2020 is going to be a huge year for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After signing quarterback Tom Brady, this team is fully in “win now” mode. That changes draft strategy significantly, as Bruce Arians will want day one starters in multiple rounds.
In the second edition of my 7-round mock draft, I will take you through my “dream scenario” for the Buccaneers, while also keeping it realistic. Without further ado, lets jump right in.
1st Round, 14th Overall
Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
HT: 6’5″ WT: 320 lbs
Jedrick Wills is my top offensive tackle in a very stacked draft class. If he falls to 14, the Buccaneers better run to the podium faster than Tyreek Hill on a good day.
Wills is a day one starter at right tackle, and should be a massive upgrade over an aging Demar Dotson. His technique is some of the most refined I’ve ever seen for a tackle out of college, and his passing blocking is already at an elite level.
He will excel in a Bruce Arians offense that likes to push the ball deep, and he will win one on ones with even the most elite pass rushers. Wills can solidify the offensive line for Tom Brady by anchoring the right side with guard Alex Cappa.
2nd Round, 45th Overall
J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State
HT: 5’10” WT: 217 lbs
Another day one starter, J.K. Dobbins is my second ranked running back in this class. Normally I would be against taking a back in the first two rounds, but when you have elite talent at 45, you need to jump on the opportunity.
Dobbins has all the traits to be a three down back in the NFL with soft hands, great route running, and elite vision. Unlike Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Dobbins won’t be caught from behind and has the speed to score on long runs.
The biggest knock on Dobbins is his pass protection. But unlike most prospects, he isn’t afraid to lay the hammer down on an incoming linebacker. In fact, he excels at taking care of inside pressure. Where he struggles is blitzes off the tackle, where he can get lost in space. I think Bruce Arians staff can easily coach Dobbins to become a great pass blocker, he has all the skills to do so and his effort is never a question.
3rd Round, 76th Overall
Van Jefferson, WR, Florida
HT: 6’2″ WT: 197 lbs
Our next day one starter in this draft. Van Jefferson can plug and play on the outside as a wide receiver three in this offense. He is absolutely pro-ready from the start with a comprehensive route tree. At Florida, he made his due by exposing zone coverage over the middle of the field and abused corners that didn’t have good hand technique.
Jefferson didn’t have great production at Florida, but I’m not worried because he has all the tools to be a solid NFL wide receiver. He may never be the number one option, but the Buccaneers don’t need him to be. With the three round combo of Wills, Dobbins and Jefferson, Tampa Bay should be gunning for a division title.
3rd Round, 90th Overall (Trade)
Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
HT: 6’6″ WT: 227 lbs
You’ll be hard pressed to find a future starting quarterback in the fourth round. I think it’s in the Buccaneers best interest to trade both their fourth round picks (117/139) to Houston for the 90th overall pick.
In this slot, you might have your pick at quarterbacks Jacob Eason or Jalen Hurts. And honestly, I would be fine with either one, but Eason fits Bruce Arians’ style of offense more than the mobile Jalen Hurts.
Eason has an absolute cannon for an arm, with all the physical traits to be a starter in the NFL. But I think he still needs a lot of development in reading progressions and operating an NFL offense. By sitting behind Brady for a two years, Eason can fully develop the mental side of the game without being forced into a bad situation. The Buccaneers have their quarterback of the future.
5th Round, 161st Overall
Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas
HT: 5’11” WT: 202 lbs
Do you want to know how terrible the Buccaneers have been on special teams? Well I’m going to tell you anyways. In 2019, Tampa Bay ranked 28th in the NFL if you average multiple efficiency metrics. That includes everything from returns, coverage and kicking.
By drafting Devin Devurnay in the 5th round, the Buccaneers get yet another day one start on special teams. While Duvernay didn’t return kicks at Texas, he has the speed and build to excel at both kickoff and punt returns, something this team has needed badly.
Duvernay projects as a prototypical slot receiver, and could develop chemistry with Tom Brady. But that would be more of a bonus, as the Buccaneers are already set at the wide receiver position.
6th Round, 194th Overall
Kendall Coleman, EDGE, Syracuse
HT: 6’3″ WT: 253 lbs
With the last pick, the Buccaneers elect to draft edge rusher Kendall Coleman. He largely played in a 4-3 system in college, but could benefit moving to a 3-4.
He often struggled to get leverage when starting in a three point stance, but many pass rushers can have this issue fixed when bursting off the ball when they switch to a more simple two point stance.
Coleman is nothing more than a development pass rusher, and we’re really just throwing a dart to see if he develops into something more. It’s extremely hard to find talent in the last two rounds of the draft, but you can never have enough trench players.