clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NFL Mock Draft 2016: Ronnie Stanley or Vernon Hargreaves?

RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

The draft is approaching, but mock drafts aren't nearing a consensus on where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going. In Dan Kadar's latest mock draft, the Bucs draft Notre Dame tackle Ronnie Stanley.

It's true that current left tackle Donovan Smith showed flashes of talent as a rookie last season. But his projection coming out of Penn State was to be a right tackle. Stanley is arguably the draft's best pass blocker and could push Smith to the right side. Having Stanley and Smith is the same principally as the Titans having Laremy Tunsil and Taylor Lewan up front to block for a star second-year quarterback.

I'll say this until I'm blue in the face: while there's certainly reason to want to move Donovan Smith to the right side, the Bucs simply do not want to do so. They like what he did at left tackle last year. They think he has a lot of promise. And they think he's going to be their left tackle of the future. You can disagree with that assessment, but it is what it is.

That doesn't necessarily mean Stanley won't be the pick, of course. He may not fill a need, but he's a potential difference maker, and there aren't a lot of players at number nine for whom you could say the same thing. If Stanley falls to them, they may try to wrangle a trade down -- but ultimately, they may choose him anyway, no matter how much they like Donovan Smith.

While I've seen Stanley more and more in recent weeks, the consensus is still clearly that the Bucs will draft Vernon Hargreaves. In fact, that consensus seems to be getting stronger: in Adam Stites' latest collection of mock drafts, 38.8% have Tampa Bay selecting the Florida cornerback. Only 9.2% have them taking Stanley, while former front-runner Noah Spence is now relegated to "others."

More interesting may be what the Bucs are doing in the later rounds. Dan Kadar added a second and a third round in this week's mock, giving the Bucs safety Vonn Bell and edge rusher Shilique Calhoun. Both fill needs, so these picks make sense. Both are also very much high-ceiling prospects with some risk. Bell has speed and instincts to excel as a center-fielder, but his size may cost him in the box. At his best, he may turn into Earl Thomas -- or he may not get on the field because he can't hold up in run support. Calhoun's a terrific athlete who has the potential to become a highly productive edge rusher, but lacks power and consistent aggression on tape. He's a typical boom-or-bust edge rusher, which is a good thing in the third round.