As a fan of both the NFL and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, January is a mixed bag. It is the beginning of one of the best postseasons in sports, but also the end of the shortest (by far) regular season in professional sports. As Bucs fans, we have not had the satisfaction of a postseason Bucs game in five years. So naturally around this time, fans begin to look towards the Offseason: Free Agency, training camps, and the Draft. We are now at that time of year where Mock Drafts become the norm, and every fan has something to say about them. So, without further ado, here is what I have to say about it as a Bucs fan.
Ideal scenario: Trade back from the 13th overall pick, then trade up into end of first round.
Results: Two first round picks between 18-29. Pick up LB Khaseem Greene, Rutgers, and CB Xavier Rhodes, FSU.
Neither prospect fits in at 13, but both could come in and start for this Bucs team. Greene reminds many scouts of Lavonte David, but I see a player with slightly slower feet than David. Still displays good explosion and great instinct, and is consistently around the ball. Would fit in well at the Sam linebacker position in place of Quincy Black and provide another young, explosive linebacker to an already impressive group.
As for Xavier Rhodes, he is a mixed bag. Some see him as the third or even second best CB prospect, and others seem him as a late 2nd rounder. Regardless, he displays great physicality and can excel in press coverage. Played mostly zone in college and lacks ideal man coverage experience, but has the talent to preform in that area. Would start immediately for an already thin Bucs secondary.
Backup pick in case of no trade partner: CB Jonathan Banks, Mississippi State.
While I don't think Banks is worth the 13th pick, this team is in desperate need for a CB, and Banks is one of the best.
Ideal scenario: Stay put and draft CB Logan Ryan, Rutgers.
Ryan is another mixed bag corner in terms of scout perspective. Some (like Mel Kiper) see him as the third best corner this year behind Milliner and Banks. Others see him between fourth and sixth best and a high to mid second rounder. I tend to agree with the latter. Ryan has great potential, but is not polished enough for a mid 1st round pick. If he is available in the second round, Tampa should pounce on the chance to grab another potential star in the secondary.
Back up pick: CD David Amerson, N.C. State.
Ideal scenario: Stay put and draft S TJ McDonald, USC.
Many believe McDonald (and all USC prspects) overrated and not very good due to the year the school has had. Regardless of the performances put on this year, McDonald is an excellent run supporter and can cover well enough. Played up close to the line and as a nickle back at USC often. Would fill a hole left by the potential retirement of Ronde Barber. Was used at USC similarly to how Barber was this year, and could allow for a almost seamless transition. Only issue is, he could go in the 2nd round with a strong combine showing.
Back up pick: S Lamarcus Joyner, FSU.
High motor guy, Nice ball skills and good in run support.
Ideal pick: ROT Rick Wagner, Wisconsin.
Displays power in run game, but footwork and lateral movement is a concern. Despite this, does a good job protecting the edge in pass rushing situations. Needs to work on his technique if he wants to start for this team.
Back up pick/2nd pick of 4th round if not traded away: WR Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech.
Tampa needs a slot reciever and Patton is exactly what they need. Not elite speed, but excels in finding holes in zone. Great body control. Plays the ball exceptionally. Good solid pick that won't push Jackson or Williams, but can excel in short and intermediate routes.
Pick: TE D.C. Jefferson, Rutgers.
Another Rutgers guy, played QB in high school, but switched to TE when he arrived at Rutgers. Never had more than 200 yards in a season, but this is mainly contributed to the type of offense he played in. Needs to work on blocking ability, but has a rare combination of size and athleticism for the position. If groomed, could develop into a key component for this offense.
Back up pick: TE Chris Pantale, Boston College.
Pick: CB Johnny Adams, Michigan state.
Lean frame and good overall speed, Adams will be considered a developmental player who can contribute in special teams. Plus, it doesn't hurt to add another CB to this secondary.
Back up pick: S Rashard Hall, Clemson.
Productive player at safety, this team needs more secondary help. He fits the bill and will contribute on special teams.