The Tampa Bay Buccaneers need a lot of help at a lot of different positions to help “re-tool” — not rebuild — their team back to contention. Part of that help is along the defensive line where Vita Vea is the only major threat. Despite signing Greg Gaines to a one-year deal, the Bucs still have a hole on the other side of Vea. So, with the 19th pick in the SB Nation mock draft, the Buccaneers select defensive lineman Calijah Kancey out of Pittsburgh.
Kancey, the 6’1 280-pound junior from Miami, has the combination of speed and power that Todd Bowles would love to add to the front three. With Logan Hall — last year’s first pick of the second round — still being a question mark and not showing the growth in his rookie season you would have hoped for, Kancey is an immediate plug-and-play guy.
With a 4.67-second 40 and a 1.64-second 10-yard split, Kancey has some explosion in him that the Bucs would gladly welcome to their defense. In three seasons as a Pitt Panther, Kancey racked up 34.5 tackles for loss and 16 sacks, getting 14.5 of those in his second and third years.
While the biggest need for the Buccaneers is still offensive tackle, most were off the board by time the Bucs’ pick came around. With Paris Johnson Jr., Broderick Jones, Darnell Wright, and Peter Skoronski all gone, Kancey was the best prospect at a different position of need. So rather than settling for the fifth tackle, the decision was easy to help the other side of the trenches.
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Buccaneers are currently +6500 to win the Super Bowl and +370 to make the playoffs. While this is likely a two-year process to get back to the top of the NFC South, a player like Kancey will help restore a defense searching to get back to its 2020 and 2021 form. Also, DraftKings does have the Bucs slotted for drafting a defensive lineman as their second-highest position to draft with a +250.