With the craziness of the NFL free agency frenzy slowing down and the draft less than a month away, NFL rosters are starting to take shape. Most teams have a pretty good idea of what their positional needs will be heading into the 2020 Draft. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are no different. After re-signing many of their big-name defensive free agents like Jason Pierre-Paul, Ndamukong Suh, and Shaq Barrett, along with other key defensive reserves like Kevin Minter, Andrew Adams, and Ryan Smith, the Bucs can now focus on their plans for the upcoming draft.
Bruce Arians said that the team’s main focus in free agency was going to be to keep their defense as intact as possible. Mission accomplished. Now with Tom Brady signed as the Bucs new quarterback, Jason Licht, and Bruce Arians could end up zoning in on the offensive side of the ball in the draft. So that will be my main focus in this, my final mock draft of the 2020 off-season.
For this mock, I’m being straight up. No trades. No tricks. No gimmicks. The Bucs have seven picks in this draft, thanks to an extra fourth-round compensatory pick. This is going to be my “dream mock“, meaning these are the players that I would select should all the right pieces fall in just the right place for the Bucs. Realistically, some of these guys might be gone at the point where I picked them. But for the sake of this mock, everything happens just the way I plan, and I get the guys I want in each round. With that being said, here is what I consider my “dream draft“.
Deez Bucz Dream Draft
OT Jedrick Wills, Alabama – 6’5″/320lbs
Projected: Top 15 pick
Bruce Arians claims that he’s good with recently signed offensive lineman Joe Haeg starting at right tackle, but I’m not buying it. In my opinion, it’s still the biggest need on this team – so I would use this pick on one. Hopefully, Wills is still available. He played right tackle at Alabama, but that just happened to be their quarterback Tua’s blindside. He’s big, strong, athletic and quick. He’s a technician in pass protection and a mauler in the run game. He’s just what the Bucs need to move on from Demar Dotson.
Alternative Pick: OT Mekhi Becton, Louisville
RB Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin – 5’11″/220lbs
Projected: Round 1-2
With Peyton Barber signing with the Redskins in free agency, Ronald Jones is the only legit running back still on the Bucs roster. I’m not sure that Bruce Arians is ready to hitch his wagon to him just yet. So they’ll be looking for another stud early on here to pair up with him. He finished with 2,000+ yards in all three years at Wisconsin. His size, speed, and power would be a nice combination with Jones in the Bucs backfield.
Alternative Pick: RB Cam Akers, Florida State
WR Michael Pittman Jr – 6’4″/220lbs
Projected: Round 3-4
I thought about going quarterback here to give Tom Brady a “trainee” for the next two years, but the two guys I wanted, Jordan Love and Jacob Eason, would likely be long gone. Instead, I’m going wide receiver. With Breshad Perriman chasing that almighty dollar by signing with the Jets in free agency, the Bucs need to find a new #3 guy. Could Scotty Miller step up into that role? With Brady at quarterback, it’s a possibility. After all, he does have a history of turning small, speedy white guys into superstar receivers. However, I like the idea of adding another guy with some size to this receiving corps. This guy gives Tom Brady another red-zone weapon to play with, plus he’s the son of the Buccaneers former Super Bowl-winning running back Michael Pittman.
Alternative Pick: WR Collin Johnson, Texas
RB/WR Antonio Gibson, Memphis – 6’1″/225lbs
Projected: Round 3-4
The Bucs needed a third-down, pass-catching back coming into this draft. They could probably just use Cam Akers in that role (if they get him instead of Taylor), but why not add another horse to the stable? Gibson is about as versatile an athlete as you’ll get in this draft. He’s a running back who played a lot of wide receiver at Memphis. Bruce Arians could have a lot of fun finding ways to use this guy in his offense, either out of the backfield or in the slot. Oh, and as an added bonus, he can return kicks.
Alternative Pick: RB Zack Moss, Utah
TE Colby Parkinson, Stanford – 6’7″/250lbs
Projected: Round 3-5
Sure, the Bucs are stacked at tight end with OJ Howard, Cam Brate, Antony Auclair, Jordan Leggett, Tanner Hudson, and Codey McElroy. But if they get a chance to add this “Gronk-like” red zone target to the group like this guy, you gotta do it. He has a massive catch radius to go along with his explosiveness and above-average athleticism. He’s a bit raw, but his ceiling is extremely high, so he could end up being a really good tight end in the future.
Alternative Pick: TE Josiah Deguara, Cincinnati
LB Shaquille Quarterman, Miami – 6’1″/240lbs
Projected: Round 4-5
I couldn’t go offense for this entire draft, so here’s my first defensive pick. The Bucs have one of the best inside linebacker duos in football, but not much behind them. They did re-sign Kevin Minter as a reserve, but Jack Cichy has an injury history and can’t be depended on, and Noah Dawkins is still unproven. This guy could add a little more depth to the group.
Alternative Pick: CB Reggie Robinson II, Tulsa
CB Stanford Samuels III, Florida State – 6’2″/185lbs
Projected: Round 5-7
The starting cornerback spots appear to be in solid hands with Carlton Davis, Jamel Dean, and Sean Murphy-Bunting, but they could stand to add some depth to this group. They did just re-sign unrestricted free agent Ryan Smith, and they still have MJ Stewart who’s serviceable, but Mazzi Wilkins, Deiondre’ Hall, and John Franklin are still young and unproven. He’s got length and speed to go with his exceptional ball skills, which is just what the Bucs need to deal with those big NFC South receivers.
Alternative Pick: S/LB Antoine Brooks, Maryland
Just to recap: I got a new starting right tackle, a new running back to pair up with Ronald Jones in the backfield, a new #3 receiver, a new third-down back/receiver, another tight end, and added depth to the LB and CB groups. So here’s what the roster would look like heading into training camp, minus any late free-agent signings.
QB- Tom Brady, Ryan Griffin
RB- Ronald Jones, Jonathan Taylor, Antonio Gibson, TJ Logan, Dare Ogunbowale
WR- Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Michael Pittman Jr, Scotty Miller, Justin Watson, Bryant Mitchell
TE- OJ Howard, Cam Brate, Antony Auclair, Colby Parkinson, Tanner Hudson, Jordan Leggett
OL- Donovan Smith, Ali Marpet, Ryan Jensen, Alex Cappa, Jedrick Wills, Joe Haeg, Zack Bailey, Brad Seaton
DL- Ndamukong Suh, Vita Vea, Will Gholston, Rakeem Nunez-Roches, Jeremiah Ledbetter, Pat O’Connor
OLB- Jason Pierre-Paul, Shaq Barrett, Anthony Nelson, Kahzin Daniels, Quinton Bell
ILB- Lavonte David, Devin White, Kevin Minter, Jack Cichy, Shaquille Quarterman
CB- Carlton Davis, Jamel Dean, Sean Murphy-Bunting, MJ Stewart, Ryan Smith, Stanford Samuels III
S- Jordan Whitehead, Mike Edwards, Justin Evans, Andrew Adams, D’Cota Dixon
Remember the “Weapons 4 Winston” campaign in 2017 when the Bucs drafted OJ Howard and Chris Godwin? Well, I call this year’s draft “Toys 4 Tom“. Not only did I get him a shiny, new right tackle, but I also got him four new offensive weapons as well. I think it’s safe to say that most Bucs fans are excited about this upcoming season (that is IF we even have one thanks to “the pandemic“), and I’m definitely one of them. I know we always go into every season with high hopes and expectations, but this year feels different with Tom Brady under center. Could the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the worst franchise in all of professional sports, be the first NFL team to ever host a Super Bowl this season? Anything is possible.
Until then, as always, GO BUCS!!!