When the conversation turns to the NFL Draft and some team’s general manager starts talking about taking the “best available player,’’ it always seems like a bit of a cop out.
It’s really not, though. When a team reaches that point where it can actually take the best available player, no matter the position, it’s actually a sign of progress.
The Buccaneers are one team that appears to have made just that kind of progress, because Bucs general manager Jason Licht believes his team will be a “best available player’’ type during the 2017 NFL Draft.
Speaking with John Clayton on an ESPN podcast this past weekend, Licht strongly suggested that the Bucs starting lineup is set and that they’re add a point now where they just have to augment certain positions.
“We are in a position where we can take the best available player at most positions offensively and defensively,’’ Licht said. “We’ve built a strong nucleus of good young talent. We just need to add good young players.’’
Licht isn’t the only one who shares that opinion about the Bucs. NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah shares the same belief and he made that clear during the network’s mock draft on Sunday.
Jeremiah was tasked in part with making the Bucs selection at No. 19 overall and his choice reflected both his and Licht’s feelings regarding the Bucs roster.
Though Jeremiah noted the need to get a little younger at defensive end and cornerback, he suggested the Bucs would take the best player available and chose for them tight end David Njoku of Miami.
Now, it must be noted that running back Dalvin Cook was already off the board by the time the Bucs pick came up in this draft, Cooking going three spots ahead to the Ravens at No. 16.
There are still plenty who believe Cook could and should wind up being the Bucs choice, including fellow NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock, but if Cook is gone, all eyes may turn to Njoku.