The reason I love mock drafts is because they are all about possibilities. Endless scenarios of how the NFL Draft could unfold and how each pick affects every team in the league.
For a team picking inside the top ten, like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are this year, it is even more interesting because there are always prospects available in every round that you’re not necessarily expecting. Here is one outcome I could see playing out for the Buccaneers come the end of the draft in a full seven round mock draft.
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First round – Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
In this scenario I’m assuming Bradley Chubb will be off the board already, which I’m not convinced that he will be, but for arguments sake let’s say he is. Offensive guard would be the next big position of need and Nelson is my highest rated player that the Bucs could realistically select. The 330 pound mauler would be a great fit in Tampa Bay and what the Bucs are trying to build. He is a dominating run blocker and a very good pass blocker who can really dominate opponents in every way. Nelson would be an instant starter at left guard and immediately improve the running game as well as provide some much needed protection for franchise quarterback Jameis Winston.
Second round – Marcus Allen, SS, Penn St
There is very little consensus about this safety class. Realistically, it’s easy for me to see one of the top guys sliding to the early part of the second round. It might be a guy like Ronnie Harrison from Alabama, but in this case let’s say it’s Allen. And with no pass rushers on the board that would warrant this pick from me (unless Harold Landry somehow slides this far which is unlikely) I’m going with the best player available that fills a need. Allen is my top rated safety in this class. He’s very physical and aggressive as a tackler. He’s also fluid and polished enough as a cover man to step in right away and improve the Bucs pass defense.
— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) January 30, 2018
Third round – Hercules Mata’afa, DE, Washington State
The Bucs have to add some kind of pass rusher in this draft and they can’t wait any longer. Mata’afa is a high motor player who shows some really good burst off the ball. He played mostly on the interior in college, but at his size (about 6’2, 245 lbs) it’s unlikely he’s play their in the NFL. He does have some relatively good bend and projects well to the edge, but at the same time he’s not polished in this area with developed rush moves on the outside. Figuring out Mata’afa and developing him as a defensive end will take a little bit of time, but I like his tools and how relentless he is as a pass rusher.
We’re looking at an RB class with as much value and depth on Day 2 as we’ve seen in years, maybe even more than last year. Through all the standouts, John Kelly is my favorite of the group.https://t.co/T3YqgOKQkU
— Jonathan Valencia (@JonValencia_WiB) January 5, 2018
Fourth round – John Kelly, RB, Tennessee
Kelly might be the best kept secret in the draft this year. He has a smaller build (only 5’9) and very good quickness to make multiple defenders miss in space. At the same time, he plays with great physicality at 205 lbs and isn’t afraid to lower his shoulder and run through a potential tackler to pick up tough yards. He’s a complete three down back that the Bucs desperately need. He comes with a little off the field baggage, but he’s worth the gamble here for a guy who could be an impact player at the next level.
Fifth round – Jarvion Franklin, RB, W. Michigan
Franklin is a load of a running back who is very difficult to take down. He brings some versatility with the ability to make the catches you’d expect him to, but his calling card is between the tackles. With Kelly already drafted ahead of him in this scenario, he would be competing for backup minutes. Franklin’s imposing, grind you down style would be a great compliment to the smaller, quicker Kelly.
Jacksonville State CB Siran Neal. Swagger through the roof. Great energy. Rashard Robinson type talker w/physical body type to back it up. Anxious to see him compete. Said he’s been training w/LSUs DJ Chark & OK State Marvell Ateman, 2 lengthy WRs. 1-on-1s should be fun.
— Jerod Brown (@JerodBrown_) January 23, 2018
Six round – Siran Neal, DB, Jacksonville St
I’m not sure if Neal is a safety of a corner at the next level, but I know I want him on my team. He’s incredibly physical and and is going to let opposing ball carriers know of his presence. He could be that big nickel CB that can match up with tight ends after playing a good amount there in college. He needs some work with his technique, sometimes being too physical in coverage, but there is definite upside here.
Seventh round – Joe Ostman, DE, Central Michigan
Ostman isn’t a great athlete, but he’s very polished compared to most of this edge class. He has decent bend around the edge and the ability to dip inside for a good counter move. He also has a wide range of pass rush moves to routinely get into the backfield and cause chaos. He needs to bulk up some to hold his own vs the run, but if he can do that then he could be a nice addition to the Bucs defensive line rotation.