Todd Bowles: Where Zyon McCollum Played Is Overblown

May 9th, 2022

Looks for ballers.

At Division-IAA powerhouse Sam Houston State, rookie Bucs corner Zyon McCollum was like a man playing with boys.

The guy just dominated and it is why the Bucs traded their fourth-round pick in 2023 to draft him in the fifth round.

But Joe knows there were Bucs fans who howled in outrage that the Bucs drafted a guy who didn’t play in the SEC much less the Big XII or the PAC-12. Appearing on “Movin’ the Chains” last week with co-hosts Pat Kirwan and Jim Miller, heard exclusively on SiriusXM NFL Radio, head coach Todd Bowles said folks getting bent over small school players is blown out of proportion in today’s football.

Kirwan said to Bowles it seems like in the past 15 years small school corners have transitioned well to the NFL. Kirwan asked Bowles if he believes that premise.

“I think the small school/big school thing is overrated nowadays,” Bowles said. “I think it is about drafting the best football player. You can see the small school guys dominate their division and play great football which can also translate into big schools or the NFL.

“Its not a matter of getting guys from Power-5 conferences. It’s a matter of who can play football and who can help you. I think the small school/big school thing has fallen by the wayside a little.”

With the Bucs, certainly bias against small school offensive linemen has been dismissed. The middle of the Bucs’ offensive line that won 29 games the past two years was made up of guys from Hobart College, Colorado State-Pueblo and Humboldt State.

Not exactly Big Ten schools.

The way Bowles spoke of McCollum, he thinks the Bucs got a steal.

“To get somebody like that in the fifth round is outstanding,” Bowles said. “He had the best three-cone ever at the combine and that’s saying something. There have been a lot of great athletes who have gone through there. But he can play press-man and he has very good ball skills.”

Miller added that McCollum has a knack for blocking kicks. That’s always an asset. The Bucs did not block one last season.

24 Responses to “Todd Bowles: Where Zyon McCollum Played Is Overblown”

  1. 1#bucsfan Says:

    I hope this kids pushes dean SMB. Competition is good n hopefully he adds depth. In practice feed this kid to the wolves let him guard ME13 so he can see what’s it’s like going up against elite WRs so when the time comes and he gets into some game action he will have some experience

  2. Anonymous Says:

    If you can ball you can ball!

  3. geno711 Says:

    It is more about potential at this point. It is not who was better 6 months ago. It is about who will be the best player in 6 months from the draft after Bucs have been coaching a guy.

    Let’s hope that after 6 months of coaching McCollum will be looking like an every-day starter.

  4. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Hopefully, McCollum is the next Darrell Green..

  5. STL-BucsFan Says:

    @1#bucsfan i love that idea!! Steele sharpens Steel

  6. Bird Says:

    If he is first off bench and plays special teams gunner in first year , that is huge value in that round

  7. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    The competition that will sharpen Zion will be against Evans, Gage, Perriman, Johnson, Miller, Grayson and yes…..Darden.

    McCollom may just be my favorite pick of the draft……could have easily picked him wit either of our 4th round picks……and we came back in and nabbed him in the 5th…..

    He is simply too athletic to pass up.


    I believe Dean was coming on last year. Big improvement from year before. SMB, I’m sorry to say was not any better than the year before. I could see McCollom beating out SMB.

  9. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    A lot of speedy CB have tight hips but this guy had the best 3 cone drill time at the combine…wow. The kid is going to be special.

  10. First Down Tampa Bay Says:

    “guys from Hobart College, Colorado State-Pueblo and Humboldt State.

    Not exactly Big Ten schools.”

    Ironically, our other two lineman are actually from Big Ten schools…

  11. PSL Bob Says:

    I don’t know I agree with TB’s take on small schools (By the way, we’ve got too many TB initials to deal with – in this case it’s Todd Bowles). College recruiters watch high school players the way NFL recruiters watch college players. I’m sure that the majority of top skill players get scholarships to FCS colleges. It doesn’t mean that those going to small schools can’t develop into outstanding football players. Obviously, we have benefited from some of those players. But when you look at the odds, I’d rather have a CB out of a major conference than someone from a small school. The major conferences face tougher competition and are typically better coached. Lets hope McCollum is an exception.

  12. Guzzie Says:

    When you talk recruiting high school kids, that’s not taking into account of so many kids aren’t fully developed mentally and especially physically, granted a majority are big school kids who make it, but landing a small school project, and that draftee becomes a success it’s special

  13. Captain Oblivious Says:

    I don’t care that Zyon McCollum played at Sam Huston Institute of Technology, he has the size and speed to be successful in the NFL.

  14. Cobraboy Says:

    I agree with Guzzie.

    Kids physically mature at different ages, so just because a kid matures quickly and goes to a major school does not mean another kid won’t mature.

    I didn’t really physically mature until I was 20. I knew guys who were men at 17, but got older much more quickly. By 21 I passed them physically.

  15. Cobraboy Says:

    Read between the Bowles lines: this kid’s record three-cone means he can bend around the up back on PAT/FG’s quickly.

    The kid will be on the FG defense team as a disruptive outside guy. Kick blocks.

  16. Brandon Says:

    Alanbucsfan Says:
    May 9th, 2022 at 7:27 am
    Hopefully, McCollum is the next Darrell Green..


    Darrell Green was listed at 5’8… meaning he was probably 5’7. Pretty sure McCollum at nearly 6’2 might be the next… anything bigger than that… Al Harris 6’1 former small school 6th rounder, Richard Sherman 6’3 5th rounder… pretty much anyone other than Green, the former 1st rounder out of Texas A and I.

  17. Brandon Says:

    First Down Tampa Bay Says:
    May 9th, 2022 at 10:15 am
    “guys from Hobart College, Colorado State-Pueblo and Humboldt State.

    Not exactly Big Ten schools.”

    Ironically, our other two lineman are actually from Big Ten schools…


    That’s actually the polar opposite of irony…. maybe COINCIDENCE…. or FITTINGLY… but definitely not IRONY.

  18. Texas Buc 1976 Says:

    @ 1# Bucsfan
    This kid grew up in Gavelston like his idol ME13. So yeah, put him up against big Mike.

  19. FreddyBucsFan Says:

    Watching his highlights, he had some shiftiness to him. Punt return candidate?

  20. rrsrq Says:

    Some the best players in football history come from small schools: Walter Payton, Jerry Rice, Doug Williams, Steve McNair, Randy Moss, Darius Leonard, Tyreek Hill, etc…

  21. BillyBucco Says:

    Lenny is sure to miss some games and I believe White will start when he does.
    Hall will start
    Goedeke will start
    Camarda will start
    McCullom will beat out SMB for nickel
    Otton is already better receiver and blocker than Brate. Starter

    At first people were irritated by this draft because there are no “Superstars”.
    I beg to differ.

  22. Pickgrin Says:

    Bucs invested a high 2nd round pick for Sean Murphy-Bunting – a player who dominated at CB for the Central Michigan Chippewas. How well has taking a chance on that ‘small school’ stud worked out?

    Hard to believe a guy with measurables like Zyon was still sitting there in the 5th round – but I’m glad he was and that Licht saw the value in trading next year’s late round 4th pick to go get him.

  23. Tony Says:

    I’ve always said that about teams. Teams always pass on players because of the school they’re coming out of but at times that doesn’t mean anything.

    Either they wanted to stay closer to home.
    It might of been cheaper to go to.
    They might of realized they’d get noticed there quicker over one of the bigger schools. Where they might not get as much playing time being there’s just as much talent.

  24. geno711 Says:

    Pickgrin Says:
    May 9th, 2022 at 6:13 pm
    Bucs invested a high 2nd round pick for Sean Murphy-Bunting – a player who dominated at CB for the Central Michigan Chippewas. How well has taking a chance on that ‘small school’ stud worked out?

    I get your point but neither Greedy Williams from LSU or Trayvon Mullen from Clemson who Joe Bucs fans were clamoring for instead of SMB worked out any better. My friend wanted Dalton Risner instead of SMB and Risner is JAG as well (Cappa worked out to be a better player). So Bucs leadership seem to be doing alright with their picks of Dean, SMB and Edwards from that draft.

    BTW. How many fans were saying that we should have made the early 3rd round pick for Darrell Henderson instead of getting Dean and Edwards?