The good times kept rolling for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After winning Super Bowl LV during Tom Brady's first season with the club, GM Jason Licht and coach Bruce Arians were able to dive headfirst into free agency and retain all 22 starters from that championship-winning squad. That's a feat not accomplished by a reigning champion since 1977, so it's safe to say that confidence is sky-high for Tampa Bay heading into the 2021 NFL Draft. Because of their success in free agency, the Bucs don't have many holes to fill as they gear up for their title defense, but could look to add depth at some key spots later this month.
Below, you can check out one stab at how the Bucs' 2021 draft may go down (h/t The Draft Network's mock draft machine).
|Round (Overall Pick)||Prospect||College|
IDL Christian Barmore
RB Michael Carter
QB Kyle Trask
EDGE Patrick Jones II
WR Anthony Schwartz
OT Alaric Jackson
LB Tuf Borland
TE Tony Poljan
Tampa Bay could very well be in the market to trade its first-round pick as the No. 32 selection is often a popular destination for teams to trade back up into the opening round. The attractiveness for teams to do that is to gain that all-important fifth-year option so if a club swoops in with an enticing offer, it'd be smart for the Bucs brass to at least mull it over.
If they hang onto the pick, Alabama's Christian Barmore provides the team with a big piece to add to their defensive line. While this area of the roster is a strength heading into 2021, Ndamukong Suh is only on a one-year deal and Vita Vea is under team control through the 2022 season before possibly reaching unrestricted free agency in 2023. With Barmore, Tampa Bay is gaining a player who can immediately be thrown into the rotation and can serve as long-term depth at the position.
On Day 2, we have the Bucs going offense with their two picks. UNC's Michael Carter can get into the mix with Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones II and 2020 draftee Ke'Shawn Vaughn. The 5-foot-8, 199 pounder put up 1,512 yards from scrimmage during his final season with the Tar Heels and, more importantly, recorded zero fumbles over the last two seasons. In the third, Florida's Kyle Trask gets picked up by the Bucs and this is a selection that the team can afford to make thanks to a strong free agency. Because they don't have many holes to fill, the Bucs can make a forward-thinking decision on Trask, who can develop behind Brady throughout the remaining years of his career.
Once we hit Day 3, Tampa Bay is throwing darts against the wall and is essentially seeing what sticks. Pittsburgh's Patrick Jones II gives the club another edge rusher, who can provide depth along the front seven. Meanwhile, Auburn receiver Anthony Schwartz brings world-class speed to a Buccaneers pass-catching group and is a fascinating developmental piece in the return game as well. In the final two rounds, Ohio State linebacker Tuf Borland brings a ton of intangibles to the defending champs and the three-time Buckeye captain could be a strong rookie addition to this veteran team.