ET

2018
5-11, 4th in NFC South

Jenna Laine ESPN Staff Writer 

Bucs scouting assistant Brian McLaughlin has officially been promoted to the role of NFS (National Football Scouting) scout. He started with the Bucs in 2014 as a team operations assistant. NFS scouts (15 teams are affiliated), are responsible for early player rankings that help lay the ground work for organizational scouting reports.

AP Photo/Bill Kostroun
2dJeremy Fowler

Agent: WR V. Jackson 'very happily retired'

Veteran receiver Vincent Jackson, who sat out the 2017 season after a 12-year NFL career, is "very happily retired," his agent told ESPN.

Jenna Laine ESPN Staff Writer 

Bucs offensive coordinator Todd Monken on their red zone woes last year: "We chose to suck...when you don't take care of the little things that allow yourselves to win, you've gotta own it."

Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire
3dJenna Laine

Bucs OC on red zone woes: 'We chose to suck'

Buccaneers offensive coordinator Todd Monken didn't mince words on the unit's red zone struggles last season, saying "we chose to suck," but added the team improved during the last stretch of the season.

Jenna Laine ESPN Staff Writer 

Bucs offensive coordinator Todd Monken said he sees Chris Godwin as a starter. "He's earned that right." That's when they go with three wide receivers.

Jenna Laine ESPN Staff Writer 

I asked Bucs defensive line coach Brentson Buckner what the most important thing is that he wishes to impart on his players. He said, "Don't make football a science. Don't make it bigger than what it is. Football is a sport based on pure fundamentals. ... A Mercedes is still a Mercedes whether you put rims on it or not."

Jenna Laine ESPN Staff Writer 

Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith said the first snaps he watched of Vita Vea were of him running down the field on kickoff coverage and then when he lined up at running back in high school. What stood out most to him, though, was at the combine. He couldn't believe his body composition at 347 pounds. Smith said, "He looked like a model!"

Jenna Laine ESPN Staff Writer 

Bucs defensive end William Gholston told new defensive line coach Brentson Buckner that he felt like he got "too big" last year. Buckner said he's now down 15 pounds.

Jenna Laine ESPN Staff Writer 

I asked Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith about drafting Carlton Davis and M.J. Stewart — cornerbacks who played so much press coverage in college — despite the Bucs playing mostly off coverage. Smith told me that it's on the coaching staff to make the adjustments to cater to these players' strengths. He acknowledged that pressing is a strength for those two players and that playing off is a strength for Brent Grimes. Smith seems open to some changes.

Jenna Laine ESPN Staff Writer 

After nine years with the Buccaneers scouting department, Brian Hudspeth is heading to the Lions to work as a national scout. Hudspeth had been responsible for scouting the Southeast.

Jenna Laine ESPN Staff Writer 

The Bucs have signed two tryout players from this weekend's rookie camp: University of Indianapolis guard Ruben Holcomb and Southeastern cornerback Mark Myers. Safety Josh Liddell, wide receiver Devin Lucien and linebacker Antonio Simmons have been waived.

Jenna Laine ESPN Staff Writer 

Bucs wide receiver Justin Watson did a nice job using his hands to shed cornerback Carlton Davis on this play — not an easy task because Davis is very physical with his hands. Watson's greatest challenge at this next level will be the rise in competition from Ivy League to the pros. He'll put in the work though. Penn head coach Ray Priore told me that Watson was such a workhorse at Penn, that he attended every special teams meeting last year, despite not taking a single snap on special teams. Coaches from other sports at Penn wished Priore could clone him.

Jenna Laine ESPN Staff Writer 

Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter said that safety Jordan Whitehead tweaked his hamstring today, so he was limited in practice. When I asked him about Whitehead being undersized, he acknowledged that yes, he is built more like a corner than a safety, but he praised Whitehead's toughness on outside running plays when he played halfback at Pittsburgh. "Just because a guy may be five or six pounds off what the ideal [player at his] position weighs, that doesn't mean he's not tough enough to play."

Jenna Laine ESPN Staff Writer 

Cornerback and second-round draft pick Carlton Davis had a fumble recovery here at Bucs rookie camp during 11-on-11s. They love his length and physicality. He really shines when pressing at the line of scrimmage, even though that's not something the Bucs do a whole lot of.

Jenna Laine ESPN Staff Writer 

Bucs running back Ronald Jones didn't get to catch many passes at USC but he said he's pretty confident in his hands. Yesterday we saw him catching mostly screens and checkdowns, but this was a deep pass. He'll have opportunities to get in space and even line up wide in Dirk Koetter's offense.

Jenna Laine ESPN Staff Writer 

The Bucs have official signed third-round draft pick, Alex Cappa. That leaves Carlton Davis, Ronald Jones and Vita Vea as their only draft picks unsigned.

Jenna Laine ESPN Staff Writer 

Yep, this is the same Vita Vea who told Bucs general manager Jason Licht that his objective was to "kick the crap out of the guy in front of me." While he might be a monster on the field, girlfriend Alexus Atchley described him as very relaxed and outgoing. "He's the most loving guy," she said.

Jenna Laine ESPN Staff Writer 

Bucs new defensive line coach Brentson Buckner has his guys , including Vita Vea, huddled up, telling them, "Be violent with your hands...I don't care about you making tackles out here. I'm trying to teach you technique."

Jenna Laine ESPN Staff Writer 

I don't know if a picture can really do Vita Vea justice. That is one VERY large man. He weighed in at 347 at the combine but looks even bigger, if that's possible.

Jenna Laine ESPN Staff Writer 

The Bucs have now signed four of their draft picks: wide receiver Justin Watson, linebacker Jack Cichy, cornerback M.J. Stewart and safety Jordan Whitehead.

1(12)Vita VeaDTWashington
2(6)Ronald Jones IIRBUSC
2(21)M.J. StewartCBNorth Carolina
2(31)Carlton DavisCBAuburn
3(30)Alex CappaOTHumboldt State
4(17)Jordan WhiteheadSPittsburgh
5(7)Justin WatsonWRPennsylvania
6(28)Jack CichyILBWisconsin

4th
27th
18th
Tied-22nd