It's Mock Draft Monday, so that means we have a new mock draft from Mocking the Draft for you. This time Matthew Fairburn went through three rounds of the 2013 NFL draft, and he managed to fill each of the Bucs' biggest needs: cornerback, tight end (or rather: third receiving option) and nose tackle. With their first-round pick, he has the Bucs selecting my own personal favorite: Xavier Rhodes.
Whether it's a player like Rhodes or Desmond Trufant, cornerback has to be the top first-round priority for the Buccaneers. Chances are this pick could get flipped for Darrelle Revis. If it is and the Jets are picking here, cornerback may be the 13th pick in the draft regardless.
Cornerback has to be the first-round pick unless there really is no one worthy of the pick, or the Bucs trade for Darrelle Revis. So far that hasn't happened, so Rhodes makes perfect sense. In fact, he's really the only player who makes sense there. One interesting note in this mock draft: both
Xavier Rhodes Tavon Austin and Tyler Eifert are gone when the thirteenth pick rolls around.
On to the second round and the Bucs grab the second-best tight end in the draft in Zach Ertz. He's a better blocker than Eifert but not as dynamic a receiver, working more on quality route running than pure speed and ability to catch contested balls. He doesn't have very long arms and that hurts him at times, making him a smaller target than he should be. Ertz won't be a game-breaker, but he'll be a solid all-around tight end who would fit the Tampa Bay offense.
Tight end is enough of a need for the team to consider Tyler Eifert in the first round. They don't have a shot at him in this draft and get some value with Zach Ertz in round two.
Makes perfect sense, again. The third pick also makes sense, though a little less so. Fairburn has the Buccaneers selecting rather stout nose tackle Brandon Williams in the third rouds. At 6'1", 331 lbs Williams is a big body who would be a plugger against the run with some pass-rush ability, but the question is whether he fits the Bucs' scheme which tends to look for more undersized but quicker nose tackles to play as a tilted nose. Still, Williams has experience playing all over the interior defensive line, so he probably has the quick-twitch ability to do that properly, too.