The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and general manager Jason Licht have a history with the Senior Bowl. Specifically, they have a tendency to draft players from there.
In 2022 alone Licht drafted five players from the event. It was not the first time he has drafted several Senior Bowl players and it won’t be the last. Expect this year to be no exception.
So who are this year’s possible future Bucs stars? I made a list of ten who I believe the team will be watching closely.
In terms of fluid and athletic offensive tackles it doesn’t get much better than Matthew Bergeron. He moves extremely well in space and has no problem pulling and making blocks at the second level. He also has a tendency to put opponents on the ground using great grip and upper body power.
Bergeron slides incredibly well and is very difficult to beat with speed. The one area he struggles with is power. Bergeron will likely need a red shirt year to strengthen his anchor, but could turn into a high quality starter if he’s able to do that.
Fewer prospects look the part more than Jaelyn Duncan. The size and athleticism are obvious as soon as you start watching him. Physically speaking he has all the makings of a franchise left tackle.
However, Duncan shows regular lapses. He is inconsistent with technique and footwork. He might be able to play as a rookie, but he is very much a work in progress in the finer points of the position.
Dawand Jones is a massive offensive tackle, listed at 6’8 and nearly 360 lbs. That makes him a giant even by NFL standards. However, his size is a little misleading for the type of player he is.
Jones is shockingly light on his feet for his size. He can get to the second level as a run blocker and has the athletic ability to be versatile and play in different running schemes. And although he’s not as powerful as his size indicates, he’s got all the makings of a plug and play right tackle.
Fast, physical and instinctive. SirVocea Dennis is a rangy linebacker who makes plays from sideline to sideline. He’s a three year starter who increased his tackle totals every season.
Dennis also has a feel for making plays in the backfield. He recorded double digit tackles for loss in each of his three seasons as a starter. He is an ideal middle round option for a team looking to add depth and talent to their linebacker room.
Jaren Hall is this year’s hot name at quarterback in this year’s Senior Bowl. And it’s easy to see why. The physical tools here are very impressive, both in terms of arm strength and mobility.
I expect Hall to be the first quarterback drafted of this group. However, he might not be the first one to see playing time as he has a lot to refine in terms of footwork and he will likely need to develop for at least a year. He is a long term investment with high upside at the most important position in football.
Clayton Tune is as well rounded and impressive of a sleeper quarterback as you’ll find. He has good size (6’3 and 220 lbs) good arm strength and the ability to make plays with his legs. It’s my personal opinion that he’ll be the best NFL quarterback from this group of active participants.
Tune has lots of experience, playing for five years at Houston. In 2022 he threw for over 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. This combination of physical tools, experience and production is worthy of a middle round pick for a franchise that is looking for answers at the position.
One of leading rushers in college football last year, the ability is easy to see with Chase Brown. He’s a no nonsense runner who finds the crease and accelerates through it. His burst and vision are his strongest selling points.
Brown also has no issue lowering his shoulder and fighting for tough yards. He’s a reliable workhorse type who will take everything the defense gives him. Brown is also someone who can catch the ball out of the backfield.
It’s not often that Alabama players fly under the radar, but that seems to be the case with Byron Young. He is a disruptive penetrator who wreaks havoc in the backfield. If you’re looking for an interior pass rusher, this is your guy.
Young is a very good athlete at 6’3 and 300 lbs. He uses his hands very well to shed blocks and make tackles and sack the quarterback. He’s projected as a day three pick, but I expect him to outplay his draft position.
Kyu Blu Kelly
The Buccaneers love big physical press corners. That makes Kyu Blu Kelly the perfect fit in Tampa Bay. At 6’1 and 190 lbs, Kelly is a great blend of size and athletic ability.
Kelly is a four year contributor with 37 games of college experience. He also comes from an NFL background with his father being long-time Buccaneer and Super Bowl champion Brian Kelly. This blend of talent and experience is certainly worth taking a good hard look at.
If you like gritty physical safety play then Sydney Brown will be your cup of tea. He has no reservations taking on blockers and doing the dirty work as a run defender. The way he flies to the ball looks almost like a linebacker rather than a safety. This man lives for contact.
While I don’t love him as a coverage player, he has shown the ability to be a playmaker. His six interceptions last season are clear proof of that. He’s a natural fit as a box safety with big play ability, much like Jordan Whitehead was with the Bucs a few years ago.
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