Alabama TE O.J. Howard – Photo by: Getty Images
Well, friends, we made it.
Last week I received the question a few times asking if I was going to give out a “Bucs Big Board” before the draft. Since I’m a man of the people, I have granted that wish.
Now, this is not the Buccaneers official Big Board as it stand in Jason Licht’s office. This is what I personally believe the Buccaneers Big Board looks like (or, close to it) after picking up hints, clues, texts, conversations and just learning more about how the Buccaneers’ decision makers operate and the train of thought they seem to work under throughout the draft season.
So, here it is:
Here are a couple of notes.
The players at the top are quite simply the best football players in this class, and the ones whose skills translate to what the Buccaneers like to do on offense or defense based on their college tape. Myles Garrett, regardless of scheme, is the top man. After that, Adams, Lattimore, Williams and Howard would be no brainers as the top prospects to have at their position, I think. And when it comes to McCaffrey, the NFL loves him. I don’t think Jason Licht is any different.
PewterReport.com has been projecting the Buccaneers to take either Budda Baker or Adoree’ Jackson in the first round this year, either at No. 19 or in a trade back, and that is because I think both are Top 15, perhaps even Top 10 on Tampa Bay’s board in terms of having a high floor (safe picks) as well as great fits to the scheme and long-term plan.
I referenced that word “safe” in the lasts sentence of the previous paragraph, and I think that is a theme of the Buccaneer’s big board this year. Licht even said in his pre-draft press conference the quote, “there are plenty of safe, clean players in this draft [who are good football players].” That makes me think that players like Dalvin Cook, Joe Mixon, Malik McDowell, Reuben Foster, Caleb Brantley and even David Njoku to a degree, where talented, and for various reasons with each, not just character reasons, could be lower on their board than we think. In a contract year where Licht knows his team is just a few pieces away from the playoffs, I think he’s going to go for safe picks rather than risk it, home run hopefuls like he has in the past. However, “safe” doesn’t mean he won’t do his share of moving around this draft. I’d expect more than one trade to happen.
Speaking of, no Obi Melifonwu on this list, and Corey Davis is also quite low. From one or more of those hints I’ve gathered throughout the offseason, the team is lower on both of those players than the fans and even myself have been.
There are a few pass rushers near the top to choose from, but I don’t think Kansas State’s Jordan Willis is one of them. I think Charles Harris, Derek Barnett and Taco Charlton would be picks before Willis. Just my hunch.
So, that’s my best guess, folks. I’m certainly no prophet, but with only hours and minutes from the first pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, I wanted to give you any leftover information I had.
Make sure you tune into our live draftcast for all three days of the NFL draft starting tonight. Come watch the draft with us, react to each pick in real time, and keep the chat room and comments flowing with your take on each pick. See you then!
Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for pushing this out just moments away from this Draft Trevor. This is as exciting of a Draft with the Buccaneers in mind in over 10 years. This list is a little shocking. I can’t wait!!
You sir are really bold and a breath of fresh air.
Just trying to enjoy and inform the best I can!
I think the problem is that there’s an underlying assumption that the “hints” you are getting from the front office are actually to your benefit. Do you know why Licht and Koetter weren’t jumping for joy when they got the nod for Hard Knocks? Because they don’t benefit from giving the media access. It is not in their interest to give you, Scott or Mark draft information that you would then publicly publish. It’s like expecting the teacher to give students the questions on the exam ahead of time.
So expect some of your “hints” to be dead wrong. PR has been used to throw misinformation out there before (remember it’s not just Bucs fans who read your work), and they are no doubt throwing stuff out there again for the same purpose.
Sure! I’ve been wrong before and I know I’ll be wrong again, haha.
But, this is my job. I’m in the building to figure things out. I understand that smokescreens and manipulating the media are very much a part of the draft game. But I also take that into consideration with what I do with things like this.
I’m sure I’m off on some of these guys, but I’m pretty confident in the list as it stands. Where I’m right, I’ll remember how I got that info, and where I’m wrong, it’ll be a learning experience for me to get better next year.
All a part of the gig!
I love this list! Thanks Trev!
Interesting that Mayock had Malik Hooker falling all the way to the Bucs at #19. It’s certainly going to be a fun one this year! I’m putting a few chips on Forrest Lamp.
THE LAMP MAN CAN!! I agree.
I heard Hooker wanted to play with the Minnesota Vikings, lol ha ha
You nailed it young man!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Trevor, I don’t know where you are getting your information, but no way Budda Baker is the eight best player in this draft.
Only 1 OL and that is Bolles?
Cam Robinson is better.
I wouldn’t be so sure about what Licht refers to when he says the ‘safe and clean players’ as this could be either a smoke screen, or way to let the fans know that everyone they pick they feel are safe and clean. I’m on board with whoever they pick. They have shown me they know what they are doing. It doesn’t matter what the media says. If Licht was a stickler about ‘safe and clean’ players they probably would have never drafted Winston, as he wasn’t considered a “clean” player with what he had going on during his draft. I got a hunch they are looking at Mixon. Mixon came here in a very quiet visit a few weeks back. And if they feel he is a good fit, a kid who made a mistake, then I am with them. I would prefer Cook, but somebody is going to take Mixon and he’s going to be good.
Can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this. It was much better than a mock draft, because I could sit and cross off guys as the draft progressed, and gave me an idea how strong we felt about a player and how many were left as the draft unfolded…and looking at the number 5 pick, Howard, and the gap to the next player, really gave me a feel where we were going….but one thing….could you possibly extend your list, if possible, so we can follow it further into the draft in the future, as I suspect that by the end of the second round, it will be pretty much exhausted. In any case, I really found it interesting and worth while. Thank You.
In the end I think you did a great job identifying the top 3 players the Bucs took in your top 32, Trevor.
Looking after the draft it looks like the Bucs had Justin Evans a little bit higher with Chrs Godwin and Jordan Willis a little bit lower. I personally thought that the low ranking of Corey Davis was a smokescreen, especially given that Licht’s friend Jon Robinson drafted Davis at 5 while also taking Adoree Jackson right before the Bucs selection. I would be a little surprised if the Bucs and Titans viewed Davis so very differently.
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