clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The best players in the 2015 NFL Draft

If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers don't pick a quarterback, Randy Gregory is probably their best alternative.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Dan Kadar's composed a list of the top 100 players set to enter the 2015 NFL draft. With the Bucs at the top of the draft order, for now at least, it's worth looking at the top five or so players, and which ones the Bucs could choose.

1. Leonard Williams | 6'5, 300 pounds | DT/DE | Southern California *
2. Randy Gregory | 6'6, 240 pounds | DE | Nebraska *
3. Marcus Mariota | 6'4, 219 pounds | QB | Oregon *
4. Amari Cooper | 6'1, 210 pounds | WR | Alabama *
5. Todd Gurley | 6'1, 226 pounds | RB | Georgia *

The Bucs should probably pick a quarterback, and the consensus best quarterback among draftniks is Marcus Mariota. But if they don't pick a quarterback, or if they can't because the good ones are all off the board, the next most likely player to be the Bucs' top draft pick is not an offensive tackle: it's defensive end Randy Gregory out of Nebraska. He's exactly the type of edge rusher Lovie Smith loves: a speedy, undersized defensive end who can consistently get the edge, but has the ability to rush with power, too.

While Leonard Williams is at the top of the board, he doesn't really fit what the Bucs want to do. He's not a true edge rusher, but more of a defensive tackle/defensive end hybrid who'd be a better fit in a system that emphasized size over speed -- basically the opposite of what the Bucs do.

Defensive end is far from the Bucs' biggest need, though. While they could always use a better pass rush, Jacquies Smith and Gerald McCoy have gotten consistent pressure for the past weeks, and Michael Johnson isn't great -- but he's not useless, either. The biggest needs are at quarterback, and along the offensive line.

But there's no great offensive tackle in this draft, and recent years have also taught us that drafting an offensive tackle high generally doesn't make that big of a difference to your offense: he's only one player on a five-man line, and it takes time for tackles to adjust to the NFL, too. Brandon Scherff is the top-rated tackle, but he's far from a dominant player and probably not worth one of the top picks in the draft.

Instead, the Bucs are probably going to have to look to free agency to fix their offensive line. Again. Maybe this time they'll actually hit on some of those players.