Needless to say, coming off a disappointing 5-11 season in 2017, the Buccaneers are anxious to rid themselves of that and continue a fresh start with the NFL Draft on Thursday. And, with the #7 pick, the Bucs hope to get an impact player. However, there is also a distinct possibility that they will elect to move down in this opening round.
The consensus is that three prominent quarterbacks out of the group of Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen and Baker Mayfiield will be taken early, and probably by the fifth pick, which currently belongs to the Broncos.
Further, Tampa Bay appears to have a need for two key positions, if they are keeping their pick.
One is: running back. However, it looks as though the top back in this draft, Saquon Barkley of Penn State will be taken in the top five. And, it’s very possible that he could go #1 because Cleveland has two of the first four picks.
Clearly, from every angle and everyone analyzing and mocking the draft, Barkley is significantly better than the group of backs behind him that features LSU’s Derrius Guice, Georgia’s tandem of Sony Michel and Nick Chubb, and then RB’s like USC’s Ronald Jones, San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny, etc.
Bottom line, the Buccaneers can trade deeper into the first round and still take one of those guys. They can also take one in the second round with their own pick and much less risk and scrutiny.
The other apparent need is pass rush help. Now, we wrote previously that all of their activity in free agency, including signing Eagles DL Vinny Curry and trading for Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul, would give GM Jason Licht the freedom to move down in the draft, if they wanted.
Again, much like running back, there is a clear cut pass rusher, who is likely going to go in the top six picks before the Bucs select at seven, and that’s N.C.State’s Bradley Chubb. The Buccaneers have met with Chubb on multiple occasions and everyone from Licht, to new D-line coach Brenston Buckner, to Buc fans will be thrilled if he’s still there to be taken.
Likely, he will not be, as the Colts, who also need pass rush help, are now selecting right in front of Tampa Bay at #6, and would seemingly take him.
And just like with the running backs, there is a group of pass rushers including UT-San Antonio’s Marcus Davenport and Boston College’s Harold Landry, who we wrote about earlier this week, that you could justify taking later in the first round after a trade down.
The biggest variable is a team or teams wanting to trade up into the top few picks, and specifically, for one of the quarterbacks. The Dolphins, the Bills, the Cardinals, and others would definitely be of the mindset to try it.
And, that’s where Tampa Bay may be a willing trade partner, specifically with a team, like Buffalo, who has two #1’s in this year’s draft.
So, they excitement and the many phone calls will be flying each direction from coast to coast this week, and don’t be surprised if the Buccaneers, especially once the first round picks start Thursday, is a willing to be a “seller” for their seventh overall selection.
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