Now that the Buccaneers have been in draft season mode for over a month, Bucs fans have seen a plethora of names been thrown their way for what might be possibilities for their No. 7 overall selection. On the offensive side, the two names we’ve probably seen the most have been Notre Dame’s Quenton Nelson and Penn State’s Saquon Barkley. On the defensive side, N.C. State’s Bradley Chubb, UTSA’s Marcus Davenport, Washington’s Vita Vea and Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick have all been options, at one point.
But, Charles Davis of NFL Network has now thrown a new name into the mix, Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward
No. 7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Ohio State CB Denzel Ward
“There is a huge need for a pass rusher, but another talented pass defender is welcome in the NFC South.”
The corner need for the Buccaneers is an interesting one. Brent Grimes is deciding on whether or not he wants to retire, Ryan Smith had quite the learning curve in 2017 and Vernon Hargreaves not only played poorly on the outside but also go banged up. The cornerback need is there, but does Ward make sense?
Ohio State CB Denzel Ward – Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Ward is listed at 5-foot-10, 195 pounds. On the surface level, that spells out another small corner, which Bucs fans are certainly tired of. But, on the flip side, Ward really does put that old cliche to use where he “plays bigger than he is.” Ward is a physical, man-on-man cornerback who does most of his work battling with wide receivers on the sidelines and making tackles near the line in press coverage. He’s a three-year player from Ohio State who played with the likes of Marshon Lattimore, Malik Hooker and Gareon Conley. Ward only has one year of starting under his belt and just two interceptions, but that’s due to the talent that was in front of him — Ward can still play.
Ward’s a good player, and the Bucs need a cornerback, but No. 7 for Ward and this fit when other players in the trenches are there might be a stretch. In Davis’ mock draft, Fitzpatrick and Chubb were both off the board, but the Bucs do pass on Nelson and Vea to make this selection.
If Grimes walks, cornerback becomes a dire need. Ward would start right away on the outside.
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@example.com
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