The NFL Draft is still months away, and right now the biggest buzz around the NFL is the Super Bowl. But while Bucs fans were totally enthralled in Super Bowl week ten years ago, a lot has changed and Tampa Bay is yet again on the outside looking in. For weeks now the Buccaneers have been in draft mode, but while the mocks are flying in, the question is who will the Buccaneers select 13th overall?
Many mocks, including the official Fansided.com mock, have the Bucs reaching at 13th overall for a cornerback — and this is just dumb.
Yes, it’s true the Buccaneers need a cornerback and need on badly. But at No. 13, taking Johnthan Banks or Xavier Rhodes is such an incredible reach it’s laughable. If the Buccaneers are going to take a cornerback, they’re drafting down but that’s for a totally different rant.
Since we know the Bucs and Mark Dominik won’t be reaching for a corner, the question becomes of they stay put at No. 13, who will they choose? Mel Kiper Jr. has the Buccaneers selecting inside linebacker Alec Ogletree, which is one of the only mocks in existence that doesn’t have Tampa Bay reaching for a corner.
Ogletree isn’t a bad option at No. 13, as he not only adds immediate depth to the linebacking corps, but he can step up and be a first year starter. Dakota Watson is a nice idea, and so is Adam Hayward, but they’ve still got some work to do before either of them are viable starters in Tampa. Quincy Black was holding down the fort, but after his injury, relying on him to be the future at strongside linebacker isn’t a good investment.
Enter Alec Ogletree.
If the Bucs draft Ogletree they can do one of two things. First off, they could start him at strong side linebacker and utilize his ability to blitz and chase down the running back. Ogletree has a raw ability to fly from sideline to sideline and he’s a ferocious tackler, but even though he’s an inside linebacker Ogletree has the ability to adapt to life on the outside. He’s fast and has pass defending talent, which means he could fit on the weakside as well.
Moving Ogletree the weakside means Lavonte David would be switched to middle linebacker with Mason Foster getting slid over to the strongside.
It’s highly likely that Foster will remain in the middle and David and Ogletree will play outside. Either way, if the Bucs draft Ogletree, they’ll have a linebacking corps made up of David, Foster and Ogletree thus giving the Bucs one of the youngest and most talented middle defenses in the entire NFL.
Ogletree is rising on draft boards, and could be an option at No. 13 for the Bucs, but they could also trade back a few spots and select him. It’s unlikely that Ogletree makes it past 20th overall so if the Bucs want him they’ll need to stay in the top 20 to get him.
Obviously, the Buccaneers would love a cornerback and if Dee Milliner is available at No. 13, he’s going to be who the Bucs take. But remember, everyone was dead-set on the Buccaneers selecting Morris Claiborne last season, and many people had it as a lock. What was predicted and what ended up actually happening were two different things, and it ended up paying off for the Bucs.
So don’t be surprised if Milliner is available and the Buccaneers call a different name from the podium.