It's mock draft Monday. In today's offering: Vernon Hargreaves and possible trades for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Let's start with Dan Kadar's mock, which incorporates trades for the first time this year. Kadar has the Bucs staying put and taking Hargreaves, though.
Hargreaves' draft stock seems to be all over the place in the first round, and maybe this is a little early for him. But he's such a natural that he should be able to contribute early in his career.
That's a natural choice, and one that's increasingly common in mock drafts. He remains the most popular pick for the Bucs, with 34.4$ of mocks in Adam Stites' roundup of mock drafts. That is somewhat curious given that the Bucs signed two cornerbacks in free agency, but they still need young talent at the position.
So far, nothing new. But Kadar's mock draft did incorporate trades -- that thing that fans bring up every year, and yet rarely happens. A trade up is unlikely for the Buccaneers -- Joey Bosa and Jalen Ramsey are really the only players they could be interested in trading up for. But trading up far enough would almost certainly be prohibitively expensive.
That leaves a trade down -- but there they encounter two other issues: the fact that draft talent drops off quickly after about the tenth pick, and the fact that teams are hesitant to commit a lot of draft capital in a trade up. It's well-known that trading up is rarely a good proposition and wil cost teams more than it gains them, at least in theoretical, analytical models. Teams have to be absolutely convinced that the player they're targeting is worth trading up for, and then they have to explain how the team they're trading with apparently doesn't think that's true.
In practice, teams are setting up all sorts of potential trades in the weeks leading up to the draft. That way they can execute those trades quickly during the draft. We'll hear lots of rumors of potential trades, but few of them will come to fruition when teams are actually on the clock -- and most that do happen will be minor moves, at least in the first round.
Still, trading back would make sense for the Bucs in one way: few of the players likely to be available with the number nine pick are going to be true difference makers. That'll be the case if they trade back somewhere to number 15-20, too -- and they can pick up a few extra picks by trading back, as well. They just need to find a team willing to trade up.