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The PewterReport.com Roundtable features the opinions of the PR staff as it tackles a topic each week that involves the Bucs. This week’s topic: Who Will The Bucs Draft In Round 1?

Scott Reynolds: Williams Too Good Of A Weapon To Pass Up

PewterReport.com will soon publish its fifth and final 2021 Bucs 7-Round Mock Draft. Unlike years past when quarterback Jameis Winston was the unanimous selection in all five mocks in 2015, or when inside linebacker Devin White commanded the top spot in four of our five mocks in 2019, anything goes this year. Neither I nor general manager Jason Licht knows who will be available at No. 32. As a result, PewterReport.com has had four different players for the Bucs in the first round in this year’s mock drafts. North Carolina running back Javonte Williams was followed by defensive tackle Levi Onwuzurike. Then Texas edge rusher Joseph Ossai was atop the third mock draft, followed by Alabama center Landon Dickerson. Here’s a hint: another edge rusher will be the pick in our final mock draft.

North Carolina RB Javonte Williams NFL Draft

North Carolina RB Javonte Williams – Photo by: USA Today

While I was involved in the decision-making process to put that pass rusher in the mock draft at No. 32, I also have this feeling that it could be a running back. I believe Alabama’s Najee Harris and Clemson’s Travis Etienne will be off the board by No. 32. That would leave the Bucs with Williams, the dynamic, tackle-breaking Tar Heel as the best available back. It’s no secret that I have had a draft crush on Williams since our first mock draft. He had a breakout junior season with 1,140 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns while averaging 7.3 yards per carry. Williams split time with Michael Carter at UNC and still managed to catch 25 passes for 305 yards (12.2 avg.) and three TDs.

With Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones II and Giovani Bernard only under contract through 2021, the Bucs could very well be in the market for a long-term solution at running back. Williams is a complete back who just turned 21 on April 25. There is value to drafting a running back late in the first round because of the fifth-year option. Tampa Bay could get five years out of him, then franchise him for a sixth season and then move on to another younger, cheaper runner. Remember, the Bucs drafted Jones high in the second round, and were debating taking Memphis running back Antonio Gibson in the second round last year before settling on safety Antoine Winfield, Jr. I wouldn’t be upset at all if the Bucs went with a pass rusher or an offensive lineman at No. 32. But I would be thrilled if Licht drafted Williams.

Mark Cook: When You Don’t Know, Go Lineman

Anyone feel sorry for the Buccaneers having such a hard time trying to figure out who to draft with the 32nd pick? Yeah, I didn’t think so. It is it so hard being so good you don’t have a glaring weakness. And your draft picks, who actually make the team, are likely bound for backup and special teams duties. My how the Bucs fortunes have turned.

In a recent stat I saw, first-round success rates for offensive linemen are the safest position to draft with 60 percent of them earning second deals with their drafted teams, as opposed to a position like wide receive where teams only offer second contracts to 30 percent of those picked. And how important is offensive line? Just go back and review 2020 and see the importance a rookie like Tristan Wirfs made, or a veteran like Donovan Smith at tackle. Do the Bucs win a Super Bowl without the steady play of guard Ali Marpet and center Ryan Jensen? In a deep class of offensive linemen, and without a glaring need, take a big man, and I expect that’s what the Buccaneers do on Thursday night.

Alabama C Landon Dickerson NFL Draft

Alabama C Landon Dickerson – Photo courtesy of Alabama

Alabama center Landon Dickerson would be a Top 15 pick without the torn ACL he suffered last year in the SEC Championship game, so getting him at the end of the first – essentially the second round – would be a steal. And with Ryan Jensen set to anchor the offensive line for one more year, there is no pressure for Dickerson to even see the field, giving him time to fully recover. A year off from football contact would do wonders for the big man who has stayed banged up on and off for his entire college career dating back to his freshmen year at Florida State. Blocking and tackling – the team that does it the best on Sunday stands the best chance of winning the game. You can’t have too many guys who do it and do it well.

Jon Ledyard: I’m Just Tryon To Get This Prediction Right

Later this week I’ll write about a handful of players I believe the Bucs will consider at No. 32 overall, an unenviable task given their draft position and lack of perceivable need. Sneak peek: I think the top two position groups the Bucs will consider in Round 1 are edge defender and offensive line, with the idea of slotting whoever they draft at guard or center into the starting lineup next offseason. That’s when either center Ryan Jensen or right guard Alex Cappa will become a free agent, or perhaps both.

Washington OLB Joe Tryon

Washington OLB Joe Tryon – Photo courtesy of Washington

But the draft is deeper on the offensive line than it is at pass rusher, which will play a role in the way the Bucs approach the class. Washington edge Joe Tryon is a player I have expressed reservations about, but it’s hard to argue that Tampa Bay wouldn’t be an ideal fit for him. Tryon is big, long, athletic who plays with his hair on fire. Yet he’s lacking considerable polish, a go-to pass rush move or desirable college production. If there’s a landing spot that can utilize his strengths and bring him along slowly, it’s Tampa Bay.

Thanks to the presence of Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul, the Bucs wouldn’t need Tryon to start right away. He could provide valuable pass rush off the bench and allow Todd Bowles to move Pierre-Paul inside on long-and-late downs. Tryon is already an upgrade over Anthony Nelson. And he has the type of upside the Bucs are looking for at the position. The Washington opt-out wouldn’t be my first choice, but I understand the appeal. It’s an ideal fit for the player. Even if Tryon isn’t ready to give the Bucs first round-caliber play as a rookie.

Matt Matera: Bucs Go OLB With Tryon As The Best On The Board

I truly do think that the Bucs will go with either an edge rusher or interior defensive lineman with their first pick to get a player that’ll immediately be put in the conversation as a number three  the depth chart. Since Jason Licht isn’t too fond of the defensive line draft class, the Bucs go with Washington edge rusher Joe Tryon.

Washington edge rusher Joe Tryon

Washington edge rusher Joe Tryon – Photo by: USA Today

The best is yet to come for Tryon, who opted out of the 2020 season. Yet he was improving in his game in 2019 with 41 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks. He has a great combination of size, strength and quickness that would fit in well along the Bucs defensive line. He would be a solid replacement for Jason Pierre-Paul if he were to leave after this season. It would be so valuable to learn from Pierre-Paul and Shaq Barrett as he gets his bearings in the NFL.

Tampa Bay has three Washintong players on the roster, including nose tackle Vita Vea in the first round in 2018. The Bucs have a good relationship with head coach Jimmy Lake, who was an assistant coach for the team in 2006-2007 and 2010-2011. That makes Tryon the choice for the 2021 draft after a couple of edge rushers come off the board.

Taylor Jenkins: I’m Still Rolling With Harris

With the Bucs returning all 22 starters from the Super Bowl, they don’t have many, if any, pressing needs in 2021. This allows them the freedom to add crucial depth pieces and future starters. Tampa Bay could trade up or down or just take the best player available at No. 32.

Alabama RB Najee Harris

Alabama RB Najee Harris – Photo by: USA Today

With that said, I still think the Bucs will attack the running back position with Harris despite the recent addition of Giovani Bernard. Over his last two seasons at Alabama alone, running for over 1,200 yards in each, Harris totaled 2,690 rushing yards on just under six yards per carry, 729 receiving yards on 70 receptions and 50 total touchdowns. He’s solid runner between the tackles or to the outside. Harris is also a natural pass-catcher, and could be the running back of the future in Tampa Bay. He has the talent to even be able to ease himself into the rotation as a rookie.

It doesn’t seem to make much sense now that Bernard has seemingly locked up the Bucs’ pass-catching role out of the backfield, behind two more-than-capable runners in Ronald Jones II and Leonard Fournette. But all three of those backs will be free agents in 2022. Maybe Tampa Bay will find a way to bring back one or two of them, but why try to replace an entire backfield when the team has the luxury of limited needs and the opportunity to hand-pick a well-rounded running back of the future right now?

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fredster
4 months ago

Edge rusher is the biggest immediate need. I still say take best player available and if it’s Dickerson I’d be happy. Like you said the percent of success for O line is greater than D Line or especially edge rusher. I also wouldn’t be disappointed if somehow Harris or Ettiene were still on the board and Bucs drafted our future back since we have nothing after 2021. Go Bucs hope Licht hits another home run.

Last edited 4 months ago by fredster
BDOG
4 months ago

DAMN, Scott, give us good intel and info?! Dickerson is a medical LIABILITY. 4 season ending injuries in college, @-- FL St. blown out R ACL as freshman, then several major season ending ankle injuries as soph and junior, and as senior blows out L ACL. We all played a little ball, not judging but sounds like some bad genes or too many PEDs, all the potential in world player and NEVER available. U keep em! Give me a HEALTHY TOUGH player ALL day who doesn’t miss games. aka SUH, JPP, WIRFS, DONNY, BRADY, etc… best ability is availability?! TRADE… Read more »

Captain Sly
4 months ago

None of those guys will see the field! I’m going off the radar and predicting a player like Safety Travon Moehrig or CB Greg Newsome ll, I can’t help but think about how weak this DE class is vs the DB class. There are about 5 maybe 7 starting caliber defensive backs in this draft that can come in and compete right away versus some project that may never develop. Sorry fellas don’t see it!

Alldaway 2.0
Reply to  Captain Sly
4 months ago

Newsome is too good to pass up if he is on the board.

Horse
4 months ago

This is why I don’t coach, not a sports writer, just a football fan who has been a Buc fan from the get go. Why would we draft a player who’s not polished enough yet to start if needed? We wouldn’t, so why this year when we have a real glaring need for a QB who could still take us to the Playoffs if Brady went down. Why a RB when we have enough now to do the job; same for OL, DT. It’s a no brainer if our QB we like is there. Think about it. Brady goes down… Read more »

Captain Sly
Reply to  Horse
4 months ago

Problem is after the top 5 QB’s come of the board the next batch will be there in the 3rd round. I think the Bucs like one of them possibly Kyle Trask or Kellen Mond but they don’t love them like reportedly SF does Mack Jones…Personally I would offer Denver a late round pick for Drew Locke or package something for Gardner Minchew and call it a day but that’s just me.

Horse
Reply to  Captain Sly
4 months ago

I don’t think so, but I hear you.

Naplesfan
Reply to  Captain Sly
4 months ago

Most NFL teams do a terrible job of drafting quarterbacks – they just aren’t very good pickers at that position. Great quarterbacks have been drafted all over the map, from #1 overall to #199 overall (our very own GOAT), and everything in between. Meanwhile numerous busts have occurred in the first round, again, including our very own Bucs who drafted Winston … and many more since have been drafted at the top only to flame out and no longer are with the teams that drafted them. So, as I say repeatedly: It matters not at all where you pick. It… Read more »

Joseph
4 months ago

I just don’t think there is anyway they draft an rb in the first if that was the play I don’t think they sign lenny, Joe Tryon seems to make the most sense because I don’t think one of the top cbs makes it to 32 would love them to draft someone better than nelson on the edge to work in to the rotation who has the upside to start after the season jpp is getting up there age, people act like they are going to stop making rbs after this season so we need to draft one in the… Read more »

magoobee
4 months ago

Actually the Bucs would get most value, trading the pick. Late round picks are valuable because of the 5th year option. Unfortunately, the 6th QB in this draft is probably does not warrant a 1st round pick. But it only takes one team…..

surferdudes
4 months ago

None of you guys picked a receiver? It’s a deep class, Godwin is on the tag. Evans, and Godwin have missed time with injuries, and the talent after them isn’t near the same. A player like Ol Misses Moore has been mocked to us also. I can see that happening.

geno711
Reply to  surferdudes
4 months ago

Some say the wide receiver class is deep. I think the corner and offensive line class are deeper and there will be more 2nd and 3rd round hits in those positions than there will be in the wide receiver class.

Alldaway 2.0
Reply to  surferdudes
4 months ago

That is a good point. And with ABs antics the Bucs may lean toward adding another WR.

Buc76
4 months ago

Running back is about the dumbest pick we could make. Even dumber is the suggestion that Najee Harris is the pick. The guy has 4.7 speed. He’s the next Trent Richardson

Dman
Reply to  Buc76
4 months ago

Yes and yes! There are ALWAYS solid RB’s available – either in the draft in middle rounds or in FA. Why blow a RD1 pick on one. And in a year where we already have 2 1/2 starters plus Vaughn that go no chance last season and is faster than Harris. A RB pick in RD1 will return Licht to his disastrous earlier draft days.

geno711
Reply to  Buc76
4 months ago

Not sure that Harris has 4.7 speed but the fact that he did not run at either pro day shows me that either he has a slow 40 speed or he has an injury problem that has been hanging around months. Neither a good sign for a very high running back draft choice.

Alldaway 2.0
Reply to  Buc76
4 months ago

Yeah what is up with a RB not running a 40? That is the one position where a 40 actually matters? As for RB in round 1 it has to be a RB that is the complete package as a home run threat and grinder and I don’t see many of them in this draft to justify a round 1 selection.

AlbJack65
4 months ago

Trade out of the 1st round for future picks in 2022. The Meinerz kid out of UW-Whitewater is an interesting prospect if available at the end of Round 2. Under NO circumstances should we draft any player in any round who chose to sit out 2020 college season because of Covid. We need difference makers, not excuse makers. Stop throwing dirt on Lavonte David, he’s nowhere near the end of his career, no need to draft his replacement yet, dude is still at the top of his game, at least 4 more years left in the tank.

geno711
Reply to  AlbJack65
4 months ago

Guys who opted out would give me pause but would not be off my draft board. Two many variables in people and their influences to write them all off the same way.
Donovan Smith almost sat out and had a good end of the year and playoff run for us.

Alldaway 2.0
Reply to  AlbJack65
4 months ago

Trading out of the first is what I would prefer but another team would have to covet that 5th year option far more to trade up to 32.

cozart
Reply to  Alldaway 2.0
4 months ago

How bout trading back with Miami, who has 2 2nd rd picks? Maybe they covet that 32nd pick of Harris with a 5th year option…Tryon & Dickerson?

Barnz1
4 months ago

The RB predictions are funny to me. I mean, no offense to Taylor and Scott but they keep pushing this RB pick for some reason when it won’t happen. Spending 1st round draft capital to bury Rojo/Fournette and even Gio’s role on this team to to next to nothing on would be a crazy move. Because why would you spend a 1st on a RB if you didn’t intend to give them most of the snaps? I think the take that there is no immediate needs so they can just burn a 1st on anything is a bit too arrogant… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by Barnz1
Brandonges
4 months ago

Are the Bucs supposed to carry 5 RBs on the team this year? Have we already given up on Ke’Shawn Vaughn? Just sign a veteran RB in free agency next year, they’re dirt cheap. No need to spend a premium pick on one. Edge or Interior OL should probably be the pick.

drdneast
4 months ago

i have to agree with BDOG Scott, what in the world do you want to draft a player with a No. 1 pick who has been constantly injured his entire college career. I believe we drafted Jack Cinchy in the fifth round who was also constantly injured in college and his history followed him to the pros. The big difference was Cinchy was drafted in the later rounds so it was a viable risk. If you want to take Landon with a third I might be agreeable, but his history scares me. The Bucs definitely need to start thinking about… Read more »

Wadeless
4 months ago

Offensive line line depth is our most critical need followed closely by DL line depth due to some of our guys getting older (Suh, Paul).

Theydidwhat
4 months ago

It all depends how the draft unfolds. Who is there at 32. Hard to imagine them trading up here, maybe trading back only a few spots. Tryon at 32 is a reach, but he won’t last until the pick at 64. I don’t like running back in the first round because it ‘s not an immediate need and the draft is deep in rb’s. Best available in the first could be a good corner, wide receiver, edge rusher, o line. Second and third rounds are great places to trade up to get a better player at less cost. Move up… Read more »

scubog
4 months ago

There sure are a lot of predictions and remarks mentioning the “N” word…….need. I still say BPA is always the way to go. This might be the most intriguing Draft in Bucs history, since no one really has much of a clue where Jason Licht’s dart will hit the Draft target. At the #32 pick, it could be virtually any position except punter and place kicker. Then to add to the mystery, he just might have his eye on someone for whom he would move up to select or not see anyone to his liking that high and slide down… Read more »

Dave
4 months ago

The consensus on here seems to be the following: 1) we’d be foolish to take Harris at 32. 2) we really need to address our aging DLine at 32. 3) taking Dickerson early, would be a big mistake because of his injury history. I agree with Harris. I in no way, view him as an elite talent, or a game changing talent. I don’t want him with our first round pick. Would much rather trade back, and hope we can get Etienne, or get Carter or Williams with our 2nd round pick I completely disagree with us forcing a position… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by Dave
Alldaway 2.0
4 months ago

I am with Mark on this. If you have question marks regarding the top edge rushers left on the board you go with OL.

drdneast
Reply to  Alldaway 2.0
4 months ago

Not if the OL has a long history of football related injuries.

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