Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2013 Mock Draft: Updated Full 7-Round Prediction
Now that the Buccaneers have had nearly a week to make free agency decisions, it sounds about the right time to update their draft board to better reflect their needs.
The signing period began five days ago and so far the Bucs have added Pro Bowl safety Dashon Goldson, tight end Tom Crabtree, receiver Kevin Ogletree and linebacker Jonathan Casillas to the mix.
The losses of Bennett and Miller, as well as the addition of Goldson, have had a direct impact on the probable course of action come draft weekend.
Couple that with a recent claim by Scott Reynolds of Pewter Report that suggests the Bucs will not use the 13th overall pick in next month's draft on a cornerback because, according to Reynolds, only Alabama CB Dee Milliner carries a first-round grade in the eyes of the team's staff.
So, where exactly does that leave the Bucs?
If the claim by Reynolds holds true, conventional wisdom suggests the Bucs would invest No. 13 on the defensive line or on a top-tier linebacker, both of which are positions of need despite their recent signing of Casillas.
At the very least it means an already anxious fanbase will be on pins and needles come Thursday, April 25.
To that point, here is an updated seven-round mock draft that reflects their offseason actions thus far.
Round 1, No. 13 Overall: DT Sheldon Richardson
The loss of DT Roy Miller had immediate ramifications for the Bucs and their draft plans, as he was an integral part to the success Tampa Bay enjoyed versus the run in 2012 when they finished with a league-best 82.5 rushing yards allowed per game.
Miller had arguably the best season of his young career, helping fellow tackle Gerald McCoy to the first Pro Bowl of his career.
Throw in the loss of defensive end Michael Bennett, who not only led the team with nine sacks, but was equally as important versus the run, and the selection of Missouri DT Sheldon Richardson at No. 13 makes all-the-more sense for Tampa Bay.
Richardson has the prototypical size (6'2", 295-lbs) and first-step needed for the position, and his addition would begin to fill the holes left by the above-mentioned departures.
When looking back at the successful Bucs teams of the late 90's, the one thing that stands out is how stout they were up the middle of their defense with the likes of Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks, Shelton Quarles and John Lynch on patrol.
By adding Richardson, the Bucs could begin taking the steps towards returning to their once-dominant defensive ways. Throw in McCoy, Lavonte David, Mason Foster, Mark Barron and Dashon Goldson, and you can see the blueprint being laid out in front of our eyes.
Round 2, No. 43 Overall: CB Johnthan Banks
Though the Bucs signed safety Dashon Goldson early in free agency, they've yet to address what is truly their biggest weakness by failing to sign a cornerback.
As mentioned earlier, Scott Reynolds of Pewter Report suggests the Bucs will wait until at least the second round to address their porous secondary, making this pick all but a slam dunk.
Though early second-round may be a bit of a reach for Banks, who is listed as the 53rd overall prospect according to ESPN's Scouts Inc., drafting the reigning Thorpe Award-winning defensive back would be a step in the right direction for the NFL's 32nd-ranked pass defense.
Banks (6'2", 185-lbs) has great height and good hands, but his combine performance, which included a 4.61 40-time and 34 inch vertical, were a bit disappointing and has caused his stock to fall somewhat.
If nothing else, Banks gives the Bucs a nice upgrade over their current options and, when teamed with Goldson and Barron, would begin to lay the foundation for a much-improved secondary in 2013 and beyond.
Round 3, No. 73 Overall: LB Jamie Collins
Though tempted to choose a tight end, perhaps Gavin Escobar or Jordan Reed, the obvious defensive need trumped any offensive-oriented thoughts.
My decision was made easier thanks in large part to the freakish athletic ability of Jamie Collins from Southern Miss.
Collins (6'3", 250-lbs) put on a show at the Scouting Combine last month, posting top marks in his position in five of the seven categories, and would provide the Bucs with another sideline-to-sideline linebacker much in the mold of Lavonte David, who the Bucs drafted in the second-round in 2012.
Despite the fact that Scouts Inc. has him as the 85th overall prospect, his ability, coupled with a glaring need, make this selection a no-brainer.
Round 4, No. 109 Overall: T Ricky Wagner
With the loss of veteran RT Jeremy Trueblood to free agency, the Bucs could add some much-needed depth to their injury-depleted line by tackle Ricky Wagner.
Wisconsin, who routinely churns out NFL-caliber offensive lineman year-after-year, has another good one in Wagner, who is cut from the same cloth as the many before him.
Wagner (6'6", 308-lbs) is a much-better run blocker than pass protector, but with a little coaching he would provide great value at No. 109, especially in the run-first system the Bucs deploy.
Though Demar Dotson and Jamon Meredith occupy the right tackle position, Wagner could potentially supplant them and anchor the right side of the line for years to come.
Round 4, No. 123 Overall: QB Matt Scott
Scott (6'2", 213-lbs) has the arm strength and accuracy needed at this level, not to mention he is an above-average athlete who is able to escape pressure and prolong plays with his feet.
Not only that, but Scott has also demonstrated extreme selflessness by sitting out a season to allow former teammate Nick Foles an opportunity to start in 2011.
Though he may lack the "prototypical size" and pedigree, Scott has shown himself to be a true leader who possesses enough intangibles to succeed.
Round 5, No. 140 Overall: WR Da'Rick Rogers
Regardless of the fact that the Buccaneers recently signed receiver Kevin Ogletree, they could still use someone who could provide a spark in both the passing and return game.
Which is exactly why this selection at the beginning of the fifth-round not only makes sense, but gives the Bucs great value as well.
Despite his off-the-field issues in Knoxville that ultimately led him to transfer to FCS school Tennessee Tech, Rogers (6'2", 217-lbs) has held it together since his transfer and is eyeing an opportunity with an NFL team willing to give him a chance.
Much like former Syracuse and current Bucs receiver Mike Williams, the addition of Rogers would be a low-risk, high-reward selection, as he has shown he is capable of being a dominant player.
Round 6, No. 171 Overall: TE Jack Doyle
The Bucs may ultimately be tempted to target a tight end earlier in the draft, particularly if Escobar or Reed fall farther than expected.
If that isn't the case, a late-round selection of Western Kentucky's Jack Doyle (6'5", 254-lbs) would give the Bucs a nice red zone option in their arsenal.
Despite his lack of initial quickness or burst, Doyle has the above-average hands and frame needed for a tight end at this level. A three-time captain for the Hilltoppers, Doyle is coming off a career season in which he hauled in 53 passes, including five touchdowns.
Round 6, No. 186 Overall: LB Sam Barrington
With the Bucs having already addressed their immediate linebacker needs in the third round by selecting Collins, they could add quality depth and special teams contributions from South Florida LB Sam Barrington with this choice.
Though relatively small for the position, Barrington (6'1", 246-lbs) makes up for it by flashing good instinct and displaying a nose for the ball, forcing two fumbles and three pass break-ups, while adding 3.5 sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss in 2012.
A 4.91 40-time doesn't help his case, but his production (21 tackles for loss in 4 seasons) and familiarity with head coach Greg Schiano could ultimately make the difference between being a late-round choice or an undrafted free agent.
(Note: the Bucs do not have a seventh-round pick, as it was part of the deal that sent WR Arrelious Benn to Philadelphia. This sixth-round selection was what Tampa Bay received in exchange for that draft pick and Benn.)