FAB 2. 7 Second-Round Prospects The Bucs Would Love
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Four of the seven Bucs draft prospects we featured in Fab 1 were offensive tackles. Chances are that Tampa Bay sticks with offense on Day 2 in the second round and addresses the need for another running back to put in tandem with Ronald Jones II. The second round should be loaded with top rushers and a few guards that could help with Tampa Bay’s ground game. Let’s take a look.
Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor – Junior
When it’s all said and done, Taylor should be drafted in the first round. All he’s done is average 2,000 yards per season over his three years at Wisconsin. Saquon Barkley was a Top 5 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, and rushed for just 3,843 yards with 43 touchdowns in his three-year career, while averaging 5.7 yards per carry. Taylor rushed for 6,174 yards and 50 touchdowns, while averaging 6.7 yards per carry in the same conference. He wasn’t asked to do as much as a receiver as Barkley was at Penn State, but the 5-foot-11, 219-pound Taylor caught 26 passes for 252 yards and five TDs last year. With size, speed, acceleration, good vision and tackle-breaking ability, Taylor is the best running back in the draft. The Bucs may have to trade up to get him.
Ohio State RB J.K. Dobbins – Junior
Dobbins, a compact 5-foot-11, 217-pound rusher, topped 2,000 yards last year after a pair of back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons at Ohio State. Dobbins had 38 career touchdowns on the ground and another five through the air after catching 71 passes for 645 yards in three years with the Buckeyes. Dobbins gives supreme effort, and his 6.7 yards per carry average in 2019 was a product of his ability to slip tackles and break tackles for yards after contact. If Taylor is gone by the time the Buccaneers pick, Dobbins would be a great Plan B option at running back.
LSU Clyde Edwards-Helaire – Junior
At 5-foot-8, 209 pounds, Edwards-Helaire is a bigger version of the multi-talented Darren Sproles. Edwards-Helaire helped fuel LSU to an undefeated national championship season by leading the SEC in rushing with 1,414 yards and 16 touchdowns, while averaging 6.6 yards per carry. Edwards-Helaire had to bide his time and wait until his junior campaign to be the Tigers’ feature back, but it was worth it. In addition to his ability to dodge defenders and rip through arm tackles with a powerful low center of gravity, Edwards-Helaire is also accomplished in the passing game. He caught 55 passes for 453 yards and one touchdown in just 2019, and would be a perfect fit in Bruce Arians’ offense in Tampa Bay as a second-round pick.
Penn State EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos
Gross-Matos is a very polished pass rusher that wins with his hands and technique as much as he does with his long arms and 6-foot-5, 264-pound frame. Gross-Matos has a wide array of pass-rush moves and can bend the edge on the outside or slip blockers and work to the quarterback with inside rushes. Gross-Matos has ideal size to play outside in Todd Bowles’ 3-4 scheme, as well as enough size to rush inside in a four-man nickel pass rush. Gross-Matos has been a model of consistency over the past two seasons at Penn State, totaling 34.5 tackles for loss and 17 sacks.
LSU G Damien Lewis – Senior
When watching Edwards-Helaire highlights one cannot help but notice Lewis, who paved the way for so many of those big runs. Lewis has some limitations athletically and from a movement standpoint, but at 6-foot-2, 329 pounds, he’s a physical mauler in the run game. LSU’s running game often consisted of running behind Lewis, who is a two-year starter and one of the better Tigers offensive linemen to come out in some time. Lewis had a dominant Senior Bowl and his stock is on the rise. As much improvement as Alex Cappa showed in 2019, Lewis would be an upgrade on the right side of the offensive line.
Washington QB Jacob Eason – Junior
There is some interest in Eason from the Bucs. Whether Tampa Bay is interested in using the franchise tag on Jameis Winston or signing Philip Rivers to a short-term deal, the team will need to hedge its bets and have another developmental quarterback on the team for the long term. At 6-foot-6, 227 pounds, Eason has the size, arm strength and pocket passer qualities that Arians is attracted to, but he’ll need some time to develop on the bench. While good, Eason wasn’t exactly a big difference-maker at Washington, which went 7-5 last year in the regular season before winning its bowl game. The Bucs are interested, but are they enamored?
Lenoir-Rhyne SS Kyle Dugger – Senior
If you’re read PewterReport.com 2020 Bucs’ 7-Round Mock Draft or PewterReport.com 2020 Bucs’ 7-Round Mock Draft 2.0you know about Dugger, the small school prospect who had a great showing at the Senior Bowl. At 6-foot, 217 pounds, Dugger would be the biggest safety on Tampa Bay’s roster and would bring speed, ball skills and hard-hitting ability to the secondary. Licht doesn’t shy away from drafting safeties, as he’s done that in each of the last three drafts. Still, the Bucs don’t have a clear-cut starter at either strong or free safety, and Dugger has the ability to play both, plus return punts as he did for the Bears with six touchdowns. If you think the second round is high for Dugger, remember that Licht used a second-round pick on Justin Evans back in 2017.
So there you have it. Keep an eye on these 14 lovely first- and second-round draft prospects for Tampa Bay as they take part in the NFL Scouting Combine, which takes place from February 24 – March 2 in Indianapolis. Maybe the Bucs will meet their match with one of these players come April 23 or 24.
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: email@example.com
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