The Buccaneers had a lot of turnover this offseason but brought in big names to lead the offense and the defense, with Bruce Arians taking over as head coach and Todd Bowles coordinating the defensive unit. This draft class should be about finding players to ease that transition, and the best-case scenario will be landing a star outside linebacker at No. 5.
Below, you can check out which picks the Buccaneers currently have, along with our projection of their top positional needs. I'll then build a war-room big board based upon players I think have some kind of chance of making it to their first pick before sharing multiple draft classes that make sense for the team from myself, Ryan Wilson and Chris Trapasso.
As for the actual draft, you'll be able to stream our live coverage right here on CBS Sports HQ (or download the CBS Sports app for free on any mobile or connected TV device) breaking down all the picks and everything you need to know during draft weekend.
Current draft picks
|6||208||Compensatory from Philadelphia|
The CBS Sports NFL writing staff to identify needs for each team heading into the draft. A helpful guide: any position group that had an average ranking worse than 16.0 (on a scale of 1 to 32) was considered a "need," while any that ranked worse than 23.0 (bottom-third of the league) was considered a "pressing need."
Needs: QB, RB, OL, EDGE, LB, DB
Pressing: RB, OL, EDGE, LB, DB
So, just a few needs here for the Bucs. Bruce Arians thinks he can fix Jameis Winston, and good luck with that. The Bucs do have Mike Evans and Chris Godwin and O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate for him to throw to, but they have a porous offensive line and the worst running back group in the league. They don't have much on the edge beyond JPP, and they could lose Gerald McCoy between now and the draft. Their linebackers beyond Lavonte David are uninspiring and their secondary was the NFL's worst last year. There is so much smoke around Devin White to the Bucs at No. 5 that there almost has to be some fire, and that pick would make a ton of sense as they badly need a second-level playmaker who can work all over the field.
War room big board
The Buccaneers are in a prime spot to get one of the top defenders in the draft, but they could also be in the market to move down if teams are chasing a quarterback prospect that's still available at No. 5. Here's how I'd project the Buccaneers' draft board for their first pick, considering only players I feel have some chance of making it in range:
- OLB Josh Allen, Kentucky
- DL Quinnen Williams, Alabama
- OLB Montez Sweat, Mississippi State
- DL Rashan Gary, Michigan
- DL Ed Oliver, Houston
Seven-round mock drafts
|1||5||OLB Josh Allen, Kentucky|| |
|2||39||DE Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame|| |
|3||70||to Cleveland|| |
|3||80||RB David Montgomery, Iowa State||from CLE*|
|3||97||FS Jaquan Johnson, Miami||from NE*|
|4||107||to New England|| |
|5||145||CB Mark Fields, Clemson|| |
|5||147||to New England||from BUF*|
|5||155||WR Hunter Renfrow, Clemson||from CLE*|
|6||208||RB Myles Gaskin, Washington||from PHI|
|7||215||DE Jonathan Ledbetter, Georgia||from ARI|
The Bucs really need to find some edge talent that fits in Todd Bowles' 3-4, and if Allen is gone I can certainly see them trying to trade back and picking up a guy like Brian Burns. But here they luck out when two QBs go in the top three and they scoop up the ultra-talented linebacker from Kentucky, who will immediately become the team's top edge rusher.
The Bucs then take an excellent interior defensive lineman in Jerry Tillery who isn't getting the buzz he deserves as a potential first-round pick. With Allen and Tillery in the fold, the Bucs make a few trades before Day 2 is up, shipping Jason Pierre-Paul's big contract to the Raiders along with a 2020 fourth for a 2020 third, then sending Gerald McCoy's big contract to the Bills for a fifth-rounder this year.
The Bucs trade back a few spots in the third round before landing a new potential feature back in Montgomery, who some feel is the best runner in this class. Johnson is a versatile safety who can start at either spot for a Bucs defense that could stand to upgrade both positions, making him worth trading up into the late third round for, sacrificing the pick the team got for McCoy.
On Day 3, Fields didn't start much at Clemson last year but he shouldn't be discounted at the pro level, and he could be a great fit in the slot for a Bucs team that needs help at corner. Renfrow can help replace Adam Humphries in the slot, Gaskin is more depth at good value for the running back position, and Ledbetter can be a solid 3-4 defensive end if he can add some mass.
More seven-round mocks:
(*) indicates pick acquired via trade
Check out more first-round mocks from CBS Sports.