With the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine approaching fast, you’re going to see some of the big-name draft experts releasw their pre-Combine mock drafts with some updates and modifications after the NFL season has come to a close and more time has allowed them to look at more tape.

For ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr., his Mock Draft 2.0 didn’t have a change for what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were doing, although the pick itself got a bump in confidence.

No. 7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Note Dame OG Quenton Nelson

Notre Dame left guard Quenton Nelson – Photo by: Getty Images

“Nelson moved up to No. 4 on my latest Big Board, and there’s no question he’s the favorite to be the first offensive lineman off the board in April. He’s a plug-and-play starter who dominates defenders and can get to the second level. Tampa Bay had one of the league’s worst running games in 2017 — it averaged only 3.7 yards per carry. Nelson would be an instant upgrade.”

The Buccaneers are going to have some freedom and creativity to what they want to do along the offensive line for 2018 — but in a negative way because that change is ue to poor performance. Donovan Smith and Demar Dotson will be the team’s tackles, and though Ali Marpet will be one of the interior offensive linemen, two of the other spots, whether it be two guards or one guard and a center, will be up for grabs.

Nelson would be an immediate starter at guard — and one that would improve the entire line in the process.

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About the Author: Trevor Sikkema

Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: [email protected]
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TBChucky
TBChucky
4 years ago

I’d much prefer Nelson to Fitzpatrick, personally.. A dominant Alpha male would be a welcome addition to our line.

Mike Wright
Mike Wright
4 years ago

There’s no doubt Nelson is this yrs best O lineman on the board. But I don’t think the Bucs go there. Koetter and Smitty’s jobs are on the line. If they don’t finish at least 8-8, I think the Glazers send them packing. Chubbs gonna be gone. The Colts mngt are already sayin Chubb’s their man. Vea is an option. Or better yet..Try to trade down if possible and get 2 for 1 in the 1st. Your Defense finished in the bottom 4 of the entire NFL. You gotta focus there almost entirely. That is, IF..you want to keep your… Read more »

mike10
mike10
Reply to  Mike Wright
4 years ago

If it’s not Vea, the difference makers on defense next year will most likely come from free agency.

makski
makski
Reply to  mike10
4 years ago

I’m still seeing Vea at around #20 in most mocks, I still think 7 is way too high, although I still like the player. There are NO difference makers available in free agency is the problem!!

mike10
mike10
Reply to  makski
4 years ago

Wellll, I just heard today Sheldon Richardson may become available. That would be welcome!

There are actually a lot of CBs that will be in FA this year, hopefully we dip into that crop

CrustyClam
CrustyClam
4 years ago

Vea 7 if Chubb is gone.

mike10
mike10
Reply to  CrustyClam
4 years ago

I’m neutral to drafting Via at 7. But I gotta know why the majority of people are against this idea.

FLBoy84
FLBoy84
4 years ago

Bucs are in kind of a tough spot being that free agency is prior to the draft. If they sign a top-flight G like Norwell, Pugh or Sitton and a C like Jensen or Paradis to solidify their OL for the next couple of years, then taking Nelson at 7 doesn’t make much sense. On the other hand, if they just added a C with the idea of Nelson taking over at LG, what to do if he’s not there. They could draft a G in the 2nd or 3rd as well, but none would be of the caliber of… Read more »

FLBoy84
FLBoy84
Reply to  FLBoy84
4 years ago

Respect everyone’s opinion and right to disagree, but does anyone have an intelligent alternative they’d like to share? Which route would you take re: the OL?

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  FLBoy84
4 years ago

I don’t think most disagree, I just think we have serial down voters on here. You make strong points and free agency , especially in terms of our offensive line, should be handled via free agency. I think the Bucs take that approach and work specifically on defense in the draft.

FLBoy84
FLBoy84
Reply to  cgmaster27
4 years ago

Thanks CG, and agree on the serial voters lol. Always up for alternative ideas though, makes boards like these more fun imo. Believe there will be a RB and maybe an OL taken in the draft, but other than that agree it’s probably all defense.

JustaBuc
JustaBuc
Reply to  FLBoy84
4 years ago

I -1’d because what we do in FA shouldn’t prevent us from taking a young gun in the draft that shares the position. FAs are usually very short term fixes. You need to be patient building a franchise and, in your particular case, if Quenton Nelson is rated out the best thing on the board, you take him regardless of the fact that you just signed X person for the next two-three years.

Cody
Cody
Reply to  FLBoy84
4 years ago

I think the Bucs are going to stick with Sweezy for another year and just fix the LG position.

FLBoy84
FLBoy84
Reply to  Cody
4 years ago

You may be right, though it may be more due to Licht not wanting to drop another FA signing more so than his play last year, as he graded out poorly overall. Hopefully being another year removed from his back surgery improves his play, as he’s due $6.5M this year and then $5.125M the final two years.

Cody
Cody
Reply to  FLBoy84
4 years ago

Yeah I don’t think Licht will want to put any more money in the offensive line. Money will be poured in to secondary and defensive line though.

FLBoy84
FLBoy84
Reply to  Cody
4 years ago

Guess we’ll see over the next couple months. Koetter mentioned they weren’t fully decided on keeping Marpet at C at the final presser. Wouldn’t shock me if they brought in a C and maybe another G either in FA and/or the draft, though you may be right.

Cody
Cody
Reply to  FLBoy84
4 years ago

I also think they’ll try to draft the fix. However, I imagine it will happen in the second or third round.

Cody
Cody
Reply to  FLBoy84
4 years ago
FLBoy84
FLBoy84
Reply to  Cody
4 years ago

You and your Minkah….

BMB
BMB
Reply to  FLBoy84
4 years ago

We all wish Chubb will be there at #7 but he won’t and Davenport is a very risky selection that high in the draft. I was thinking we should draft Nelson, move Marpet back to guard and sign FA Jensen at center. That would be my first option, second option would be to trade for a later pick in the 1st and hopefully lock down another 2nd round pick. James at Safety or Vea at DT would be ideal for a mid 1st round pick. We could draft Billy Price at center and Mike Hughes at CB. Drafting Billy Price… Read more »

GoldsonAges
GoldsonAges
4 years ago

In today’s NFL guards need to be able to get out in space and block LB’s and DB’s. Nelson is terrible out in space as are all 330 pounders. My question is why does Nelson seem to get an exemption for this? Some of these idiots have Nelson rated as their No.1 overall player. You need to scheme your blocking around Nelson to meke sure he’s cracking down instead of pulling. That will make your offense very predictable. Quenton Nelson can not be simply plugged into any offense because he doesn’t have all the tools. He’s great but he’s not… Read more »

BucWild02
BucWild02
Reply to  GoldsonAges
4 years ago

I don’t know what video you’ve been watching of Nelson, but he pancakes defenders, he pulls and he gets to the second level in the highlights I’ve seen. Check him out in the link below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xi3Um_aHdMk

JustaBuc
JustaBuc
4 years ago

I’ll just note that Mel Kiper’s mock draft is complete trash as usual and made up with old-boy conservative thinking. Josh Allen is 99.9% not going #1, that’s not in DePodesta’s DNA. The .1% comes from them trading down from that spot, and some other dumbass team takes Allen at 1. I’m also telling you people right now that Nelson is not going to make it to us, Colts got him. There’s a very small potential that Colts also start thinking QB, but Barkley is not going to be there for them to take and if the fact that Luck… Read more »