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NFL Mock Draft 2016: Free agency changes Buccaneers likely moves

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The first round of 2016 NFL free agency is over, which means teams have addressed needs in some big ways. That has some effect on mock drafts. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers used free agency to address their immediate needs, which means they don't necessarily need to draft to fill them. But several of those needs were filled with older players who are nearing the end of their careers -- so getting some young, talented players in the system as long-term solutions would be a smart move.

We can see that in the mock drafts, too. Dan Kadar's latest has the Bucs taking Vernon Hargreaves, still the consensus second-best defensive back in the draft behind Jalen Ramsey.

The Buccaneers signed Robert Ayers to a three-year contract, so the need for a pass rusher is less pressing - though Tampa should still add someone else up front. But with Ayers on the roster, the Buccaneers can look at the secondary. Although Brent Grimes was added, his better days are behind him. Hargreaves is a shutdown corner who could be good on the outside or excel covering receivers on the inside.

Grimes is nearing the end of his career, and it's unclear how the Bucs view Alterraun Verner and Johnthan Banks. A young cornerback who could slowly develop into a long-term starter would be useful. But so would a young pass-rusher who could develop into a long-term starter.

We can see similar things in Adam Stites' collection of mock draft choices. Hargreaves is the most popular pick with over one in four mock drafts choosing him for the Bucs. That option's followed by DeForest Buckner, Shaw Lawson and "others", in that order.

In the end, free agency seems to have changed very little. Defensive end and cornerback remain the team's most likely draft choices, with cornerback slightly more likely because of the specific available players. Noah Spence seems to have lost the battle to DeForest Buckner and Shaq Lawson -- but I'd expect Spence to come surging back over the month leading up to the draft. He is still a better edge rusher than either Buckner or Lawson.