The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the Super Bowl LV champions and will have the 32nd overall draft pick for the first time in franchise history. Just days after the confetti rained down at Raymond James Stadium following the Bucs’ 31-9 win over the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs, general manager Jason Licht, head coach Bruce Arians, director of player personnel John Spytek, director of college scouting Mike Biehl and Tampa Bay’s scouts and coaches will begin their scouting collaboration in preparation for the 2021 NFL Draft.

The scouting process will be difficult this year without any college all-star games outside of the Senior Bowl, and without the NFL Scouting Combine for the first time due to COVID-19. Extra emphasis will be placed on the draft prospects’ pro day workouts this winter and spring as a result.

Now it’s time to see what Tampa Bay’s personnel needs are following the Super Bowl, and who the Bucs select in PewterReport.com’s first 2021 Bucs 7-Round Mock Draft of the year, presented by Edmonson Electric • AC • Security.

TOP 5 BUCS NEEDS

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

Bucs DT Ndamukong Suh

Bucs DT Ndamukong Suh – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

It’s easy to suggest that the Bucs could have a pressing need at defensive tackle if potential free agents Ndamukong Suh, Steve McLendon and Rakeem “Nacho” Nunez-Roches don’t return in March. McLendon recently turned 35 and it would be no surprise to see him retire. The Bucs would want the 34-year old Suh back for one more year at the right price, in addition to Nunez-Roches, who is a good role player.

Jeremiah Ledbetter is a situational defensive lineman, and Khalil Davis, the team’s sixth-round pick from a year ago, is a developmental, undersized tackle that was inactive for all but four games in 2020. Whether it’s in the first round or the middle rounds, defensive tackle is a big need.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKER

Shaquil Barrett is slated for free agency and fellow outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul is 32 and entering the final year of his contract, so drafting a young, starting-caliber EDGE rusher also makes sense. That player could be an immediate starter if Barrett leaves.

Anthony Nelson, the team’s fourth-round pick in 2019, got more playing time in 2020, but only had one sack, and lacks the suddenness to be a quality pass rusher. Cam Gill, who recorded half a sack in the Super Bowl, played mostly on special teams as a rookie, but may be nothing more than a role player on defense as he develops.

RUNNING BACK

With Leonard Fournette likely leaving for greener pastures in free agency and 32-year old LeSean McCoy likely retiring, half of the Bucs’ backfield will be gone in 2021. Ronald Jones II ran for 978 yards and seven touchdowns in 2020, but lost his starting role to Fournette in the postseason. Jones will be entering the final year of his contract and history shows that paying big money contracts to running backs usually backfires. Licht experienced that first hand with Doug Martin back in 2016.

Ke’Shawn Vaughn, last year’s third-round pick, only rushed for 109 yards and caught five passes for 35 yards and a touchdown as a rookie, but struggled with turnovers and drops. It’s unclear whether or not Vaughn is starter material or just a role player, but the Bucs could use a starting-caliber running back to eventually replace Jones in 2022.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Bucs LT Donovan Smith

Bucs LT Donovan Smith – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

The Bucs could move on from left tackle Donovan Smith, who is set to make $14.25 million in 2021, without any dead cap ramifications this offseason, but that would be unwise given how well he played down the stretch. With the 2021 NFL Draft so deep at offensive tackle, the Bucs could use a young, developmental lineman to serve as a swing tackle after having veterans Josh Wells and Joe Haeg in that role this season – and a potential long-term option to replace Smith down the road.

Center Ryan Jensen turns 30 this summer and is set to make $10 million in the final year of his contract. The Bucs would be wise to draft an interior offensive lineman that can play center and guard to serve as Jensen’s understudy and eventual replacement and provide depth along the interior.

INSIDE LINEBACKER

It’s a shallow year for linebackers in the 2021 NFL Draft, and the Bucs are hoping that they don’t need to draft one early to replace Lavonte David, who is slated for free agency in March. Both sides want to get a deal done, so if Tampa Bay is looking to draft a linebacker, it will be for depth behind David and Devin White.

The contracts for Kevin Minter and Deone Bucannon expire and both are expected to hit free agency. Bucannon was a late-season addition to replace Jack Cichy, who can’t stay healthy. The Bucs drafted Chapelle Russell in the seventh round last year and could look for another Day 3 linebacker for depth again in 2021 if David returns, as expected.

 

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2021 BUCS 7-ROUND MOCK DRAFT

ROUND 1 – North Carolina RB Javonte Williams
5-10, 220 • Junior

The guess here is that Suh returns for one more year, as does Barrett, so defensive tackle and outside linebacker remain needs, but future needs rather than immediate needs. Running back could be considered an immediate need, especially if the Bucs can draft one with good hands that can catch the ball out of the backfield to replace Fournette and McCoy and team with Jones in the backfield.

With teams like the New York Jets and the Buffalo Bills picking No. 23 and No. 30 overall and needing a starting caliber running back, Clemson’s Travis Etienne and Alabama’s Najee Harris could well be gone by the time Tampa Bay is on the clock. Williams has some Harris-like qualities and would be a sensational selection for the Bucs with the final pick in the first round.

Don’t think running backs are worth drafting in the first round? Well, the Bucs are picking No. 32 overall, so it’s essentially a second-rounder with the added benefit of Williams on his rookie contract for five years when you consider the fifth-year option for first-rounders.

If you watched Fournette and Jones combine for 150 yards and a touchdown in the Bucs’ Super Bowl win you know how important the running back position is in Arians’ balanced offense. Arians also likes to use two backs, evidenced by Jones and Peyton Barber splitting carries in 2019 and Jones and Fournette sharing the workload this year. That would means Williams would see plenty of action on the field during his rookie season.

Williams split time with Michael Carter at North Carolina, so he’s already used to that role. Williams logged 366 carries for 2,297 yards (6.3 avg.) with 29 touchdowns in his Tar Heels career, in addition to catching 50 passes for 539 yards (10.8 avg.) and four TDs.

He had nine 100-yard games in his career, including a 23-carry, 236-yard (10.3 avg.), three-touchdown masterpiece versus Miami in his final game at UNC. The 5-foot-10, 220-pound bruising back is a punishing runner with good breakaway speed, solid vision, above average hands.

JONES’ NORTH CAROLINA CAREER RUSHING STATS
2018: 43 carries for 224 yards (5.2 avg.), 5 TDs
2019: 166 carries for 933 yards (5.6 avg.), 5 TDs
2020: 157 carries for 1,140 yards (7.3 avg.), 19 TDs

JONES’ NORTH CAROLINA CAREER RECEIVING STATS
2018: 8 receptions for 58 yards (7.3 avg.)
2019: 17 receptions for 176 yards (10.4 avg.), 1 TD
2020: 25 receptions for 305 yards (12.2 avg.), 3 TDs

Williams has a wicked stiff arm, sets up his blockers well and does a nice job running to daylight when there is a crease. He does not shy away from contact and breaks plenty of tackles due to his tremendous balance. When Williams is brought to the ground he always falls forward and drags would-be tacklers for extra yards.

Williams won’t turn 21 until April 25, which means he’ll only be 26 years old when he hits free agency after five years in Tampa Bay. If he’s a Pro Bowler by then, maybe he gets re-signed. In the interim he becomes the Bucs’ feature back in 2022, replacing Jones after learning Arians’ offense and contributing as a rookie this season.

ROUND 2 – Miami OLB Quincy Roche
6-3, 243 • Senior

Tampa Bay addresses its need at outside linebacker by drafting a former Temple guy – which will please Arians – in Roche, who transferred to Miami for his final season. While at Temple, Roche was a monster in the American Athletic Conference, racking up 26 sacks as a three-year starter, including 13 as a junior in 2019, which earned him AAC Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Not only did Roche terrorize quarterbacks as an EDGE rusher, but he was also a turnover machine, forcing six fumbles and recovering five, along with breaking up six passes for the Owls. While his sack number dropped to 4.5 during his senior year after transferring to Miami, Roche still forced two fumbles and recovered three others, showing he still had big-play capabilities.

ROCHE’S TEMPLE CAREER DEFENSIVE STATS
2017: 31 tackles, 11.5 TFLs, 7 sacks, 3FFs, 1 FR
2018: 57 tackles, 9 TFLs, 6 sacks, 2 FFs, 2 FRs, 1 PBU
2019: 49 tackles, 19 TFLs, 13 sacks, 5 PBUs, 2 FRs, 1 FF

ROCHE’S MIAMI CAREER DEFENSIVE STATS
2020: 45 tackles, 14.5 TFLs, 4.5 sacks, 3 FRs, 2 FFs, 1 PBU

Roche has experience as a stand up rusher in a 3-4 scheme, so he should be a perfect fit for Todd Bowles’ 3-4 scheme. He recorded a sack in his first college game as a freshman against Notre Dame and notched eight multi-sack games in college, which shows he can take over games. He notched three sacks against UMASS in 2017 and had 3.5 sacks against USF and three sacks against Tulane in back-to-back games in 2019. Roche was impressive during the Senior Bowl week and had half-a-sack in the game.

The 6-foot-3, 243-pound Roche is similarly built to Tampa Bay’s Shaq Barrett, who is 6-foot-1, 250 pounds, and both have 32-inch arms. Roche hails from Baltimore, plays with toughness and has a certain edge about him. He’s a complete defender that excels against the run, evidenced by 182 tackles and 54 tackles for loss in his career. Roche would be an ideal player to come in and learn from Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul as a rookie playing a situational pass rusher role early on before becoming a starter in time.

ROUND 3 – Wisconsin-Whitewater C Quinn Meinerz
6-3, 320 • Senior

The Bucs address offensive line in the third round with the selection of Meinerz (pronounced “minors”), who starred in the Senior Bowl. The 6-foot-3, 320-pound Meinerz played left guard for Wisconsin-Whitewater where he was named a first-team All-American in his first season as a full-time starter in 2019. Because of COVID-19, all Division III football was canceled for the 2020 season, so the first football game Meinerz played in in over a year was the Senior Bowl.

Not only did Meinerz shine in Mobile, Ala. during practice and the game, he did so playing center for the first time, which was quite a feat. Meinerz showed the ability to compete with Division I athletes right away and displayed toughness, tenacity and competitiveness.

A quick look at Meinerz’s Twitter page shows him not only dunking a basketball, but a highlight clip of another small school prospect, who excelled at the Senior Bowl in Bucs left guard Ali Marpet, in addition to some posts about Tampa Bay center Ryan Jensen, who played left tackle at Northern Colorado. It’s obvious that Meinerz has been studying Jensen, as their style of play is very similar.

While Meinerz generated plenty of buzz at the Senior Bowl, he didn’t play football at all last year, so scouts will have to rely on his junior and sophomore tape to scout. Meinerz was far from perfect in practice and has some technical issues he needs to clean up, which will make him a late Day 2/early Day 3 selection – and a great fit in Tampa Bay learning behind Jensen and Marpet.

ROUND 4 – BYU DT Khyiris Tonga
6-4, 320 • Senior

Tampa Bay starts Day 3 drafting a big, defensive tackle with good athleticism and power in Tonga, who was a three-year starter at BYU and a team captain. Tonga doesn’t have the elite size and athleticism that starting nose tackle Vita Vea does, but he’s built in the same mold, as he’s a relentless run stuffer with the initial quickness to be effective against the pass, too.

Tonga recorded 130 tackles in his Cougars career with 16 tackles for loss, 12 pass break-ups, 6.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. Licht always likes defensive linemen who have a high number of pass break-ups as it shows good pass rushing awareness.

TONGA’S BYU DEFENSIVE STATS
2017: 19 tackles, 4 TFLs, 2 sacks, 3 PBUs, FF
2018: 30 tackles 4.5 TFLs, 2 sacks, 2 PBUs
2019: 45 tackles, 4 TFLs, 1 sack, 2 PBUs
2020: 36 tackles, 3.5 TFLs, 3.5 sacks, 5 PBUs, FF

Like Vea, Tonga has seen some action on offense at BYU as a blocking fullback near the goal line. He even scored a 3-yard rushing touchdown from the fullback position in 2019 due to his rugby background.

Licht has drafted two types of defensive tackles in Tampa Bay – big guys like Vea and Stevie Tu’ikolovatu, a 6-foot-1, 330-pounder seventh-rounder in 2017, and lighter guys like Khalil Davis, a 6-1, 308-pounder in the sixth-round last year, and Terry Beckner, a 6-foot-4, 296-pounder in 2019. With Tonga, Licht goes back to the big, beefier defensive tackle, as the Bucs saw what life was like without Vea for most of the 2020 season due to his fractured ankle.

ROUND 5 – East Carolina OT D’Ante Smith
6-5, 291 • Senior

The Bucs take advantage of a deep offensive tackle class by drafting Smith, a very talented developmental offensive lineman that only played in one game during his final season at East Carolina. Smith played in the 2020 season opener against UCF and then missed the rest of the season with an undisclosed injury. He started 26 straight games at left tackle dating back to his sophomore year.

The 6-foot-5 Smith played left tackle at 274 pounds, and he’s slowly added weight to his long, angular frame. Smith checked in at the Senior Bowl weighing 291 pounds and he’s moving in the right direction. Smith can – and should – get up to 300 pounds at the NFL level.

Although he sprained a ligament in his thumb and didn’t play in the actual game, Smith had a good week of practice at the Senior Bowl, showing quick feet, great competitiveness and confidence, a balanced pass set and a nice punch in pass protection. He needed to have a good showing in Mobile to make up for missing almost all of his senior season, and accomplished that by also playing well at right tackle and also inside at guard on a few reps.

The Bucs could use a swing tackle candidate, and the versatility that Smith showed at the Senior Bowl will help his draft stock. With his weight being 291 pounds, Smith is a project at this stage and will need a year or two of physical development behind the scenes before he’s ready to compete for a starting job, similar to Demar Dotson when he first joined the Bucs in 2009.

ROUND 7 (from New England) – Florida WR Trevon Grimes
6-4, 218 • Senior

The Bucs don’t have a sixth-round pick due to the Rob Gronkowski trade, but do have New England’s seventh-rounder in exchange for the talented tight end. With reserve receiver Justin Watson entering a contract year and Antonio Brown slated to be a free agent, the Bucs add another young receiver in Grimes to the mix to compete for a role on the team and to help on special teams.

Grimes transferred from Ohio State to Florida and served as a role player early in his career before emerging as a starter as a junior. Grimes was often the third option for quarterback Kyle Trask behind star receiver Kadarius Toney (984 yards, 10 TDs) and college football’s most productive tight end Kyle Pitts (770 yards, 12 TDs), catching 38 passes for 589 yards (15.5 avg.) and scoring nine touchdowns as a senior.

GRIMES’ FLORIDA CAREER RECEIVING STATS
2017: 3 receptions for 20 yards (6.7 avg.)
2018: 26 receptions for 364 yards (14 avg.), 2 TDs
2019: 33 receptions for 491 yards (14.9 avg.), 3 TDs
2020: 38 receptions for 589 yards (15.5 avg.), 9 TDs

The lack of career production will hurt Grimes’ draft stock, as he only had two 100-yard games at Florida and just two more games with 90 yards or more. Grimes did have his shining moments in 2020, catching six passes for 109 yards (18.2 avg.) and two TDs against Arkansas, hauling in four catches for 98 yards (24.5 avg.) against LSU and finishing off his Gators career with four receptions for 78 yards (19.5 avg.) and a touchdown against Alabama.

The Bucs like big receivers, and at 6-foot-4, 218 pounds, Grimes fits the Bucs’ mold. He’ll need to run a fast 40-yard dash time to get drafted, but could be an ideal eventual replacement for Watson, who has failed to develop into anything more than a special teams contributor in Tampa Bay.

ROUND 7 – TCU ILB Garret Wallow
6-2, 230 • Senior

The Bucs continue to look for special teams contributors on Day 3, and address inside linebacker with the selection of Wallow, who was a two-time first-team All-Big 12 defender. Wallow was supposed to participate in the Senior Bowl, but missed that opportunity after testing positive for COVID-19.

Wallow split time between safety and linebacker at TCU and has the closing speed, range and athleticism to be a decent coverage linebacker at the NFL level. He was a tackling machine for the Horned Frogs, totaling 295 tackles during his career, including an average of 107.5 stops over his last two seasons.

WALLOW’S TCU CAREER DEFENSIVE STATS
2017: 8 tackles
2018: 72 tackles, 5.5 TFLs, 3 sacks, 2 PBUs
2019: 125 tackles, 18 TFLs, 3.5 sacks, 1 INT, 1 PBU
2020: 90 tackles, 9 TFLs, 2 sacks, 3 FFs, 1 PBU

The appeal of drafting Wallow is not just his ability to tackle, cover or play special teams. It’s that he’s an effective blitzer, recording 8.5 sacks and forcing three fumbles at TCU. Hard-hitting and full of energy, Wallow would be an ideal fit in Bowles’ defensive scheme.

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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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TB2018
5 months ago

so weird, that we’re talking about the draft for the first time in february…..

seat26
Reply to  TB2018
5 months ago

Crazy. I haven’t even looked at a mock draft, until last week.

PewterPose
5 months ago

Good God, those Williams highlights…

toofamiliar17
5 months ago

Ummm…I don’t mean to be rude, just honest – I’m not sure I could have come up with a first round pick I’d have liked less than this one if I’d tried. Not only are we picking arguably the least valuable position, but we’re taking a guy who I think is going to end up as a clear 2nd round graded prospect. If a top 10ish player who happens to be a RB falls to you at 32, MAYBE you take him, and even then, only if there’s nobody else you like even nearly as much on your board. Even… Read more »

Alldaway 2.0
Reply to  toofamiliar17
5 months ago

I feel the same way.
A veteran RB is a better fit to help RoJo and Vaughn IMO. A bunch of green players at RB doesn’t make sense to me. But if the Bucs do want a RB from the draft just trade down and nab the BAP RB in round 2.

Eddie
Reply to  toofamiliar17
5 months ago

Tom need a sure handed ball catcher as RB who is also a shifty runner. The presence running back group have good but not excellent hands. We can get a sure handed running back in later rounds.

FLBoy84
Reply to  Eddie
5 months ago

To be fair, that sure-handed RB also needs to have the ability to block on 3rd downs. Not a certainty, but might be easier finding a mid-priced vet than a late-rnd rookie to competently fill that role.

toofamiliar17
Reply to  Eddie
5 months ago

Agree with everything you said here – getting a good pass-catching RB would be big for us, and yes, that can be found in late rounds, or mid rounds, at least. Just need to scout that skillset well. I still have no earthly idea what we were doing with the Vaughn pick. I was expecting us to actually target a strong 3rd down RB. Instead, we took a guy with questionable hands on his college tape and worse pass blocking. And I agree with FLBoy here – there are a LOT of running backs hitting free agency this season who… Read more »

FLBoy84
Reply to  toofamiliar17
5 months ago

Like the double-dip idea, there’ll def be a plethora to choose from. Burkhead in particular has always been an under-the-radar guy that I’ve liked, and Mike Davis would also be a great addition as well.

Eddie
Reply to  FLBoy84
5 months ago

For some reason, Burkhead seemed to be hurt quite frequently in NE. He is similar to Ro Jo. Didn’t know James White is going to be a free agent. He worked well with Brady in NE, maybe good if price is right.

toofamiliar17
Reply to  Eddie
5 months ago

Yea, Burkhead has had some injury issues, no doubt. But he’ll be cheap, and he has the easily projectable skillset of being a reliable pass blocker and receiver out of the backfield. He catches the ball when called upon and can do a little damage after the catch. That’s good enough for me if we elect to bring him in.

Sheldon
Reply to  toofamiliar17
5 months ago

The disrespect on my guy Rojo is unreal. He wrote that Rojo lost his starting position but in fact Rojo was and has been hurt the entire postseason. Then to mock a RB 1st round is the dumbest way to draft when you have Rojo. My God, some writers should just stick to writing on other things. Leave the drafting to the experts.

toofamiliar17
Reply to  Sheldon
5 months ago

Agree with you on RoJo. He was badly banged up until the Super Bowl, and likely still wasn’t near 100% then. He had a rough end to the season, with Covid, AND jacking up his finger, and then worst of all hurting his quad. He was the #1 guy this year start to finish, I think. I’m glad we had Fournette to step in for him when he went down. He played mostly very well in the playoffs when we called upon him to shoulder a larger load.

FLBoy84
Reply to  toofamiliar17
5 months ago

Really liked Rojo’s more aggressive running style this year, actually reminded me a bit of AP though with not quite as much wiggle.

bucballer
Reply to  toofamiliar17
5 months ago

Fournette did prove to be a valuable pickup.

bucballer
Reply to  Sheldon
5 months ago

I’m a big RoJo fan as well. Kid makes some nice splash plays. I think in this league it is best to have a couple of really good backs to rotate and keep fresh legs in the game. I do think that Playoff Lenny and Jones make a formidable duo. Like to see Vaughn get some reps in practice and sign a veteran RB with good hands out of the backfield a value contract.

BucWhatYaHeard
Reply to  Sheldon
5 months ago

Sheldon and toofamiliar17… It’s almost as if nobody else saw the breakout performance and season Rojo had. IDK why he keeps getting slept on.

NaplesFan2.0
Reply to  toofamiliar17
5 months ago

Great comment. The guy has a clear Day 2 grade, and with the amount of good/fast edge rushers in the draft, there is no way the Bucs won’t be able to grab one. As much as I like the round 2 and 3 picks, reaching for a RB there sounds ridiculous.

toofamiliar17
Reply to  NaplesFan2.0
5 months ago

I will say, it’s still early in the process, and it’s possible Javonte rises. But even then, I can’t see him coming in with anything better than a borderline 1st round grade. And at that point, he’s still a RB. I just can’t see myself getting there with him as far as value for us at the end of the 1st. If there’s a Saquon that falls that late, it’s a consideration. But barring that, I think we just have too many other major needs coming up this season or next to burn our first pick on any RB.

revfish
Reply to  toofamiliar17
5 months ago

Scott has stated he expects a veteran running back to be brought in. With that in mind is rb really where we want to go? Just a question

NaplesFan2.0
Reply to  toofamiliar17
5 months ago

The 1a and 1b rbs in the draft are Etienne and Harris, and it depends on who you read/talk to, on how they’re ranked. I could get on board if 1 fell, because other than the SB, Fournette couldn’t block or catch. I don’t know what you do with Rojo if you draft a guy that high though. I would much rather draft an edge rusher with our first pick, even if Etienne or Harris were available.

Born A Buc For Life
Reply to  toofamiliar17
5 months ago

The Bucs practically pick in the 2nd round and he will not be there in practically the third round where their second pick is located.

cobraboy
5 months ago

Does Godwin stay with the Bucs?

Eddie
Reply to  cobraboy
5 months ago

Hope he take a reduction and stay

Sheldon
Reply to  cobraboy
5 months ago

Hell yeah he stays.. Bucs aren’t letting him go. If anybody leaves it’ll be AB before it’s Godwin.

toofamiliar17
Reply to  Sheldon
5 months ago

I don’t think it’s nearly that certain. Godwin is great, don’t get me wrong. If he hits free agency, I think he’s the best WR on the market and will get a massive deal. That said, sometimes great teams (I know, I’m not used to counting us among those either yet) have to let players walk, even really good players, when they play positions of strength for the team. With the large number of players we really need to find a way to bring back this offseason and the strength of the receivers on this team outside of Godwin –… Read more »

bucballer
Reply to  toofamiliar17
5 months ago

Also remember that WR Allen Robinson will be a free agent. He has spoken fondly of Brady and has mentioned he liked to win a ring. U never know. Bucs r in a very unusual and special time period being the reigning SuperBowl Champs and having Brady at QB. Players, especially veteran players who have years in, but haven’t even been to the playoffs might just sacrifice a few dollars for the CHANCE to play for a Ring.

toofamiliar17
Reply to  bucballer
5 months ago

Yea, Robinson is a guy who’s made a lot of money, but has grown very frustrated with his team success. The poor guy has played with a genuinely terrible group of QBs over his career thus far. I’d rather have Godwin than him, but it is possible (still unlikely) that he would be willing to take less money on a short deal to try to excel statistically and win a ring.

FLBoy84
Reply to  toofamiliar17
5 months ago

Besides his excellent ability as a receiver, much like Gronk, Godwin’s blocking ability in the run game is a largely overlooked and important part of the offensive game plan. Johnson is a similar player, but nowhere near Godwin’s ability at this point.

Born A Buc For Life
Reply to  toofamiliar17
5 months ago

He is looking at 15-20 million dollars at least. No way the Bucs can afford that unless they let Barrett slip, which is an absolute no-go.

Born A Buc For Life
Reply to  Sheldon
5 months ago

Who knows about AB at this point, he still has a lot of personal issues to deal with and he may not even be let back into the NFL after this offseason. But if he deals with said situation, than of course AB comes back for a little bit of a raise, which will be an absolute steal.

Bucko40
Reply to  cobraboy
5 months ago

Godwin will get a hefty contract. Barrett will either get tagged again or get a new deal. I would love to bring back Fournette but I think the market is going be to strong for his services.

Born A Buc For Life
Reply to  cobraboy
5 months ago

I would say no, seeing the Bucs could easily grab a decent free agent taking way less pay than Godwin and seeing that Tyler Johnson is going to be a very good good WR next season, not as valuable as Godwin of course, but taking way less of a salary cap hit.

Alldaway 2.0
5 months ago

If the Bucs are dead set on going RB in round 1 they should trade out in the 2nd round and nab the BAP RB in round 2 while picking up extra picks.
The rest of the draft seems reasonable to me.

bucballer
5 months ago

That’s a horrible Round 1 pick! We need talent that will come in and possibly start in Round 1. A free agent RB would definitely be a better option for the Bucs. U don’t draft a RB in round 1 that most nobody has heard of.

bucballer
5 months ago

None of those names really jump to fo the page for me. I know picking last in each round is tough, but damn! We can do much better than that!

Alldaway 2.0
5 months ago

Roche would actually be a huge pickup because he can quickly challenge as a #3 rusher overcoming Gill and Nelson. Gil and Nelson would battle it out as #4 rushers. That is how high I am on Roche.
D’Ante Smith is someone to be excited about as well because his versatility would be welcomed as I don’t see Wells or Haeg coming back.

toofamiliar17
Reply to  Alldaway 2.0
5 months ago

I haven’t gotten into anyone’s tape yet, but based just on a cursory glance, I like the idea of Roche in the 2nd, too. I actually really like Cam Gill and think he could definitely develop into a strong 3rd edge rusher. Love his skillset, and he developed nicely as this season progressed. But yea, I do like Roche here.

Spitfire
5 months ago

Man usually by now I already have a feeling for who I wanna see us get but this year put me in so late to the party! Hahaha

I like what I see from Williams. I strong RB with hands would blow this Offense wide open and add a whole other level. To be able to go deep, middle and have a safe short route almost always available would make our Offense unstoppable and was exactly what we were missing this year.

Horse
5 months ago

NUTS!

TBAtlas
5 months ago

Not a fan of a 1st round RB pretty much ever but thanks for the article.

Rut
Rut
5 months ago

1st round RB? Really? We have an organization that can actually draft now. I really doubt they’ll go RB over edge or safety

FLBoy84
5 months ago

Some interesting choices for sure. Actually really like the Roche, Meinerz and Smith picks. Besides the obvious free-agent re-sign decisions Licht & Co have to make, one of the toughest might be re: D Smith. Does the team believe he’s actually turned the corner on becoming a consistent LT in this league, or does he revert back to the 60% effort guy he’s been his entire career up until these last 8 games or so? I’m hoping the corner’s been turned, as it’s one less priority decision needing to be made in a year of more than a few. Will… Read more »

toofamiliar17
Reply to  FLBoy84
5 months ago

He played good football this season, something I wouldn’t have said about him in any previous season. That said, $14.5M is still a lot of cash for him, especially for a team as cap-strapped as ours is going to be with all the guys we need to re-sign. What do with him and at LT as a whole is maybe the toughest single decision for this front office this offseason. I can definitely see the reasoning to keep him, but if he costs us Shaq Barrett or multiple lesser pieces….idk. That’s a tough sell for me. But then, if he… Read more »

FLBoy84
Reply to  toofamiliar17
5 months ago

Agreed. I can see Wirfs being an adequate replacement who only gets better if he’s slid over to LT, but it means you need to def hit on the rookie or FA RT that’s brought in, since there’s not really a legit backup (Wells?) on the roster currently. It is possible they’re able to get a solid FA on a good deal based on the TB12 effect, though think it’s more likely they just kick the can down the road to next off-season. However, if they’re sold on him turning the corner and, being that Smith does seem to want… Read more »

toofamiliar17
Reply to  FLBoy84
5 months ago

That could be too, for sure. Although extending him with any guaranteed money makes me very nervous. He played well this year, the first season he’s ever even come close to justifying his price tag. But I’m still not quite ready to bet on him long term at all. That would scare me, although if doing so would significantly lessen his 2021 cap hit, I could see it making sense overall. Interesting option. Think we could go that route with JPP, by the way. He’s set to make more than $12M in the last year of his deal. I wouldn’t… Read more »

FLBoy84
Reply to  toofamiliar17
5 months ago

An important Bucs hiring I had missed last year was Jacqueline Davidson, a potential future GM candidate brought over from the Jets who specializes in analytics and contracts. Really think the combination of her, Greenberg and Licht can get the numbers to work on bringing a large majority of the key guys back, while still adding a couple more key pieces. Agreed on being a bit wary on Smith, and can see the JPP extension as long as he feels like playing a couple more years. Looks like it’s going to be another interesting off-season.

Spitfire
5 months ago

Good points I see though that we may be able find someone looking to move up to 32 looking to take advantage of the 5th year option and maybe get a pick in the top of the 2nd and an extra 3rd or 4th. This is the way the Patriots started gaining ground. If you don’t have a bunch of holes you can use the Draft to trade for more capital and find good value players and keep adding picks. Having a 5th year option on a RB may be a benefit to some but then we also have to… Read more »

NCBuc
Reply to  Spitfire
5 months ago

I agree with Spitfire. We could trade Pick 32 for another 2 + another pick and still get a quality player(s).

Buc76
5 months ago

A running back with the 1st pick? No way. Get a defensive lineman. We just won the SuperBowl because of the Defensive Line. You would be a terrible GM. How in the world can you say running back? And why are you so sure Fournette will leave? He won’t play like that somewhere else. Other teams know that.

pinkstob
5 months ago

I like J. Williams with our 1st pick. In fact I would be happy with either of the NC RB’s with our 1st round pick. Anybody but Ettienne…doesn’t have enough power to be a 1st round pick. Also I don’t think Meinerz will be there at the end of the 3rd round.

BadgerW4
Reply to  pinkstob
5 months ago

I think Meinerz, had he played last year, wouldn’t be around, but with him not having played, AND being a Div III guy, you have to expect him to fall a bit.
BTW, I’ also like the Javonte Williams pick, but we’re clearly in the minority. Williams not only runs violent and angry, but he was PFFs top ranked back in making players miss. On top of that, he can actually catch the ball.

IDGABuc
5 months ago

Not huge on the guys after Rd 4. Not surprising. I’m not “draft ready” this year in February, Thank God! LMAO Anyway, I am a Gators fan and still don’t really know what to think of Grimes other than he’s not great at separating as far as quick breaks. Idk. Just never saw enough from him. I personally love Javonte Williams who I hear being talked up as the potential RB1 out of some publications, but I’d much rather trade down and get whichever of the big 3 is left or get a pass catching RB like the dude out… Read more »

BadgerW4
5 months ago

Unlike so many here, I really like the Javonte Williams pick. I see a lot of complaining about him being a day 2 pick, but let’s be honest, having the #32 pick is like having the top of the 2nd round pick. He’s rated as the #34 prospect by The Draft Network. He’s rated as the most elusive back by PFF and actually broke the PFF record for broken tackles per run at 0.48, runs angry and violent, can catch the ball. He’s got good size at 5’10” 220. I really don’t get the hate. Roche, OTOH, I kind of… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by BadgerW4
BucWhatYaHeard
5 months ago

I like the edge rusher from Texas..Joseph Ossai I think his name is. He is rated right around Rd 2/End of Rd1. Or the CB or Safety from Syracuse…Andre Cisco.(Only because they played for Cuse, my hometown and I am thinking with my heart and not head. Lmao Obviously they would be depth picks and we ain’t doing that with the 32nd pick.

NaplesFan2.0
Reply to  BucWhatYaHeard
5 months ago

You’re preaching to the choir about Ossai. I think it all depends how all the edge defenders test out. This should be a trying year for most teams without the combine. I’m a fan of Zaven Collins from Tulsa. I think he would be the chess piece Bowles is looking for, moving him around the formation. A giant that can rush the passer from the edge, has great coverage skills, and can play ILB in a pinch. Plays the run well also.

Last edited 5 months ago by NaplesFan2.0
SaskBucs
5 months ago

Ohhh boy! Is SR just trying to fire us all up here!? I see a couple guys don’t mind that 1st round pick but yikes. Massive failure for the Bucs if they draft a RB at 32, unless its the 1st RB off the board but even then I wouldn’t like it. The rest of the picks I have no idea about the players but I like their positions. Early talk has QBs and WRs going early in the draft. If that plays out and TE Pitts and these CBs Farley and can’t think of other guys name go early…… Read more »

Mike Pengelly
5 months ago

James White….good hands, good runner and Brady’s safety valve guy who you know will advance the ball. And I’ll bet he’d jump at the chance to leave NE and join the boys in Tampa.

plopes808
5 months ago

Happy to say I have no idea who we should or might draft this season as I never bothered to research. Licht has steadily drafted better every year since he’s been here so I have faith he will have another good draft to supplement our already star studded roster.
As of right now, I’m more concerned with working our FAs under the cap. I’ll dive into the draft later.

seat26
5 months ago

I cannot imagine Bucs not signing Fournette. Or at least giving it their best shot. If they have Jones, Fournette, and Ke’shawn Vaughn as a back up they are pretty solid.

bucballer
Reply to  seat26
5 months ago

Want to resign Playoff Lenny. Ok f not, Kenyon Drake might be a similar replacement. Played for BA with the Cardinals, I think.

toofamiliar17
Reply to  bucballer
5 months ago

He did not. The Cardinals acquire Drake in trade in 2019, when Arians was already here. Prior to that, he was with MIA.

NaplesFan2.0
Reply to  seat26
5 months ago

I dont think Lenny will be back with us. He priced himself out with this playoff run, and other than the SB, isn’t a great receiver or pass blocker. Keep him only if it’s cheap!

scubog
5 months ago

How refreshing that we are just now starting the Draft talk when most years we would have already been three months into it. Regardless of having to wait until the very end of the first day, I have the same philosophy…………..take the best player. I don’t subscribe to the notion that teams should only take certain positions at certain points in the Draft. Thus, if it’s a RB such as the Chief’s CEH at #32, so be it. As far as need goes. In my view the biggest needs are DT and OLB.

Michael76
5 months ago

Yes, 2021 is an all-in year … so I think the strategy for the draft changes… For the first time in forever, we are not looking for starters, and I expect that there will be ample free agents taking smaller dollars this year There is a reduced salary cap…. and more than a few teams will have dump salaries and in the process… there will be more good free agents available. With less money available… @-- who wouldn’t take a shot at hardware on a one year deal @-- the Tom Brady affect is still in play @-- defensively… after… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by Michael76
Michael76
Reply to  Michael76
5 months ago

And my priority would be looking for a TRULY dynamic return specialist.

revfish
5 months ago

It is interesting to note that you are suggesting Tampa Bay will ignore the quarterback position this coming draft. I understand we can bring a veteran in later and that if Brady is hurt the season is hurt as well anyway, But is there nobody worth trying to develop for the future, or are we that confident still in Ryan Griffin? This is not a put down, but an observation I have a potential Blindspot our team may have

Easythe great
5 months ago

Wallow is an absolute stud of a LB. He would be a steal this late in the draft.

Theerealdiehl
5 months ago

This would be a fantastic draft class if it were to actually happen. However, I feel like this initial mark draft is like a best case scenario. I don’t think there’s any way Trevon Grimes falls to the seventh round, unless he has a terrible 40 time. Look at where van Jefferson was drafted last year Dash second round. Trevon Grimes has better size and intangibles. He also played a lot of special teams, which increases his value further.

Theerealdiehl
Reply to  Theerealdiehl
5 months ago

Mock*

StPeteB
5 months ago

Taking Barmore from Alabama may be a better late first pick. He would solidify most pressing need. Lichr has found success by doubling down on certain position groups. He’d be wise to continue that trend its been foolproof lately

Born A Buc For Life
5 months ago

Probably the best mock draft I have seen so far. I would be excited about most of those picks. Grimes would be an absolute gem of a steal in round 7, I doubt he makes it that far.