Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Last Mock Before the 2012 NFL Draft

Caleb AbnerContributor IIIApril 25, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 17:  Ronnie Hillman #13 of the San Diego State Aztecs is pushed out of bounds by Jemarlous Moten #2 of the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns during the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bow at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 17, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

It's coming...

What you don't know? Well, you must, seeing as you have internet connection and apparently have some interest in football (or possibly me, but no thanks, I'm married to the job).

From Thursday, April 26, to Saturday, April 28, the NFL will have its official, seven-round, worst-to-first rookie draft.

For casual fans and armchair GMs alike, the draft is a three-day holiday. A time where the present and the future collide. It spans the vast width of human emotion, causing fear, joy, rage, envy, and sorrow, often all at once.

And as the night of the first round approaches, I give to you my final mock draft.


Round 1 Pick No. 5: CB Morris Claiborne

If Ronde Barber says it, it must be true.

The NFC South boasts three of football's best quarterbacks, and based on 2011, none of them are Josh Freeman.

Logically, Tampa should put a greater focus on improving its secondary.

After signing Eric Wright, the team seems to have found a replacement for the legally-troubled Aqib Talib, so the next next should be to find Ronde Barber's future successor. 

With Claiborne, the Bucs would have a potential All-Pro cover corner. 


Round 2 Pick No. 36: S Harrison Smith

The front office must have had a plan before cutting Tanard Jackson. And before choosing not to re-sign veteran safety Sean Jones. 

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 22: Curtis McNeal #22 of the University of Southern California Trojans tries to hold off Harrison Smith #22 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium on October 22, 2011 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Dani
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Currently, the safety position is the Buccaneers' weakest. Only the oft-injured Cody Grimm remains as a possible starter for 2012.

Unless Mark Dominik signs Yeremiah Bell, Harrison Smith would be the best possible safety the Bucs could add. 


Round 3 Pick No. 68: ILB Mychal Kendricks

There's a chance that Kendricks will have already been selected—Matt Miller has him going the the Rams at 69. That will not happen because the Bucs will have swooped him up one pick before.

The linebacker corps currently has Quincy Black, Mason Foster and Adam Hayward as starters. There's not much depth beneath them.

Adding Kendricks would allow Foster to move to the outside, where he could focus on his game rather than trying to read the offense. The Bucs would deal with their biggest weakness—the run defense—at which they ranked as the NFL's worst in 2011.


Round 5 Pick No. 140: RB Ronnie Hillman

The Bucs need a running back. Ronne Hillman is a running back.

A match made in heaven.

Most experts probably envision Tampa Bay drafting a running back by the third round, but I feel confident in the draft depth at the running back position, and also that LeGarrette Blount could be a perfectly capable bell-cow back, as long as he manages those pesky fumbles. 


Round 6 Pick No. 174: OT Levy Adcock

He's not Matt Kalil, but Levy Adcock has the skills to eventually replace Jeremy Trueblood at right tackle. 


Round 7 Pick No. 212: QB Chandler Harnish

Harnish has great mobility in the pocket and has long-term backup potential.


It's been an honor mocking with you, gentlemen.