Latest Mel Kiper Jr. mock draft has the Bucs taking a wide receiver in Round 1

This could be a precursor to the Bucs once again zigging where everyone expect a zag.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v New York Jets
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v New York Jets / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

The first wave of free agency is behind us, but that doesn't mean the offseason is going to be slowing down anytime soon.

In little over a month, the frenzy is going to start right back up with the NFL Draft arriving, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a bit of a wild card in terms of what they might do at the back of the first round.

The Bucs have options, especially after how they crushed free agency. Rather than spend big on outside help, Tampa Bay used most of its cap space to bring back key players like Baker Mayfield, Mike Evans, and Antoine Winfield Jr., the latter of whom still needs a long-term deal.

Other important players like Lavonte David and Chase McLaughlin were re-signed as well, with Jordan Whitehead returning in free agency after two years away in New York. The Bucs focused on offensive line depth, rather than topline starters, which means they could dip into a deep interior line pool when the draft rolls around.

Jason Licht is in a position of power, though, and one NFL Draft expert things he might cook up a surprise pick in the first round.

Latest Mel Kiper Jr. mock draft has the Bucs taking a wide receiver in Round 1

In his latest NFL Mock Draft, Mel Kiper has the Bucs not only taking an offensive player but going with a wide receiver. He has Tampa Bay taking Texas Longhorns speedster Xavier Worthy with the No. 26 pick.

"I see room for a third wideout to take the top off the defense. And what better way to do that than with the fastest prospect in NFL combine history? At 5-foot-11, 165 pounds, Worthy is small, but he is electric with the ball in his hands. He'll help Mayfield's yards-per-attempt average just by running past corners on crossers. He had 26 touchdowns over three college seasons," Kiper wrote.

Taking a receiver might seem like an odd choice, but it also highlights how many options the Bucs have. It's also a reminder that Jason Licht is one of the hardest GMs to read when it comes to the draft, which is something we saw last season when Calijah Kancey was the pick at No. 19 when everyone thought they'd take a quarterback or offensive lineman.

At some point the Bucs are going to need to take an offensive lineman, but it's a deep class so there's no need to reach in the first round. A receiver seems a little strange but Kiper's logic makes some sense. Adding Worthy, who is an absolute speed demon, to for a trio with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin seems like a pretty good way to upgrade Baker Mayfield's weapons.

Worthy makes sense if there aren't any other clearly obvious options on the board. Tampa Bay could use a cornerback like T.J. Tampa or Kool-Aid McKinstry, and who knows if an edge rusher or offensive lineman falls down the board a bit. A trade can't be counted out either, which could give the Bucs even more Top 100 picks to play with.

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