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 in the first round, and here’s who those around the media have the defending Super Bowl champs selecting in their mock drafts.
First Round Pick: Texas OLB Joseph Ossai Second Round Pick: Wisconsin-Whitewater C Quinn Meinerz Third Round Pick: Texas A&M QB Kellen Mond Fourth Round Pick: UCLA RB-WR-KR Demetric Felton Fifth Round Pick: Iowa DE Chauncey Golston Sixth Round Pick: Arkansas State WR Jonathan Adams Jr. Seventh Round Pick: BYU DT Khyiris Tonga Seventh Round Pick: Boston College DT ILB Isaiah McDuffie
“The Buccaneers could use help at running back with their first pick, especially if Clemson’s Travis Etienne, Alabama’s Najee Harris or North Carolina’s Javonte Williams is still on the board at No. 32. Yet general manager Jason Licht has said that without many holes to fill in the draft this year that the Bucs could afford some luxury picks. Because of their situation, selecting a talented edge rusher with tools like Ossai makes a lot of sense at No. 32.
“Ossai hails from Nigeria and grew up playing soccer. He didn’t discover football until he was in high school after migrating to Houston, so he’s a late bloomer. Ossai weighed 256 pounds and has the frame to carry another 5-10 pounds at the next level. But where he wins as a pass rusher is with his motor and his athleticism, which were on display at the Texas pro day when he put up 19 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press, had a 10-11 broad jump, a 41.5-inch vertical leap and ran a 4.63 in the 40-yard dash.
“That athleticism shows up on tape as Ossai began his Longhorns career as an off-the-ball linebacker before switching to defensive end as a junior in 2020. Ossai recorded 13.5 tackles for loss, five sacks, two interceptions and a forced fumble in 13 games during his sophomore season before becoming more of a full-time pass rusher. Ossai had 15.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks and three forced fumbles in nine games in 2020.” – Scott Reynolds
Bucs’ First Round Pick: North Carolina RB Javonte Williams “Yes, Miami EDGE players Jaelan Phillips and Gregory Rousseau are still on the board in this mock draft, and Phillips is unquestionably the best edge rusher in the draft on tape. But Phillips has some off-field concerns in his past, including three concussions that forced him to medically retire for about a year. Will teams be comfortable enough with his past to select him in Round 1? Maybe. It’s hard for me to know from the outside looking in.
“I don’t love selecting a running back in Round 1, but it’s hard to get comfortable with most of the top defensive prospects in this draft class, especially along the defensive line. I think Tampa Bay is going to see Williams as the three-down back that the team has searched for over the past few years. Even if Leonard Fournette returns on a one-year deal, he and Ronald Jones II will both be free agents next offseason, and I doubt Ke’Shawn Vaughn will be capable of manning a full-time role.
“In Williams, the Bucs are getting one of the elite tackle-breaking backs of the past 20 years, as the North Carolina rusher shredded defenses for over 1,000 yards last season. Williams is a good receiver too, although most of his big plays in the passing game last season came against busted coverages, as luck would have it. Where he really stands out is in pass protection however, as Williams consistently destroyed opponents in a fashion you just do not see at the college level. It might not be the most valuable position, but he’s a great fit in Tampa Bay, which has to find a way to improve its running back room through the draft before next season.” – Jon Ledyard
Bucs’ First Round Pick: Washington DT Levi Onwuzurike “Without any crying needs on the roster, GM Jason Licht’s dealing from a position of strength here. Onwuzurike, like his teammate Tryon, would probably be higher on this list if he’d played in 2020. And he can help the Bucs get younger along an aging front.
“As a reminder, I’ll be back with another one of these during draft week, and we’re going to have a ton of draft intel and info on the site in the weeks to come, as we turn the page on the NFL calendar from free agency to the draft.” – Albert Breer
Bucs’ First Round Pick: Alabam RB Najee Harris “The Bucs as of press time have yet to address the Runningback position in Free Agency. Ronald Jones is a nice back, but struggles with pass pro and catching the ball out of the backfield. Ke’Shawn Vaughn is an unproven mid-round pick from last year and Leonard Fournette is currently a Free Agent as press time. Najee Harris is a big, bruising back in the mold of a Fournette, but offers three down versatility in both pass protection and catching the ball out of the backfield. He doesn’t have the long speed you’d look for in a 1st round RB, but he would be a unique blend of exactly what Tampa is looking for if he’s available at #32. Additionally, he’s clearly a great teammate.” – Steven Cheah
Bucs’ First Round Pick: Miami Edge Jaelan Phillips There may happen to be a sizable crossover between Bucs fans and Hurricanes fans down in Florida. Even so, it would be a fantastic pick. While he wouldn’t start, Phillips would still see enough snaps in sub-packages to make an impact.
Bucs’ First Round Pick: Alabama DT Christian Barmore “The Bucs have spent free agency getting the band back together for another season, with wide receiver Chris Godwin, tight end Rob Gronkowski and edge rusher Shaquil Barrett among the players who have been re-signed. Barmore could be a replacement for Ndamukong Suh, who doesn’t yet have a free-agent deal. Barmore was a game-wrecker down the stretch for the Crimson Tide, with five sacks in his final five games. He would be an outstanding fit next to nose tackle Vita Vea, who has emerged as one of the most dominant defensive linemen in the NFL.” – Mel Kiper Jr.
Bucs’ First Round Pick: Clemson RB Travis Etienne “I teased you with the defensive line comment in the intro, and indeed I went that direction in each of my first two mocks. Onwuzurike is off the board this time but I could go back to my original choice of Iowa’s Daviyon Nixon. But I like the way free agency is going for the Buccaneers and I’m hopeful that the team will be able to bring back even more of its Super Bowl-winning players in the weeks to come, including some on the D-Line.
“So, for this draft at least, I’m going to go down the “luxury pick” road that Jason Licht mentioned in February. Etienne is an explosive runner who NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah compared to Alvin Kamara (!) and he is productive in the passing game and great in the open field. Leonard Fournette is definitely one of those players I’m hoping will still return but if he doesn’t Etienne could combine with starter Ronald Jones and second-year man Ke’Shawn Vaughn to give the Bucs a deep and varied backfield. If Fournette does remain in Tampa, I would surely look elsewhere in subsequent drafts.” – Scott Smith
Bucs’ First Round Pick: Alabama RB Najee Harris “Assuming the Bucs’ focus is on their championship window, Harris would offer a three-down option who can help the run game and take pressure off of Tom Brady‘s shoulders.” – Lance Zierlein
First Round Pick: Ole Miss WR Eiljah Moore Second Round Pick: North Carolina RB Michael Carter Third Round Pick: Florida State DT Marvin Wilson “What do you get for a Super Bowl champion who brought everyone back? Another toy for Tom Brady, of course. Tampa Bay appears ready to let Antonio Brown walk and the team may not be able to afford Chris Godwin long-term, so getting the electric Elijah Moore in the first round to play the WR3 role is the kind of move that will keep Tampa humming into 2021.” – Kyle Crabbs
Bucs’ First Round Pick: Miami Edge Jaelan Phillips “With the last pick of this 2021 NFL First Round Mock Draft, the Super Bowl champions look to improve their defense by adding Jaelan Phillips. With Jason Pierre-Paul aging, the Bucs bring in a boost along the defensive line. I would also expect them to grab a running back at some point to try and replace free agent Leonard Fournette.” – Ryan Gosling
Bucs’ First Round Pick: Penn State Edge Jayson Oweh “Jason Pierre-Paul will be a free agent after the season so Jayson Oweh comes in with the opportunity to learn from a really talented player before taking over the following season.” – Josh Edwards