The following is my pick as “GM” of the Buccaneers in a network-wide mock draft for Fansided. Head over to Factory of Sadness for more details on this mock, including players already taken.
- Anthony Barr, Linebacker, UCLA - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Anthony Barr with the seventh pick. Barr fills a need for the Buccaneers as a pass rusher off the edge. He will play from day one as a strongside linebacker and pass rush end in passing situations. Other options for this pick include quarterback Blake Bortles, who was already selected, along with quarterback Derek Carr, tight end Eric Ebron, and linebacker C.J. Mosley.
The Buccaneers have an explosive pass rusher in the middle in the form of Gerald McCoy, but they lack a threat from the edge to truly frighten opposing quarterbacks. Adding a versatile, athletic pass rusher like Barr would mean the Bucs could mix and match their defensive fronts and bring pressure on the quarterback off the edge in addition to rushing up the middle with McCoy.
Does Barr perfectly fit the mold of a 4-3 rush end? No, he doesn’t. But in the same way Darrelle Revis doesn’t fit Lovie Smith’s “ideal” Cover 2 defense, yet will still play a key role for the Bucs, Barr could be used at SAM linebacker as well as 4-3 defensive end to provide the Buccaneers with incredible athleticism on the outside, and a pass rusher with limitless potential.
We’re still months away from the draft, and things can certainly change between now and then. But Barr is an incredible athlete who could become the next Von Miller, and that’s something the Buccaneers should covet for their improving defense under a new head coach.