NFL Draft Rumors: Buccaneers are in a prime position for Michael Penix Jr. trade

It seems like Tampa Bay is in a perfect position to make a draft day trade on Thursday.
Allstate Sugar Bowl - Texas v Washington
Allstate Sugar Bowl - Texas v Washington / Jonathan Bachman/GettyImages

Of the ten NFL Draft classes Jason Licht has put together, four of them have featured a trade of some sort in the first round.

Going a step further, two of those trades have happened in the last four years, and based on the way things are shaking out we might be in for yet another deal before the first round is over next Thursday night.

Licht has gone both ways the last four years, trading up in 2020 to draft Tristan Wirfs and trading out of the first round in 2022. The move for Wirfs is actually the only time Licht has traded up, as he moved back in 2016 and again two years later when the Bills moved up to draft Josh Allen in 2018.

There's a potential argument for the Bucs to trade up again for an offensive lineman -- Jackson Powers-Johnson -- but if he's not available then a trade the other way might be on the table.

Buccaneers could be a trade partner for someone who wants Michael Penix Jr

Our friends over at JoeBucsFan were listening to The Dan Patrick Show and picked up on something Peter Schrager said about his final mock draft that got the wheels turning. The NFL Network analyst said that teams could look to trade back into the first round to land Michael Penix Jr., which could line up for the Buccaneers to trade down.

“Teams [drafting] in the late 20s or teams that have potential quarterback needs who said they would expect there would be a trade-up into the first round if he falls out of the top 20," Schrager said. "He’s not going to fall to Day 2.”

Picking No. 26 overall puts the Bucs in a strange position, one that could fracture into a number of different directions. If Powers-Johnson is available either in that range or when the Bucs are on the clock, there's no question he should be the pick. There's also the potential for a pass rusher or cornerback to be Tampa Bay's pick, as they don't have to trade around.

We've seen this happen before though, as teams want to move back into the first round to land a potential franchise quarterback on the best rookie deal possible. A team waiting to draft Penix on Day 2 won't have that fifth-year option attached to his contract, which is why a trade back into the first round is incentivized.

Tampa Bay was already rumored to be a trade down candidate if nothing absolutely set them on fire at No. 26, and this rising interest in Penix could make their pick more valuable to another team. It's unlikely that the Bucs would pick up an extra first round pick next year, but landing another Top 100 pick this year and potentially some extra trade filler to move up later in the draft could be worth it.

While it's hard to predict what will happen, therein lies the beauty of the position the Bucs are in.

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