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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Consensus of mock drafts have Bucs going defense or trading at #7

Florida Football Insiders



Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Now less than two weeks from the commencement of the 2018 NFL Draft in Arlington, TX, the anticipation and rumor mongering escalates, even more. So, too, does the educated guesswork known as “mock drafts.”

We have written repeatedly this phenomenon grips NFL fans and observers alike. “Who does “so and so” have us taking?” is a common theme for fans this time of year. “How correct is (insert name) year after year at projecting who takes what?”

These are the types of questions that are at the core of someone trying to predict what happens.

It’s not easy and in fact, beyond around the 10th pick (or sooner) almost every mock draft is toast. This is mostly because by that time, one-three trades get made, two-three strange picks happen and the projections are out of the window.

So, with all of that as a disclaimer, the only state NFL team that is currently within the top 10 of the NFL Draft (currently 7th) is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

And here now is a quick rundown of what some of the “mock drafters of note” see the Bucs doing.

On Thursday night on NFL Network, Bucky Brooks, a former NFL safety and now draft analyst for them, held a live reveal of his latest top 10 picks. He was joined by former college QB and Fox Sports TV analyst Joel Klatt, who also gave his top 10.

And on this same show, Maurice Jones-Drew, the former longtime Jaguars running back and NFL Network analyst, also weighed in with best player projected spots at the top of the draft.

Their opinions were:

Brooks had the Buccaneers selecting FSU safety Derwin James with the seventh overall selection. The Bucs have brought James in to their facility recently, and obviously could solidify their secondary with that pick.

Jones-Drew also agreed that Tampa Bay would go safety with James in his mock top 10.

And finally, Klatt, with Saquon Barkley, Bradley Chubb and Quenton Nelson all off his board before the #7 spot, had Tampa Bay trading with the Bills, who desperately want one of the four-five prime QBs.

Now, besides that television show last night, Joe Marino from our partner at Fanrag Sports and NDT Scouting has out his latest mock draft. You will want to pay more attention to Joe’s analysis and opinions, when it comes to mock projections, because he had the documented highest percentage of correct teams/selections in the first round of the 2017 draft last year.

And, Marino in this case for the Bucs thinks?

Well, he agrees with Klatt that with three QB’s off the board and no Barkley or Chubb for Tampa Bay to take either, that Tampa Bay will trade with the Buffalo Bills at #7, who want the QB.

Finally, the ESPN duo of Mel Kiper Jr. (the man who made “mock drafting” into a business 30 years ago) and Todd McShay, who both will anchor/analyze the draft for three days on the network, also have their latest versions out earlier this week. And, both agree on a player at #7 for the Buccaneers:

Denzel Ward, defensive back, THE Ohio State University.

So, there you go.

Six opinions, and four have a defensive back and the other two agree on the Bucs dealing the pick to the Buffalo Bills.

In the end, this simply good conversation starter, however, it’s interesting that the trend that these guys believe is for defense or trade, for now, for the Buccaneers.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Final injury updates for Bucs and Jaguars Sunday games

Florida Football Insiders



Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

As the Buccaneers get set to head to New York to play the Giants and the Jaguars are preparing to host the Steelers Sunday, it’s time to take a look at the injuries in those two games. (Reminder the Dolphins have their bye week for this weekend.)

Here’s a look at the latest:

For the Bucs, there Friday injury report has defensive names littered all over it and the news is not good for some of them.

After we were told by a source that Lavonte David was going to try to play Sunday, he apparently was overruled by the training staff and head coach Dirk Koetter, etc, and the Pro Bowl linebacker will be inactive with his sprained knee. Likewise, Vinny Curry will miss another game at defensive end, his fourth in the last five with a sprained ankle.

It’s the same situation with second year safety Justin Evans, who will miss the game with an injured toe suffered in the game with Washington last week. Defensive end Carl Nassib, who’s been a pleasant find off the waiver wire at the beginning of the season,  is questionable with a left elbow injury suffered agains the Redskins, although he was able to practice on Friday.

The Bucs also list their receiver Chris Godwin as questionable with an ankle injury, and another important injury is starting center Ryan Jensen, who’s questionable with a hamstring injury. If Jensen is unable to play Sunday, then Ali Marpet, starting at left guard this year, but who played center a lot of 2017, would likely take his place.

The Buccaneers opponents, the Giants, had four players on their injury list this week, but all of them are now slated to play in the game on Sunday.

For the Jaguars match-up, they have two significant injuries to update, starting linebacker Telvin Smith was able to practice this week with his shoulder injury and is listed as questionable, but expected to play against Pittsburgh. There is concern for defensive tackle Marcell Dareus with a triceps injury and he is also listed as questionable. Dareus will likely be a game time decision.

Defensive back A.J. Bouye has been bothered by a calf injury, but he is also expected to play after being able to practice Thursday and Friday and listed as questionable. Coach Doug Marrone also announced that tackle Erik Flowers, who left last week’s game with tendonitis in his knee will start on the makeshift Jaguars line.

As we wrote earlier in the week, Jacksonville placed Center Brandon Linder on injured reserve with a knee injury suffered in last week’s lost Indianapolis.

The Steelers have no significant injuries, despite Ben Roethlisberger and James Conner both being on the injured list,. They will both be playing on Sunday. Connor was a much bigger concern having been in concussion protocol earlier after suffering one in the win last Thursday night over Carolina.

However, he cleared the protocol and was able to fully practice this week.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs DE Jason Pierre-Paul ready to go get Eli Manning Sunday

Florida Football Insiders



Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It’s one of those juicy subplots that we see all the time now in professional sports. A player gets to go against his old team and show them that maybe they made a mistake and letting him go. In this case on Sunday, Bucs defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul will battle against his old team, the New York Giants. And that means, against a lot of former teammates.

One in specific, quarterback Eli Manning, maybe less than thrilled.

JPP has been one of the most dominant edge rushers in the NFL over the last decade, nevertheless, the Giants elected to trade into the Buccaneers back in March.

So when the organization that you won the Superbowl with in 2011 has decided to move on without you, there’s naturally going to be some questions from the media about you playing against them for the first time. And, you going against their borderline Hall of Fame signal-caller, Manning.

Such was the case Wednesday in the Buccaneers locker room prior to practice:

Pierre-Paul has already energized the Bucs pass rush and has eight sacks in the first nine games. This includes a streak of five consecutive games with a sack earlier this season. That is the first time since Simeon rice in 2002 that a Buccaneer had five straight games with a sack in a single season.

And coming into Sunday at The Meadowlands he has 66 1/2 of them in his career and would love nothing better than to take down the leader of the G-Men.

And while the Giants did look better on offense in their Monday night comeback win over the 49ers, it has clearly been a struggle for them to pass protect, specifically, throughout the early part of this season.

Pierre-Paul has to have been salivating watching their offensive line whiff and get run over in game after game.

Further, Buccaneer defenders like pro bowlers Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David, plus players like Will gholston Brent Grimes and young safety Justin Evans went against Manning in a Tampa Bay’s win last September against the Giants.

A game that the Buccaneers squeaked out 25-23. A game where is Eli Manning threw it 49 times and wasn’t sacked once by the Buccaneers front seven. That’s a pass rush that was last in the NFL in sacks a year ago.

However, that was 2017. And, circling back to Pierre-Paul, he hopes to change that starting Sunday.

And, while it will be weird for him to dress in the visiting dressing room at MetLife Stadium and stand on the visiting near sidelines, he’s ready to put all of that aside, try to help the Bucs climb off the canvas and get a win in the Big Apple.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

What is status of Bucs LB LaVonte David’s injured knee?

Florida Football Insiders



Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a rough enough last seven games for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, now comes word that another prominent defender may miss this week’s match-up with the Giants. A report Tuesday afternoon said that linebacker Lavonte David has been diagnosed with a knee sprain and his status is in doubt. That may not be the case, though. More on that in a moment.

First, Jenna Laine, the ESPN reporter for the Bucs, reported Tuesday afternoon about David’s injury from Sunday:

David was injured in the third quarter of Sunday’s lost to the Redskins, while making a tackle. He was examined underneath the “mysterious blue tent” and was initially diagnosed as being questionable to return to the game. He did return and played in the fourth quarter of the 16-3 loss to Washington.

And, a source with knowledge of David situation told F.F.I. on Monday that David had been examined, and it was not believed to be a serious injury. Further, the source told us that David would wear a knee brace this week in practice and be able to play in the game on Sunday.

The seven year veteran and two-time Pro Bowler is one of the key players on the Buccaneers defense and currently has 71 tackles with nine of them for losses. And he’s being counted on more heavily after Pro Bowl middle linebacker Kwon Alexander tore his ACL in an October game with Cleveland and will miss the rest of the season.

The Bucs have also seen starters in the defensive backfield Vernon Hargreaves and Chris Conte already placed on injured reserve back in September. Also Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy missed two games with a calf strain and has not looked a hundred percent in the last two games with Carolina and Washington since coming back from the injury.

If David is unable to play or is limited on Sunday, the Bucs will count more heavily on reserve linebacker Devante Bond. Bond has seen more playing time after Alexander’s injury and will be asked to increase his responsibilities in the middle of the Buccaneers defense, as well.

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