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3 Things to watch as Bucs, Dolphins and Jaguars get set to draft tonight

Florida Football Insiders

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It’s almost here. The 2018 NFL Draft will get underway at 8 p.m. tonight with the opening 32 picks to be made in prime time in Arlington, TX.

After months of scouting, evaluating, working out, interviewing and even, re-interviewing prospects, the actual selection process will end the debate and speculation. And for the Buccaneers and the Dolphins in specific, they will anxiously watching what happens in front of them, as they are both scheduled to pick early on the evening.

By virtue of their breakout season a year ago, the Jaguars will sit and wait awhile, unless they make an unlikely trade leap up. Still, there’s plenty of intrigue, as to what Jacksonville might do, too.

So, here’s a quick rundown of the order and what to expect going in:

The Bucs at #7

Tampa Bay has three specific needs: running back, pass rush help and possibly, another strong defensive back. It’s unlikely that Penn State RB Saquon Barkley will be still available at the seventh spot. If he is, the Bucs will race the card up to commissioner Roger Goodell to select him. Otherwise, there’s not another clear cut star running back out of a talented group of 5-6 remaining, who’s worth a top 10 pick. So, those guys can be had later in the first or the early second round.

Will the Bucs attempt to maybe trade up for N.C. State’s DE Bradley Chubb? They have evaluated him heavily, but most analysts and mock drafts having going in the top 5. Is it worth the trade?  As we wrote earlier this week, there is a strong case for Tampa Bay to trade down, as well, because several teams behind them may want one of the remaining quarterbacks out of the top class. Tampa Bay traded down two years ago from nine to eleven and still got a guy in DB Vernon Hargreaves, who they wanted.  We’ll see if they do something similar tonight.

The Dolphins at #11,

While Miami doesn’t have an obvious need at QB, they certainly have made it apparent for four months that they are interested in taking one. And while it’s now highly unlikely that Sam Darnold or Baker Mayfield gets out of the top five, both Josh’s, Rosen of UCLA and Allen of Wyoming, may be there just before the Dolphins are picking. Will Miami trade up for a QB or risk sitting where they are and have one fall to them?

Is Louisville’s Lamar Jackson a strong consideration there?

Will Miami go for another position like linebacker and maybe a Tremaine Edwards of Virginia Tech or Roquan Smith of Georgia? Or, would they entertain trading down to a team that really wants one of the top QB’s that might still be there, while the Fins are on the clock?

Off a disappointing 2017, Miami fans anxiously await.

Finally, the Jaguars at #29

Again, the great success last year of 10 wins, an AFC South Title, and two playoff wins, put the Jags in the rare position, for them, the back of the first round.

The two obvious areas where Jacksonville can improve is linebacker after veteran Paul Posluszny retired, and also potentially, long term QB for themselves.

Yes, while they have committed to Blake Bortles financially for the this year, his deal is very financially friendly to the team. So would be taking a QB in the late first round or even late second round, etc. in this draft. That player could be groomed, as the eventual replacement starter.

We also wrote that the Jags could be in the market for a tight end and Jacksonville native and South Carolina prospect Hayden Hurst makes a lot of sense. But will Hurst still be there? Does Jacksonville like another tight end? They will apparently wait at least three hours tonight to be on the clock. Strange for them indeed.

So, there you go. What will happen? Who trades? Who stays where they are, and what do they take?

The time is almost at hand.

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