Mel Kiper Mock Draft: Buccaneers grab Sammy Watkins

Streeter Lecka

In Mel Kiper's latest mock draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers upgrade their receiving corps with the best receiver in the draft.

In his latest mock draft, Mel Kiper has the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selecting Sammy Watkins. The Clemson product is widely seen as the top wide receiver in this draft class, and he's arguably the best wide receiver to come out since Julio Jones and A.J. Green in 2011.

The Bucs are going to be good on the defensive side of the ball. They've added a good defensive end in Michael Johnson and a good cornerback in Alterraun Verner, and they may not be done. But they also have uncertainty at QB even with the addition of Josh McCown. And whether it's McCown or second-year option Mike Glennon, another weapon in the passing game will help, and Watkins becomes a pretty good value at this point. His experience implies a player ready to succeed early; the offense will get a bump from his presence.

Adding Sammy Watkins to the team would be a tremendous improvement. The Bucs have filled nearly every hole on the roster except offensive guard, and they're not done in free agency yet. The Bucs are still looking at free agent receivers and may add one of them for depth purposes, but Watkins is too good a player to pass up at the seventh overall pick. In fact, he's so good that I have a hard time seeing this scenario actually play out.

This draft does have the Bucs passing on Johnny Manziel, which is sure to annoy JoeBucsFan, but actually makes a lot of sense for the Bucs. Manziel thrives on improvisational, out-of-structure play, and he's essentially the opposite of the kind of quarterback Jeff Tedford prefers: structured, disciplined, and willing to execute his offensive design. While McCown isn't exactly a long-term answer and Mike Glennon is obviously not seen as the answer either (barring a spectacular training camp), Manziel is unlikely to work under Jeff Tedford's tutelage.

Instead, selecting Watkins may be the best thing the Bucs can do to help their offense. The Clemson prospect is explosive, has great hands, a good grasp of route-running and a sense for how to get open. He should make an instant impact in the NFL, and would add an explosive element to a Bucs receiving corps that is dominated by big-bodied players who excel at contested catches. It would also likely mean the end of Mike Williams as the team's number two receiver. Williams is currently in the coaching staff's dog-house after a series of minor off-field incidents, but he has two years of guaranteed salary left on his deal. Watkins would also provide some insurance for Vincent Jackson, who's still a very productive receiver, but he's also aging and playing on a very expensive contract.

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