The NFL Draft is just days away and many experts and fans have had the Buccaneers sights squarely on one of Andrew Thomas, Tristan Wirfs, Mekhi Becton, or Jedrick Wills at the offensive tackle position. Those four are the consensus top players at their position and there is a chance that at least one will be available for the Bucs at 14. However, it is not a guarantee. So much so that some have the Bucs trading up in the first to ensure that they land one of those four to protect Tom Brady.
If all of those tackles will be off the board when the Bucs are set to pick at 14, what should Tampa do? The FPC Buccaneers staff gives their thoughts on the matter in the latest roundtable.
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Could one of these tackles fall to the Bucs? Possibly. However, regardless of what is and would be available at 14, the Bucs should strongly consider moving back in the draft.
It would be nice to get an NFL-ready tackle like the ones mentioned before. However, it may be more valuable for the Bucs to go with one of the second tier linemen such as Josh Jones and pick up an extra second or third by moving back in the first. In the first mock draft we published, we suggested the Dolphins as a trade partner. This would, theoretically, give the Bucs three selections between 26 and 45, a much more valuable set of assets than if the Bucs held on to pick 14 and didn’t select again until 45.
If this were to play out, the Bucs could land a tackle like Jones, their choice of D’Andre Swift or Clyde Edwards-Helaire at the running back position and, potentially, a safety like Antoine Winfield Jr or another defensive playmaker. That would be a substantially bigger haul than if the Bucs held on to 14.
The Bucs find themselves in a precarious position this Thursday in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. It is no secret that they have their eyes set on one of the top four offensive tackles that are available in this class. The idea of trading up to ensure they do get one has been rumored in recent weeks, as well as the possibility of trading back if they do miss out on those four guys.
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The first big indicator will be the New York Giants with the fourth overall pick. The G-Men will likely pick between one of the top tackles and a generational talent like Isaiah Simmons. If indeed they go with Simmons, that would go a long way in the likelihood of one of the tackles falling to Tampa Bay at 14. With only three other teams who currently sit ahead of the Bucs likely to look at a tackle(Arizona, Cleveland, and NYJ) this would greatly decrease the odds of Jason Licht looking to move up. If the Giants opt for a tackle, I would not be shocked to see the Bucs make a move into the top 10.
In the event the Bucs do not trade up, and the top four tackles are off the board they have a couple of options in my mind. The first would be to take one of the best players still on the board which could be Javon Kinlaw or even a receiver such as Jerry Jeudy or Ceedee Lamb. The second would be to entertain trade offers that are likely to come, and they could move back in an attempt to secure one of the tackles in the second tier such as Josh Jones or Isaiah Wilson.
With all of that said, with new quarterback Tom Brady, the Bucs need to be all-in on winning now and that means prioritizing the line in front of Brady. Thus, whether that requires a move into the top ten or not, Jason Licht must do everything he can to land one of the top four tackles come Thursday.
If a tackle isn’t available at pick 14 then I think they should draft defensive lineman Khalil Davis from Nebraska. The Bucs only have Ndamukong Suh for one more season so they may need depth at the position. Having Davis alongside Vita Vea and William Gholston would add some much-needed weight to the line as Davis is 308 pounds.
Davis could fit in that defense perfectly and has the ability to get to the quarterback. Preparing now for the future of what the defense could look like isn’t a bad thing.