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Bucs replace key veteran in latest mock draft

The NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah released his latest mock on Tuesday.

NFL: Super Bowl LV-Kansas City Chiefs vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have some very important decisions to make during the offseason and many of said decisions revolve around key players.

One of those players is Lavonte David, Tampa Bay’s longest-tenured Buc and a player that many consider to be the heart and soul of the Bucs defense.

David, who is entering his 10th season with the Bucs, is still playing at a high level despite the fact that he turned 31 a few weeks ago. The former Cornhusker finished 2020 with 117 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 13 TFLs, one interception, two fumble recoveries, three forced fumbles, six PBUs, and three quarterback hits.

But now he’s looking for a new deal after wrapping up a five-year, $50,250,000 extension he signed back in 2015. There’s no doubt that LVD wants to remain in Tampa Bay and there’s no doubt that the Bucs want him to stay. The question is simply a matter of if the Bucs can afford him or not.

If the two sides can’t reach an agreement, then the subsequent maneuver would be for the Bucs to find a replacement through either free agency or the draft. It’s always hard to say goodbye to a player like LVD, but the good news is that there are some solid options for a potential successor.

The NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah released his second mock draft of the offseason on Tuesday and he has the Bucs taking linebacker Nick Bolton with the 32nd overall pick in the NFL Draft.

The reason? Well, to make up for the potential departure of David, of course.

There are three good options at linebacker between Bolton, Tulsa’s Zaven Collins and LSU’s Jabril Cox. If the Bucs lose Lavonte David in free agency, I think Bolton would be a great replacement.

Bolton is a very intriguing candidate in this regard. He is a hard-hitting, off-ball linebacker who is very good in zone coverage. His aggressive mentality combined with a good football IQ are the catalysts behind his first-round projection, but make no mistake, he has some areas of his game that he needs to work on.

Bolton led the Tigers in tackles over the last two years and finished his career with 220 tackles, 17.5 TFLs, 4.0 sacks, 12 PBUs, and two interceptions in 32 games.