The 2012 NFL draft is over, but the draftnik community never stops pumping out some pretty useless mock drafts. Still, the mock drafts one year in advance always amuse me, and they are useful in a number of ways. You can see where people think the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will pick next year. You can see what the perceived needs on the team are. And, perhaps most importantly, you can get an idea of which positions will be well-stocked next season. But the player names themselves? They're largely useless, and the first round will look nothing like these predictions.
So, let's look at two of these early mock draft. First up, SB Nation's 2013 NFL Mock Draft.
11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
Jeremy Trueblood is a free agent after 2012. Donald Penn is just so-so. Time to address the position.
This pick makes some sense, but that's awfully high for a right tackle. It seems more likely the Bucs take a right tackle later on in the draft. Judging by the number of tackles in the first round, though, that's an awfully weak class for right tackles. However, it looks like a strong cornerback class again - which should certainly help the Bucs, who have no stability at the position beyond 2012.
The other mock draft I want to examine: Josh D's mock over at Mocking the Draft.
11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - CB David Amerson, NC State - Lead CFB in interceptions and has the size that will have people questioning whether he is the best corner or best free safety in the draft.
Again the Bucs pick 11th. At least they don't have a top 5 pick. Again: cornerback makes sense, and a ballhawk always appeals to franchises. This draft looks pretty strong at cornerback/defensive back too, and weak at offensive tackle. Other positions that stand out: linebacker and wide receiver.