Bucs’ Best Bet – Rounds 1-3: Kentucky OLB Josh Allen
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Allen is the top edge rusher in the draft behind Ohio State’s Nick Bosa, capable of playing outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme and a defensive end in a 4-3 defense. Allen was considered to be a fringe first-round pick last year and stayed for his senior season to become a Top 5 pick. Allen gained over 10 pounds for his final season in college and recorded 17 sacks in a monster year, helping Kentucky rise in the SEC and record a bowl win over Penn State.
Allen finished his Wildcats career with 220 tackles, 42 tackles for loss, 31.5 sacks, 11 forced fumbles, eight passes defenses, two forced fumbles and an interception. The 6-foot-5, 262-pound edge rusher ran a 4.63 in the 40-yard dash and he interviewed with the Bucs at the Combine as well as on a visit at One Buccaneer Place. If he’s there at No. 5, Tampa Bay probably can’t afford to pass him up. If the Bucs don’t land Allen or a player like Florida State’s Brian Burns in the first round, Louisiana Tech’s Jaylon Ferguson or Florida’s Jachai Polite could be targeted in the second round.
Bucs’ Best Bet – Rounds 4-7: Old Dominion OLB Oshane Ximines
Ximines is a good, but not great edge rushing prospect, which is why he’s viewed as a third- or fourth-round pick. He’s a good athlete with some pretty good production, evidenced by 32.5 career sacks with his sack total increasing each year from five to 7.5 to 8.5 to 11.5 as a senior. Ximines also produced 176 tackles, 51 tackles for loss 12 passes defensed, 11 forced fumbles and one interception.
Ximines isn’t the biggest guy at 6-foot-3, 253 pounds, nor is he the fastest, running a 4.78 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. But Ximines has good hustle, a good work ethic and good technique combined with very good production, and would be a good pick on Day 3 for Tampa Bay if he slid to the fourth round.