(Tampa, FL) This time of year don't be naive Bucs fans.....
Don't believe anything you hear from NFL types including Bucs General Manager Jason Licht who would be the first one to agree.
"This time of year, there's a lot of B.S goin around," Licht said at today's pre-draft presser.
But I don't blame Jason Licht if he transforms into Jason Liar for the next week, after all Licht's just protecting his brand and his draft board at One Buc Place. The week leading up to the Draft is all about not showing your hand in this NFL version of Liar's Poker.
These pre-draft press conferences generally are as fact based as those supermarket tabloids but we did have some breaking news and it wasn't all good for the Buccos.
Here are my five takeaways from Jason Licht's pre draft presser.....
(1) BECKWITH INJURY---Not a lot of bright spots on that Bucs "D" a year ago but one was rookie linebacker Kendell Beckwith. He played more snaps than any linebacker on the team making an immediate impact as a steady and versatile starter which was incredible given Beckwith missed the NFL Combine and the bulk of his pro workouts after a knee injury late in his senior season at LSU.
Licht tells us now Beckwith has a new hurdle suffering a broken ankle in a car accident last week. Beckwith won't be available for much of the offseason workouts where the team isn't sure when he'll return and that includes the regular season.
Beckwith's teammate Kwon Alexander says his current and former LSU teammate is in good spirits and he's confident he'll make it back but for now, Beckwith's situation is very questionable.
In the meantime, Licht says he has a lot of faith in Beckwith's backups Adarius Taylor and Devante Bond whom the team hopes can step up in Beckwith's absence.
(2) FAITH IN JAMEIS: The Bucs recently picked up the fifth year option of quarterback Jameis Winston which to Licht was an easy move calling it a "no-brainer" and a "formality."
"It tells you what we think about Jameis," Licht said. "He's exceeded expectations in my opinion. We have plans for him in the long term (and) when that time comes we'll address that. Right now, there are no signs of anybody wanting Jameis to walk out of that building, so this is the first step in that."
As far as the timing of Winston's extension? "That time will come whenever that time is, it will come."
(3) BARKLEY SMOKE SCREEN OR REAL DEAL??---Licht was asked about a lot of players projected to be available with the 7th overall pick and while he didn't reveal much saying, "I don't want to make it sound like we're telling you guys who we're zeroing in on but all of these players we have to have a plan with."
That was Licht's answer regarding FSU safety Derwin James but the Bucs GM let out of the bag that indeed coveted running back Saquon Barkley made a recent visit to Tampa earlier this month.
On Barkley, Licht said, "Checks all the boxes but he's not the only great player in this draft."
Spoken like a true GM.....
(4) KWON WANTS A "DIFFERENT" MCCOY: Interesting after Licht left the press conference, the Bucs let linebacker Kwon Alexander take to the microphone to address his offseason. He admitted his diet is much better these days as he has put the brakes on his sweet tooth---letting go of favorites like chicken wings and red velvet cake but I thought his most interesting comments were reserved for teammate Gerald McCoy.
Alexander praised McCoy for being a perennial Pro Bowler but when asked about many criticizing McCoy for not being as vocal and edgy as Warren Sapp? Kwon says he expects an edgier McCoy this season where when it comes to his play, Kwon says he sees McCoy "put a little more dawg into it."
(5) IT'S ALL ABOUT THE QB'S---Jason Licht admitted that this is one of the more unpredictable drafts recently for one reason, "because of the quarterbacks."
With the Bucs picking at seven, as many as four could go before Tampa Bay where each one selected only helps the Bucs, seemingly extending the non QB talent pool for the likes of Barkley, Bradley Chubb and Quenton Nelson.
"I'll be honest, that's what makes it a lot more fun for us, going through all of these scenarios, that's the excitement of the draft" Licht said.
Did he say "honest"?
Let's not be naive......sure the Bucs have no idea who will be available but they know who they like the best in terms of those talented quarterback leftovers.
We'll find out soon who that player is, or possibly if this team didn't get him--they will choose to trade down and get more picks.
Remember--enjoy draft week--but don't believe a thing.