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
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
2 of 7
Next

Round 2, Pick 57: Ja'Tavion Sanders, TE/Texas

Since being drafted with the No. 7 pick in the 2014 draft, Mike Evans has grown and quickly become one of the NFL's premiere wide receivers. In 154 career games, Evans has caught 762 passes for 11,680 receiving yards and 94 touchdowns, while catching over 100 yards in 36 games -- a franchise record.

With 1,255 receiving yards this past season, Evans became the second player all-time to record1,000+ receiving yards in his first ten seasons, joining the all-time great WR Jerry Rice (11). As a result, Evans has made the Pro Bowl five times and has made the AP All-Pro Second Team two times, including this season.

While Tampa Bay will do everything in their power to retain Evans this offseason, the ten-year veteran is free agent this offseason and will be a highly sout free agent by a number of teams. In the case that Evans may have played his last game as a Buccaneer, Tampa Bay will need to add another big body receiving threat to give QB Baker Mayfield for the 2024 season.

Enter Sanders, one of the nation's best deep-ball receivers and versatile receiving threat. After playing sparingly for the Longhorns as a Freshman in 2021, Sanders thrived in his first season as Texas' starting tight end. In 13 games, Sanders caught a school-record 54 receptions for 613 receiving yards and five touchdowns, with the receiving yards representing the second-most by a Longhorns tight end.

Sanders would follow that up with another solid season in 2023, catching 45 passes for 682 receiving yards and two touchdowns in 14 games. As a result, Sanders earned All-Big 12 First Team Honors, while also being named as a John Mackey Award semifinalist and to CBS Sports' All-American second-team.

Standing at 6'4" and 256 pounds, Sanders a true hybrid receiver, with the size of a tight end and the speed and agility of a wide receiver. As shown by his 4.56 40-yard dash, Sanders is more than capable of playing outside like a wide receiver, and is able to outpace most NFL linebackers and some NFL safeties in a straight line.

While playing inside, Sanders is a solid strong space blocker, and takes good angles with a good pace to overpower defensive backs. Sanders' frame is in the mold of a stout blocking tight end, so in goal-line formations or goal-to-go situations, Sanders would be a true matchup nightmare no matter where he lines up.