2017 Draft Review
2017 Free Agency Review
Projected Starting Lineup & Analysis: Offense
Jameis Winston exceeded expectations in his first two years, becoming the first player in NFL history to throw 4,000+ yards in his first two seasons. It hasn’t been without significant issues with turnovers, however. In 2016, Winston had the 2nd highest number of interceptions among active QB’s, with 18 picks (6 lost fumbles in addition), completing the ball to the defense in 11/16 games (four of which were multi-pick games). It didn’t help that Winston was limited by a sheer lack of weapons, narrow WR depth, and an offensive line who didn’t do him many favors. A lot of these roster deficiencies were addressed this offseason in signing D-Jax, drafting Howard, and drafting Godwin. As his rapport continues to develop with his existing targets in Evans, Humphries, and Brate, I’m expecting a big leap in year three for him. Probably Wrong Projected Stats: 4,353 yards, 61.3% completion percentage, 32 TD’s, 14 INT’s
Evans made a monstrous leap last year, securing his first career All-Pro honors while reducing his drops he was often criticized for. With Doug Martin’s suspension, Evans became the centerpiece of the Bucs offense, and rose to the occasion. /u/houndstooth37 found this great factoid about Evans’ performance last year: he had 96 catches, 81 of them went for first downs, and 12 went for TD’s. In other words, Evans only had three catches that didn’t go for a 1st down or a TD. As the offense opens up with more targets, Evans will face less double teams and should continue his monster trajectory. Probably Wrong Projected Stats: 91 catches, 1,412 yards, 10 TD’s.
I talked about Jackson a little bit in the free agency section, but I love his potential to open up our offense and stretch the field for us.
Much needed addition to take some heat off Evans.
Probably Wrong Projected Stats: 47 catches, 816 yards, 3 TD’s
Rodgers will likely be the starting back while Doug Martin serves the final three games of his PED suspension. I suspect, in Martin’s absence, the Bucs will split carries between Rodgers, Charles Sims, and a few to Jeremy McNichols sprinkled in.
Once Martin returns, it’s his load to carry, and Martin will need a stellar year to justify his roster spot beyond 2017. Probably Wrong Projected Stats for Jacquizz Rodgers: 528 yards rushing, 3 TD’s and Probably Wrong Projected Stats for Doug Martin: 764 yards rushing, 4 TD’s
Brate has been one of GM Jason Licht’s best finds as a UDFA. In year three, Brate had a quiet and productive year, catching 57 balls for 660 yards and 8 TD’s. I like the potential our two TE sets will have between Brate and Howard, and the two of them should create some mismatches in the short and medium passing game.
Probably Wrong Projected Stats: 66 catches, 794 yards, 7 TD’s and because some of you might be wondering… Probably Wrong Projected Stats for OJ Howard: 19 catches, 286 yards, 2 TD’s.
The progression I was hoping to see from Donovan Smith in his second year just wasn’t there. Flat footed, slow of the snap, and often got dominated in the run game, in my opinion, he’s the biggest road block in Jameis’s progression to the top tiers of QB’s right now. Against middling pass rushers, Smith has shown the ability to compete, but match him up against the league’s premier rushers, and he looks like a Kenyatta Walker throwback. Smith’s third year is going to be make or break to prove his worth protecting Winston’s blindside. The penalties have got to go down, the agility and smarts must go up, and the aggression needs to come to fruition, or we may begin looking for his replacement.
I hated this signing last year even before he went on IR before the season even began. The Bucs overpaid for a guy who was an average G in Seattle, and right now, he’s could wind up being the next bullet in the latest list of overpaid Jason Licht FA disasters. He gets a clean slate and a fresh start this year, but I won’t get my hopes up.
In early preseason action, Sweezy has looked smoothe. We'll see if that translates to regular season play as well.
In perhaps one of our bigger head scratching moves (for me at least), HC Dirk Koetter announced he intended to bounce Ali Marpet to Center from Guard this offseason. The move was peculiar for a variety of reasons: we already had an adequate Center in Joe Hawley, Marpet was progressing rapidly as a Guard and looking like he could break out as our best OL, and switching to a Pamphile/Sweezy lineup at Guard didn’t exactly inspire confidence. But, in Koetter we trust, so we’ll see how this pans out. With Marpet’s work ethic, smarts, and how quickly he adjusted from D3 Football to the Pros, this should be a smooth transition inside for him. I think. I hope.
This is probably our most concerning spot on OL right now. While Pamphile has played decently at times, on any other roster, he would project more to a reserve than he does a starter. If I had a dollar last season for every time I said “uh oh” as I watched him lose leverage off the snap, I’d have $11 or $13.
Still a guy in development, and I haven’t written him off yet, but he’s a concern. Don’t forget the name Caleb Benenoch. If he makes the roster again, he’ll see action if Pamphile struggles.
At times, Demar Dotson has quietly performed as one of the better RT’s in football. At other times, he gets enough flags that I sometimes mistake him for the United Nations. When he’s not getting flags, he’s a mauler in the run game and offers solid pass pro as well. Dotson does his job, and he does it well, but like his LT counterpart, the flags could really put a damper on us having a fluid offense. Still, next to Marpet, he remains the piece of our O-Line I have the most confidence in.