It’s that time of year where every NFL team gets better. It’s NFL Draft week.

The East-West Shrine Game and the Reese’s Senior Bowl have concluded. The NFL Scouting Combine is over and the 40 times and medical reports have been collected. Now Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht, director of player personnel John Spytek, director of college scouting Mike Biehl, head coach Dirk Koetter and the team’s scouts and assistant coaches have attended pro days and hosted private workouts, and have hosted Top 30 pre-draft visits and the visits of local college and high school NFL Draft prospects at One Buccaneer Place and have stacked their draft board and done mock drafts galore.

The Bucs have spent the fall and winter scouting prospects for the 2018 NFL Draft where Tampa Bay has the 7th overall pick due to a 5-11 finish to the regular season. The focus needs to be on bolstering the Bucs’ defense, especially in the secondary, in addition to improving Koetter’s running game on offense.

Bucs C Ryan Jensen – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

The Bucs have moved on from ineffective running back Doug Martin and won’t re-sign free agent running back Charles Sims, who is too one-dimensional and doesn’t make enough plays. The team believes in Peyton Barber, but needs another running back or two with some explosive running ability.

The offensive line is a concern for many Bucs fans, but offensive tackles Donovan Smith and Demar Dotson are in the top half of the league at their respective positions, and Dotson had one of his best seasons before getting injured in late November. The real issue was in the interior where the guard play was sub-par. That has been aided with the signing of center Ryan Jensen, which moves Ali Marpet back to guard, as PewterReport.com forecasted back in January.

The return of J.R. Sweezy from a back injury was supposed to help Tampa Bay’s struggling ground game and prompted the move of Marpet from right guard to center. Marpet was a better guard in 2016 than he was center in 2017, but now it will be Jensen snapping the ball to Jameis Winston. Marpet may move to left guard to replace Kevin Pamphile, who signed with Tennessee. Evan Smith was re-signed for depth at both center and guard. The addition of Jensen, who starred in Baltimore, should greatly help the Bucs’ running game.

Tampa Bay’s defense definitely needed help along the defensive line as the team finished dead last in sacks with 22. Noah Spence is coming off his second shoulder surgery in 12 months but can’t be counted on to make the kind of necessary impact the team needs to effectively rush the passer. If he gets five to eight sacks upon his return that should be seen as a bonus.

So Licht addressed defensive end and defensive tackle in free agency with the signing of nose tackle Beau Allen and defensive end Vinny Curry from the Super Bowl champion Eagles squad and versatile defensive lineman Mitch Unrein. The Bucs moved on from defensive tackle Chris Baker and defensive end Robert Ayers as PewterReport.com forecasted back in January. Baker had half a sack despite getting paid $6 million as a free agent signing last year and failing to beat out Clinton McDonald, who will be a free agent in March. The oft-injured Ayers had two sacks last year after posting 6.5 the year before.

Bucs DE Jason Pierre-Paul and GM Jason Licht - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Bucs DE Jason Pierre-Paul and GM Jason Licht – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

But the biggest defensive line news came when Licht traded a third-round pick and swapped fourth-round picks with the New York Giants for defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul to help Tampa Bay’s pass rush. Pierre-Paul, who played one year at nearby USF, had 15.5 sacks and two forced fumbles over the past two years.

The Bucs re-signed cornerback Brent Grimes, who turns 35 this year, and reserve safety Keith Tandy this offseason, but still need to address the secondary in the 2018 NFL Draft. Tampa Bay had the league’s worst pass defense in 2017 as neither second-year cornerback Ryan Smith nor Vernon Hargreaves III, who was the team’s first-round pick in 2016, played well. Tampa Bay could also use a strong safety to develop next to free safety Justin Evans, last year’s second-round pick, and compete with Chris Conte.

PewterReport.com offers up its fifth and final edition of the Bucs’ round-by-round draft projection in 2018, focusing mostly on adding players for Tampa Bay’s defense and players to bolster the team’s running game. This year’s mock draft features a surprise after Round 2 – something we’ve never done at PewterReport.com while projecting the team’s draft picks.

PewterReport.com’s 2018 Bucs 7-Round Mock Draft is sponsored by Holliday Karatinos Law Firm – the official personal injury attorney for PewterReport.com. Call attorney Jim Holliday for a free consultation at (813) 868-1887 or visit them on the web at HelpingInjuredPeople.com

Round 1: Florida State SS Derwin James – 6-3, 215 – 4.47– Junior

Previous pick: Florida State SS Derwin James
NEW ANALYSIS: The Buccaneers aren’t expecting Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson, North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb or Penn State running back Saquon Barkley to fall to them at No. 7, but would be prepared to take any of those players there in the first round. If all three are gone, as the team anticipates, Tampa Bay’s pick will likely come down to James or Washington defensive tackle Vita Vea.

Bucs general manager Jason Licht loves big, athletic defensive tackles, and Vea is an agile freak at 6-foot-4, 347 pounds. While it’s tempting to grab Vea to groom behind Gerald McCoy and eventually replace him, Licht spent a lot of resources in free agency bolstering the defensive line, and this is a very deep draft at the defensive tackle position.

So Tampa Bay bucks the notion that Top 10 picks should be used on quarterbacks, pass rushing defensive linemen, left tackles or top cover cornerbacks and selects James, a playmaking safety with Pro Bowl ability. After all, the real goal of drafting a player in the Top 10 is to come away with a Pro Bowler, and that’s why Licht won’t trade down from the No. 7 spot in the first round.

Outside of re-signing starting cornerback Brent Grimes and reserve safety Keith Tandy, improving the secondary was largely ignored in free agency and will need to be addressed in the draft. That’s where James comes in.

The Bucs love James’ athletic traits, length, tackling prowess and leadership ability. He’s the top-rated safety on Tampa Bay’s draft board ahead of Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick, and is believed to be the highest-ranked defensive back ahead of Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward, who also might garner consideration with the seventh overall pick.

FSU SS Derwin James – Photo by: Getty Images

Tampa Bay is looking for a premier strong safety to pair with free safety Justin Evans. Licht has put a lot of effort into trying to make improvements at safety, which shows how important the position is to him. He spent a second-round pick on Evans last April, signed J.J. Wilcox in free agency last March, and then upgraded over Wilcox to T.J. Ward, who was paid $3.875 million last August.

James has drawn comparisons to Kansas City’s Eric Berry – although James is bigger – and Seattle Kam Chancellor – although he’s faster and more athletic. The buzz in the NFL scouting community is that James is a Day 1 starter and has the makings of a Pro Bowl safety, and he can affect the defense in many ways.

The Haines City, Fla. native had a sensational freshman season, recording 91 tackles and 9.5 tackles for loss and was a menace to opposing teams’ running games. James is an angry tackler, who shows no fear making hard hits at or near the line of scrimmage. He also showed he could be an effective blitzer, registering 4.5 sacks with two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

James succumbed to a season-ending knee injury during the second game of his sophomore season, logging just 11 tackles and one interception. He bounced back last year and notched 84 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and showed more range in pass coverage, defending 11 passes and having a career-high two interceptions, including one he returned for a touchdown.

James’ Florida State Career Defensive Stats
2017: 84 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 11 PBUs, 2 INTs, 1 TD
2016: 11 tackles, 1 INT
2015: 91 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sack, 4 PBUs, 2 FF, 2 FR

One of James’ best qualities his competitiveness and leadership. Jacksonville Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey played with James one year at Florida State and handed off the leadership baton to him when he left after the 2015 season.

“Leadership comes in a lot of different ways,” Ramsey said. “No matter how he does it, he can affect other players around him. He can affect the whole team. He is going to come in, work hard, do his job and lead by example. Guys will follow him just by of just the strength of what he is doing.”

The Bucs have quality leaders on defense with their trio of Pro Bowlers in the front seven – defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and linebackers Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David. What the defense lacks is a leader in the secondary, and that’s the role James can assume.

Tampa Bay plays in the pass-happy NFC South division against Pro Bowl quarterbacks like Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Cam Newton, and needs an every down defender to slow down the aerial assault and make plays. Whether it is breaking up passes, picking off passes or blitzing the quarterback, James is used to being used in many different ways as Florida State’s STAR defender, which is a hybrid linebacker-safety role.

“Derwin is special,” Ramsey told ESPN. “He has a true position as a safety and a lot of NFL teams will look at him as ‘OK, he’s the best safety.’ But not only that, he’s the best whatever you line him up at. That’s not always the case with guys. Yeah, you can line guys up and they can get the job done at those positions, but when you’re truly the best at it … it’s clear that he is the best safety in the country. It’s clear when he’s moving for a blitz package, he is the best at doing that, so really he’s totally different than Jabrill Peppers. So versatile on the defensive end and can change the game.”

Former Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher sees a bright future for James in the NFL and praised his football I.Q.

“He has the physical tools to do it, but he has the intelligence, too,” Fisher says. “People don’t realize, you have to be able to understand what’s going on around you. Not, let’s line up at the position, but to actually play the position. He understands that. I talk to him a lot about letting your athletic ability be the last thing you rely on.”

Click below to view Tampa Bay’s second-round pick in 2018.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: sr@pewterreport.com
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fanofdabucs
3 years ago

So you have Licht ignoring the trenches again for the first 3 rounds? Or is this more what you want them to do? I get that they signed a nice FA center and help on the dline, but sooner or later you HAVE to draft players to develop in the trenches. I think you guys were more spot on with earlier mocks before you let FA sway you. Give me Nelson, Chubb (pipe dream), Vea, or Davenport (sure he’s “raw”, but he doesn’t need to be great right away). Need a player to take over for McCoy soon as well.… Read more »

makski
Reply to  fanofdabucs
3 years ago

Dude, he did draft 3 guys to develop for the trenches!! Didn’t you read the article?? PJ Hall at DT (also fulfills your need to replace McCoy), Cappa for the O-line, and Lawler at DE. He did not ignore the trenches at all. Personally, I don’t like ignoring the RB position in the first 2 rounds, but we still have too many holes and if you pick a RB that early, then you are neglecting another position anyway. I would not be upset at this draft by any means, it would just be prioritizing the needs in a different order… Read more »

fanofdabucs
Reply to  makski
3 years ago

I read the article…did you read my reply? “So you have Licht ignoring the trenches again for the first 3 rounds?”

Quick tell me that last defensive or offensive lineman that they Bucs drafted in rounds 4-7 that have been major contributors to the team?

James is a one dimensional, in the box safety. Kinda reminds me of the last safety the Bucs spent the 7th pick on.

Before you get all crazy with exclamation points, please know that doesn’t make your points carry anymore weight.

Go Bucs! Build in the trenches as early and often as possible.

lanshire12
3 years ago

I don’t see Hall or Cappa lasting to those particular rounds but this is as good of a guess as any I’ve seen. I might consider the late round RB you’ve been writing up in the 7th over the DE. I would guess we are going to add a few DEs next year in that potentially deeper draft. Ultimately, we just have too many holes to fill and unfortunately I see the teams in front of us with similar issues. Here’s to hoping we land at least a few of our desired targets.

makski
Reply to  lanshire12
3 years ago

I also would take either of those 2 RB’s in the 7th round, to ensure we get the one we want. I think they are a much bigger priority, especially since we settled for Walton. Then go try and load up with the best UDFA DE’s that we can find.

Schwifty9
3 years ago

Aside from James, who would be a fine pick if the Big 3 are gone. This is a truly awful mock. Mike Hughes has more off field concerns than any corner in this class and is a clone of Hargreaves on the field. And trading up for Mark Walton? You have got to be joking.

Schwifty9
3 years ago

Also really don’t understand the infatuation with P.J. Hall, he’s playing against future Mail Carriers and fork lift drivers and doesn’t stand out anywhere near as much as a future NFL starter should against that level of competition. Plus he’s skinny for a DT. Sure he looked ok at the Shrine game, but that game isn’t exactly loaded with future NFL studs either.

makski
Reply to  Schwifty9
3 years ago

Jerry Rice played against future mail carriers and forklift drivers also… Just sayn’. So did Marpet!! I would love to have both of those guys on my team. There are a good number of small school guys that make it in the NFL, just let the experts do their jobs and evaluate the talent. My job, and yours, after we deliver the mail and drive the forklift, is to cheer for the team and support them, not to pretend we know more than the scouts do. Sorry, didn’t really mean for that to come off as rude as it sounds,… Read more »

Schwifty9
Reply to  makski
3 years ago

Jerry Rice and Ali Marpets college reels were INCREDIBLE! I’ve never seen so many pancake blocks in my entire life for an Oline man than there are to be seen on Marpets Hobart tape. And Jerry Rice dominated in college and is probably the most passionate and dedicated player ever to play in the NFL. He worked relentlessly to perfect his craft and was the most precise route runner ever to wear a pair of cleats. You dare to compare P.J. hall to the great one? Jerry Rice? Please. You can doubt your football acumen all you like, but don’t… Read more »

Schwifty9
Reply to  makski
3 years ago

Btw, Trevor Sikkima is a Twitter journalist who happens to write on maybe the 3rd most frequented site dedicated to Bucs, just because he watches All 22 tape and writes down his opinions doesn’t make him a scout. He’s more informed than the average fan sure, but a scout he is not.

makski
Reply to  Schwifty9
3 years ago

Never said Sikkima was a scout either, nor do I claim to be. Everyone has a right to their opinion, but I was just pointing out that you made it sound like Hall was a bad player just because he went to a small school. I never said that Hall would be as good as Marpet or Rice, just used them as an example of a small school player making it in the NFL. Hall could turn out to be a huge bust, or, he could end up being as good or better than Rice or Marpet. Nobody knows for… Read more »

Schwifty9
Reply to  Schwifty9
3 years ago

You misunderstood or misread my point then. What I said was, he didn’t stand out nearly as much as someone with legitimate NFL starter talent should against that level of competition.

Schwifty9
Reply to  makski
3 years ago

Plus Scott and Mark are even more not scout than Trevor.

Darin
3 years ago

Eric Berry is Eric Berry because of the Dlinemen the chiefs have/had. Theyve have legit pass rushers every year. Would hate the James pick. Prefer Vea if they stay at 7. I also disagree with Scwicty big time. Mike Hughes is a 1st round pick any year. He should be long gone by 38. Pj hall too probably. If Licht starts mortgaging future drafts I’m gona lose it. The guy cant keep trading up. Theyre where they are because of it, well that and the coaching staff. Gota find a qb needy team in the 1st and trade back. Need… Read more »

makski
Reply to  Darin
3 years ago

I don’t like the constant trading up either, especially when we have a lot of holes to fill. If we are a playoff team, and need (or want), a certain player at a certain position, then I have no problem with it. But when we need lots of help, and we keep losing picks to trade up, I don’t think that is very smart. All that said, I think Light has done a fine job and should continue fixing this team. He just needs to do well again this year and improve this roster. I would personally NEVER trade a… Read more »

Brobear
Reply to  Darin
3 years ago

Well, just like you would hate the James pick, I would hate wasting a number 7 on a nose tackle.

FLBoy84
3 years ago

“The Bucs have quality leaders on defense with their trio of Pro Bowlers in the front seven” – gotta call BS Scott. Know you keep trying to sell everyone on this, but just because these guys are Pro Bowlers doesn’t mean they’re quality leaders. If they were, we wouldn’t have the obvious lack of accountability that even McCoy, David and Alexander have mentioned has been an ongoing problem. At least Kwon has spoken out on the need and a plan to address it. Hopefully it’s more than lip service this time.

Schwifty9
3 years ago

Mike Hughes is 5’10 189, ran a 4.53 40 with a 35.5 inch vert and 127 inch broad jump. All those measurable qualities are much lower than Hargreaves were at the 2016 combine, Vernon recorded a 4.5 40, a 39 inch vert and 130 inch broad jump weighing 11 pounds heavier than Hughes. Meanwhile, Denzel Ward blows both of them out of the water athletically, 4.32 40, 39 inch Vert, 136 inch broad, has longer arms than Hughes, has better film than Hughes, and is squeaky clean off the field, yet some want nothing to do with him. Give me… Read more »

e
e
3 years ago

If the big three are picked before the #7 spot, that means that there are going to be teams inquiring about their favorite QB sitting there. I hope Meathead is ready to make a trade in this scenario.

Jay
Jay
3 years ago

The best way for us to address all of our needs is to trade back. Somebody show this to Jason Licht! Note : The bills give up picks #12 (1st round), #53 (2nd round) & #65 (3rd round) to move up to pick # 7 1 – CB, Jaire Alexander, Louisville (Most talented corner in the draft) 2- G, Will Hernandez, UTEP (or G, Isaiah Wynn, Georgia) (Create one of the best O-lines in football with 2 talented tenacious young guards & an equally talented C , all under 27.) 2- HB, Ronald Jones, USC (Explosive big play threat as… Read more »

Robert
Reply to  Jay
3 years ago

This would be a dream scenario, but with Denver shopping the #5 pick I think trading back will be hard. I would love to draft Will Hernandez very little drop off from Nelson IMO.

Jay
Jay
Reply to  Robert
3 years ago

My hope is that these QB needy teams will be so desperate we may have a chance at a trade back. This is the most unpredictable draft in a while I’m so interested to see how it unfolds.

Spartan01
Reply to  Jay
3 years ago

Jay, I was also mocking a trade with BUF, but I’m being a little more conservative and thinking we only get the #53 pick. Also, I think Barkley, Guice, Jones, and possibly Michel are gone by pick #38, and I prefer Johnson over Chubb and Penny as a true 3-down back. We agree on Alexander. 1 – CB Jaire Alexander 2 – RB Kerryon Johnson 2 – S Kyzir White 4 – DT Deadrin Senat 5 – EDGE Jeff Holland 6 – G Cole Madison 6 – RB Jordan Wilkins 7 – OT Greg Senat Grab DT Christian Wilkins next… Read more »

Jay
Jay
Reply to  Spartan01
3 years ago

If we trade with Buffalo it would be hard for us not to have an awesome draft at that point. I would be pumped! I really like your mock draft as well, we would be addressing all of our remaining positions of need with some very good players. What teams do you think could be in on the possible run for running backs before pick 38? I like Scott’s mock draft also but I’m not a big fan of Mike Hughes film. He looks a little slow in his movements & I feel we need a very athletic corner. Also… Read more »

Spartan01
Reply to  Jay
3 years ago

Philly and Indy are the two teams ahead of us at #38 that will likely be looking hard at RB, and Indy will almost surely take one since they have two picks just before us in the second. Denver may also look hard if they trade back (after letting go of CJ Anderson). So, if Barkley and Guice are gone early/mid first, then RoJo, Michel will likely go to Philly and Indy. That leaves Chubb, Penny, and Johnson as the three remaining top tier guys. I just like Johnson way better as a 3 down back. You have a ton… Read more »

Erik Jager
Reply to  Jay
3 years ago

More possible than most mock drafts I have seen. The Bucs would cover all the bases, and the trade is more balanced.

Brobear
Reply to  Jay
3 years ago

Conte would definitely start over Elliot year one.

Brooks Dunn-Winston
3 years ago

I like this mock, but I would take Oliver over Hughes. Also, I love Walton I but see no reason to trade up for him. He should be there in the 4th.

Brooks Dunn-Winston
3 years ago

R1 – Derwin James – S
R2 – Billy Price – G
R3 – Duke Ejiofor – DE (trade next year’s 2nd rd pick a 2018 3rd)
R4 – Mark Walton – RB
R5 – Alex Cappa – G/T (OL depth!)
R6 – Joe Ostman – EDGE
R6 – Michael Joseph – CB
R7 – Martez Carter – RB

Brobear
Reply to  Brooks Dunn-Winston
3 years ago

Trade up to get Ejiofor???? nah.

Jolly Bucs Fan
3 years ago

Might be one of my fav mocks yall have done so far. I know some above are upset abt not getting more in the trenches early, but Bucs have to address their priorities, sure we need depth and young talent along the dline, but we need STARTERS in the secondary. Only so many picks to go around. Good draft to make this team competitive in 2018

Robert
3 years ago

Hughes is the prototypical Bucs corner. He’s short, undersized, slow, but at least he has very little experience. The only way this could be a worse pick is if they could prove he sexually assaulted some one instead of just accusing him of it. Oh and lets please trade next years 2nd round pick for an average, at best, running back. Teams Mark Walton played against that were named in this mock draft include: Florida Atlantic, Bethune-Cookman, Toledo, and mighty Duke; The murders row of inconsequential college football teams. Apparently Walton saves his best stuff for the really “tough” match-ups.… Read more »

Schwifty9
Reply to  Robert
3 years ago

2,000% in agreement with you. I like Mark Waltons tape a lot, but in this class, he’s maybe my 7th or 8th rated prospect. So no way would I go trading away such a substantial pick for the guy. If he’s there at pick #108, great, pick him. But trading up for him would be foolish when C.J. Anderson and Orleans Darkwa (who got great production behind a horrendous Giants O-line) are both available.

makski
Reply to  Schwifty9
3 years ago

Schwifty9, I totally agree with you here!! Probably even leaning more towards Robert. Not the greatest schools to have your good games against. I also really like Darkwa and Anderson and wish we would just sign one to not make me so nervous in the draft. If we pass on a RB in the first 2 rounds, I will not be very happy. I think Winston needs a stronger run game to help him out and settle him down a bit. Not sold on Walton, haven’t seen a lot of tape, but he seems to attract a lot of contact… Read more »

Jay
Jay
Reply to  Robert
3 years ago

I really disklike the Hughes pick as well he doesn’t look athletic enough to cover NFL Wide Receivers & he didn’t look overly impressive covering receivers in the AAC. The only way I take an undersized corner is if he’s extremely athletic (Jaire Alexander, Denzel Ward) or I go with a taller guy like Isaiah Oliver or Carlton Davis.

Brobear
Reply to  Robert
3 years ago

Yeah definitely dont wait to see if the prospects develop. This guy robert says theyre bad so iof Licht takes em, just pack it in. Robert says you should be fired because he clearly knows what hes talking about….man Bucs fans are super annoying. Your basis for not liking Walton is the teams included in his write up? How about do your own research then? Walton is a stud. Whether I would trade back into the 3rd to get him, I dunno, but lets stop pretending you know what youre talking about

Robert
Reply to  Brobear
3 years ago

I know that when your star quarterback has a good chance of being suspended for sexual assault you don’t burn a 2nd round pick on someone with sexual assault on their resume; especially if they are short, slow, weigh under 190 lbs, and only have one year experience. I know that we just got JPP for a 3rd round pick. Walton, who may or not make it at the next level, I doubt will ever have the value of a JPP. I can’t see burning a 2nd on him. The tape I saw doesn’t scream 2nd round value. If we… Read more »

Schwifty9
Reply to  Brobear
3 years ago

We should avoid Hughes like the plague. The 2nd round CB prospect we should all be pining for is Isiah Oliver. Faster, bigger, longer, and more skilled than Hughes.

As for Walton. I like his tape quite a lot to be honest, I just can’t in good faith compare him to Kareem Hunt, when at 20 pounds heavier Hunt’s measurables and mobility are either identical or superior to Waltons.

Mightyjoey1
3 years ago

Here’s the flaw in your analysis….either (1) all four of the QB’s will be drafted 1 through 6, which leaves one of the big 3 (most likely Nelson) available or (2) only 3 of the QB’s is taken and the big 3 are taken as well. Thus….if Situation #1 happens and Nelson, Barkley or Chubb are there, you run to the podium and take the stud….period. I wouldn’t even answer the phone as great talent is hard to find and all 3 of those guys are great talent. If all 3 of those guys are already gone, that means there… Read more »

chipbuc
3 years ago

Have to say this is not my favorite draft. James is alright at 7, but only if you can’t trade down. Due to the almost worst RB corp in the league, you almost have to pick a RB at pick 38 . A stud RB is almost a must, maybe a Chubb, Jones, Penny or Johnson. Then in the 102 pick in fourth, you either trade up into the third to get a Guard or CB , maybe Meeks from Stanford at corner or Corbett from Nevada or Smith from Auburn at Guard. In the fifth round maybe a player… Read more »

Honey Bear
3 years ago

I love most of this haul, but I question if some of those guys are on the board when we draft those rounds. Also, I think if we want James we should try and trade down a few spots. Then we can go for a better RB than Walton.

jerseybucsfan
3 years ago

Mightyjoey you nailed it. It’s really that simple. Licht has to get this done.

makski
Reply to  jerseybucsfan
3 years ago

Just because it is a plausible scenario, that doesn’t mean it can or will happen. You still need 2 teams to trade. Remember, behind us is the Bears, who, just like us, are not a threat to draft a RB. Those teams that you think will trade with us will likely target a team behind us to hopefully still get their man, but might not have to trade away as much to get him. Therefore, the Bucs might indeed be stuck with their pick at 7 and have to pick either James, Vea, or a CB of their choice.

makski
Reply to  makski
3 years ago

oops, draft a QB

Mightyjoey1
Reply to  makski
3 years ago

No…the scenario I posed isn’t plausible…it’s a stone card math fact. We pick 7th…and the only way that Nelson, Chubb and Barkley are all off the board is if one of the big 4 QB’s is not taken. Now, there might be something every GM knows about one of these guys that the rest of us don’t….but rest assured, if someone failed a drug test, beat his girlfriend, etc, it will leak this week, if for no other reason to pacify the anxious Cardinals, Bills, Dolphins and Patriots fans (not to mention fans of other teams thinking QB). Someone will… Read more »

BadgerW4
3 years ago

” The buzz in the NFL scouting community is that James is a Day 1 starter and has the makings of a Pro Bowl safety, and he can affect the defense in many ways.” The buzz around Mark Baron was that he was a Day 1 starter, had a FLOOR of a pro-bowl safety, the ceiling of a Hall of Famer, and could affect the defense in many ways. We all saw how that turned out. I have every confidence James, if chosen by the Bucs (or anyone else for that matter) will be a bust. I can’t even begin… Read more »

FLBoy84
Reply to  BadgerW4
3 years ago

Getting the feeling you might be opposed to James at #7, but I could be wrong…

BadgerW4
Reply to  FLBoy84
3 years ago

LMFAO!!! Sorry… did I sugar-coat it a tad too much?

cgmaster27
Reply to  BadgerW4
3 years ago

Well comparing james to barron has one massive flaw. Barron cant cover his own shadow and james was the highest rated cover safety in college last year. Not sure your disaste for james. You a gator fan? Haha

cgmaster27
Reply to  cgmaster27
3 years ago

And by your logic we shouldnt draft barkley either, just because the experts said trent richardson would be the next adrian Peterson right?

makski
Reply to  cgmaster27
3 years ago

Exactly, and, if BadgerW4 absolutely knew that Baron, Clayborn, Adams and Derwin James would be and are busts, then he should easily be the highest sought after scout in the entire NFL and should change careers. He could get a job with ANY team he wants because EVERY team would love to have the perfect scout on their payroll.

BadgerW4
Reply to  makski
3 years ago

Makski, that might actually be the case if I COULD work (am a 100% disabled vet), would be INTERESTED in the job, AND had the credentials to be hired by an NFL team in such a position. There are people who are AWESOME at things who don’t work at that thing for numerous reasons. I’ve always been that “march to my own beat” kind of guy. I quit a low/mid 6 figure job back in the early 90s to go fly choppers for the Army. Needless to say, I only do the jobs I want to do. ;) Moving on,… Read more »

martinii
3 years ago

I try to anticipate a sure thing when it comes to the draft and I am not talking about prospects or who might fall to where. Too many drafts under my belt. I know the Buc’s have a #7 and a #38 pick. 102 through 255 are wishful thinking. I am not an advocate of speculating trades, while fun and challenging they are often just forgotten fantasies by day 3. So in my world the Buc’s have a shot at getting 2 significant players. Since about February we have agreed that if Barkley, Chubb, or Nelson fell to 7 we… Read more »

scubog
Reply to  martinii
3 years ago

I agree wholeheartedly Martinii. That grey matter you spoke of is our hair. I’ve given up wasting brain cells on Draft forecasting. The grey hair is indicative of the lessons learned following the Drafts for 45 + years. Herein folks are freaking out over predictions that are totally meaningless. If 2 of the 8 opportunities are correct, it will have been little more than a good guess. What I find most comical is people recognizing the most sound Draft philosophy as BPA then go on and on about “need.” Right now fans are most concerned about those first 6 picks… Read more »

seat26
3 years ago

Not a bad draft but moving up with next year’s 2nd to take a player that would be there in the 4th or 5th round is foolhardy. Tampa loves to move up. And if the guy cannot play 3 downs and get over a 1000 yards, he is not worth the risk.

Horse
Reply to  seat26
3 years ago

So agree! If I was the Owners, I would inform GM that you can’t trade 2019 Rounds 1,2,3 unless you can show on your Board where you had him rated and he’s a steal.

Mightyjoey1
3 years ago

Just mark this down….calling my shot now…there is absolutely no way that the Bucs draft James if one of those QB’s are still on the board. I personally think either the Broncos or Colts will trade down with some offer they can’t refuse, and one of those 3 will slip to us. If Rosen is the guy that falls (as alot are speculating now) don’t be shocked to see the Bucs and Patriots making a deal…something like both their 1’s and a 2. Which would go a long way to explaining some of the interviews the Bucs have had.

TALLEYBAN BUC
3 years ago

Lol besides James at 7 i would be pissed about this draft…

Pit of misery
3 years ago

Pass on James at 7!

aquilus
3 years ago

If we dont get a pass rusher this draft
get ready for another season of opposing QB’s having all day long to throw

Chubb is priority #1…the Bucs need to make this happen even if it means trading up to do it
If we have to give up 2 or 3 picks this and/or next year to do it

We cannot rely on a old retread in JPP to carry this team in pass rush

WE CANNOT LEAVE DAY ONE WITHOUT CHUBB

aquilus
3 years ago

This isnt anything against James…Im sure hes a hell of a player….but we MUST have pass rush

BucRN
3 years ago

No-trade first 3 rounds: 1. SS Derwin James. FSU It think we keep forgetting he played in a formidable conference. Half the other Safety prospects didn’t. Also, he is speedy enough to play CB in certain packages. No other player has that going for them. 2. RB Rashaad Penny SD State. This guy is like a Warrick Dunn/Michael Pittman hybrid. He is super speedy for his size, great pass catcher, no injury history, clean off field slate, progressively better stat’s each year. Only 6 total fumbles in 3 years. 3. CB Tony Brown. Alabama 6′ tall, runs a 4.35. Our… Read more »

EastEndBoy
3 years ago

If the only upgrades we make to our offense are the (maybe) 7th best RB in the draft and Jensen, I would be worried about our offense in 2018….specifically, worried that Winston won’t make it through the year (again) and we’ll have the worst rushing game in the NFC.

jerseybucsfan
3 years ago

Licht’s job relies upon getting one of the top 3 or trading down. Letting others back you into a mediocre draft (which is what James and a leftover RB would be) puts the onus completely on him in 2018. Playoffs or fired.

makski
Reply to  jerseybucsfan
3 years ago

That is why it needs to be James and a RB, not James and a CB. As bad as we need a CB, the RB has to come in round 2, otherwise, we are stuck with very average RB’s to pick from, even if we mortgage our future picks, and that can’t happen. The only way our second pick can be a CB, is if we trade down and get multiple picks in the first and/or second rounds.

mgchat76
3 years ago

If the big 3 are gone (I think it’s about 50/50 now) and they can’t trade down, then James is the best choice. He’s a difference maker at a position of need. I’d rather have Oliver instead of Hughes. I’d like to get someone with length to match up with the giant WR’s in the league. I love the Walton move, but would follow up with John Kelly in the 4th to form a lethal RB committee. Nick Bawden would be a great pick with either our 2nd 6th rounder or our 7th. Every time I try to watch Rashaad… Read more »

GoldsonAges
3 years ago

I think SF and OAK are hoping to get Vea. If we make a deal with Oakland and move back to 10 and get their 3rd rounder in the deal then I would feel a lot better about this draft.

Trading next years 2nd for a sole 3rd round pick and then drafting a RB who projects as a 4-5th roubder would be a monumental failure and as others have said, Licht should be fired immediately if it plays out like this.

chetthevette
3 years ago

Trading up for what running back?
if your going trade up, trade up for real.
Nick Chubb is the guy I want.
Better yet, just draft Chubb with the second pick.
I have a feeling that Nelson will be there at #7. If that is the case pick him. I think anyone will be able to run the ball behind our line then.
GO BUCS

plopes808
3 years ago

I could get on board with this mock EXCEPT for the trade up in the 3rd. I believe we need to go RB in the 2nd, but I can also see the case for going DB. Ideal situation is a trade down in the first with Buffalo, but now that Denver is openly shopping their pick we may not have the type of market we originally thought. For the first pick I’d prioritize as follows; Trade down, Nelson, then James. In the second, I think we need to grab the best RB available. I can see going DB if there’s… Read more »

surferdudes
3 years ago

The last Buc G.M. who picked a can’t miss safety at #7 is working for ESPN now. That player isn’t even on the team now. Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. I believe the Giants will select Josh Rosen with their pick, meaning we’ll get that shot at Nelson, Chubb, or Barkley. I’m thinking the Browns won’t be able to pass on pairing Chubb with their other D end, and Indy looks to protect Luck with Nelson. I also think the teams ahead of us will feel they can get a good R.B. with their… Read more »

Ja'crispy
3 years ago

Yea I’m not really feeling this mock. I’m fine with James at 7. No way I’m trading a 2nd to move up in the 3rd for Walton. RB has got to be in the first or second. You don’t use a second round pick for mark Walton, you use a second for Ronald Jones, Nick Chubb, or Rashaad Penny. that’s just ridiculous. Also, theres no way we draft a WR. Not even in the later rounds. WR has got to be one of the most deepest positions on this team.

Dman
3 years ago

Scott, sounds like you’ve been spending time in Colorado enjoying their now legal combustibles! Trade McCoy for a #2 pick in 2019???? Take another hit…. Why not trade him now. We need more picks and a lot more young talent. Trading McCoy today gives us the opportunity at Vea, a top flight RB AND CB this year. Package him with DJax and load up in this year’s draft.

SenileSenior
3 years ago

Scott, I would be extremely happy with the draft you have outlined. Top quality from end to end. Like I have said before they are going to have to work hard in order to mess up our first pick. We almost cannot lose no matter how the first six picks go. If Licht and crew can get good results all the way through the seventh round then he will show he has learned and grown as a GM also. I have only scanned some of the many comments so far. Now, I am going to grab a cup of coffee… Read more »

Bucsfan1983
3 years ago

I like getting a 3rd round pick, but not for Mark Walton.

Rd 1) SS Derwin James
Rd 2) RB Sony Michel
Rd 3) DT Maurice Hurst (acquired pick for 2019 2nd round pick)
Rd 4) RB Nyheim Hines
Rd 5) CB Kameron Kelly
Rd 6) G/T Will Clapp
Rd 6) DE Justin Lawler
Rd 7) WR Justin Watson

ehinote
3 years ago

Honestly, I’m hoping light is leaking fake stuff like last year when everyone thought we were taking Dalvin. If Nelson is available take him. If not try to trade down. If we can’t take Minkah

Bucsfan1983
3 years ago

Rd 1) SS Derwin James
Rd 2) RB Nick Chubb
Rd 3) LB Shaquem Griffin (pick acquired for 2019 2nd rd pick)
Rd 4) RB Nyheim Hines
Rd 5) OT Alex Cappa
Rd 6) DE Kentavius Street
Rd 6) DT PJ Hall
Rd 7) WR Justin Watson