In my penultimate Bucs mock draft, I project what it would look like if the team decided to go crazy when trading draft picks. With no real pressing needs, I could see them taking advantage of a strange year in which many teams will set their boards differently. I fully expect the Buccaneers to be aggressive in this draft to fill depth “holes” on their roster that could end up being starters in the future.
Round 1, Pick No. 32: Bucs Trade Back With The Washington Football Team For Draft Picks
The Buccaneers find their dance partner and trade out of the first with the Washington Football Team. The Bucs trade draft picks No. 32 and No. 217 in exchange for Washington’s second-round pick (No. 51) and third-rounder (No. 74).
Round 2, Pick No. 51 (from WAS): Bucs Trade Back With The Indianapolis Colts For Draft Picks
The Buccaneers move down again. This time, they swap draft picks with the Indianapolis Colts. The Bucs give up pick No. 51, but receive pick No. 54 and a 2022 fourth-round selection in the exchange.
Round 2, Pick No. 54 (from IND): IOL Quinn Meinerz, Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawks
After moving down, The Bucs are still able to grab their original target at No. 51. They have to jump in front of center-needy teams like the Steelers and Seahawks, so it makes sense. Quinn Meinerz could be another Jason Licht small-school specialty. After blowing away the scouts at the Senior Bowl, Meinerz has put together a solid name for himself during the pre-daft process, earning him a couple extra dollars as well. Meinerz played guard in college and actually taught himself how to snap. He is dominant at the point, has good bend with a solid base and has the athleticism to get out in front on pulls and screens.
A nasty finisher, he can sometimes be overly-aggressive and end up on the ground. Meinerz could stand to improve his footwork and leans a little too much on the snap. But for someone who is self-taught, that can be corrected with coaching. One of the major knocks on Meinerz is his inexperience going against top competition. Playing against NFL defenders could take some time to get used to after playing in Division III. But he held his own during the Senior Bowl, so he’s capable of running with the big boys in that regard, at least.
Quinn shows the toughness Arians likes and has even drawn some comparisons to Bucs center Ryan Jensen. If the Bucs have a shot at him, his center/ guard versatility could be too much value to pass up on. Especially with Jensen and Alex Cappa in contract years.
Round 2, Pick No. 64: Bucs Trade Up With The Seattle Seahawks For Draft Picks
This trade sees the Bucs sending draft picks No. 64 and No. 137 to Seattle for pick No. 56. After trading for Safety Jamal Adams and Guard Gabe Jackson the Seahawks only have three picks in the draft. This helps them add a fourth-rounder to their arsenal.
Round 2, Pick No. 56 (from SEA): EDGE Payton Turner, Houston Cougars
The Bucs get aggressive here and trade up for a potentially dynamic pass rusher in Payton Turner with their newly-acquired draft pick.
Todd Bowles loves his edge rushers to be versatile, and Turner brings just that to his game. Lining up inside, outside, hand in the dirt, stand up rusher, Turner has done it all. Still a bit raw, he has tremendous room for growth. Turner checks off all the boxes though with size -6’5”-, length -35”-, strength – 23 bench press reps-, and athleticism – 4.33 in the 20-yard shuttle, .19 seconds slower than WR Marquez Stevenson. Turner has a great first step off the line combining with powerful hand-combatting moves and a strong initial first punch. He uses a wide array of pass-rush moves to knock his defenders off balance, using excellent pad level to win with leverage. He lacks the explosive speed to chase down runners but does the dirty work when setting the edge against the run.
Turner could see the field as a rookie in obvious passing downs and as a rotational player while learning from two of the best in the NFL in Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul. He’s has also had multiple meetings with members of the coaching staff.
Round 3, Pick No. 74 (from WAS): Bucs Trade Back With The Oakland Raiders For Draft Picks
The Bucs swap out No. 74 and No. 176 for the Raiders’ No. 80 and No. 121 draft picks.
Round 3, Pick No. 80 (from LV): DT Daviyon Nixon, Iowa Hawkeyes
Daviyon Nixon has taken quite the fall down the board. Once projected as a possible first-round pick for the Bucs, he falls to them in the third.
Nixon plays with good leverage and sound technique, which allows him to use his hands to shed blockers to get into the backfield. Also a strong run defender, Nixon plays smart, tough football and is agile enough to move laterally to make plays. However, Nixon lacks bulk for his size and needs to develop more pass rush moves. He could improve his get off, though he has the quickness and explosion to do so.
Still a bit raw, Nixon has tremendous upside in a weak defensive tackle class. He has great value here in the third for the Buccaneers where he can play rotational minutes learning from Suh, Vea, and Gholston.
Round 3, Pick No. 95: Bucs Trade Back With The Cleveland Browns For Draft Picks
The Bucs trade No. 95 in exchange for both of Cleveland’s fourth-round draft picks (No. 110 and No. 132).
Round 4, Pick No. 110 (from CLE): QB Kyle Trask, Florida
The Buccaneers draft the potential heir apparent to Tom Brady here in the third round after making a few moves. The team has spoken with the Florida QB several times throughout the pre-draft process, including most recently at his Pro Day. Kyle Trask fits the mold of what Bruce Arians looks for in a QB. Big body, good arm, quick processor and release. Not a guy that can extended a lot of plays with his legs, but a stout enough runner to make short down conversions.
A true pocket passer, Trask would benefit greatly from learning behind Brady and this coaching staff.
Round 4, Pick No. 121 (from LV): Bucs Trade Up With The Minnesota Vikings For Draft Picks
The Bucs trade draft picks No. 121 and No. 251 in exchange for No. 119.
Round 4, Pick No. 119 (from MIN): LB Derrick Barnes, Purdue Boilermakers
Bowles’ defense thrives on versatile players and Derrick Barnes is just that. An off-ball linebacker who also has the flexibility to put his hand in the dirt in coverage, Barnes is one of the surest tacklers in the draft. He has good vision and play recognition and the speed and athleticism to make plays sideline-to-sideline. A physical player, Barnes packs a wallop to climbing blockers and ball carriers. While he is decent in zone coverage, he doesn’t have the most fluid of hips and can get turned around by tight ends and running backs in coverage.
Lavonte David and Devin White are locked up for the next two years, but Kevin Minter is only playing on a one-year deal in 2021. Developing Barnes behind David, while still being able to employ his versatile skill set, should intrigue the Bucs and Bowles enough to take him here in the fourth round.
Round 4, Pick No. 132 (from CLE): Bucs Trade Back With The Cincinnati Bengals For Draft Picks
The Bucs trade draft picks No. 132 to the Bengals for their fifth-round pick (No. 149) and sixth-rounder (No.202).
Round 5, Pick No. 149 (from CIN): RB/WR Demetric Felton, UCLA Bruins
Demetric Felton is a hybrid player at the next level. A dynamic pass-catcher out of the back field, Felton can also line up in the slot and is an elusive runner with the ball in his hands. With great vision, instincts and patience to let blocks develop, Felton is always working to churn out positive yardage. While he might not have the size to be an every down back or receiver, true breakaway speed and although he is a willing blocker his size limits him. He best projects as a versatile committee back who can be used as a gadget player all over the field.
Round 6, Pick No. 202 (from CIN): CB/PR/KR Avery Williams, Boise State Broncos
It wouldn’t be a Jason Licht draft without a secondary player being taken. The starters are set, but there is a need for backups at the cornerback position. Their special teams ace, Ryan Smith, left in free agency, so having a corner who can play special teams is a must.
Avery Williams was a solid corner in college, but he shines as a return specialist. During his time in Boise, he recorded nine touchdowns on returns, five on punts and three on kickoffs. He added five blocked kicks and a forced fumble as well. Comparing himself to a blend of Devin Hester and Matthew Slater, Williams would be a welcomed addition to the special team’s room. Williams has also had several conversations with the Buccaneers staff, including special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong.
Round 7, Pick No. 259: OT Alaric Jackson, Iowa Hawkeyes
And your Mr. Irrelevant, Alaric Jackson. The teammate of last year’s rookie standout Tristan Wirfs comes from a program where they routinely pump out quality NFL offensive lineman. A four-year starter, he shows great lateral mobility and has all the traits of an NFL caliber lineman. Jackson displays great flashes blocking in both the passing and run game. However, he demonstrates inconsistent footwork in his sets and anchors that powerful edge rushers can exploit.
Jackson isn’t very versatile either. He projects as strictly a left tackle at the next level. He is suited best in a system that sees the quarterback release the ball quickly to capitalize on his skill set. Jackson will battle Josh Wells and Brad Seaton but is a long shot to make the roster. However, he could be a candidate to be stashed on the practice squad.
Even with all the trades, the Buccaneers still end up with the same number of picks as they did entering the draft. They used the luxury of no real needs to move around the board and put themselves in positions to take higher valued prospects. The team also maintained flexibility in nexts year draft, while adding to it as well. While I think it may be hard for eight players to make the roster, drafting them in strategic positions with depth concerns gives them the best shot.