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Though the draft is a year-round process in today’s age of football, some draft analysis prefer to wait to give you their opinions on who they like the most out of a draft class. NFL Network’s Mike Mayock is one of them. Mayock, though he certainly pays plenty of attention to college football and the NFL during their respective seasons, doesn’t usually come out with his rankings or mock drafts until right around this time of year.

Thankful for us draft nuts, that time is now, as Mayock has released his 2018 NFL Draft position rankings in the manner of Top 5 players for each position.

Since we know the Bucs won’t be looking at every position with their top choices in the 2018 NFL Draft, let’s go over who Mayock has at the top of his board when it comes to potential Bucs selections starting with the running back position.

Running Back

  1. Saquon Barkley, Penn State
  2. Derrius Guice, LSU
  3. Ronald Jones II, USC
  4. Sony Michel, Georgia
  5. Nick Chubb, Georgia

To not much surprise, Mayock has Saquon Barkley as his top back. In a stacked running back class, Barkley possesses home run ability that not many backs have, not just in the class, but in the NFL, too. LSU’s Derrius Guice comes in at No. 2 as one of the class’ most violent runners. He and USC’s Ronald Jones could be Round 2 options for the Buccaneers. And, finally, Mayock has the Georgia tandem of Sony Michel and Nick Chubb to round out his Top 5.

As a very talent running back group, the Bucs will likely need to spend one of their top two picks to get any of these five.

Interior OL

  1. Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame
  2. Isaiah Wynn, Georgia
  3. James Daniels, Iowa
  4. Will Hernandez, UTEP
  5. Billy Price, Ohio State

Staying on offense, the Bucs could very well be looking to invest a top pick in an interior offensive lineman, as Kevin Pamphile and Evans Smith both underproduced this season and J.R. Sweezy didn’t do much better himself.

Quenton Nelson is the obvious No. 1 interior player. It will cost the Bucs their No. 7 overall pick to get him, but he’d be an immediate starter. If Georgia’ Isaiah Wynn is around in the early second round, he, too, would be a good selection, but likely won’t make it there. For that pick, the Bucs have a better chance at getting James Daniels or Will Hernandez. Billy Price is a player who can play guard or center for the Buccaneers, and we all know how much they love their versatility along the trenches. He’s certainly a Day 2 option for this team as well.

Interior DL

  1. Vita Vea, Washington
  2. Da’Ron Payne, Alabama
  3. Maurice Hurst, Michigan
  4. Taven Bryan, Florida
  5. Harrison Phillips, Stanford

Flipping to the other side, we hate to say we told you so (just kidding, we love that), but Mayock also has Washington’s Vita Vea as his top interior defensive linemen – he’s not just a run stuffer. After a fantastic showing in the College Football Playoff, Alabama’s Da’Ron Payne comes in at No.2 in front of Michigan pass rushing phenom Maurice Hurst. Florida’s Taven Bryan at No. 4 and Harrison Phillips at No. 5 could be options for Tampa Bay, but if they don’t use their No. 7 overall pick on one of these players or trade back later in the first round, they likely won’t get any.

Edge rusher

  1. Bradley Chubb, N.C. State
  2. Marcus Davenport, UTSA
  3. Arden Key, LSU
  4. Harold Landry, Boston College
  5. Sam Hubbard, Ohio State

Finally we get to edge rusher, the position of most need for the Buccaneers.

Mayock has N.C. State’s Bradley Chubb as his top man, as will many teams in the NFL. At this point, the Bucs are just hoping he slides to them. After that we have UTSA’s Marcus Davenport, a bit of a wild card in this class. Arden Key and Harold Landry come in at three and four. Key is more of a 4-3 fit where Landry works better in a 3-4. And to round out the Top 5 we have the athletic, former safety, Sam Hubbard from Ohio State, another 4-3 player.

You can see the rest of Mayock’s rankings here.

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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: trevor@pewterreport.com
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Ken Grant
3 years ago

Hurst third is a joke. He’s the best edge in the class and possibly the best defensive lineman overall.

Cody
Reply to  Ken Grant
3 years ago

Hurst doesn’t play edge. He is a DT. And a small one at that.

Ken Grant
3 years ago

Quarterback

1. Sam Darnold, USC
2. Josh Allen, Wyoming
3. Josh Rosen, UCLA
4. Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
T-5. Lamar Jackson, Louisville
T-5. Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State

ROFL

Ken Grant
3 years ago

Cornerback

1. Denzel Ward, Ohio State
2. Josh Jackson, Iowa
3. Mike Hughes, UCF
4. Isaiah Oliver, Colorado
5. Jaire Alexander, Louisville

Alexander at 5th? WOW.

Cody
Reply to  Ken Grant
3 years ago

Yeah that’s accurate.

Bucsfan1983
3 years ago

Michel should be over Guice and Jones, IMO.

Ken Grant
Reply to  Bucsfan1983
3 years ago

Yea…..no.

Cody
Reply to  Ken Grant
3 years ago

Ken, you finally said something I agree with.

Wausa
3 years ago

Bucs Cut: Martin RB Baker DT Bucs Extend: Brate TE Winston QB Marpet OG/OC Evans WR Smith OT Bucs sign: Andrew Norwell OG Carolina Lamarcus Joyner DB LA Rams Patrick Robinson CB Philly Carlos Hyde RB San Francisco Brent Grimes CB Tampa Bay Clinton McDonald DT Tampa Bay Draft 1) Vita Vea DT Washington 2) Sam Hubbard DE Ohio State 3) Duke Ejiofor DE Wake Forest 4) Tony Brown CB Alabama 5) Mark Walton RB Miami 6) DJ Reed CB Kansas State 6) Sean Chandler S Temple I would like to get more depth at DT, OT and OG, but… Read more »

FLBoy84
Reply to  Wausa
3 years ago

LIke the list, but believe Spence would give Hubbard and Ejiofor a run for a starting spot. That would be a solid 3 man rotation though. Could see the list evolve a bit if Smith decides to go to a 3-4 base as well.

Wadeless
Reply to  Wausa
3 years ago

I like the DL focus but we need more OL more than anything imo. Got to keep Winston upright and uninjured. That has to be focus #1 with DL right behind that. Then secondary. Without a solid line, I think we stunt Winston’s growth which retards the whole rebuild that started three years ago.

Wausa
Reply to  Wadeless
3 years ago

I’m with you Wadeless on getting more help on the OL, but with all of the Bucs holes I don’t think they can fix everything in one offseason.
The defense is so awful that I think they have got to go heavy in the draft and free agency to make them at least respectable.
If the Bucs can sign Norwell from the Panthers and Hyde from the 49’ers they should have a much improved running game and a solid interior offensive line, which will help Jamies immensely.

GrafikDetail
3 years ago

Mayock is almost a bad of a draft hack as McShay & Kiper….

Buc 1976
3 years ago

RB is as strong as last year. Bucs could get a good RB in the 3rd.

Spartan01
Reply to  Buc 1976
3 years ago

Definitely a possibility depending on draft flow.

Michel – 2nd
Penny – 3rd

Or Pick Up Crowell in FA and Draft Hines in the 5th, and focus on total attitude change in D-Line and Secondary in Rounds 1-4.

1- Vea – DT
2- Key – DE
3- Meeks – CB
4 – Elliot – S

Buc 1976
Reply to  Spartan01
3 years ago

I like Crowell also.

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