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Mel Kiper’s final mock draft features head-scratching choice for Buccaneers

Considering the depth of this year’s receiving class combined with the Tampa Bay’s other needs, this would be a shocking selection.

It’s officially NFL Draft Day, everyone.

That means there are plenty of prospects out there who will have their dreams come true in the coming days, which is a wonderful thing. But what it also means is that mock draft season is coming to an end.

However, it’s not over just yet! The first day of the draft always brings one last flood of mocks for people to sink their teeth into until 8 p.m. arrives. In fact, our very own James Yarcho and David Harrison released a three-round mock just this morning.

Another final mock came out Thursday, this one from Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN. Of course, Kiper has been at this for an extremely long time and has obviously had his share of success in the industry. It seems like he’s on television more than just about anyone at this time of the year.

But with that all being said, his final mock is a total head-scratcher, at least as far as the Buccaneers are concerned.

With the No. 14 overall pick in the draft, Kiper has Tampa Bay selecting wide receiver Justin Jefferson out of LSU. He had this to say about the pick:

Another pass-catcher for Tom Brady? With three offensive tackles off the board, the Bucs might not like who’s left. Jefferson is the best slot receiver in this class, and he’d get a bunch of short targets in Tampa.

Yeah, I’m not sure about this one, chief. Yes, the Bucs could be looking for a receiver in the next few days, but to see it happen at No. 14, especially given their other needs, would be confusing. Kiper notes in his explanation that “three offensive tackles” were off the board by this point, but he actually had all four of the top guys—Tristan Wirfs, Jedrick Wills Jr., Andrew Thomas and Mekhi Becton—going in the first 11 picks. We’ll just assume that the “three” was a typo.

But even still, having Tampa Bay select Jefferson—who is of course very talented and worthy of being a first-round pick—over some of the other guys left on the board? It doesn’t make sense. Kiper has the Bucs passing on defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw, edge rusher K’Lavon Chaisson and offensive tackle Josh Jones to take Jefferson.

Not to mention, even if they were looking for a receiver with that selection, it would be somewhat of a surprise to see the pick be Jefferson over guys like CeeDee Lamb and Henry Ruggs III. Both of those receivers have been consistently projected as higher selections than Jefferson, with the LSU receiver more likely to get taken somewhere in the 20s.

Yeah, this is a weird one. But if I’m way off and this somehow happens, feel free to send @OldTakesExposed after me. We’ll see what happens tonight.

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