The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have many needs, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Their draft position gives them many options like potential trade scenarios. Their approach in free agency has also allowed them flexibility.
With just over a week before the 2016 NFL Draft, the writers here at TheBayCave.com have put together their thoughts on how the Bucs draft will look including a trade, a quarterback, and a kicker.
Kyle Marks (@BucsDraftBuff)
Round 1 – Jon Bullard, DL, Florida: Bullard proved to be a force this past season as one of the top run stopping lineman in the country. Bullard played both end and tackle and could find himself in a similar role in Tampa. Playing end on early downs and rotating inside to spell McCoy as a 3-Tech, being used similar to a young Henry Melton.
Round 2 – Karl Joseph, Safety, West Virginia: Joseph is a round 1 talent coming off an injury plagued 2015. Joseph has the ball hawk skills and instincts needed to help out the abismal Buccaneer secondary.
Round 3 – Carl Nassib, DL, Penn State: Nassib can play end and utilize his length to rush as a strongside end.Nassib set a school record for sacks in 2015 and would add a versatile lineman to what could be a very multiple defense from a front line look standpoint.
Round 4 – Cyrus Jones, CB, Alabama: Jones provides the Bucs with a future nickel back and instant special teams return ace. The Bama product is a high confidence player with great work ethic providing value at a position of need.
Round 5 – Brandon Shell, OT, South Carolina: Shell comes in and will eventually compete for the right tackle job in year two. Shell is an experienced player and provides a cheap long term option if Demar Dotson and co. don’t pan out beyond this year.
Round 6 – Dadi Nicolas, LB, Virginia Tech: Nicolas played out of position at VT and would be making a transition here to SAM LB. Dadi could be a role player as a 34 pass rush specialist while learning a bigger role and working on special teams.
Round 6 – Josh Ferguson, RB, Illinois: Ferguson is a mix between Doug and Charles in that he’s a smaller guy that runs low to the ground with good pad level, lacks the 2nd gear like Doug and shows good hands and receiving ability like Sims. The Bucs would be wise to take out an insurance policy here for a back that can do a bit of everything.
Michael Horan (@MJ3_TB)
Round 1 – Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson: Tampa Bay need a pass rusher. Shaq Lawson rushes the pass and is pretty good at just about every other part of playing defensive end.
Round 2 – Darian Thompson, Safety, Boise State: The Bucs have indicated that they’ll draft a safety relatively high this year. Thompson is a ball-hawk with a well-rounded skillset otherwise. A perfect fit in the 2nd round.
Round 3 – Braxton Miller, WR, Ohio State: Miller brings the juice and electricity that the Bucs wide receivers and return-men lack. His skill set may get him drafted higher, but his small sample size may let him drop a bit.
Round 4 – Alex McCalister, defensive end, Florida: Extremely raw with lots of physical upside, McCalister would be an interesting project player on the Bucs defensive line.
Round 5 – Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame: Smith will reportedly miss the entire 2016 season with a knee injury. This makes his draft position difficult to predict, but a 5th round pick for one of the drafts best players is well worth it.
Round 6 – Roberto Aguayo, K, Florida State: Come on, does this really need explaining? Alright. Aguayo is one the best kicker prospects of all time, and the Bucs could use a kicker. The 6th round is a steal.
Round 6 – Daryl Worley, CB, West Virginia: I don’t view cornerback as a dire need for the Bucs, but they still should layer the unit with some young depth in this draft. 6 INTs and 12 pass breakups last season.
Dustin Lewis (@
Round 1 – Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida: Hargreaves provides an immediate upgrade in the secondary. He can cover and and he has openly spoken about how he would love to play in Tampa. His play can help a secondary that struggled last year.
Round 2 – Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State: The Bucs were able to add Robert Ayers in the offseason to help with the pass rush problems, but Ogbah is a guy who has the potential to be special. He’s a hard working prospect and I think he can develop superbly as a Buccaneer.
Round 3 – Braxton Miller, WR, Ohio State: After addressing defensive needs early, I expect the Bucs to look for more offensive weapons to put around Jameis Winston. Miller is a former QB, turned WR and his athletic ability and ability to create in space was really on display this season. He provides a speedy receiver to put next to Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson and after the receiver play we saw last season, it might be time for an upgrade.
Round 4 – Roberto Aguayo, K, Florida State: Aguayo is arguably the best kicker in the history of college football. He only missed 9 FG’s over his entire career and never missed an extra point. The Bucs were cost a few games by kicking early in the season and adding a guy who could lock down the position for the next 10-15 years would be a great move.
Round 5 – Avery Young, OT, Auburn: The offensive line exceeded expectations in the 2015 season, but with the retirement of Logan Mankins, we are going to be looking at a few shakeups in 2016. Young is a guy who has played multiple positions on the OL and has started since he was a freshman for the Auburn Tigers. He immediately could compete for playing time at any position on the line and spent most of his time at right tackle for Auburn.
Round 6 – Brandon Allen, QB, Arkansas: Allen could be a target in the later rounds for the Bucs, he presents a developmental prospect that could turn into a solid backup QB behind Winston. If Tampa Bay decides to move on from Mike Glennon, then you should keep Allen on your radars.
Round 6 – Anthony Zettel, DL, Penn State: The Bucs could take a flier on a DL this late just for depth and potential purposes. Zettel is a player with a lot of versatility who spent time at DE and DT for Penn State and can turn into a rotational player in Tampa with his work ethic.
Denver Mortenson (@DenverMortenson)
Round 1 – Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky – Spence isn’t a world-beater. He doesn’t have the burst or explosiveness of player comparisons Von Miller or Khalil Mack, but that is okay. Assuming guys like Bosa and Buckner are gone, then Spence is the way to go. We need an edge rusher and he is probably the best in the draft. It may take him a year, but with proper coaching and strength training, Spence could be a very good player moving forward.
Round 2 – Robert Nkemdiche, DE, Ole Miss – *ducks* Continuing my trend of picking players a lot of people have already completely removed from their draft boards: Robert Nkemdiche. I was the one shouting from the rooftops for the Bucs to take Randy Gregory in the second round last year, and look how that worked out. Fool me once, you can’t get fooled again. Nkemdiche is just better than any player you will get in the second round, and is probably a top ten player in this draft class. He is scheme-versatile and would be a nightmare paired with Gerald McCoy.
Round 3 – Harlan Miller, CB, Southeastern Louisiana – Decent size at 6’0, but a little skinny at about 180 pounds, the AP 2nd team All-American and 1st team All-Conference Harlan Miller is probably the best corner left at this point. He plays aggressive, sometimes too much so, and is an exciting and tenacious player. Underwhelming at the combine, but a strong showing at the Senior Bowl, Miller might not be a future All-Pro, but he could develop into a starting-caliber player, or at least a good depth piece.
Round 4 – Roberto Aguayo, K, Florida State – Most accurate kicker in CFB history. Best kicker to come out in a long time. Aguayo is a gamer who simply does not miss often. Neither Murray nor Barth appear to be the answer moving forward, and Aguayo could lock down the position and be a reliable contributor for years and years.
Round 5 – K.J. Dillon, Safety, West Virginia – The other WVU safety, K.J. Dillon could end up being better than his former teammate. Dillon is a good athlete who is not strictly a free or strong safety. With 20 passes defended in his final two seasons combined, Dillon is a playmaker who is often around the ball. He needs to work on missed tackles, but that should be something he can shore up through coaching and getting stronger.
Round 6 – Mike Thomas, WR, Southern Miss – The other Mike Thomas, from Southern Mississippi, is the guy me and the Bucs sweep up in the 6th round. He has good enough size, good enough burst, and can make the spectacular catches. However, like most 6th round picks, he is raw. He could stand to clean up his routes and work on dropping easy passes, but he is worth the 6th round flyer.
Round 1 – Dan Vitale, FB, Northwestern – He isn’t related to JJ Watt or Rob Gronkowski, but he is the best FB in the draft, which is why Tampa Bay picks him up with their final pick in the draft. A four-year starter at Northwestern, Vitale was asked to do a lot playing a hybrid position. He is a capable receiver and when asked to block, he does so emphatically. He might not be dynamic, but he could be a long time contributor in the league
T.J. Pittinger (@TJ_Pittinger)
Round 1: **Trade Alert** The Bucs trade the #9 overall pick, Mike Glennon, and next year’s third round pick for the Browns second pick. With the second pick, in the NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select: Jalen Ramsey, Defensive Back from Florida State University.
Round 2: The Bucs stay put here and take Robert Nkemdiche. The Bucs get a 1st round talent who may slip to the second round because of some off the field concerns. I love the direction that the Tampa Bay locker room is going. With leaders like Winston and McCoy (who were spotted together at a recent UCF event in Tampa) keeping him in line, this will prove to be an excellent pick for a serious team need.
Round 3: The Bucs lost to the Texans by 10 points last year, missing 3 FGs and an extra point. The Bucs would have taken the lead in the Giants game when Jameis dove for the pylon, if not for a missed FG. Missed Field Goals plagued the Bucs all year last year. Games should have been closer. This won’t be a problem any longer after the Buccaneers select Roberto Aguayo with their 3rd pick. He’s already expressed a want to be here and play with Jameis. Might as well lock up our franchise kicker to play along side our franchise QB.
Round 4: Zach Sanchez, CB, Oklahoma. The Bucs have a huge need for Secondary help. This pick helps there. Sanchez, with time, could be a very good corner. He provides depth immediately, and will see time quickly.
Round 5: I really don’t think he’ll still be there, but if he is, I’m going with Fahn Cooper from Ole Miss. The Bucs have the most promising young quarterback in the NFL. Have to protect him. Grab Cooper here to provide depth to the offensive line and eventually be a starter for a long time.
Round 6: Wide Receiver depth was an issue for the Bucs last year. I expect it to get better this year, but V-Jax isn’t getting any younger. The Bucs should find at least one Wide Receiver in this year’s draft. If he’s here, take Cody Core out of Ole Miss. His speed isn’t off the charts, but it’s decent. He played well when Treadwell went out in 2014 for Ole Miss. He can also be a factor on Special Teams. He’s the kind of player that Jameis Winston makes look way better than he is.