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2018 NFL Mock Draft: Will the Buccaneers surprise us?

A few mock drafts have the Bucs looking at guards.

NCAA Football: Wake Forest at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the worst defense in the NFL, and need a pass-rush badly. They need edge-rusher in particular, and it just so happens that there’s a few defensive ends they could select with their seventh overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft.

For some reason, though, this week’s mock drafts insist on going a different way entirely: the way of the offensive line. Both Dan Kadar’s latest 2018 NFL mock draft as well as Pewter Report’s first mock draft of the year have the Bucs picking Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson in the first round.

The hype about Nelson is legitimate. Here he is casually choke slamming an LSU linebacker.

Okay, but....who drafts a guard in the top ten? And why? The Bucs’ offensive line wasn’t great this past year, and certainly the Bucs probably need to find some upgrade, but there are better ways to do so than to spend a first-round pick. Especially given the fact that by the end of the year, the Bucs offense was humming—and the defense is the side of the ball that really needs improvement.

In fact, spending another first-round pick on offense is borderline negligence. Vernon Hargreaves is the only defensive first-round pick the Bucs have made the past four drafts, and he got benched this season. The Bucs have no pass-rush, need a strong safety (Chris Conte can’t be their solution forever), more depth at cornerback, and probably a defensive tackle, too.

Meanwhile, Dirk Koetter staunchly defended his offensive line throughout and at the end of the season, and there’s no reason to believe that was feigned. Drafting a guard in the top ten wouldn’t really square with that either.

In other words: please just draft a pass-rusher, Bucs. Please?