From now until draft day we’ll have several writers and contributors posting numerous Buccaneers’ mocks. It’s that time of season, put on your GM hat and let’s get to work.
The Buccaneers look to fortify their defense and offensive line in this latest mock.
Joey Porter Jr., DB, Penn State
WT: 193 lbs
– 2022 Named All-America second team by the AFCA, Associated Press, FWAA, Walter Camp Football Foundation and CBS Sports
– 2022 Named first-team All-Big Ten by the coaches and media
– 2022 Tabbed first-team AP All-Big Ten
– 2022 Named Pro Football Focus All-Big Ten second team
– 2022 Earned the team’s Most Valuable Defensive Player
– 2022 Jim Thorpe Award, Chuck Bednarik Award and Lott IMPACT Trophy semifinalist
– 2022 Earned the Bednarik Award National Player of the Week (9/6)
– 2022 Named to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Lott IMPACT Trophy watch lists
– 2022 Named preseason All-Big Ten second team by Pro Football Focus
– 2021 Named Third-Team All-Big Ten by the Coaches and Honorable Mention by the Media
– 2021 Made 13 Starts at Cornerback
– 2021 Finished with 51 Tackles (40 Solo), One Forced Fumble, One Interception, and Four Pass Breakups
– Has the fluidity, speed and quick feet to come down and defend slot receivers in man coverage. Porter also does a nice job breaking down in space as a tackler after the catch.
– Long and lean and a very fluid mover. He shows good route recognition and the ability to transition out of his backpedal and close on the ball fast.
– He has the core and lower-body strength to escort receivers to the sideline when working deep. He showed tremendous instincts with his eyes on the backfield last year, quick when transitioning out of his backpedal.
– Tracks the ball well and has the natural ball skills for forcing turnovers.
– He’ll line up in press at times, where Porter has a quick and powerful punch. His ball skills are good, and he plays with an extremely confident and competitive demeanor.
– Has the quick, agile feet and fluid hips to mirror quickness and change direction underneath. But he’s at his best facing the action.
– His length and leaping ability allow him to high-point the ball and make plays. Porter would have had bigger interception numbers in college had opposing quarterbacks not gone out of their way to avoid him.
– Struggles to transition and drive out of his backpedal when playing off-man. Like a lot of physical corners at the collegiate level, he’s too handsy downfield at this point.
– Aggressiveness can get the better of him in advanced route combinations
– Opposing offenses can throw screens and picks at him
– Flagged for a handful of penalties last season
– Tendency to be too grabby with his hands
– Needs to bulk up his frame
– Lacks great foot speed and balance
– 180-degree transitions not always fast or smooth
– Technique needs further refinement
– Plays too tall in his stance and can be uncompressed
– Struggles to sink his hips and transition back toward the ball
– Struggles to decelerate quickly when tracking WRs
As a sophomore in 2020 he played in 8 games and logged 415 snaps for the Nittany Lions. He made 28 tackles, 4 assists, and had 8 stops. In coverage, he totaled 2 pass breakups, no interceptions, and a disapointing QB rating when targetted of 127.0.
In 2021 as a junior Porter Jr. played in 13 games and contributed on 769 snaps. He chalked up 46 tackles, 9 assists, and added 14 stops. In the secondary, Porter Jr. forced 3 pass breakups, one interception, and gave up a much improved QB rating when targetted of 84.7.
In 2022 as a senior took his game to an elite level seeing action in 10 games while playing 440 snaps he logged 24 tackles, 4 assists, made 5 stops. In coverage, Porter had 9 pass breakups and surrendered a QB rating when targetted of 63.6.
Mazi Smith, DL, Michigan
WT: 323 lbs
– Two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree (2020-21)
– Two-time All-Big Ten selection (consensus first team, 2022; honorable mention, coaches and media, 2021)
– Named the team’s Richard Katcher Award winner (2021) and Defensive Player of the Year (2022)
– Four-time letterwinner (2019-20-21-22)
– A massive, lane-clogging lineman, Smith brings an impressive nice blend of power and quickness considering his size. Smith shows impressive get-off, often exploding off the line and getting into gaps before blockers can react.
– Crazy athletic skills — Made Bruce Feldman’s ‘Freaks List’ at number 1. He wrote: “The 6-foot-3, 337-pound senior has rare power and agility. Smith does 22 reps on the bench press, but that’s with 325 (not 225). He close-grip benched 550 pounds. He vertical-jumps 33 inches. His broad-jumped is 9-4 1/2. Smith, who had 37 tackles last season, has clocked a 4.41 shuttle time, which would’ve tied the best by any defensive tackle at this year’s NFL Scouting Combine, and it would’ve been better than any defensive tackle weighing 310 pounds or more in the past decade. His 6.95 3-cone time would’ve been by far the fastest among defensive tackles in Indianapolis.”
– Is easily big enough to play and hold well on the nose and has the athletic ability to rush the passer as a DT
– Provides some secondary interior pass rush, getting most penetration when playing three-technique.
– He has the strong core and powerful hands to shed blockers, and he shows excellent instincts with the ability to quickly locate the ball.
– Has the lateral speed to chase down running backs and is a dominant run stopper who needs to be double-teamed
– Amazing weight-room strength, which translates onto the field in terms of his anchor.
– He’s a bit stiff, as Smith lacks the flexibility to truly threaten around the edge when playing at DT in a wide set
– Smith sometimes fails to locate the ball in the run game, too often taking himself out of plays
– Despite having impressive speed Smith lacks the elite suddenness as a mover you look for, and doesn’t do enough in the pass rush when working one-on-one
– If his first move doesn’t work Smith all too often doesn’t seem to possess a backup plan and the result looks uncordinated
– Shows a lack of quickness getting his hands high – leaving blockers time to get under his pads
– His lack of height forces him to play a little upright allowing blockers to win the leverage game
– Possible discipline red flag – pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor weapons possession charge stemming from an Oct. 7 traffic stop and arrest in 2022
In 2021 as a junior Smith played in 14 games and finally made an impact playing on 544 snaps. He recorded 29 tackles, 14 assists while making 21 stops. As a pass rusher, he produced 21 total pressures, which included 14 QB hurries, 6 QB hits, and a sack on the year.
Jammie Robinson, S, FSU
WT: 203 lbs
– 2× First-team All-ACC (2021, 2022)
– Explosive quickness and speed
– An in-the-box safety at heart
– Excellent tackler
– Solid blitzer
– Lacks aggressiveness in coverage
– Susceptible to double moves
– Unnecessarily handsy, leads to penalties
– Needs to develop route recognition
“In 2022 as a senior Robinson saw action in 12 games while playing 710 snaps. He logged decent 54 tackles, 22 assists, and made 17 stops. In coverage Robinson had 3 pass breakups, one interception, and surrendered a solid QB rating when targetted of 78.8. He also chalked up 11 total pressures, and no sacks on the season.”
Dorian Williams, LB, Tulane
WT: 228 lbs
– Named Phil Steele All-American Athletic Conference Third Team (2021)
– Named to the All-AAC Second Team (2020)
– The talent is there as a sideline-to-sideline playmaker.
– He’s a fluid mover in pursuit as well, capable of moving down the line and making plays in pursuit.
– He’s built like a defensive back but hits like a linebacker. Milano has sideline-to-sideline range and is a violent, wrap-up hitter.
– Looks the part. Good height and a thick, muscular build. Long arms. Good overall athleticism and straight-line speed.
– Is a gifted athlete with an impressive frame and a lot of raw ability. Williams needs to get stronger to do more damage at the point of attack and is very unpolished with the mental aspect of the position. Streaky instincts and anticipation.
– Williams has excellent awareness in zone coverage.
– Inconsistent hustle. Only adequate change-of-direction ability. Also loses his balance too often in the open field. Lacks size to bull rush stronger tackles.
– Williams lacks the speed of a chase and- tackle guy. Williams lacks twitch as a pass rusher and lacks the feet and flexibility to threaten around the edge.
– While Williams moves well laterally, he doesn’t always get there in pursuit.
In 2021 as a junior Williams played in 12 games and contributed on 577 snaps. He recorded decent 54 tackles, 23 assists while making 28 stops. In coverage Williams chalked up 3 pass breakups, no interceptions, and an unimpressive QB rating when targetted of 122.8. As a pass rusher, he produced 9 total pressures, which included 8 QB hurries, one QB hit, and no sacks on the year.
In 2022 as a senior Williams logged playing time in 13 games and logged a total of 772 snaps for the Green Wave. He also added solid 85 tackles, 31 assists, and 50 stops. While in coverage Williams made 3 pass breakups, 2 interceptions, and a decent QB rating when targetted of 84.6. As a pass rusher, he tallied 22 total pressures, which included 9 QB hurries, 7 QB hits, and a solid 6 sacks on the season.
Luke Haggard, T, Louisville
WT: 297 lbs
– Earned the team’s Chris Dal Sasso Award (Outstanding Lineman)
– He’s a coordinated athlete who can win at the point of attack in the run game, and Haggard can also move to consistently land blocks at the second level.
– Carries his weight naturally, wide-framed with low body fat, along with long arms and large, powerful hands. Haggard moves naturally, with agile feet and the natural balance to mirror in pass protection.
– Consistently lands blocks at the second level, and he finishes strong. As a pass protector, he has violent, heavy hands. Along with a strong initial punch, he has the hand strength to grip and redirect pass rushers.
– In the run game, he explodes off the line of scrimmage and consistently gets out to the second level to do damage.
– Is effective when asked to pull, showing the agility, speed, and overall range to get out as a lead blocker, where he locates defenders and shows the ability to adjust and land blocks against linebackers.
– He’s especially light on his feet considering his size, a fluid mover who has natural balance as he kick-slides and sets. Haggard has the long arms to ward off pass rushers and send them flying past the pocket.
– Needs to work on his technique in pass protection, using more consistent leverage and continuing to move his feet.
– While Haggard displays a decent amount of strength at the point of attack, he lacks the raw power to re-establish the line of scrimmage in short-yardage situations.
– Is a bit underpowered, often coming off the line of scrimmage too high and struggling to generate movement. Haggard might be no more than a wall-off, angle blocker.
In 2020 as a freshman Haggard saw action in 7 games and played a total of 331 snaps for the Hoosiers. He allowed a disappointing 15 QB hurries, 3 QB hits, and one sack while playing at left tackle.
As a sophomore in 2021 he played in 11 games and a total of 707 snaps. He conceded a disappointing 23 QB hurries, 2 QB hits, and 2 sacks while playing at left tackle.
In 2022 as a junior Haggard saw action in 12 games and totaled 901 snaps. He gave up 10 QB hurries, 8 QB hits, and 3 sacks while playing at left tackle.
Chandler Zavala, G, N.C. State
WT: 325 lbs
– All-America Honors 2018
– First-team All-MEC
– Has the natural power to move defenders at the point of attack. Zavala also has the agility and speed to get out in front and land blocks at the second level. He also shows a good understanding of angles when climbing to the second level.
– Displays good awareness when it comes to reading moving bodies, effectively reacting and adjusting. He also shows a good feel for combo blocks.
– Zavala plays with good leverage despite his taller frame, and he’s a surprisingly good mover for his size, showing fluidity and flexibility when blocking on the second level.
– He’s a coordinated athlete who can win at the point of attack in the run game, and Zavala can also move to consistently land blocks at the second level.
– Consistently keeps his feet sliding while maintaining power when dealing with speed, often sending speed rushers flying past the pocket
– In the run game, he explodes off the line of scrimmage and consistently gets out to the second level to do damage.
– Has enough power in the run game, but at times Zavala seems to lack a mean streak.
– Can struggle to stay engaged, especially on the second level. His hand placement can be sloppy, costing him power.
– Could be a liability against speed-to-power pass rushers early in his career.
Zavala will add instant quality depth to most rosters. His size and strength translates well to the pros. If Zavala can improve against the speed rush he can definitely be a starter in this league.
Jakorian Bennett, DB, Maryland
WT: 188 lbs
– 2022 Duke’s Mayo Bowl MVP
– 2022 PFF All-Bowl Team
– 2023 Reese’s Senior Bowl Invitee
– 2021 & 2022 Honorable Mention All-Big Ten
– Pro Football Focus Cornerback of the Week (9/7/22)
– 2022 Preseason Athlon Sports & Phil Steele Second Team All-Big Ten
– 2022 Preseason Lindy’s Sports Third Team All-Big Ten
– 2022 East-West Shrine Bowl 1000
– 2021 Phil Steele Third Team All-Big Ten
– Flashes some physicality as a hitter.
– Made Bruce Feldman’s Freak’s List – ranked #60. He wrote, “The 5-11, 195-pound Bennett goes against elite receivers every day at practice, and that competitiveness carries over to training, where he and Rakim Jarrett go back and forth over who can jump the highest and run the fastest. Bennett is proud to say he’s got his buddy with a 42-inch vertical. He claims to be the fastest on the team with a 22.9 mph on the GPS, although Jarrett said he matched that in late July.”
– Bennett tracks the ball well and does a nice job of getting his head around in plenty of time to avoid flags.
– Explodes out of his backpedal and has the hands and coordination to force interceptions.
– Should excel as a zone defender because of his closing speed to wrap receivers after the catch.
– Has quick feet and excellent change-of-direction ability, capable of mirroring quickness underneath.
– Has tense ankles and hips with choppy footwork when attempting to redirect and doesn’t always look natural changing directions.
– Feet aren’t ideal, as Bennett gets sloppy in his backpedal and can be sluggish when transitioning to close on the ball.
– Feet aren’t ideal, as he gets sloppy in his backpedal and can be sluggish when transitioning to close on the ball.
– Inconsistent getting off of blocks. Can be a step slow to react when a quarterback comes back to his side of the field late in progression.
As a sophomore in 2021 he played in 12 games and logged 740 snaps for the Terrapins. He made 22 tackles, 3 assists, and had 10 stops. In coverage he totaled 8 pass breakups, 3 interceptions, and QB rating when targetted of 75.0.
In 2022 as a junior Bennett played in 11 games and contributed on 663 snaps. He chalked up 34 tackles, 8 assists, and added 12 stops. In the secondary Bennett forced 7 pass breakups, one interception, and gave up QB rating when targetted of 57.5.
Stetson Bennett, QB, Georgia
WT: 192 lbs
– Named Offensive MVP of the CFP Championship Game
– Completed 17 of 26 passes for 224 yards and a pair of TDs
– Directed two fourth-quarter TD drives vs. Alabama…his final two passes of the game went for touchdowns of 40 and 15 yards
– Offensive MVP of the Capital One Orange Bowl after completing 20 of 30 passes, with 3 TDs vs. Michigan
– One of three finalists for the 2021 Burlsworth Trophy
– Good (not elite) arm strength and can make most the NFL throws with effortless intermediate passes.
– Sees the field very well when the play breaks down and has the quick-thinking and football IQ to change plays at the line.
– Very confident passer and shows good accuracy and feel when in rhythm. Showed better ball placement from past years and throws very catchable passes
– Picks up yards with his legs when needed and shows a natural affinity to avoid pressure and buy time
– Possesses very good vision balance, elusiveness, and deceptive speed as a runner.
– Has a quick release – making him tough to sack
– Has a natural instinct for the game and a fantastic never say die attitude – that so far have managed to make up for his average athletic skills
– Sprays the ball anywhere on the field, especially when given a pocket from which to deliver. Will step up into the pocket while looking downfield, reset his feet and deliver.
– Natural leader who’s well respected by all his teammates
– Bennett often holds the ball too long. While Bennett keeps his eyes up while moving, his mechanics get increasingly sloppy once he’s pushed off his spot.
– It’s obvious why Bennett isn’t viewed a highly rated NFL prospect – he’s diminutive in the pocket at just 5-11 (at a push!) and 190 Lbs. He may struggle to stay healthy when not playing behind a Bulldog line
– His arm strength is decent but less than ideal; he lacks a little zip, and accuracy becomes an issue when he’s unable or unwilling to set his feet.
– Puts too much air in some of his throws and needs to show a lower trajectory on deep throws.
As a senior in 2021 Bennett was again relegated to the back role as transfer JT Daniels was gifted the starting job. Daniels lasted just one game before going down with an injury, giving him a second chance to impress as the starter – this time he didn’t disappoint. Playing in a total of 13 games he threw for 2637 yards on 261 attempts with a completion percentage of 64 for an average of 10.1 yards per attempt adding 27 TDs, and allowing 9 sacks, with an excellent QB rating on the year of 120.8. As a runner, he logged 46 runs for a total of 347 yards at an average of 7.5 per run. The year was capped off with him successfully quarterbacking the Bulldogs to the 2022 College Football Playoff National Championship game in a rematch against Alabama.
Bennett surprisingly opted to stay at Georgia and forgo entry into the draft – and as a fifth-year senior in 2022 while playing in 13 games as he threw for an elite 3430 yards on 395 attempts with a completion percent of 67.8 for an average of 8.7 yards per pass, putting up a decent 20 TDs, while taking 9 sacks, and totaling a QB rating of 105.4. He added 49 runs for a total of 224 yards at an average of 4.6 per run.
Darius Rush, CB, So. Carolina
WT: 196 lbs
– 2021 SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll
– 2019 SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll
– 2018 SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll
– Willing and successful blitzing off the edge. Consideration for a move to safety with a combination of range and sure tackling.
– Great on route recognition and has click-and-close ability
– A coordinated athlete with good footwork and balance. A heady cover player with above-average · feel and anticipation in space.
– Extremely aggressive to come up and put his body in traffic to make tackles.
– Tough and scrappy with forceful nature to be physical at all levels of the field. Has good bulk on his frame to be aggressive in run support.
– Can deliver the big hit and isn’t afraid to jump inside to slow the ball.
– Isn’t great in route recognition when he’s facing the action, is hesitant and susceptible to double moves, and too often gets unnecessarily handsy when playing trail position
– Rush runs well, but Rush doesn’t have elite recovery speed.
– Gets sloppy with his backpedal when playing off-man and seems to lack the instincts to close on the ball.
In 2021 as a junior Rush played in 13 games and contributed on 617 snaps. He chalked up 18 tackles, 4 assists, and added 4 stops. In the secondary Rush forced 8 pass breakups, one interception, and gave up QB rating when targetted of 97.1.
In 2022 as a senior Rush saw action in 10 games while playing 576 snaps. He logged 26 tackles, 8 assists, and made 5 stops. In coverage Rush had 6 pass breakups, 2 interceptions, and surrendered a decent QB rating when targetted of 87.7.
The PFF.com mock draft simulator was used in this article.
Information in this article first appeared on NFL Draft Buzz and is used with permission. Find the latest coverage, analysis, and player rankings for the 2023 NFL Draft at nfldraftbuzz.com