The Tampa Bay Buccaneers currently hold the first pick in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft. The Buccaneers do not need to overthink this, and their choice of player should be clear when it comes time to turn their card into the podium.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Bucs are intent on holding onto pick 33 (the first of Friday’s festivities) and making a selection as opposed to trading back. Of course, this can change if they are “blown away”, but outside of John Lynch doing his former team a solid and throwing the Buccaneers Deebo Samuel, it’s hard to imagine such a deal being made. Schefter also hinted at the team needing defensive line help in the wake of Ndamukong Suh still being a free agent.
Speculation aside, Travis Jones is the obvious pick for the Buccaneers.
Games are won and lost in the trenches, and while the Bucs aren’t exactly a team with any “pressing” needs, they do have a gaping hole in the starting guard, and defensive tackle spots. There don’t appear to be any guards left worth taking here (as far as projections go) but there are interior defensive linemen.
Jones, the UConn product, is an absolutely massive human being. He stands 6’4″ and tips the scales at 325 pounds. Sure, the Buccaneers already have one of these gargantuan noseguard types in Vita Vea, and this writer’s love for Mr. Tevita Tuli’aki’ono Tuipulotu Mosese Va’hae Fehoko Faletau Vea has been made abundantly clear by this point.
With that said, the Bucs are in a spot where they can afford to take the best player available on their board (within reason), and Jones may be just that. Like Vea, Jones is a load that can take on multiple blocks and creates pressure along the line of scrimmage to allow the pass rushers and linebackers to hunt. Scouts also see he has the potential to grow his game to be more versatile, again, much like Vea has done.
The Buccaneers would be able to have Vea play opposite of William Gholston while Jones mans the middle, and/or vice versa to create one absolute unit of a three-man front. Can you imagine how thankful the rest of the defense would be when it takes five guys to block three?
With all this being said, nobody knows what will happen, as we were quickly reminded of during the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. However, in the humblest of opinions, Jason Licht, Todd Bowles, and company should not waste time, and send Travis Jones’ name up as the newest member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.