Why This Is The Toughest Draft To Figure Out In Ages

Sander's bored of 'em.

BamaBucc keeps tossing tons of them up.

I've even done two by now, and I admit I'll get one more done just before the actual event goes down in May.

I've yet to see DraftPhantom make one, and considering his expertise on the matter I figure his mock draft is gonna be an epic one... except of course, as noted, I haven't seen it yet (has he done one and I missed it?).

But the thing about mock drafting for the Bucs this year all falls down to one thing: nobody's got a really good idea what the hell our team is gonna do this year.

Some years it's obvious: when we had the third overall pick back in 2010, we were in dire need of defensive line help and we had either Suh or McCoy to pick, with McCoy the most likely (since Suh was the more tempting DT for Detroit). In that case, it was a no-brainer that thankfully worked out.

Some years it's clear the owners / coaches want one thing where the fans would prefer another: when the Glazers made it abundantly clear in 2009 they wanted a franchise QB and then reached for Josh Freeman despite the screams and wails of fans who noted Freeman was a huge reach (and that our higher priority was a bad d-line).

There's been the few years where the Bucs were solid talent-wise, drafting low, and under expectations of just drafting BPA rather than a priority or high need.

And then there's the years the Bucs traded away their First Rounders for short-term help, and all the tears in the world ain't gonna change any of that so let's move on...

But this year is different: some of it the team's fault, some of it just the historical anomaly this year's turning out to be...

1) This is one of those drafts where there's solid talent at Quarterback - always the key to figuring out any First Round - but no guaranteed must-have QB to draft, with few of the teams drafting high on the board in dire need of one (save Cleveland and Houston, but neither of them seem interested for some reason). Without confirming which of these guys - Manziel, Bortles, Bridgewater - are must-haves, nobody has a clear idea if any team is going to trade up to get one... or if a team expected to draft one will choose either one. And not knowing who's trading up (while knowing some teams wanna trade down) makes this actually more confusing a draft to mock (it means too many teams are looking at too many options: a team trading up has few options and are thus easier to predict).

2) The scouts are not unanimous on key players at key positions: even DE Clowney and WR Watkins are not 100 percent must-have locks.

3) There's decent talent at more positions - Wide Receiver, Offensive Tackle, Guard/Center, Outside Linebacker - than usual. There may not be a lot of must-have guys, but there's enough players who have high value and can be season-opener starters regardless of who gets drafted where. Scouts are talking about how starters can be had as deep as the Third Round.

4) One ongoing trend has been to look at OLB pass-rushers as types who could convert to Defensive End, which mixes up the draft board as to who will get drafted to which team in need of either - DE or OLB - spot.

5) There are good Running Backs this draft but almost no team is in dire need to draft one (even the teams lacking a big-game ball-carrier).

And that's just for the draft in general. For the Bucs team, it's worse:

1) Bucs are not drafting high enough to ensure getting a must-have player at a need spot like WR Watkins.

2) While the team has resolved a lot of gap issues via Free Agency at key spots - DE, OT, CB, QB - the scouts and "professional" mockers are not convinced those issues are resolved, and so a good number of them are predicting the Bucs will jump at anybody who's BPA at any of those spots.

3) For all the chatter and rumor-mongering, there's no good idea what the Glazer ownership, the GM, and the coaches really want out of this draft. While WR looks like a no-brainer, and that the Bucs signed a veteran QB with solid skills to start, and that the Bucs signed a solid OT to anchor the left, there's no guarantee the Bucs will draft WR or ignore the chances of tagging a franchise-caliber player at QB or OT.

We know the Bucs' ownership is enamored of the idea of having a franchise QB, and that veteran FA signee McCown is not a long-term fix for the QB spot. The question here is, does the ownership believe if Mike Glennon - coming off a shaky yet not-too-shabby rookie season - deserves long-term development? If the thinking's no, then the Bucs are jumping at whichever QB is there at Seventh they would like... and the way the draft is shaking out, it could be all three big names...

So there we have it. This is not an easy draft to predict, not for the league and not for the Bucs.

Now, will DraftPhantom save us with a mock that makes sense or not?!


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