Shark Bites

Buccaneers WR Mike Evans missed practice Monday after leaving Sunday's workout with an apparent left quad injury, the Tampa Bay Times reports. HC Bruce Arians told reporters after practice that Evans had "tweaked" the area and that "it's nothing serious." But he also said he didn't know if Evans would be better in time for Friday's 3rd exhibition game. We don't care whether Evans takes part in that fake contest. But we'll be watching to make sure this issue doesn't linger too long.

Buccaneers RB Ronald Jones sat out practice Monday. Afterward, HC Bruce Arians told reporters (according to Pewter Report): "Ronald's knee swelled up a bit, so we're trying to take it day by day with him." Sounds like Arians isn't overly concerned, but we'll keep an eye on the situation. A healthy Jones hasn't made for all that exciting a fantasy football draft option, though.

Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians said Friday that Dare Ogunbowale is making "a real strong case" to be the team's #3 RB, according to Greg Auman of The Athletic. "He's probably our second-best pass protector," Arians added. The 3rd Tampa RB isn't a high-upside spot for fantasy, but it at least sounds like you shouldn't bother considering undrafted rookie Bruce Anderson in any redraft format. We'll see how the backfield sorts out.

Through 2 preseason games, Bucs RBs Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones have split 1st-team work almost directly down the middle. Barber has tallied 5 carries and 1 target vs. Jones' 4 carries and 1 target. This looks like a committee backfield to open the season, leaving both RBs as uninspiring fantasy options. For more preseason observations, check out Preseason Week 2 Notes.

Buccaneers LB Lavonte David had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Sunday to repair a "minor" meniscus tear, the Tampa Bay Times reports. HC Bruce Arians called the surgery "nothing serious" and said David should be ready for the regular season. We'll be watching David's return to confirm that. In the meantime, we've knocked David down the LB rankings a bit.

Buccaneers HC Bruce Arians told the Tampa Bay Times this week that he has "no idea" when S Justin Evans will return to the field. Evans missed the end of last season with turf toe and has added a heel injury. He missed the entire offseason program. "If he had practiced all spring and been penciled in as a starter, I'd be concerned," Arians said. "But I haven't seen him play. I've seen the other guys play." Evans shouldn't be in 2019 IDP plans right now. We'll see how he progresses.

Bucs HC Bruce Arians said Wednesday that WR Chris Godwin "should fit perfectly" in his offense. "He's a physical guy. He's a big guy," Arians continued. "We can use him in the slot, we can use him out wide. So he'll never come off the field." Godwin won't never come off the field, but he's certainly in for a big jump from last year's 64% snap rate. Godwin has breakout written all over him this season and is worth his current 5th-round, WR21 ADP.

The Bucs' lead RB role is Peyton Barber's "job to lose," the Pewter Report's Mark Cook writes. RB Ronald Jones had a buzzy spring, but we've now heard from multiple Bucs insiders that Barber remains atop the depth chart. "Right now this staff has full faith in Barber and in what he can bring to the Bucs offense," Cook adds. "In a perfect world, Barber eclipses the 1,000 mark and Jones becomes a dependable complimentary back that can be the home run threat and receiver out of the backfield." We'll see if Jones can make a run at the lead job over the next month. But for now, he's an avoid at his 8th-round ADP. Barber is fine -- although certainly not exciting -- at his 12th-round price tag.

Buccaneers WR Mike Evans sat out his team's recent mandatory minicamp after sustaining a hamstring injury. Greg Auman of The Athletic reports that HC Bruce Arians deemed it minor. "No sense aggravating it this time of year," Arians said. We agree, Coach. But we'll still keep an eye out to make sure the issue doesn't recur this summer.

Bucs QB Jameis Winston said Tuesday that RB Ronald Jones has been "showing out" in OTAs. "I think it’s just his confidence and his comfort," Winston continued. "RoJo is a smart guy and he’s getting comfortable in this offense. No one is breathing down his neck, he’s more relaxed and he’s out there executing at a high level and you can really see what he can add to this team. I know how talented he is, that’s why he was a second-round pick." Jones had a brutal rookie season. But the Bucs made no significant additions to the backfield this offseason. And there's been a steady stream of positive buzz on Jones this spring. He's starting to look like an intriguing target in the middle rounds of fantasy drafts.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that Buccaneers DE Jason Pierre-Paul suffered a neck fracture in last week's single-car accident that might cost him the 2019 season. Pierre-Paul will reportedly get further opinions this week, but he's expected to need surgery. The hope is that "a portion of this season can be saved." With JPP out, Tampa Bay would enter the year thin at DE. The Bucs might have suddenly turned into the top suitor for free-agent DE Ezekiel Ansah.

The Bears signed Missouri WR Emanuel Hall as an undrafted free agent. The #11 WR in our Pre-Draft Rankings, Hall is 1 of the best downfield threats in this WR class. He averaged 20.8 yards per catch over his 4 seasons at Mizzou, including 24.8 and 22.4 the past 2 years. Twelve of his 37 grabs in 2018 came 20+ yards downfield. Hall confirmed his elite speed by blazing a 4.39-second 40-yard dash at 6’2 and 201 pounds. He added a 43.5-inch vertical to earn a 99th percentile SPARQ score. The knocks against Hall: He didn’t run a wide variety of routes at Missouri, struggled with drops and missed 7 total games over the past 2 seasons with hamstring and groin injuries. As an undrafted free agent, he's a long shot to make a fantasy impact. But we’ll be keeping an eye on Hall this summer.

As many have expected for a while, the Buccaneers spent the 5th pick of the NFL Draft on LB Devin White. The former LSU star delivered the class' top speed score at the position (124.2) after a productive pair of starting seasons. White racked up 133 and 123 tackles the past 2 years, including 13.5 and 12.0 tackles for loss. He also tallied the class' 6th-highest market share of solo tackles for 2018: 15.0%. White should step right into the MLB role vacated by Kwon Alexander's free-agent departure and deliver quick IDP value.

Bucs GM Jason Licht singled out RB Ronald Jones as the player who's most impressed the coaching staff this offseason. "His attitude, his willingness to do extra," Licht continued. "You can just see the confidence rising in him." Jones is coming off a brutal rookie campaign that saw him fail to pass Peyton Barber on the depth chart and average just 1.9 yards on 23 carries. Licht might be simply covering his butt after spending a 2nd-round pick on Jones last year. But it's also too soon to write off a guy who turns just 22 in August. Jones still has every chance to win Tampa's starting job in 2019.

Bucs GM Jason Licht expects WR Chris Godwin to play more in the slot under HC Bruce Arians. Licht compared Godwin's potential role to the one Larry Fitzgerald played in Arians' offense. Fitz averaged 94 catches, 1,026 yards and 6.6 TDs in 5 seasons under Arians. Godwin, of course, will remain behind Mike Evans on the totem pole. But the departures of DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries free up 179 targets. Everything is in place for a breakout 2019 for Godwin.

The Buccaneers have signed QB Blaine Gabbert, according to The Athletic. He'll now back up QB Jameis Winston after playing the same role with the 49ers, Cardinals and Titans previously. Tennessee's trade for Ryan Tannehill replaced Gabbert there. Gabbert previously played under new Bucs HC Bruce Arians with the 2017 Cardinals, where he went 2-3 in 5 starts.

The Buccaneers have re-signed RB Peyton Barber on a 1-year deal. It's not a surprising move, given that Barber was a restricted free agent. He should face more of a fight for touches in a backfield that will at least include a more experience Ronald Jones. We'll see what else the Bucs add (besides free-agent addition Andre Ellington).

The Browns initially agreed to a 1-year deal with WR Breshad Perriman but let him out after they traded for WR Odell Beckham. The Tampa Tribune reports that Perriman has instead reached a 1-year, $4 million deal with the Bucs. That sends Perriman to an offense that has shed WR DeSean Jackson and WR Adam Humphries over the past few days. There's room for Perriman to gain the WR3 role, but we'll see how things sort out.

The Buccaneers have reached a 1-year deal with LB Deone Bucannon, according to multiple reports. That's not the kind of contract that will guarantee Bucannon a starting job, but he rejoins the HC (Bruce Arians) who led the team that drafted him back in 2014. Bucannon also joins a Bucs D that's about to lose MLB Kwon Alexander to the 49ers. Bucannon's likely headed to that spot, barring some other addition to the corps this offseason. He might have to compete with 2018 rookie Adarius Taylor for that job. It'll be an interesting LB corps to watch this offseason.

The Buccaneers have reached a deal with RB Andre Ellington. The 30-year-old started his career in Arizona under new Bucs HC Bruce Arians. They showed us then that Ellington's not a workhorse. There's room for him to work into a Tampa committee, however. Last year's 2nd-round pick, Ronald Jones, returns, and Peyton Barber (a restricted free agent) will likely remain in the mix. Signing Ellington certainly shouldn't keep the Bucs from making any other backfield moves this offseason. We'll see what this depth chart looks like after the NFL Draft and early free agency.

 
 
 

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