The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are hosting a lot of players for visits the last few days, which should not be a surprise given how close the 2017 NFL draft is getting. As a reminder: visits don’t say much about the level of interest, only that the Bucs have some questions about the player they’re bringing in. They also regularly draft players they didn’t bring in for a visit.
Two more visits to talk about today: Michigan defensive end Taco Charlton, per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, and VCU basketball player Mo Alie-Cox, who Greg Auman says the Bucs are interested in as a tight end.
#Bucs are visiting with Michigan DE Taco Charlton today in Tampa.— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) April 12, 2017
Charlton is widely seen as a late first-round pick, which makes a lot of sense. Charlton has some great athletic traits, but didn’t show a lot of different pass rush moves in college, and has some significant deficiencies against the run. A typical boom-or-bust prospect: a speed rusher who will either produce a whole lot of sacks, or be the next Vernon Gholston.
I’d be surprised if the Bucs draft Charlton, given that he doesn’t necessarily fill a need nor is likely to be the best available player when they pick. But if they trade back in the first round, or if he drops a little in the second round, he’d be a sensible target for the Bucs.
Alie-Cox is perhaps more intriguing, and further proof that the Bucs continue to look at explosive receiving tight ends to complement Cameron Brate. Drafting basketball players to play tight end has been a common and sporadically successful tactic ever since Antonio Gates came into the league in 2004.
At 6’5”, 262 lbs. and running a 4.75-second 40-yard dash, Alie-Cox is massive and athletic, with the potential to turn into a game-breaking tight end. Though obviously, he’ll have a long way to go and a lot of skills to learn before he can get to that point. The Bucs haven’t shied away from drafting raw but athletic players in recent years, though.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch noted that many NFL teams have been interested in him, so we’ll see whether the Bucs are the ones who will end up snagging him—but it’s an intriguing possibility.