Should the Buccaneers trade up for Jackson Powers-Johnson in the first round?

If the Bucs want to land the right guy, they might need to trade up.
2023 Pac-12 Championship - Oregon v Washington
2023 Pac-12 Championship - Oregon v Washington / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages

For as good as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did bringing back pieces that helped lead the team to a deep playoff run last year, there are still some key areas that need to be addressed.

Notably, the offensive line needs work. We’ve all known this for over a year but it seems the Bucs are finally in a position to meaningful rebuild the line through the NFL Draft rather than slap badaids on and hope for the best.

Outside of Tristan Wirfs — and potentially Cody Mauch, who is entering his second year at guard — nothing should be locked in. Injuries have devestated the line over the last two seasons with the biggest loss being Ryan Jensen. He was instrumental to the early success Tampa Bay had with Tom Brady, and it was clear just how important he was when he missed two straight seasons to a knee injury.

That injury eventually ended his career, and it has left the Bucs needing to find a way to replace him. Oregon center Jackson Powers-Johnson seems like the perfect candidate, but the Bucs will probably have to trade up to get him if they want to ensure he’s part of the future.

Buccaneers might need to trade up for Jackson Powers-Johnson in Round 1

At least three teams picking ahead of the Buccaneers need offensive line help and could grab Powers-Johnson to be their center of the future. If Tampa Bay wants him they’ll probably need to jump the Packers, Dolphins, and Steelers.

This could mark back-to-back years the Bucs lose an offensive line target to Pittsburgh. Most folks assumed the Bucs would land Broderick Jones out of Georgia in the draft a year ago, but the Steelers ended up taking him off the board a few picks before.

Pittsburgh traded up to get him, too, which means Tampa Bay could return the favor and jump them for Powers-Johnson.

Green Bay also needs a center, although there are rumors they could move Zach Tom to center to replace Josh Myers, but if JPJ is on the board it might be hard for the Packers to resist taking him to make the offensive line even stronger for Jordan Love.

There’s arguably not a team that needs Powers-Johnson more than the Buccaneers. Pittsburgh has a way of finding the right guy, the Packers do have a guy already in mind, and the Dolphins can fill the hole elsewhere. Tampa Bay doesn’t have any other viable options other than trying to run back what they did last year, which would mean another season of Robert Hainsey at center.

Tampa Bay could also wait and draft a guy like Zach Frazier out of West Virginia on Day 2, but he projects to be more of a guard where Powers-Johnson is a traditional center. It wouldn’t be the first time the team traded up to find a stud lineman. In 2020 the Bucs traded up to land Tristan Wirfs, a move that has completely changed the outlook of the offensive and is something that should give fans confidence that Jason Licht isn’t afraid to make a move when he needs to.

Replacing Ryan Jensen is an absolute must for Tampa Bay, and it should be something the team is willing to pay a bit of a premium for now to ensure the future remains bright.

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