7-round Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mock Draft ahead of free agency

Tampa Bay adds a game-changing talent on defense with three of first four picks, add running back, wide receiver, and tight end for next quarterback

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Round 7, Pick 244: Tanner McLachlan, TE/Arizona

Following the retirement of former tight end Rob Gronkowski in 2021, the Buccaneers have been without a true star tight end. With the No. 106 pick in the 2022 draft, Tampa Bay selected Washington's Cade Otten to be used as a do-it-all tight end.

Through two seasons, Otten has performed as most expected, recording 89 catches, 846 receiving yards, six touchdowns and 9.5 yards per catch in 33 games (28 starts). With Otten set to enter his third season in the NFL, it's too early for the Buccaneers to abandon ship on him, but adding Arizona's McLachlan would give Tampa Bay two big receiving threats over the middle of the field.

After posting a modest stat line consisting of 34 catches, 456 receiving yards, and two touchdowns in 2022, McLachlan was even better in his final season as the Wildcats' starting tight end. Playing and starting in all 13 games, McLachlan caught 45 passes for 530 receiving yards, four touchdowns and 11.8 yards per catch. When targeted by the quarterback, McLachlan's QB rating skyrocketed from a 91.8 to a 108.3 in the last two seasons.

While being a solid pass catcher, McLachlan has also been a good blocking tight end for the Wildcats. As a sophomore, McLachlan gave up just two pressures and one sack, followed by four pressures and no sacks in his junior year.

While holding a strong and massive frame at 6'5" and 244 pounds, McLachlan's 4.61 40-yard dash highlights his ability to still outrun some outside linebackers and find soft spots in coverage. McLachlan catches the football well in traffic, shields the ball from defenders with his frame, and holds on despite taking big hits.

Running a limited route tree in college may cause problems for McLachlan in the pros, though. Coupled with a lack of bulk and lower-body strength, and McLachlan may struggle early in his career. Regardless, McLachlan would be a nice addition for the Buccaneers in need of more depth at the tight end position.

Round 7, Pick 255: Jase McClellan, RB, Alabama

Last season, the Buccaneers relied on Rachaad White as the team's workhorse back, and the 2022 third-round pick yielded mixed results on the year. Starting in all 17 games, White recorded 272 carries for 990 rushing yards, six touchdowns, and 3.6 yards per attempt, while catching 64 of 70 targets for 549 receiving yards, three touchdowns and 8.6 yards per catch.

From scrimmage, White totaled an impressive 336 touches, 1,539 scrimmage yards and nine touchdowns, and showcased his rising talent as a dual-threat running back. With the hiring of new offensive coordinator Liam Coen, White may be set up to have an even better 2024 season.

Excluding White, the Buccaneers' running back room is extremely shallow and simply lacks talent. Whether Tampa Bay will address this in free agency remains to be seen, but taking a flier on Alabama's McCellan with their final pick is a nice insurance plan behind White.

Following a phenomenal high school career at Aledo High School, McClellan was used sparingly as a freshman and sophomore at Alabama. It wasn't until his junior year that McClellan took over the Crimson Tide's No. 1 running back. In 13 starts, McCellan recorded 112 rushing attempts, 655 rushing yards, seven touchdowns and 5.8 yards per carry, while adding 174 receiving yards and three touchdowns on 14 catches.

This past season, McClellan took on a larger role in Alabama's offense and truly played better as a result. Starting in 13 games once again, McClellan toted the rock 180 times for 890 rushing yards, eight touchdowns and 4.9 yards per carry, along with 15 catches and 139 yards.

At 5'11" and 212 pounds, McClellan is built very similarly to White (6'0", 214 pounds), and the two running backs' playstyles match up well. Like White, McClellan has a solid top speed, and an impressive leg drive upon contact that nets positive yards on runs.

That said, McClellan is only two years removed from tearing his ACL in 2021, so the concern about McClellan's injury history is justified. Since 2021, there have been no issues with McClellan and his previous ACL tear, so it won't take his draft stock, but is a lingering question for NFL teams ahead of the draft.

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