The draft is still a ways away, but after free agency has started to wind down and the Buccaneers have officially signed some guys, it’s time to have some fun.
Now, I’m no draft expert and if anyone says they know what the Bucs are planning to do with their picks, they’re lying. This is just a guesstimate, and a way to talk about some talented players in this year’s draft.
Round 1, Pick 19: T, Broderick Jones, UGA
Could the Bucs go safety, edge, defensive interior lineman, or wide receiver here? Absolutely. But their o-line was one of the worst in football last year, and while discussions of moving Tristan Wirfs to left tackle have been ongoing, Jones still gives them a bookend tackle for whoever lines up under center in the near future. Jones was the left tackle for the national champion Bulldogs. He’s a beast athletically, and could be one of the best tackles in football if he’s able to put it all together.
The main concern with this projection is simply if he ends up falling to the Buccaneers; some have Tennessee taking him at 11 or the Jets taking him at 13. We’ll have to see how the Jets situation plays out with Rodgers, as the Packers could end up with the pick, but they have just as much of a need for him as New York. So it could be a bit of a stretch to say he’ll fall to the Bucs, but oh well, I like him.
Round 2, Pick 50: ED, Andre Carter II, Army
Andre Carter II is a bit similar to JTS in that he’s a bit raw, but possesses a lot of amazing athletic traits that could be put together into a dominant edge rusher. He put up some pretty solid numbers in college and could be a really interesting project piece to continue to build their defense for the future. He could sit behind Shaq, learn a bit, and eventually be plugged in to replace him alongside JTS.
Round 3, Pick 82: WR, Kayshon Boutte, LSU
Boutte was thought of as a potential first rounder in this draft before this past season, which was an absolute disaster for Boutte. He still possesses a lot of upside, especially with his ability to make people miss in the open field. The Bucs need some players with higher upside for the rebuild, and Boutte is certainly that.
Round 5, Pick 153: S, Quindell Johnson, Memphis
Johnson is a very aggressive, playmaking safety. At times, his aggressiveness can be a bit much and he can get himself into trouble, but he’s a really solid tackler and is incredibly versatile in his skill set. If he’s able to hone in some of his over-aggressiveness and work on taking that next step as a player.
Round 5, Pick 175: LB, Ventrell Miller, UF
His size is a big concern moving into the NFL level, but his experience as a starter at UF up until his senior year could prove invaluable. The biggest problem with Miller other than his size is a lack of athletic ability, which goes against the whole idea of the Buccaneers drafting high upside. But, I gotta say, Miller fits a huge need moving forward with the middle linebacker position, as Devin White and Lavonte David are both likely on their way out after this season. Miller can step in and be a wonderful leader in the locker room and on the field, which is something both White and David excel at on this team.
Round 6, Pick 179: TE, Will Mallory, UM (FL)
Mallory is a difficult prospect to project. He’s certainly more of a pass-catching tight end who can use his big body in the open field, but he struggles to provide anything spectacular to the position. That’s ok; the Bucs can use him greatly as a depth piece to compliment both Cade Otton and Ko Kieft. Kieft is an excellent blocker and special teams guy, but you probably don’t want him running too many routes, and with Cam Brate gone, the Bucs will need to fill a third spot for this position on their roster. Mallory can do just that.
Round 6, Pick 181: WR, Ronnie Bell, Michigan
I know, going 2 wide receivers in a draft for a team with as many holes as the Buccaneers have might sound a bit odd, but the fact is they only have Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, and Russell Gage as locks to make the roster going into next season. Bell gives them another return option in special teams as well as someone who can make some guys miss in the open field. The Bucs have enough physical guys in Evans and Godwin, it’s time to bring in some more diverse talent for the receiver room, and Bell and Boutte can do that for this team.
Round 6, Pick 192: RB, Chris Rodriguez, Jr., Kentucky
The Bucs are still missing a big power, between-the-tackles back, and Chris Rodriguez can come in and do that very well coming out of the power-run-heavy scheme Kentucky ran this past season. Rodriguez, Jr. can do a lot of similar things to what Jamaal Williams did for the Lions last season; great short-yardage red zone runs that are predicated on physicality. Rodriguez, Jr. lacks in the explosiveness department, but he can more than make up for it with his size and willingness to deal out punishment to would-be tacklers.
Round 7, Pick 252: QB, Max Duggan, TCU
While Duggan is a potential undrafted signee the Buccaneers could explore, he certainly wouldn’t be the worst choice for the Bucs’ last pick of this draft. He could be a serviceable practice squad or third QB option for the Bucs if they want to try and develop a potential backup for their squad moving forward, as Baker Mayfield only signed for one season. Duggan brings a lot of intangibles to the table that need refinement, including his accuracy and decision making, but his arm projects well for the next level and he brings a certain toughness that a lot of teams want out of the QB position.
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