Option 1: There are really two different routes the Bucs can go with this pick and feel mostly goo about it.
Michael Mayer was mocked to Tampa Bay in some of the earlier editions that experts were putting out, and it wasn’t hard to talk ourselves into it then. It’s even easier to do it with the tackle situation taken care of, as that was the major road block in the way of Mayer making sense for the Bucs.
With Williams and Wirfs on the line, the Bucs can turn their attention to grabbing a guy who could end up being the best tight end in his class and a start receiver for whoever the quarterback ends up being down the road. Tight ends are lifelines for quarterbacks, and if Kyle Trask ends up winning the starting job then Mayer will be crucial to his potential success.
Thinking further down the line, the Bucs having a Travis Kelce-type target in their offense is a pretty attractive thing to build around. If Mike Evans and Chris Godwin stay for a few more years, that’s a pretty dangerous trio of targets for a young rookie to work with next season or whoever the Bucs end up bringing in to be the quarterback of the future.
Option 2: This is sort of cheating, but it can also serve as a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure.
Quarterback could be an option here for the Bucs. Trading back to No. 28 means taking Hendon Hooker is a lot less of a reach than it would be at No. 19 and deserves to at least be talked about.
In this scenario, the tackle situation is taken care of and there isn’t a slam dunk prospect that the Bucs absolutely cannot pass on. Mayer falling here would be excellent, but if he’s off the board and the front office believes in Hooker, then grabbing him here and getting him on a rookie deal to see if he develops feels like a decent way to end the first day of the draft.
What works against taking Hooker here is his age, the uncertainty about his ACL moving forward, and what the quarterback field will look like next year. Everyone seems to believe next year’s class with Caleb Williams and Drake Maye is shaping up to be better, which means the Bucs might want to wait to take their QB swing then.
Of course, that’s assuming the Bucs will be picking high enough to get either one. Drafting Hooker now gives the team some sort of rookie option moving forward if Trask flames out and Mayfield doesn’t stick around.