The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be on the clock around 9:00 p.m. ET tonight with the ninth overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft -- assuming they don't trade up, that is. What they'll do with that pick is anyone's guess: most mock drafts have them taking Vernon Hargreaves, but few actual reports tie them to the Florida cornerback and local beat writers tend to think they prefer other players.
Those other players may be hard to come by, though. Most top players don't fit their needs, or are likely to be gone. The Bucs would love to draft Jalen Ramsey, but he almost certainly won't fall out of the top five, let alone to number nine. They need a pass rusher on the edge, but most of the top defensive ends are better run defenders and inside pass rushers than pure edge players. They need a cornerback, but everyone they could draft with their first pick has some question marks.
While the Bucs know they need to upgrade their defense in the draft, that doesn't mean all of their picks will focus on that. They've been tied to some tackles at the top of the first round, and a wide receiver would make a lot of sense a little further down the draft.
A trade down or up would probably be ideal for the Bucs. Up to grab Jalen Ramsey or Joey Bosa, down to pick up some extra picks and target a pass-rusher like Kevin Dodd or Noah Spence. The problem is actually getting a trade done: finding a partner who's willing to strike a deal you like is a lot easier said than done. The Bucs are sure to try, but whether they'll succeed is another matter entirely.
You can find the Bucs' top needs, their most likely target at every need and their draft picks below.
Defensive end: The Bucs haven't had a quality edge rusher since Simeon Rice, and they need to find some way to complement their talented interior rush. Most likely pick: Emmanuel Ogbah, round two.
Safety: Chris Conte and Bradley McDougald are two of the least distinguished starting safeties in the NFL. Adding a talented playmaker would do wonders for the team's defense. Most likely pick: Keanu Neal, round two.
Cornerback: The Bucs have both starters and depth, but Johnthan Banks and Alterraun Verner have been very inconsistent, and Brent Grimes will be 33 this year. Most likely pick: Vernon Hargreaves, round one.
Wide receiver: The Bucs have a good and even deep group of receivers, but it was wracked by injured last year. With Vincent Jackson in the final year of his contract, adding some young talent wouldn't be a bad idea -- especially if said pick can also be a punt returner. Most likely pick: Cody Core, round five.
Offensive tackle: The Bucs have a talented offensive line, but right tackles Demar Dotson and Gosder Cherilus are both on the wrong side of 30 and have one year left on their contracts. Most likely pick: Ronnie Stanley, round one.
Buccaneers 2016 draft picks
Round 1: pick 9 (9th overall)
Round 2: pick 8 (39th overall)
Round 3: pick 11 (74th overall)
Round 4: pick 10 (108th overall)
Round 5: pick 9 (148th overall)
Round 6: pick 8 (183rd overall)
Round 6: pick 22 (197th overall, from Washington)