The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ first round NFL Draft plans are not much of a mystery at this point. The team’s biggest hole is at offensive tackle, this is an offensive tackle rich draft and Bruce Arians recently told the media at the Combine he’s spent more time watching offensive linemen this offseason than any other position.

Of course, the stars will also need to align for the Bucs at No. 14, as at least six offensive tackle-needy teams are slotted ahead of them in the draft. Not counting Cincinnati or Miami given their strong inclination to draft a quarterback, the Redskins, Giants, Chargers, Cardinals, Browns and Jets all have a gaping hole at at least one starting offensive tackle spot.

Free agency could certainly change the landscape, but all we’ve heard from NFL personnel this offseason is how good this offensive tackle class is, and we already know the position is among the most coveted by most NFL teams. It’s not out of the question to think that if the Bucs stay at 14, four offensive tackles could be off the board by the time they are on the clock.

John Spytek and Jason Licht – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

History is slightly on the side of the Bucs, as four offensive tackles haven’t been drafted in the first 13 picks since 2013, when four went in the top eleven (Eric Fisher, Luke Joeckel, Lane Johnson, D.J. Fluker, who later moved to guard). Before that it hadn’t happened since 1992.

It is a virtual certainty that at least three tackles will be off the board when the Bucs pick, but for the sake of the topic at hand, let’s pretend historical trends have been bucked and the team is looking at a scenario where Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs, Alabama’s Jedrick Wills, Georgia’s Andrew Thomas and Louisville’s Mekhi Becton have already been selected.

What should the team do in this scenario? Let’s take a look.

First, what positions can we rule out?

Realistically, Tampa Bay isn’t drafting a cornerback, safety, linebacker, tight end or interior offensive lineman at No. 14. I think it’s highly unlikely that the team will take a quarterback or running back with that pick as well, although I know Scott Reynolds disagrees with me somewhat on the latter.

I could see the team trading back into the mid-20s and selecting a running back, but I’d be stunned if it happened at 14. As for quarterback, it seemed clear from Jason Licht’s comments in Indianapolis that the team could select one, but in more of a developmental role with the team. That would suggest a mid-round pick at the earliest.

So what does that leave us? An offensive tackle (albeit with four off the board), defensive tackle, edge defender or wide receiver. I guess you can’t rule out a kicker either.

Kidding.

Let’s break down the options.

1. Josh Jones, OT, Houston

I’ll dive into Jones’ full evaluation in an upcoming Bucs Briefing, but I wouldn’t hate this pick for Tampa Bay. Jones’ tape is outstanding, but he also doesn’t face many top-tier rushers, so the NFL could be a bigger adjustment than most college tackles already have to endure. There’s always a risk involved when taking a tackle who needs some polish to their pass sets and hasn’t battled much Power 5 competition, but Jones was impressive against a solid slate of Senior Bowl rushers in January.

I think he’s worthy of consideration at No. 14, but Tampa also may be able to trade back a few spots and still land the senior tackle. That may be the smart play here, although they might not be able to bump back further than Miami at No. 18.

Some might mention USC’s Austin Jackson here, but I have a mid-round grade on the Trojans left tackle, so I wouldn’t consider him at all in the first round.

LSU OLB K'Lavon Chaisson

LSU OLB K’Lavon Chaisson – Photo by: PewterReport.com

2. K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU

If Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul both return to the fold this offseason, drafting an edge defender at No. 14 might seem like overkill. However, I’m of the opinion that you can never have enough good pass rushers, plus JPP’s deal will likely be a short-term one, so I’m less concerned with the level of ‘need’ here and more concerned with how good the player is.

My full write-up on Chaisson is already up on the site, and it’s safe to say that I’m a fan of his game. However, 9.5 career sacks at LSU is a disappointing amount of production, and Chaisson would be a significant outlier when considering how few full-time college edge defenders with less than ten sacks have gone on to be successful in the NFL.

Having said that, Chaisson’s elite level of athleticism, outstanding football character and high-end reps against top pass protectors at the college level do suggest he’s capable of beating the odds. I wouldn’t hate this pick by Tampa Bay, but I think it’s likely that there will be a few better options on the board, even if they aren’t offensive tackles.

3. Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs or CeeDee Lamb

We are not really seeing many wide receivers mocked in the top ten right now, outside of the occasional Lamb-Kyler Murray pairing in Arizona. Of course, picks 11-13 could all be wide receivers, which the Bucs would probably prefer if it meant the Jets were passing on a tackle to acquire weapons for Sam Darnold.

But wait a second…why are we talking about the Bucs drafting a wide receiver in the first round? They already have the best receiver duo in the league! What’s the point of adding another?

I’m a big believe in making your strengths stronger, and a receiving corps with any of these three prospects alongside Godwin and Evans would be completely unstoppable. How do you defend a deep threat like Ruggs or Jeudy when you have to also account for the vertical prowess of Evans and Godwin? You’re telling my your N o. 3 cornerback is gonna stop CeeDee Lamb at the catch point? Or after the catch? Good luck.

Now, I’m not saying I want the Bucs to draft a receiver in the first round. But if the board didn’t fall in their favor, I’d consider it. The team simply doesn’t have many needs, and taking the best player available that could also play a huge role for their offense right away (Arians’ uses 11 personnel religiously) would not be a decision that I would hate on for one second.

South Carolina DT Javon Kinlaw

South Carolina DT Javon Kinlaw – Photo by: PewterReport.com

4. Javon Kinlaw or Derrick Brown

Hey, I already wrote a whole article about this! You can read that right here.
Summary: Draft Kinlaw if the top tackles are off the board. He’s an absolute difference maker in the run and pass game, and he’s just now starting to hit his stride. If Kinlaw is gone, pass on Derrick Brown to take another player or trade back. Not enough value in what he brings to the table to take him at No. 14.

Summary

Those are really the only realistic options for the Bucs if the consensus top four tackles are off the board and they decide to stay at No. 14. Here’s how I’d list my preferences if that dreaded scenario unfolds:

  1. Javon Kinlaw
  2. Trade Back
  3. Ruggs or Jeudy (Lamb is probably gone)
  4. Josh Jones
  5. K’Lavon Chaisson
  6. Derrick Brown
  7. A running back (Love ya, Scott!)

But wait, Jon, isn’t there any other path the team could take?

Well, I’m glad you asked! There is a little phenomenon that doesn’t happen very often in the first round in Tampa Bay, and it’s called “trading up”. You can read all about it in my Bucs Battle Plan article dropping on Wednesday…just come prepared to shake things up.

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About the Author: Jon Ledyard

Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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fanofdabucs
1 year ago

All this draft talk is fun and good for killing time, but it’s all pretty meaningless until we see what happens in FA. Should the Bucs lose JPP, Suh and Nassib, then the priority shifts to DT or edge rusher. Should the Bucs lose Suh and Roches, and retain Barrett and JPP, then DT becomes a high priority. Same can be saud for the teams mentioned as needing OTs. Those teams may sign a capable OT in FA and their needs shift. There is a reason those teams are drafting inside the top 13 picks. They all have multiple needs.… Read more »

cgmaster27
1 year ago

Im of the same mindset here as you Jon. Its tackle, kinlaw, trade back for me. Im not a big fan of brown or chaison. Im a fan of production and neither had much on great teams. Hopefully some of these recievers move up and drop a tackle or two

BUC-ASS-BOB
1 year ago

Bucs can not make any decisions until the Brady dominos fall. Until Tom Brady picks his team all drafts talk is useless.
Good news last week of Jameis in Tampa most likely! As for me if Jameis stays I will post last time and I am gone till my post to say I told you so in mid Oct.

AlbJack65
Reply to  BUC-ASS-BOB
1 year ago

Last post until October if he stays? Don’t tease us like that Bob.

Pete Wood
1 year ago

This is a deep draft, y’all. If the worst happens, I would take Kinlaw first. And, if that doesn’t work out, trade down and pick up a late 1st round pick and at least a second second round pick. The players we still need will be there in the 20s. No need to draft them too high.
Just please, don’t pick up a second round rb at 14 or a QB. The QB who is there at 14 isn’t worth drafting unless the teams ahead of us decide not to draft QBs at all.
Gonna be a great draft!

cgmaster27
1 year ago

If jameis signs buc ass, were going to hold you to it. You wont be missed.

Guzzie5525
1 year ago

Real hope we can trade down and pick up a 2021 1st so we can have enough ammo to trade up for Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields, although if reports are true and we sign fragile Bridgewater, we are a hit away from getting that top pick anyways…of course with Bucs luck both stay in college just so they won’t have to play here lol

BigSombrero
1 year ago

Worst case scenario is the Bucs waste a pick in the 1st round on a RT.

Another worst case scenario: Bucs are supposedly offering $34 million a year for 3 years to Tom Brady. It is reportedly the highest amount offered of any team. $102 million guaranteed for the 18th best QB last year.

Jersey sales still don’t equal Super Bowls.

nmkinley
Reply to  BigSombrero
1 year ago

Where does one hear of such a Tom Brady rumour? I don’t see it reported on any other site?

nmkinley
Reply to  BigSombrero
1 year ago

Um…that was just a story written by ESPN reporters, as it states: “The offers below are based on what the reporters believe their teams could offer Brady. ” So, unless Jenna Laine of ESPN now works for the Bucs, this is just a bunch of writers making stuff up….and we read it…..

bucballer
1 year ago

With the needs the Buc’s have I have a hard time believing that there won’t be a player available at #14 that can be an impact with the Bucs. We r talking about the Bucs! We have many needs. There WILL be a player at #14 that the Bucs can/will use.

Guzzie5525
1 year ago

How many free agents go on to have a successful career elsewhere, not many, Brees of course, Rich Gannon a few good years, Farve 1 year, Montana 2 years, Garcia was basically average, you can’t buy a franchise QB, you have to get lucky and draft the right 1

fredster
1 year ago

Hoping Jameis is given 1 more year because it’s best chance to win now (seriously doubt Brady comes here) and I also want Suck-Ass-Bob gone for good. You can Go post on stupid Broncos website with your non sense and horse shit and annoy everyone there. Troll elsewhere.

Randy H.
1 year ago

The Bucs’ are not supposedly offering this. Here is what the article from your link says:”The offers below are based on what the reporters believe their teams could offer Brady”. No where does it say the Bucs’ offered anything. This is strictly a reporter’s opinion.

Randy H.
1 year ago

The above was supposed to be a reply to Sombrero’s post, obviously that didn’t work.

DonkeyHunter
1 year ago

Worst case scenario would be the Buc’s taking a RB at #14.

A close 2nd would be a WR or S.

Buc stops here
1 year ago

This is sort of a massive guess as free agent moves have not happened yet. What the Bucs do in free agency will impact what they do in the draft. For example, say the Bucs get lucky (or unlucky, depending on your viewpoint) and get Teddy Bridgewater. Then no way in heck will they draft a QB at all in any round in all probability. If they pick up Tom Brady (long as heck shot), then they will pick up another QB later in the draft in some round. These are just two actions which can impact their draft selections.… Read more »

bucoffmatey
1 year ago

Good article Jon. Many people overlook the importance of the level of competition when evaluating a players draft position. I’m of the mindset that our biggest need is OT, but if we can get more bang for our buck by drafting another needed spot then sign me up. On a side note, I’m not sure if it’s just my account or if the whole site is affected, but the comments aren’t fun anymore. I can’t reply to anyone’s posts and I don’t get notified anymore if someone replied to mine. Takes away that spirited banter aspect of this particular forum.… Read more »

fanofdabucs
1 year ago

Big Sombrero (BS is perfect for you)

Did you even bother to read the article you referenced??

More fake news!

Dman
1 year ago

Hilarious the posters, including Jon Ledyard, suggesting we pass on Derrick Brown. Jon – he doesn’t bring much to the table. Others – He doesn’t have the production. Those are the kind of comments you get from people that are combine junkies or spend time sorting through stat sheets and selected highlight videos. Brown is easily the most dominant DT the last two years, and unquestionably this past year. I’ve watched the games, not highlights or cone drills. When you see start to finish what this guy does, if he’s available you grab him. A disaster to Tampa would be… Read more »

BUC-ASS-BOB
1 year ago

CG and Fredster just like they pointed out Sunday on ESPN they found no teams interested in Jameis Winston as a starter and if for some reason the Glazer‘s keep him I understand discussing any other thing about this team is a waste of time with the 16 extra interceptions a year the team will be out of the playoffs in October clearly so why bother even posting… Better question is how How bad you gonna cry when they can his ass?

BucRy
1 year ago

Can you guys fix the reply button please.

BigSombrero
1 year ago

You guys think Jenna Laine is grabbing that figure out of thin air?

I guarantee you the only way the Bucs draw Brady is by overpaying for him. I further guarantee you that he will end his career here like Michael Jordan with the Washington wizards.

BigSombrero
1 year ago

Anyways, I posited that it would be “another worst scenario”, not a fact.

surferdudes
1 year ago

Nice teaser with the trade up Jon. The Giants are open for business with the #4 pick. Hmmm jump ahead of the Chargers for Herbert?

bEubanks11
1 year ago

No love for the Sombrero these days? I appreciate your opinions even if I don’t always agree. Unlike most, I don’t see you pretending to be an expert. Just stating opinion based on the information you have. That’s what this section is supposed to be for.

Spitfire
1 year ago

Jordan actually helped the Wizards be competitive when he chose to give up his shares and play again.

Spitfire
1 year ago

People, we all know FA will affect what happens in the Draft. PRs articles usually state that the article is with the assumption we sign out key free agents. Of course this is all speculation and could change after FA, you’re not saying anything we don’t already know, just enjoy the scenarios until then and stop getting hung up on the obvious.

IDGABuc
1 year ago

Yeah I have yet to hit “Reply” on this site and have it show up anywhere but the bottom of the page as far as I remember. Never under the person’s comment like before. That out of the way there IS one LB/S who I would LOVE for the Bucs to take and that’s obviously Isaiah Simmons! IF he falls I think the Bucs take him over anybody but Wills or Becton. Potentially before them too as he is an absolute rarity on the field as a guy who effects WAY more plays than should be humanly possible considering there’s… Read more »

jerseybucsfan
1 year ago

Excellent breakdown Jon. One of your best so far.

scubog
1 year ago

Repeat after me. “Best Player Available!”. If you really don’t like or feel like you can utilize the services of the highest graded player at #14, just find a willing trade partner who does covet that player and move down. Orrrrrrrrrrr, if you really have a high grade (and a great need) on a player and know he won’t be there when your turn comes, then go up and get him. But please don’t select a player based purely on his position and perceived current need. Needs change.

Horse
1 year ago

I am right in step with scubog. Think Sam Weiss as that’s what he did; thus the mid 1990s Buc foundation was formed.

MudManVA
1 year ago

Now that’s funny

magoobee
1 year ago

First, I do not think Brady cares as much about money as he does winning another Super Bowl. I think he will select the best situation to win especially if he gets some input into the cast around him.
Secondly, Brady will want freedom to check out of plays. So, he needs a coach with lesser ego.

The best chance for Tampa Bay to sign Brady is redesign the helmets to TB and the players number. That way Brady would have TB12 on his helmet.

magoobee
1 year ago

Oh and Jon, nice article. I like the order of preference you listed. Wish you were the GM. At least for the 1st round of the draft.