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Mel Kiper's Big Board for the 2012 NFL Draft

It's extremely early to be looking at the 2012 draft, but it's still worth it if only to get a feel for some players to keep an eye on during the season. To that end, Mel Kiper has published his Big Board for the 2012 Draft (ESPN insider content). Obviously he has a number of Quarterbacks ranked highly, which isn't very relevant for the Buccaneers. What's more relevant for the Bucs is the overall depth and strength at a certain position, as Mark Dominik has shown that he'll draft to the strengths of a class. 

So what does the Big Board tell us? Well, Offensive Tackle seems to be a strong class. Kiper has three offensive tackles in his top 12, although he has no other tackles on his 25-man Big Board. That should bode well for the Buccaneers, who should probably fortify their offensive line next season. Another position the Bucs could look at next year is linebacker. The Bucs don't have a lot of depth at linebacker right now, with Adam Hayward, Barrett Ruud and Quincy Black scheduled to be free agents. It's quite possible the Bucs will forgo resigning these players in favor of drafting a first-rounder next year. Mel Kiper has four linebackers in his top 25, not counting pass-rushers, so there's plenty of talent for the Bucs to choose from. 

The Bucs are likely to need to draft a cornerback sometime in the future, as Aqib Talib is proving to be unreliable. The 2012 draft class looks fit to help the Bucs there as well, as there are five cornerbacks listed on Kiper's big board. 

One position stands out because of its absence on the board: interior linemen. Mel Kiper lists no guards or centers on his board, which may be a problem for the Bucs who should add talent to the offensive line in the coming years. Similarly, only one safety is listed among the top prospects, but the Buccaneers need to improve the quality of play at the position if Tanard Jackson isn't coming back. 

Overall though, it seems like there are some good players in the 2012 draft at the right positions to help the Buccaneers next year. I'm just going to hope that they won't be able to pick from the full pool of NFL prospects, but that they will have to make do with the 32nd best prospect in the draft.