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2016 NFL Mock Draft: Buccaneers seek defensive help

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Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers pick ninth in the 2016 NFL draft, a fact we know since last night after the 2015 NFL season concluded. That means it's time for mock drafts, and Dan Kadar has the latest one. Unsurprisingly, he's giving the Bucs some much-needed defensive help.

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson
It's worth monitoring Alexander's draft decision. He's only a redshirt sophomore but could make a name for himself on a national stage in next week's College Football Playoff Championship. Alexander's instincts are impressive, and only overtaken by his athleticism.

Alexander is a name we've barely heard, with Florida State's Jalen Ramsey and Florida's Vernon Hargreaves both bigger names at defensive back at the top of the draft. But those players are gone by the time the Bucs pick in this mock draft, leaving them with the 5'10", 190 lbs.  Alexander. He's a little on the small side for a Bucs cornerback, but his athleticism and speed will appeal to Lovie Smith. One concern: he has exactly 0 interceptions in his career and has played just two seasons.

The Bucs could go a few other directions in this specific mock draft, too. Defensive end DeForest Buckner out of Oregon goes one pick behind them, and he'd be an intriguing addition to the Bucs defense. Clemson defensive end Shaw Lawson and Oklahoma State defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah would be intriguing additions, too.

It's still early in the draft process, though, so we don't have a clear picture of who will be available where, and who the most coveted players are yet. But we do know this: the Bucs will almost certainly pick a defensive player with their first pick.