Football is a year round business, and this time of year is dedicated to the building and re-building of both successful and less-than-successful rosters from the year prior. For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, every year is important, but this one finds the team at a major crossroads. How the team proceeds into the future at the quarterback position will send ripples through the franchise’s future.
Those of us on the outside of the decision making progress, we can only speculate about the correct path we think the decision makers should take. And as we get closer and closer to free-agency and the NFL Draft, there are stories, rumors, ‘buzz’, that can help us hone in on what each franchise might do when the crucial moments in the off-season arrive.
Enter, mock drafts. None are ever 100% correct, but they get more and more accurate the more information is known from around the league. This is the approach Dane Brugler from The Athletic took in his latest mock draft attempt. And what he sees coming out of Indianapolis and the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine is something worth talking about.
And that’s where we here at Bucs Nation enter the picture. To collect those thoughts and bring you to them in a Buccaneers sized morsel of information.
Looking at this mock draft, Brugler isn’t buying into the thoughts the Washington Redskins should be looking at a quarterback like Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama), and instead goes with the typical Joe Burrow (LSU) - Chase Young (Ohio State) combo. With the Cincinnati Bengals and the Redskins following early predictions, this makes pick three the one that really gets the draft going.
As Brugler writes, ‘...this is where the intrigue starts.’, and the first pick with multiple possible outcomes turns into Clemson Tigers linebacker Isaiah Simmons becoming the newest member of the Detroit Lions.
From there, there aren’t a lot of surprises, outside of maybe Jeff Okudah (Ohio State) landing with the Carolina Panthers despite plenty of mock drafts placing defensive tackle Derrick Brown (Auburn) in that slot for most of the year thus far.
Instead, Brown gets added to the Jacksonville Jaguars defense now missing cornerback A.J. Bouye and primed for a stalemate with star defensive end, Yannick Ngakoue.
The Indianapolis Colts pick at number thirteen has been one Buccaneers fans have had their eye on for the majority of the off-season, seeing as how the two franchises have needs in very similar areas. Quarterback, being the big one.
In this mock, Brugler sends Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy to the Colts, instead of having them take the fourth quarterback of the first round. He writes,
“A quarterback should not be ruled out here, regardless of whether the Colts sign a veteran like Philip Rivers prior to the draft. But whoever is under center needs more weapons and Jeudy and his electric play speed would fill a substantial need.”
Then comes Jason Licht and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and assuming you glanced at the feature photo on this post, you already know Bruce Arians gets a new quarterback in Utah State’s Jordan Love.
Again, Brugler writes,
“If Jameis Winston returns to Tampa, it is expected to be a short-term deal, opening the door for the Buccaneers to draft and develop a talent like Love. With his intriguing traits, the Utah State product has the upside that should appeal to head coach Bruce Arians.”
While he doesn’t signal this pick stemming from his having knowledge or an assumption Tampa Bay is set to part with quarterback Jameis Winston, he does hint at the eventual transition between Love and Winston as the Bucs’ starting quarterback.
Brugler’s next pick, coming in the second round, comes in the form of Georgia offensive tackle, Isaiah Wilson. About Wilson, he writes,
“With Alex Cappa playing well at right guard, Tampa is in solid shape at each offensive line spot except right tackle - that is where Wilson can help.”
Those wanting to see a running back taken in the second round of this year’s draft will be disappointed in how the first two rounds take form, here. For what it’s worth, running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (LSU) is still available here when the Bucs nab Wilson.
Moving to the third round, the Buccaneers select Oklahoma defensive tackle, Neville Gallimore. From Canada, to Oklahoma, to Tampa? It could happen, and the super athletic interior defensive lineman still has a lot of untapped potential which would really let the Bucs coaches shape him into the player they need him to be.
Attacking the trenches and the quarterback position might pay off in the long run for the Buccaneers if this is truly how the first three rounds were to go. But fans who want to see playoff football in early 2021 might not appreciate the team taking just two players in their first three picks who are likely to see the field.
Instead of assuming what fans might think, we have the power to ask them. So, we ask....
What grade to you give this three-round NFL Draft class for the 2020 Tampa Bay Buccaneers?
This poll is closed