Buccaneers Draft 2016: Mel Kiper And Todd McShay Mock Draft
By James Yarcho
In a live “Sportscenter Special”, ESPN NFL draft experts Mel Kiper and Todd McShay did a full first round mock draft. Not only was it awful from a prediction standpoint, but also a reasoning standpoint.
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The Buccaneers have been constantly linked to cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III in virtually every mock draft known to man, including all of them on NFL.com right now. So, when ESPN’s draft “experts” (and I use that term extremely loosely) Mel Kiper and Todd McShay got to the Bucs’ pick at nine and Hargreaves was available, I figured it was a foregone conclusion.
Then, they blindsided us.
No, the Bucs would not be taking the University of Florida cornerback. Instead, they would draft yet another offensive player; Ronnie Stanley, the tackle from Notre Dame.
I’ll preface my rant by saying this: I understand the talent Stanley brings and that he would improve this offensive line. However, the Bucs have their left tackle in Donovan Smith, who played pretty darn well last season. There is no sense in drafting a right tackle at number nine. If the draft plays out the way “Moe and Larry” think it will, the top ten looks something like this;
Here are my initial issues; for starters, Jack Conklin going in the top ten ahead of Stanley? No, Mel. No. Second, it’s really hard to believe Jalen Ramsey falls to Baltimore, especially if Dallas loves him as much as everyone seems to believe they do. Then again, it’s draft season so it’s hard to believe anything you hear. Finally, and most importantly, the Bucs’ pick…
The reasoning given was to protect the franchise quarterback. Get this guy to keep Winston upright. Well, they’re going to have to because in order for the Bucs to win any games, Jameis is going to have to throw six touchdowns every week because the opposing quarterbacks will have all day long to throw the ball. There has been one defensive player drafted to this team in the last two seasons. One. And that was Kwon Alexander. What is the weakness of the Bucs? Defense!! So, if by some miracle Mel and Todd are right and the Bucs are picking with Stanley sitting there, there is one option: trade back.
Teams behind the Bucs, most specifically the Tennessee Titans, are looking for a franchise left tackle. Did anyone see Mariota get crushed last season? If anyone needs to “protect the franchise”, it’s them. We’ve discussed on this website the relationship between Jason Licht and Jon Robinson and how easily the two could get a deal done. The Titans have more picks than they know what to do with thanks to the St. Los Angelouis Rams, so giving up one of those twos to move up six spots sounds pretty good for both sides. The Titans get their tackle and the Bucs can address the biggest weakness of this team.
Noah Spence or Robert Nkemdiche need to be the pick for this team. Hargreaves does nothing to bolster this defense when a quarterback has twenty minutes to throw the ball. No corner can stop an opposing receiver when the quarterback has as much time as they did against the Bucs last season. Again, Robert Ayers helps but is anyone really expecting him to have another ten sack season? Even if he does, he isn’t the future. He’s the band-aid. This team needs a long-term, legitimate pass rusher to kick off this draft.
And when it comes to Spence or Nkemdiche and their “character concerns”, the information is out there. This isn’t yet another post about why their past shouldn’t, and won’t, affect their NFL careers. Spence has taken great strides to better himself and Nkemdiche’s problem was drastically overblown. Both players would be instant upgrades to this defense and they immediately make Gerald McCoy & Co. better.
Next: Five Fifth Round Options For Bucs
There are corners in this draft that can help the Bucs and can be found in the second or third round. There is depth on the offensive line that can be found on day three. You have a top ten pick, so why not use it for a top-tier defensive lineman that can actually help get this defense to where it needs to go?