“We Felt Like Bucky Was The Right Fit For Us”

April 30th, 2024

Bucky Irving vs. Ray Davis explained.

Joe already touched upon this once but here was the inside intel from a man in the Bucs’ war room all last weekend.

The Bucs needed a running back. Just about anyone watching the Bucs last year could figure this out. Stevie Wonder saw this.

So here comes the fourth round and the Bucs were on the clock at Pick No. 125. Kentucky running back Ray Davis, a man that new Bucs offensive coordinator Liam Coen personally coached last year seemed to be the obvious pick.

After all, who in the NFL knew Davis better? And what running back in the draft knew Coen’s offense better than Davis?

An easy fit, right? But no! The Bucs pulled a curveball and selected Bucky Irving from Oregon.

Joe had zero issue with the pick. In fact, Joe liked it then and likes it more now. But Joe had to know, why not Davis who went three picks later to Buffalo?

When Bucs assistant general manager John Spytek spoke with the pen and mic club Saturday night, Joe asked him if there was a give-and-take in the war room between Coen lobbying for Davis and Bucs officials wanting others.

Spytek wouldn’t go there but he said in no uncertain terms Irving vs. Davis was debated before the draft and Irving was ranked ahead of Davis on the Bucs’ draft board.

So for Spytek, the choice was a slam dunk: Irving.

“We hashed this out well in advance,” Spytek told Joe. “The board gets set when it gets set and we stick to it.

“Obviously Liam was a big part of that. When you have a coach that — we had several [coaches] this year who came from college that had kind of intimate knowledge of these players — you use that as much as you can.

“We had many, many discussions with Liam and everybody about the players they ran across or coached. At the end of the day we stacked the board the way we stacked it. We felt like Bucky was the right fit for us. So he was the pick.”

Again, Joe had zero issues with picking Irving, but Joe found it odd because Davis seemed like a no-brainer selection.

As Joe wrote, NFL Films analyst Greg Cosell’s pre-draft breakdown on Irving revealed he thought Irving would fit as the starting running back for the Dolphins.

Miami coach Mike McDaniel runs an offense very similar to Sean McVay’s since McDaniel is from the Kyle Shanahan/McVay tree. So too is Coen. So by simple math, this tells Joe that Coen’s offense with the Bucs will look a lot like Miami’s.

And yes, “this Joe” will take Baker Mayfield over Tua in a heartbeat.

37 Responses to ““We Felt Like Bucky Was The Right Fit For Us””

  1. Lt. Dan Says:

    This is the explanation I’ve bee waiting for. Thank you…and leave Stevie alone!

  2. Steve in Mad Beach Says:

    I think that you’re jumping to a conclusions with the Miami offense comparison. The Dolphins want sprinters and they drafted one, Jaylen Wright, right before the Bucs took Bucky the Buccaneer

  3. SB~LV Says:

    All about running style and adding something different to the running game and game plan ability.
    The kid has God given balance, vision and cut and acceleration along with the ability to do it all in crowded confusing small areas.
    Fingers crossed that he can continue with his bag of tricks in the NFL .
    Explosive offensive players is what I have been calling for and he fits the profile along with the 3rd round WR

  4. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    I liked that Coen had inside knowledge of Davis but chose to go with the better fit.

  5. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Jordan Somerville begins his first season in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2023 as assistant quarterbacks coach.

    In 2022, Somerville was an offensive analyst at the University of Oregon, assisting an offense that ranked sixth among Power 5 programs in scrimmage yards per game (500.5) and 10th in points per game (38.8).

    I’ve pointed this out several times…..but no mention.

    Surely he had a strong input on this pick.

  6. SB~LV Says:

    The NFL is leading a incentive trail to Pinball Wizard football games!
    You can’t play that type of game without Pinball Wizard players… just saying
    Just wait until the craziness of the new kickoff game arrives on your big screen and bottles , cans and remote controls start flying every Sunday next fall!

  7. Tucker Says:

    Ray Davis would have been a perfect pick I think. This was probably my least favorite pick but we will see what bucky can do still a solid draft by the bucs. I’m not saying bucky won’t be good I just like Davis better.

  8. Conte Piscatelli Says:

    look nothing against Ray Davis, but let’s face it Kentucky isn’t a recruiting powerhouse. So yes Davis was a starter because Coen played with the cards he was dealt. Hell maybe Coen would have preferred Bucky at Kentucky as well. You pick the best player, not the guy you know.

  9. Mort Says:

    If you don’t like this pick, you simply haven’t watched any Bucky Irving tape. Go to YouTube and study up. This kid is awesome.

  10. Smashsquatch Says:

    I like the Warrick Dunn comp. Dunn ranks high on my list of favorite Bucs. He was so smooth with tons of wiggle. Defenders had a hard time simply getting their hands on him. He was able to last 12 years as a small back because he rarely took direct hits. If Bucky can bring that same style & talent to the Bucs, could we have our best 1-2 punch at RB since Alstott & Dunn?

  11. Tarheel Buc Says:

    Man I just do not get going for another elusive receiving/scat back guy when we still don’t have an RB that we can trust to pound the rock inside to get 1 or 2 yards on crucial third downs. This coaching staff must have tremendous faith that all R. White needs is a stronger center to get the job done. And it will probably help but will it be enough?

    Irving cannot block either, like he will be worse than Ronald Jones in that respect. I just keep scratching my head on this one wondering what he brings to this squad that White and Vaughn shouldn’t theoretically already be doing for us.

  12. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    John Spytek said when Bucky Irving came in for a team visit prior to the draft, Bucky said, “the first guy doesn’t tackle me.” I guess that impressed both Licht and Spytek. The college tapes backs up Bucky’s quote.

  13. Scott Says:

    Maybe it’s because he’s a little bit better of a pass catcher. I’m not sure. Both grade out very similar with Bucky being a few spots higher. Dion Lewis is probably a good comparison.

  14. Capt.Tim Says:

    Bucky Irving is 5’10”, 190 lbs. 4.55 forty.

    Hes small. Not running thru you. Not running away from you.
    Hes gonna struggle to get on the field, in the NFL.

  15. Mort Says:

    Tim: watch the tape. His height isn’t EVER a problem, nor is his speed. His build helps him be extremely elusive and hard to tackle. And he always falls forward.

  16. Buccos Says:

    Doesn’t the Bucs front office know that Capt. Tim doesn’t like Bucky?!? How could they choose a player without consulting with him

  17. Will Says:

    @Tarheel Buc Vaughn isn’t even on the team any longer 🙄

    My guess is that they believe that the kid from Syracuse (Tucker) will be able to contribute this year and hopefully be that short yardage back. I’ve wanted a back like Irving for a while now we haven’t had a back with any “wiggle” since Dunn it’s about time we changed that.

  18. BillyBucco Says:

    Sometimes guys who are a tick slower have that extra half second to read the defense and have vision. Im not concerned we didn’t get a guy who needs to run over someone. That is what blocking is for. Bucky ran inside quite a bit effectively. It’s hard to see those small backs.
    I personally loved the pick and so did several other analysts.
    Plenty of teams run the rock without having a Derrick Henry on their team.
    Hell, KC has one of the smaller backs in football.
    Trust the process.
    We got better.

  19. 74 Bucs Fan Says:

    Bulldozing someone to pick up a first down is key, but if Bucky can squirt through a small hole and make the LB miss, then problem solved. I wasn’t thrilled at first, but watched his tape and said “whoa” out loud a few times. Very excited about all draft picks!

    The 2 defensive picks can tackle cleanly with high motors. Waist tackle and drop. Assignment and fundamentally sound from all appearances so far. I’m sure Bowels was tired of the lack of gap integrity, coverage liability, shoulder pad grabbing crap of the past.

  20. 74 Bucs Fan Says:

    I only played yard ball, but even I knew that your defensive eyes were always on the waist, you out your head in their chest, wrap the waist and drive through the tackle until the ground went thump. Could never understand a lack of fundamentals by a pro. Winfield and Lavante are pros. Hey Diva – just do exactly that. Nope, I’ll just keep trying to should pad tackle. Well – you’re fired.

  21. Tucker Says:

    I hope he works out his highlights are awesome but that type of game doesn’t always translate to the NFL. Ray Davis was a safer pick in my opinion but I’m a bucs fan through and through so I wish bucky nothing but success.

  22. Fred McNeil Says:

    Well, I felt like Capt. Tim till I read what my fellow JBFers though of the pick. He’s not very big. He’s not very fast, but apparently he is a good back. I knew nothing about him til I read these comments. Now I wanna see him for myself.

  23. SlyPirate Says:

    Licht is an awesome GM but he can’t evaluate RBs. He likes the finesse runners. Never works but he keeps at it.

    Licht sucks at drafting RB > Licht drafted Bucky > Bucky is going to suck

  24. Canabuc Says:

    Some facts:
    If you look at his missed tackle and yards after contact and receiving, he was a top tier running back.
    I read some stat that only backs better in last several years wre Saquon and Bijan!

    Ray Davis is an older prospect. Already 25. Most running backs are on the downside of their career by age 29.

    Bucky may not have tested fast but I read he was clocked running over 21mph 5 different times which I believe was tops in college.

    Love the pick! At 5’9 192 he can easily bulk up to 200 at pro level. While small as a 3 down work horse I can see him getting 7 to 10 carries a game and 3 catches. Over a season that could mean around 800 to 900 scrimmage yards as a secondary back. Pretty Good IMHO. And he can be a short term feature back if white misses any games as he can run between the tackles.

  25. Dave Pear Says:

    Mike McDaniel is an offensive minded head coach of the Fish.

    Todd Bowles is a defensive masturminded head coach of the Bucs.

    There’s not a chance on this planet that the Bucs offense looks anything like the Dolphins offense.

    It will be interesting to see how long it takes Coen to blow a gasket at Bowels.

  26. ModHairKen Says:

    Capt. Tim:

    Bucky Irving is 5’10”, 190 lbs. 4.55 forty.

    Hes small. Not running thru you. Not running away from you.


    Straight line running on a field with shorts is nothing like running in space in full pads with slower guys coming from all directions.

    Stop with the 40 time obsession nonsense. If that’s all that mattered, the track athletes would be running the NFL.

    Alstott was slower than 4.55 and when he broke through the line, he was fast enough. They don’t need 75 yards on every rush.

    Wait, watch and see.

  27. Mark A Swygert Says:

    Irvin is a smaller back who knows that the secret to being elusive is to make yourself even smaller. His tape proves he knows how to do that. Just look at his tape and his statistical production. The only downside with him is that he will have to be coached up as a blocker.

  28. Bucnjim Says:

    Have to agree with Mod Hair Ken. Draft some freaking football players and forget about the track stars and workout warriors.

  29. Bucs Guy Says:

    Needed a power RB. Irving isn’t a power RB.

  30. lambchopp Says:

    Does anyone remember Warrick Dunn? 5’9″ 187 lbs. I’m not comparing Bucky’s skillset to Warrick’s, but his size won’t be the reason he doesn’t work out. Let’s hope for the best. I think he’s a great option for short yardage (or even long) 3rd down runs because he’s elusive. With the new OL, I think he’ll have every chance to succeed. It’s up to him how high his ceiling is.

  31. Gotti-Dog-05-20-84 Says:

    Watch film of Greg Pruitt, then watch film of Irving. A lot of similarities and Pruitt was no slouch…
    Top end speed in a back isn’t that crucial over the course of the whole game. The majority of the time the plays are less than 10 yards…no one reaches top end speed in that scenario. Vision, Agility and Instinct are far more valuable attributes and Irving is quick.

  32. Capt.Tim Says:

    Its just my opinion guys.
    But hes a shifty back.
    Small, slow-but shifty.
    Alot harder to translate that to the NFL.
    Everybody is bigger and faster.
    I hope Im wrong.

  33. Matt k Says:

    I hope they use Bucky on kick returns and stuck a bunch of OL and TE in on return duty. They are only a few yards from the coverage team and I forsee big guys blocking for Bucky as a very successful return game.

  34. Larrd Says:

    Gregg Pruitt was my favorite all time back growing up near Cleveland. Yes, I thought of him watching Irving. So fun to watch them head into jams and squirt out the other side. Best cuts ever.

  35. Bring back the lawn chairs Says:

    Bucky looks elusive. I hope he’s tough enough for the pros. If so he’s gonna be a keepah.

  36. We Make Custom Teez Says:

    I heard some talking heads compare Bucky to the Rams’ Kyren Williams… so there’s the fit part for the Bucs…. I also heard some say Ray Davis had more wear and tear with 746 attempts vs 475 attempts for Bucky Irving & Irving being 3 years younger as well.

  37. Bucorama76 Says:

    I see a lot of similarities between Bucky and Barry Sanders. Bucky should be able to scale up to 200 lbs in a pro training regime. Barry was not the fastest or that big but like Warren Dunn was hard to hit squarely. He made ridiculous cuts and had great vision. I just spent a couple of hours going down that comparison rabbit hole, and was surprised at how similar they looked. With the upgrades to the O line he and Rashad should be a great one two punch and really make life tough for some defenses. Hell, Bucky has better hands then Barry and Warrick put together. That is a definite plus! I think some great 2 back sets are in our future and that should translate in to more time for Baker in the passing game, and an easy out when nobody is open down field.