Drafting Buccaneers: Players to Watch at the 2017 Shrine Game
East Guard Alex Kozan, Auburn Tigers
Offensive linemen aren’t often considered sexy draft picks, and for good reason. They’re big, uncoordinated and are rarely the focus of highlight reels.
However, they’re the base for which the offense operates and no team is truly complete until they have a capable group of five guys up front who can control the action.
Alex Kozan is a well-rounded offensive lineman from Auburn who has experience against some of the best defenders the SEC has churned out in decades.
That being said, he isn’t exactly racing up the charts, so don’t forget we are watching the Shrine Game.
The Buccaneers struggled mightily at left guard following the retirement of Logan Mankins and back injury suffered by free-agent signee J.R. Sweezy.
Kozan holds up well at the point of attack and knows how to transition to the second level to clean up linebackers looking to take down his running back.
He can get to the outside well when pulling and never stops in pass protection. If the Bucs grab him in the later rounds or in free-agency, he could prove to be a gem in this year’s class.
West Defensive End Deatrich Wise Jr., Arkansas Razorbacks
Noah Spence was a great selection in the second round for the Buccaneers in 2016 and proved to be a more than suitable addition to the pass rush.
Where he was lacking however, was in the run stopping business.
The Bucs need to invest in their run defense, and Deatrich Wise Jr. is a man to watch at the Shrine Game as a potential addition to the 2017 version of Bucs defense.
With 23 career tackles for a loss, Wise is adept at getting into the backfield and stopping running backs before they get going.
He’s less effective as a pass rusher, but will get to quarterbacks who hold onto the ball too long with his determined motor which never takes a play off.
He has good lateral movement on the line and diagnoses plays relatively well when reading blockers.
Licht should address the defensive line pretty early in the draft, but Wise is a guy to watch as a possible late pick-up who could develop well after starting as a run-stopping specialist.