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Buccaneers NFL Draft Target: Iowa EDGE, Lukas Van Ness

Will the Bucs take a pass rusher early?

NFL Combine Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have done a lot of work in beefing up their pass rush. Joe Tryon-Shoyinka was taken in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft, Anthony Nelson was re-signed to a mid-term contract, and longtime starter Shaq Barrett is returning from an Achilles injury that he suffered midway through last season. However, there is always room for more pass rushers and Lukas Van Ness is one of the top available prospects for the position. Let’s take a look at the Edge defender from Iowa and see if it makes sense for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Lukas Van Ness’ Collegiate Career

Van Ness showed great ability both as a run defender and a pass rusher as well. Van Ness put up 70 total tackles (34 solo), 19 tackles for loss, 1 pass defended, and 13 sacks while playing in 26 games at Iowa. In tackles for loss, Van Ness actually finished ninth in the entirety of the Big Ten and finished sixth both in 2021 and 2022 for sack numbers in the Big Ten which is no small achievement and shows the versatility of Van Ness and how he is a complete package in term of being an EDGE defender.

Pro Day and NFL Scouting Combine

Van Ness put up some very solid numbers while at the NFL Combine posting a 4.58 40-yard dash, a 1.64 10-yard split, a 31” vertical jump, a 9’ 10” broad jump, a 7.02 3 cone drill, a 4.32 20-yard shuttle, and 17 reps on the bench press. While not mind-blowing numbers in terms of athleticism, Van Ness still showcased good speed for an edge defender and good athleticism for his frame of 6’5 and 272 pounds.

What Van Ness can do for the Bucs in 2023

Van Ness is a player who could very realistically start for the Buccaneers right away if he were to be drafted. As it stands right now nobody knows what Shaq Barrett is going to look like when returning from his Achilles injury that he sustained last season, and Van Ness could slide into that starting role if Barrett is not fully healthy to start the season. However, even if Barrett is fully healthy I think that you can make a legitimate argument that Van Ness could start somewhere along the Bucs front seven including putting his hand in the dirt as a defensive lineman or possibly even starting over a guy like Joe Tryon-Shoyinka.

Three Year-Outlook

If Van Ness were to be taken by the Bucs in the upcoming NFL draft, his three-year outlook is a very positive one in my opinion. Van Ness would likely be a full-time starter by year two or three depending on the future of current Bucs starter Shaq Barrett who has an expiring contract soon. Van Ness could slot in as a starter next to Joe Tryon-Shoyinka and would give the Buccaneers a youthful pass-rusher duo for the Bucs for the next couple of seasons.

Stock Report

Lukas Van Ness is currently viewed as one of the top EDGE rushers in this upcoming drafted and he is being mock-drafted as such. Most mock drafts have Van Ness going nowhere close to where the Buccaneers are selecting at pick 19 and it is very likely that these mock drafts are what is going to be reality. If the Bucs do want to explore the possibility of drafting Van Ness it would likely require a trade-up at this point which would be a difficult task to achieve.

On the Clock…

Let us know your thoughts and opinions Bucs fans! Do you want to see the Bucs draft Lukas Van Ness and possibly trade up to select him? Let us know!


The Buccaneers Should Target Lukas Van Ness in the NFL Draft...

This poll is closed

  • 59%
    As Projected (First Round)
    (58 votes)
  • 9%
    Early (Trade Up From 19)
    (9 votes)
  • 28%
    Late (See if he slides into the second round)
    (28 votes)
  • 3%
    Never. He shouldn’t be on their board
    (3 votes)
98 votes total Vote Now