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Buc-centric Mock Draft, volume 1

March 26, 2014

Welcome to the silly season, when NFL General Managers lie & the media follow along with notebooks, drooling.  But we’re too smart to buy into that, aren’t we?!

So instead of a “mock draft,” I’m going to focus on what we really care about:  what will the Bucs do at #7?

Right off the bat, I’m going to redefine the question.  It’s not “what will the Bucs do at #7” but “what player(s) will be there at 7 whom the Bucs deem worthy of the pick?”  Because at this point, given the offseason, I think there’s a sizable chance they will try very hard to trade down.

So let’s dive in.

There are six (6) picks ahead of Tampa.  I think it’s just about a lock that 4 of those (in some order) will be:  Jadeveon Clowney, Greg Robinson, and 2 of the QBs (most likely Bortles/Bridgewater).  That leaves 2 other picks ahead of the Bucs, with the following players most likely to fill those slots:

  • Khalil Mack.  He is generally deemed 1 of the truly “elite” players in this draft, and it’s hard to see  Atlanta passing on him at #6 given both their desperate need for pass rush & impending switch to a 3-4.
  • An OT.  Both Jake Matthews & Taylor Lewan are elite left tackle prospects, a hair beneath Greg Robinson.  It’s entirely possible someone trades up for one, or a team like Oakland takes one (given their, um, “issues” this offseason).
  • Sammy Watkins.  This one is a wildcard.  Watkins could go as high as #2 to St. Louis, or not in the top 6 at all.  Really depends largely on:
  • A QB.  I think 2 QBs are a lock for the top 6, but it’s entirely possible all of the “Big 3” go prior to the Bucs’ selection at 7. If that happens, it really only leaves 1 extra pick in the top 6 for 2 of the elite OTs, Watkins, and Mack.

As of now, my gut tells me that Watkins is gone at 7, which leaves the “best player available” as 1 of the elite LTs or Mack, with the possibility that 1 of the “big 3” QBs is there as well.  I don’t see the Bucs spending #7 on any of those players (unless they like the QB), so in this scenario they probably trade down.  But we could also see a scenario where lots of trades push all 3 QBs in the top 6 and a guy like Watkins (a possible Bucs target) lasts until 7.

But right now, if I had to bet, I think the Bucs trade down to a team who wants either the 3rd QB or the 2nd LT and recoup a pick or two.

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