Following the selection of Tristan Wirfs in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have presumably filled one area of need. The job isn’t done though, and some would argue the path ahead will contain the more important additions to the roster when looking at the long-term health of the team.
No matter where you stand in the value of day two and day one draft picks, we have two rounds of prospect selections ahead as the second and third rounds go down on Friday night. Who will the Bucs pick? Let’s look some names to watch, and at the end, I’ll make a prediction for you to agree with or argue against.
BEST REMAINING SECOND-ROUND TARGETS FOR THE TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
1. Cornerback, Trevon Diggs (Alabama)
As well as the Bucs’ young secondary did in 2019, the team is one injury away from Ryan Smith getting significant time on the defense. When Smith last saw the field last season, it didn’t go well. The special teams contributor is capped at just that until he shows otherwise, so drafting a cornerback many considered to have day one talent, would help protect the unit from injury. However, it may be bit high for a team that spent three picks on defensive backs just one year ago.
2. Running Back, Jonathan Taylor (Wisconsin)
LSU’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire came off the board at Pick 32, becoming the only running back taken in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. On day two, there could be four or more in the position group taken, and Jonathan Taylor is widely considered the best of the remaining group for the Bucs. If he is taken before Tampa’s pick at No. 45, then J.K. Dobbins will take the lead as the favorite for the team, but Jason Licht and his staff may not be ready to select Dobbins that high, leading to a shift in priorities.
3. Safety, Xavier McKinney (Alabama)
Hopefully there’s been enough time since the Bucs invested a high draft pick in an Alabama safety, fans wouldn’t cringe at the idea of adding another. Xavier McKinney is a solid safety option and considered the top free-safety option by many. Again, fans may not be happy seeing another defensive back taken, but if the team isn’t sold on Andrew Adams as it’s starter, then bringing in talent could be a route they decide to take.
4. Defensive Lineman, Ross Blacklock (TCU)
Javon Kinlaw was a popular prospect for the Buccaneers in mock drafts when they didn’t get an offensive tackle. Of course, in real life they did get the tackle, so now they may look to secure defensive line depth in round two. Both Ndamukong Suh and William Gholston could need replacing in the coming years, so getting a head start with Blacklock learning while providing depth, would be a wise investment for 2020 contributions and potential 2021 starting duties.
Teams to watch ahead of the Buccaneers: Indianapolis Colts, Detroit Lions, New England Patriots, Houston Texans, Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars
BEST REMAINING THIRD-ROUND TARGETS FOR THE TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
1. Wide Receiver, Chase Claypool (Notre Dame)
A well known favorite of the Locked On Bucs Podcst, the Notre Dame wide receiver figures to go in the next five to ten wide receiver selections. However, with six receivers selected in the first-round, it’s possible we’ll see stretches without the position group being drafted. If this happens, then Chase Claypool could fall into the laps of the Bucs at pick 76.
2. Running Back, Cam Akers (Florida State)
If the Bucs don’t go running back in the second-round, then Cam Akers would be a very attractive option in round number three. Seminoles fans would be happy to see one of their own land with Tampa, and Tom Brady would be happy to have a running back known for carving out a respectable career during one of the darker periods in Florida State football.
3. EDGE, Jonathan Greenard (Florida)
Same state, different school, Jonathan Greenard could come in and immediately contribute to the aggressive pass-rushing style of Todd Bowles’ defense. Added bonus for the fact Greenard could evolve into a capable starter in place of some of the more aged pieces of the current defensive unit. Not in 2020, but eventually.
4. Offensive Lineman, Tyler Biadasz (Wisconsin)
The Buccaneers have done some solid work adding depth at the tackle position by drafting Tristan Wirfs and signing Joe Haeg, but the interior could use an infusion of young talent as well. Tyler Biadasz is a solid offensive lineman who could serve as a back-up to each interior offensive lineman and potentially step into a starting role should one be lost to injury, or become too expensive to keep down the road.