It's the final Monday before the 2016 NFL draft, which means we're seeing the final mock drafts for Thursday's selection meeting. We're not going to get a much clearer look of what the Tampa Bay Bucaneers are going to do than this, and the clear consensus is in: it's Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III -- if the Bucs stay put, that is.
Let's start with Dan Kadar's weekly mock draft, and his justification for Hargreaves.
As mentioned, there is a clear top seven or eight players in this year's draft, so this is where things really open up. The Buccaneers need good cornerbacks badly, and Hargreaves is NFL ready.
Roy Cummings' seven-round mock draft sticks with the tried and true as well: Vernon Hargreaves in the first round, and a defensive end in the second. In this case it's Noah Spence, which makes me happy -- though it remains to be seen whether he falls that far. Meanwhile, Pewter Report sticks with Sheldon Rankins and Emmanuel Ogbah in the first two rounds of their seven-round mck.
The general consensus is very strong. Vernon Hargreaves has turned into by far the most common selection, with a whopping 58.8% of mock drafts in Adam Stites' roundup. No other players get to even 10%.
And that consensus is right, really: Hargreaves remains by far the most likely pick at number nine. Hargreaves is a good player, after all, but he's not clearly a top-ten pick -- questions about his speed and height and some of his play remain, and there are some suggestions that Houston's William Jackson is actually a better cornerback.
Overall, though, the Bucs don't have any better options: the available defensive ends aren't clear top ten picks either, other players don't really fit a need, and those that might make poor fits for Tampa Bay's scheme. It's not an ideal year to be picking at number nine, which means the Bucs probably want to change that. Like finding a way to either trade up cheaply for Jalen Ramsey or Joey Bosa, or trade down and garner some extra picks -- but both moves will be difficult to pull off. Wanting to trade is one thing, finding a trading partner and a price you find acceptable is another entirely.