For months now there has been speculation about whether or not Gerald McCoy fits into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their plans for the future.
If he doesn’t, the team needs to find a replacement. One could be available outside of the top names Bucs fans already know, and he could come with some added draft capital.
He’s Clemson defensive lineman, Christian Wilkins.
CHRISTIAN WILKINS’ CAREER
He had double-digit tackles for losses in two of those years, and finished his Senior season as a consensus All-American.
If all of this wasn’t enough to earn him some day one love, he’s also put up two career rushing touchdowns and even has a touchdown reception.
Fans of college football, but not Clemson, might remember him best for dropping down into the splits after the Tigers won the National Championship in 2017.
Forget the fact the man just knows how to be part of a successful defensive line. He knows how to be disruptive and has no problem with teammates getting the sack numbers assisted by his own early penetration.
Lining up next to Vita Vea, the tandem would give the Bucs a slash-and-smash type of tandem in the middle of their defensive line for the next four years on rookie deals.
He’s custom built for an attacking style of defense, and while he’ll help set-up teammates for success, he’ll also have enough of his to keep him on highlight reels for the fans who need to see a first-round pick making splash plays.
Any questions about the man’s energy level will all be answered using the above .gif file, and if you can’t get down with a personality like that playing on your team then I don’t know how else to help you.
It’s not likely he’ll ever be enough inside by himself to anchor an entire line. He’ll have to be lined up next to a big guy like Vea in order to sustain success, meaning the team will be facing quite the decision in four or five years when both players come up on contract renewal periods.
However, this is a good problem to have. Another concern with Wilkins has to come from the fact he’s also been playing with very talented teammates.
For as much credit as he deserves for the team’s success, there are others who are up there with him.
Clelin Ferrell and Dexter Lawrence helped occupy blocks and capitalize on the interior pressure created by Lawrence and Wilkins.
Without these fellow day one or two prospects running with him, it’s possible his star wouldn’t have been as bright.
I hate to almost dock him for having really good teammates, but if you’re looking to invest a first-round pick in him, it’s something worth considering.
WHY THE BUCCANEERS NEED HIM
Have you hear the talk about Gerald McCoy not returning to the Bucs? Well, none of it is confirmed, but the latest comments coming from head coach Bruce Arians weren’t exactly encouraging.
Jason Licht remains non-committal when speaking with McCoy one way or the other, and this lack of sure commenting speaks to the fact there is at least the possibility he won’t be back with Tampa Bay this year.
Drafting Wilkins allows the team to move on from their veteran lineman without suffering an insurmountable deficit at the position.
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WILL IT HAPPEN?
We’ve heard absolutely nothing about Wilkins being on the draft board for the Bucs. But if Quinnen Williams is on the board, then Wilkins has to be on there somewhere.
Recently, Licht commented to the media about having divided the draft class into talent groups, and I suspect Wilkins is in the latter group.
Outside of those two teams, any trade back would likely still net one of the main targets we’ve been hearing and talking about for the majority of the draft season.
Fans would likely be unhappy overall if Wilkins were the guy added to the roster in the first-round of the 2019 NFL Draft. But once he got on the field, the attitude would likely change pretty quickly.