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Defensive Prospects Tampa Bay Has Interviewed at the Combine

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On Saturday, we looked at the positions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers focused on interviewing at the 2020 NFL Combine. Today, we turn our attention to the defensive side of the ball.

We will divide the position groups based on the Buccaneers’ base 3-4 defense thus grouping edge rushers as linebackers.

Reports of meetings were found from the following publications: Pewter Report, Walter Football, and NFL Trade Rumors.

Defensive Line

Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina (likely but not confirmed)

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Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU

Rashard Lawrence, DT, LSU

John Penisini, DT, Utah

Jordan Elliott, DT, Missouri

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James Lynch, DE, Baylor

James Smith-Williams DE, NC State

Jabari Zuniga, DE, Florida

Jason Strowbridge, DE, North Carolina

The most notable thing about this group is that none of them, sans Kinlaw and maybe Blacklock, are projected to be first-rounders. The Buccaneers appear to be more focused on day two and day three depth guys that could develop into starters down the line.

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This approach would comport with reports that the team is working to re-sign Ndamukong Suh. Meanwhile, their other starters, Vita Vea and William Gholston remain under contract.

Surely, if Derrick Brown or Javon Kinlaw is still available at 14 overall, the team will take a hard look. However, it appears they are more focused on other positions with their first-round pick. Specifically, offensive tackle.

Linebackers (off-ball and edge rushers)

K’Lavon Chaisson, Edge, LSU

Josh Uche, Edge, Michigan

Terrell Lewis, Edge, Alabama

Trevis Gipson, Edge, Tulsa

Bradlee Anae, Edge, Utah

Julian Okwara, Edge, Notre Dame

Khalid Kareem, Edge, Notre Dame

Willie Gay, ILB, Mississippi State

Michael Divinity, Edge, LSU

Carter Coughlin, Edge, Minnesota

Alton Robinson, Edge, Syracuse

Michael Pinckney, ILB, Miami

Shaquille Quarterman, ILB, Miami

Cameron Brown, ILB, Minnesota

Clay Johnston, ILB, Baylor

Tanner Muse, ILB, Clemson

On the offensive side of the ball. Tampa Bay focused a ton of their attention on offensive tackles. Defensively, it was their counterpart, edge rushers, that garnered the lion’s share of their attention.

The team is really covering their bases here as they have interviewed a wide spectrum of pass rushers expected to go anywhere from top-15 overall to well into day three.

Chaisson is likely the most recognizable name and is expected to hear his name called very early on possibly even in the top-10. This appears to be due diligence on the part of head coach Bruce Arians and general manager Jason Licht. They’ll consider the scenario, but it’s not Plan A.

Many of these names are likely to be called in the meat of the draft (rounds 2-4) which, again, jives with reports that the team is working to retain starters Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaquil Barrett while also returning inside linebackers Devin White and Lavonte David.

Licht and Arians appear to be targetting quality depth with starter upside throughout the front seven.

Defensive Backs

Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia

Reggie Robinson, CB, Tulsa

Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn

Dane Jackson, CB, Pittsburgh

John Reid, CB, Penn State

Josiah Scott, CB, Michigan State

Geno Stone, S, Iowa

Ashtyn Davis, S California

Myles Bryant, CB, Washington

Daniel Thomas, S, Auburn

J.R. Reed, S, Georgia

Antoine Brooks, S, Maryland

Josh Metellus, S, Michigan

L’Jarius Sneed, S, Louisiana Tech

It’s no secret that the Buccaneers are thrilled with their current young secondary so it comes as no surprise that they are not necessarily eyeballing top corners in what is generally considered a shallow corner class.

The team already has its starting and future secondary in place but will pull the trigger on a player they feel has developmental upside such as Hall or Igbinoghene. The same goes for safeties Davis and Dugger (more below).

They are also on the lookout for a rotational third-safety that could feature on special teams such as Thomas, Reed, or Brooks.

Other Notes

Pewter Report is reporting Javon Kinlaw, J.K. Dobbins, and Kyle Dugger likely met with the Buccaneers but couldn’t remember when asked at the combine.

• Pewter Report also reported OT Triston Wirfs of Iowa met with the team unofficially at the combine furthering the speculation that the team is looking seriously at taking an offensive tackle with its first-round selection.

As we detailed previously in our offensive prospects breakdown, they have also met with Andrew Thomas, Mekhi Becton, and Josh Jones. All four players are expected to be early-mid first-rounders.

 

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