What? I'm trying to distinguish this mock from the alternative mock draft where I figure out what happens if the Bucs go with QB first...
As I mentioned on the previous mockery, we're pretty much facing one of the least predictable rookie drafts in recent Bucs history. Even facing this fact, the odds are favoring one of two moves: Bucs draft QB first (fulfilling desire to get a franchise guy), or Bucs draft WR first (fixing a major need spot).
The biggest problem to figure out if the Bucs go with Receiver in the First Round is if the Bucs are willing to draft a QB in the Second or Third: while Glennon is reportedly on the trading block, there may be no takers for him, and the Bucs could honestly do worse by going with another mid-rounder pick to start all over again with a middling prospect. Hate to think the Bucs will cut yet another player with actual value all because other teams know we'll cut him anyway... best to hold onto Glennon and develop him much in the way we'd be developing another non-franchise thrower.
If the Bucs trade down, however, even while snagging the WR in the First, that opens up a whole range of draft needs getting filled in a way that getting a rookie QB in the Second or Third would work... so again, this is a crazy and unsettled draft we're facing...
that said, here's the WR alternate universe draft:
First Round - 7th overall
Bucs select: WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M
Why: The WR most worth having - Watkins - is most like gone. Evans is the next best bet: a sure-handed decent route-runner who's basically a younger (and therefore faster) Vincent Jackson. The only way this doesn't happen is if 1) Bucs can't get Manziel like they seemingly hope, 2) Watkins is indeed gone and 3) Evans is also gone before the Bucs could pick (unlikely but possible). It'll leave Bucs with either taking Bortles (as I have in the QB mock) or taking Robinson/Matthews as best available OTs (since the way this draft shakes out, either will be at this spot). In this situation, trading down to a later spot is the smartest move: still getting another receiver - most likely Marquis Lee, Odell Beckman, or even potential 2nd Rounders like Jordan Matthews - and then picking up much-needed extra picks to fill out a host of roster spots. This is, as noted, an unlikely situation, but has to be said...
Second Round - 38th overall
Bucs select: OL Cyril Richardson, Baylor
Why: In this universe, Bucs may hold off of drafting a QB altogether - unless Teddy Bridgewater slides to the Second Round, and while Bridgewater's reportedly sliding for a reason, the upsides for him to get coached up and improved would be hard to pass. Meanwhile, need at Guard is a major thing to fill, and while David Yankey would be a good pick here, there's a chance Richardson - a Tackle with the bulk to be a Guard - could still be on the board and worth getting. If Richardson's gone, then Yankey's the best fit.
Third Round - 69th overall
Bucs select: LB Telvin Smith, Florida St.
We've got great starters for the linebacker spots - David, Foster, Casillas - but the depth is mostly nondescript guys now that our decent back-ups Hayward and Watson jumped for FA. Scouting on Smith is good about his pass coverage and pursuit skills as well as decent blitzing skills and range. Set as outside linebacker but I wonder if he'll work well as depth need inside.
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 got Lynch taken here in the QB universe as well as here, mostly because that TE need is a constant, and because without any extra picks the Bucs have to wait this far to take care of this.
Sixth Round - 185th overall (from trade with Bills)
Bucs select: DT Bruce Gaston, Purdue
From this point in the draft, you're looking at special teams needs, which tend to be the likes of WR, RB, LB, DL and secondary (CB/S) type players. Personally, I think our entire D-line is underrated and that our DEs are gonna be so much better under a defensive-minded coach that will actually use them correctly. But there's talk about the DT depth needing a look-at, and Gaston is someone who can play a position (NT) next to the one true powerhouse on the line in Gerald McCoy.
Seventh Round - 221st overall
Bucs select: S Daytawion Lowe, Oklahoma St
There's a possibility Lowe might not be here, but any Safety at this point would help with developing depth and helping out with special teams. There's a chance the Bucs may draft additional WRs at this point for depth improvement, but I doubt it.
I know how unlikely this draft will be - the odds of the Bucs ownership/GM/coaching staff deciding to take a chance on Glennon being the back-up QB or QB of the Future is pretty slim right now. But in terms of taking care of it, if the Bucs don't draft that QB of the Future in the First they might as well stick it out with Glennon for one more year at least, and take care of needs elsewhere.
If the Bucs trade down in the First to snag those much-hoped-for extra picks, though, do figure on a QB getting drafted. Still an IF at this point...
What do you think? Please comment and poll out!