It’s always a strong possibility that the Buccaneers dip into the state talent pool come draft weekend and they are no strangers to the talents of the Florida Gators.
It was simply two years ago that the Buccaneers used their first round pick on a cornerback out of the University of Florida. Vernon Hargreaves did the famous “Gator chop” as he crossed the stage to hug Roger Goodell and officially begin his career as a Buc. Now, the Bucs may take a look back to the swamps of Gainesville to help improve the team for 2018 and beyond.
Here are the draft eligible prospects from the Florida Gators;
Wide Receiver – Brandon Powell
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Cornerback – Duke Dawson
Safety – Nick Washington
Defensive End – Jordan Sherit
Running Back – Mark Thompson
Safety – Marcell Harris
Tight End – DeAndre Goolsby
Cornerback – Joseph Putu
Linebacker – Cristian Garcia
Lineman – Ricardo Benalcazar
Defensive Tackle – Taven Bryan
Wide Receiver – Antonio Callaway
Kicker – Eddie Pineiro
Senior To Watch: Cornerback – Duke Dawson
A day three prospect, Duke Dawson would reunite with Vernon Hargreaves in the secondary and would fill the role of the nickel corner. Although Hargreaves excelled in the nickel position, the Buccaneers didn’t draft him to cover the slot guy. Dawson, on the other hand, they would. With the future of Brent Grimes up in the air, the Buccaneers will be looking for two corners at least this off-season and VHIII will be back at the outside full time.
Dawson finished his career with 81 tackles, seventeen passes defensed, six interceptions, and three touchdowns. He tends to try to make the big play often which has led to the big play being given up. If he can reign that in – much like Justin Evans did – he could be an impact player.
Underclassman To Watch: Defensive Tackle – Taven Bryan
Surprise surprise, right? Bryan is the best prospect coming out of Florida this season and is slated as a late first to early second round pick. With the failure that was the Chris Baker experiment and Clinton McDonald getting up in age, the Buccaneers need to bring someone in who can be a playmaker and can be disruptive in the backfield. Bryan finished his career with 62 tackles – 10.5 for loss – as well as 5.5 sacks, three fumble recoveries, and an interception.
One of the knocks on Bryan is his inconsistency. When he’s on, he’s a complete game changer. When he’s not, he’s nearly invisible. Walter Football has him ranked as their number four defensive tackle and Luke Easterling of The Draft Wire has him as the 31st overall prospect. If the Buccaneers are able to steal him in the second round, it could go a long way to establishing the dominant front four this team has been missing for years.
There are plenty to choose from when it comes to Gator prospects that are a match for the Bucs. It will just be a matter of the pieces falling in place and giving Jason Licht and Dirk Koetter the opportunity to snatch them up.