Gene Clemons, FBGP Analyst
In this fifth and final edition of the Buccaneers “What If” Mock Draft, we look at all seven rounds of the draft for Tampa Bay! As always, these are what I would do if I was general manager Jason Licht and head coach Dirk Koetter. It also does not include any trades that may be made during the draft.
Rd 1 Pk 19: Corey Davis WR Western Michigan
FBGP position rank: #1 Flanker, Score: 93
Corey Davis is the best receiving prospect in this draft and there is a chance he will be the third receiver off the board. His versatility is something that makes him extremely special. He can line up wide like Mike Williams and win those coveted 50/50 balls while also moving the chains. He can line up in the slot like John Ross and be that burner down the seam. He also has the ability to take short passes and turn them into big gains. He would be a great compliment to a receiving core in Tampa that had a better version of Mike Williams name Mike Evans and a better version of John Ross named DeSean Jackson. Davis fills a need and is a plug and play day one starter.
Rd 2 Pk 18 (50): Jordan Willis DE Kansas State
FBGP position rank: #1 4-3 DE, Score: 84
One word describes Willis; relentless! While there may be questions about many pass rushers motors in this draft, those questions don’t exist about Willis. He goes full bore every play and that attitude mixed with a nasty streak makes him an ideal fit in Tampa Bay along a defensive line that currently boast young speedsters and veteran stalwarts. He can be an immediate impact for the Bucs as a pass rush specialist and is already better in the run game than last year’s second round pick Noah Spence.
Rd 3 Pk 20 (84): Marlon Mack RB South Florida
FBGP position rank: #21 RB, Score: 69
While many want to see Tampa Bay address running back in the first round of the draft, the depth at running back is undeniable and the depth at receiver isn’t nearly as close. So in the third round the Bucs will still have a chance to pick a player familiar with Raymond James Stadium. Mack has good size and excellent speed. He plays fast and he has three years of quality film. He is a legitimate three-down back who fills a position on a team that needs to be upgraded. He has vision to get through the smaller running lanes of the NFL and the explosion to take any play the distance. While Tampa Bay fans don’t get the FSU product in Dalvin Cook, they get another state of Florida product and one that will make an immediate impact.
Rd 4 Pk: Sidney Jones CB Washington
FBGP position rank:#20 CB, Score: 78
Jones is a defensive back who was a first round talent before an achilles tendon injury during his pro day made every evaluator question whether to take him at all. Make no mistake this player will make a recovery and he will be a factor for some team who takes a chance on him. Why not Tampa Bay? They have the ability to red shirt him if necessary to ensure that they have a healthy DB for the next ten years. He is rangy and has the versatility to play cornerback and safety and would be an immediate need for the Bucs in the slot if he is able to play this season. Another plug and play guy that is devalued through no fault of his own.
Rd 5 Pk: Michael Roberts TE Toledo
FBGP position rank: #11 Inline, Score: 67
Roberts is my sleeper pick of the draft and is in my opinion one of only six tight ends in the draft who can be impactful inline as a legitimate blocker and l pass threat from day one! He has a ridiculous catch radius, decent speed for the position, proven statistical success, and a drive to be successful that was on display during his collegiate career. While the public bangs the table for more big receivers masquerading as tight ends because of the production through the air never forget the best tight ends in the league and most valuable to their team still possess the ability to exist in multiple worlds. Roberts has that ability and will be a guy who allows the Bucs to exploit their play action pass game to its fullest potential.
Rd 6 Pk: Samson Ebukam LB Eastern Washington
FBGP position rank: #22 OLB, Score: 68.5
Ebukam is yet another FCS product that will hear his name called during the draft. His physical play and experience with his hand in the dirt makes him an ideal fit on the string side next to a couple all pro caliber linebackers in Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David. The EWU product fits the mold of athletic, tenacious, ball-seeking linebackers that Tampa Bay has become accustomed to over the past 20 years. He can be an immediate impact on obvious run downs but also provide an element in blitzes due to his experience with pass rushing. He will also be an immediate impact as a special teamer.
Rd 7 Pk: PJ Walker QB Temple
FBGP position rank: #4 QB, Score: 86.5
Walker is an extremely accomplished quarterback and had tremendous success in his time in college. He has performed all of the requisite task asked of an NFL prospect at that position. I believe that he is a 2nd tier quarterback in this draft and yet the buzz on his draft position has been nonexistent. Quietly, many know that several teams have had him in to work out and think he could be the heir apparent to their current situation at the position. After Tampa Bay had a misstep and allowed now Chicago Bears quarterback Mike Glennon to leave the Bucs and received no compensation for him, they will be looking to replace him as Jameis Winston’s backup. It’s a position that I don’t see filled on their roster currently. Walker will add another intelligent, young football junkie with leadership skills to a quarterback meeting room that needs an running mate for Winston.
Be sure to stay tuned to the draft and follow me to read all of my reactions to the Buccaneers selections and moves in Philly.