The College Football National Championship Game pits two undefeated teams in defending champion Clemson Tigers against the current top-ranked LSU Tigers in New Orleans on Monday night.

Not only will Tampa Bay fans be looking forward to a great game against two college football juggernauts this year to end the college football season, they will also be looking at the game for future Buccaneers players.

Bucs head coach Bruce Arians and GM Jason Licht
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians and GM Jason Licht – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

General manager Jason Licht has had his hand in drafting several LSU players, most recently linebackers Devin White (2019), Kendell Beckwith (2017) and Kwon Alexander (2015) in Tampa Bay, in addition to linebacker Kevin Minter (2013) and safety Tyrann Mathieu (2013) in Arizona with head coach Bruce Arians. White and Minter played in Tampa Bay last year along with LSU wide receiver Cyril Grayson and offensive tackle Jerald Hawkins.

Licht also signed former Clemson wide receiver Adam Humphries as an undrafted free agent in 2015, and current punter Bradley Pinion and tight end Jordan Leggett also played at Clemson.

So which new Tigers might Licht and Arians want to add to Tampa Bay’s roster in the 2020 NFL Draft? Well forget LSU’s Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow. The Ohio native seems destined to return to his home state and play for a QB-starved team like Cincinnati, which has the first overall pick in the draft. And Clemson’s star quarterback Trevor Lawrence is only a true sophomore and won’t be eligible for the NFL Draft until 2021.

Here is a look at 10 Tigers – four from Clemson and six from LSU – that could interest the Bucs in the 2020 NFL Draft:

Clemson LB Isaiah Simmons – 6-4, 230 – Junior
Is he a strong safety or is he a linebacker at the NFL level? Simmons was the Butkus Award winner for the top linebacker in the nation with 97 tackles and six sacks, but Clemson also had him play a rover safety position where he broke up six passes and picked off three more. At 6-foot-4, 230 pounds with great speed, Simmons could play either spot, and the Bucs could use more size in the secondary and another blitzer, too. Simmons is considered a Top 15 prospect.

Clemson RB Travis Etienne – Photo by: Getty Images

Clemson RB Travis Etienne – 5-10, 210 – Junior
Etienne is a well-built, fast, electric runner that lacks power, but has good contact balance to slip tackles. He has back-to-back seasons of over 1,500 yards and has 55 rushing touchdowns. Etienne has really improved as a receiver, catching 32 passes this year for four touchdowns and is a three-down back in the NFL. He currently carries a late first- or early second-round grade, and the Bucs could use a pass-catching complement to Ronald Jones II.

Clemson CB A.J. Terrell – 6-1, 190 – Junior
Terrell isn’t a first-round cornerback prospect like LSU’s Kristian Fulton is, but he could be had in the second round if Tampa Bay wanted to add another long, rangy cornerback to its stable. Terrell excels in press-man coverage and will have his hands full against LSU wide receivers Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson. Terrell has six career INTs, including two this season, along with 10 pass breakups.

Clemson S Tanner Muse – 6-2, 230 – Senior
Muse is a big safety with good athleticism and play-making ability, evidenced by four interceptions this year and seven in his Tigers career. He mainly played deep as a single-high safety, but can also blitz, as he had four sacks at Clemson. The Bucs don’t have a rock solid starter at either safety position entering 2020 and could use more talent and depth there. Muse is a Day 3 option.

LSU S Grant Delpit
LSU S Grant Delpit – Photo by: Getty Images

LSU S Grant Delpit – 6-3, 203 – Junior
Delpit is a long, rangy safety that makes plays with great intelligence and technique. He’s an okay tackler, but not a physical force like former LSU safety Jamal Adams was. The Jim Thorpe Award winner had two interceptions and one sack after recording five sacks and five interceptions as a sophomore. If the Bucs want a ball-hawking safety, Delpit would be an ideal choice at No. 14 in the first round.

LSU OLB K’Lavon Chaisson – 6-4, 250 – Redshirt Sophomore
Chaisson is coming off a torn ACL in 2018 and has had a nice, bounce-back season as an edge rusher. He has decent speed to power and has recorded 6.5 sacks in 2019. He’s a fast athlete whose stock is rising and could be a Top 20 draft pick. Teams like Tampa Bay can never have enough pass rushers.

LSU DT Rashard Lawrence – 6-2, 310 – Senior
Lawrence is a very stout run stuffer, but has enough flash in his game to play on third downs, too. Lawrence recorded 2.5 sacks this year after having four in 2018, including two against UCF in the Fiesta Bowl. He’s a vocal, energetic defender with a big enough frame that likely warrants drafting between rounds 3-5. Lawrence could be groomed to replace Ndamukong Suh in Tampa Bay.

LSU RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire
LSU RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire – Photo by: Getty Images

LSU RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire – 5-8, 209 – Junior
Edwards-Helaire is a very good running back that is well-rounded and can run and catch the ball, evidenced by 1,304 yards and 16 rushing TDs and 50 catches for 399 yards and a TD this season. He shows good toughness and quickness, but lacks truly special qualities. The Bucs will be looking for a complementary back to pair with Ronald Jones III and Edwards-Helaire could be an option in rounds 3-4.

LSU OL Lloyd Cushenberry III – 6-4, 315 – Junior
Cushenberry is a raw center with a decent upside. He needs to work on technique and can struggle with one-on-one blocks, but excels on double-teams. The LSU lineman projects to guard at the next level and could be a third- or fourth-round pick. The Bucs could use more talent along the offensive line.

LSU WR Justin Jefferson – 6-3, 192 – Junior
While he’s not a burner, Jefferson has good functional speed and athleticism, and played opposite with Ja’Marr Chase. He caught 102 passes for 1,434 yards and 18 TDs this season. If the Bucs are looking for a No. 3 receiver, Jefferson would be a steal in the third round if he lasts that long.

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Scott Reynolds is in his 24th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his son's Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]

11 COMMENTS

  1. These are all bood prospects, but lets not forget about Ohio St, Wisconsin, Georgia, Alabama, and Florida prospects too

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    • Georgia & Florida schools also (in an article about the championship game)? Since Licht is still the GM that would leave in play Blankenship & Aguayo 2.0. Let’s see if that’s worth 30 thumbs down!!

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  2. LSU RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire – 5-8, 209 – Junior
    50 catches for 399 yards.
    This is the running back I want. A running back without a lot of touches that in my opinion is the best pass catching running back coming out. He would be the 60 percent of carry running back with Rojo being the 40 percent running back.

    He is the guy that other teams would have to plan for as he keeps drives going. The guy knows how to get 1st downs. Not only in the pass game but the short yardage run game (squats 600lbs).

    With Barber the opposing teams play him only for the run.

    Here is what his coach said of him. “I think that when Clyde is not in there we’re very predictable,” he said. “When he’s in there, you can’t overplay the run, you can’t overplay the pass. You have to be balanced on defense, and that enables all the other guys to make plays.”

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    • geno I agree with you Helair in the 3rd. IMO he won’t last into the 4th.

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      • I agree – will not last till the 4th.

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    • He is a fun RB to watch. Reminds me of Darren Sproles. Almost identical measurables.

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  3. Watching both of the divisional games last night, both teams that won had one common factor which was a dominant run game. Sadly, as much as I like barber, We can easily just let him walk and find a younger option in the draft this year. I would love to see us go offensive linemen in the 1st then Running back in the 2nd but we will just have to wait and see.

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  4. It would be incredible if we drafted 2 Olinemen and a Pass Catching RB in the first 3 rounds. I think Jones could improve to be more involved in the Passing Game but I can definitely see the advantage to having a RB in there that doesn’t scream the run is coming. That’s the kind of threat McCaffrey is. If Jones can’t be more of that then we need that kind of back in the 2nd or 3rd. The only way I personally would be ok with Drafting a RB in the 1st is if there just absolutely wasn’t an Olineman worth taking by the time it’s our turn to pick.

    I know we have a lot of guys to resign but the Offense is so potent and the Defense finally shows so much promise that I think this year will finally be the year Arians can clean house, keep the exact players he needs, can use one more Draft And FA to fill the few holes we have. Bunting Davis and Dean are gonna be a force to be reckoned with moving forward so fixing Safety and keeping the Dline Solid is the only real concern I see on Defense, so using the Draft to solidify the Oline and Running Game is key.

    I really see this year being the last catch up year if we fix the Oline and Running game and if Winston stays and he gets those benefits to cut his INTs, we could actually see future Drafts as pure improvements instead of catch ups. This is gonna be a great offseason.

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  5. I believe if we cant resign JPP AND Shaq, Chaisson could be in play at our pick, if still available. Really hope they focus on the o line, but I wouldnt be too upset with that. Kid is an impressive athlete, although it seems Licht only drafts LSU backers on odd years. We’re safe in 2020! Lol

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  6. Should be a fun game to watch. Lots of Draft eligible players for us amateur GM’s to evaluate.

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  7. I say best OL in round 1
    maybe another OL or DT/DE in round 2.
    LSU RB Clyde in round 3
    and maybe Clemson Safety Muse in round 4?

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