Ok, so far I’ve released four mock drafts. Two of them used the Buccaneers original seven draft picks and two more that included various trades resulting in 11 picks by the Bucs. This time, I’ve decided to think out of the box when it comes to my picks. To go where no other Bucs mock draft has gone before. I’ve decided to go with some unusual, yet not totally out of the question selections for this draft. I may even throw in a trade or two for kicks. Things have changed over the last few weeks that could sway the Bucs intentions. Meetings have happened. Off the field issues have arisen. Needs have changed. Taking all of these factors into consideration, I’ve come up with a mock draft that’s certain to make some of you, if not all of you, step back and say “What the f@#k???” So, let’s see what I’ve come up with for my fifth and final mock draft of the 2017 season.
Rd.1 Pk. 26 (from Seattle)- G Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky– 6’4″/310lbs, 32″ arms, 11″ hands, 5.0 forty, 34 bench reps, 27.5″ vert, 111″ broad: The Buccaneers complete their first trade of the draft with the Seahawks who are in the market for o-line and trade up to grab an offensive tackle. The Bucs end up with the 26th pick in return, as well as both of Seattle’s third round compensatory picks (102nd & 106th). The result of this trade is that the Bucs end up with the best guard in the draft and a player that will step in Day 1 as the new starting left guard for a re-aligned o-line. With last year’s starting right guard Ali Marpet moving to center, last year’s free agent signee J.R. Sweezy the new starter at right guard and last year’s starting left guard Kevin Pamphile possibly starting at right tackle, it leaves a void in the left guard spot. That void is filled by Lamp who was a four year starter at left tackle in college. He’s athletic, quick footed, smart and strong and should round out the newly revamped offensive line nicely. The Bucs struggled running the football last year, but it shouldn’t be an issue this season with Sweezy, Marpet and Lamp bulldozing up the middle. NFL comp- Cowboys Zack Martin
Rd.2 Pk. 50– RB Joe Mixon, Oklahoma– 6’1″/225lbs: 2016- 1,274 yds, 7 yds per rush, 10 td’s, 37 rec, 538 yds, 5 td’s, 494 ret yds, 1 td, averaged 194 all purpose yards per game, All-Big 12 honors: After punching a female student in the face in 2014, Mixon saw his draft stock plummet from an obvious early first round pick to who knows where. Since the incident though, he’s stayed out of trouble for the most part, except for a small run in with a parking attendant after receiving a parking ticket. The Buccaneers brought him in for a private visit and decide he’s worth taking the chance on when he’s still sitting there a their 50th pick. The Bucs have enough leadership in place amongst their young players to ensure that Mixon stays on the straight and narrow and his talent and upside is just too much to pass on at this point in the draft. He gives them a true every down back with flashy feet, smooth hips, soft hands, and a combination of power and speed that few backs possess. He’s a serious threat in the passing game not only as a precise route runner with great ball skills but as a skilled pass blocker as well. He could be the best all around back in this draft and the Bucs benefit from his unfortunate life choices. NFL Comp- Steelers Leveon Bell
Rd.3 Pk. 71 (from Chargers)- WR Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington– 6’2″/205lbs: 2016- 117 rec, 1,700 yds, 17 td’s, 4.6 forty, 31″ vert, 116″ broad, FCS all time leader in receptions (428), yards (6,464) and touchdowns (73), three year all-American, Jerry Rice award winner as the best freshman in FSC and 2015 Walter Payton award winner as the FSC’s best player: The Bucs trade one of their newly acquired third rounders (106th) and their original third round pick (50) to Los Angeles to jump up in front of the Patriots and grab the most prolific pass catcher in FCS history. He’s a natural with football bloodlines from his father and grandfather who both played in the NFL. Elite route runner with strong but soft hands and an excellent ball tracker. He’s confident and competitive when fighting for catches and yards after. He’s very good at using route speed variances, head fakes and stutter steps to create space from defenders. If you’re worried about his “level of competition” or lack thereof, don’t be. In 2014, he made both Sidney Jones and Marcus Peters, both first round talent cornerbacks, look like anything but by putting up 8 catches for 145 yards and 3 touchdowns against one of the best secondaries in football. NFL Comp- Packers Jordy Nelson
Rd.3 Pk. 102 (from Seahawks)- CB Sidney Jones, Washington– 6’0″/190lbs, 4.47 forty, 33.5″ vert, 122″ broad: 2016- 39 tackles, 6 pbu’s, 2 int’s, 2 ff’s, started 12 of 13 games as a freshman, as a sophomore led the Pac-12 in pbu’s with 14 with 4 int’s and 3 ff’s: After tearing his achilles during his pro day workout, Jones has seen his draft stock take a hit. An obvious first round pick, is now in danger of missing at least part if not all of the 2017 season. The Buccaneers are the beneficiaries of his misfortune. He falls to the end of the third round and they pull the trigger. They have the luxury of taking a first round talent for a third round price tag and will be able to let him sit the year out and recover properly. Corner isn’t a huge need for the Bucs this year but Brent Grimes will be 34 when the season starts and is a free agent after this season. Jones would be the perfect replacement. He adds size and lockdown corner ability with physical play, outstanding ball skills and superior instincts. Anticipates routes and throws well with quick feet and good recovery speed. He got his hands on 21% of the balls thrown his way in college. He would give the Bucs one of the NFL’s best young CB duos. NFL Comp- Chiefs Marcus Peters
Rd.4 Pk.125– DT Caleb Brantley, Florida– 6’3″/310lbs, 5.14 forty, 21 bench reps, 27″ vert, 105″ broad: 2016- 31 tackles, 9.5 tfl’s, 2.5 sacks, 1 ff: On April 13th, he was involved in an altercation that resulted in a woman being knocked unconscious and now the first round talent is being taken completely off some team’s draft boards. Hopefully this was an isolated incident and it’ll never happen again, but since they rolled the dice on Mixon in the second round they may as well take another chance on this guy. A disruptive force in the middle that collapses the pocket and creates sacks for teammates. He plays hungry and passionate with strength and speed. He has a stout, compact frame with the quickness to play the 3-tech and the power to play nose. He gives the Bucs another dominant pass rusher on the inside and if he keeps out of trouble, could end up as the steal of this draft. NFL Comp- Rams Aaron Donald
Rd.5 Pk.162– TE Michael Roberts, Toledo– 6’5″/270lbs, 4.86 forty, 30″ vert, 110″ broad, 33″ arms, 11.5″ hands: 2016- 45 rec, 533 yds, 16 td’s: NFL size and length and possibly the best pure “Y” tight end in the draft. One of the best blocking tight ends in the draft but also highly functional as a receiver. He had 80% of his career catches go for first downs and 35% of his catches last season were touchdowns so he catches the ball when it matters. He’s athletic with decent speed and jumping ability to be a serious redzone weapon. A reliable target with huge, strong hands and a powerful run blocker from inline or from the wing. He gives Jameis Winston another receiving weapon and would be the eventual replacement for the aging blocking back Luke Stocker. He’s persevered through a number of challenges and tragedies in his life. His father was in and out of jail. He had trouble in school due to a learning disorder which prevented him from receiving scholarship offers to college. He was able to get help with his disability and worked hard to eventually become academically eligible to play football for Toledo. He lost his grandmother to cancer and his younger brother to an accidental shooting. He is an inspirational story and one of my favorite players in this draft. NFL Comp- Jaguars Damon Jones (retired)
Rd.6 Pk.204– S Tedric Thompson, Colorado– 6’0″/205lbs, 4.6 forty, 17 bench reps, 32.5″ vert, 117″ broad: 2016- 63 tackles, 16 pbu’s, 7 int’s: He’s an intelligent, instinctive cover safety with good hands and outstanding ball skills. He plays with good anticipation of routes and throws while reading the quarterback’s eyes. He had a solid four year career at Colorado totaling 215 tackles and 13 interceptions. Pro Football Focus actually named him the best coverage defender in college football last season. He adds quality depth and an eventual starter to the Bucs safety group. NFL Comp- Ravens Tony Jefferson
Rd.7 Pk.237– DE/OLB Samson Ebukam, Eastern Washington– 6’3″/240lbs: 2016- 71 tackles, 14.5 tfl’s, 9.5 sacks, 2 ff’s, 3 fr’s, 8 QB hurries, 2 pbu’s, 1 int, 4.5 forty, 24 bench reps, 39″ vert, 130″ broad, team captain, FSC all-American honors: He’s an explosive athlete with a basketball and track & field background. He’s quick out of his stance as a pass rusher and causes disruption in the run game. He’s drawn to plays like a magnet and also has range to pursue downfield. He’s got outstanding football intelligence and work ethic to go with his quick twitch athleticism, speed and a nonstop motor that should make him a special teams standout. He adds some versatility to Mike Smith’s scheme by giving the Bucs another speed rusher off the edge as well as some depth at the SAM LB position. NFL Comp- Cardinals Marquis Flowers
Undrafted Free Agents
DE Javancy Jones, Jackson State–6’2″/245lbs, 4.83 forty, 26 bench reps, 32″ vert, 108″ broad: 2016- 82 tackles, 19.5 tfl’s, 4 sacks: He’s an agile, balanced athlete with good initial burst, lateral agility and core flexibility as a pass rusher. He quickly processes plays with a fast read and response time against the run while also showing instincts and awareness in pass coverage. Scouts rave about his football IQ and he’s shown character and leadership galore by being a four year team captain. He finished his four years at JSU with 351 tackles, 77 tfl’s and 19.5 sacks. He adds more versatility to the Bucs d-line and LB corps as well by giving them another edge rusher and depth at inside or outside linebacker.
WR Michael Clark, Marshall– 6’7″/215lbs, 4.53 forty, 17 bench reps, 33″ vert, 126″ broad: 2016- 37 rec, 632 yds, 5 td’s: This kid is raw. One year of college football since his freshman year at Tampa Catholic High School. The St. Petersburg born native has all the measurables to be an NFL receiver with height, weight, speed and leaping ability not to mention soft hands. He’s a natural athlete with a Division-1 basketball background to help him box out defenders for 50/50 balls. He may be a project and sit on the practice squad this season, but the potential for this guy is through the roof. He would add some much needed size and speed to a Bucs receiving corps that is sorely lacking in both.
ILB Hardy Nickerson, Illinois– 6’1″/230lbs, 4.78 forty, 18 bench reps, 33″ vert, 115″ broad: 2016- 107 tackles, 12 tfl’s, 3.5 sacks, 3 pbu’s, 1 ff, four year starter and two-time team captain with Cal and Illinois: What he lacks in size, he more than makes up for with speed and quickness. His football IQ is above average and he takes great angles when pursuing the football. He’s strikingly similar to his father in size and ability and they both attended the University of California. Now I’m not saying the Bucs could be getting a five-time pro bowler as an undrafted free agent (Pittsburgh drafted his father in the 5th round) and he won’t end up a starter since he’s best suited as a MLB in a 4-3 scheme, but he does add quality depth there and could be a key special teams contributor.
TE Sean Culkin, Missouri– 6’6″/255lbs, 4.7 forty, 21 bench reps, 35.5″ vert, 120″ broad: 2016- 24 rec, 282 yds: He’s got NFL prototype TE size with 4.7 speed and soft, natural hands. He’s one of they best pure “Y” tight ends in this draft class, but lacks the production due to Missouri’s offensive scheme. Despite playing a majority of his snaps from the slot, he’s developed into a strong blocker by facing pass rushers such as Charles Harris, Shane Ray and Markus Golden in practice every day. He’s a local boy, born and raised in Largo where he was a football standout at Indian Rocks Beach Academy before receiving a scholarship to Missouri. He would add more size, speed and depth to the Bucs tight end group.
OT Brad Seaton, Villanova– 6’7″/310lbs, 5.10 forty, 24 bench reps, 26″ vert, 105″ broad, 28 consecutive starts, missed only 3 of 31 career games: He will most likely be selected in the later rounds but should he go undrafted, I hope the Bucs call him up. Seaton was a vital member of a Wildcat o-line that produced 213 rushing yards per game last season. He’s an athletic, finesse tackle that makes up for his lack of power with speed, quickness and agility. He possesses good foot work, body control and balance to help anchor against bull rushers. This guy could be a sleeper in this draft. He would give the Bucs more depth on the o-line as a swing tackle and possibly as an eventual starting offensive tackle.
DT Josh Augusta, Missouri– 6’4″/345lbs, 5.10 forty, 22 bench reps, 28.5″ vert, 108″ broad: Career- 82 tackles, 20 tfl’s, 4 sacks: He’s enormous and wide enough to plug up run gaps and take up space. Not much production stat wise but always seems to be disruptive due to his ability to generate push off the snap. Possesses quick feet and above average speed for a man his size. The Bucs could bring him in to compete with Sealver Siliga as the d-lines designated “black hole”.
WR Jerome Lane, Akron- 6’2″/225lbs, 4.60 forty, 16 bench reps, 35″ vert, 125″ broad: 2016- 62 rec, 1,018 yds, 6 td’s, 2015- 39 rec, 7892yds, 8 td’s: A big bodied, physical receiver who’s aggressive at attacking the football. He’s been called a “bull” with the ball in his hands. Almost 75% of his catches went for first downs. He’s an athlete with a basketball background who started his college career a safety and linebacker before moving to wide receiver.
QB Alek Torgersen, Pennsylvania– 6’3″/225lbs, 4.68 forty, 30″ vert, 117″ broad: 2016- 67% comp, 2,231 yds, 17 td’s, 4 int’s: Three year starter in college but a developmental project in the NFL. Athletic, intelligent and naturally accurate with prototypical size and decent arm strength. While I don’t see the Bucs drafting a QB, they could bring another body into camp for competition purposes. As of now, Ryan Griffin has the backup QB role vacated by Mike Glennon and I don’t see anyone unseeding him from that spot.
RB Tariq Cohen, North Carolina A&T– 5’6″/180lbs, 4.42 forty, 11 bench reps, 31.5″ vert, 118″ broad: 2016- 212 ru, 1,588 yds, 19 td’s, 37 rec, 339 yds, 1 td, four touchdown runs of 83 yards or more last season, MEAC’s all time leading rusher (5,619 yds), MEAC’s first three time Offensive Player of the Year, 2016 all-American: His nickname is the “Human Joystick” and for good reason. He’s an electric playmaker with rare ability to start and stop and make impossible cuts. Excellent field vision with very good acceleration to help pull away from defenders. A true weapon out of the backfield in the passing game with natural hands and he’s very slippery in space. Undersized, but a fierce competitor. He draws comparisons to Darren Sproles and will be used much in the same way, as a change of pace back or passing down back.
Well, there you have it. My fifth and final mock draft of the 2017 season. Yes, there were a few surprises. And some of you may even be offended at the fact that I drafted two players who either did strike a woman or allegedly struck a woman. Look, I’m not a person who condemns someone for making a mistake. Even ones as big as those. I believe that sometimes good people do dumb things. If the Bucs have vetted both of them properly and decide that they’re worthy of being drafted, then who am I to argue. Everyone deserves a second chance. If you really break it down, this draft would give the Bucs 4 first round prospects in their first 5 picks. I’d say that’s worth taking the risk.
I believe that this draft fills just about every need on this football team. Especially if you include the undrafted free agents. As I stated in my prior mocks, this is an important draft for the Bucs. Their moves in free agency already made them a playoff team. This draft could make them contenders. Tomorrow night that draft begins…and I can’t wait for that clock to start! Until it does, as always…GO BUCS!!!