An Argument for the Buccaneers Waiting Until Day Three for a Skill Position Player


The Buccaneers have to bring back Mike Evans. They have to bring back Baker Mayfield

Those two things have to happen for the argument I’m about to lay out to apply; otherwise, yeah, go ahead and spend a 1st or 2nd round pick on either a receiver or QB, depending on who they choose to keep. 

But, the good news is that both are expected to return, so you can go ahead and keep reading and I’ll keep writing. 

Carter’s Buccaneers “Thesis”

Now to my “thesis” (if you want to use some super complicated and complex word to describe me babbling on about something as stupid and meaningless as the NFL Draft): The Bucs would be well-served to continue their trend of waiting until day three of the draft to spend a selection on a skill position. 

Last year they went trenches in the first three rounds, and I think they’d be smart to continue that trend for the first two rounds this year. 

Their pass rush is in need of a massive overhaul; even with Shaq Barrett in uniform (which he won’t be this season following the announcement of his release), the Bucs had huge problems getting to QBs throughout the season, forcing Todd Bowles to adopt a very boom-or-bust approach to play calling, dialing up exotic blitzes to cover for the fact that the Bucs lack a true #1 option coming off the edge. 

So spend a first on that. Now, offensively, the run game has been awful for consecutive seasons, and while their improvement throughout last season was nice, they need a replacement for Aaron Stinnie (who shouldn’t have been starting in the first place) or Ryan Jensen (no, Robert Hainsey isn’t good enough to put out there another year next to a subpar left guard, and frankly I’d rather him resume being a backup). 

Could they address their interior offensive line in free agency? Absolutely; former Ram Brian Allen would be a fun if not injury-prone center option to trot out there in front of Hainsey, but they still need a left guard, and I can’t imagine they’ll have enough cap space to address both left guard and center through there. 

Cody Mauch was the Bucs’ second round pick last season, and his rookie year was a bit of a mixed bag. I still would call it a success and expect him to show improvement at the right guard spot in 2024, so why not spend another second round pick on an offensive lineman, giving the Bucs three straight seasons of 2nd round offensive linemen populating their rookie classes. 

As for the 3rd round, this is where things can get interesting and the Buccaneers will probably be the most tempted to target a skill position guy. They could theoretically use another running back, another receiver to potentially develop behind Evans and Godwin (because both are long in the tooth), or a tight end to give Cade Otton a break every now and then. 

Mr. Licht, please hold off; the Buccaneers only have Antoine Winfield, Jr. as an active safety on their roster right now. Carlton Davis, Lavonte David and Jamel Dean are both as injury prone as ever. If the Bucs wanted to pick up a safety, cool, if they wanted a corner, that’s fine, too. Or if they even wanted to address either position earlier in the draft, I would understand flipping around the order, especially depending on how the unpredictable board plays out. 

Just make sure the secondary gets addressed at some point in the first three rounds. 

As we’ve seen with teams like Kansas City, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Buffalo and even the Miami Dolphins, the emphasis needs to be placed on building a team from the front to the back, with all teams spending significant draft capital on pass rushers and offensive linemen in order to support their QBs and defenses in the most optimal manner. 

So make the smart move Mr. Licht. Not the sexy one. It’s what’s gotten you here. 

Follow @ctbrantley12 on Twitter and listen to him on the RBLR Bucs podcast

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