The first wave of free agency is over and the Buccaneers have made a number of moves. None of their transactions have been flashy but it gives the Bucs plenty of options with the fifth overall pick.
Mock drafts from every outlet are making their rounds online. Armchair Bucs wanted to get in on the action. So with free agency hype winding down, the Combine over and the draft just about a month away, we give you our first 7-round mock draft.
This mock draft is set up with the help of the team over at The Draft Network and their mock draft machine. Feel free to create your own mock if you have issues with ours. Now without further ado, the Armchair Bucs mock draft 1.0.
Round 1, 5th Overall: LB Devin White, LSU
In an ideal scenario, the Buccaneers wouldn’t be picking at number five. General manager Jason Licht has proven that he is always willing to trade down, and in this mock draft, the opportunity to do so is there.
The three players most likely at the top of the Bucs’ draft board (Nick Bosa, Josh Allen, Quinnen Williams) should be gone. Next on that list is probably LSU linebacker Devin White. If the Bucs traded back around the 10th pick, they’d still be in great position to get White. Since I can’t trade back in this mock, I’m sticking at five and choosing White anyway.
White was arguably the best player on a very solid LSU defense. Over his three year career, he racked up 286 total tackles, 28.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. He dominated the SEC with his sideline-to-sideline speed and that trait should translate well to the NFL.
#LSU LB Devin White got a big smile when he was asked if he met with the #Bucs. Answer was yes. Said they watched a ton of film. White said he talked to them about he and Kwon Alexander:“If you put two guys like that lining up next to each other, what can the offense do?”
— Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) March 2, 2019
The Bucs did a pretty good job in bringing in linebackers after the departure of Kwon Alexander. Kevin Minter and Devante Bond are returning from last year’s team on one-year deals. Deone Bucannon and Shaq Barnett were brought in to help with depth.
If drafted, White would step in and start right away. His talent and upside are too good not to play right away. White needs to improve in his processing and consistency but Bruce Arians and Todd Bowles should be able to fix that problem while also putting White in a great position to use his natural abilities.
Round 2, 39th Overall: IOL Chris Lindstrom, Boston College
This second round pick came down to two players, Chris Lindstrom or Jeffery Simmons. Both would help in the trenches and improve both sides of the ball. Simmons, unfortunately, tore his ACL before the Combine and will more than likely miss the entire 2019 season. I don’t know Licht’s mindset on this injury so Simmons is getting passed over for now. Instead, I went the safer route and picked up interior offensive line Chris Lindstrom out of Boston College.
Lindstrom is a versatile offensive lineman that started 49 games over four years at BC. Those starts were spread out between right guard and right tackle, which just so happen to be the biggest question marks on the Bucs offensive line.
Demar Dotson had his one-year team-option picked up but is nearing the end of his career. Earl Watford was picked up to be an option at right guard but has only started 22 games over six years. Alex Cappa was drafted last year and could still be seen as a valuable piece but maybe not a starter.
Lindstrom would be a plug and play guy on the offensive line. He can start at right guard where he will be a success in the running and passing game. If an injury happens on the offensive line, he can slip into that spot as well. His versatility is such a great asset and he’s a very good lineman as well.
Round 3, 70th Overall: CB Rock Ya-Sin, Temple
Rock Ya-Sin in the third round was an absolute no brainer. The Bucs have a need at the cornerback spot and Ya-Sin was the best one available. Tampa has tried to address the cornerback in recent drafts, three taken in the last three years, but they haven’t really worked out well. Vernon Hargreaves III has been moved to the slot and was looking solid before an injury derailed his season. Last year’s 53rd overall pick M.J Stewart is being moved to safety, which leaves Carlton Davis as the only corner on the outside.
Ya-Sin would probably get thrown into the second corner spot much like Davis was last season. His potential to be a solid starter long-term should excite the Bucs. Bowles wants to play an aggressive style of defense and I believe Ya-Sin can fit the mold. Kyle Crabbs of The Draft Network had this to say about Ya-Sin and where he can fit in the NFL.
“Super physical. Rides on route stems right on the hip and does a really nice job of diminishing the throwing window. He’s much better in the contact window vs. playing off but he’ll have his lapses against refined releases and quick-footed receivers.”
Being a physical corner in the NFC South is definitely needed. I have no doubt that Bowles would bring out the best of Ya-Sin if he landed in Tampa.
Round 4, 108th Overall: RB Damien Harris, Alabama
Bucs’ Twitter is at war with each other. There are those that feel the team needs an upgrade at the running back position and those that think Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones can carry the load. I’m on the fence. I think Barber is a solid running back. He runs hard and just had his best year with 871 yards and five touchdowns. However, is he the long-term answer as a top running back? I’m skeptical.
The jury is also out on Jones. The Bucs spent a high second-round pick on Jones and he was almost non-existent. He had 44 yards on 21 carries with only one touchdown. Arians has stated that he is standing behind Jones and is excited to work with him. Jones has the potential to work out as a top back but I’m going to look to improve the position at this spot in the draft.
Damien Harris out of Alabama is not going to be a lead back for the Buccaneers either in the short-term or the long-term but he can help out with this offense. Harris is a jack of all trades type of back. He’s a solid runner, good pass catcher and solid in pass protection. Harris won’t “wow” anyone in any one aspect but his overall skill set can fit any team.
Barber re-signed with the team but for only one year. If he’s out after next year it could be Jones, Andre Ellington, and Shaun Wilson as the running backs. Harris would be at worst the second-best back out of that group. There could be solid running backs in the later rounds, but I like Harris to be able to step in and contribute on a regular basis.
Round 5, 146th Overall: Edge Sutton Smith, Northern Illinois
I couldn’t go through this draft without addressing the need at edge for the Bucs. Right now the only edge rushers that can be counted on in Tampa are Jason Pierre-Paul and Carl Nassib. I do not feel comfortable rolling out with those two as my only options.
One could argue that the edge position should have been addressed earlier and there’s’ definitely are an argument for that. For now, I’m going to stick with picking Sutton Smith out of Northern Illinois.
Sutton Smith is a guy I have projecting to OBLB like Joe Schobert, which is why he's not on here. I have a 3rd on Smith projecting him off ball.
— Kyle Crabbs (@GrindingTheTape) March 24, 2019
Smith had a solid career at NIU, accumulating 139 total tackles, 58.5 tackles for loss and 30 sacks. With the Bucs potentially moving to an odd-man front under Bowles, Sutton could find a fit. He can rush the quarterback as a typical edge defender, which the team desperately needs, or he could fit as an off-ball linebacker that can work in space. It won’t be the splashiest pick for Tampa but Smith could a solid rotational guy for a new aggressive defense.
Round 6, 210th Overall: WR Cody Thompson, Toledo
Unless there’s a trade, the Bucs will have to wait a long time before making their sixth-round pick. At this point, we’ve addressed the majority of the Bucs needs. We have our linebacker, a solid offensive lineman, an edge rusher and even a running back. Interior defense line could also be addressed but I’m going to give Winston and the offense another weapon.
Cody Thompson out of Toledo could be the replacement for Adam Humphries in the slot. Thompson had a productive career at Toledo where he hauled in 181 catches for 3,312 yards and 30 touchdowns. He’s limited in his athletic makeup which hinders where he can play on the field but there is a path to playing time for Thompson. Lance Zierlein of NFL.com has some good things to say about Thompson’s fit in the NFL.
“Natural-born pass catcher with soft hands, quality routes, and advanced feel for body positioning and control. Thompson is praised by teammates and coaches for his level of preparation that has resulted in a solid college production. He has good size, but his lack of functional speed may push him inside, where he’ll need to prove he can uncover in tight spaces. He’s not fast, but he’s athletic and his special teams value should give him an above-average chance of making a roster as a late Day 3 (Rounds 4-7) selection.”
Pick 210 seems like a nice spot to try and find a diamond in the rough and solid contributor on the offensive end.
Round 7, 217th Overall: QB Brett Rypien, Boise State
This mock draft was done before the news that Blaine Gabbert was coming to Tampa. However, it might not be a terrible idea to bring in some competition for him and Ryan Griffin at the backup spot. Brett Rypien could be the perfect candidate.
A four-year starter at Boise State, Rypien threw for 13,578 yards and 90 touchdowns while completing 64-percent of his passes with only 29 interceptions. As most quarterbacks should, he can make the necessary passes when given a clean pocket. He’s decently mobile and can extend plays with his feet, which is more than can be said with Gabbert.
Rypien isn’t the quickest mental processor which limits his career upside. But if given the chance, I feel like Rypien would be a better starter than Gabbert or Griffin at this point.
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