NFL Draft 2024: Top Cornerbacks Buccaneers could target

Cornerback is a need for the Buccaneers, but who can help them address it in the NFL Draft this year?
Iowa State v Kansas State
Iowa State v Kansas State / Peter Aiken/GettyImages

There are a few different positions that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going to address in the NFL Draft this year, with cornerback ranking higher than some might think.

Obvious needs exist on the offensive line and at edge rusher but don't sleep on the Bucs using one of their four Top 100 picks on someone for the secondary. Even before trading Carlton Davis III to the Detroit Lions, which netted Tampa Bay the fourth of those Top 100 picks, cornerback was an area that needed some help.

Davis was instrumental in helping the Bucs defense win a Super Bowl a few years ago but it had been a while since he made an impact. He missed 16 games over the last three years and often found himself on the wrong end of big plays.

That's indicative of the entire secondary as two things were true last year: Davis and Dean were not good and the depth was thin. Tampa Bay can attempt to fix both of those things either on the first few days of the draft or at some point this weekend.

It's not a shallow class of secondary talent, and the Bucs would be remiss to not look at adding one or two guys before the draft wraps up.

NFL Draft 2024: Top Cornerbacks Buccaneers could target

First Round Targets

  • Cooper DeJean, Iowa
  • Nate Wiggins, Clemson
  • Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama

Most experts think the Bucs are going to take an edge usher at No. 26, specifically Penn State's Chop Robinson. Florida State's Jared Verse is also a target, although there's a chance he's not there when the Bucs go on the clock.

If nothing tickles Jason Licht's fancy when it comes to an edge rusher, then dipping into a top cornerback could be the way to go. Cooper DeJean is unlikely to reach Day 2, but it's also possible the Bucs could pass on Nate Wiggins or Kool-Aid McKinstry and be in a position to trade up for them on Friday night.

Day 2 Targets

  • Mike Sainristil, Michigan
  • T.J. Tampa, Iowa State
  • Ennis Rakestraw Jr., Missouri
  • Kamari Lassiter, Georgia
  • Kyrhee Jackson, Oregon
  • Andru Phillips, Kentucky

If the Bucs end up passing on a cornerback in Round 1, it might not be difficult to land someone almost as talented on Friday night. T.J. Tamps sticks out as a top target, both in name and performance, while Ennis Rakestraw Jr. was at one point mocked to Tampa Bay at No. 26, which means getting him on Day 2 could be a steal.

Day 3 Targets

  • Max Melton, Maryland
  • Cam Hart, Notre Dame
  • Caelen Carson, Wake Forest
  • Myles Harden, South Dakota
  • Kamal Hadden, Tennessee

Even with four picks in the Top 100, the Bucs don't have to address cornerback right away. They could wait until Day 3 and still feel good about the talent they're getting, although this is probably where a double dip happens rather than Tampa Bay diving in for the first time.

Caelen Carson and Cam Hart are two names to pay close attention to, as they are big zone coverage guys which likely has them on Todd Bowles' radar. Kamal Hadden is super raw but also insanely gifted and could be a Day 3 steal.

Potential Sleepers

  • Josh Newton, TCU
  • M.J. Devonshire, Pitt
  • Jarius Monroe, Tulane

Speaking of steals, who doesn't like a good NFL Draft sleeper? The Bucs sure do, which is something we saw last year when Jason Licht put together a masterful UDFA class that included starting safety Christian Izien.

The pool starts to thin out fast on Day 3, but it could be worth taking a late-round flier on Pitt's M.J. Devonshire or Tulane's Jarius Monroe as guys who could have an Izien-style impact next season.

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