Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports
It’s almost Super Bowl time, which means it’s almost the offseason. Buccaneers fans are ready for the draft and free agency, so let’s feed the addiction with yet another mock draft!
1. Kansas City Chiefs – Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
I just don’t think the Chiefs need much more than a better coach (done) and a better quarterback in order to contend for a playoff spot. There is no clear cut number one, so why not take a position of need and make sure you’re set at the QB position for years to come. Smith isn’t a sure fire guy but he’s certainly got a high ceiling.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars – Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
The Jags certainly have holes to fill, but getting a franchise pass rusher will be beneficial for a rebuilding team. A quarterback would be nice, but there’s none here to take. Moore moved from the Big 12 to SEC, and continued to improve against tougher competition. There’s no doubt he’s the best defensive player in this draft. No changes here, he goes to the Jags.
3. Oakland Raiders – Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Raiders may not have Al Davis around anymore, but I feel like his philosophies will remain in place to some extent. I had the Raiders taking a defensive tackle in the previous iteration of this mock, but now I have them taking a corner, because I just don’t think it’s the “Raider way” to take a defensive tackle at number 3 overall.
4. Philadelphia Eagles – Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Apparently, Joeckel’s status as the best lineman in the draft isn’t as clear as it used to be, with Eric Fisher getting some serious attention. However, the Texas A&M product remains here for now, and as the draft gets closer, we will monitor the changes in the draft board at this position. The Eagles would have liked Milliner, but I think he’s going to go pretty early.
5. Detroit Lions – Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
With Cliff Avril possibly on the way out, and a lack of talent to surround Mr. Suh even with Avril, the Lions get a hard working pass rusher who has a ton of upside as well.
6. San Diego Chargers – Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
(via trade with the Cleveland Browns)
The Chargers make a trade to number 6, as the Browns don’t see any players that they’re crazy about. The Bolts lock up a franchise tackle before he slips too far, and don’t have to give up too much to get him. A combo of a 2nd rounder or possibly a 3rd and 5th should be enough to move up to number 6.
7. Arizona Cardinals – Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
The Cardinals need help on the offensive line, and are likely quite upset that the Chargers jumped up to snag Fisher. However, Johnson is a solid prospect and fills a need. Now about getting a quarterback…
8. Buffalo Bills – Manti Te’o, ILB, Notre Dame
Yes, Te’o has been through a lot. Yes, there are a lot of “questions” about him. But he’s the best middle linebacker in the NFL draft, and the Bills take him to fill an area of need with a Heisman finalist who played LINEBACKER. He’s too good to let slide.
9. New York Jets – Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
The Jets need someone to get after the quarterback, and Mingo is custom built for just that. With or without Revis, the Jets defense won’t return to glory without the ability to get after Tom Brady.
10. Tennessee Titans – Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
This could be the lowest Star could slide, and his slide ends because the Titans will select the best available player, and at a position where they currently have uncertainty thanks to free agency.
11. Cleveland Browns – Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
Tyler was in a bad situation in 2012, playing for an Arkansas team in complete disarray. He slides further than he should based on his level of talent, and the Browns get an actual prospect at quarterback, rather than a 30 year old 2nd year player in Brandon Weeden.
12. Miami Dolphins – Sheldon Richardson, DT, Mizzou
The Dolphins need a quick, athletic tackle to line up with the tank that is Paul Soliai. Richardson has all that, plus a high work ethic.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
Vaccaro is the best safety in the draft, and the Buccaneers take the opportunity to have the safety position all set for years to come. Vaccaro is fast enough, tackles well enough, and is smart enough to start right away as an NFL free safety.
14. Carolina Panthers – Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
Hankins is a beast of a man who will add a true presence to the middle of the Panthers defense. He’ll help shore up the Panthers depleted defensive tackle position.
15. New Orleans Saints – Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia
The Saints defense was really, really bad in 2012. Jarvis is the best player on the board on defense, and could help fill the Saints need for pass rushers.
16. St. Louis Rams – Chance Warmack, Guard, Alabama
Warmack is an absolute stud of a lineman. He’s a great prospect to help build up a better protection scheme for Sam Bradford and the post-Steven Jackson running game.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers – Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
Jordan brings what the Steelers need, a quick pass rusher to bring back the fearsome front seven in Steeler nation.
18. Dallas Cowboys – Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
The Cowboys will be moving to a 4-3, and they’ll need 4-3 players. Ansah is incredibly athletic for his size, and can hold down the defensive end spot across from Demarcus Ware.
19. New York Giants – Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia
Ogletree is a quick, hard hitting linebacker who looks for the big play. The Giants could be lacking in talent at linebacker in 2013, so the G-Men target a versatile player at a position of need.
20. Chicago Bears – Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
The Bears have an offensive minded head coach, and he’ll likely look for a talented offensive player. Ertz provides a secondary option to Brandon Marshall, and fills an area of need.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU
The Bengals are losing players all over the defensive side of the ball, but one they won’t miss is Ray Maualuga, as they replace him with a SEC middle linebacker with high football IQ.
Banks is probably one of the best players left, and while he’s not the best corner from a technical perspective, he produced in the SEC and proved to be a big time playmaker.
23. Minnesota Vikings – Keenan Allen, WR, California
Allen is going to fight for every yard and every catch. If Percy Harvin is gone, the Vikings will need someone to rely on. If Harvin stays, the Vikings still need a better compliment than Jerome Simpson.
24. Indianapolis Colts – Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
Vontae Davis needs some help on the other side of the field. Rhodes is shooting up draft boards and would be a solid choice for an improving Colts franchise.
25. Seattle Seahawks – Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
Patterson is tall enough, and more than fast enough, to give Russell Wilson yet another weapon on a rapidly improving Seahawks offense.
26. Green Bay Packers – Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Eifert will provide a tight end Rodgers can rely on, and allows the Pack to get rid of Jermichael Finley, who doesn’t even come close to earning his paycheck.
27. Houston Texans – Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
The Texans need an option to take some pressure off of Andre Johnson. They could also use a dynamic returner to replace Trindon Holliday who they let go of a bit prematurely.
28. Denver Broncos – Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
Williams would bring the Broncos a replacement for their free agents at defensive tackle. He’s a large man who can also make plays, and will help draw blockers away from the Broncos amazing pass rushers.
29. New England Patriots – Matt Elam, S, Florida
The Patriots love Gators. The Patriots need help in pass defense. It makes sense.
30. Atlanta Falcons – Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
The Falcons have John Abraham as a defensive end, and while he’s an absolute legend at the position, he’s quite old and unreliable. Montgomery can help give the Falcons hope for the future at the defensive end position.
31. Baltimore Ravens – John Jenkins, DT, Georgia
Jenkins is an incredibly large human being. He’s also quick, and a good football player, which is what makes him a first round prospect. He could do well as the nose tackle for the Ravens reloading defense.
32. San Francisco 49ers – Robert Woods, WR, Southern Cal
Woods has all the talent in the world. He just needs to put it together consistently. He probably should have been a much higher pick, but he just hasn’t taken the next step. He could prove to be a big time playmaker for the Niners.
Buccaneers Remaining Picks:
2. Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State
Poyer is a turnover creator, and a physical, in-your-face corner who is quick enough to keep up with receivers.
3. Chase Thomas, LB, Stanford
I profiled Thomas already during Senior Bowl week, and believe he could be a great fit at strongside linebacker to replace Quincy Black, should he not return from his injury.
4 (1). Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB, UConn
Another player I profiled earlier, he could start across from Poyer for years to come. At the very least, he could contribute in nickel and dime situations.
4 (2).Vance McDonald, TE, Rice
McDonald is a track athlete (long jump and triple jump) who is big enough to play tight end. He has shown he can run routes and block, but can have stone hands from time to time.
5. Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon
Barner is yet another guy I’ve put up a profile of earlier, and could bring a spark to special teams and give a dynamic option to spell Doug Martin from time to time.
6. Jasper Collins, WR, Mount-Union
Surprise surprise, another guy I have profiled in the past. He’d be an option at slot receiver and could also contribute on special teams.
7. Gilbert Pena, DT, Ole Miss
Pena is a big boy who could compete for time with Roy Miller, assuming the Buccaneers resign Miller for 2013. If not, this may be a position the Bucs address higher in the draft.
You can follow Leo Howell on Twitter for his thoughts on the Buccaneers, Tampa area sports, and other random topics.