I'm gonna be at the Florida Library Assn convention for most of Thursday, and the Internet is spotty at best there so I may be completely out of touch for any crazy draft day stunts. That said, I wanna get my final two cents while I can.
This is still the most unsettled, uncertain draft in recent memory. While the needs are obvious - Wide Receiver and Guard - there's still a lot of potential out-of-left-field to this draft board to where the Bucs could jump in three other directions - at Quarterback, Linebacker, or Offensive Tackle. Trading down is a huge option. Trading up is a terrifying possibility (one I discourage because it will most likely kill this year's draft for depth need and take away key picks from next year's draft).
There are right two most likely scenarios. One: Bucs take best available Quarterback to make yet another try at a FRANCHISE STUD MUFFIN, and the draft shakes down from there. Two: Bucs take best available Wide Receiver to balance out a very weak WR corps, and the draft shakes down for Guard and depth needs from there.
This mock is where the Bucs go with Quarterback. EDIT: I have one here for the Bucs going with Receiver.
Deal is, I doubt the Bucs will trade up to get Manziel as the rumor mills are spinning it: it's very likely the team to trade with - Rams - are gonna ask for sun and stars and the cost will be too high. So the Bucs will draft with the six selections they've got and work from there.
So here we go:
First Round - 7th overall
Bucs select: QB Blake Bortles, Central Florida
Why: Most likely Johnny Manziel will be gone by the 7th pick. Bortles is the prototypical fit of the QBs topping the board - tall, strong in the pocket, strong arm, decent accuracy. His biggest knock is the lack of experience, which can be countered by the Bucs sitting him his rookie year behind veteran McCown who is getting paid to start anyway. The other big name pre-draft - Teddy Bridgewater - is seemingly slipping down due to growing concerns he's too slender and not as accurate as needed.
Second Round - 38th overall
Bucs select: WR Marquis Lee, Southern California
Why: Because wide receiver is still the biggest f-cking need the Bucs have, pardon my Swedish. The team's need is for a speedy type of receiver, and Lee provides that as his primary skill set. His hands, however, need work as does his durability. While Lee could slip out of the First Round, he may still be gone by this pick, so look for alternative picks in guys who aren't super-fast but are sure-handed and near-equal to current starter Vincent Jackson... the names Jordan Matthews, Allen Robinson, and Donte Moncrief could get called here.
Third Round - 69th overall
Bucs select: OG David Yankey, Stanford
I keep tagging this guy Yankey to be drafted either in the Second or here in the Third because 1) it's an easy name to remember, and 2) his scouting reports make him seem like a fit for the proposed O-line scheme getting set up. Depending on how much of a run goes on O-linemen throughout the draft, he might not be here. Same could be said for guys like Cyril Richardson or Dakota Dozier, but whoever's here as best sure-footed Guard is a must-have: our depth with G is horrible and the possibility of getting a starter-caliber guy needs to get done by this pick or not at all.
Fourth Round - Traded
Fifth Round - 143rd overall
Bucs select: TE Arthur Lynch, Georgia
Need at Tight End mostly for depth, although anyone who can help with the short-passing game and be a decent blocker deserves a look. I've gotten high on taking Lynch as the scouting on him looks solid, especially with mostly good stuff about his blocking.
Sixth Round - 185th overall (from trade with Bills)
Bucs select: LB DeDe Lattimore, South Florida
This is less about my habit of drafting a player from my alma mater USF than it is drafting a linebacker who can help improve the depth need behind Foster. Of the inside linebackers, Lattimore is one of the better tacklers available past the Fourth Round, but his overall draft value puts him here.
Seventh Round - 221st overall
Bucs select: OL Austin Wentworth, Fresno State
I doubt the Bucs will go again with an O-lineman at a draft spot where special teams potential is more likely - S, LB, WR - but depth need for the line is too huge to ignore. These late-round Tackles are guys who might slide inside for Guard duty, and at least provide some depth for the Tackle spot itself if need be.
This is not a draft I'd particularly like - would love to draft both LB and TE a lot higher than I'm doing here, but that can only happen if the Bucs trade down to snag more mid-rounder picks or else not push the drafting of WR and G to 2nd and 3rd rounds. But I can live with this.
What do you think? Please comment and poll out!