With all 32 NFL franchises now in the offseason portion of their year, the mock drafts will have the added benefit of a firm first-round order.
At least, until trades start happening.
For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, unrestricted free agents present gaps on the roster the team simply didn’t have to deal with in the 2021 offseason.
As players re-sign or get confirmed as not returning, mock drafts will improve and develop.
“Another case where it’s tempting to mock a QB out of desperation,” writes James Dator about the Buccaneers selecting Clemson cornerback, Andrew Booth Jr. “I think the Buccaneers make the smart play over the obvious. Booth is great value at No. 27, and fills a major need for Tampa Bay. This is a team still planning for a future after Tom Brady’s retirement, but solidifying their secondary is more important than rolling the dice on a potential QB here.”
With quarterbacks Kenny Pickett (Pittsburgh), Malik Willis (Liberty), and Sam Howell (North Carolina) all off the board, the top prospect at the position would likely be Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder, depending on who you believe at this point in the process.
While Ridder has intriguing upside, he’s not the kind of quarterback prospect one can have confidence in trying to lead a Bruce Arians team to the mountain top in his first season.
So, if you can’t find the answer at quarterback, help keep the scoreboard down with an added weapon in the defense.
As the fifth cornerback off the board, Booth is no consolation prize. According to his Pro Football Network scouting profile,
“Booth possesses the requisite size to play the cornerback position in the NFL. At 6’0″, he won’t be the tallest in the 2022 NFL Draft class, but by no means will he be the smallest. Furthermore, Booth has exceptional length, which is far more critical right now and at the next level. He has already demonstrated that he can put that length to good use with some phenomenal interceptions and pass breakups.”
The Clemson defender is a solid product already, and with education from some of the best defensive coaches in the business, should develop nicely as he blends into the Todd Bowles defense.
In fact, in this mock draft, I can firmly say there are no prospects taken off the board after him I would have preferred the Buccaneers select in his place.
Grade the selection of Clemson CB, Andrew Booth Jr.
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