The Super Bowl is done, the season is over, and Mocking the Drafhas a new mock draft out. All is normal in the world again, and the two picks for the Buccaneers in this three-round mock make perfect sense. The Bucs lack a third-round pick due to their trade for Darrelle Revis, of course.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
Mack may not be the pass rushing defensive end the Buccaneers need, but he's a do-everything linebacker who could be a difference maker straight away. Mack picked apart an Ohio State offensive line that should have four players taken in the draft this year, particularly left tackle Jack Mewhort. He's a physical pass rusher who can get off blocks and uses a variety of moves to get after the quarterback. As good as he is getting up field, Mack looks comfortable dropping in space and covering tight ends. There's little Mack can't do.
38. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Gabe Jackson, G, Mississippi State
In my last mock draft, I was soundly ripped for even considering an offensive tackle for the Buccaneers. So how about a massive left guard? Carl Nicks has often been injured, and hasn't lived up to the salary he received. He's owed big money over the next two seasons, as is right guard Davin Joseph. If the Buccaneers choose to cut either, there wouldn't be much drop off if a player like Jackson is brought in.
Most mock drafts now have three quarterbacks going ahead of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel, in varying orders. That leaves Derek Carr as the only real option for the Bucs, and it seems the consensus is now that he's now worth a top-10 or perhaps even a first-round pick. Personally, I don't think he'd represent a significant upgrade over Mike Glennon.
Meanwhile, having a pass rusher would help the Bucs, obviously. Last year's decision to let Michael Bennett walk looks worse every day, and the Seahawks plan on retaining him anyway. The Bucs have a big need at edge rusher, though they might try to fill it by developing Da'Quan Bowers and Adrian Clayborn more, and adding a veteran with some coaching staff connections in free agency. Julius Peppers and Jared Allen would be two reasonable options there.
If that doesn't happen, though, Khalil Mack would be a very good fit. He's a powerful and quick edge rusher, with a strong motor and a well-developed game. He would have to pack on a few pounds to play 4-3 defensive end, but that shouldn't be a huge problem for him. It's a solid pick, though it may not be an overly exciting one.
As for Gabe Jackson in the second round: finding a new starting guard may be the team's highest priority this season. Carl Nicks' rehab may be on schedule, it's still not clear whether he'll ever suit up again. Moreover, Davin Joseph was a disaster last season, and the Bucs desperately need a find a way to replace him (or get him to play better). Jackson would be a good fit as a powerful, mauling guard on either the right or left side.
- Super Bowl 48 Open Thread
- 2014 NFL Free Agency: Buccaneers likely to be interested in Michael Vick
- Daily Bucs Links: Brooks in the Hall of Fame
- 2014 NFL Hall of Fame: Tony Dungy, John Lynch
- Derrick Brooks to be inducted in 2014 NFL Hall of Fame class