IT’S MOCK DRAFT SEASON, BUC NATION!
In my last mock draft, I had Tampa Bay picking Florida quarterback Kyle Trask with their 32nd pick. I got mixed reviews for that one. Some loved the idea of grabbing an heir apparent for Tom Brady in this draft and some didn’t. Understandable. You can’t please everyone. However, I feel like my last mock covered all of the “needs” that Tampa Bay has on it’s roster right now. Plus, I had a few guys in there that I really like for the Bucs. That’s why I’ve left most of my picks the same in this draft, with a few exceptions.
As I said in my last mock, the Bucs are one of the few teams, maybe the ONLY team, that can probably go with the best player available strategy in this draft since they’re NOT drafting for any specific needs. They’re the first Super Bowl winning team since 1979 to bring back all 22 of their offensive AND defensive starters, so they’ll be drafting for depth and planning for the future departures of some of their older veterans. With that being said, here’s my third mock draft for the 2021 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
DE Jaelan Phillips, Miami
Since my QB pick was so “controversial” in the last mock, I’m going with a more likely choice with my 32nd pick in Phillips. IF he’s still on the board that is. He crushed his pro day so he may have opened the few eyes that may not have been looking at him already. At 6’5″/260lbs, he ran a 4.56 forty, had a 36″ vertical and a 10’6″ broad jump. His blend of size, speed, length, technique and athleticism allow him to line up in a variety of positions and produce from all of them. Whether it’s lining up on the edge with his hand in the dirt, kicking inside in sub packages or standing up and rushing from space, he’s a solid defender of the run AND a highly effective pass rusher. He gives the Bucs another speed edge guy adding some much needed depth behind Shaq and JPP. And hopefully, he develops enough over the next year or two that he’ll be ready to take over for JPP on the outside.
G/C Quinn Meinerz, Wisconsin-Whitewater
This is one of my favorite players in this draft, which is why I kept him in from my last mock. Meinerz just loves to play football. More importantly, he loves playing offensive line. After playing guard for his entire college career, he was told he might play some center during Senior Bowl week. So he practiced snapping at a pizza paddle in his backyard. He ended up impressing a lot of people that week and started shooting up draft boards. At 6’3″/320lbs, he’s got a big frame and knows how to use it. He’s a mean, nasty finisher. He’s extremely strong and knows how to use his leverage to bully defenders. His high football IQ and knowledge of schemes will be put to good use as a center, which is where the Bucs should develop him to be Ryan Jensen’s eventual replacement.
DT Daviyon Nixon, Iowa
There aren’t many interior defensive lineman that I’m impressed with in this draft, but Nixon has me intrigued so I kept him in from my last mock as well. At 6’3″/305lbs, he has prototypical size for an NFL 3-tech. With Ndamukong Suh possibly going into his final year, the Bucs could use a guy to eventually replace him. His getoff is impressive. His hands are violent. And his athleticism is rare for a man his size. He still needs some development, but the Bucs don’t need him to start right away and he would be able to learn from one of the best 3-techs to ever play.
RB/WR Demetric Felton, UCLA
Felton is also a keeper from my previous mock, but not necessarily because I like him a lot for the Bucs. Tampa Bay seems to have some real interest in him as well. Now that they’ve re-signed Fournette, I don’t think they’ll spend their first or second round pick on a Najee Harris or Michael Carter. However, I do see them using a mid-round pick on a pass catching third down back like Felton. At 5’9″/190lbs, he’s a dynamic athlete with joystick-like agility and 4.4 speed. He’s a very good route runner with great hands that can be utilized out of the backfield or in the slot. With his speed, hands and elusiveness, he could also be used as a returner which is something the Bucs really need as well.
S Damar Hamlin, Pittsburgh
In my previous mock, I didn’t go safety until my final pick and I used my fifth round pick on an edge rusher. Since I went with an edge rusher in the first round here, it allowed me to use this fifth round on another position. At 6’1″/200lbs, he’s got good size and 4.5 speed. He’s always around the football and was a big time playmaker for the Pitt defense. He’s equally strong against the run or in coverage because of his instincts and ability to process plays quickly. Because he’s a big hitter with good ball skills, he can play a variety of positions in the secondary including in the box, deep center field or even in the slot. He’s the perfect type of safety for a Todd Bowles defense.
ILB Grant Stuard, Houston
This is another one of my guys from the previous mock and one of my favorite players in this draft. His nickname is the “Tasmanian Devil” and for good reason. He’s a maniac. At 6’/230lbs, he plays with a physicality and aggressiveness that is simply fun to watch. His motor is always on full speed ahead and he never seems to run out of juice. He’s excellent at processing run plays, getting downhill and hunting down ball carriers. He’s not starter quality, but with the best LB duo in football he wouldn’t need to be. He could be a solid reserve adding some much needed depth to a thin inside linebacker group and he would be a special teams superstar.
DT Khyiris Tonga, BYU
This is the last guy from my previous mock and another guy that I really like in this draft. At 6’4″/325lbs, Tonga is almost like a “mini” version of Bucs nose tackle Vita Vea, minus 20lbs or so. He’s a run stuffing, pocket collapsing, double team destroying nose tackle with an explosive getoff and a bullrush that’s tough to contend with one on one. He’s a disruptive force in the passing game and has a knack for batting balls down when he can’t get home. His strength is almost superhuman and he plays with a similar style to Vea, which makes him the perfect backup NT for this Bucs d-line.
WR Jonathan Adams Jr, Arkansas State
In my previous mock, this is where I went with a safety. However since I got one in the fifth round, I have a little freedom to pick here. So I’m going with a wide receiver that I saw in one of Pewter Report’s mock drafts and who I liked a lot. At 6’3″/210lbs, Adams Jr has good size and 4.5 speed. TheDraftNetwork.com says he’s “a physical menace at the catch point who bullies defenders in coverage and plays with attitude“. Sounds like the Bucs kind of football player. Not only is he a possession receiver, but he’s a legit vertical threat with his speed and he’s a redzone nightmare with his size, leaping ability and high point ball skills. He’s not a polished route runner, which could cause him to slide into these late rounds, but he’s an explosive playmaker and would be an exciting addition to an already immensely talented receiving corps for Tampa Bay.
RD.1: DE JAELAN PHILLIPS, MIAMI
RD.2: G/C QUINN MEINERZ, WISCONSIN-WHITE WATER
RD.3: DT DAVIYON NIXON, IOWA
RD.4: RB/WR DEMETRIC FELTON, UCLA
RD.5: S DAMAR HAMLIN, PITTSBURGH
RD.6: ILB GRANT STUARD, HOUSTON
RD.7: DT KHYIRIS TONGA, BYU
RD.7: WR JONATHAN ADAMS JR, ARKANSAS STATE
There you go. My 2021 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7-Round Mock Draft 3.0 is in the books. I was able to get an eventual replacement for Jason Pierre-Paul, Ndamukong Suh and Ryan Jensen. I got a backup nose tackle to Vita Vea. I got a third down back/slot receiver/kick returner. And I added depth at safety, wide receiver and inside linebacker. What else could the Bucs possibly need?
Once the Pro Days are over, I’ll try to put out one more before the NFL Draft at the end of April. I may get weird with that one. Maybe throw a trade or two in or grab a kicker in the middle rounds. I don’t know yet. In any case, this mock is pretty solid in my opinion. Let me know what you think. Who do you like? Who you don’t like? Who did I miss? Give me some feedback. In the meantime, I’ll start working on my Mock Draft 4.0 and hopefully help get you guys ready for the draft.
Until then, as always… GO BUCS!!!