Bucs Report Special to Sports Talk Florida
The NFL combine has come and gone. It was a great opportunity for prospects to meet with teams and show them what they can do in terms of their athletic testing. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were just one of many teams trying to learn as much as possible before the NFL draft.
General manager Jason Licht and his front office staff and coaches were very busy this past week. The team met with many prospects and were paying close attention to the athletes testing. History tells us that these things matter to the Buccaneers
For no less than five consecutive years the Bucs have drafted a player with their top pick that they had met with by the end of the combine. For seven consecutive years they have drafted a player with an elite relative athletic score (9.0 or higher) with their first pick. Assuming these trends continue then we can eliminate several big name prospects who have been connected to the Buccaneers.
Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
After parting ways with Leonard Fournette the Bucs are in the market for a running back. After a spectacular career at Texas there is no question that Robinson is the best in this draft. And while he certainly checks all the athletic boxes, Robinson made it clear that he and the Bucs did not plan to meet.
Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
The Buccaneers had formal interviews with seven tight end prospects at the combine, according to Pewter Report’s Scott Reynolds. Mayer, considered by many to be the best tight end in the draft, was one of them. It’s clear the Buccaneers have interest in this position and player. Unfortunately, Mayer tested below the threshold that the Bucs have typically followed.
Jordan Addison, WR, USC
It may surprise some that the Buccaneers met with all the top wide receivers from this class at the combine. And while most put on a show with their athleticism, Addison left most wanting more. Expect him to be firmly out of consideration at pick 19.
Peter Skoronski, OL, Northwestern
With Donovan Smith being cut, the Bucs are in the market for a left tackle. This was a point of emphasis at the combine as they met with all the top tackle prospects excluding one. Many believe that Skoronski is the best offensive lineman in the draft. However between him not meeting with the team and him being just below their athletic standard it’s safe to say that he won’t be the pick.
O’Cyrus Torrence, OG, Florida
The team didn’t just meet with offensive tackles. They also met with several interior offensive linemen at the combine including Torrence. The big barrier here is his 6.4.3 relative athletic score which is well below what the Buccaneers have drafted in the past.
Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson
The Buccaneers might have a big need at linebacker with Lavonte David as a free agent. However, the team only met with one of the considered top linebackers in Drew Sanders. Despite Simpson being the best linebacker in the draft it looks like he won’t be in play.
Brian Breese, DT, Clemson
Defensive tackle is another position the Bucs will have a clear need at, but did not spend time meeting with top prospects. Breese has been one of the highest profile players in the draft all season, but it looks like Licht and company will be going in a different direction.
Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa
The Buccaneers are looking for a pass rusher. With Shaq Barrett coming off injury and Joe Tryon-Shoinka still establishing himself in the league, the pass rush looks underwhelming at the moment. Despite meeting with several big name pass rushers, Van Ness was not among them.
Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia
Ringo has been a popular name to the Bucs in the early draft process. And while his testing numbers did meet the criteria, the team did not meet with him. Despite appearing to have a big need at cornerback, it doesn’t seem like Ringo will be in the mix.
Joey Porter Jr, CB, Penn State
On paper, Porter feels like a great fit for the Buccaneers. His play style fits what the team wants to do and his father, Joey Porter Sr, was longtime teammates with the Buccaneers defensive coordinator Larry Foote. Although Porter Jr. had a strong day of testing, the fact that he has not met with the Bucs seems to take him out of the running with their first round pick.