The NFL combine is finally here. General Manager Jason Licht will be taking his brass to Indy in hope to continue their scouting for the next class of Buccaneers. Why not start off this week with an updated Bucs’ Mock Draft?
After a successful season under the leadership of new Head Coach Dirk Koetter, your 9-7 Buccaneers look to continue this season’s success into the off-season. The month of March is finally on the horizon, and with it comes the NFL new year.
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Both the NFL Combine and Free Agency are just around the bend, and the business aspect of the league is in full effect. The Bucs currently sit at third in the NFL with the most cap room, but does that mean they will be big spenders in free agency… absolutely not.
The upcoming 2017 NFL class is loaded with potential NFL stars… so who will the Bucs swing on?
Here is the PewterPlank’s updated 7-Round Mock Draft to start off your Tuesday Morning. Starting with round one.
Charles Harris – DE – Missouri
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers currently sit at 19th overall in the first round of this years upcoming draft. Now there has been chatter whether the Bucs will trade up or down, but here is their best option if they stay put.
Charles Harris a defensive end out of Missouri who would be an excellent addition to an aging defensive line. Harris is a pass rush specialist who is also excellent against the run. Harris logged a total of 18 total sacks in his time in Missouri, nine of them coming in his senior season.
The reason for the Bucs to continue to build through the trenches is simple due defensive that still has many holes. Adding Harris to a defensive end group that includes Robert Ayers, Noah Spence, Jacquies Smith, and possibly (if he is retained) William Gholston could be a great decision in the long run.
Not only is Jacquies Smith coming off a major knee injury, but Robert Ayers who turns 32 come September struggled to stay healthy throughout the season. Jason Licht made a wise decision last spring in drafting Noah Spence, but the Tampa Bay coaching staff limited his playing time due to his inabilities in the run game.
Spence is a player with sky high potential, and if he is able to have success in the run game come this season the Bucs could have two young talented dual threat defensive ends with the drafting of Harris.
Will William Gholston be resigned? That question is currently up in the air. Either way the Bucs take the best pass rusher currently available and the possible heir to the throne at right defensive end. I mean Robert Ayers was suppose to be a bridge free agent signing… right?
Previously: Tight End OJ Howard
Desmond King – Safety – Iowa
With the 50th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft the Tampa Bay Bucs select… Desmond King corner back out of Iowa. Wait a corner? Well yes, but no. King has been a stellar corner for the Iowa Hawkeyes for four straight years. Last season the NFL community (especially Luke Easterling) raved over the talents King possessed after his eight interception season, but he decided to stay in school.
Unfortunately, King’s senior season was not as exciting and his draft stock did drop. Once considered a sure fire first round selection, King now has doubters upon what position he will actually play in the NFL.
The main concern with King is his speed, which is why many scouts prefer him as a safety. This is why I have the Bucs selecting him exactly. With the selection of King, Mike Smith gets the talented safety he has been waiting for. As you saw last draft, corner back Ryan Smith was selected in the fourth round with intent of turning him into a safety.
Smith never touched the field as a safety during the season, and shortly after the 2016 campaign General Manager Jason Licht announced Smith would be moving back to his corner back position.
Its quite obvious that the Bucs are on the look for a safety/corner back hybrid, and King fits that mold perfectly.
The Bucs are expected to push to resign Bradley McDougald for the back end of the defense, but do not expect this staff to hand the other safety role to Keith Tandy without some good competition.
Previously: Safety Marcus Maye
Cooper Kupp – WR – Eastern Washington
The third round selection for the Tampa Bay Bucs is… Cooper Kupp, wide receiver Eastern Washington. Kupp has been flying up draft boards after his impressive outing at the Senior Bowl. Now although Kupp did not have a big game for the North, his work in practice really impressed scouts. The Bucs’ community has endlessly preached for more weapons in Dirk Koetter’s offense, and here is their chance.
Kupp is a slot receiver who can also be a deep ball threat out wide. His hands and route running ability are what stick out the most on tape. Kupp has dominated in the Big Sky Conference, and based upon last week in Mobile, he has no issues against better competition.
So, what about Adam Humphries… is he not our slot man? Humphries job is safe, but Kupp adds another dimension that could be useful. Kupp can use his bigger body to essentially box out defenders, or even out jump opponents, where Humphries just can not.
Kupp has been on the Bucs’ radar, and if he falls into their lap they will be able to pull the trigger. Do not rule out a trade up for Kupp, as general manager Licht always seems to have some moves up his sleeve.
The 44th overall ranked prospect by NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah would be an absolute steal here in the third.
Previously: Safety Eddie Jackson
KD Cannon – WR – Baylor
In the fourth round the Bucs have another opportunity to provide weapons for Jameis Winston. KD Cannon out of Baylor is an explosive play-maker with incredible game speed. This is the type of receiver that is exactly what head coach Dirk Koetter has been waiting for.
Koetter’s need for speed may influence Licht to do some extensive look into this prospect. Cannon is a tall and lengthy speedster that could really open up the field for this offensive. Winston has had issues in the past of overthrowing the long ball, until now.
With the selection of Cannon, it gives the Bucs a receiver that you just can not miss. The home-run ability in this prospect is something that will make teams want to pull the trigger early.
Currently Cannon is sitting on a mid-round range, but expect an impressive combine where his stock could rise. If the Bucs are able to provide Winston with pass catchers such as Kupp and Cannon in the same draft, you can already consider this offense ready to sky rocket.
Now although this is a run first type of team, passing up on receivers such as these when your current position group is one of the worst in the league is not something you can do.
Double-dipping at receiver this draft could ultimately help Winston inch closer to the next NFC South MVP quarterback of this league.
Previously: Wide Receiver Cooper Kupp
Damontae Kazee – CB – San Diego State
In the fifth round of the 2017 NFL draft the Bucs fill the inevitable need at corner back. Damontae Kazee is a product out of San Diego who fits the mold of a corner back in Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith’s defense.
The 5’10” 183 pound is a quick ball hawking corner who has amassed a total of 17 interceptions over his four year career in college. What stuck out the most to me on tape is not only does Kazee possess the short area quickness needed in the NFL, but he also is not afraid to make a tackle.
Kazee’s tackling ability is quite impressive, and this corner should generate some welcomed buzz over the next couple months. Lance Zierlein of NFL.com mentioned in his draft profile of Kazee, that if he fails to run well at the combine it may cause him to drop a few rounds. This is the perfection situation for the Bucs.
Corner back is not the highest on the priority scale, but the ageless wonder Brent Grimes’s clock will begin ticking sooner rather than later. Grimes come season will be 34 years old, which would make it reasonable for the Bucs to begin to look towards the future and Kazee may be that option.
Not to mention another snippet from Zierlein’s draft profile mentions that Kazee would be a good fit for teams who run zone and off-man coverage. Well… does that not sound familiar?
Previously: Defensive End Tarrell Basham
Jamaal Williams – RB – Brigham Young
With the Bucs’ sixth round selection they fill the sudden need for depth at the running back position. With the issues surrounding Doug Martin, the Bucs may look for another back to help their run first offense which struggled mightily in 2016. Jamaal Williams out of Brigham Young University has shown proof he has the ability to be a bell cow back in the NFL.
Williams is a big bodied back who has a lot of potential. Williams has shown great acceleration and vision for a back, with it showing in his 2016 campaign where he averaged 5.7 yards per carry. This running back may not look like your stereotypical Dirk Koetter back due to his limited work in the pass game and suspect blocking ability, but he has great value in the later rounds.
When the Bucs signed Jacquizz Rodgers off the streets, it was evident that his patience for the holes to develop was exactly what was missing in this offense. William’s shows patience when he is handed the rock and drafting him gives the Bucs someone they can groom and split carries with.
A three-headed machine of Rodgers, Charles Sims III, and Jamaal Williams may be an offer this team could jump at.
Previously: Cornerback Brandon Facyson
Antony Auclair – TE – Laval
With the seventh and final selection for the Bucs in the 2017 NFL draft, Jason Licht selects Antony Auclair out of Laval. Wait… who? Auclair may be an unfamiliar name now, but his name will begin to pick up some steam in the coming weeks.
Auclair has been a name featured on the PewterReport and it sparked my interest in viewing his tape. Watching Auclair’s tape shows you a big 6’5″ tight end who is both capable to block and catch. In the second edition of the PewterPlanks mock draft, it was mentioned that The Bucs need a dual threat tight end on this roster… and here is their chance. Auclair does not posses the skill set that OJ Howard does, but he does have capable abilities to share playing time with Cameron Brate.
The quiet need for the Bucs is at tight end. Auclair brings a skill set that could both replace the aging Luke Stocker/Brandon Myers combo, along with adding some much needed competition for Brate.
A young blocking tight end is something that could help bolster a struggling run first offense. Plus, I am sure Jameis Winston would love to learn from French.
Previously: Cornerback Ezra Robinson
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