NFL Mock Draft 2014: Jadeveon Clowney falling to the Buccaneers?

Scott Halleran

Of all the unlikely scenarios I've seen, Jadeveon Clowney falling to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is probably the least likely one.

Sports on Earth published a mock draft today. Not just any mock draft, though: a three-for-the-price-of-one mock draft. Mike Tanier, Russ Lande and Dan Pompei all give their opinions, which is interesting because they represent three different styles of NFL writers: the analyst, the scout and the journalist. Tanier thinks the Bucs go for Jake Matthews, while Dan Pompei projects Anthony Barr to come to Tampa and Russ Lande even has Jadeveon Clowney on the board.

I would not expect Anthony Barr to be the pick. Barr is falling quickly down most draft boards as people get caught up on his tape, which is simply not nearly as good as Khalil Mack's, or Jadeveon Clowney's, or even Dee Ford's. You'll probably see him drop out of top ten consideration, and may even start seeing him as a potential second-round pick for the Buccaneers.

Jake Matthews is more intriguing, perhaps, because it doesn't really fit a need. Demar Dotson is a very good right tackle, although I wouldn't want him to try playing left tackle. Matthews would be a pick to replace Donald Penn, instead. That's an interesting idea, because it'd save the Bucs a decent amount of cap space while safeguarding the future at the position. However, Penn is certainly capable of playing well for a couple more years. Replacing him will become an issue at some point in the (near) future, but it's not a problem yet.

Jadeveon Clowney would be a much better pick, though. Russ Lande compares him to Julius Peppers, which seems fair. It's just extremely unlikely that Clowney will fall remotely that far. He's one of the most talented defensive linemen to come out in years, and the effort questions are overblown. I really can't see the Atlanta Falcons passing on him, nor whichever team doesn't pick a quarterback at the top.

Even so, if Clowney does fall that far, it's a really easy pick for the Bucs, assuming they haven't signed Michael Johnson or Greg Hardy in free agency. They won't get a chance to draft a player like that again any time soon. I hope.

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