The edge options in the 2021 NFL Draft are decent for the Buccaneers.
In the second part of this last-minute series leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft, the Buccaneers still need help at pass-rusher before trying to repeat in the Super Bowl this season.
With Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul still firing on all cylinders, there is not a glaring need at this position, but it wouldn’t hurt to invest some in the future.
Barrett is staying long-term, but JPP has been injured a lot recently, and adding to the depth wouldn’t hurt. Pass rusher is an expensive position in free agency, so finding a draft pick to serve in this role would be the best use of remaining money.
In addition to JPP’s injuries, Anthony Nelson isn’t cutting it in the third role. If the Bucs really wanted to find someone that would be a better contributor for now and down the road, a high-round pick would go a long way.
The Buccaneers need to be smart with edge players in the 2021 NFL Draft
Edge is one of the areas where there is little consensus, but it is clear that Jaelan Phillips and Kwity Paye will be off the board before the Bucs have a chance to select someone. That should leave three main options.
Azeez Ojulari would be the best pick in this position. As the most game-ready pass rusher now and with a high upside, Ohulari could serve as the third pass rusher this season while also being a decent replacement for JPP down the road if needed.
Unfortunately, Ojulari will also likely come off the board before the Bucs can pick, so they are left with two other options.
Based on most projections, Jayson Oweh is the most likely edge defender to be available at 32. Oweh is easily one of the rawest players in the class, and the Bucs would be taking him based on athletic upside above all else. We all saw how this worked with Noah Spence, so Tampa should be cautious in making a move like this, but there are ways to make this work.
Finally, if he is still on the board, Joe Tryon makes a lot of sense of the Buccaneers. With more proof than Oweh and still-impressive athletic ability, Tryon takes some of the question marks off of this season and thus some of the pressure to perform in year one.
Projection: Jayson Oweh (he will likely be the only first-round edge left on the board at 32)
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