Mel Kiper may be the most famous draftnik around, but he's also the most-widely mocked. Those two facts are probably correlated somehow. Jimmy Kempski threw every pick in Mel Kiper's first mock drafts of the past five years into one big spreadsheet to see how he would have done drafting for other teams.
For the Buccaneers, that would have meant drafting Eric Berry instead of Gerald McCoy, Ryan Kerrigan instead of Adrian Clayborn, Trent Richardson instead of trading down and taking Mark Barron, Alec Ogletree instead of trading the pick for Darrelle Revis and Khalil Mack instead of Mike Evans.
That's arguably an improvement. Losing Gerald McCoy would be a huge blow, and Eric Berry's injury-plagued (now lymphoma-interrupted) career would in no way have been an adequate substitute. Drafting Trent Richardson instead of Mark Barron wouldn't have made a huge difference given that both are failures, except for one problem: that would have meant not trading down, which would eventually have meant missing out on the draft capital necessary to get both Doug Martin and Lavonte David.
Khalil Mack is an outstanding defensive player and would have been a great edge rusher with the Bucs, but it's not like they can complain about Mike Evans' production. Of course, given the production of the receiving class last year and the supposed depth of the receiving class this year, perhaps Khalil Mack would have been better.
It's interesting that Kiper's drafts are very heavily focused on defense. Richardson would have been the only offensive pick, and he has turned out to be a massive bust. Basically, the Bucs' offense would have been even worse had they stuck to this line of thinking. Upside: maybe they could have finagled that first-round pick from the Colts for Richardson.
Nah, probably not.
Out of all of these changes, the only clear upgrade would have been Ryan Kerrigan over Adrian Clayborn. Kerrigan isn't the most productive defensive end around, but he hasn't missed a game in his four seasons in the NFL, has had to drop into coverage quite a bit and still racked up 9.5 sacks per year. Now that's the kind of thing the Bucs could have used, instead of Clayborn's injury-ridden play. Too bad he was already gone by the time the Bucs were on the clock.