The Buccaneers are in need of a play-maker for their back end of their defense. For quite some time lack of talent at the safety position has been an issue, so will Tampa fill the void in this year’s upcoming draft?
This past week the Buccaneers sent secondary coach Jon Hoke to privately workout Washington safety Budda Baker and defensive backs coach Brett Maxie to meet with safety Obi Melifonwu out of Connecticut.
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It is no secret that the Bucs have a strong and special interest in both of these two players and each is being looked at heavily for the first round selection at the end of this month.
Both Melifonwu and Baker are exceptional talents, but the difference between the two is quite significant.
As for Melifonwu, he is an atheletic freak and is someone who absolutely dominated the combine. The 6’4″ 225 pound safety stunned scouts with his performance, even clocking an outrageous 4.40 second forty.
Although Melifonwu’s athleticism is unquestionable, his tape does not scream out first round talent, which may is why the Bucs have an interest in the smaller more compact Baker.
Standing at 5’10” 195 pounds, Budda Baker is the second coming of the Honey Badger. Baker has the ability to both create havoc in the pass and run game, which is what separates him as one of the best safety products to enter the draft for quite a few years. His relentless play creates problems for opposing teams and Baker is someone who has seen his stock begin to rise over the past few weeks.
So why was Maxie sent to Connecticut and Hoke sent to Washington? Well… this creates a theory.
Maxie, much like defensive line coach Jay Hayes, has been linked to working out products for the Bucs since entering the staff. Getting his first hand opinion is something Tampa values, but as for Hoke… it means something more.
Hoke, much like defensive coordinator Mike Smith, is a highly respected member of the Bucs coaching staff who knows much about this defensive scheme. Many writers believe Hoke will take over once Smith inevitably leaves for a head coaching gig elsewhere in the NFL, which is why this theory is plausible.
The Bucs may have decided to fly Hoke out to Washington to run Bakers private workout for this reason exactly. If Hoke is the eventual heir to the defensive coordinator position, he may be the most trusted voice/scout that Tampa has. Hoke and the Bucs may have a special interest in Baker, and to have the their next defensive coordinator’s opinion with first hand experience may be extremely valuable.
Will the Bucs pull the trigger on Melifonwu who is more of a free safety or will it be Baker who plays more of a strong safety role? My money is on Baker… what about you?
Is this theory correct? Will the Bucs land one of these safeties in the first round of the upcoming draft? Sound off in the comments below and take a second to follow me on Twitter to keep up with all things Bucs #SiegeTheDay
Who is your favorite of the two?