2014 NFL Draft: Underclassmen Already Declaring for the NFL Draft Who Could Fit Buccaneers’ Needs


Oct 17, 2013; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels tight end Eric Ebron (85) runs for a touchdown as Miami Hurricanes defensive back Antonio Crawford (21) defends in the first quarter at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The 2014 NFL Draft seems to boast a wealth of talented players, and most of the more exciting prospects are underclassmen. That means there will be uncertainty until early next year about who will actually be available during the draft process.

And while we don’t know yet if Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel, or Marcus Mariota will declare and make the 2014 quarterback class as deep as ever, we do know a few players who will throw their name in the ring for the annual selection meeting held in New York during the offseason.

Here are some of the main players who have declared for the draft who might be options for the Buccaneers.

Tight Ends Eric Ebron, North Carolina and Colt Lyerla, Oregon

The Buccaneers have found a dependable pass catcher at tight end in Tim Wright, but they may still choose to pursue a prospect at the position to upgrade their passing attack which has been below average this season.

Ebron represents one of the best options in the draft at the position, as the UNC product has tons of big play potential. But with that potential comes a very high draft spot, and the Buccaneers will likely have to trade down in the first round, or up from their second round pick to secure Ebron in the mid-to-late first round.

Lyerla, on the other hand, has been a disappointment in 2013, leaving the Oregon football program during the middle of the season, and later being arrested for possession of cocaine. You can read more about his current situation here.

Ebron would be a great choice near the top of the draft, and Lyerla is a wild card due to his legal situation.

Cornerbacks Bradley Roby, Ohio State and Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida

Roby has the size and athletic ability to be an NFL corner, but has struggled at times this season to prove he’s always on his game and ready to take on top receivers. He’s still highly regarded, and would make an excellent addition to the defensive backfield of the Buccaneers, which gets thin quickly after All Pro Darrelle Revis.

If Roby slips into the second or third round as a result of concerns about his awareness and ability to track the football, he could be worth a shot to learn under Darrelle Revis and work on his game with the best corner in the NFL.

Purifoy, on the other hand, is a playmaker for the Florida Gators and a special teams ace who could contribute in multiple ways for an NFL team from day one. He’s an incredible athlete who returns kicks and plays some offense, and also plays lockdown corner in the SEC.

He will likely be a first-round pick, but if he slips at all, would be an excellent player to line up across from Darrelle Revis in the Tampa Bay defense.