The 2019 NFL Draft starts tomorrow and the mock drafts have been coming out by the bunches. I have released two of my own so far this offseason. Now with time winding down, I thought that I would put one more version out for your viewing pleasure. My 7-Round Mock Draft 3.0 includes a few trades, involving both picks and players, that should help the Bucs fill the holes on their roster.
The first trade involves the Bucs fifth pick. I believe that the Cardinals will take QB Kyler Murray with the first pick, the Niners will take DE Nick Bosa with the second, the Jets will take DT Quinnen Williams with the third and the Raiders will take DE Josh Allen with the fourth. That essentially leaves Jason Licht with three choices. One is LB Devin White who seems to be a popular choice in most mock drafts. Another option is taking DT Ed Oliver a little early according to some “experts”. The other choice would be to trade the pick to one of the QB needy teams in the 10 to 15 range.
In step the Washington Redskins. There’s a strong possibility that their quarterback Alex Smith never plays football again. Behind him is Case Keenum and Colt McCoy which I’m sure that they’re not too excited about. They have to grab a quarterback in this draft and they have to do it early. They can’t sit back and wait until that 15th pick to see what scraps are left. At that point, the top 3 QB prospects could be long gone and they definitely don’t want to sit there and watch their division rival New York Giants select Dwayne Haskins with the sixth pick. So, they call Jason Licht and offer up their 15th pick, their 46th pick in the second, their 76th pick in the third, their 173rd pick in the fifth and a 2020 fourth round pick for the Bucs 5th pick. That’s nearly 1,800 points worth of picks for the Bucs pick worth 1,700 points.
In addition to that blockbuster trade, the Bucs finally find a willing trade partner who’s willing to take Gerald McCoy and his $13M contract off their hands. The New England Patriots are in need of a disruptive pass rusher on their d-line after losing Trey Flowers AND Malcolm Brown in free agency. They missed out on one in the first round, so they decide to offer the Bucs their 97th pick in the third round for the 31 year-old Pro Bowler and Jason Licht gladly accepts the gift. That trade now gives them three third round picks in this draft, which will come in handy for what they do next.
After these two trades, the Bucs now have six picks in the first three rounds of this draft. That gives them the opportunity to go after a player that they’ve been wanting since Todd Bowles got to Tampa. The New York Jets signed the Ravens former LB CJ Mosley in free agency which made LB Darron Lee expendable and they have been trying to move him ever since. The problem has been that they are asking for third round compensation for him and nobody has been willing to give up any more than a fifth round pick. Now that the Bucs have the draft capital to play with, Jason Licht offers the Jets their 107th pick in the fourth round and thankfully they accept. The Bucs now have the inside linebacker they so desperately needed, which opens up some possibilities with their new 15th pick in the first round.
Now that all of that is out of the way, let’s take a look at what picks the Buccaneers now possess and then I’ll get into what I think they’ll do with them. They now have the 15th pick in the first, the 39th and 46th picks in the second, the 70th, 76th and 97th picks in the third, the 145th and 173rd picks in the fifth, the 208th pick in the sixth and the 215th pick in the seventh. That’s 10 total picks, including 6 of the top 100 picks. Now that’s how you “reload” as Bruce Arians likes to say. So let’s get it on!
Rd.1/Pk.15 (from Redskins)- DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson
I don’t know if Wilkins will be around this late or not, but if the Bucs do trade down to 15 and he’s still on the board they should snatch him up quick. At 6’4″/300lbs, he has the size to play the 3-tech and 5-tech tackle positions as well as some nose and end in certain situations. His versatility along with his character and leadership qualities make him an obvious pick here as far as I’m concerned. He could step right in and fill the void left by Gerald McCoy’s departure. Clemson also used him at fullback in short yardage and goal line situations, so he could even provide a new secret weapon for Bruce Arians to use on offense.
Rd.2/Pk.39- OL Dalton Risner, Kansas State
There should be anywhere from 3 to 5 offensive tackles taken in the first round of this draft. Jawaan Taylor, Jonah Williams, Cody Ford, Andre Dillard and Greg Little could all be gone by the time the Bucs pick in this second round. No problem. They’ll take Risner all day long. At 6’4″/315lbs, he played mostly at right tackle for the Wildcats but he did play some at center as well. He could end up competing with Demar Dotson for the right tackle spot this season. Worst case scenario is Dot beats him out and he ends up as a reserve who could possibly play any position across the Bucs o-line.
Rd.2/Pk.46 (from Redskins)- C/G Eric McCoy, Texas A&M
I’d love to put Chris Lindstrom from Boston College in here, but I think he’ll be gone at this point. However, McCoy is a nice consolation prize. At 6’3″/305lbs, he could end up competing for the starting right guard position with Alex Cappa and Earl Watford. Worst case scenario here is that he doesn’t win the starting right guard spot and ends up as the backup center/reserve guard.
Rd.3/Pk.70- DB Nasir Adderley, Delaware
With Vernon Hargreaves moving back outside and MJ Stewart moving to safety, the Bucs could be in the market for an inside corner (aka nickel corner). Even though Adderley was a safety in college, he has the ability and the size to play nickel as well. In Todd Bowles scheme, versatility is key and he offers it with the ability to play both inside and at the back end at safety.
Rd.3/Pk.76 (from Redskins)- DE Jaylon Ferguson, Louisiana Tech
So you say the Bucs still need help on the edge? I give you Jaylon Ferguson. At 6’4″/260lbs, he also offers some versatility to play the 5-tech or OLB in a 3-4 OR outside as a 4-3 defensive end. And he knows how to get to the quarterback finishing his 2018 season with 17.5 sacks and 26 tackles for loss.
Rd.3/Pk.97 (from Patriots)- CB Joejuan Williams, Vanderbilt
Todd Bowles scheme requires the corners to play physical, bump man coverage so it’s beneficial for his corners to have good size and decent speed. At 6’3″/215lbs with 4.6 speed, Williams has both of those to go along with his ball hawking skills. He could also add some versatility and play some safety as well if he puts on a little weight.
Rd.5/Pk.145- NT PJ Johnson, Arizona
At 6’4″/335lbs, he ran a 4.9 at the Combine and does standing backflips ON THE BEACH! He’s definitely a raw project prospect, but Johnson’s potential is through the roof. He is another player who would add some versatility to Bowles defense. With his athleticism and speed, he has the ability to play either the nose or the 5-tech in a 3-4 or the nose in a 4-3 front. He will most likely be gone at this point in the draft, but if he’s still available the Bucs should jump all over him.
Rd.5/Pk.173 (from Redskins)- WR/RB Jalen Hurd, Baylor
The fifth round may be a slight reach for Hurd, but this guy is really intriguing. At 6’4″/230lbs, he started his college career at Tennessee after being a five-star recruit running back out of high school. In his first 2 seasons, he rushed for about 2,100 yards, had over 400 yards receiving and scored 21 touchdowns while averaging nearly 5 yards per carry. He was well on his way to being a first or second round selection as a running back, but a serious concussion and shoulder injury caused him to miss half of his junior year. He decided that he wanted to make the switch to wide receiver in order to prolong his shelf life as a player, but Tennessee wouldn’t accommodate him so he transferred to Baylor who welcomed him with open arms. In his senior season, he had 1,155 total yards and 7 touchdowns while averaging almost 10 yards every time he touched the football. I think Bruce Arians would be salivating to get his hands on a guy like Hurd who could end up being an interesting option as a third down back for the Bucs. He needs some polishing as a wide receiver, but he would give them another big wideout for Jameis Winston to throw to and could add value to the run game as well.
Rd.6/Pk.208- LB Khalil Hodge, Buffalo
At 6’1″/240lbs, Hodge was a tackling machine finishing his three year college career at Buffalo with an insane 419 tackles. He’s got the size to play inside, the speed to play outside and gives the Bucs some added depth to their LB corps. And if you’re thinking “So what if he put up big numbers at a small school”, just remember that Khalil Mack went to Buffalo too.
Rd.7/Pk.215- OLB Charles Wright, Vanderbilt
Back to back linebackers? Yes. The Bucs lost BOTH of their starting middle linebackers from last season to free agency AND will probably be losing Kendell Beckwith to a career threatening injury as well. They need all the help they can get at this position despite adding Deone Bucannon and Darron Lee to their group. At 6’3″/240lbs, not only does Wright add the ability to play inside OR outside linebacker but he brings some edge rush ability as well.
There you have it. My FINAL Buccaneers mock draft for this year. In this one, I have the Bucs shoring up their offensive and defensive lines, adding depth to their secondary and linebacking corps and giving Bruce Arians a new weapon on offense. No team can fill every hole during every offseason. However, I do think that this scenario is the best way to improve the roster.
What the Bucs decide to do with that 5th pick will likely be determined by what happens in the first four picks of this draft. IF Quinnen Williams or Josh Allen are still on the board when the Bucs go on the clock, then they will be the pick. If neither of them are there, expect them to look for a trade partner. No matter what happens, Thursday night should be fun to watch!
Until then, as always…GO BUCS!!!