Recent projections have the Bucs taking Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver. Oliver is a beast and had a great combine, but his impact may be smaller than that of a player drafted at a more needed spot. In defensive coordinator Todd Bowles’ new 3-4 defense a new tackle may even hurt more than help. Yes, Gerald McCoy may be halfway out the door, but tackle Vita Vea had a good end of last season and is listed on the team website at 347 pounds showing he has the size to occupy that spot better in a 3-4 than McCoy.
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If Todd Bowles intends to have recent signing Deone Bucannon live at middle linebacker, the number five overall pick could be best used on Kentucky’s Josh Allen or Mississippi State’s Montez Sweat. Both of these players had monster seasons last year in college playing in the SEC. Allen’s 17 sacks and Sweat’s 12 are impressive considering the offensive line play and general competition in that conference. These players both have the speed and the size to produce as pass rushers in the NFL, and also possess the agility to drop into shallow coverage if necessary.
If Bucannon is meant to float around and take some reps at safety as he has in the past for the Cardinals, LSU’s Devin White has the athleticism and tools to replace Kwon Alexander and play alongside Lavonte David on the inside. White’s speed shows that he would have no problem dropping into coverage, or containing the proficient pass-catching backs of the NFC South. While the Buccaneers also have Kendell Beckwith if he returns from injury this fall, the depth at the position past him is simply not strong enough currently to keep up with the likes of Christian McCaffrey, Devonta Freeman, and Alvin Kamara six games a year.
Regardless of who the Bucs take with their first round pick, the expectation is that this player is going to make an immediate impact on what will almost assuredly be the defense. With Todd Bowles at the helm, the Buccaneers have the chance to turn the defensive woes of the last few seasons around with heavy contribution from this player.