7-round Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mock Draft after 2024 NFL Combine

Now that the NFL Combine is in the books, the Buccaneers draft plans are a little clearer.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL Draft
Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL Draft / Christian Petersen/GettyImages
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With the NFL Combine officially in the rearview, teams are going to start getting serious about forming draft plans. For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, attention will mostly be focused on free agency in the interim, but long term the team needs to take a hard look at this year's draft class to figure out ways to both reload in key areas or start rebuilding others.

No matter what happens with Baker Mayfield and Mike Evans, most of the Bucs draft needs remain the same. Not re-signing Mayfield won't suddenly have Tampa Bay in the running to trade up for a quarterback, nor will losing Evans mean a reach for a wide receiver.

Instead, the Bucs can use the draft as an alternative to spending big money in free agency to patch up certain areas that might be flying under the radar with so much attention focused elsewhere on the roster.

7-round Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mock Draft after 2024 NFL Combine

Round 1, Pick 26: Ennis Rakestraw Jr., CB/Missouri

We all know the obvious things the Buccaneers need to do this offseason, but there are areas of the roster flying under the radar thanks to all of the noise at other positions. One of those spots is in the secondary, specifically at cornerback where the Bucs need to find a way to get deeper and more talented.

Free agency could be an option, but the team could look at this year's draft class to start ushering in a new era. Last year everyone thought the Bucs were going to use their first round pick on an offensive lineman, but Jason Licht ended up drafting Calijah Kancey instead. We could be in for another plot twist this year if Tampa Bay goes on the clock and Ennis Rakestraw Jr. is still on the board.

Last year helped lead a Mizzou defense that stormed into the Top 25 and took down some of the country's best offenses. He's a press corner but he's played well in zone coverage and is a savvy off-coverage cornerback who could inject some youth into the secondary.

Both Jamel Dean and Carlton Davis struggled to live up to the level we're used to seeing them at, but adding in Rakestraw could either motivate them to get back to who the Bucs need them to be or offer up a potential replacement for one of them if things don't improve.

Already there's been talk of the team potentially trading Davis, so it could be that the Bucs look to the draft for his replacement. If anything, cornerback depth was an issue for Tampa Bay last year and once zagging when everyone's is expecting the Bucs to zig could be a way to further add to a defense that remains the strongest part of the team.