The moment we’ve been waiting for is finally upon us: draft week. Fans have been bombarded with mock drafts over the past few months but one more can’t hurt, right? Thanks to the folks over at The Draft Network.com we were able to put together our final seven-round mock draft. So take it all in, let us know what you think on Twitter.
The Bucs are on the clock with the fifth-overall pick. Let’s get to it.
Round 1, 5th Overall: Edge Josh Allen, Kentucky
Previous Pick: LB Devin White, LSU
Every team has their specific big board based on their own needs and the positions they value the most. If I had to guess, the Bucs top-five would/should be Nick Bosa, Quinnen Williams, Josh Allen, Ed Oliver and Devin White.
I had the Bucs getting White last mock but things didn’t fall this way this time. Bosa, Williams, and White went before the Bucs at five but that still leaves them a great option. Like I mentioned in the last mock, I’d prefer the Bucs trade back and either get Oliver or Devin Bush, but staying at five and picking up Allen out of Kentucky is too good to pass up even if we were allowed to execute trades.
Allen is a tremendous talent and the value he brings while also filling a team need is incredible. Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles is looking to get aggressive and Allen fits the mold. He can fill in as a pass rusher or even dropping back into coverage as an outside linebacker. He isn’t the purest edge defender but he has all the tools to elevate his game and be a dominant force. Before Jason Pierre-Paul came, the Bucs have been desperately searching for their pass rusher. Allen is the perfect fit for Tampa at five.
Round 2, 39th Overall: IDL Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame
Previous Pick: IOL Chris Lindstrom, Boston College
Gerald McCoy’s future in Tampa is still up in the air. Signs point to him being there this season but the front office is still looking for trade partners. Either way, the Bucs should look for his replacement in this draft. They drafted Vita Vea last year but can’t hurt to find a running mate.
I doubt Jerry Tillery lasts this long but the Bucs are fortunate in this mock to pick him up with the 39th pick. Tillery was a mixed bag his first three years at Notre Dame but the 2018 season saw him finally put everything together. While he only had 28 tackles his senior year, he had a career-high nine sacks. He flashed tremendous ability to get to the quarterback and, I think more importantly for a interior lineman, an ability to get off his blockers.
Tillery showed the ability to perform in 2018, but also showed just how talented he can be with a good coach. Enter Bruce Arians. If anyone can get the most out of Tillery its Arians. Put him with veterans like McCoy and Pierre-Paul and Tillery could pair with Vea and form a dangerous duo.
Round 3, 70th Overall: CB Sean Bunting, Central Michigan
Previous Pick: CB Rock Ya-Sin, Temple
Despite picking two second-round corners in 2018, the Bucs still have a glaring need at corner. While I wish Rock Ya-Sin fell to the third round yet again in this mock draft, he actually went in the second which is more reasonable. The need for a linebacker is still there and Blake Cashman was still on the board so this decision was tough. It came down to what position are the Bucs thinnest at and I believe that’s at corner. There are a lot of rotational linebackers on the roster that can get the job done along with a rookie linebacker in the later rounds.
Our own Armchair Scout Rob Paul has Sean Bunting as his ninth-best corner but is a nice value pick at 70th overall. Bunting has a high ceiling mostly because of his physical makeup. He measures in at 6’0 195 and has the speed and length to match up well in the NFL. Bunting has fluid hips and great footwork to be able to turn and run with a receiver in man-coverage while also being able to press up, something the Bucs will be looking to do.
There's more to Central Michigan's Sean Bunting than his size and speed.
The biggest knock on him comes from his inconsistency in finding the ball in the air and less than stellar play in the run game. Finding a good coverage corner in the third round can be a godsend. Allow him to play on the outside opposite of Carlton Davis and the Bucs secondary could have a nice pair of young talented corners.
Round 4, 108th Overall: LB Joe Giles-Harris, Duke
Previous Pick: RB Damien Harris, Alabama
It’s about time we addressed the hole in the linebacking unit. Kwon Alexander signed with the 49ers this offseason and the Bucs have made an effort to fill the hole as much as possible. Kevin Minter, Deone Bucannon, Devante Bond, and Shaq Barnett will rotate around at various places in the middle of the defense but Arians and Bowles need a leader. Lavonte David is the defensive leader but let’s give him a player to groom.
Joe Giles-Harris is a linebacker that needs to be in the perfect situation to succeed. He’s not the most gifted athlete (4.75 40 time at the combine) but is extremely bright and instinctive. He’ll do great shooting gaps in the run game or blitzing if needed to. Giles-Harris is decent enough in coverage to hold down a zone in the middle of the field to cover tight ends or running backs. While he might ever be a three-down linebacker, picking Giles-Harris in the fourth might be worth the risk.
Round 5, 145th Overall: S Malik Gant, Marshall
Previous Pick: Edge Sutton Smith, Northern Illinois
The one bright spot in the Bucs secondary last season was Justin Evans. He seemed to do it all, dropped into coverage, came up and helped out in the run game, everything. There’s still another hole next to him at safety. I think Malik Gant can fit in as an in the box safety allowing Evans to roam the deep part of the field.
After speaking with him for about 20 minutes this afternoon kind of on a whim, I am completely blown away by Marshall safety Malik Gant. Sometimes you just feel that “it” factor from a guy. He’s a little under the radar now but I wouldn’t expect him to stay there long.
— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) March 3, 2019
M.J Stewart is being moved from corner to safety and Jordan Whitehead is set to return as well. Both these guys are expected to play a big role in the defensive scheme. In the fifth through the seventh round of the draft you’re really looking for depth pieces at this point and the Bucs can use as many bodies as possible in the secondary. Gant is a missile and can add some pop. He doesn’t have the range to constantly be in coverage which limits his upside but there should always be a place for a hard-hitting safety in this league.
Round 6, 208th Overall: OL Tyler Jones, NC State
Previous Pick: WR Cody Thompson, Toledo
The Bucs offensive line wasn’t very good last season. Jameis Winston had issues finding enough time in the pocket and the running backs struggled to find a hole. This offense has the potential to be a top-five offense in the NFL as long as the offensive line is up to par. So far 80% of the line is essentially set. The hole at right guard is still an issue.
Caleb Benenoch is still listed as the starter and that just won’t fly this season. Benenoch was not good last year and that’s putting it nicely. Last year’s third-round pick Alex Cappa should get a good shot at the starting spot in year two. Nothing wrong with some competition.
Tyler Jones played left tackle at NC State for three seasons but seems to be out of place there. He’s an athletic lineman that has the body necessary to be a solid rational guy. Needs to work on his balance especially when engaged with blockers but the Bucs are in need of technically solid linemen that they can rotate around the line.
Round 7, 215th Overall: Edge Jonathan Ledbetter, Georgia
Previous Pick: QB Brett Rypien, Boise State
At Georgia, Jonathan Ledbetter was used on the edge but some think he’s better suited on the inside of the line. Kyle Crabbs of the Draft Network believes he should be pushed to the inside.
Jonathan Ledbetter is caught between positions and his pro team will need to help decide where he ought to play and dictate his weight from there. Ledbetter lacks burst and explosiveness at 280, to me he would be best served adding 10-15 pounds and playing as a B-gap defender in base odd fronts. Ledbetter has good, reliable hands and shouldn’t be asked to become something he isn’t as a penetration style player. Quality role player/depth player.
Never bad to have quality depth along the defensive line. Would give guys like McCoy, Vea, and maybe Tillery a chance to catch their breath and allow the pass rushers get free. If you can find a quality rotational player in the seventh round, you take it. Bucs need to find every possible way to affect the other team’s offense.
Jonathan Ledbetter is the definition of a prototypical DL. Ledbetter's also the definition of a sneakily unrelenting stump grinder. #Georgia #NFLDraft #NFLDraft2019
— High Motor Sports (@highmotorNFL) April 18, 2019
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