2014 NFL Mock Draft: Offensive tackle for the Buccaneers?

Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

An offensive tackle for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers may be their best option, even if it doesn't fill a need.

In the latest mock draft from Mocking the Draft, Dan Kadar has the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selecting an offensive tackle to shore up their offensive line: Greg Robinson out of Auburn.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn

The Buccaneers are in a similar situation as the Falcons. Go with Donald Penn for another year at left tackle and hope he plays better, or add a younger, more talented player? Robinson was a revelation this season. He's a powerful blocker who could open up massive running lanes for Doug Martin.

I've got some issues with this pick. Actually, I have a lot of issues with this pick. Let's start with picking offensive tackles high: it's a safe, but boring and ultimately low-impact strategy. Unless you get a truly dominant offensive tackle, you're getting a player who could be replaced with a lower-round pick or a free agent signing. The last truly dominant offensive tackle was Joe Thomas. In recent years, several highly-drafted offensive tackles have been okay, but far from impact players. Part of the reason is that quality quarterbacks can compensate for poor tackle play.

Second, the Buccaneers don't have a need at offensive tackle. The Bucs do need offensive line help, but the issue this past season was not offensive tackle. Demar Dotson was one of the best right tackles in the NFL while Donald Penn was still graded positively on Pro Football Focus's grading, despite a few too many lowlight plays. While Penn will need replacing eventually (he turns 31 this year), he should be fine for a few more seasons.

Instead, the Bucs' needs on the offensive lie at guard. Carl Nicks' future is in doubt, although he still looked good for the two games he played this season, while Davin Joseph had an absolutely horrible year. That may have been caused by returning from injury, but at age 30 a bounce-back season for Joseph seems unlikely, to say the least. However, you don't draft offensive guards with the seventh overall pick, and there's no guard worth selecting at that pick, anyway.

Then again, in this specific scenario the Bucs don't exactly have many alternatives. The top quarterbacks are gone. Derek Carr is still available, but he's not exactly a slam-dunk selection, either. Sammy Watkins isn't available. The Bucs could try to trade up to the second overall pick for a better player, but lack the draft ammunition to do so. They could try to trade down -- but that's something we hear every year, and it's hard to get a good deal doing so when there's no player you think is worth selecting that high.

The best option in this case may be to draft an edge rusher. Khalil Mack is emerging more and more as the consensus second-best edger rusher in the draft, but he'd have to put on a few pounds to play defensive end in the NFL. He can probably do that, or the Bucs might use him as a linebacker on running downs and a defensive end on passing downs. Behind him, players like C.J. Mosley (a middle linebacker that high?) and Eric Ebron start to enter the picture -- hardly slam-dunks, either.

In this scenario, the Buccaneers don't really have a winning pick. Which is a scary prospect for a team that finished 4-12.


Video via Draft Breakdown.

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