I enter the 2019 NFL Draft trying to address needs at defensive tackle, guard, linebacker, offensive tackle, while trying to find depth at running back, defensive end, quarterback and cornerback.
The Bucs have six draft picks in rounds 1-5 and Arizona’s seventh-rounder after shipping their sixth-round pick to the Cardinals in exchange for the rights to head coach Bruce Arians. In my Bucs Battle Plan I have them trading defensive tackle Gerald McCoy to Buffalo in exchange for their fourth-and fifth-rounders (No. 106 and No. 137 overall), and then sending Buffalo’s fourth-rounder (No. 106 overall) to Pittsburgh along with wide receiver DeSean Jackson for the Steelers’ third-round pick (No. 83 overall). I also had Tampa Bay shipping its seventh-round pick (No. 193) to Cleveland for backup quarterback Drew Stanton
That leaves the Bucs with seven draft picks heading into the draft with the opportunity to trade down for more picks.
I have the Bucs trading down from the fifth overall pick to No. 10 in the first round with Denver, which needs a quarterback for the future, and picking up the Broncos’ second- and third-round picks in the deal. This gives the Bucs nine selections in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Reynolds’ 2019 Bucs’ Draft Picks
Round 1 (No. 10 – from Denver) – Clemson DT Christian Wilkins – Senior
I’m tempted to give the Bucs LSU inside linebacker Devin White, but since he’s been featured in the last two PewterReport.com 2019 Bucs’ 6-Round Mock Draft I’ll go with Wilkins, who is another one of my favorite defensive draft prospects. With Gerald McCoy being traded to Buffalo, Wilkins can step in and start as a rookie in either a 3-4 or a 4-3 defensive tackle role. Like Vita Vea, who was selected in the first round last year, the 6-foot-3, 315-pound Wilkins has the size and athleticism to play nose tackle or three-technique, which he did at Clemson, in addition to playing a five-technique defensive end role. Wilkins was a team captain and great leader of the two-time national champion Clemson Tigers, recording 192 tackles, 40.5 tackles for loss, 16 sacks, 15 passes defensed, four fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles. The guy is athletic as heck, and head coach Dabo Swinney allowed him to run a fake punt, run for two touchdowns and catch a touchdown pass, too.
Round 2 (No. 39) – Boston College G Chris Lindstrom – Senior
The Bucs need a right guard – bad. Caleb Benenoch will move to right tackle this offseason and Alex Cappa will get a shot at right guard and tackle under the new coaching staff. I almost had Tampa Bay sign former Arizona guard Mike Iupati, who played for Arians and Harold Goodwin, but couldn’t fit him in under the salary cap. Plus, he’s been banged up the last couple of years and turns 32 this year. So the Bucs get Lindstrom (RG No. 75 in the highlight film), who was the best guard at the Senior Bowl and may be the best pure guard in the draft. The 6-foot-4, 305-pound Lindstrom is an athletic, agile, people-mover in the running game and holds up well in pass protection, which was sorely lacking last year at the right guard sport. This guy loves getting to the second level in the running game.
Round 2 (No. 41 from Denver) – Memphis RB Darrell Henderson – Junior
The Bucs signed Tevin Coleman and re-signed Peyton Barber in free agency, plus Tampa Bay recently added Andre Ellington and still has last year’s second-round pick, Ronald Jones, on the team – so why add Henderson? Because he’s a game-breaker who rushed for 3,545 yards and 36 touchdowns in his Memphis career, including 1,909 yards and 22 scores last year while averaging 8.9 yards per carry. Henderson has great hands, evidenced by 63 catches for 758 yards (12 avg.) and eight more scores. Barber likely won’t be re-signed next year with Coleman getting a long-term deal, and there is no guarantee that Ellington or RoJo will step. The 5-foot-9, 200-pound Henderson does a great job of breaking tackles and slipping tackles for a back his size, and presents a long-term option at the running back position for the Bucs.
Round 3 (No. 70) – Florida ILB Vosean Joseph – Junior
The Bucs need another inside linebacker to back up Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David, especially with the unknown status of Kendell Beckwith, who sat out the entire 2018 season after fracturing his ankle in the offseason. Joseph is a fast, hard-hitting linebacker that would fit well in Bowles’ attacking defensive scheme. He’s a bit undersized at 6-foot-1, 226 pounds, but plays bigger than his frame would indicate. Joseph had 161 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, seven passes defensed, four sacks, two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and one interception in his three-year career at Florida. In his first year as a full-time starter, Joseph had 93 tackles, nine tackles for loss, five passes defensed, four sacks and one fumble recovery. David just turned 29 and it’s time to find an eventual successor, and Joseph would be an ideal candidate in a draft that is relatively weak at linebacker.
Round 3 (No. 71 from Denver) – UCF DT Trysten Hill – Junior
In my Bucs’ battle plan I have the Bucs parting ways with three veteran defensive tackles in McCoy, Beau Allen and Mitch Unrein, who missed all of last season due to a severe concussion. Wilkins is one replacement and the Bucs decide to take advantage of a very deep defensive tackle draft to get Hill in the third round with a pick acquired from Denver. The 6-foot-2, 315-pound Hill is a one-gap penetrator that – like Wilkins and Vea – can play either nose tackle or the three-technique spot. As a two-year starter for the Knights, Hill recorded 71 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, six sacks and one forced fumble in his three years at UCF. Hill, who has lost just one game over the last two seasons, had a great junior season in 2018 with 36 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. He would be a steal in the third round.
Round 3 (No. 83 from Denver) – Northern Illinois OT Max Scharping – Senior
In my Bucs Battle Plan, I have Tampa Bay placing the franchise tag on left tackle Donovan Smith. If Smith can play better in 2019 then he can earn a long-term contract extension next offseason. If he doesn’t then he needs to be replaced next year and the Bucs should draft an insurance policy with Sharping, who has great size at 6-foot-6, 320 pounds. Sharping, a four-year starter at NIU, played both left and right tackle in college and could be a starter at either position in Tampa Bay, replacing either Smith or Demar Dotson in 2019 after a transition year to the NFL.
Round 4 (No. 100) – Texas DE Charles Omenihu – Senior
The Bucs continue to take advantage of a deep class of talented defensive linemen by drafting Omenihu, who was the Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year in 2018 with 45 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. The 6-foot-6, 274-pound Omenihu gives the Bucs another pass rushing defensive end to team with Jason Pierre-Paul and Carl Nassib, who will be outside linebackers in Bowles’ 3-4 scheme and defensive ends when the team goes with a four-man front in nickel defense. Omenihu was a bit of a late bloomer as he had 12 tackles for loss and seven sacks combined in his first three years at Texas. Like JPP, Omenihu can also rush inside.
Round 5 (No. 134) – Buffalo QB Tyree Jackson – Junior
The Bucs will want to groom a backup quarterback behind Jameis Winston, but one who has the chance of developing into a starter down the road in case Winston doesn’t pan out. At 6-foot-7, 245 pounds, Jackson has ideal NFL size and a cannon of an arm that can get the ball downfield in Arians’ offense. Jackson needs some technical work on his release and accuracy, as he completed 55.8 percent of his passes for 6,999 yards with 49 touchdowns and 24 interceptions for the Bulls. He passed for 40 touchdowns and 15 interceptions over the last two years. Jackson is a good athlete with good mobility, evidenced by his 757 yards rushing and 16 rushing scores at Buffalo.
Round 5 (No. 136 from Buffalo) – West Virginia WR Gary Jennings
With DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries gone, the Bucs need to reload at wide receiver and tab Jennings from West Virginia, who is a Chris Godwin clone at 6-foot-2, 215 pounds. Jennings led the Big 12 in catches as a junior with 97 for 1,096 yards and one touchdown. As a senior, Jennings picked up in the scoring department and made more big plays downfield, averaging 17 yards per catch with 54 receptions for 917 yards and 13 touchdowns. Jennings had a good week in Mobile, Ala. at the Senior Bowl and would be a steal in the fifth round. While he’s not quite as fast as Godwin, Jennings has an extra gear and the size to slip tackles and get yards after the catch from the slot or outside receiver positions.
Round 6. (No. 165) Traded to Arizona For Bruce Arians
Round 7. (No. 193) Acquired from Arizona, traded to Cleveland for Drew Stanton
Round 7. (No. 197) Traded to Pittsburgh as part of J.J. Wilcox trade in 2017
The Bucs sign UCF punter Mac Loudermilk after the draft to replace Bryan Anger. Loudermilk has the leg strength to also handle kickoff duties, which allows Cairo Santos to just focus on field goals.