The Thought Process
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in a unique position. They are in a position to draft for the future and bolster last year’s team thanks to the return of all 22 starters from last year’s team. They can also take a few risks on developmental players. Few championship teams and/or playoff teams ever have this luxury.
One mantra I believe: The healthiest teams fare the best and make it the furthest in the postseason. Couple that with “games are won and lost in the trenches”, and you can start to get a feel for my mindset. So naturally, the Buccaneers’ first priority is to add solid depth at key positions that have a huge impact on the game right at the snap. In this case, it’s the offensive and defensive lines. They will look to target players who can step in and perform well in the event that a starting player goes down.
An additional phrase that comes to mind is “build through the draft”. As Jason Licht looks at players, he’ll want to find those individuals who will not only be on this team for a long time, but ultimately as solid contributors. This allows for the team to see continued success in the future. There are two different opinions on this matter. The first is that you draft the best player available. The second is when you draft for your expected departures and fill potential holes. The Buccaneers are in a position to do both if they desire.
The last piece of the draft approach this year is that “defenses win championships”. The Buccaneers want to ensure the team’s defense is solid all the way through their depth and that the drafted positions reflect an ability to fill in for losses during the season to injury and post-2021 due to free agency.
Round 1, Pick No. 32: DT Christian Barmore, Alabama Crimson Tide
Many of the prognosticators have made this selection for the Buccaneers. It’s a solid pick. In my opinion, Barmore is the best defensive tackle/3-4 defensive end in this class. He has raw power and athleticism that coaches like to see. He brings the violence with his hands and wastes no time in doing so. Additionally, he has shown constant improvement. He would have an opportunity to learn and add more to his tool belt on the Buccaneers as a rotational player in Year One. With the current team there would be no pressure to have him start right away.
He checks all the boxes off. One, he will immediately add depth to this defensive line and security in case of injury. This defensive line was the key to success for the Buccaneers all the way up to the final whistle of the Super Bowl. Second, he has the opportunity to fill in for the departure of either Ndamukong Suh or William Gholston next year. I also suspect he could very well take over for Gholston by the second half of the season. Obviously, this helps check off the third box as he aids a championship defense now and in the future.
Round 2, Pick No 64: Bucs Trade Up To Select C Landon Dickerson, Alabama Crimson Tide
Looking to get into the first third of the second round, the Buccaneers trade their second-round (64th overall), and their fourth-round pick (137th overall), to Detroit for their second-round pick (41st overall).
For some, Dickerson has fallen down their big board. He’s had major injuries that come with concern. But not for the Buccaneers staff. His injuries can be overcome and he has a promising future. So much so that Licht is willing to jump to the first third of the second round to get him. Dickerson is a brawler with a vicious attitude. One that should remind fans of current Buccaneer Ryan Jensen. He plays with tenacity and through the whistle. He has the size, length, build, and athleticism for the next level. Dickerson has versatility along the interior line and is a future starter in my opinion. He can play guard or center.
Dickerson checks two big boxes in the thought process for this draft. He adds depth as security for injury and aid for the future. His ability to flex across the interior and the potential to be a starter bolsters the team both now and in the future.
Round 3, Pick No. 95: CB Trill Williams, Syracuse Orange
Versatile comes to mind when watching Williams. He has played every position in the backfield and he’s done well. With this trait, he fits perfectly in a Todd Bowles defense, where he can be a jack of all trades and mix the defensive look for opposing quarterbacks. Williams looks comfortable in both man and zone. His physical traits are sublime for the NFL. Since he will not be required to start right away, he can grow while still being an impactful player. Future starter.
All three boxes get checked with this pick, yet again. Flexibility and impact are key, here. The “Grave Diggers” get stronger with this pick.
Round 5, Pick No. 176: OLB William Bradley-King, Baylor Bears
Bradley-King is an intriguing prospect. He played well at Arkansas State for two seasons before transferring to Baylor. Any concerns about playing at a small school quickly vanished as he continued to produce after the transfer. Still somewhat raw, he’s shown growth with each step up in competition. Maybe he could do that in the NFL while being an understudy of Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaq Barrett. Bradley-King has a good tool belt to work with, but adding some finesse and discipline could make him a player that sticks to the roster. Additionally, he’s added depth to the defense.
Round 6, Pick No. 217: RB Gerrid Doaks, Cincinnati Bearcats
Year after year, it seems like running backs can be found anywhere. Doaks is an assertive player who does not shy from contact, based off the limited tape that I’ve watched. At 6- foot-1, 230-pounds, he has the frame to take the contact in the NFL. His size also aids him in pass protection. Something he seems very good at. Doaks’ soft hands and above-average ability as a receiver are perfect examples of his versatility. Doaks could supplant C.J. Prosise on the depth chart and contribute on special teams.
Round 7, Pick No. 251: S Shawn Davis, Florida Gators
Davis has some speed and range that should transition in the NFL. These two traits can give a player range and may allow him to be a versatile player on defense. 2020 showed flashes that could allude to a high ceiling as a safety. “How high though?” is the question. His addition to the team will be more on special teams with the hope that he can develop into quality depth.
Round 7, Pick No. 259: TE Tony Poljan, Virginia Cavaliers
Listed at 6-foot-7, the one-time quarterback finished his career as a tight end. With steady numbers while playing a new position he has lots of room for growth. His size lends well to blocking and it should allow for mismatches, especially if he receives proper coaching. He’ll need to be taught small nuances of receiving and the route tree. Poljan is a project, but one that could very well have a high ceiling.
With this mock draft I filled a lot of depth on the defensive side of the ball. Some of those players could very well fill in for those who will soon depart. They should further bolster the teams’ ability to continue winning for some time. Additionally, I have gambled on some projects that have a high ceiling. This coaching staff has what it takes to get the best out of players and I trust them to do so with the gambles I made. Luckily, this is a good year to make those gambles with all 22 starters returning to the Buccaneers.
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