3rd And 4th Rounds Under The Microscope

May 7th, 2019

“Mr. Glazer, just take a deep breath and start Tweeting #PeytonBarber.”

Every year there are draft decisions to watch from the moment the draft concludes. Who did the Bucs select versus a key player or two they didn’t?

This year is exceptionally juicy.

One of the greatest draft-day second guesses in recent Bucs history is the selection of defensive end Adrian Clayborn at No. 20 overall in 2011, just four spots before superstar DE Cameron Jordan went to the Saints.

In 2016, the Bucs were aching for help at wide receiver but went with DE Noah Spence in Round 2. Joe had fingers and toes crossed for wide receiver Sterling Shepard, who was taken one pick later by the Giants and has been a slightly better version of Adam Humphries ever since.

Of course, the Saints hit the jackpot seven picks later with wide receiver Michael Thomas. And the Falcons found their version of Devin White in Pro Bowler Deion Jones five picks after Thomas. Ouch!

This year the Bucs made Joe convulse by shipping their early Round 3 pick to the Rams in exchange for two late-third-round picks. The Rams were giddy to draft running back Darrell Henderson with the No. 70 overall pick from the Bucs.

Film guru Lance Zierlein of NFL.com, a guy whose work Joe respects greatly, dove into his favorite picks of the 2019 draft, and there appeared Henderson.

Todd Gurley’s knee injury limited him down the stretch last season, and the Rams’ offense suffered because of it. The team may look to limit Gurley’s workload, and the addition of Henderson means that explosiveness will not be sacrificed when the RB2 is in the game. Henderson averaged 8.9 yards per carry over his last 344 rushes and had 11 touchdowns of 54-plus yards in 2018 alone. The high-flying Rams just super-charged their depth at running back.

In Round 4, the Bucs drafted productive DE Anthony Nelson out of Iowa. The next pass rusher selected, Christian Miller out of Alabama, also made Zierlein’s list of favorite picks.

Christian Miller, DE, Alabama
Drafted: 115th overall pick, Carolina Panthers
Miller’s one season of production, his injury history and decision not to run a 40-yard dash for scouts all potentially played into him being available with the 13th pick of Round 4. However, he’s a long-armed rusher with the ability to create winning angles around the edge or with inside counters. The Panthers took Brian Burns in the first round and basically doubled down with a similar type of rusher here who offers an insurance policy for Burns and a potential bookend rusher for down the road.

As Joe does every year and will until the end of time, Joe hopes the Bucs picked the right guys. With five defensive draft picks in the first four rounds, what a freakin’ coup it would be if the Bucs found three solid players.

28 Responses to “3rd And 4th Rounds Under The Microscope”

  1. Todd Says:

    Passing on Henderson hurt, for sure. That said, if you dissect the Bucs selections across the board you find a combination of SPEED, INTELLIGENCE and…drum roll…CHARACTER.

    Regarding Nelson:

    2017 Honors — one of four sophomores named to 2017 Leadership Group . . . one of five juniors named to 2018 Leadership Group.

    2018 Honors — Named to CoSIDA Academic All-America second-team . . . Academic All-Big Ten for third year . . . named second-team All-Big Ten by league media and third team by coaches . . . third-team All-Big Ten by Phil Steele . . . named to CoSIDA Academic All-America All-District team for second straight year.

    Remember, the knock on RoJo, at bottom, is that he’s not the sharpest bulb in the tool shed (joke intended). Maybe we passed on Henderson due to a character or intelligence issue? Who knows?

    BA does.

    Again, he’s the old bull at the top of the hill. Let’s think in “can’s” not “can’ts”.

    10-6 & Playoffs!

  2. Joe in Michigan Says:

    I think White, Edwards, and Nelson will be solid. Bunting and Dean worry me a little bit…At least they’re fairly big and fast, and should receive better coaching than we’ve seen in the past.

  3. Morgus the Magnificent Says:

    And the fifth round??? That’s even MORESO under the microscope, Joe !!

  4. Morgus the Magnificent Says:

    ….and the first rounder of 2015 is the most “microscope-able” in the history of the franchise.

  5. Defense Rules Says:

    I usually don’t have very high expectations for 3rd & 4th Rnd draft picks during their 1st year, but this year seems different for some reason. Mike Edwards could very well turn out to be THE sleeper in the entire draft; really impressed with what he brings to the table. Jamel Dean has great potential (excellent skillset), but I think he’ll take awhile longer to develop, although I can see him contributing a bunch this year. And I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see Anthony Nelson unseat Will Gholston for a key rotational DE slot.

    The more I’ve read about Todd Bowles defenses, the more this draft makes perfect sense. There’s a fascinating article on Nelson over on the Bucs site in which Jason Licht talks about Nelson’s versatility. In his words “We’ll have plenty of 4-3 looks in our defense, it’s not just a base 3-4 all the time so we like the versatility and you have to be intelligent to do all those things with Todd [Bowles], so he fits that mold.” Other articles seem to indicate that Bowles’ defenses only used the base 3-4 about 30-35% of the time. The needed pieces are falling into place it seems, even though it’ll probably take awhile for our guys to truly perfect Todd’s system. This is gonna be exciting to watch.

  6. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Isn’t the grass always greener?

    Sure, it would be refreshing to see us pick a player ranked highest on Mel Kiper’s board on draft night…..but….let’s see what we got. Mel makes plenty of mistakes.
    Don’t sleep on Bunting and Dean……

  7. Bird Says:

    This year it will be a few picks . To name a few.

    They took bunting when they could have been Greedy (and I know greedy is no physical press like Bowles likes ) or dB from Michigan state among others at DB so we shall see. I’m ok with bunting pick though.

    The bigger one is the kicker in the 5th round that would have gone undrafted . Hunter Renfrow out of Clemson was taken the pick after .
    For those so upset with losing Humphries (9 mil per) , this was literally his clone but maybe a little better.

  8. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Its hard to keep making progress in the draft and on the field when you are
    redrafting the same positions. We also had similar issues in free agency where we
    signed players who didn’t fit in or were unable to step foot on the field. I too
    hope BA has guided Licht in the right direction for a change.

  9. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Here we go again with the continuous moderation.

  10. #1bucsfan Says:

    3 years an hopefully we look back at this draft an say good job Jason. HOPEFULLY lol

  11. Stonedbuc Says:

    Ima hit the bong a couple more times

  12. JA Says:

    Agree wholeheartedly. It’s difficult to be a glass half-full kind of guy on a website with enough negative vibes to reassemble and restore Lestat from permanent oblivion.
    Pre-hating before the result is such an ugly way to start each day, but there are many here that do just that.
    I say 11-5 with a chance to thrive—in the playoffs!
    If I’m wrong, so be it. Beats spending the next four months filled with hate before the first game is even played …
    Watch “17” yet?
    Reminds me of Aaron Sorkin dialogue before Aaron Sorkin. Only Sorkin becomes tedious as no human is as quick witted as his dialogue (especially in “Molly’s Game”). In the old movies, however, I sometimes find it humorous, even in a serious plot.

  13. Chris Simms 2020 GM Says:

    Passing on Darrell Henderson will cost Gump his job.

    I don’t think Bunting, Dean or Happy Gilmour ever plays in the NFL.

    Some teams only select players from top schools where they are better prepared to transition to the pros. New player’s union rules prevent teams from baby sitting some raw talent from Eastern Bumphuct U and coaching them up.

    Gump is out of his league and when he gets fired, he will be unemployable.

    Fire Licht tonight!

  14. SenileSenior Says:

    Todd and DefenseRules,

    Hear, hear!

  15. Todd Says:


    Yes, I watched 17 this weekend! And I agree.

    Mike Biehl who heads up scouting for the Bucs is my next door neighbor. Based on some VERY LIMITED conversations (where only grand generalities were provided), I know BA and TB were extremely specific in what they were looking for in this draft. Based on the selections, it struck me that the big four were: speed, production, character and leadership.

    This next year I’m going to go through the actual exercise of looking at every conference, large and small, and first ID the team captains. They go on my board. Then I’m going to bet them further based on which ones perform highly academically. Then it’s comparable speed by position. Lastly, prior production.

    Once I have my big board complete, I’ll hone in on this players throughout the year and ultimately rank them.

    I’ll then look at next year’s Bucs needs and build my final big board accordingly.

    At minimum, it’ll be a fun exercise…and I guarantee I’ll have the smartest, highest character board of productive leaders nationwide. 👍

  16. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    @ Todd

    Interesting…..so, I take it these really weren’t Licht’s picks after all……….anyone using common sense should know that this is BA & Bowles’ draft……Licht is now and maybe has been a figurehead.
    Even down to the kicker….I am convinced this is a BA pick…..he brought in the punter and is focused on special teams…..most, if not all of the draft picks this year are very good special teams players.

  17. Jean Lafitte Says:

    Not only did they miss out on Henderson by trading down they also missed out on another potential pass rushing star in Jaylon Ferguson, who went with the 21st pick 3rd round (85th overall).

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

    Microscope has been Licht’s problem finding talent….
    Jason needs to start using a magnifying glass !

  19. Hodad Says:

    The Bucs should never have passed on Henderson. We had one of the worst rushing attacks, yet we passed on a good right tackle in the second, and a good running back in the third. Of course we made the wrong picks. Barber is O.K., what if he goes down? Dotson sucks, what if he gets injured? Henderson would’ve been our best back hands down, and would’ve made a good one two punch with Barber. Risner could’ve replaced old Dot, and his 4.8 mill salary, and shored up our right side. Licht has had 5 years to build a winner, and has failed. His drafts are all over the place, and after the first round rarely work out.

  20. Chris Simms 2020 GM Says:

    ” I know BA and TB were extremely specific in what they were looking for in this draft. Based on the selections, it struck me that the big four were: speed, production, character and leadership.”

    The flaw in that argument is that BA himself would not pass this test. Bruce was kicked off his high school team for “Character” reasons. He has said that he is willing to give players a 2nd chance.

  21. JA Says:

    I think the character-production juxtaposition is the hardest to dissect. What level of character is a coach willing to compromise for production? We all know there are multitudes of high character guys that can’t play a lick. And sadly, we know many with low character that can play their arses off.
    When I see and hear Alvin Kamera I prejudge by thinking “pin cushion with low IQ.” Doesn’t mean that he’s destined for a jail cell or remedial speech therapy. For all I know he’s a model citizen and much smarter than he looks. Makes one wonder if his appearance and speech caused him to drop in the draft.
    I’m not here to disparage Kamera, just using him as an example to show the difficulty a GM faces with draft day selections.

  22. HFXBUC Says:

    any chance you’ll highlight the people who loved the bucs draft picks… I could write the story for you if you’re too busy, looking for the bad one’s.

  23. Todd Says:


    My supposition is just a starting point…based on who we selected. All high character, smart AND productive guys with lots of speed. Their selections just got me doing this thought experiment.

    Until real football begins, I’m bored as sh!t. So ANY exercise that staves off the inevitable boredom of the off-season is welcome.


    Not a false argument at all. Yours is a false comparison. You can have both/and. Seeking high character and giving certain players a second chance are not mutually exclusive.

  24. Brandon Says:

    People keep saying that we “missed out”. Has it ever occurred to you people that maybe they weren’t interested in Henderson, who received plenty of criticism from Zierlien himself (faced weak and imbalanced fronts, too small to carry load, runs out of control) or Ferguson, who didn’t impress with his ability to win one on ones at the Senior Bowl nor did he test well at the Combine. Maybe these players aren’t the stars you think them to be.

  25. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    If the Bucs drafted JBF favorites……we would have to have 183 picks…..

  26. Todd Says:


    Valid points.

  27. 813bucboi Says:

    BA is the type of coach that can get a hold of a kid that has character flaws….im not worried about that…..BA was the only coaching willing to stick his neck out for TM and he kept him in check…..

    like most, i agree that passing on henderson was tough….

    we’ll see how it works out….

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  28. Sport Says:

    Seriously Joe?!

    Get your mind right.

    You nearly injure the Custodian of Canton, the Sage, in a tirade about D Lineman, specifically Edge Rushers and now you are complaining bout every pick after Noah Spence?

    Sorry Bud, you can’t have it both ways.