Evan Winter’s Final Bucs Mock Draft


You’ve read our previous Bucs mock drafts, but alas, we’ve arrived at the final editions. It’s time to determine Tampa Bay’s picks in the 2021 NFL Draft.

This is it. The end. El Fin. Nothing matters after this mock. It will represent the foundation for the judgement I am soon to face.

But enough of the drama. It’s time to make some draft picks.

Round 1, Pick No. 32: Bucs Trade Back To Select EDGE Joe Tryon, Washington Huskies

  • The Tampa Bay Buccaneers receive picks No. 37 and No. 123. 
  • The Philadelphia Eagles receive pick No. 32. 

I really, really think the Bucs are legit contenders to move up in the first round. However, I also think the top athletes at the EDGE position -like Kwity Paye, Azeez Ojulari, and Jaelan Phillips- will all be gone by pick No. 21. That means it will cost the Bucs too much if they want to move up and get one of those guys. I firmly believe that’s the only position the Bucs would move up for, as well.

Tryon’s 2020 opt out causes him to fall out of the first round and right into the Bucs’ lap. Tampa Bay doesn’t want to drop too far back in fear of missing out on the former Huskie. So, it’s able to get an extra fourth-round pick after moving back five spots, where Tryon should still be available.

Tryon fits what the Bucs are looking for when it comes to size, athleticism, and ability at the EDGE position. He will immediately improve the depth at the position and could be an eventual replacement for Jason Pierre-Paul.

It almost seems like a lock that the Bucs will go EDGE in the first round, it’s just going to be a matter of who is there.

Previous pick: EDGE Joe Tryon, Washington Huskies

Round 2, Pick No. 64: IOL Quinn Meinerz, Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawks

Small-school offensive linemen and Jason Licht are a match made in heaven. Three of the Bucs’ five starters all went to DII schools or smaller and it looks like Meinerz will join them in 2021.

Bruce Arians made it clear what he was looking for in this year’s draft a few weeks ago.

“I think speed on defense…as long as it’s speed, because speed’s going to help special teams and speed develops into really good players on defense,” Arians told reporters. “I think both lines of scrimmage; I don’t think you can have enough depth at both lines of scrimmage.”

Ryan Jensen and Alex Cappa are both in contract years, so not only would Meinerz provide the depth that Arians is looking for, but he could possibly replace them if one or both leave via free agency in 2022.

Meinerz is rocketing up draft boards, but I think the time it going to take to develop him is what keeps him available at 64.

Previous pick: WR Rondale Moore, Purdue Boilermakers

Round 3, Pick No. 95: Bucs Trade Up To Select WR Amari Rodgers, Clemson Tigers

  • The Tampa Bay Buccaneers receive pick No. 76.
  • The New York Giants receive picks No. 95, No. 123, and No. 137.

It’s really hard to envision the Jason Licht and co. just sitting and waiting til the end of every round, so I had to include some kind of trade up in the final edition of my Bucs mock draft.

Antonio Brown still isn’t on the team, so it’s time to start thinking about life without the former All-Pro receiver. Chris Godwin is also a year away from free agency. Drafting Rogers gives the Buccaneers injury insurance as well as an option if Godwin departs next year. Or if he isn’t signed to a long-term deal by the July 15 deadline.

He isn’t the blocker that Godwin is and he doesn’t have the typical build that Bruce Arians likes in his slot receivers, but he’s just as physical as anyone who’s played the position before him. Rodgers excels with the ball in his hands and is much more explosive after the catch. He also has the speed to threaten vertically, pretty much making him an all-around threat.

And if Godwin ends up sticking around, then the Buccaneers will have a Deebo Samuel-type player in Rodgers, which will allow them to draw up all sorts of interesting plays. Said plays would move Rodgers all around the offense, taking advantage of his playmaking ability.

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Amari Rodgers would thrive in Tampa Bay’s offense. Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

Previous pick: OL Trey Smith, Tennessee Volunteers

Round 5, Pick No. 176: LB Garrett Wallow, TCU Horned Frogs

If Wallow can fine-tune the “finish” of his game, then he could be considered a major steal in the fifth round.

The former Horned Frog is a converted safety, so he’s quick and agile for his position. But he’s also not afraid to play downhill and put a lick on someone. Wallow’s also solid in coverage (makes sense considering he’s a former safety), which is something the Buccaneers covet out of their linebackers, e.g. Lavonte David.

He doesn’t have the desired speed for a player his size, but his instincts and willingness to fly to the ball help that part of his game. Wallow could stand to work on his angling, as well, but that should improve since he’ll be learning behind David and White. He should be able to immediately contribute on special teams, which is key for rookies when they play for Arians.

The Bucs have to find a fourth inside linebacker, it’s crucial. Fortunately for them, they get their guy in Wallow.

Previous pick: LB Tony Fields II, West Virginia Mountaineers

Round 6, Pick No. 217: QB Jamie Newman, Georgia Bulldogs

Newman was supposed to be a major add for the Bulldogs, but like a lot of other players, he decided to opt out of the 2020 season.

He has the size, arm strength, and the mobility to be successful in the NFL. The Wake Forest Demon Deacons literally tailored their offense around him and that was a major catalyst to his success. There’s not much reason to think he will be a Pro Bowl starter, but the hope is that he can develop into a solid backup who can do enough to win games when called upon.

Ryan Griffin is back, but Blaine Gabbert is still not on the roster. Tampa Bay needs a third quarterback if Gabbert doesn’t come back.

Previous pick: IDL Khyiris Tonga, BYU Cougars

Round 7, Pick No. 251: Bucs Trade Back Into Round 6 To Select EDGE Patrick Johnson, Tulane Green Wave

  • The Tampa Bay Buccaneers receive pick No. 221
  • The Chicago Bears receive pick No. 251 and a 2022 sixth-round pick.

I don’t know why, but a ton of people are sleeping on Johnson.

Of all the later-round picks, he arguably has the most starting potential. Johnson will immediately bolster Tampa Bay’s pass rush depth and if everything breaks right, he could be starting for the Bucs down the road. The Buccaneers decide to move back into the sixth round once they realize Johnson can be had at a cheap price.

You can’t have too many pass-rushers and Tampa Bay’s second pick of the sixth-round answers all depth questions in this draft with the selection of Johnson.

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Patrick Johnson could end up becoming a starter in the NFL. Photo Credit: Tulane University Athletics.

Previous pick: QB Feleipe Franks, Arkansas Razorbacks

Round 7, Pick No. 259: S Damar Hamlin, Pittsburgh Panthers

The Buccaneers dive back into the Panthers’ cupboard for the final pick of this Bucs mock draft.

Hamlin is a solid, all-around safety who is good in both run support and coverage. However, he missed time due to injury in 2016, 2017, and 2019 and a lack of burst/average speed are what relegate him to the seventh round.

He’s versatile and can be moved around the defensive backfield. Hamlin would compete with Javon Hagan for the fourth safety spot.

Previous pick: CB K.J. Sails, USF Bulls

What do you think? Who would you have in your Bucs mock draft? Let us know via the comment section below!