We’re only at the halfway point in the season, but already some teams are starting to look ahead to the NFL Draft in April.
It’s officially NFL Mock Draft SZN.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are one of those teams, but not for all the negative reasons usually attached with looking ahead this early.
Sure, the Bucs are down bad right now as they try to end a four-game losing streak, but this season was always going to be a bit of a transitional one. Tampa Bay is trying to compete, but the fact of hte matter is a new era is about to dawn. Tom Brady is gone, and that chapter in the franchise’s history is coming to an end.
There’s a very really chance the Bucs bounce back and win the NFC South, but it shouldn’t be frowned upon to look at what the future might hold. Jason Licht has a knack for drafting well, and that’s always something to get excited about.
Buccaneers 5-round NFL Mock Draft
In this mock, the Buccaneers trade the No. 8 pick to the New York Jets who are looking to move up from No. 16 overall and take one of the top tackles. In return, Jason Licht nets three huge draft assets: New York's first-round pick next year, plus its first and third-round pick this year.
This gives the Bucs an extra third-rounder to play with, which is typically where Licht likes to cook and find young stud additions to the roster. Given how the Bucs need to build for the future but don't want to wait around, identifying top talent that can have a quicker impact is key.
That's exactly what Licht does in our 5-round mock.
Round 1: Keon Coleman, WR/Florida State
As much as it might pain some fans, the Bucs probably aren't drafting a top quarterback this year. Unless they can land Caleb Williams, it doesn't make sense to gamble to take a gamble when bringing back Baker Mayfield or trying out Kyle Trask is just as good.
If it fails, the Bucs will be right back in the quarterback market in a fe years when another top class is available (*cough* Arch Manning *cough*).
The Bucs also shouldn't reach for a quarterback when it can add a potential superstar player at another position. Keon Coleman might end up giving Marvin Harrison Jr a run for his money as the best wide receiver in the draft class, and he would be the perfect successor to Mike Evans. A dream scenario would be the Bucs getting Evans back, which would give them a potential receiver room that has Evans, Coleman, and Chris Godwin in it.
That's pretty hard to pass up.