Because of the unfortunate circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 draft prospects could not show off their talents in a one-on-one meeting with teams. Here are the first ten names out of 30 that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers may have had come in for a visit.
1. Tristan Wirfs, OL, Iowa
The 6’5″ 322 pounder out of Iowa will probably not make it to the #14 pick. However, Jason Licht and the Buccaneers’ front office need an offensive lineman from this draft class to protect Tom Brady, and Wirfs is one of the best among that group. For the sake of due diligence and seeing if a potential trade-up was possible, I believe Wirfs would have had a private workout with Tampa Bay.
2. Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
Mims will probably be a third to fifth-round pick in this year’s draft. Tampa Bay lost Breshad Perriman to free agency and have a void in the third receiver position. Mims is a 6’3″ receiver out of Baylor who could be a potential steal in the mid-rounds. Had this draft class not been so deep at the wide receiver position, Mims could have easily been a first or second-rounder.
3. Van Jefferson, WR, Florida
This wide receiver prospect out of Florida may have also made the short trip down to Tampa had it not been for COVID-19. Another potential mid-round receiver prospect who has a serious upside. Jefferson’s capability to run routes and create separation would go along nicely with the talents of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Tom Brady would have a field day with that receiving core.
4. Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
At 6’7″ and 370 pounds, the Buccaneers would have to look at this offensive tackle. Becton’s stock rose significantly after the combine thanks to his freakish athletic ability at the size he is. Whether he will be available at number 14 is not known, but I would imagine the Buccaneers have him on their radar.
5. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU
Edwards-Helaire’s name has bounced around Tampa a lot since the signing of Tom Brady. He is a quick pass-catching running back out of LSU that could match the play style of James White from New England. Head coach Bruce Arians would have likely wanted to see Edwards-Helaire play before his own eyes. If he is still sitting there in round two, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Buccaneers took a chance on him.
6. Cam Akers, RB, Florida State
Another player on this list who would not have a long trip to Tampa. The running back out of Florida State is also a dual-threat that could see his name called by the Buccaneers in the second round. Akers is a natural scorer who always seems to find the end zone. He rushed for 14 touchdowns last year at Florida State and caught four touchdowns in the passing game. It would be nice to see Akers in a Buccaneers’ uniform.
7. Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
Wills might just be the best true right tackle in the draft. He is strong and explosive at 6’5″ 320 pounds. At just 20 years old, Wills has the potential to be a great right tackle for a long time in the NFL. If he falls to the 14th pick, it will be very tough for the Buccaneers to pass on him.
8. Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
Kinlaw spent his years at South Carolina dominating opposing offensive linemen. Though the Buccaneers kept most of their stout front seven, they could still use help up front. Kinlaw is a definite first-rounder and would have drawn visit interest from a vast majority of NFL teams, including Tampa Bay.
9. Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
This 6’6″ quarterback out of Washington is a very impressive prospect. He is entering the draft a year early, which may make him slide a bit in the draft. If he is still there toward the middle rounds, the Buccaneers may take a chance on him to back up and eventually replace Tom Brady. Two years of being mentored by Brady would be a major benefit for any young quarterback. Just look at Jimmy Garoppolo…
10. Tanner Muse, S, Clemson
At 6’3″, Muse ran a 4.41 40 yard dash. That speed in the secondary is a need for just about every team in the NFL. Muse made a name for himself at Clemson as a solid tackler and cover-man. He also has a unique special teams talent and a surprising ability to get to the quarterback on blitzes. Muse may slide down towards rounds five-seven. However, I believe he has a future in the NFL as a solid special teamer and play-maker on defense.
Tampa Bay and the rest of the NFL’s front offices will have to adapt to these unforeseen circumstances and draft their players based on film and the combine. The lack of visits from players will hopefully never happen again. Be sure to stick around for parts two and three of the 30 players the Buccaneers may have had come in for visits.