Buccaneers land potential sleeper QB and more in latest 7-round NFL Mock Draft

Tampa Bay adds three key defenders with their first five picks, while also adding two receiving threats for Baker Mayfield
2023 Big 12 Championship - Oklahoma State v Texas
2023 Big 12 Championship - Oklahoma State v Texas / Ron Jenkins/GettyImages
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With the NFL season officially over, all 32 teams will now begin their preparations for the 2024 NFL offseason. With that, free agency and the draft will both be pivotal for all teams this offseason, especially the Buccaneers.

Led by the resurgent play of star quarterback Baker Mayfield, the 2023 season was an absolute success for the Buccaneers. After starting the 2023 season 4-7, Tampa Bay managed to win six of their final seven games to win the NFC South and advance to the NFC Divisional Round, falling just two games short of returning to the Super Bowl.

Despite this, the Buccaneers have 22 players who could become free agents when the NFL's new league year begins on March 13, including 18 unrestricted free agents. The list of upcoming free agents is highlighted by Mayfield, superstar wide receiver Mike Evans, All-Pro free safety Antoine Winfield Jr., and linebackers Devin White and Lavonte David, among others.

As it currently stands, the Buccaneers are set to enter the offseason with roughly $37.2 million in cap space, the tenth-highest mark in the NFL. With the use of void years and contract extensions, however, Tampa Bay can create even more cap space to sign its top free agents.

Ultimately, not everyone is going to be back so nailing all seven of their picks in the 2024 draft will be vital for winning their fourth straight division title and their fifth straight playoff appearance.

Round 1, Pick 26: Kamren Kinchens, S/Miami

Last season, Tampa Bay's rush defense one of the NFL's bests, allowing just 19.1 PPG and 95.3 RYPG, which ranked seventh and fifth in the NFL, respectively. That was in large part to a stout front seven, which combined for 91 tackles for loss and 48 sacks, the sixth and seventh marks in the league.

In reference to this, the same can't be said for Tampa Bay's pass defense, which allowed 4,342 passing yards, 23 passing touchdowns against 64 passes defended and 13 interceptions, all bottom-ten marks. This comes even with the excellent play of All Pro First Team selection Antoine Winfield Jr., further stating the Buccaneers' priority of adding talent to their secondary this offseason.

Late in round one, the Buccaneers manage to add Kinchens, a star safety that was great in pass and run coverage at Miami. After playing sparingly as a backup in his freshman season, Kinchens shined in his first season as a starter, compiling 59 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, six passes defended, and six interceptions as a Sophomore.

As a Junior, Kinchens showed notable improvement from 2022 to 2023, finishing last season with 59 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, one sack, five passes defended, and five interceptions in ten starts. To top it all of, Kinchens became the first player in Miami school history to lead the ACC in interceptions for two straight seasons.

With defensive coordinator Kevin Steele opting for man-to-man coverage more often than not, Kinchens was used as a ball hawking safety in the intermediate and deep parts of the field. In Miami's 31-38 loss to Louisville, Kinchens reads QB Jack Plummer's eyes on a streak route by WR Chris Bell and makes an acrobatic play for a diving interception and to save a touchdown.

Similar to Winfield Jr., Kinchens is a phenomenal safety at blitzing the QB, as he accelerates off the snap with little strain and can cover large areas of ground exploding downhill. Coupled with a strong tackling technique and ability to recover on play-action fakes, and Kinchens is an ideal player to use for all-out or delayed blitzes

In addition to his elite deep threat catching ability, Sanders is one of the best blocking TEs in the draft class. In space, Sanders takes good angles with a good pace and overpowers defensive backs and some linebackers.