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Mocking the Buccaneers: Recent four-round projection answers a lot of questions

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Reviewing Luke Easterling’s latest mock draft

Penn State v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

For general managers like Jason Licht of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the NFL Draft is an exercise in filling team needs with securing talented players who can help your franchise win for years to come.

It’s not an exact science, and it isn’t easy. Mock drafting is something most - if not all - NFL staffs do, to try and anticipate the ups and downs of the draft proceedings to gauge when they might target specific players.

Fans and media alike participate in the exercise by going through what they envision each team doing when the selection meeting gets underway. Or, sometimes, we create mock drafts based off of what we would do if given the ability to steer the direction of all 32 NFL teams.

Luke Easterling of USA Today’s Draftwire is no stranger to this annual tradition, and his latest four-round mock answers a lot of questions Buccaneers fans want answered ahead of the 2020 NFL Season.

In the first round, Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs is still on the board when the Bucs get on the clock at pick fourteen, making the first pick and easy one.

“This is an ideal scenario for the Bucs,” Easterling writes, “who need to upgrade at least one of their tackle spots this offseason. Regardless of who is playing quarterback in Tampa Bay next season, the protection needs to improve in a big way if that player is going to succeed. Wirfs is ready to start from Day 1, and would be a bargain at this spot.”

In the second round, Easterling predicts Licht going for a day two running back, bringing aboard Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins. With Peyton Barber set to hit the open market this March, it would make sense for Tampa Bay to add a running back to partner with Ronald Jones.

Following up in the third round, West Virginia’s Ashtyn Davis gets added to the secondary and would provide strong competition with Mike Edwards and Andrew Adams (if he’s re-signed) for the starting free-safety position.

Finally, to round out the first four rounds, Easterling has the Buccaneers taking defensive lineman Jordan Elliott out of Missouri. Depth on the defensive line is as much a question as is the status of the 2019 starting line-up. If Ndamukong Suh doesn’t come back, then having solid depth will become even more important. Either way, Suh or no-Suh, the Bucs need depth.

Of course, there are many more mocks to come, and as things develop it’ll be fun to see how they change and bend with the news of re-signings, trades and free-agent acquisitions.

Leave your comments below about how you feel about this group of potential 2020 rookies for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and come back as we continue to gear up for the upcoming free-agent period and NFL Draft!