Overall Prospect Rank: No. 6
In my first four mock drafts, LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne has been an easy selection every time, and he would still be a terrific choice for the Buccaneers. He is the best defensive player in the draft, and could be the star of the Buccaneers’ secondary for many years to come.
However, the Buccaneers’ signing of free-agent cornerback Eric Wright to a five-year, $37.5 million contract could have the team resetting their priorities for the draft. If Trent Richardson is still available at this pick, he is likely to be Tampa Bay’s target. However, with Richardson off the board, the Buccaneers could address their biggest remaining need, linebacker, by drafting Luke Kuechly.
Kuechly has most often been mocked outside of the top 10, so mocking him in the top five is sure to draw reactions. That said, he would be a terrific choice here. Kuechly can be the star linebacker that Tampa Bay needs, and he is one of the best prospects in the entire draft class.
If Kuechly is their target here, the Buccaneers could explore a trade down, but they cannot trade down far, for they would be at significant risk of missing out on him if they go outside of the top 10.
In the end, if the Buccaneers stay put, they should draft the player who is best for them. With Eric Wright and Ronde Barber already re-signed to compete with Aqib Talib for starting positions, the Buccaneers could shift their priorities away from a cornerback and onto the linebacker position.