Making A Local Kid A Bucs Stud

April 20th, 2024

Illinois DT Johnny Newton terrorized B1G quarterbacks.

Joe has thrown this out multiple times and is serious.

If the Bucs refuse/cannot find an edge rusher, then how about drafting another defensive tackle and build the scariest friggin’ interior defensive line in the league? Just bludgeon offensive lines to the point they physically can’t block come the fourth quarter.

After all, it’s not like the Bucs had any sort of edge rush that would scare a high school team last season.

At times, just a few times, the Bucs used Calijah Kancey and Vita Vea on the edge because they were so deep at defensive tackle and weak on the edge. The results were pretty good (yes, Joe knows you cannot do that all the time).

Joe was thinking about this while reading Bucky Brooks of brag about Illinois defensive tackle Johnny Newton. Then Joe found out Newton is from St. Petersburg and played for Clearwater Central Catholic before going to the oasis amid the cornfields in Champaign.

It seems Dane Brugler of The Athletic, typing in his 2024 draft guide “The Beast” is a big fan of Newton.

SUMMARY: A three-year starter at Illinois, Newton played all over the defensive line but primarily over the B-gap in defensive coordinator Aaron Henry’s hybrid fronts. He put together an impressive resume with back-to-back All-America seasons in 2022 and 2023, combining for 103 pressures (the most by any FBS interior defensive lineman in that span). With his twitchy get-off and sense of urgency, Newton creates immediate vertical push and wins early, versus both pass and run, often forcing quarterbacks to speed up their internal clock. Although he can be engulfed at times, especially in the run game , his use of leverage and violent shed tactics help him remain a factor, including various snatch/pull techniques to use the weight of blockers against them (NFL scout: “You have to ignore the measurables and focus on the football player, because he’s a good one.”). Overall, Newton’s undersized, compact frame will be a turn-off for some teams, but he is tough to block one-on-one, because of his gap quickness, natural power and nose for the ball. …

Brugler believes Newton is a late first-round or early second-round pick.

So even Newton has logged snaps at defensive end. So he could be versatile.

Look, it’s bad to not have an edge rusher. But man, if a team is loaded with freakish tackles, couldn’t you create quality mismatches? You know, some stunts and blitzes? Joe has heard Todd Bowles is into that sort of thing.

Florida NFL teams sometimes have concerns for players from northern schools: Can they adapt to the Florida heat and humidity? That’s not an issue for Newton. He knows all about it. It’s home.

Joe thinks with a group of tackles like Vita Vea, Calijah Kancey, Will Gholston, Greg Gaines and a top-shelf rookie like Newton, the Bucs could simply wear down offensive lines and come the fourth quarter, all hell breaks loose.

(Yes, Joe is purposely sleeping on/forgetting Logan Hall and Mike Greene because these guys have to first do something other than destroy a valuable teammate’s knee in underwear football in order to awaken Joe.)

And Joe really, really believes Kancey will be a monster.

If you can’t find an edge rusher in the draft, and this century it sure seems like a riddle the Bucs cannot solve with a rookie, you may as well build an interior that implants fear and pain in the hearts of opponents.

(Fun fact: Newton as a defensive tackle had more sacks than Chop Robinson as an alleged edge rusher.)

56 Responses to “Making A Local Kid A Bucs Stud”

  1. SB~LV Says:

    I would be very happy with this pick if the other names are off the board.
    Excellent value at 26 !

  2. Bobby M. Says:

    We proved during the SB year, the d-line’s effectiveness made the rest of the defense look better than it was. Having Vea, Suh and JPP upfront, White and Shaq looked like studs. When we lost Suh and JPP, suddenly White and Shaq looked less effective and the CBs couldn’t play as aggressive. Bowles blitzes from all over, I don’t think edge rusher is as valuable as a dominant d-line. Give Bowles 3 stellar guys upfront and he’ll be sending whoever he wants, whenever he wants.

  3. A Bucs Fan Says:

    I love the amount of snaps that he plays. It could be a big time move with a WEAK EDGE class. Also it would not only be a home coming but a family reunion too! I read on the interwebs that SirVocea Dennis is his cousin and that he would love to play with him in Tampa.

  4. Bucs Guy Says:

    If the top 3 edge abs IOL are off the board and the Bucs can’t trade back, I would be OK with Newton or a WR.

  5. JimBobBuc Says:

    Pass rush doesn’t have to come from the edge guys. An interior rush in the face of QB’s would be great, especially against the Falcons’ “superstar” Cousins! Let’s show the pundits wrong by owning the Falcons and the rest of the division.

    Newton had 7.5 sacks and a FF last year. Not sure Newton will be around at #26 though.

  6. Scott Says:

    Would rather have B Murphy but he prob won’t be there

  7. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Joe is so desperate for edge that he may next suggest a TE who has some skills in that area.

  8. Hodad Says:

    How about a top flight wide receiver? If the Bucs could score more points, they’ll probably win more games.

  9. Joe in Michigan Says:

    I was surprised they took Kancey last year, but he seems to be a good player. If they pick this guy, I’ll be rooting for him. Do I expect the Bucs to take him? No.

  10. Obvious Says:

    O come on…..

    I presented this almost 2 weeks ago and called an interior D lineman The First Round Pick Instead of an edge Or Anything else an used This Very Logic. I presented it as “can you imagine having a full line of Vita Vea’s coming at you INCLUDING from the EDGES. Kancey being my prime example of the type of guy to put on the outside.

    It IS a great idea and I called the first round pick as a D lineman right here on jbf. Not an edge, not a corner or anything else but another Big Boy… Weird how SOME all the sudden have called it “their” bright idea…. Sure Joe. You just hit you right….

    Come On Man! You can like the idea, but Don’t call it yours. Plus comments were made at the time and a couple of others have also spoke on it since. You’re a bit late to the party to call it “your vision” but I’m glad to see others are seeing it like I am.
    We have the proper coach to pull it off as well. One of the redeeming qualities of Todd Bowles..

    I’m still not sold on an interior D lineman as Lichts pick but I can see him in particular going for it. He Does like to surprise us.. But ONLY I’d the top 3 are gone and the TOP D lineman is still there…

  11. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:


  12. SB~LV Says:

    @Obvious 🤣🤡😂🥱🏆

  13. Not Says:

    Compact undersized frame ?
    Isn’t that Hainsey.
    I thought we’re looking to wear down the opponents line ?

  14. Beeej Says:

    Line of Kancey/Vea/Newton works for me

  15. Admiral Redbeard Says:

    If Licht drafts a DL, I would love to see T’Vondre Sweat be that pick. He would be a great back-up/future replacement for Vea who is usually out/injured for a couple of games every year. It would also allow the Bucs to have a massive front against short yardage and goal line situations with Sweat at NT and Vea playing Suh’s old spot at RE. Bonus is it wouldn’t take a 1st round pick to get him, leaving the focus on C/LG/Edge which are MUCH higher needs right now.

  16. JimBobBuc Says:

    While I like Newton, I’m not sure he should be our pick at 26. I’d rather go with IOL. Newton does have some solid producction with 7.5 sacks and 26 ! solo tackles last year. Bowles platoons his DL, so Newton would only be on the field half the time.

    At 57, I like Chris Braswell at edge. He played left edge, which I think is a big plus. Braswell had 8 sacks, 3 FF, 1 INT, and a blocked kick last year – great production in my view. He’s got a second round grade because his bend is limited and sometimes lacks play recognition.

  17. BUCman Says:

    We have too many other areas that should be our focus with our first pick for a change. We have used our first pick on the defensive line 4 times in recent years. Vea, JTS, Hall, Kancey. Pick 26 is too high for Newton. He is a second round talent. There will definitely be better players available.

  18. Beeej Says:

    If you can’t control/contest the LOS, you can’t win

  19. SB~LV Says:

    Beeej…. Exactly!
    Visions of the Lions pounding the Bucs into the turf over 4 quarters in the Bucs last game of 2023
    That said the IOL needs to be addressed too

  20. stpetebucfan Says:

    That was a very entertaining and thought provoking post Joe.

    I couldn’t agree more with your thesis and it made me think about simply being “creative”. Yes the NFL is a copy cat league and for good reason…no need to reinvent the wheel. But perhaps the “wheel” is getting a little flat and needs a blast of fresh air.

    Joe’s points make sense and if you wish to dominate the LOS with big uglies what better place to start. The fact that some of these guys are versatile enough to play outside…BTW hit youtube and ask for the high school football highlights of Vita Vea..he was a freaking star RUNNING BACK! The dude is a freak. He can play in space. As pointed out there are a couple of other “tweeners” “versatile?” guys who can easily move around.

    Imagine the “elephant” DL with four of the beasts on the field at the same time?

    Bottom line for me is that if Bowles real strength has been his ability to create defensive twists and disguises. TB may be a dinosaur in offensive mindset but he’s a guru on the D side of the ball.

  21. WilieG Says:

    I’d be perfectly okay with them drafting another tackle. Put 4 of them on the field at the same time…..then blitz someone else. Yeah, I think they can get away with not having a premier edge rusher as long as Bowles is creative (as he is known to be). Who knows? Maybe he’s going to start a new trend with beast on beast and blitzes from anywhere and everywhere?

  22. BUCS TRUCK Says:

    Did you see that picture? He not only. sacks the quarterback. but then shoves the football. where the sun don’t shine.

  23. BUCS TRUCK Says:

    What now

  24. BUCS TRUCK Says:

    Joe, it’s hard to moderate if What’s wrong? Did you look at where the football? is located in the photograph.

  25. Joe Says:

    Joe is so desperate for edge that he may next suggest a TE who has some skills in that area. is so desperate for edge that he may next suggest a TE who has some skills in that area.

    Interesting thought.

  26. lambchopp Says:


    Why is clout on a blog so important to you? LMAO.

  27. MadMax Says:

    Yeah give me Sweat with a late 3rd/early 4th. Much bigger and stronger but Newton IS faster. I like him but we have bigger needs right now with those first 2 picks.

    Estime – Kamara
    Trotter jr – Sweat

  28. Steven007 Says:

    Lamb Chop, I was thinking the same thing. Who cares who said something first? In the service of what, some vapor jbf random anonymous poster award? First of all, it’s nearly impossible to prove. Some of the more frequent munchie posters do this all the time. Obsessed with saying they called it. So silly. But that’s what I thought with that passive aggressive post as well.

  29. Stanglassman Says:

    Like I said a few days ago:

    Stanglassman Says:
    April 19th, 2024 at 4:59 pm
    IL DT Johny Newton’s comp is Kancey. He’s SirVocea Dennis‘s cousin out of Clearwater FL. If the top-line IOT, Edge guys are off the board and trading back a few spots happens or not. He’d be a great option. The goal is to get Qb pressure with your front 4. Not to get pressure from OLB/Edge. A good pass-rushing DT who can also stop the run is always a good option.

  30. Joe Says:


    Joe did read your comment and mentioning how he was from Clearwater (his bio said St. Petersburg) did prompt Joe to do some research. And Joe was very pleased with what he found.

    The fact he went to Clearwater Central Catholic helped. 🙂 Those folks always treated Joe quite right when John Davis and Mike Jalazo were there.

  31. Joe Says:


    Joe did not catch your comment (Joe can’t read them all) but nice call on this kid. Illinois football isn’t fully on Joe’s radar! 🙂

  32. Saskbucs Says:

    Latu, Verse, Barton, JPJ, Newton, Murphy…. One of those 6 will be there and I will be thrilled if we get one of them. Newton and Murphy maybe excite me more than JPJ at this point.

  33. Steven007 Says:

    Joe, Mike Jalazo is a friend of mine and it’s a shame he’s not still coaching. Told me a few times that he loved coaching and loved the kids, but by far the worst part of the job was dealing with the parents, each of whom thought their kid was a future first round draft pick.

  34. Jake been there since the beginning Says:

    Newton sounds good , and if those three are in your face all day yeah Bowles can unload whatever whenever. How many times did White and Edmonds get just crushed right there getting the ball.. How did that saying say, a good defensive rush can make a bad corner look great. A bad front will make a great corner look bad.

  35. Buc1987 Says:

    Obvious….you obviously think everyone reads your posts.

  36. CTBucs Says:

    Friske has better pass rush ability as an interior rusher…. and can be had fifteen picks later. Trade down and get an IOL and a DL with the first two picks

  37. Fred McNeil Says:

    Up to a point I don’t really care who they take as long as he makes an impact. I mean, I have my hopefuls, but in not the one pouring over endless film and researching hundreds of kids.
    I’m figuring we will be having some far more pointed discussions early Friday morning. Don’t hit the Bromosas too hard Joe. You’ve got articles to write Thursday night/Friday Morning. Don’t let us down.

  38. Fred McNeil Says:

    I guess I know more who I don’t want. I don’t want Chop Robinson or that kneeland kid. I want production. No more Halls or JTSs

  39. Bobby Says:

    After looking at the tape you attached to this. Newton is just as you wrote about. He looks good! Yea if Jason, Spytek, Greenburg, Todd do it and select Newton here that would be fun too watch. You know imagine Kancey playing next to Newton on some plays. That kind of interior pressure dominance could be something Bucs have not scene since since Sapp & Booger, Brad Culpepper and others during the days of our beloved Tampa 2 Defense. Bucs could potentially have a wicked front with Vea, Kancey and Newton here. Exciting possibilities,

  40. Ron Potter Says:

    Would be a surprise pick but I like it!

  41. Bobby Says:

    One of the Joes said Chop Rob may blow up in the NFL like other past James Franklin players in NFL. Then another Joe said he is reminiscent of a JTS. Only thing I know with absolute is it would be absolutely horrible to Bucs fans if Chop were drafted elsewhere and became an absolute beast. Tough choice here. I still would love for Bucs to get Brock Bowers, imagine the Bucs with a stud TE again. Boy do we miss Gronk!! Also these are all good possibilities too Bryan Thomas Jr, Kool-Aid, that Center Powers-Johnson looks like he is going to be a stud too. I think Bryan Thomas Jr is going to a star in the NFL. Too many choices lol.

  42. Joe Says:


    That’s what Joe is thinking (ferocious defensive line with so many strong tackles). 🙂

  43. Joe Says:


    Jalazo had a guy, can’t remember his name, but was a decent maybe good quarterback. Apparently the kid’s dad must have thought he had Justin Herbert as a son. He transferred the kid to Lakeland.

    Big deal, right? Well…

    The Dreadnaughts were loaded and this was when Bill Castle was there. The quarterback who transferred in, his dad apparently didn’t do his homework. The starting quarterback for Lakeland was a kid by the name of Blair Castle. Yup, the coach’s son.

    So, the guy who sleeps with the quarterback’s mother was supposed to bench the kid for the quarterback who transferred in?

    That’s the type of egos from parents that Jalazo, and many high school coaches, have to deal with.

    Joe has other stories. 🙂

  44. Steven007 Says:

    Joe, I’m sure you do. At one point, Mike had both Riley Cooper and Colin McCarthy on his team. Both ended up being drafted in the league and had decent careers after college. A lot of interesting stories about his conversations with Big Time college coaches and that kind of thing. Cooper ended up in Gainesville. I’m not sure where McCarthy went,. Miami I believe? But yes, the egos on these parents so often is toxic.

  45. Hearty Dikerson Says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with this article. Newton is very talented and plays mean – we need more of that in this team. If we can’t find that prototypical OLB, I’m all for loading up on talented tackles and ends. I’d rather have 4 good linemen than 1 elite edge rusher.

  46. Smashsquatch Says:

    I like his tape. Would be a nice compliment to the interior group. Plays like Kancey, nice redundancy pick.

  47. Joe Says:

    Joe, I’m sure you do. At one point, Mike had both Riley Cooper and Colin McCarthy on his team. Both ended up being drafted in the league and had decent careers after college.

    There was also an offensive lineman (can’t remember his name) at the same time at CCC who played at Miami also (think) and had a cup of coffee in the league.

  48. Dave Pear Says:

    Watch who the Bucs sign as UDFAs. Don’t be surprised if one of them is Sojangus Fustafa from Little Rock JC. He’s been turning heads.

  49. Obvious Says:

    Right on Joe. You’re a class act.

    The rest of you, I wasn’t speaking to you… but you certainly are Some Kinda Hypocrites. Let me guess, YOU think You’re special right….

    Sure! 👌

  50. geno711 Says:

    CTBucs Says:
    April 20th, 2024 at 12:20 pm
    Friske has better pass rush ability as an interior rusher…. and can be had fifteen picks later. Trade down and get an IOL and a DL with the first two picks

    I did not really watch either because I do no watch college football, but generally the production was similar these last two years.

    Maybe scouts and NFL personnel folks value Newton more because he is doing the same things at 2 and 1/2 years younger than what Fiske is doing at 2 and 1/2 years older.

    Maybe for some that is worth the 15 picks difference. Fiske is probably closer maxed out his full man strength than Newton.

    Fiske graduated from Western Michigan with his degree in 2022 and just was playing and working on football in 2023 as essentially a 6-year player after he graduated high school.

    Fiske and Florida States other DT, Fabian Levett are the oldest DT’S IN THE DRAFT.

  51. Stanglassman Says:

    Just the fact that he’s Ya Ya’s cousin and he said he is the real deal. His comp being Kancey is also a huge plus. Imagine having two interior guys that can get after the Qb? It’s gonna make whoever they put out on the edge more successful.

  52. Dave Pear Says:

    Another lesser known player is Canadian college edge rusher Pierre Lerouge. 3 year starter at Guelph. Likely he ends up playing hockey.

  53. Bring back the lawn chairs Says:

    I like newton because a quarterback never completed a pass laying on his back!

  54. Toad Bowels Says:

    Great article, Joe. You’re doing some great reporting this draft season!

  55. Joe Says:

    Great article, Joe. You’re doing some great reporting this draft season!

    Thank you.

  56. kaimaru Says:

    Can get destroyed as a run defender
    Has plays were he is bulled out of his gap
    Inconsistent motor
    Disappears at times during games
    Funny body
    Could have real problems with NFL mass
    Lacks height
    Lacks length
    Boom/bust uncertainty

    Uh….hard pass!