It’s been awhile since the Buccaneers have been awarded a compensatory pick, since 2011 exactly. Some would argue that’s a good thing, but with our Bucs being one of the most frequent “winners” of the system, we need to try and steal something with it. To do so let’s take a look at our team needs and apply that to the positions that offer more depth and value in the draft.
Keep in mind there is quite a bit of flexibility available thru the free agency as well to help solidify our team’s needs. Luckily for Tampa Bay, we are looking at 8 picks in total thanks to JJ Wilcox making his way to the Steelers and with Jonathan Banks to the Lions. So let’s take a look at what our front office can look at to address our biggest concerns.
Running Backs. Many thought last year was a great deep class for running backs, I actually really hoped for Tampa to take a chance on Alvin Kamara but it never happened. This year happens to be just as good if not better. There are plenty of choices, and with 8 picks this may be the position I would love to see them double up on. We all have our favorites, but just to name a few Derrius Guice, Saquon Barkley, Nick Chubb, Ronald Jones II, Sony Michel, and even Martez Carter will all be valuable assets to any team and there are still others to name. My opinion go grab 2 to compliment one another and grow with each other.
Secondary. Now I was tempted to start this off as cornerbacks but a few prospects can play different spots in different schemes so we will keep this vaguer. Minkah Fitzpatrick is one of those guys. Fitzpatrick would be a boost to anyone’s secondary, but I can’t imagine him being a priority for us, at least not at 7. Luckily this position also offers many options in the draft with Tarvarus McFadden and Denzel Ward both expected to be highly valued as well with many other prospects that could start day one. I hope to see Tampa address this position in the draft as well as in free agency. Sign a younger corner maybe with Trumaine Johnson and then draft one mid-round with many to choose from.
Defensive End. Maybe more important than running backs or corners for this team’s improvement, defensive ends are actually plentiful this year despite no mesmerizing picks like last years Garrett or Jadaveon Clowney a few years back. I expect the Bucs office to address this position via free agency as well, whether it be Ezekiel Ansah, Michael Bennett, or someone else. I have heard the notion of making a run for Clowney next year, which would require definite salary cap management with Evans and Winston needing deals as well. As far as draft depth, DE will offer many options as well. Ohio State has 3 linemen all coached from our favorite Greg Schiano entering the draft that is ready for the big jump to the NFL. Davenport, Key, Chubb, Hubbard and Deshawn Hand all lead this position also, with still more unmentioned options to look into.
Offensive Line. Lastly, our offensive line needs some rework. Donovan Smith has a lot of responsibility as do the others, but we need an upgrade there. Offensive tackles are actually another position of depth in this year’s draft. If we choose to grab Nelson at 7, who’s a guard in a class with not as much depth and then look for a tackle, later on, we could see quite an upgrade with just a few well-timed moves. Keep in mind this off-season the variety of options available. With more veteran guards seeking free agency and only a few really intriguing prospects, the guard will be the most difficult position to address. Grab Nelson or sign Norwell or Pugh. It’s always nice taking away from division rivals. From there I would address RB and then do our research for good OT in later rounds.
So with that extra pick, the second to last pick in the draft, let’s hope to find a steal in those deeper positions. It just so happens our major concerns are the deepest positions does let’s strategize effectively and make the most out of the draft. If you had 8 picks to play with in 2018 what would you do?