Imagine that today is April 28th, and the NFL Draft has already taken place. As Buccaneers’ fans, we’re browsing the web, looking at videos, and debating with other fans about the selections that Mark Dominik and his team have made. However, there is this feeling that the Buccaneers did everything exactly right, and that everything fell their way. What would that look like? Let’s consider the absolute best case scenario draft for the Buccaneers, using what we know now about the players and the team’s needs.
The first round has begun, and there is a run on quarterbacks. Multiple teams ahead of the Buccaneers select a signal caller, and the true talent of the draft stays on the board. Teams pick needs over best player available, especially at the quarterback position, and every year the combine causes teams to overreact to QB’s coming out of college. This means Tampa Bay has plenty of options to choose from, and somehow FSU star defensive end Bjoern Werner has fallen to number 13. The Buccaneers gladly snatch up the hard working pass rusher, and add him to the current stable of defensive ends they’ve accumulated. Suddenly, pass rush might be the strength of the Buccaneers in 2013. The first round goes by with little drama, as teams fall in line and take the best available players.
The Buccaneers pounce, seeing an opportunity to grab another key talent. Much like last year, when Tampa Bay traded back into the first round to select Doug Martin, the Buccaneers make a deal to move into the late first round and pick up Xavier Rhodes from Florida State. He’s similar to Aqib Talib on the field, but trades a bit of top end speed for a better off-the-field demeanor, according to his CBSSports.com draft profile. The Buccaneers now have the foundation for a strong defense for years to come, with McCoy, Clayborn, David, Barron, Rhodes, and Werner. The pair of FSU prospects might anger some Gator fans, but once they put on the Red and Pewter, all will be forgiven.
The Bucs now lack a second rounder and the 4th rounder they got from the Patriots for Talib, thanks to the trade mentioned above. They did manage to pick up an extra 7th rounder, which could prove useful. They hang out until the third round, when they make their next pick. Jordan Reed from Florida is the next choice, and Gator fans forgive the Bucs front office for those last two Seminoles picks. Reed is Aaron Hernandez 2.0, and provides the Tampa Bay offense with a more dynamic intermediate option, upgrading over Dallas Clark and Luke Stocker. Reed fills another position of need, and is a bit of a steal over 70 picks into the draft.
The Buccaneers are on the clock again before you know it, and it’s the fourth round. The war room decides to leave the state of Florida, and select Ricky Wagner from Wisconsin. Wagner is a big, strong, reliable offensive tackle who will assume the vacant right tackle position left by Jeremy Trueblood’s departure. The first-team All Big Ten selection completes a strong offensive line for the Buccaneers that hopefully remains healthy and creates plenty of room for Doug Martin to run. The fifth round is suddenly upon us, and it’s time for the Bucs to pick again. This time, the Buccaneers go back to the defensive side of the ball and select D.J. Swearinger from South Carolina. Swearinger will come in and compete to play at safety, and provides a tough, hard-working option in the defensive backfield for 2013.
Now only 3 picks remain, the 6th round, and two 7th rounders. The picks fly by as the draft winds down, but the Buccaneers are staying sharp and keep an eye out for possible late round steals. They select Brandon Kaufman from Eastern Washington in the 6th round, and feel he can make an immediate impact. Kaufman set the FCS record in 2012 with 1850 receiving yards on 93 receptions, and proved to be a reliable option for the Eagles all season long. He also found the end zone 16 times in 2012, and will be able to use his 6 foot, 4 inch frame well in the NFL. The two seventh round picks are spent on Melvin White (a corner back) and Miguel Maysonet (a running back) who I discuss in a previous article that you should check out if you haven’t already!
That means the Buccaneers draft looks like this:
1. Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
1. Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
3. Jordan Reed, TE, Florida
4. Ricky Wagner, OT, Wisconsin
5. D.J. Swearinger, S, South Carolina
6. Brandon Kaufman, WR, Eastern Washington
7. Melvin White, CB, Louisianna-Lafayette
7. Miguel Maysonet, RB, Stony Brook
Thoughts? Comments? Think you could do better? Let us know by joining in the discussion. Hit the comments section below, and share your thoughts on what would make the perfect draft for the Buccaneers.
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