Time has passed since the Buccaneers were able to bring home their second Lombardi Trophy. The organization is now preparing for the NFL Draft and retaining key free agents. As we look at the different combinations of draft strategy, one thing is for certain Jason Licht will get the job done. Fans have been all over the Buccaneers GM for a number of years, but his Draft resume is starting to shape up very well. So without further ado, here is my second mock draft for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
This draft will be different for fans; due to the fact, we select at the end and not the beginning. But we can all get used to that.
On Round 1, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will use the 32nd pick of the draft to select: LB Jabril Cox from LSU. Cox is a perfect fit in the defensive scheme and could potentially fill a hole left by a Lavonte David exit. Cox is an excellent coverage linebacker with a skill set to be physical in the run game. He could give Tampa Bay the same type of production they got from David over the past nine seasons. The last time Tampa Bay selected an LSU linebacker, it worked out pretty well for them.
In Round 2, Tampa will look for depth at the defensive line position. This pick will be Levi Onwuzurike from Washington. He’s incredibly athletic, and has a very good first step, which makes him a great pass rusher. Onwuzurike was a matchup nightmare for opposing lineman, and many scouts believe he will have to be double-teamed at the next level. He is also a run-stuffer in the middle. This would be a great pick in the second round to help out the league’s number one run defense.
In Round 3, we have a little bit of a surprise pick from the Buccaneers. I still believe that more help in the secondary is needed for the Bucs in 2021. I can already hear the fans out there coming to the aid of our secondary. In 2020 the secondary was better but could always use more playmakers. This pick is Ohio State cornerback Shaun Wade. The Ohio State corner played very well in the 2020 season. He had 20 tackles, 2 interceptions, and 4 passes defended. The statistics may not be eye-popping, but opposing quarterbacks didn’t throw at him. Also, the Buckeyes were part of the covid scares that hit collegiate football. He is a lanky 6’1 195-pound corner that reminds me a lot of Carlton Davis.
Finally, in Round 4, Tom Brady will get some offensive help. It would be very surprising if Leonard Fournette returns to Tampa in 2021. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers select running back Trey Sermon from the Ohio State Buckeyes. If you were able to watch Sermon this year, he is a physical specimen. He is the definition of an all-around back. Sermon can run between the tackles, fast enough to hit the edge, and is very underrated catching the ball, in my opinion. He had 116 attempts that resulted in 870 yards and 4 touchdowns. Sermon is 6’1 and weighs 215 pounds. He would be the perfect fit in an already talented backfield.
In Round 5, the Buccaneers will select Northern Iowa defensive end, Elerson Smith. This pick is a steal in my opinion. The scouts raved about the potential of Elerson Smith. He is 6’7 and weighs 245 pounds, which is comparable to current Buccaneers defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. He is incredibly versatile and plays with good leverage. This makes it easy to plug and play really anywhere on the defensive front. He shows a good ability to play with his hands and take on pulling lineman. He is a very good pass rusher but needs a little help in stopping the run. Smith struggled at times, in 2019, to stop the ball when it was being run to his side of the field. This can be fixed with proper coaching at the next level.
Round 7: Tampa Bay will have two selections. The first pick will be Illinois wide receiver Josh Imatorbhebhe. He could be used in many different facets of the game, including taking punts and kickoffs. Imatorbhebhe is 6’2 220 pounds and was one of the only bright spots for the Illini in 2020. The Illini used several quarterbacks this past season, but no matter who was under center, Imatorbhebhe just continued to put up the numbers. In two seasons with the Illinis (2019 & 2020), he hauled in 55 receptions for 931 yards and 12 touchdowns. If Godwin or Antonio Brown decided to take their talents elsewhere, this could be their replacement.
With their second pick in the 7th round, the Buccaneers will select Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger. This is the pick with an immense amount of talk behind it because the Buccaneers need to find someone to replace Tom Brady. Ehlinger has all the intangibles to lead Tampa Bay whenever Brady decides to hang it up. In 2020, Ehlinger lit up the opposing defenses throwing for 2,566 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions. He has the build of an NFL quarterback standing 6’3 and weighing 225 pounds.
This sums up my second mock draft, but I believe that we address every potential need with these selections. Of course, Draft Day could bring trades and many other surprises, but when doing a mock draft it is impossible to account for those. Tampa Bay will probably bring back some of their key free agents, as well. That wasn’t taken into account when completing this mock draft. Enjoy Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans!