The Bucs are in a position they’ve never been in before.
In a league set up to reward bad teams with top picks in the name of parity, the Bucs, who’ve had their fair share of number one picks over the years, will now hold the 32nd pick: dead last. And that’s a good thing. It means you’re winning. You’re so good you don’t need any help. Let the other teams who didn’t win the Super Bowl with a team of characters right out of central casting have a chance at success. Step aside. See how this works?
But the Bucs do have needs. They may be the most interesting team heading into the 2021 season with the most interesting players since the ‘85 Bears, but they are also one of the league's oldest rosters.
We wanted to get keen insight into what the Bucs might do on Draft Night and we found no one has their finger on the pulse of the Bucs quite like the folks at the Pewter Report. For 27 years, they’ve been the fan-favorite in Tampa Bay, chronicling the team’s ups and downs and now their fast rise to the top of the NFL.
I spoke with the publisher of the Pewter Report about the what team needs heading into the draft, plus what life after Brady might look like for the Bucs, and why another legendary quarterback could waiting in the wings.
The Unseen Voice of the Bucs
Scott Reynolds is the publisher of the Pewter Report.
He has been there, telling the whole story of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: the good, the bad, and now the unbelievable.
“I didn’t want to be a cheerleader for the team , I wanted to call it like I saw it,” says Reynolds.
“The players get to know myself and the Pewter Report staff, that’s one thing they always say is 'you know what, we may not always like what you say, but you are fair, we respect that,'” he says.
It’s a respect Reynolds has earned both in the press room and the locker room.
When he first arrived in 1995, the Pewter Report was essentially a PR extension of the team.
Reynolds decided to be more objective and cover the Bucs like a news organization.
“Sometimes the story might be told and it may not be pretty after a loss,” says Reynolds.
But now the headlines are much more fun to write and the Pewter Report has never been more popular, evolving from a magazine to a website complete with a podcast.
“This is also a really good team, it’s a team worth reading about, and we saw our web traffic grow exponentially by 300,000 unique visitors. https://www.pewterreport.com/ hit 1.2 million unique visitors with over 22 million page views last year, record numbers thanks to the Bucs success,” says Reynolds.
That success now puts the Bucs at the bottom of the Draft, a position Reynolds says is actually the best place for the team to be. “The Buccaneers get to do what every team says they are going to do on draft night in the first round, take the best player available,” he says.
So what does he think the front office should do with pick number 32? Reynolds says this year may be completely unpredictable.
“It was easy when it was Jameis Winston, it was easy when it was Devin White a couple of years ago, we’ve done a great job of hitting those picks. At 32 , I don’t know who the Bucs are going to draft and neither does Jason Licht, because he not sure who’s going to be available there at number 32.”
And what about life after Tom Brady?
The brains behind the Pewter Report believe the Bucs have found a new strategy at quarterback.
“During my 25 years on the job at pewter https://www.pewterreport.com, I’ve seen this team draft someone from my alma mater. Josh Freeman, gave him 5 years to work out, didn’t happen. I came in and Trent Dilfer, a first-round pick, they gave him 5 years, it didn’t happen. Jameis Winston, I was all on board with the selection, 5 years it didn’t work out, if you look back at what’s made this franchise successful, it’s been free agents,” says Reynolds.
And there’s one free agent who he says could be waiting in the wings.
“I would rather see another veteran, maybe Aaron Rogers in a couple of years , after Tom Brady retires,” says Reynolds.
But for now he says the Bucs draft war room should focus on what won them the Super Bowl: defense.
“I think there is some merit to getting another outside linebacker to replace Jason Pierre-Paul, get another guy in the hopper. This defense is fantastic when you see JPP and Shaq Barrett playing opposite each other,” says Reynolds. “There is a sound strategy to build the defense. As great as Patrick Mahomes was, he was running for his life at Raymond James Stadium, and it’s hard to complete passes when you are on your back, or you are running out of bounds trying to throw passes across your body because you’ve got a defensive front that’s hounding you the entire game.”
And there are two names Reynolds says you should watch out for early on draft night for the Bucs: Outside Linebacker Joe Tryon from Washington and Joseph Ossai from Texas, an edge rusher whose stock is rising, but could still be there at end of the first round.
The bottom line, Reynolds says the Bucs have firepower on offense, this team needs to start thinking about shoring up an aging defense.