With the NFL Draft right around the corner, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could look to make some moves before they go on the clock at No. 19 overall.
So far this offseason the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have seemingly zigged when everyone assumed they’d zag.
Well, that’s partially untrue because it implies that there was an expectation the Bucs would do anything. After Tom Brady retired things looked pretty bleak, but Jason Licht and the front office managed to not only salvage the offseason but quietly put together a solid one.
Both Jamel Dean and Lavonte David were brought back despite it seeming like they’d both be gone. The cash-strapped Bucs also signed Baker Mayfield to compete with Kyle Trask and there might be more moves yet to be made as the NFL Draft approaches.
Notably, the Bucs are starting to look like candidates to make a trade on draft night. Tampa Bay is in prime trade territory, both needing more players than they have picks and sitting at No. 19 overall in the order.
The question is whether the team will move up to grab a guy who won’t be there at No. 19 or trade down and add more assets to the war chest.
Bucs rumors: ESPN insider suggest Bucs might trade up in NFL Draft
ESPN recently huddled up its team beat writers to discuss what each team might be thinking on NFL Draft night. Bucs insider Jenna Laine mused that the Tampa Bay could trade up, depending on the circumstances of the board as its time on the clock nears.
The easy part of Laine’s prediction to run with is trading up for Hendon Hooker but the more realistic scenario is if there’s a run on offensive lineman.
“If quarterback Hendon Hooker is available — it’s been tough to forecast exactly where he’ll land because of a torn ACL — I could see that, or if there was a run on offensive tackles similar to 2020, when they landed Tristan Wirfs. But don’t expect them to move far — maybe one or two spots — because they have too many needs to fill,” Laine said.
Hooker is a name that continues to be attached to the Bucs, but he draft position is all over the place. Another ESPN analyst, former GM Mike Tannenbaum, mocked Hooker at No. 5 overall to the Seahawks while others are projecting him as a Day 2 pick.
Tampa Bay has also been mocked as trading up, but all scenarios have involved moving way up for a top quarterback. That’s not going to happen, but the idea of the team trading up a few spots to land a tackle like Paris Johnson or Darnell Wright if a run on that position pool begins seems likely.
Jason Licht has only traded up in the first round only once as GM of the Bucs, and it was back in 2020 for Tristan Wirfs. Another trade up is unlikely, but not out of the question if it helps the Bucs land a top prospect at a key position of need.