliver will be the only top D lineman left when the bucs pick, they want Williams and Allen. The pick will be white if they are not there. Bucs feel White is better than Oliver, I think. The Falcons will get Oliver and we will instantly regret it. Early Prediction 49ers 27 Bucs 17. Bucs Oline is abysmal.

  25. Onetrickpony Says:

    will Jason go with the best punter available ?