Buccaneers can potentially find draft gems from surprising college

Zion Johnson, Boston College Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Zion Johnson, Boston College Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, like most it not all teams in the NFL, have shown that they have a bit of a pattern when it comes to which colleges and universities they draft their players from. In the 2022 Draft, the NFL public at large may be in for a surprise as college many won’t see coming could be of service to the Buccaneers.

In recent years, Jason Licht and the company have shown a tendency to draft players from schools in Florida. This makes sense, considering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play their home games in, you guessed it, Tampa Bay, Florida. The University of Washington has also produced two of the last four Bucs’ first-round draft picks in the form of Vita Vea and Joe Tryon-Shoyinka. Given the quality of the two defenders thus far, we may see more Huskies play for the Buccaneers.

That said, there’s another institution of higher learning that could produce future Bucs in 2022 potentially catching many off-guard, and that is Boston College.

While it’s true that Boston College doesn’t feature as many prospects as other schools, the ones they do fit the needs of the Bucs. The three Golden Eagles that were invited to the NFL Combine would be welcome additions to Tampa Bay. The most notable is interior lineman Zion Johnson.

As it currently stands, Johnson is looking very likely to be available by the time the Buccaneers pick at number 27 in the first round. He fits the currently vacant starting guard spot of the Bucs like a glove with his 6’3″ 312-pound frame, which helps produce brute-force strength. Johnson stood out as an absolute stud in the Senior Bowl, even with his unorthodox starting stance, which saw his stock rise. Zion Johnson could slide right in and thrive protecting Tom Brady alongside a young offensive line filled with studs, potentially becoming the most successful Zion in all of sports. His versatility is also key because while he’s listed as a guard, he also has starting experience as a tackle. The Bucs value versatility in the interior, as evident by their selection of Robert Hainsey out of Notre Dame in the third round a year ago.

Related Story. More on Hainsey. light

Speaking of Hainsey, Johnson would theoretically be the betting favorite to beat Hainsey out for the starting guard spot should they go that route come Draft time. Should they travel differently in the first round, Johnson’s fellow offensive lineman Alec Lindstrom should be available in the later rounds, who would have more of a legit camp battle with Hainsey. Lindstrom was a three-year starter as a center but has the athletic ability to make a move to guard if need be. He may be undersized for a center, but the aforementioned athleticism makes up for it, as does his tenacity when taking on larger challenges. He’s very similar to Jason Kelce of the Philadelphia Eagles in this regard, himself a sixth-round pick. Obviously, that’s a long-shot comparison, however, it’s definitely a low-risk, high-reward scenario.

Lastly, we have linebacker Isaiah Graham-Mobley.

Graham-Mobley more likely than not would be a late sixth-round to seventh-round pick, if not an undrafted free agent. That being the case, he could be a potential diamond in the rough for the Buccaneers. He is the nephew of former All-Pro and two-time Super Bowl champion John Mobley with the Denver Broncos. Suffice to say, the genes got passed down. Graham-Mobley would obviously be a long-shot starter, especially with his history of injuries in college, but the Bucs love them some linebackers who welcome the chance to be a menace on special teams, like Grant Stuard for example. Graham-Mobley would welcome that chance. What sets Graham-Mobley apart is his character, as he’s a hugely popular locker room presence and the consummate professional,  even in college, becoming absolutely acclaimed for his leadership. Despite the injuries, Graham-Mobley does have starting experience, as well as special teams, and would fit right into the culture the Buccaneers have built. He is absolutely worth the flyer, whether drafted or otherwise.

At the end of the day, everything leading up to the NFL Draft is all speculation, and nobody knows anything. However, taking what little we do know from past behavior, it may be worth remembering these three Boston College Golden Eagles for fans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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