It’s NFL draft season so right now everyone is up to their elbows in mock drafts, hot takes, and foolish analysis that values combine results over tape. Lots of information, not always the context to match.
What’s needed is a baseline of Bucs draft intel – the general draft situation, needs, fits, etc.
The Buccaneers find themselves on the cusp of legitimacy. Some solid free agent moves set the stage for GM Jason Licht to address the long-term future of a few roster positions.
What exactly does the draft look like this year? Buzz surrounding this year’s talent is electric, with some saying it’s “the best defensive draft […] in 20 years” according to ESPN’s Dianne Russini.
The big ticket items this year include defensive backs, edge rushers and running backs. Each position is stacked with high-end talent at the top and solid value through the first three or four rounds.
There are also solid stocks of wide receivers, tight ends and linebackers. Top players aren’t quite as plentiful but the depth is.
For teams looking for a quarterback, interior defensive lineman or any kind of offensive lineman, good luck. Converse to the defensive player boon of this draft, the offensive line crop has been described by one NFL coach as the “worst in 15 years” according to NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah.
Based on some of the roster moves the Bucs made already, Jason Licht has the team well prepared for the draft. Signing DT Chris Baker and restructuring J.R. Sweezy’s contract provided Licht with the flexibility needed to exploit the draft’s strengths and avoiding its weaknesses.
The Bucs’ needs are where the draft is deepest. Safety is the weakest position on the team, and none of the Bucs safeties are signed past 2018. Doug Martin’s drug suspension and poor showing in 2016 made running back a very sudden need. The Bucs could use additional depth at wide receiver, tight end and edge rusher.
The Bucs own the following selections:
Pick #19 (Round 1, 19/32)
Pick #50 (Round 2, 18/32)
Pick #84 (Round 3, 20/43)
Pick #125 (Round 4, 19/38)
Pick #162 (Round 5, 18/41)
Pick #204 (Round 6, 20/35)
Pick #237 (Round 7, 19/35)
They sit right smack in the middle of each round. With just their allotted seven picks, the Bucs won’t have any additional draft capital unless they trade down.
Before the draft, I will break down some of the possible scenarios for the Bucs in the first few rounds, run through a few of my favorite sleeper picks and generally avoid doing yet another mock draft. Stay tuned!