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.
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.
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Saquon Barkley, Penn State
Derrius Guice, LSU
Ronald Jones II, USC
Sony Michel, Georgia
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.
Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame
Isaiah Wynn, Georgia
James Daniels, Iowa
Will Hernandez, UTEP
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.
Vita Vea, Washington
Da’Ron Payne, Alabama
Maurice Hurst, Michigan
Taven Bryan, Florida
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.
Bradley Chubb, N.C. State
Marcus Davenport, UTSA
Arden Key, LSU
Harold Landry, Boston College
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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