The Buccaneers rode the initial wave of free agency about as well as anyone; and now, they are in a pretty good spot, roster-wise.
But there are still areas to address. The offensive line needs a swing tackle, a threat behind Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul is still needed, and a pass-catching running back are still needed. Oh, and no one is currently backing up Tom Brady.
The Buccaneers are currently a little more than $1.2 million over the salary cap. So, it’s obvious they are going to need to find cheap help.
The good news is that the NFL Draft is a little over a month away. Therefore, the team can start addressing the aforementioned areas with young, cost-controlled talent.
Will things be different this time around opposed to my first mock draft?
Jets get: TE Cam Brate
Bucs get: 2021 5th (146)
The Jets are loaded with cap space. They see Brate as an upgrade over the oft-injured Chris Herndon and a potentially nice pairing with the recently signed Tyler Kroft. They’ll send the Buccaneers a 2021 fifth-round draft pick, No. 146, to acquire Brate. Brate gives whomever is quarterbacking the Jets another reliable pass-catching target to incorporate into the offense.
The 2021 NFL Draft
Round 1: BUCS TRADE WITH THE GIANTS TO MOVE DOWN
It’s trade season, baby! The Bucs trade away the No. 32, No. 95, and No. 217 picks in order to receive the Giants 42nd, 76th, and 2022 third-round pick. It’s your classic case of a team falling in love with a guy and overspending in order to ensure they attain his services (and that fifth-year option). The Giants move up 10 spots into the first round, as they move down 19 spots in the third while gaining a 2021 sixth and giving up a 2022 third in the process. The Buccaneers get good value for the move down and add a future pick to their arsenal.
Round 2, Pick No. 42 (via NYG): DE/DT Levi Onwuzurike, Washington
Onwuzurike has been shooting up the draft boards as of late and is a ferocious pass rusher. He has the ability to play 5-tech in 3-4 front and kick in the inside on nickel and dime packages. He will most likely be used as a situational pass rusher his rookie year.
Round 2, Pick No. 64: RB Michael Carter, University of North Carolina
The other Carolina running back, not as complete a player as Javonte Williams, Carter has all the skills to become a very good back at the next level. He excels as a pass catcher out of the back field and can run inside and outside. He possesses great vision and burst, and his elusiveness makes him a slippery player to tackle.
Round 3, Pick No. 76 (via NYG): BUCS TRADE WITH THE TITANS TO MOVE DOWN
Another trade down. The Buccaneers again see value in moving down, so they trade No. 76 and No. 251 to the Titans for their No. 85 and No. 126 picks. They gain an extra fourth in 2021 while only moving down nine spots.
Round 3, Pick No. 85 (via TEN): EDGE Dayo Odeyingbo, Vanderbilt
I love Odeyingbo as an excellent fit for the Buccaneers in the third round. He finished the 2020 season racking up 32 tackles, eight TFLs, and 5.5 sacks, which earned him second team All-SEC honors. Odeyingbo reminds me a lot of Jason Pierre-Paul coming out of college. He’s a raw player that sometimes plays a little too tall with his size, but offers tremendous scheme versatility. He would probably go much higher, but he tore his achilles in January. The Buccaneers don’t have an immediate need for help on the outside, so it will give him plenty of time to heal and learn from Pierre-Paul.
You can check out my full scouting report on Odeyingbo in the aforementioned first mock draft.
Round 4, Pick No. 126 (via TEN): TE Hunter Long, Boston College
With Brate traded, the Buccaneers have a need for a third tight end on the roster. Sure, they have Hudson, but he hasn’t shown the consistency of being the guy. Long was a focal point in Boston College’s offense, evidenced by his nation-leading 89 receptions his final year. Experienced as a blocker with good route running ability and hands, Long could grow into a solid No. 2 tight end with starting potential in the NFL.
Round 4, Pick No. 137: DT Marvin Wilson, Florida State University
Wilson is one of the most intriguing players in this draft. Touted as a potential first-round pick prior to the 2020 season, Wilson struggled before seeing his season cut short to injury. Wilson has all the tools to be a dominant player, but has sometimes lacked the focus needed to take full advantage of what he can offer.
Round 5, Pick No. 146 (via NYJ): OT D’Ante Smith, East Carolina University
Smith is a player who has all the ability, but is still quite raw. He turned in a strong Senior Bowl performance and showcased his athleticism and mobility, but still has a long way to go in his development. However, he is a player who should compete for a starting role down the line, which is considered to be a home run for a fifth-round pick.
Round 5, No. 176: OG David Moore, Grambling State
Another guy I really like and have previously mocked to the Buccaneers. Here’s what I had to say about Moore.
“David Moore is the typical small school player that Licht loves to target in the draft. While he is compact at 5-foot-10, he has formidable power. Moore is aggressive in the run game often seeking the action and not waiting for it to come to him. He shows enough athleticism when pulling to be successful at the next level. He needs to play with better balance and more control at times but projects into a nice developmental prospect that could be a starter by his third season.”
Round 7, Pick No. 259: QB, Ian Book, Notre Dame
I’m not pegging Book as the heir apparent to Brady by any means, but it’s not a bad thing to have a developmental quarterback on the roster. With Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Griffin most likely back on one-year deals, developing Book on the practice squad to be a future backup is a smart investment. Book left Notre Dame as the most accomplished and winningest QB in school history. The Bucs make him their Mr. Irrelevant instead of having to fight for him as an undrafted free agent.
Who do YOU want to see Tampa Bay take in the 2021 NFL Draft? Let us know in the comment section below!