Apart from some local talk radio hosts, most Tampa Bay sports fans realize the incredible talent of Gerald McCoy. He’s disruptive and explosive, finding a way to get through the interior of an offensive line on nearly every play and chasing down opposing quarterbacks.
But his impact is dulled by the lack of pass rush from the outside, as Adrian Clayborn, Daniel Te’o-Nesheim and Da’Quan Bowers have all struggled to generate pressure on opposing QBs this season. So McCoy has done his job, but there have been no defenders to stop quarterbacks (especially mobile quarterbacks) from escaping the pocket once McCoy breaks through to pursue the passer.
So in the latest mock draft from our friend Peter Smith of With The First Pick, the Buccaneers take a player who has the potential to solve the Buccaneers’ pass rush problem for years to come, and give them a matchup nightmare to line up against a tackle or tight end and get after Drew Brees and Matt Ryan every season.
Here’s the pick and analysis from Peter:
- 7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Anthony Barr, OLB UCLA
- The Bucs’ season has been an out and out disaster up until they finally got their feet under them with Mike Glennon at quarterback. The Bucs could still take a quarterback, but they find themselves out of position, so they opt to add more speed and versatility to their defense. Barr is a phenomenal athlete and has terrific feet and quickness. He is still developing and needs to work on playing much lower and getting more efficient with his instincts, but as a player that can play either end or outside linebacker and move around, he is a huge weapon for an already extremely talented defense.
And here is Barr’s player comparison from Peter’s draft profile of the UCLA star:
- Although Barr is rawer and has a lot to pick up before he gets to the NFL, his game is eerily reminiscent of Von Miller of the Denver Broncos. Miller was an extremely polished player when he came out of Texas A&M but in terms of his ability to make plays in any phase of the game and especially when it comes to getting after the quarterback from a standup position is the way Barr works. If Barr can round out his game, he may not quite go #2 in the draft like Miller did but he will not be waiting long.
Obviously player comparisons are only a guess at what a player could become, but if the Buccaneers could add an impact pass rusher on the outside who has even 80 or 90 percent of the impact Miller does, it would cause so many problems for opposing defenses. How does a team stop Barr and McCoy on every single play? The selection would make both players better, and would see the Tampa Bay pass rush ascend to new heights.
So what do you think of the pick? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts on this mock draft, and which players you’d like to see the Buccaneers select in the draft?