The Tampa Bay Buccaneers showed in the 2019 season that they are potentially only a few players away from being a playoff team. The Buccaneers will need to be successful in both free agency and the draft in order to make the jump. Keeping the defensive line together and potentially adding some secondary pieces will be another big part of free agency. Tampa has already locked in star pass rushers Shaquill Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul. The draft looks to be where the team will solidify the offense and really put this team over the top.
Round 1: Offensive Line
With Tom Brady all but physically signed under center for Tampa Bay in 2020, the offensive line will need some help. In my first mock draft, I had the Buccaneers selecting offensive tackle Jedrick Wills with the 14th overall pick in the draft. Wills had a great combine, and many believe he will be long gone by then.
The same can be said for the other top offensive linemen in this class, including, Andrew Thomas, Tristan Wirfs, and Mekhi Becton. Hopefully one of these four players will still be on the board when the Buccaneers make their selection. If not, expect the Buccaneers to further bolster the defensive line with a player like defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw or defensive tackle Derrick Brown.
Round 2: Running Back
The running game has not had much success over the past few seasons. Ronald Jones II looks like a solid first and second down running back, but has yet to take the step as an every-down back. I would not expect the team to re-sign Peyton Barber, so there will be a hole to fill.
This 2020 class is full of talent at running back, and luckily there should still be plenty of value on the board when the Buccaneers make their second-round selection. Guys like J.K. Dobbins from Ohio State or Cam Akers from Florida State will still potentially be available, and this is the round I expect the team to make a move to get some competition for the number one spot.
Round 3: Secondary
For the first draft in a while, cornerback is not a significant need for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The safety position could always get stronger. If there is a high-value safety option still on the board at pick #76, expect the Buccaneers to pick up a guy like Khaleke Hudson from Michigan, or Clemson’s K’Von Wallace.
Round 4: Wide Receiver/Offensive Line
Thankfully, the Buccaneers will have a fourth-round compensatory pick. This draft is loaded, so with two fourth-round picks, it’s essential to build depth. I could see the Buccaneers attempting to secure more wide receiver depth, as the team may be losing Breshad Perriman to free agency. Some options could include Denzel Mims out of Baylor, or a wideout like Bryan Edwards from South Carolina.
With the other fourth-round pick, the Buccaneers should draft another depth piece for the offensive line. Tampa Bay has been known to use a sixth offensive lineman in certain short-yardage and goal-line situations. That player could be selected right here with the compensatory pick.
Round 5: Backup Quarterback
Ryan Griffin has been on the roster since 2015, and Blaine Gabbert missed all of last season due to injury. The Buccaneers may look to draft a quarterback to develop into a future starter with this pick. There should still be some value in round five, such as guys like Nate Stanley from Iowa, or Arizona’s Khalil Tate.
Rounds 6 and 7: Depth
The last two rounds will be used to try and find some depth pieces, or even a diamond in the rough. Typically, teams go for defensive linemen or linebackers who could also be used in special teams with these late-round picks. I would expect the team to do something similar here.