As the Super Bowl LV championship is still fresh in the minds of Bucs players and their fans, the attention is starting to gravitate towards the 2021 NFL Draft. NFL experts and pundits are publishing mock drafts on a regular basis and making their picks for the Bucs.
Each week until the 2021 NFL Draft in April, PewterReport.com will scour the internet to find the list of players that are projected to Tampa Bay and put out the list with the links. The Bucs will have the 32nd overall pick, and here’s who those around the media have the defending Super Bowl champs selecting in their mock drafts.
Bucs’ First Round Pick: Washington DT Levi Onwuzurike Bucs’ Second Round Pick: Washington OLB Joe Tryon Bucs’ Third Round Pick: Memphis RB Kenneth Gainwell Bucs’ Fourth Round Pick: Grambling State OG/C David Moore Bucs’ Fifth Round Pick: East Carolina OT D’Ante Smith Bucs’ Seventh Round Pick: Houston ILB Grand Stuard Bucs’ Seventh Round Pick: Central Arkansas CB Robert Rochell
“The Buccaneers have a recent fondness for Washington defensive linemen, evidenced by the drafting of nose tackle Vita Vea in the first round in 2017 and signing defensive lineman Benning Potoa’e as an undrafted free agent in 2020. Tampa Bay turns back to the Huskies program, which is led by former Bucs defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake, for Onwuzurike (pronounced “own-zerr-EE-kay”) with the 32nd overall pick in the first round.
“The Bucs will need to invest in their defensive line, as free agent defensive tackles Steve McLendon and Ndamukong Suh, are 35 and 34, respectively, and Rakeem Nunez-Roches turns 28 in July. Defensive end Will Gholston, who is under contract for 2021, turns 30 in July. The Bucs drafted Khalil Davis in the sixth-round last year, but he barely saw the field as a rookie and can’t be counted on as a future starter given his draft status and lack of experience and playing time.
“Onwuzurike is an interesting prospect to study because he opted out of his senior year at Washington due to COVID-19. The 23-year old defensive lineman recorded 95 tackles, 16 tackles for loss and seven sacks in three seasons for the Huskies, often playing out of position at nose tackle where he drew constant double teams. Pro Football Focus had him playing in the A-gap on 184 snaps in 2019 and 274 snaps in the B-gap, with 29 snaps lining up over a tackle and 10 lining up outside the tackle. Onwuzurike’s ability to play all across the defensive line, as he did at Washington, makes him an attractive draft prospect, although he seems best suited to play a 3-tech defensive tackle spot in the NFL due to his quickness and ability to penetrate.” – Scott Reynolds
Bucs’ First Round Pick: Alabama RB Najee Harris Bucs’ Second Round Pick: Washington OLB Joe Tryon Bucs’ Third Round Pick: Alabama ILB Dylan Moses Bucs’ Fourth Round Pick: Ohio State C Josh Myers Bucs’ Fifth Round Pick: Florida State OLB Janarius Robinson Bucs’ Seventh Round Pick: Florida CB Marco Wilson
“Harris could very well be off the board by the time the Bucs draft, and while I normally wouldn’t take a running back in the first round, at No. 32 and with the Buccaneers not needing an impact starter necessarily, Harris would be a great fit and selection for Tampa Bay. Harris runs with power but can make guys miss despite a 230-pound frame. Add in his ability to catch the ball and his Tuscaloosa pedigree, and Harris will be NFL-ready the day he arrives in Tampa Bay. With 1,466 yards on the ground plus another 425 as a receiver and 30 total touchdowns in 2020, Harris is a no-brainer if he’s still on the board and makes the Bucs offense even more dangerous.” – Mark Cook
Bucs’ First Round Pick: Wake Forest Edge Carlos Basham Jr.
“This is a world where the Bucs fail to bring back Shaquil Barrett because they don’t have many holes otherwise. They hit on their draft picks last season, and unless they look for the future quarterback, Basham is the best edge available here.” – Seth Galina
Bucs’ First Round Pick: Notre Dame LB Jeremiah Owusu – Koromoah Bucs’ Second Round Pick: Florida State DT Marvin Wilson Bucs’ Third Round Pick: Notre Dame Edge Daelin Hayes Bucs’ Fourth Round Pick: UCLA RB Demetric Felton
“Lavonte David and Devin White helped the Buccaneers shut down defenses during the second half of the team’s Super Bowl season. If David’s talents lead him elsewhere in free agency, White slides inside and allows JOK to blitz off the edge and work in coverage. For this mock, I am assuming Tampa Bay secures receiver Chris Godwin for next season using the franchise tag and that Shaq Barrett’s desire to return to the team (while getting paid) comes to fruition.” – Chad Reuter
Bucs’ First Round Pick: Clemson RB Travis Etienne Bucs’ Second Round Pick: Miami Edge Quincy Roche Bucs’ Third Round Pick: Cincinnati OT James Hudson Bucs’ Fourth Round Pick: UCLA DT Osa Odighizuwa Bucs’ Fifth Round Pick: Arizona State S Aashari Crosswell Bucs’ Seventh Round Pick: Florida DT Tedarrell Slaton Bucs’ Seventh Round Pick:Cincinnati Edge Elijah Ponder
“Leonard Fournette had some good moments down the stretch in the playoffs, but with how many free agents the Buccaneers have and the limited cap space they have to work with, it’s a poor decision to allocate that towards Fournette.
The Buccaneers need a pass-catching back, and adding Travis Etienne’s explosiveness to that Tampa Bay offense takes them to another level.” – A.J. Schulte
Bucs’ First Round Pick: Miami Edge Jaelan Phillips
“When it comes to roster building, Jason Licht has shown that he isn’t afraid to take chances on players that involve some risk. Phillips’ concussion history and brief retirement due to injuries may bring about some hesitancy with drafting him, but strictly as a pass rusher, the talent is undeniable. A strong argument can be made that he’s the best pass rusher in this class. With Shaq Barrett’s long-term future still in question, Phillips slots in as the new option opposite Jason Pierre-Paul.” – Jordan Reid
Bucs’ First Round Pick: Missouri LB Nick Bolton Bucs’ Second Round Pick: North Carolina RB Javonte Williams Bucs’ Third Round Pick: Pittsburgh Edge Patrick Jones
“It looks like Lavonte David may be elsewhere next season and while Devin White had a breakout year, Bolton’s sideline-to-sideline skills could help soften the loss should David not return.” – Ryan Wilson
Bucs’ First Round Pick: Washington DL Levi Onwuzurike
“So I pretty much stuck to my guns here in my second mock draft, though it’s not the exact same player. The domino effect that bumped Barmore down to Green Bay has now dropped Onwuzurike to the Buccaneers. It’s really impossible to know right now if IDL, ILB, EDGE or WR is going to be a more pressing need for Tampa Bay come draft time, or if any of them will be. So for now I’ll stay with the notion that the Bucs have three defensive linemen headed towards free agency so they’ll probably need some reinforcements there. And Tampa Bay has had some pretty good recent success with Washington defensive linemen.” – Scott Smith
Bucs’ First Round Pick: Clemson RB Travis Etienne
“If they were to add an explosive “air” back to their offense, it would be scary. Etienne is a game-changer every time he touches the ball.” – Pete Prisco