Bucsblitz.com Mailbag — Jan. 8

After a one-week absence, the Bucsblitz.com Mailbag is back. Today I'm answering questions about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' wide receiver needs, their team needs and what the Bucs should do with Jon Gruden's contract. The mailbag appears every Tuesday.

Which one of these four players would you take with the Bucs' first-round pick? Limas Sweed, Early Doucet, DeSean Jackson and Mario Manningham? Yes, I know, they're all wide receivers. — TBayXXXVII

Matthew Postins: Yes they're all wide receivers. So? The Bucs have a serious need at the position and a first-round pick spent on one of those players wouldn't be the worst idea in the world. Our Chris Steuber, Scout.com's draft analyst, had the Bucs selecting Jackson in his first two mock drafts. Doucet and Sweed are also going in his first round, so taking one of those three players isn't out of the question. The Bucs must find a speedster that can eventually take the place of Joey Galloway and Jackson fits the bill. He has plenty of speed, can make big plays and adds a little spice in the return game. Doucet is more of a slot guy and Sweed matches the physical makeup (6-foot-5) of most of the young wide receivers the Bucs already have on their roster. Jackson gives them the best talent and value, but the Bucs, at this point, would have to hope that he falls past the Vikings at No. 17, a team that also has serious needs at the position.

Hey guys, I am doing a mock draft and I was wondering what your teams needs were? I am doing a 7 round mock. — RayRocks

MP: You're doing a seven-round mock? God speed my friend. Of course, I'll be doing a seven-round mock for the Bucs (actually four, since they've traded some picks), so I guess I shouldn't talk. I'll be going in depth on the Bucs' team needs in an upcoming article, but my feeling is their needs include wide receiver, defensive end, defensive back, linebacker and kick returner. Running back may also end up being a need, depending on what the Bucs do in free agency.

Jon Gruden has to go. I hope the Glazers fire Gruden. Please do not give him a new contract? — Kashaka

MP: Here's another issue that I'll be going into further depth on in my offseason priorities feature. But my feeling is that the Bucs should extend Jon Gruden's contract by one year — through 2009. He's earned one more year to prove to the Glazer family that this team is on the right track. You can't give him a longer extension because this team failed to carry its momentum from 2005 into 2006. They've gone from worst to first to worst to first in the last four years and I have to believe the Glazer family is tired of the inconsistency. A one-year extension would send a message to Gruden that the Bucs have to perform at a better level in 2008 to earn a longer extension. And NewBucs agrees with me. He posted a similar thought on that thread.

I say we hand the reigns over to Luke McCown next season. Jeff Garcia is old and his lack of arm strength really hurt us against the Giants. Hopefully, Luke learned a lot from Jeff since they seem to have similar playing styles. — JConni

MP: I disagree. Garcia is old in football terms, but Rich Gannon performed well in Gruden's offense until his 40th birthday when both were in Oakland. The difference on Sunday was the line's inability to protect him consistently due to the Giants' pressure up front. Arm strength wasn't a concern in September and October when he was hitting Joey Galloway for 45-yard touchdown passes. I like McCown. I think anyone who has read this site knows that. But he's not ready to take on the full-time starting job. He may be by the time Garcia's career is over. But right now McCown is a solid complement to Garcia and, potentially, his successor. Nothing more.

Next year, will Earnest Graham become the Ronnie Brown to Caddy (Carnell Williams)? if so, I'm really looking forward to it. — JConni

MP: Given Williams' injury situation, it could be the other way around. Williams probably will not be ready for training camp, given the extent of his injury. He may not even be ready for the start of the regular season. Graham will likely be the No. 1 back on opening day, unless the Bucs choose to make a move for a running back in free agency or the draft. Graham proved this season he could shoulder the load for the Bucs. If Williams is healthy at any point next season, he could be a nice complement to Graham. But I don't see Williams being ready before midseason.

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Listen to Bucsblitz.com's Matthew Postins every Tuesday with former Buccaneers linebacker Scot Brantley on WHBO 1470 ESPN Radio in Tampa and Clearwater from 3-6 p.m. If you miss the show, check out Bucsblitz.com's exclusive team media center for Postins' archived appearances.

Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for Bucsblitz.com and the Charlotte (Fla.) Sun-Herald. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association, and his coverage of the Buccaneers has won numerous state and national awards.

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