Scott Pioli: Most Underrated Player In Draft Is…

April 12th, 2024

Super Bowl-winning GM likes an edge rusher.

Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht confirmed it yesterday. Recently signed edge rusher/outside linebacker Randy Gregory is not the answer.

Licht said in no uncertain terms that signing Gregory “won’t affect” how the Bucs draft.

So yeah, the Bucs still need an edge rusher.

Joe wrote a story about a one-trick pony from Utah, edge rusher Jonah Elliss. This guy isn’t good against the run, which just might be a no-go for Bucs coach Todd Bowles who believes in stopping the run first.

Joe thought maybe Elliss could be a Day 3 cheap pick and the Bucs could use him as a designated pass rusher. Unlike Chop Robinson, who so many mockers have the Bucs picking at No. 26, Elliss gets production.

Last year for the Utes, this Elliss had 12 sacks in 10 games. Robinson had four — four! — in 12 games, half of which came against UMess.

In a column for, former Belicheats general manager Scott Pioli pointed to Elliss as his most underrated player in the draft.

There are a lot of players who fall under this category, but Elliss is the player I’m focusing on. Measuring 6-foot-2, 248 pounds, he is an undersized edge rusher who surprised a lot of people by entering the draft this year. Although he is a good, young player with major upside, he still has to develop to become a finish product. The son of two-time NFL Pro Bowler Luther Elliss, Jonah possesses good initial get-off, strong pass rush instincts and disruptive ability with a nonstop motor.

Joe wasn’t aware this guy has NFL genes. You know, like a Bosa?

So time for some trivia: From whom did Licht learn tricks of the scouting? Well, yes, of course, Bill Belicheat. But also Licht worked as Pioli’s right-hand man. You thinking what Joe is thinking?

Joe decided to find out what Emory Hunt of CBS, the Czar of the Playbook, had to say about Elliss in his Football Gameplan 2024 Draft Guide.

– Explosive 1st step and ability to really collapse the pocket. He plays every play as if it’s 3rd down. Very strong POA player. Can long-arm stab an OL and also set a physical edge. Converts speed-to-power really well.
– Excellent use of hands to shock & disengage. His hands are constantly working, involving him in a lot of plays.
– Able to chase the run away and close on the QB with great acceleration. Smart player who quickly diagnoses run or pass and is able to do all that while playing fast.

Areas of Improvement:
– There are times where he’s too trusting in his ability to bull rush a tackle but gets met with both length and anchoring ability; needs to develop more of a counter than what he currently has.
– While speed-to-power is his thing, he’ll have to continue to develop and/or utilize more variety in his pass rushing toolkit.

Hunt believes Elliss is the best pure edge rusher in the draft.

While Bowles may not like this guy because he is weak against the run, if the Bucs can get him on Day 2 of the draft, that’s a decent investment on a designated pass rusher.

The Bucs are a sorry team when it comes to pressure off the edge. Beggars shouldn’t be choosers. Dudes stopping the run are a dime a dozen. Dudes burying quarterbacks, which is vital, are rare.

23 Responses to “Scott Pioli: Most Underrated Player In Draft Is…”

  1. adam from ny Says:

    you might want to grab a guy like this with one of our two 3rd round picks

  2. OrlandoBucsFan Says:

    I truly hope Jason Licht and Todd Bowls read this article 🙏

  3. BillyBucco Says:

    I think MOST fans are going to criticize Licht and Bowles for this draft on day 1.
    I honestly think JPJ will be there and they will pass on him, which will send this group into a feeding frenzy. For all the criticism Hainsey has taken, it’s much more about the whole group.
    With A pitiful Feiler and a not much better Stinnie and a rookie undersized Mauch, it looked much worse than it was. Mauch will add weight and strength and improve and we have brought in capable guards to compete.
    You have to look at the disparity between the starter and said draft picks for the best value.
    Since Defensive pressure is so vital and I don’t think Turner, Verse or Latu will be there, what becomes the biggest upgrade?
    IMO inside pressure is KING.
    Philly doesn’t have 5 double digit sackers because their interior is a bunch of string beans. They have big nasties who are pile movers.
    This IMO, makes Logan Hall THE BIGGEST liability on our team.
    Bowles doesn’t have CBs playing 15 yards off on purpose, that is a myth. He is strapped by the D Line production. Defense Rules has pointed to the lack of pressure since Suh left ad nauseam and it is so true.
    That means in my book 2 of the players the Bucs are probably high on are Darius Robinson, who also brings an immediate OLB presence but t projects inside, or Braden Fiske, who makes Hall look like my left testicle.
    If either of those guys are picked, I would be ecstatic.
    Most on this here site, would lose their ever loving $hit.

  4. richbucsfan Says:

    Sounds like JTS.

  5. heyjude Says:

    Agree with OrlandoBucsFan – Hoping that Bowles, Licht, and the Glazers read this article as well as all Joe’s articles.

    Elliss’ older brother Kaden, is currently a linebacker for the Falcons. Jonah could end up going there too. If we can’t get Jared Verse and a couple of others, Elliss could be a strong candidate too.

  6. dmatt Says:

    This guy is relentless. I watched the film on this guy and he has a quick get off with a Dwight Freeney type spin move. Contrary to JTS, he’s very aggressive and never give up on a play. I believe he’s the diamond in the rough edge rusher of the draft. I saw him make tackles against the rush. He’s no push over.

  7. Leopold Stotch Says:

    BillyBucco, I’m with you man, I think they’re going BPA and if it’s a WR, RB, LB, DT or Edge I won’t be shocked. Licht is either fixing mistakes or preparing for the future. I believe him when he says that they’re a better team now. The signings have added depth and competition. So I wouldnt be stunned if he ignores the o line in the higher rounds.

    I am slightly worried about if we do draft an o line that without Goody and Gilbert, that maybe the training and swapping of positions of these guys may not be as successful. We’ve been very fortunate with Marpet, Cappa, Hainsey and Wirfs, but whiffed on Goedeke with LG until he went back to his original RT. Jury is still out on Mauch, but I have faith as long as he stays put.

    Hainsey is OK, I’m with “Ornery” Joe that it’s partially on Rachaad White as well as Hainsey. Also Canales as recently rediscovered or revealed with the interview of Canales that the scheme just didn’t work, by that I mean constantly running up the middle into oblivion, essentially. We’ll see. Looking forward to the draft. Go Bucs!

  8. WhatTheBuc Says:

    I watched the all 22 of Utah vs Washington offense. It’s available on YouTube. Ellis #81 goes against NFL draftable tackles in that game. The results…Ellis was invisible. I don’t think he even had a tackle in the game. He switched between the right and left side and couldn’t beat either tackle. Washington ran right at him for huge gains. If Ellis went for a speed rush, they pushed him past the arch. If he went inside, the tackle collapsed down and buried him. I didn’t watch him again other teams but Washington is a taste of what he will face in the NFL. Go watch that tape Joe then tell me what you see that makes you want Ellis besides his DNA.

  9. Stanglassman Says:

    I don’t see him lasting to our (1st) 3rd round pick. If we haven’t addressed edge by then maybe Kneeland is still available. He will go 45-55 overall. These 2nd tier edge guys are being talked about way too much and they’re flying up mock draft boards. I see this guy on a bunch of 2nd round boards. I saw one where he went in the 1st at pick 32. I think they pick edge early and use their mid round picks to fill their IOL needs.

  10. A Bucs Fan Says:

    I agree with Billy Bucco! I like taking an inside DL! Fiske, Robinson, or Byron Murphy (he probably wouldn’t be there at 26).

    In the second they can get a Frazier, Beebe, or I really like the guard out of UConn Christian Haynes!

    I’d pass on Sweat because of his recent DUI arrest.

  11. WhatTheBuc Says:

    Bucs Fan, You want a DT? They took a DT 2 years in a row. Fiske didn’t have a lot of production in college. He’s a combine champion. He may be better in the NFL but we drafted a better version of Fiske last year. Kancey is one of the few athletes that tested better than Fiske at the combine.

    Beebe will drop because he has the shortest arms almost in draft history for a guard.

  12. Ed Says:

    Just watched his highlights. I’ll leave the athletic athletic measurements up to the Combine watchers.

    I see a guy that likes to play football and gets into the backfield and goes directly after the quarterback, yes, watch his film JTS, that’s what football players do. He doesn’t give up on plays and appears to have good upper body strength.

    The Bucs in the past have overdrafted top athletes who measured high in speed but didn’t have football instincts. JTS, Devin White, Noah Spence and a few others impressed at Combine but didn’t have the dog in them.

    This guy looks like the kind of player they need, he hustles and isn’t afraid of contact. Maybe those that watch more college know more than I do but on film there is definitely a guy who is more football player than elite athlete.

  13. Bucco Bruce Says:

    Thanks for the article on this Elliss. I still believe he is a 3rd-4th rd guy that will grow and produce results. I really don’t like this year’s edge prospects except Latu but he won’t last with a neck fusion.

    I have seen Jer’zan Newton somehow falling to us in the first or at least in reasonable reach. I feel like he would be a steal and would replace Hall who is more of a off the bench guy than starter. Vita, Chancy, Newton upfront in both 3 front and 4 front would be very very dangerous. I am super sold on him being a true force.

    The centers out of Arkansas and Wisconsin can probably be had 4th-5th round and I like both of them as well.

    We need a corner, wr, guard, and lb as well. So I think Newton won’t happen even though he would sure up our run defense and massively contribute to our rush. I hear talks of us possibly moving up this year for a few targets but idk we really need our picks to fill up gaps. If anything we need to also maybe pick up another 4th or a 5th that we lack.

  14. Thisisouryear!! Says:

    Hainsey was the strongest part of the center of our line by far. I don’t think the complainers watched what he did. Mauch was terrible 3/4 of the season a whoever we had as left guard was worse. Hainsey is a solid starter with help on both sides of him. If you want to move him back to guard that’s one thing but give this guy a little credit.

  15. WhatTheBuc Says:

    Hainsey was the 32nd ranked center. For those of you that are bad at math, that’s last place.

  16. LANshark Says:

    You guys who seem to think Hainsey was OK, definitely did not watch the film of any of our pass plays, especially against Carolina. Hainsey was pushed back into Baker’s face on every play. He may be OK as a guard, but he’s not a center.

  17. unbelievable Says:

    Kinda reminds me of a Noah Spence type who could be had in later rounds, but not because of any off-field issues.

    Doubtful he’d make an impact this year, but if you could snag him in the 4th round or later, could be a great pick long-term.

  18. Shane Callahan Says:

    You’ve made me a believer. Let’s get him!

  19. ChiBuc Says:

    I agree with Bucco Bruce’s loquacious post. And imo, Latu would be at the top of my list, regardless of health concerns

  20. Esteban85 Says:

    I like when we draft NFL bloodlines. This guy looks like he’s worth our second third round pick.

  21. Marky Mark Says:

    The Utes are in a pass happy league and region. He probably does not get much practice against the run. He could be good against the run with training and game time. That is why player loans to the UFL should be negotiated. I am confused though that Jose Buccanero keeps flip flopping on Tweeners. This guy is somewhere between a DE and and a blitz Safety. I thought Johannes Buccheimer hated tweeners.

  22. PNW Buc Says:

    Anybody looking at Darius Robinson out of Missouri?
    Plays violent, has a motor, good against the run, and can move him inside on 3rd down…

  23. BigMacAttack Says:

    I’d like a standout player for 1’st pick to address one of the needs and the one who’s far best in class at 26. My personal want would be a running back difference maker in round one. White isn’t a bad back but st 26, you should be able to get a star, or even moving back a few slots. I like the 3’rd round in this class and if the Bucs can get 3-3 round pics, there’s a lot of value there. Imo