Mel Kiper loves himself some mock drafts, and the latest one has the Tampa Bay Buccaneers going in a different direction. With Vernon Hargreaves, Shaq Lawson and Noah Spence on the board, he has them taking Notre Dame tackle Ronnie Stanley.
I could see Stanley going as high as No. 3 overall, which makes him a reasonable value here. The Bucs did target offensive line help in last year's draft, but ceiling is a pretty big question mark, and they shouldn't make the same mistake the Colts did with Andrew Luck when it comes to building a solid group in front of their franchise talent.
Stanley is, of course, an outstanding football player. Stephen White actually likes him a little better than Laremy Tunsil, a consensus top three pick in this draft. The question is: where do you play Stanley? The Bucs are happy with Donovan Smith at left tackle and want to see him continue to develop there, yet Stanley fits best on that side of the line. Moving Smith to the right seems unlikely -- but Tampa Bay can't play both of these players at the same spot.
Still, Stanley would solve a problem the Bucs will face next year, when right tackles Demar Dotson and Gosder Cherilus will both see their contracts run out.
There's another problem with selecting Stanley, and that's the fact that he doesn't quite fit the team's prototype offensive lineman: massive, athletic, and raw in terms of technique. The Bucs love big guys along the offensive line, in part to help their running game, while Stanley's much more of a technician with a lower ceiling.
Mel Kiper's not the only one with a new mock draft, Pro Football Focus published one as well. It's a three-round mock draft that has the Bucs taking Vernon Hargreaves in the first round, defensive tackle Sheldon Day in the second round, and slot receiver Daniel Braverman in the third round. I know very little about the latter two, though they look like decent players at first glance, but those selections would yet again leave a hole at defensive end. You know, that position the Bucs haven't been able to fill adequately since 2005.
Maybe don't publish three-round mock drafts where the Bucs don't grab an edge rusher, draftniks?