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Buccaneers’ Mock Draft 2.0

Robert Brumfield

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Photo Courtesy of: www.buccaneers.com

It’s that time again and with only 16 days left until the 2024 NFL Draft, I put another Mock Draft together for your favorite Florida gridiron group. Unlike my first mock, this run contains no tradeups/downs for the Bucs not counting the third rounder received from Detroit in the Carlton Davis III deal. This Draft will garner 7 new rookies to cleanse your offseason pallette. Let’s get started!

First Round/Pick #26
Jackson Powers-Johnson (C/Oregon)

I’ve been high on this kid since the Senior Bowl. While Robert Hainsey was serviceable last year, it’s no secret the Bucs would like an upgrade at Center. JPJ is a plug & play offensive lineman that does his best work snapping the ball. He plays with an anger and nastiness that is sort of a hybrid of Jason Kelce and Larry Allen. Tipping the scales at 6’3″, 318 lbs, he’s the type of player that once he gets his hands on you, it’s too late to even consider your next move. Quick off the line with an elite level of play diagnosis, Powers-Johnson has strong anchor in both run blocking and pass protection, exploding off the ball the way a pass rusher does. It’s not hyperbolic to say that landing this behemoth at #26 would be a home run pick before he plays his first snap.


Round 2/Pick #57
Adisa Isaac (EDGE/Penn State)

Isaac stands 6 foot 4 inches and has an explosion akin to Micah Parsons off the snap. Whether speed rushing or bull rushing, his athleticism is almost never matched by the opposition. His incredibly long frame gives him the rare ability to reach up and swat balls away at the line of scrimmage if he doesn’t physically overpower his man and get home. He’s got a great arsenal of twitchy, fluid movements that will translate nicely to the pro game.

Round 3/Pick #89
Dominick Puni (OG/Kansas)

6 feet 5, 303 pounds of raw discipline here with the 89th pick. Puni’s best attribute arguably is his ability to adjust in real time when things go badly and a rusher gets leverage on him. This is one of the hardest things to master for young offensive linemen, because once you’re beat in the trenches, it’s near impossible to recover. Puni does that in spades by resetting his hips, adjusting his hand placement, and getting a second or sometimes third attempt at getting hold of rabid defenders.

Round 3/Pick #92 (From Lions)
Jonathan Brooks (RB/Texas)

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Considered by some to be the most pro-ready back in the class, Brooks at #92 was less about need and more about the best possible athlete available. He has elite cuts, disciplined run lane diagnosis and sometimes is thinking two or three steps ahead of the play when he’s running the football. A stocky frame and insane workout regimen have made this young man a monster on the field with the ability to punish defenders at the second level that try to body tackle him. Look for this kid to explode every time he touches the ball in 2024.

Round 4/Pick #125
Malik Washington (WR/Virginia)

The first thing fans will noticed about Washington is his height. He stands 5’8″, which might be a concern for a number one outside receiver, but I would bet money in the pros he’s going to be used mostly in the slot and even potentially on trick/gadget run plays, as he is viewed as somewhat of a specialist. Smart coaches utilize guys like Washington in as many aspects of the offensive scheme as possible, because they’re usually fast and very hard to tackle. That combination alone mixed with this young man’s incredible work ethic would match him nicely in Liam Coen’s new offense.

Round 6/Pick #220 (Compensatory)
Jarius Monroe (CB/Tulane)

After the Carlton Davis trade, Bucs fans in the know got increasingly insecure about their cornerback room. This young man would not only fit perfectly in the NFL, he seems uniquely suited to Todd Bowles’ defense. His 6 foot, 204 pound frame allows him to be physical with receivers yet he has a certain grace he plays with that stands out. He has great ball skills and is a fantastic communicator, something that will help his teammates at the next level. Under the tutelage of Todd Bowles, this young prospect could become a major contributer early if selected by Jason Licht on Draft Night.

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Round 7/Pick #246
McCallan Castles (TE/Tennessee)

Castles is an interesting pick here in Round 7. He’s lean and quick, hitting his stride almost instantly after catching passes. He is a good route runner with better than average speed that would make a great target for Baker Mayfield. His strength is run blocking with a knack for getting upfield in front of his back to punish second level defenders before they can make a move to stop big gains on the ground. His upper body strength is a bit of a question but like alot of young tight ends, getting into the weight room with other pros will do him alot of good and this young TE certainly has the drive to do it.

That’s it for our most recent 2024 Mock Draft. Stay tuned for more offseason news and updates as they happen here in Tampa. Thanks for reading! Make sure to go check out our other awesome contributors’ stories on all your favorite Florida sports teams!

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Bucs host 10th annual “Cut and Color Funds the Cure”

Robert Brumfield

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Photo Courtesy of: www.buccaneers.com

Thursday at AdventHealth Training Center saw some staff and players take part in one of the most fun yearly rituals here in Tampa, the “Cut and Color Funds the Cure” benefit. The event, held for the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation (NPCF), is in it’s tenth year, and it brought out a huge group of Bucs legends.

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During the event, Buccaneers current and former players, staff, and even hall of famers have their heads or facial hair shaved or colored red by pediatric cancer patients . This year even brought out Buccaneers COO Brian Ford to take part in the festivities.

In the ten year tradition, the team has raised over $700,000 for the NPCF and created many more priceless memories. For the first time this year, the event was open to the public, with seating access and signed photos going to fans that donated at least $100 to the cause.

Current or former staff members in attendance this year were GM Jason Licht, Head Coach Todd Bowles, former coach Bruce Arians, Assistant General Managers Mike Greenberg and John Spytek, and others. Players like Mike Evans, Jamel Dean, Antoine Winfield Jr., Cade Otton, and Yaya Diaby sat while patients sheared or died their hair while the press took photos and fans interacted with staff and members of the NPCF.

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Former players notably involved this year included Rob Gronkowski (of course), Mike Alstott, Ronde Barber, Barry Smith, Dave Moore, Richard “Batman” Wood, Jimmie Giles, Martin Gramatica, Michael Clayton, and Dexter Jackson.

Buccaneers Chief Operating Officer Brian Ford was quoted, “Every year we try to give an afternoon to some very courageous children and their families to forget about what they are up against, and you just see smiles all around.”

The National Pediatric Cancer Foundation is a non-profit based right here in Tampa. The purpose of the organization is to raise awareness and fund research to try to eliminate childhood cancer. It uses research initiatives to combat cancer early on in some cases and fund targeted treatments in collaboration with the nation’s leading hospitals. Cancer is the number one disease based cause of death to children in the U.S. and everyday, 43 children are diagnosed with cancer in this country.

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More than 95 percent of childhood cancer survivors experience significant health-related issues by age 45 due to the current treatment options, something the NPCF is trying to change. Sadly, only 4% of the billions of dollars allocated for cancer research by the federal government is specifically for treating childhood cancer.

Thanks for reading and getting your Bucs news here at Sports Club Florida! Make sure to follow us and go check out some of our other great contributors for more on your favorite Florida sports teams.

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Buccaneers officially add Ryan Jensen to the Retired/Reserve list, marking end of an era

Robert Brumfield

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This week marked the official end of an era for former Buccaneers Center, Ryan Jensen, though it was mostly a formality at this point. Jensen had announced his intent to retire back on February 2nd after playing nine seasons as a professional.

Jensen was the centerpiece of an offensive line that dominated for most of his tenture in the Bay. Notably, the team’s four highest scoring seasons were from 2018 to 2021 with Jensen snapping the ball. He also anchored the line for Tom Brady in Super Bowl LV.

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The Baltimore Ravens drafted Ryan Jensen in the 2013 NFL Draft with the 203rd overall pick (Sixth Round) out of Colorado State (Pueblo). Jensen played four seasons as a Raven, with 2017 being his final season after starting all 16 games and being noticed by other teams around the League. That is when Tampa Bay entered the picture.

Jensen was signed by the Buccaneers entering the 2018 campaign. He immediately became the starter and one of the most dominant centers in the NFL. Throughout his five years played in red and pewter, Jensen was the linchpin for an offensive line that led the NFL in passing yards per game (305.0), as well as second ranked overall in third down conversion rate (44.5%), yards per play (6.1), first downs per game (23.2), points scored per game (28.6), and total yards per game (400.9). His offensive lines also yielded sacks at the fifth lowest rate of any team during this span.

Sadly, in a painfully ironic twist of fate, Jensen suffered a season ending knee injury during the Buccaneers last preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens of all teams. General Manager Jason Licht announced shortly after that Jensen would miss the entirety of the season. While the February announcement makes the retirement itself merely a formality, seeing Jensen’s name officially added to the retired list marks the end of a proud era for this offensive line that powered the Greatest QB of All-Time to a Super Bowl just a few short years ago.

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Jensen finishes his career with 100 games under his belt, including 90 starts. His 5,307 snaps played between the 2017 and 2021 seasons are the most played by any player. We as fans will now wait the mandatory five years and hope that in the distant future, Jensen will be named to the Hall of Fame in Canton. He sure has earned it.

Thanks for reading and getting your Bucs news here at Sports Club Florida! Make sure to follow us and go check out some of our other great contributors for more on your favorite Florida sports teams.

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All-Pro Safety Antoine Winfield Jr. signs record breaking new deal

Robert Brumfield

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Photo Courtesy of: www.buccaneers.com

Buccaneers GM Jason Licht placed the Franchise tag on Safety Antoine Winfield Jr. almost immediately during this off-season. Winfield Jr. had been voted First Team All-Pro after a stellar season and was as much of a priority to keep on the roster as Baker Mayfield or Mike Evans were. Franchise tagging a player doesn’t necessarily guarantee an extended stay, however. Ideally, a tag is a stop-gap measure to keep the player on until a contract agreement can be reached.

Bucs Nation can breathe a collective sigh of relief now after the team and Winfield Jr. reached an agreement this week to a four-year, $84.1 million contract that makes the 25 year old the highest paid defensive back in NFL history. This marks the first time a safety has held the highest paid slot at DB, usually reserved for cornerbacks. The deal includes a $20 million signing bonus with $45 million guaranteed, keeping Winfield Jr. in Tampa Bay through 2027. When he spoke to the media after the signing, Winfield said his best football was yet to come.

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The Buccaneers in recent years have a seemingly great rapport with their players when contract time comes up, due alot in part with the excellent management of Jason Licht and his staff. Twice in the past three years a franchise tagged player has signed a long-term extension with the Buccaneers, with the most recent example being in 2022 with wide receiver Chris Godwin.

Winfield Jr. was selected with the 45th overall pick during the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. After winning a Super Bowl during his standout rookie season, his play has continually improved and the statistics back it up.

In 2023, Winfield Jr. set new personal season records in tackles (122), sacks (6), forced fumbles (6), fumble recoveries (4), AND interceptions (3). Social media absolutely caught fire when Winfield was initially not chosen for the Pro Bowl, yet that was ultimately overshadowed by his First Team All-Pro selection, which is the gold standard of NFL personal season achievements. As he begins his fifth season as the star safety for the defending NFC South Champion Bucs, look for plenty of highlights from #31 in 2024.

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Thanks for getting your Buccaneers news here at Sports Club Florida! Make sure to go check out some of our other great contributors for more on your favorite Florida sports teams.

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