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Zierlein: There’s a chance Buccaneers address DL with No. 5 pick

The second annual Bucs Nation’s NFL Draft Q&A with’s Lance Zierlein.

College Football Playoff National Championship Presented By AT&T - Alabama v Clemson Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The 2019 NFL Draft is just a couple days away and there have been a lot of people making a lot of suggestions on how the Buccaneers will handle it. In the SB Nation mock draft, Bucs Nation’s Gil Arcia selected Houston’s defensive lineman Ed Oliver on behalf of Tampa Bay. With the need for a pass rush and the potential for a Gerald McCoy departure of some kind, Oliver — if available — may be the Buccaneers best bet when players like Quinnen Williams and Josh Allen are potentially taken off the board.

To provide some more insight into this year’s draft and the direction Tampa Bay may take, NFL Media’s draft analyst Lance Zierlein shares some draft knowledge with Bucs Nation for the second straight season. He also talked about other potential draft candidates as well as a story of the late Reggie Cobb.

Bucs Nation: What do you see from this year’s defensive class and what defensive position(s) do you feel is the strongest?

Lance Zierlein: Good defensive class overall. It’s got good defensive line talent inside the Top 10, but I don’t feel like the talent is elite necessarily. Deep class in the secondary, but not much early talent at all. Linebacker is going to be weak.

BN: Quinnen Williams. Josh Allen. Ed Oliver. Devin White. There is a strong possibility a couple of those names will be there at No. 5 for Tampa Bay. Would they be better off trading back or staying where they’re at and make a selection?

Zierlein: Stay there and pick unless the offer is good. I’m always a fan of trading back and adding picks, but there is a finite amount of early impact players in this draft so if you get a chance to add one, you might need to do it unless the offer is just too good.

BN: You and many others have the Bucs selecting LSU LB Devin White in mock drafts. There has been a lot of debate on that. So in your opinion, is White truly a Top 5 talent?

Zierlein: I don’t have him in the top five personally, but I try to think like teams might. I do think there is a better chance that Tampa goes defensive line if possible.

BN: How big is the talent gap between Josh Allen and Brian Burns?

Zierlein: Not as substantial as some might believe. The big difference is that Allen is bigger and stronger and has elite physical traits that are common with All-Pro type players in the league. Can Burns stay over 240 lbs in the pros? If he struggles to keep weight on, then he is going to be a designated pass rusher with trouble converting speed to power. That means he’s limited while Allen won’t have those limitations. That’s where the spread comes in as far as I’m concerned.

BN: Let’s say the Bucs do not address the need for a pass rusher early in the first round, can you tell us where and when they should address it?

Zierlein: If you don’t address it in the first two rounds, you probably won’t address it. You can try, but I don’t think you will be adding “dudes”.... you’ll be adding depth.

BN: The Buccaneers will undoubtedly go defense with their first pick. If they do, give us a name of a player that they can draft that’ll address their offensive line woes in the top of the second round.

Zierlein: Greg Little could slide into competition on the left side while Dalton Risner offers competition at right tackle, guard or center.

BN: You have Baylor WR Jalen Hurd projected to go somewhere in Rounds 3-4. What is his ceiling and do you see a fit for him in Tampa Bay?

Zierlein: He’s still a developmental prospect because he will have to learn to run routes with better tempo to get in and out of his breaks more favorably. If he can get route timing down and improve his hands, he’s got the potential to become a good WR2. I think he has a chance to be a TB target, but keep in mind that Bruce Arians likes big big speed to push it vertical. He’s already got a big WR1 so he might be more interested in adding a 4.4 guy at some point.

BN: Finally, the NFL and Buccaneers community lost a great guy by the name of Reggie Cobb over the weekend. You sent out a tweet saying how much fun he was to be around. What is your favorite memory or story you have of Cobb?

Zierlein: There were a few. I’ve known him for about 15 years. He was a long-time listener of my morning radio show as he lived in Houston as a scout. I remember just recently, we were all set to fly back from Mobile to Houston after the Senior Bowl and our flight got delayed for about 3 hours. There are several scouts who live in Houston and we all sat around having beer while the scouts recanted war stories from the road and from the war rooms. It was great. Then we talked James Harden and Rockets basketball for about an hour. Whenever you were around Reggie, you had fun. He always had that big smile and made you forget about any problems you might have had. He was really a great dude.

(You can follow Zierlein on Twitter @LanceZierlein and his draft coverage along with the profiles of prospects on