Here once again is my attempt to pretend I'm the team's GM, able to browbeat both the Head Coach and the team owners into submitting to MY will BWHAHAHAHA. Which of course in Real Life will never happen...
As a side note, I once again plan to go to a sports bar to watch the First Round's insanity. This year, there's a Selmons restaurant very close to where I am (Palm Harbor) and so I'm planning on crashing there and complaining loudly when the Bucs waste their pick on Ryan Tannehill... /headthump
So, after the jump...
First Round (5) - Morris Claiborne, Cornerback, LSU
Before the free agency period, this looked to be a no-brainer: of the talent listed on the draft boards, CB was the only one fitting a major need with both Claiborne and Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick at the top of a lot of scouting reports. However, what the Bucs failed to do during the first few weeks of FA - snagging a starter-quality Outside LB - may throw this pick up for grabs between either CB or OLB (Courtney Upshaw, perhaps?). And for anyone yelling for RB (TRENT! MEL KIPER LOVES YOU TRENT!), I'd just like to point out that the modern history of drafting RBs (getting good runners in the middle of the draft rounds) means the Bucs can hold off on getting a runner to complement Blount at least by the Third Round.
I went with CB and with Claiborne for two reasons: Claiborne is scouted as one of the best Corners entering a draft in years; and the uncertainty with Talib and unlikelihood of any of the remaining Corners (Biggers, Lewis, even FA acquisition Wright) stepping up as a Number 1 Corner. Draft board for Outside Linebackers (and Running Backs) looks good this year...
Second Round (36) - Sean Spence, Outside Linebacker, Miami
I'm not sure which OLBs at the top of the rankings are going to slip down into the Second Round (is Bobby Wagner okay for drafting? I doubt Courtney Upshaw will slip this far.). Of the ones I see suggested for the Second Round for selection, Spence is the one who sounds like he fits the Bucs' 4-3 scheme well, with a good read/react ability and pursuit to the ball-carrier. Other possibilities at this point for OLB might include West Virginia's Bruce Irvin. It depends on who's here at the 36th pick.
Alternate possibility is the Bucs go with RB here, in which case Washington's Chris Polk or Oregon's LaMichael James should still be on the boards. There's a slight chance higher-rated RBs like Miami's Lamar Miller or Virginia Tech's David Wilson might slip to here, but don't count on it.
Third Round (68) - LaMichael James, Running Back, Oregon
It does depend on if he slips to here or else gets taken in the Second Round. But getting him would definitely complement his fellow ex-Duck LeGarrette Blount more than just taking care of alumni dues. Quick, good receiver out of the back, compares favorably to Warrick Dunn. He can become the WD to Blount's 40.
If the Bucs grabbed James or any other RB in the Second Round, expect either an OLB pick here - possibly Nigel Bradham, Florida State - or maybe even Safety - a FS like Markelle Martin (Oklahoma St) - to take care of the depth/talent woes there.
Fourth Round (traded) - there goes our shot at getting a good value at Free Safety... sigh.
Fifth Round (140) - Nate Potter, Offensive Tackle, Boise St
At this point my mock has taken care of three of the four major needs I see for the Bucs: CB, OLB, and RB. The remaining major need is Right Offensive Tackle, in terms of depth and possibly making constant-headache Jeremy Trueblood into trade bait. Not entirely sure who by the Fifth Round would be of any starter quality, but Potter's scouting reports sounds like he can work well at the rightside (run block) of the O-line.
Sixth Round (174) - Jerrell Young, Safety, South Florida
Here comes my annual attempt to get a USF Bulls player drafted by the home team. He doesn't scout well, but his positives include good work ethic and decent speed. Really needs good coaching and developing better instincts.
Seventh Round (212) - Tahir Whitehead, Outside Linebacker, Temple
At this point, you're drafting less for need and more for special team bodies and preseason cannon fodder. Linebacker - both Inside and Out - is lacking depth-wise, so getting another body in there for evaluation doesn't hurt.
This is where I regret the Bucs not getting any Compensatory picks. Le Sigh...
So, what do you think sirs?