Round 2: Oklahoma DE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo – 6-2, 253 – 4.77 – Senior

Previous pick: San Diego State RB Rashaad Penny
The Bucs draft defensive linemen back-to-back with the selection of Okoronkwo in the second round to bring the pass rush off the edge. Tampa Bay needs another explosive defensive end to get after the quarterback and there are some similarities between Okoronkwo and Noah Spence, the team’s 2016 second-round pick.

Spence ran a 4.8 time in the 40-yard dash, but had a 1.62 10-yard split, did 29 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press, had a 10-foot-1 broad and a 35-inch vertical. Okoronwko ran a 4.77 in the 40, had a 1.65 10-yard split, posted 27 reps in the bench press, with a 10-foot-1 broad jump and a 38-inch vertical.

The good news for the Bucs is that Okoronwko’s shoulders are healthy, unlike the injured shoulder that has limited Spence’s production in his first two years in Tampa Bay to just 6.5 sacks and cost him much of the 2017 season. Licht and Koetter are expecting Spence to make a full recovery for 2018, but can’t count on it. Drafting Okoronkwo, who was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year last year with 75 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, eight sacks, three pass breakups, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

So why would the Bucs draft two of the same type of player? Because Spence is the only speed rusher on the team and Tampa Bay needs more speed off the edge. Is Spence was worth a second-round pick, so is Okoronkwo, and remember that Spence has more experience playing off the left side, while Okoronkwo played right defensive end at Oklahoma.

Okoronkwo has faced some NFL-caliber talent over the years in Oklahoma’s Orlando Brown, Georgia left tackle Isaiah Wynn, Ohio State left tackle Jamarco Jones, who he beat for 1.5 sacks and six tackles this year, and Kansas State’s Cody Whitehair, who is now Chicago’s starting center. In 2016, Okoronkwo had 11 tackles, one sack and a forced fumble against Connor Williams in Oklahoma’s 45-40 win over Texas.

“He was definitely one of the best pass rushers that I’ve gone against,” Wynn said at the Senior Bowl, talking about the Rose Bowl match up against Okoronkwo. “He kept me on my toes the whole game. He’s just a quick-twitch guy. He has a great move. His best move is an inside spin. Normally with an inside spin guys usually slow down going into it, but he’s so quick that he goes full speed into. That makes it hard to defend.”

The Bucs have met with Okoronkwo twice this offseason. The first meeting came at the Senior Bowl where he recorded four tackles, two tackles for loss, two sacks and a forced fumble for the North team. The second meeting came at the NFL Scouting Combine. There the team discussed playing both a 3-4 scheme and a 4-3 scheme, and players like Spence and Okoronkwo can function in both as stand up outside rush linebackers in a 3-4 and hand-in-the dirt defensive ends in a 4-3.

Okoronkwo’s Oklahoma Career Defensive Stats
2017: 75 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, 8 sacks, 2 PBUs, 3 FFs, 2 FR
2016: 71 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 9 sacks, 3 PBUs, 2 FFs
2015: 8 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack
2014: 8 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 2 sacks

Another NFL comp for Okoronkwo is Jacksonville’s Yannick Ngakoue, who was drafted in the third round by Jacksonville in 2016. At 6-foot-2, 252 pounds, Ngakoue and Okoronkwo are the same size, and Ngakoue ran a similar 4.75 time in the 40-yard dash with a 1.65 10-yard split. Even the 26 reps on the bench press, the 34.5-inch vertical leap and the 9-foot-8-inch broad jump are similar to Okoronkwo’s numbers at the NFL Scouting Combine.

So is the college production. Ngakoue, who just made his first Pro Bowl with the Jaguars, racked up 83 tackles, 32 tackles for loss, 21 sacks, three passes defensed, two forced fumbles and one interception at Maryland, while Okoronkwo amassed 162 tackles, 33 tackles for loss, 20 sacks, five passes defensed, five forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Despite constant double teams, Ogbonnia was credited with 11 quarterback pressures, a sack and a forced fumble in 57 drop backs on pass plays and made the game-saving tackle on a lateral in OU’s 29-24 thrilling win over Texas in the Red River Rivalry. Despite being 6-foot-2, Okoronkwo has 34.5-inch arms and nearly an 80-inch wingspan, which helps him reach around offensive tackles to get to quarterbacks. To put that in perspective, Fort Hays State’s 6-foot-5 defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd has 33-inch arms and an 80-inch wingspan, and Miami’s 6-foot-5 defensive end Chad Thomas has 34-inch arms and an 81-inch wingspan.

Although he has a smallish stature, Okoronkwo has a violent punch at the line of scrimmage and is able to set the edge against bigger, athletic left tackles and be a factor in the run game. But it’s his ability to dip his shoulder, bend and come around the edge as a pass rusher that made him a terror in the Big 12 and hopefully in Tampa Bay.

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

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Scott Reynolds is in his 24th 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 son's Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]

50 COMMENTS

  1. This is terrible, it’s like you don’t know how Jason drafts by now. A DT in the 1st round makes no sense because it’s not what we need most, either DE,SS, CB or RB in the first round.

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    • Accidentally hit thumbs up, definitely a mistake. Count me as -2.

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    • Sheldon, So agree!!!

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    • We need talent in the trenches. But with Chubb most likely not slipping to us, there is not another DE worth a top-10 pick. Same goes for Barkley, who will likely be gone. Yes we need another safety, but we need help in the trenches the most. If the Bucs believe Vita Vea is a top-10 talent, he is worth the pick over the highly-rated safeties (Fitzpatrick and James). Vita Vea is a disruptor who will make the players around him on the line better and the entire defense better. If we give QBs too much time (like we did last season), it does not matter who is in the backfield because someone will eventually get open. We need big time talent on the line, and I would be happy with the Vea pick. I would also be happy with trading down with the Bills for both their first rounders to take 2 DE/DL, perhaps Hubbard and Bryan. I like Fitzpatrick and James, but our holes on the D-Line are too gaping for them to be as impactful as improvements on the line.

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      • Agree HB, but hopefully we can add some much needed talent to the DL in the next week or two where we can go BPA if a trade down doesn’t present itself. In that case, maybe a guy like Fitzpatrick isn’t so much of a reach and we could possibly lock up, what could be, one of the best starting safety tandems in the league for the foreseeable future.

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        • Many Mocks have Cleveland taking Barkley 1st and Fitzpatrick 4th with Chubb falling to 3rd to Indy. Then who do we take?

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    • Actually, we do need a DT every bit as much as DE. Baker is gone. This draft addresses both of those concerns. My only problem with it is that I don’t think Chubb will last to the 3rd round. And we definitely need help at RB too. The truth is we have too many positions to address in this draft alone. I think this is a pretty good sound mock, but it all comes down to who falls into your lap at #7. If Nelson or Fitzpatrick is there at #7 I think Bucs will have a hard time passing on one of them. I like Via a lot and we would be getting a Sapp quality player who’s motor never stops. But I think he is not a top 10 player.

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      • Vea.

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      • Absolutely agree Chubb had a very good combine.
        His knee seems to be fine.

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    • Sheldon who would you pick in this spot if Barkley, Chubb, Fitzpatrick,and James are all off the board and no one wants to trasde with us?

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    • Sheldon, who would you pick at 7 if Barkley, Chubb, Fitzpatrick, and James are all off the board and no one wants to trade with us?

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  2. I really like this draft. Vea and Okoronkwo would REALLY help our pass rush and, in Vea’s case, our run defense. Chubb and Cappa would help our running game. Neal and Shelton are both gamers and I love Carter. Thumbs up, Scott.

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  3. Please stop trying to sell Vea at #7. He will be around later if we were to trade down.

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    • You may well be right, but if a suitable offer doesn’t emerge, someone has to be selected.

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  4. Come on Jenna (SR), don’t go throwing out that Baker release as a massive surprise to anyone. 🙂 Like the draft, very uncertain how the top three picks go though. Like most, have preferences as to which players we select, though can’t argue with any of the above. Especially like the Martez Carter flier in the 7th. Was curious where the speed factor would come in to play in a RB corp uf Chubb, Barber and Rodgers, though I hope we add another RB as a FA that can outperform Rodgers at least and add more speed as well.

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  5. Many say no on Vea. But tell me who else would you go with Defensively If Chubb is gone? Maybe you guys were not watching the same Buc games as me last year. We need BIGTIME help along our D line..anyway we can get it! I’d definitely go D-line with my first 2 choices in this draft. Hell. maybe even the 1st 3rds. I like Scott’s picks here. You can score all day long in this league..throw beautiful Spirals. But you’d better be able to stop somebody and get of the field. We could/can not! It starts up front. Solidy those trenches and find a pass rush. We had 6 easily winnable games last year. We just could not stop…ANYBODY!

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  6. You’re getting closer to what should happen. Theyve gota go Dline with first 2 picks, maybe first 3. I’d love it if they could trade back and pick up picks but its unlikely. I looked at Lichts entire draft history this morning in detail. He just doesnt go back, very little when so. If he trades back somehow and Veas gone I’d be just as happy with Nathan Shepherd, wether in rounds 1 or 2.
    I’d personally sign 2 RBs, a guard, a DB and a DE in free agency, then draft all defense. I dont think Chubb will be there in round 3 and this team needs many many D linemen who can rotate and generate pressure. Free agency is almost here and that will tell us alot about the draft!!

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    • Gonna need more than just one G between FA’s and the draft. Depending on where you’re putting Marpet, you’re either going to need another G or C at the minimum. Agree though that the D needs some massive attention at DL and DB.

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  7. I say no to waiting till the third round to get a running back. Second round Derrius Guice or Sony Michel.

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  8. Scott; not bad, but Round 2 pick Okorowkwo is just too small! Surely we have learned our lesson? We need CB’s so take one there if we can’t find a DE. Hope RB Chubb is still there at Round 3, doubt it though. Why are you selecting small DE’s, CB, SS? That might be okay if we already had a good Defense, which we don’t. Would love to understand your thought process here Scott?

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    • Horse: You always think players are “too small”. You should look at the typical sizes by respective positions currently playing in the NFL and available in the Draft. I think you’ll conclude that those dimensions are the norm.

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  9. Just another thought here? Just don’t like where we going as I don’t see much of anything GM & Coaches are changing, but same ole same ole. The three other HC’s in our Division are aggressive, proven, and have much better Defenses; how does this type of draft selecting catch up with them Scott? It doesn’t in my opinion.

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  10. Would be a very solid DT rotation of McCoy, Poe, Vea and McDonald (assuming he’s re-signed), though possibly might try to find a more penetrating DT than McDonald to spell McCoy at the 3T. Maybe even double-up at DT in Rnds 1 & 2 with Vea and Shepherd to protect for McCoy’s eventual decline. Just a thought, not sure what the quality of the DT class is coming out in the next couple of years though. Anybody know?

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  11. Love Vea 1st, and Chubb 3rd if he’s there, but I’d much rather have another trench player that isn’t smaller than a flea and preferably not from Oklahoma since they’re probably a damn whiner.

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  12. Best mock you’ve done so far SR. Agree that they should go heavy on the lines.

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  13. I like this draft and I think it is realistic. If Chubb and Nelson are gone and there is no trade down then Vea makes a ton of sense. Bucs have been trying to fill the spot next to McCoy for several seasons. This would do that very well. I agree on the top need positions too, DL, OL, DB, RB. Of course much depends on free agency. This should be a fun week.

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  14. I also like ward at 7 depending on free agency or Nelson should know our real needs over the next week or so!

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    • I can live with Ward at 7 if the bucs were to sign Poe in FA.

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  15. This is where my head is right now if Chubb, Nelson and Barkley are off the board.

    1- Derrius Guice, LSU RB
    2- Jaire Alexander, UL CB
    3- Lorenzo Carter, Georgia DE
    4- Marcell Frazier, MIZZ DE
    5- Dante Pettis, WASH WR
    6- DJ Reed, KSU CB
    7- Salesi Uhatafe, Utah G

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  16. I don’t really pay much attention to mocks until FA is pretty much over, but if this mock were accurate it would mean Licht bombed in FA imo. I like the 2nd rd pick, but the 1st and 3rd… eh.

    One player I’d love to see us pick up in a late rd (assuming he’s still there) is Antonio Callaway. 1st rd talent but is likely a 5th-7th rd pick. Would be nice to grab/stash/develop while we get 1 more yr from Desean Jackson this year. Then plug him in with Evans and RodGod at WR in 2019 and we’ve got a talented young WR core

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  17. Vea isn’t a bad pick but he’s not the best player available at #7 if we stay there (and I don’t think we will…I think we’ll trade down). He’s a great NT but NT’s don’t have enough impact on the game to take one at #7 overall. We can’t let our lack of talent on the D-line drive us to take a guy that’s not the BPA.

    I try to state who I think we’ll take and who we should take in the 1st round. There are too many factors for me to try and guess who will be picked in the later rounds. I just state whether I like a guy in the later rounds or not. With that in mind I think if we stay at #7 we’ll draft OG Nelson. Who we should take at #7 is QB M. Rudolph and not trade down. To me he’s the 2nd best QB in this draft class behind Baker Mayfield who I think will be gone by #7.

    If we trade down I think it will be with the Bills like TS suggested a few weeks ago. I think that is even more likely now that they have traded away T. Taylor. If we trade down with the Bills since it was discovered at the combine that DT Hurst has a heart issue I think we’ll take DT Bryan and RB R. Penny.

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  18. You make a great case for Vita Vea!

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  19. Man, im here watching the nick chubb highlights really getting into issiah wynn. Big man can move and move people.

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  20. I disagree with the pick of Vita Vea. First thing I would say is he didn’t have the sacks in his college career and the lack of sacks is and was the Bucs biggest problem. Vita ran a good 40 time but the 3 cone time is the most important event for DT. There is no way I will even think about drafting Vita until I get his 3 cone time. If and when the Bucs sign Dontari Poe please stop mocking Vita to the Bucs. Just for your info Poe had better numbers at the Combine than Vita Vea.

    The Bucs first pick will and should be Marcus Davenport. Davenport reminds me of DeMarcus Ware because he got that I have something to prove mindset. Davenport have a high motor but he is raw and that is where our new D line coach earns his money. If we pass on this kid at 7 it is going to be a big mistake. It is still early in the process but when it is all said and done Devenport will get mocked and selected in the top 10. I don’t care about how many people agree with me, I wrote this because when it happen I would like to say I told you so. If the Bucs select Marcus he will have at least 7 sacks his first year book it!.

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  21. This would be excellent draft. I think V Vita is the biggest impact player on the Dline after Chubb. I think he has a higher ceiling regarding the rushing the passer than people think. My favorite pass rusher in this draft after Chubb is DE O Okoronkwo, I think he is a much better against the run then N Spence and is as good of a pass rusher. I think Okoronkwo and a health Spence will improve the pass rush. I like N Chubb but I would rather use the 3rd or move back up to the 2nd if needed a target DT N Shepard. A DT rotation of Vita, Shepard, McCoy and McDonald(hopefully they resign) would be nasty. Then grab RB J Kelly from Tennessee in the 4th. Love the SS Neal from Jacksonville State get him in the 6th would be a steal. If we could sign OG Sitton, C R Jensen, RB J Mckinnon, CB EJ Gaines, DE T Murphy or DE A Lynch. I think this team would be much improved

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  22. This is a nice mock and best of the 3 imo. Obviously this mock is done without FA in the equation and it should be. In that regard, positions of need as they stand now were addressed. Well done. I have some concerns about the size of a couple players, as others here have mentioned but if you can ball… you can ball. You can’t tell me a good drive and solid pass rushing moves/speed don’t make up for 2 inches and 20 lbs.

    Chubb in round 3 would be nice, drafting a RB in round 2 would be a mistake with our trench holes. My mind could change after FA but unlikely since that Dline talent pool is thin, so the top 2 picks going to the DL is something I truly hope happens.

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  23. I like this draft, I think the bucs will sign Poe in FA making vita redundant and opens the door for best non qb ,lb, wr, te available and not need to reach. Also i am more partial to kerryon johnson but would be cool with chubb.

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    • Perhaps Denzel Ward as a future lockdown CB then?

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  24. vita only 5 tfl is a bad sign,payne from crimson tide almost had that vs georgia

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  25. I can’t argue with any of these picks. Pair this draft with some FA pickups and we’ll be good to go

    FA Pickups:
    DE Okafor/Curry
    DT Poe
    G/C Sitton/Norwell/Jensen
    RB Crowell/Hyde/Mckinnon/Lewis
    DB Butler/Johnson/Fuller/Gaines

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  26. I’ve always thought Mock Drafts were for entertainment purposes only, and not a valid forecast of things to come. Nor is the mocking of the Mock Draft that follows to be taken seriously. It’s so comical that every year at this time we are inundated with one Mock Draft after another including the one from Bill Parcell’s neighbor, yet none will be a credible reflection of reality. Equally entertaining is when we will reflect on it with our “woulda, coulda, shoulda” analysis at the end of April before the players have even stepped on the practice field.

    We all know these predictions are totally meaningless, yet we peruse the internet, buy the draft magazines and watch the sports channels to see who these “experts” have going to the Buccaneers. Then we chastise it or praise it depending on our own thoughts. Does what they think really matter at all? Of course it doesn’t. So why scoff at the various guesses, including this one, to the point of getting angry? Lighten up!

    Many people, including Scubog, think taking the BPA is the best course for building a roster. Yet, most, if not all mocks, focus on team need instead of player evaluations. Fortunately, or I suppose, unfortunately, our favorite team has a lot of needs. Surely the BPA will hit one of them.

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    • Yeah Scubog this time of year can definitely become an exercise in Futility. I usually try to predict the top 3 rounds and on years like this when the potential for getting a top need player is questionable BPA really makes sense. Scott must have insider info on some of these guys because 1) they don’t go to combine, 2) they are small school kids, and 3) they are not ranked in the top 300 prospects by any of the major analyst. Unless you are an alumni and travel to these schools and watch your son play, you would never hear about the player.

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  27. If we can’t get Bradley Chubb or Nelson, we just need to trade down. After those two nobody is worth a number seven pick.

    I don’t want a repeat of 2016 where we have a decent draft position and squander the pick on the best available player. We should have traded down then. We should trade down now.

    Hello Buffalo!

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  28. Best player available works if you’re N.E., but if you’re the Bucs, you can’t afford not to come out of this draft without a top D tackle. McCoy, Stevie T., maybe McDonald, that’s it! Vea is rated as a top ten pick, with 3 Q.B.’s rated ahead of him, which means he falls as the 7th pick in the draft. This is close enough to warrant his selection. I would be for trading down with the thought of at least coming away with Payne as my first pick, and another D tackle with the pick I traded down for. Coming away with two of the top D.T.’s in the draft would cure what ails us.

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    • You draft best player available. In 2015 in the 4th round, the bucs did not need a mlb linebacker because they just signed Bruce Carter to be the starting mlb but kwon who they had a 2nd round grade on was still sitting there. The bucs could have still used a defensive end then, but they chose Kwon who went on to start and now is a pro bowler. Last year the bucs did not need a lb but beckwith was still sitting there at the end of the third round and the bucs also had a 2nd round grade on him. Kwon gets hurt to start the season and Beckwith filled in tremendously at the mlb position. Do you remember how the defense played without kwon his rookie year when he was suspended at mlb? Beckwith fixed that by being the bpa. When you reach for need, there is no guarantee that the need position will work out. When you draft bpa, it works more times than it does not.

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  29. I am not sure why SR is on this Vita Vea guy. There is no mock draft that has this guy as a top 10 pick. Most I see him as a late teen pick. I get it, his coach sold you on him. He will be a good player if the team around him is good. If not, then you are looking at Shelton who was just traded to the pats from the browns. Derwin James, Nelson, Chubb, Barkley are the players the bucs need to be looking at here at 7. And no, you do not draft for need. You draft best player available period. Drafting for need had Mark dominick drafting Arrelious benn 3 picks before the gronk. I am not reaching for a nose tackle when a dynamic safety/alpha male like James is on the board. Tell me how Jalen Ramsey has worked out. How about Eric berry who was picked at #5 overall. Licht should be fired if he picks a guy at 7 he could draft at 16-20.

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  30. This is probably of the best bucs mock drafts ive seen this offseason. The bucs Dline was one of the worst in the nfl last year. I don’t understand how some people can complain about getting the best DT in the draft. DT is just as important as DE. other then Chubb there no other DE worthy of a top 10 pick. So, Mount Vea in the first round would greatly improve our Dline.

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  31. A++. If the draft goes like this, than I couldnt be more happy.

    I would say that the Bucs need Draft talent at CB earlier than rd 5. But honestly there are just too many holes to fill. Fixing the DL will make the secondary look better. Adding in some “Serviceable” CB talent in FA and then bolstering the DL in the draft will be the most optimal way to turn around the defense.

    If the Bucs could perhaps trade down a few spots and still pick up VEA that would be fantastic. The other option would be to trade down to pick 15 and pick up Marcus Davenport and go DT in round two (I still like the 1-2 punch for the DL). That extra pick also could be useful if a trade up is needed to snatch Nick Chubb, and if not, well, its an extra pick and we have holes to fill

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  32. I highly dislike the first two round picks. If Barkley, Chubb, and Nelson are gone by 7 I would much rather see us take Fitzpatrick, James or Ward. The only way I would be fine with Vea is if say the Bills traded us their two firsts to jump up to 7 for a quarterback that has slipped. And, in the second Sony Michel, Ronald Jones, Derrius Guice, Arden Key, Sam Hubbard, Jaire Alexander, Harold Landry and Harrison Phillips.

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  33. McCoy, Stevie T., maybe McDonald, those are our defensive tackles right now. If you don’t fix that any corner, safety you draft will fail.

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