In the never-ending production of mock drafts, Todd McShay of ESPN went with a "grade A" mock in his latest effort. This isn't his projection of what will happen, but of what he would do if he were the general manager of every NFL team. For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, that means Michigan State tackle Jack Conklin in round one, Cincinnati receiver Chris Moore in the second round, and Michigan State defensive end Shilique Calhoun in the third round.
For a team that wants to run the ball and needs a right tackle, Conklin is a better fit for Tampa Bay than Stanley. The Michigan State product is a natural fit on the right side as a plug-and-play starter. He has the long arms (35 inches) and agility to protect the QB and would be a welcome sight for second-year QB Jameis Winston. So, too, would Moore. Vincent Jackson had just 33 catches in 10 games last season, as he struggled to stay healthy. Moore has underrated playmaking ability and the potential to develop into a solid No. 2 WR. He would give Winston a good underneath option to complement Mike Evans. Calhoun, meanwhile, needs to get stronger against the run, but he brings and impact edge-rusher if developed properly.
For a supposedly perfect group of selections, this mock shows a distinct lack of defensive help. If the Bucs were to go with these three players, this would mark the third straight year without a defensive selection in the first two rounds. That's not how you re-build a defense, and it's certainly not how you address the team's biggest needs.
The selection of Conklin is extra surprising, because he doesn't fill a real pressing need, and this is the first time I've ever seen him tagged as a top ten pick. He may be a better run-blocker than Stanley, but that doesn't make him a better player -- and it certainly doesn't mean that picking him at number nine somehow warrants an A grade.
Moore is a curious selection as well. The Bucs could perhaps use a receiver at some point -- Jackson enters the final year of his contract, and injuries decimated the team's production there last year -- but it's hardly a pressing need. That pick is even more puzzling given that Mackensie Alexander and Noah Spence were both still on the board -- highly talented players, well below the point where they're projected to go, and at positions of need.
At least Shilique Calhoun makes sense. His name's coming up a bit more as a possible mid-round pick for the Buccaneers. A physically gifted but inconsistent edge rusher would be a nice addition for the Bucs, who need to find some way to boost their pass rush. The third round's a little late, though, and Calhoun himself has a good chance of never panning out as well.
In all, this mock draft just doesn't make a lot of sense. The picks aren't the best players available at each pick, they barely fill needs, and they pass up better players who do fill needs. How this group of players is ever going to earn an A grade is beyond me.