The Tampa Bay Buccaneers go on the clock at just after 8:00 p.m. ET tonight, and that's when all of those mock drafts over the past year will stop being useful, if they ever were. But in an effort to get one final projection out there, everyone's releasing a new mock draft today. And we're rounding them up for a last look at who the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will pick in round one (hint: Jameis Winston) and beyond.
Let's start with the drafts that focus solely on the first round of the draft. That is: most of them. And all of those drafts have the Buccaneers picking Jameis WInston. Dan Kadar continues to take Winston, because that's what's going to happen. Mel Kiper sticks with Jameis Winston, while Todd McShay has Winston as well, calling him "one of the best quarterbacks [he's] evaluated in the past 10 years". Mike Mayock does the same thing, in spite of his belief that Mariota is the better player. Evan Silva says "the writing has been on the wall." Bob McGinn, who gave anonymous executives the room to air some horrible, racist comments on Winston, still sees Winston as the number one pick. Brad Biggs goes with WInston. Pewter Report continues to go with Winston, as they have all year. And Ira Kaufman concurs. And finally, so does Matt Miller.
Okay, so that's clear. The pick will be Jameis Winston. And no analyst thinks otherwise -- not one. Even those who prefer Mariota think the Buccaneers will take Winston, because the team has it made it incredibly obvious that they will.
The more interesting question: what will they do after the first overall pick? A few of today's mock drafts delved into that, and we'll see more of them later today. Ira Kaufman's intrigues me the most, as he has the Buccaneers trading back up into the first round -- for Florida State center Cameron Erving. I like Erving, but I don't think he's worth trading up for. Especially in Kaufman's hypothetical, where T.J. Clemmings and Ereck Flowers are still on the board at the pick the Bucs traded up to, with Jake Fisher falling out of the first round entirely.
Pewter Report put up another seven-round mock draft, which has the upside of going over every Tampa Bay pick and the downside of not spelling out which players are likely to be available where. Pittsburgh tackle T.J. Clemmings in the second round makes perfect sense, though he may not fall that far. He's a little raw, but he can probably start at right tackle or right guard immediately, and might be able to transition to left tackle with time.
Utah defensive end Nate Orchard would be a great pick in the third round, filling another need with a player who should probably go a little earlier -- though his sub-par combine testing makes him a poor fit for the Bucs, who prefer blazingly fast athletes at every defensive position. Beyond that, Pewter Report goes with Colorado State tackle Ty Sambrailo, who the Bucs have shown some interest in but who needs to become more powerful to succeed in the NFL, Duke receiver Jamison Crowder, a speedster who's been linked with the Bucs a ton, Louisville safety Gerod Holliman, who managed 14 interceptions last year, including two off Jameis Winston, and finally Florida running back Matt Jones and Kansas State cornerback Randall Evans.
Which, to my mind, would be an outstanding draft indeed, filling basically every need the Bucs have. The only question mark I'd have would be Orchard, who may not be a great fit for the Bucs, but they probably won't be able to get a better pass rusher at the top of the third round either.
Finally, there's Matt Miller's seven rounder over at Bleacher Report. He has La'el Collins going to the Bucs in the second round, which makes a lot of sense from an on-field perspective, but the fact that he was called in for questioning in his ex-girlfriend's murder has made teams very skittish, even though there's no indication that he's anything other than a person of interest. If the Bucs feel that's not an issue, he'd be a great pick there. Miller also goes with Orchard in the third round, takes safety Kurtis Drummond in the fourth, and then rounds it out with linebacker Mike Hull, safety Kyshoen Jarrett, and running back Malcolm Brown. I would have liked to see another lineman there, but otherwise it's a solid draft.
So that's it. That's your last look at this year's mock drafts before the actual draft starts.