The 2017 NFL draft continues with the second round today, which means we have some mock drafts to (p)review.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers walked out of the first round with the best tight end in the draft in O.J. Howard, but still have some other positions they need to address. Most notably, they need to find a long-term starter at free safety, and probably want to add a running back—potentially a starter. And most mock drafts have them focusing on those exact positions.
The MMQB’s Emily Kaplan has the Buccaneers taking safety Obi Melifonwu, a Connecticut prospect who’s shown up occasionally as their first-round pick in mock drafts. The second round makes a lot more sense for him, though, as a very talented athlete who often looked a beat slow on tape. The Bucs will hope they can drill that slowness out of him, or perhaps even transition him to cornerback.
In the third round Kaplan went with Auburn defensive lineman Montravius Adams, a big run-stuffer who should mostly play on early downs. That fits the Bucs’ emphasis on bigger defensive linemen under Mike Smith, but leaves them pretty thin at edge rusher and running back.
One position the Bucs could address but haven’t been linked to much is cornerback. Dane Brugler of CBS Sports has the Bucs taking UCLA’s Fabian Moreau to address that issue. A solid pick that would leave the Bucs a little thin at running back and safety if they don’t address those positions elsewhere.
Lance Zierlein of NFL.com joins Kaplan in giving them Melifonwu in the second round, while he went with USF running back Marlon Mack in the third. Mack’s a speedster who’s probably best as a complementary player. That would fit the team’s current stable of backs, each of whom has a specific niche rather than being an every-down back.
Mark Eckel of NJ.com, though, prefers defensive tackle Malik McDowell for the Bucs. McDowell was widely seen as a late first-round pick with a lot of potential, but concerns over his work ethic dropped him into the second round. The fit is a little dubious in terms of scheme, but the Bucs could use some extra depth and some young talent at the position, while McDowell also has some ability to play defensive end.
Buccaneers draft picks
Round 1: pick 19 (19th overall) - TE O.J. Howard, Alabama
Round 2: pick 18 (50th overall)
Round 3: pick 20 (84th overall)
Round 4: pick 19 (125th overall)
Round 5: pick 18 (162nd overall)
Round 6: pick 20 (204th overall)
Round 7: pick 19 (237th overall)
2017 NFL Draft dates and times
Thursday, April 27 – 8:00 p.m. ET (Round 1 – 10 Minutes Per Pick)
Friday, April 28 – 7 p.m. ET (Round 2 – 7 Minutes, Round 3 – 5 Minutes Per Pick)
Saturday, April 29 – noon ET (Rounds 4-6 – 5 Minutes Per Pick, Round 7 - 4 Minutes Per Pick)