The Tampa Bay Buccaneers need a lot of things, and could use help at even more positions. But one thing they don't need is another offensive tackle a year after drafting left tackle Donovan Smith, with Demar Dotson and Gosder Cherilus both being starting-quality right tackles. And yet, draftniks can't stop giving them tackles -- mostly, I guess, because the top players at positions the Bucs need are often off the board. Today's edition: Sports Illustrated's Chris Burke's two-round mock draft has the Bucs taking Notre Dame tackle Ronnie Stanley. To his credit, he at least has Tampa Bay grabbing defensive end Kevin Dodd in the second round.
The Buccaneers need help at several key spots on defense. So then why a tackle here? Well, for two reasons: 1. The gap between Tunsil and Stanley is small, meaning this could look like a bargain. 2. There is more depth at the pass-rushing spots and even at DB than at tackle. If Tampa Bay wants help along its O-line, this is the spot to pounce.
When you draft players you need a plan, both to develop them and get them on the field. A draft pick who doesn't play is pointless, after all. So if the Bucs were to draft an offensive tackle, what would be their plan? They're not benching Donovan Smith, who they drafted at the top of the second round last year. They want to see whether he can be their left tackle of the future. They're not benching Demar Dotson, who remains the best lineman on the roster. They have Gosder Cherilus backing up/competing with Dotson, too. They may see Stanley or someone else as a future starter at right tackle -- but are you really going to use your number nine pick for a backup plan at right tackle?
There are some other options: they may move their pick to left guard to replace Logan Mankins, if the latter retires. But then, are you willing to draft a guard who hasn't played that position at number nine? Are you instead moving Donovan Smith, who may or may not work there, to that position?
These are all very iffy plans, all to pick a player at a position that has seen bust after bust after bust over the past years. A player who, quite honestly, doesn't even look like he'll be a bigger difference maker than Shaq Lawson, let alone Noah Spence (off the board here) -- one of whom should be available with the number nine pick. And note that Stanley isn't quite the road grader the Bucs have gone for with their previous picks, either. If that's not good enough for you, receivers like Corey Coleman and Laquon Treadwell would make a big impact as well -- or maybe Clemson cornerback Mackensie Alexander.
The bottom line is that tackle doesn't fit the Bucs' needs, and none of the available tackles are dominant enough to be a pure value pick at number nine.