Last week, experts from each of FanSided’s NFL sites came together for a community mock draft. Our own James Yarcho made the pick for the Buccaneers at No. 19. Here, I take a look at a different approach for Tampa Bay in the first round.
"Dalvin Cook is a no brainer pick at nineteen. His game breaking ability out of the backfield as well as in the passing game makes him the complete threat the Bucs simply don’t have at running back.Cook is the total package.The relationship with Winston is an added bonus here but certainly not the sole reason for the pick. With Cook, the Bucs can now move on from Martin without any kind of dead money and have the final piece of the offensive puzzle in place for the kind of offense Dirk Koetter wants to run as they try to improve on their record setting 2015."
Now, Dalvin Cook is certainly not a bad pick at No. 19. Like James pointed out, Cook is an immediate solution to the Doug Martin situation. He is a complete running back. But there’s an entirely different approach that could work better for what the Bucs need.
In the mock, a certain tight end from a Florida State rival slipped out of the first round. Maybe it was the fact that others didn’t see a need at tight end for their team or maybe he’s being overlooked as a prospect. But, this guy would be a huge addition for a Buccaneer offense that is on the rise. By now, you probably know who I’m referring to: Miami tight end David Njoku.
The 6-foot-4-inch Njoku caught 43 passes for 698 yards and eight touchdowns last year. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein compares him to Carolina’s Greg Olsen, who has victimized Tampa Bay for years. Having a talent like that on their side would make the Bucs offense even more dynamic.
While Cameron Brate broke out in a big way last year, adding Njoku would give the Bucs another big-time option. The former Hurricane has great athleticism and blocks well. He may have some work to do with his blocking, but his athleticism is what makes him so intriguing. Many linked Tampa Bay to Alabama’s O.J. Howard early in the draft process, but his stock has risen to a point where he will likely be a top-15 pick. So, Njoku becomes the next-best option.
As a receiver, he would add another dimension to the Tampa Bay offense. Winston already had Mike Evans, Adam Humphries and Brate. The Bucs added DeSean Jackson to that group in the offseason. Now, add Njoku to the equation and the team’s third-year quarterback has a pretty significant variety of options at his disposal.
Yes, running back is still a need for Tampa Bay. But even with taking Njoku in round one, there will be plenty of options at running back in the later rounds. Sure, Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey and Dalvin Cook are likely gone by the end of the first. But, there’s a wealth of talent in this class. Joe Mixon, Marlon Mack, Alvin Kamara, Kareem Hunt, D’Onta Foreman, Samaje Perine and quite a few others will be available on day two.
Yes, Cook is a fantastic talent. However, adding another athletic pass-catcher with an impressive frame may come first. The Buccaneers can address the need at running back on day two and pair that selection with someone else. Maybe Tampa Bay pairs that pick with Jacquizz Rodgers and a revitalized Doug Martin. And of course, someone named Adrian Peterson is still out there…
What do you think, Bucs fans? Are you completely sold on Cook, or would a haul of Njoku and someone like Mack suit the team better? Let us know what you think. The draft is only a few days away.