Tampa Bay will have plenty of options when their pick comes around on April 26. That is thanks to a lot of moves made by teams in front of them as well as their own.
Despite the moves, secondary is still a very vulnerable position for the Bucs. That is why ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Jr. says they should draft Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward seventh overall in his latest mock draft.
Quenton Nelson might have been in play here, but the Bucs signed center Ryan Jensen in free agency and can move Ali Marpet back to guard. I think this pick has to be a defensive back -- the Bucs had the league’s worst passing defense in 2017. Tampa Bay could choose from the best corner or safety on its board, and Ward is the top corner in this class. Former first-round pick Vernon Hargreaves III has not impressed, and Brent Grimes will be 35 when the season begins.
Kiper certainly makes a valid point. The Buccaneers need help to bolster their pass defense. And with such a horrible performance in 2017, the need is obvious.
But the NFC South is stacked with receivers like Julio Jones (ATL), Michael Thomas (N.O.), and Devin Funchess (CAR). One of Ward’s biggest knocks on him is that he is not very physical and those three receivers are. That already puts him at a disadvantage.
Not sure if Ward would be the right pick at No. 7.