Bucs 2019 NFL Combine Thoughts

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The 2019 NFL Combine yielded some surprises and more solidified expectations. With the fifth pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Bucs will have to determine what their greatest need is. Do they need a stud defensive lineman who can be a corner piece of Todd Bowles’ defense? Or to solidify an aging offensive line for the future?

The safe picks are offensive tackles Jawaan Taylor from Florida and Jonah Williams from Alabama. Williams may force Donovan Smith to right tackle since Demar Dotson is not getting any younger and certainly isn’t an option long term.

Some draft boards have the Bucs picking defensive tackle Quinnen Williams as the replacement for Gerald McCoy. But this is a luxury pick because the team already has starters McCoy and Vea to cover the interior line. I see interior lineman as more of a possibility in the 2020 draft, not when the Bucs are trying to be competitive now with all their areas of need. If the Bucs seek an edge rusher, many of whom will be taken in the first round, then Josh Allen from Kentucky can flank Jason Pierre Paul on the opposite end.
All had great combines as expected, but I see the Bucs veering toward the offensive line to fortify the outside for quarterback Jameis Winston.

Should the Bucs pass on Allen, Jachai Polite from Florida should be available early in the second round. He doesn’t have the pizazz of the first rounders since there are questions about whether he can be an every down player. Though his run defense has improved, defensive line coach Kacy Rogers could take the risk and coach him up. The problem with consistency doesn’t even guarantee him a starting spot. That’s something you should be receiving out of your second rounders. He registered a poor combine with 4.84 seconds in the 40.

Assuming Greedy Williams from LSU isn’t picked in the first round, Amani Oruwariye from Penn State is known to have decent hands and provide adequate coverage. He would be a definite upgrade from Brent Grimes. Should the Bucs choose the offensive line again, you can look for them to pencil in Dalton Risner of Kansas State for his versatility and Michael Deiter from at guard to bolster the interior.

Taylor Rapp from Washington will likely be available in the second/third round as a dominating safety with closing speed. Lonnie Johnson, Jr. of Kentucky could be considered an upgrade over Carlton Davis. He has the speed and hands to be coached up against the elite. If no team picks an edge rusher by the end of the second round, Chase Winovich of Michigan would make a solid addition. He has 18.5 sacks and 43 tackles for loss and is a definite upgrade from Vinny Curry. Also look out for Montez Sweat from Mississippi State, who clocked in at 4.41 in the 40.

The stock of Josh Jacobs likely makes him a prime target late in the first or second round. Damien Harris was the Alabama starter over Jacobs with his aggressive running and yards after contact. Also a threat from the backfield, Harris could very well be the Bucs’ version of Darren Sproles.

When it comes to questionable stock, you have Greg Little from Mississippi. While he could develop into a competent offensive tackle, he didn’t perform as well on the 40 and the vertical jump. He also didn’t perform on the bench press.

Otherwise, I don’t expect much to change from my initial draft projections.

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