The second round of the 2016 NFL draft starts tonight, and we're already seeing speculation about which players could go where. So let's go through a couple of mock drafts to see who goes where.
Dan Kadar's mock draft is more or less a worst-case scenario for the Bucs. He has Kevin Dodd and Noah Spence going in the first five picks, leaving Emmanuel Ogbah as the top defensive end on the board. With safety Vonn Bell available as well, Kadar has the Bucs picking up Florida's Jonathan Bullard instead -- an athletic defensive tackle who can get after the passer. He's a good player, but there's a good chance he'd be available a little later -- not to mention that he doesn't quite fit a need. Worst of all, it once again leaves them with a hole at defensive end.
ESPN's Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl also just put out a second-round mock draft. A few noteworthy things happen, here. First, Connor Cook goes to the Cleveland Browns. Second, there's a small run on defensive tackles with Jarran Reed and Jonathan Bullard going in the top picks. Third, both Noah Spence and Emmanuel Ogbah fall to the Bucs, giving them two excellent options at defensive end -- but Weidl and Muench have the Bucs taking Myles Jack instead.
That's a curious move, not just because of his knee injury -- which sounds eerily similar to Da'Quan Bowers' issues two years ago -- but also because it's hard to see a fit for Jack in the Bucs defense. Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander are three-down linebackers, they just signed Daryl Smith to play the strong side, so Jack would likely move to a strong safety position. He'd be similar to how Greg Schiano used Mark Barron. That's a better fit for Mike Smith's defense than it was Lovie Smith's, but it's not an ideal match -- and it still leaves Tampa with a massive hole at edge rusher.
Finally, Lance Zierlein posted a second- and third-round mock draft over at NFL.com, which again had Noah Spence and Kevin Dodd off the board for the Bucs. Instead, he has them drafting Indiana tackle Jason Spriggs, which is not a horrible move -- they do need a future right tackle at some point -- but not ideal. Only in the third round does he have the Bucs addressing defensive end, with Penn State's Carl Nassib.
The message I take from these two mock drafts: if there's a pass-rusher the Bucs really want, and I hope it's Noah Spence, they may have to trade up. If they think Dodd, Spence and Ogbah would all be valid upgrades -- or if they're okay with taking the best player at another position -- they'd do fine staying put, or even trading back.