Although the Buccaneers have Cameron Brate, the other tight ends on the roster leave a lot to be desired. Fielding an offense with Brate, Njoku, Mike Evans, and DeSean Jackson on the field at the same time would give Tampa one of the league’s top receiving groups.
It also lines up with what Bill Barnwell wants the Bucs to do in his all-trades mock: move up for a tight end.
Jameis Winston already added a weapon this offseason when the Buccaneers signed DeSean Jackson in free agency. Now, let's nab him another tight end to work alongside Cameron Brate. Moving up from 19 to 12 puts the Bucs in line to grab either O.J. Howard or fast-rising athlete David Njoku, each of whom could interest several teams in the upper half of the draft and then Tennessee at 18. The Browns might not be willing to take the public relations hit of trading down from Myles Garrett with the first overall pick, but they're far more likely to use the first-round pick they acquired from the Eagles as a means to accrue even more capital.
I’m not sure why the Bucs would try to trade up for Njoku, though, given that he’s highly likely to fall to them at number 19 — or they could just wait and pick the best player available there. A more likely trade up would be for Alabama tight end O.J. Howard, who’s often seen as a top-five and at minimum a top-ten pick now. If he falls to number 12, the Bucs could target him to round out their already impressive offensive skill platoon.
Finally, there’s Christian D’Andrea of SB Nation, who constructed a grade A and grade F mock for every NFL team. Here’s his version for the Bucs.
1(19): Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
2(50): Garett Bolles, OT, Utah
1(19): T.J. Watt, OLB, Wisconsin
2(50): Carlos Henderson, WR, Louisiana Tech
I wouldn’t give either draft an A or an F, to be honest. Malik Hooker would be an absolutely absurd pick at number 19, in that he’d be a perfect fit and also there’s no way he’s falling that far. Bolles, though, would be eh—he’d be a good value pick, but it would leave the Bucs with no boost to their skill players on offense, and Bolles would likely end up as a backup at least in his rookie year.
As for the F draft: T.J. Watt would actually make some sense, though the value is mediocre at best. He’d give the Bucs a starting strongside linebacker who can line up and rush the passer on third downs. Carlos Henderson would add some depth to a receiving corps that could use a boost, though it’s not a big need. Not a great draft by any means, but not an ‘F’ either.