American Football

Post-Combine 7-Round Buccaneers Mock Draft


NCAA Football: Maryland at Wisconsin
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

A first stab at predicting the Bucs’ course of action come NFL Draft weekend.

Let’s be honest, you guys aren’t here for an intro.

I’m going to give you exactly what you want…well, that being a quick transition into the actual content. If you hate the picks, remember that it’s a complete hypothetical that has no bearing on the real world.

The Buccaneers have plenty of needs, so they could go any number of directions. Let’s see if this exercise proves useful for determining their game plan ahead of NFL Draft weekend on April 27-29.

Round 1, Pick 25 – Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland

Measurables: 6-foot, 197 lb. Class: RS-Junior

(Trade with New York Giants)

Jason Licht is no stranger to trading down in the first round, as he did it last year and in 2018. If the team truly views 2023 as a reload year, they need to accept an offer that augments their war chest and allows them to find new starters for now and the future, as well as replenishing overall depth.

So with that in mind, the Bucs move down six spots by trading with the Giants – who hop up ahead of some other receiver-needy teams to improve their passing offense – and net an extra third-rounder for four total picks in the top 100. This would be a safe move for Tampa as there would still be plenty of talent to choose from, and it gives them the opportunity to find a high-ceiling outside corner to replace the likely departure of Jamel Dean.

Banks is a long, physically gifted player who will appeal to Todd Bowles’s defensive philosophy and the team’s overall scouting approach, which heavily prioritizes elite athletes in the first round. Banks, who measured at 6-foot with 31 ⅜” arms, blew up the Combine this past weekend, running a blazing 4.35 40-yard dash with eye-popping jumps of 42” in the vertical and 11’ 4” in the broad. My dad knees just buckled even typing those numbers.

That all shows up on the field, as he loves to play press but has the traits to match up with anyone in man or zone. Corners are always hard to peg production-wise as rookies, and Banks absolutely needs a little more seasoning on the finer points of the position, but he has the makeup you roll the dice on from the get-go.

NCAA Football: Big 12 Football Championship-Texas Christian at Kansas State
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Round 2, Pick 50 – Felix Anudike-Uzomah, EDGE, Kansas State

Measurables: 6-foot-3, 255 lb. Class: Junior

Bowles made it very clear at his media availability on Tuesday that he was not pleased with the team’s edge rush, and he’s right that it absolutely needs reinforcement. You’re still hoping that 2021 first-rounder Joe Tryon-Shoyinka continues to take steps forward, but otherwise the group is totally unreliable at this point. Will Shaq Barrett rebound from his achilles tear? Will Anthony Nelson come back?

Given the depth of this year’s edge class, I’d expect the team to heavily consider someone in the top 50, and Anudike-Uzomah would be an excellent choice. He’s shown rapid improvement as a rusher in just two seasons, and it’s impressive to hear him talk about his approach.

hese are the types of personalities you want on your football team. He pairs that intellect with fantastic energy on the field and a curated assortment of moves that will keep his opponents on their toes. He’s long, he’s explosive, and he’s not afraid to use his hands.

He’s not particularly bendy and has some balance issues, and the run defense needs to take some strides, but he’s exactly what you want as a third rusher who can be eased into the NFL as a designated attacker on third downs.

NCAA Football: Alabama at Texas
Austin American-Statesman-USA TODAY NETWORK

Round 3, Pick 82 – DeMarvion Overshown, ILB, Texas

Measurables: 6-foot-3, 229 lb. Class: Senior

The Bucs have a strong need at inside linebacker whether franchise legend Lavonte David returns for a 12th season or not. The clock is ticking on David’s career regardless, and Devin White will demand a contract extension soon – will the team give it to him?

On top of it all, they just need better depth in general. K.J. Britt is a very limited athlete that simply cannot replace the level product White or David provides whenever he needs to see the field.

Overshown will appeal with his rangy athleticism (he’s a converted safety who just ran 4.56) and demonstrably improved instincts at the linebacker position over the last three years. The 22-year-old really seems to have his best football ahead of him if he can add some weight and improve his block shedding in the run game.

laying his rookie season as high-upside depth with the chance to take a starting role in 2024 is the ideal role for him.

NCAA Football: Eastern Illinois at South Carolina
Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Round 3, Pick 89 – Zacch Pickens, DL, South Carolina

Measurables: 6-foot 4, 291 lb. Class: Senior

(from trade with NYG)

With the hypothetical third-rounder gained from the Giants trade, Tampa bolsters its defensive line with someone who can contribute immediate snaps as a rotational player.

Pickens is a draft crush of mine. The former 5-star recruit never quite hit his potential, but he was still a steady presence for the Gamecocks for several seasons. He’s bounced around the line, logging plenty of 0- and 3-technique snaps, and he shows some impressive reps as a pass rusher and run defender.

The main problem is consistency and technique; what you would normally expect from prospects at this stage in the draft. You take a chance and hope your coaching staff can unlock the potential to permit the jump from solid rotation guy to dependable starter.

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Auburn
John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Round 4, Pick 120 – Tank Bigsby, RB, Auburn

Measurables: 6-foot, 210 lb. Class: Jr.

(Trade with Pittsburgh Steelers)

Licht also sports a history of aggressive trade-ups on days 2 and 3, so recouping the fourth rounder the team gave up last year might be at the front of his mind. This trade gives up one pick in each of the fifth and sixth rounds to move up 35 slots.

Tampa, with new offensive coordinator Dave Canales in tow, wants to revitalize a run game that was historically awful last season. Leonard Fournette is gone, making sophomore Rachaad White the new running back No. 1. White showed some really nice flashes, but it wouldn’t be surprising for the team to give him a proper partner (presuming Ke’Shawn Vaughn isn’t held in high regard).

Bigsby would be a strong complement to White’s style, and he would reinforce the firmly established pipeline of players that come from Auburn to the bay area. He’s a runner who plays with great strength, instincts, and burst, creating gains in short yardage or finding daylight on the corners.

e doesn’t currently hold much third down value because of stiff hands and inconsistent pass protection, which is fine due to White’s strengths in that area. The decreased value of the position and not holding that true three-down value will likely push him down into the third or fourth rounds, which gives the Bucs a great opportunity to complete their 1-2 punch.

NCAA Football: Georgia Tech at Pittsburgh
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Round 5, Pick 175 – Brandon Hill, S, Pittsburgh

Measurables: 5-foot-10, 193 lb. Class: RS-Junior

The last time the Buccaneers took an undersized safety from Pitt on Day 3 of the draft, it turned out pretty well (shoutout, Jordan Whitehead). It wouldn’t hurt to draw from the same well once again with Hill, who’s not quite the same as Whitehead but shares some similar traits that Bowles could make use of.

Above all, Hill is much faster (best 40 time of all safeties at the combine) and has clear deep safety ability. He’s twitchy, rangy and loves playing the role of enforcer. He might be sub-200 pounds, but he’s not afraid to drop the hammer on anyone.

e’s not particularly instinctual or play savvy, and those qualities plus his undesirable measurables will likely put him in the rounds 4-6 range. He’s a top-tier backup and special teams candidate, and improvements with the mental aspects of the game could make him an asset in the pass defense as well.

NCAA Football: North Carolina at Virginia Tech
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Round 6, Pick 196 – Asim Richards, OT, North Carolina

Measurables: 6-foot-4, 309 lb. Class: Senior

Some fans won’t want to hear it, but I’m not entirely sold on the team investing early in the offensive trenches given recent whispers about them entertaining the thought of sticking Luke Goedeke at right tackle and moving All-Pro Tristan Wirfs over to the blind side to replace Donovan Smith.

The interior actually has a strong stock of talent with Ryan Jensen, Shaq Mason, Robert Hainsey and Nick Leverett. None of those players scream “must be replaced” at the moment, but that could change.

For now, we’ll play it conservatively and have them address swing tackle in the sixth round. Richards is a smart tackle who has played a lot of college snaps and showcases good technique and power. He’s not quick-footed or athletically dominant, which limits his ceiling, but he has the traits you’re willing to bet on. He could also kick inside, giving him potential position versatility.

This should be the latter end of his range, as I could easily see him going in Round 4.

NCAA Football: Pinstripe Bowl-Syracuse vs Minnesota
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Round 7, Pick 232 – Andre Szmyt, K, Syracuse

Measurables: 6-foot, 195 lb. Class: RS-Senior

I would like to go one year without mocking a specialist, but here we are. This one is simple though.

Ryan Succop put in a lot of good service over the last three years, but his limits really showed last season from long range and that needs to be remedied. Cutting Succop will also save the team much-needed money.

Szmyt won the Lou Groza Award for best collegiate kicker in 2018 before seeing his usage and efficiency decline, but he played much better in 2022 and seems worthy of a late-round flier. He’s Syracuse’s all-time leader in points with 354 and field goal percentage with 82.3%. Notably, he made five 50-yarders during his time with the Orange, including this beautiful boot.

You don’t have to guarantee him the job, but he could create a healthy competition with a veteran option.

NCAA Football: Kennesaw State at Cincinnati
Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Round 7, Pick 253 – Leonard Taylor, TE, Cincinnati

Measurables: 6-foot-5, 250 lb. Class: Senior

With the team’s final pick, you can really go any number of ways. At this point, why not look for another receiving tight end to pair with Cade Otton?

Taylor doesn’t possess a strong history of production, but he’s athletically gifted with strong hands and some potential big-play ability. The route savvy is poor though, and he needs to improve drastically if he wants to create consistent separation in the NFL.

Some additional bulk will also help his transition with next-level blocking, which is fundamentally solid already due to good timing and length.

There you have it, Bucs Nation. Let us know what you think about this mock draft by voting in the poll below and discussing in the comments.

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