There are a lot of ways that the Buccaneers can go with the No. 19 pick. One thing they can’t afford to do, however, is trade up. It’s just not the right move for the future of the franchise.
The crowd that thinks the Buccaneers should trade up from their No. 19 pick needs to disband. Tampa Bay has some solid pieces on its roster at the moment, but the team isn’t one player away from winning a Super Bowl. There are a lot of needs all over the field for the Bucs. They aren’t in a position to give up later picks in order to move up in the first round.
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It’s worth noting that the majority of the “trade up” crowd wants a big-time playmaker like Dalvin Cook or Mike Williams. Obviously, both guys are phenomenal players. Would they make a huge impact on a Buccaneer offense that still needs weapons? Of course they would. But, neither guy puts Tampa Bay on the same level as contenders like Dallas, Seattle, Atlanta or Green Bay. There are much bigger needs for the Bucs, and such needs can’t be addressed if the team loses draft picks.
If Cook, Williams or a comparable talent falls all the way to 19, then general manager Jason Licht should by all means snatch that player up. The problem isn’t necessarily who Tampa Bay should draft, but where.
If Cook does fall to 19 and the Bucs draft him, it gives them a huge weapon for Jameis Winston. It solves the backfield problems that stem from Doug Martin‘s suspension and Charles Sims‘ inconsistency. If it’s Williams or another receiver, it adds a complement to Mike Evans. The front office would then be able to fill needs throughout the rest of the draft. Licht and company could figure out the offensive line, running back/receiver, defensive line and secondary.
Tampa Bay doesn’t have enough pieces just yet, and they can fill some of those holes through the draft. Sure, free agency is always an option too, but it’s not the right time for the Bucs to give anything to move up in the first. Those who want them to trade up think that the team can just fill in the trenches or the secondary later in the draft. The point is, if Tampa Bay trades up far enough to select someone like Cook, Williams or Leonard Fournette, it won’t have enough picks left over to fill the rest of its needs.
Just remember, the Falcons traded five picks in 2011 to draft Julio Jones. Yes, Jones is a fantastic talent, just like Cook and others. But can Tampa Bay afford to give up that many picks? The simple answer is no.
The Bucs would be better off selecting the best player available when they get on the clock. They have holes that they need to fill in the draft’s later rounds. If they trade up, there won’t be any later rounds for them this year. Licht and his staff need to stay put and stay smart.