A monster at Clemson University
Vic Beasley was a monster at Clemson, setting the sack record at the school before being drafted eighth overall in the 2015 NFL Draft. He had by far his best year in 2016, leading the league in sacks with 15.5, and was chosen to the first team for the Pro-Bowl. The Falcons went to the Super Bowl that year, but choked and squandered a 25 point lead to Tom Brady and the Patriots.
League sack leader in 2016
Not since that year has he come close to his 2016 total. Last year he had eight sacks while starting 15 of 16 games. In his five year career, he has excelled at knocking the ball loose, which he has done eleven times. Add to that an interception and a defensive touchdown. He has also had 12 pass deflections. So the talent is there, it’s just apparently not always present. His scouting report says that he often lacks the intensity to lift his level of play, meaning that he is blocked, and he does not try to come off of it and continue the pursuit.
Unable to repeat his second-year success
This type of player is a risk, but he could also bring a reward. I think the deciding factor is the price. How much is he going to be asking for? The type of money that a top ten overall pick can demand in free agency. Or will it more reasonably reflect his play/production over the last three years? There is a reason Atlanta cut him Feb. 3rd. They have no problem with not offering him a contract to stay. Playing in Bowles’ scheme could help resurrect his results, like it did Shaq Barrett.
Just as when shopping anywhere, the price must be right
Having said that, I think the only way Tampa takes a chance on Beasley is a one-year prove-it deal that is reasonable for what he has done the last three seasons. His sack total last year did surge in the second half, but is that enough to erase two and a half seasons of lesser play? I think for any team to just throw money and multiple seasons at Beasley in a big deal would just be fool-hearty, although NFL teams have been known to take that risk and give a player a bunch of money. Any time a player’s motivation and drive are in question, though, it’s a bigger red flag than most. Hopefully, the Bucs won’t take a chance on a multiple-year deal. I think they could do as well in the draft. The drive, they know he had it, but does he still have it? I think if the price is right, it might just pay off a nice dividend. If it does not, you haven’t wasted any big money on the guy, and he can kick rocks in 2021.
How many, if any, free agents will the Bucs lose at the position?
Another factor besides price would be the fact that the Bucs have some players at OLB that are free agents as well. How many of them will be re-signed? While he’s certainly worth a look, the asking price has got to be low enough to make sense. Playing for the Bucs Defense is becoming a preferred destination again in the minds of free agents who hold Todd Bowles squad in growing esteem. How much that is worth to him may also play a part. Go Bucs!