Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Projecting day two at the 2018 NFL Draft

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium on April 26, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium on April 26, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers Surprise Again

We all know the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have some clearly defined needs. There was no doubt the defensive line still needed help entering the draft.

Running back is another obvious need for the team. So is cornerback, safety and even offensive line.

A back-up quarterback of the future would be nice if the team isn’t sold on Ryan Griffin as a true number two. Bringing back Ryan Fitzpatrick doesn’t exactly illicit a ton of confidence in Griffin’s future as an understudy for Jameis Winston.

Even wide receiver has been thought of as a target area if the right player is available at the right time.

While we’re all certainly expecting this to be a running back, what if we’re wrong, again.

Just about everyone expected Derwin James to be in pewter by now, and the chance was there. Licht passed. He could pass on Guice, Chubb or Jones as well.

But for who? There are three options I see as possibilities.

Guard, Will Hernandez

If the Browns and/or Colts draft a running back or two, then it’s entirely possible UTEP’s guard who shot up the draft boards around NFL Combine time could still be available.

The Giants are a threat to take him as well, but my gut says their pick is either quarterback or defense.

Hernandez isn’t Quenton Nelson, but he’s a solid consolation prize and my second ranked guard just ahead of Isaiah Wynn who went in the first round.

He can’t carry or catch the ball, but he would certainly make it easier for Peyton Barber and the newly re-signed Charles Sims to do so.

Oh, and he’s huge. Which is great in helping Jacquizz Rodgers hide behind him waiting for his chance to burst through the gap.

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Cornerback, Josh Jackson

We don’t know what teams are going to do. And I’d be as surprised to see Jackson on the board here just as much as I’m surprised to see him on the board at all at this point.

There were several spots in the first round I thought Jackson would leave the board, and all of them went a different direction either in position or player.

If he’s available at pick 38, he won’t make the Florida State faithful any happier, but he’s a true outside defender who would almost assuredly signal Vernon Hargreaves’ permanent move inside.

Jackson has some height coming in at six feet, is fast enough and has some solid ball skills. Just ask Ohio State.

Those ball skills will come in handy too with opposing quarterbacks likely preferring to test the rookie over Brent Grimes.

Safety, Justin Reid

What if I told you the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had their eye on a safety, it just wasn’t Derwin James.

Justin Reid out of Stanford is bigger than Minkah Fitzpatrick, and unlike the new Miami Dolphin, we know which position Reid will play.

He’s faster than Derwin James and while he isn’t going to be living exclusively in the box, Reid finished 2017 with 99 tackles including six and a half coming behind the line of scrimmage.

In a way, he’s kind of the perfect blend between Fitzpatrick and James. He can cover but isn’t as fluid and smooth in coverage as the first one. He can tackle, even if he isn’t going to become the strong safety most expect James to become.

Pairing him with Justin Evans would give the Bucs two safeties who can hold their own in coverage but collapse down to stop the run.

Not a bad situation to be in.

Prediction if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers don’t draft running back first: Safety, Justin Reid