NFL Mock Draft: Mel Kiper Jr makes his final prediction for Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

In his final NFL Mock Draft of the year, ESPN expert Mel Kiper Jr dives into who he thinks the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will end up with after the first round is over.

After months of speculation, the NFL Draft is finally here. We will all learn what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will do with the No. 19 pick and if any of the rumors that have been tossed out end up being true.

To be fair, the Bucs haven’t really been at the forefront of any major rumors. They’ve been hanging around in the background of potential trades for a top quarterback, maybe moving Devin White for some picks, or standing pat to take a skill position player that falls to them.

What will make draft night fun is the fact that there’s no real consensus pick for the Bucs at No. 19. There’s an idea that they will take a top tackle, but there’s no guarantee of anything.

Players from Darnell Wright to Bijan Robinson and even Will Levis have been attached to the Bucs, as have guys like Michael Mayer and Hendon Hooker.

With the first round kicking off tonight, draft experts around the league are submitting final NFL Mock Draft predictions for what they think will happen. One of the guys most fans have been waiting to hear final word from is ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr., and he delivered his final picks this morning.

NFL Mock Draft: Mel Kiper Jr makes his final prediction for Buccaneers

In his final NFL Mock Draft of the year, Kiper has Tampa Bay selecting Georgia offensive tackle Broderick Jones

Kiper keeps it simple with his pick for the Bucs, which tells us a few different things even if the pick doesn’t end up being what he thinks it might be.

“I expect the Bucs to be in the tackle market, and they could take the best available guy here. Tristan Wirfs could move from right to left tackle, opening up a void on the right side. Jones was outstanding for the national champs last season,” Kiper wrote in his final mock draft.

One takeaway from Kiper’s mock draft is that he bakes in the expected run on tackles in the middle of the round. Kiper has Paris Johnson off the board to the Chicago Bears and Peter Skoronski going to the the New York Jets. Darnell Wright, who many have mocked to the Bucs at No. 19, is the second tackle off the board in Kiper’s final mock draft going to the Green Bay Packers.

That’s a pretty likely scenario, as the tackle pool will have been picked through throughouly by the time Tampa Bay goes on the clock. This is what has fueled some late speculation that the Bucs might trade up to get the tackle they want, something Jason Licht did three years ago.

Licht trading up back in 2020 was the only time he’s done so as the Bucs GM, and it resulted in Tristan Wirfs. That was a pretty good gamble to take, and it will be interesting to see if he makes another move or waits to see who falls into his lap without trading around.

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