The Tampa Bay Buccaneers start this draft off with who they believe is a Tyrann Mathieu clone in Michigan’s safety Daxton Hill. Through the rest of this mock draft the Bucs address depth concerns on the offensive and defensive lines while adding some weapons for Tom Brady.
Round 1, Pick 27
Daxton Hill, S, Michigan
HT: 6’0 WT: 192 lbs
Admittedly, safety isn’t the biggest need on this team. However, this is the type of talent that is worth taking regardless of need. The first thing that some will notice is Daxton Hill’s athletic ability. At 6’0 and 191 lbs he ran a 4.38 40 yard dash at the combine. This is not typical safety speed, it’s more what you would expect from deep threat wide receivers. Hill also tested extremely well in the shuttles, which showed off his quickness. Hill is a versatile chess piece that can do it all. He plays well in over the top coverage and as a nickel. He’s strong in run support as well as on the blitz. When people think of all that a guy like Tyrann Mathieu can do, Hill brings that type of ability.
Round 2, Pick 60
Travis Jones, DT, Connecticut
HT: 6’4 WT: 326 lbs
Travis Jones checks all the boxes that this Buccaneers staff will like. At 6’4 and 326 lbs he brings the prerequisite size that head coach Todd Bowles values in his defensive linemen. Jones uses his size and impressive power to shut down the run and control the point of attack. However, Jones is more than just a big run stuffer in the middle. He shows fluidity and the mobility required to play the 3 technique as well as nose tackle. Jones displays quick hands and flashes different pass rush moves that leads me to believe that he can develop into a disruptive pass rusher down the line.
Round 3, Pick 91
James Cook, RB, Georgia
HT: 5’11 WT: 190 lbs
James Cook has the speed to get outside and make plays on the second level. Cook is a threat to take it the distance whenever he has the ball in his hands. He’s a great route runner with great hands out of the backfield. Cook is a defensive coordinators nightmare creating matchup advantages every time he runs a route. Look for Cook to compete immediately for playing time with the Buccaneers.
Round 4, Pick 133
Lecitus Smith, G, VA. Tech
HT: 6’3 WT: 314 lbs
Lecitus Smith is a bit of a project, but one that could provide great dividends. Smith’s strength is pass protection. His pocket protection is top-notch with his quick feet and ability to to pinch and redirect pass rushers. Where Smith struggles is run blocking, this might be why he dropped to the end of the fourth round. This should be improved with work to his technique and sometimes time in the weight room.
Round 7, Pick 248
Kalil Pimpleton, WR, Central Michigan
HT: 5’9 WT: 175 lbs
Jaelon Darden was drafted last year as someone who could return kicks and create separation with his quickness. Unfortunately, he hasn’t shown he can do either at the NFL level to this point. Now the Bucs are still looking for answers as to who will round out the depth of their wide receiver room. Kalil Pimpleton showed the ability to be an electric return man in college. He averaged 19 yards per punt return and scored two touchdowns last season. Worst case scenario, he’s the competition that Darden needs to push him. Best case scenario, the Buccaneers get a valuable special teams player who can be a depth playmaker.
Round 7, Pick 261
Jordan Jackson, DL, Air Force
HT: 6’5 WT: 285 lbs
Jordan Jackson is a high-motor defensive lineman that can play defensive end and tackle. His quickness and active hands help him with interior rushing. Jackson is best at getting to the pocket and chasing the play down the line.
This mock was done using PFF’s Mock Draft Simulator.
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