The Buccaneers have selected some very good players in recent drafts. However, their first-round selections have been highly predictable in the last few years. This year’s first-round choice doesn’t seem very predictable at the moment, which makes the 2017 draft season much more fun for fans of Tampa Bay.
Well, this is pretty wild. In the last couple of years, it felt like we all knew for months who the Buccaneers would select with their first-round draft pick. Not this year. We’re about two months away from the NFL Draft, yet everyone seems to be making sheer guesses at who Tampa Bay will be selecting. Fun, isn’t it?
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In 2014, the Bucs took Mike Evans with the number seven pick in an unsurprising move. Sure, there was a stretch at the team’s draft party when people bought into the “Manziel to Tampa” hype, but Evans to the Bucs was in most mocks leading up to the draft. The following year, of course, Tampa Bay had the number one overall pick. The debate between Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota was a long, exhausting one. However, there didn’t really seem to be much of a debate going on inside the head of general manager Jason Licht. Winston was the pick all along. Then, last year, it was Vernon Hargreaves. The only real surprise was the fact that the Bucs were able to trade back and still get their guy.
Clearly, everyone seemed to know which way Tampa Bay would go in the first round for the past three years. That’s what makes things so refreshing this year. We’re two months away from the draft and a lot of mocks are differing with regards to who is going to the Bucs at No. 19.
Fox Sports’ Peter Schrager and Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox have Tampa Bay taking defensive end Charles Harris (Missouri). Four CBS Sports writers have the Bucs taking wide receiver John Ross (Washington), while another has them taking defensive back Budda Baker (Washington) and one has defensive back Sidney Jones (Washington). ESPN’s Mel Kiper has wide receiver Corey Davis (Western Michigan) going to Tampa Bay. Lastly, Walter Football has Licht selecting running back/wide receiver Christian McCaffrey (Stanford).
Those are the current picks from some of the experts, but many have linked Tampa Bay to tight end O.J. Howard (Alabama), among others. And of course, there’s the crowd that thinks the Bucs should trade up for running back Dalvin Cook (Florida State).
The point is, there are a lot of ways that the Bucs could go with their 2017 first-round pick. No one seems to know, at least as of now, who they’ll decide on. Of course, the NFL Combine, pro days and free agency will eventually clear some of that up, but the unpredictability as of right now is making things extra interesting for Bucs fans. No matter how solid Evans, Winston and Hargreaves have turned out to be, it’s pretty refreshing to have some mystery surrounding Tampa Bay leading into draft season.