7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Cameron Erving, OT, Florida State
The Bucs would love to land one of the top pass rushers here, and they could still try and trade up or take Buffalo’s Khalil Mack here, but I think Erving is a good fit. Mike Glennon has proven that he should at least get a shot to start next year, so the Bucs make a move here to upgrade the offensive line and protect the QB.
While the point about Mike Glennon is up for debate, and the comment about wanting a top pass rusher and missing out is incredibly true, the selection of an offensive tackle makes tons of sense.
You may ask why, considering the improved play of Demar Dotson and the veteran presence of Donald Penn.
But it’s Penn’s large contract which makes this deal beneficial for the Buccaneers, as it gives Tampa Bay a young left tackle who could wind up being better than Penn in the long run, and allows them to move on from Penn and save a substantial amount of money.
According to the Over the Cap calculator, the Buccaneers could release Penn and have less than $700,000 in dead money, with cap savings of over 7,000,000 thanks to removing Penn’s contract from the books.
And considering that the cap hit for a pick in the 7-10 range will cost about a third of what Penn currently makes, the Buccaneers could have more cash in hand to find pass rushers and tight ends this offseason while also locking up Gerald McCoy for the long haul.
So what makes Erving special? He’s a former defensive tackle with an aggressive approach and quick feet. And if you’ve watched the Florida State offense recently, you’ve seen how the offensive line paves the way for a running game that is almost as dominant as the Heisman contender under center for the Seminoles.
Unlike adding Sammy Watkins, which would not free up any money due to the structure of Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams’ contracts, this move makes perfect sense despite offensive tackle not seeming to be a “need” at the moment. So if the Buccaneers miss out on a pass rusher or quarterback in the draft, don’t be surprised to see an offensive tackle holding up a red jersey in New York at the draft.