Defensive Tackle Chatter

March 3rd, 2021

Washington DT Levi Onwuzurike.

As it stands now, the Bucs, with the 32nd pick in the NFL Draft, could damn near go anywhere.

However, if the Bucs lose Lavonte David in free agency, maybe the Bucs will hope linebacker Nick Bolton of Missouri slips enough to be in reach for Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht to draft?

But here is an interesting thought: stat geek Cynthia Frelund of NFL Network decided to do a mock draft based strictly on stats (Joe doubts Frelund even watches games so this is right up her alley).

Frelund thinks — just a guess — that Ndamukong Suh will leave in free agency, so the Bucs will draft a defensive tackle at No. 32 and that is Washington’s Levi Onwuzurike.

Should free agent Ndamukong Suh no longer be a Buc (which is my assumption), Onwuzurike could add production immediately. He opted out in 2020, but in 2019, his run-stopping ability and ability to quickly move laterally stood out. At the defensive tackle position, he ranked fifth in terms of pushing O-linemen back on rushing downs in 2019.

Well, Joe has a better reason to draft Onwuzurike.

Joe has a hunch Suh will stay. But backup Rakeem Nuñez-Roches may not. This Roches started 13 games (including two playoff games) for the Bucs last year on a team that was No. 1 against the rush. He too is a free agent. You don’t think some team will be waving cash in his face to be a full-time starter this fall?

This Onwuzurike could come in and backup Suh and/or Vita and in 2022, when Suh is gone (Joe is guessing), he could step right in and fill Suh’s shoes.

Onwuzurike is 6-foot-3, 293. Suh is 6-4, 313.

Lance Zierlein of compares Oneuzurike to Sheldon Richardson, who used to play for Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. Former NFL scout and Frelund’s colleague at NFL Network, Daniel Jeremiah, referred to Onwuzurike as “a monster.”

32 Responses to “Defensive Tackle Chatter”

  1. Rod Munch Says:

    You generally do not want to rely on rookies to play on the defensive line (also TE and generally S, although Winfield broke that trend), they’re rarely productive – you draft for at least a year before you need them. So even if Suh and Gholston are back, you should be drafting guys for 2022, and for depth this year.

    If you lose Godwin in FA, then I think focusing on a WR might make sense depending on who is available.

    One thing you shouldn’t be drafting in the first is yet another RB. Picking Jones (high 2nd round) and Vaughn (3rd round) are some quality picks to throw away on a position where you can just get someone off the waiver wire to the guy to lead you in the playoffs.

  2. Bucs4821 Says:

    Can never have too many “monsters” on the line of scrimmage. I like Arians’ comments regarding the defense. It’s a huge advantage in what has become an offensive minded, quarterback driven league.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Would be more than happy with this pick. Keep building the trenches.

  4. Duemig from HELL Says:

    Draft the best D players avail. & use Free Agency for Offense

  5. August 1976 Buc Says:

    Build up the Line of Scrimmage, both sides of the Ball. GO BUCS!!!

  6. AtlBuc Says:

    Don’t like him. Gets stalled at the line too much. His penetration into the backfield comes mostly on stunts. Lithc won’t draft him

  7. 941Boltsfan Says:

    I know that teams have tried different things like taking Olympic track stars and wanting to convert then to NFL players. My question is have we had any actual sumo wrestlers take a shot yet?

  8. Buczilla Says:

    There have been some fantastic running backs available recently (Helaire, Chubb, Cook, etc.) where we are picking at 32 who I would take in a heartbeat over what we have now. Jones has improved, but is nothing special and Lenny is likely gone even though I’d love to have him back. Damn good receivers and off ball linebackers are usually available around this range as well.

    From the little draft research that I have done so far as compared to most years (Superbowl baby!), this is a down year for defensive tackles. “Shrug”, at this point, I trust Licht enough to make a good pick at 32 regardless of position and we could use depth everywhere.

  9. Defense Rules Says:

    No way I’d spend a 1st Rnd pick on a DT who sat out 2020. Bucs have bigger needs, specifically DE/OLB (we have almost no depth there & JPP’s contract ends after 2021).

    And oh ya, watching highlight videos like that reinforces to me that there’s a lot of really poor OLine blocking in college.

  10. Bird Says:


    Have you been watching the replacements lately? Shane falco?

  11. Darin Says:

    Nobody who opted out please and thanks. Opt in around here!

  12. Colin in Canada Says:

    When the team has no clear needs you cant go wrong drafting in the trenches.

  13. MadMax Says:

    I want Zaven Collins, but he’s probably gone by pick 32….260 lb very fast kid.

  14. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    Defense Rules says, “No way I’d spend a 1st Rnd pick on a DT who sat out 2020.”

    Some draft gurus believed that if Onwuzurike would have played, most likely he would have been a top 10-15 player chosen.

  15. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    DT makes sense……I agree that we will have trouble keeping both Suh & Roches…….I’m too lazy to study up on the individual candidates yet.

  16. Allbuccedup Says:

    Trade down!

  17. MadMax Says:

    Darius Stills….3rd rd.

  18. Cobraboy Says:

    My issue with this particular guy is he’s a fattie at 290. To get to 320, he’d have to completely change his body.

    That said, I LOVE Big Uglies drafted early. That is where football is won and lost.

  19. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    @TBBF “….I’m too lazy to study up on the individual candidates yet.”

    that is not laziness my friend. That is from the SB endorphins we are still chillin on!

  20. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    DT would be a very good choice if there is a good player available when we pick. If we don’t loose Suh this year, we probably will next year and like you say Joe, Nacho is likely gone this year.

    I must add, an EDGE rusher to groom would be very good too. Definitely either a DT or OLB

  21. 813bucboi Says:

    too light imo…

    GO BUCS!!!!

  22. Logan Says:

    This is not a great DT class. IMO there isn’t a DT worth a first round grade.

  23. Ben green Says:

    Line play still rules the game. Forget defense, draft a swing tackle

  24. PassingThru Says:

    Logan is right, this draft class is weak at DT. Frankly Levi O., Barmore and Nixon might be overdrafts based on need at #32. We’ll see how free agency shakes out. EDGE is thin, but there might be a high ceiling, low floor player worth taking a shot on at the end of the first round.

    In terms of depth though, lots of quality “developmental” OTs will be available after the first round, and this draft has some good WRs.

  25. Lunchbox Says:

    I’d love for us to take Zaven Collins. Watch his tape. Great speed, relentless pursuit, good tackling fundamentals, which I think is sorely lacking these days. He’d fit right in with this defense, although we’d likely have to trade up a bit to get him.

  26. TOM Says:

    Depending on whats available at 32, I wonder if the Bucs would consider Jones or Trask if available.

  27. Joe in Michigan Says:

    I’m curious about something, but too lazy to look it up…I’ve heard Jason Licht talk about drafting guys that “love football, and live football”. Have the Bucs drafted anyone who opted not to play in their bowl game to prepare for the NFL Draft (pre Covid)?

  28. Bucs Guy Says:

    Guys who opted out of 2020 scare me. Are they dedicated? Do they love football? I don’t know, but they haven’t played for a year and how good of shape are they in? You don’t have the combine and pro days to see.

    Depending on FA/Resigning, I think DT may be the best position to go for at pick #32. You can get the first to third best player at that position. You are going to need a DT within the next year or two regardless. LB would be another good choice if LVD leaves.

    If you go OT or Edge, you will get the 8th best player at that position. That’s a much bigger risk. However if you lose Shaq, you may have to take the risk unless you pick up a very good FA.

  29. Mike Says:

    Hopefully Bucs will take BPA or trade up or down to get a guy they want at good value. I would not be opposed to taking the top RB if they fall to us.

  30. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Bucs Guy: I’m not sure where DT/NT Alim McNeill of NC State will go in the draft, but I hear he’s athletic and 320 pounds. Maybe 2nd Round?

  31. TOM Says:

    Suh is not going anywhere.

  32. cmurda Says:

    Don’t draft a RB. Have you not been watching? ROJO is a beast. Not the sweetest hands, but he gallops and he runs hard. If anything, the Bucs could go after a 3rd down specialist like James White and it wouldn’t break the bank. Vaughn has only gotten his feet wet. Plenty of time to prove himself also. No need to spend an early draft pick at RB. Save those first 2 picks for DT and LB