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NFL Mock Draft 2017: Cornerbacks for the Buccaneers

The Bucs’ first-round pick is approaching a consensus, but what about their needs beyond that?

Colorado v Colorado State Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

It’s another Monday in the run-up to the 2017 NFL draft, so we can look at another mock draft and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ fate therein. Dan Kadar published a two-round mock draft on SB Nation this week, so we have a little more to talk about.

Kadar agrees with the consensus on the Bucs’ first-round pick: Miami tight end David Njoku. We’ve talked about him repeatedly, so there’s not much point to going in-depth on him. He’s an athletic receiving tight end who’d add some more speed, versatility and massive potential to the Bucs offense.

Kadar’s pick in the second round is more intriguing (read: novel). He selects Colorado cornerback Chidobe Awuzie.

Other than Vernon Hargreaves, Tampa’s best cornerback is 33-year-old Brent Grimes, who is on the final year of his contract.

I know nothing of Awuzie so here’s what’s Lance Zierlein had to say about him.

Sticky man-cover corner who possesses the reactive athleticism and foot quickness to maintain coverage responsibilities around the field. Awuzie's combination of size and speed pairs well with his instincts providing him what he needs to compete downfield. His inconsistencies as a tackler could turn off some teams, but his abilities as a gunner on special teams may counter that. He can play outside or in the slot and has traits and talent to compete for early playing time.

Well, that certainly sounds good, and like the kind of cornerback the Bucs like. Perhaps not the inconsistent tackling, though I’m curious as to how that works with him also being a good special teamer.

One problem: it’s not clear that cornerback is really a need Yes, the Bucs will need to move on from Grimes at some point, though he’s coming off a very strong season. But aside from him, they have Jude Adjei-Barimah, who’s developed impressively, Javien Elliott, who looked pretty decent in limited time last year, last year’s fourth-round pick Ryan Smith and the recently re-signed Josh Robinson.

The Bucs could add another cornerback to that group for competition and depth, but it’s a pretty solidly stocked position. Safety, on the other hand...