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While Mankins was undoubtedly an integral part of a high-performing group last season, whether or not he will retire won’t dictate what the Buccaneers do in the upcoming NFL Draft.
"You’ve got to build, you’ve got to look three years ahead, so his decision isn’t going to hurt us in any way right now, with what we’re planning on doing.”
Whether or not Mankins will return for a 12th season, the Buccaneers have been linked to offensive linemen in several mock drafts – just not offensive linemen at his position. A handful of draft analysts have projected the Bucs to draft former Notre Dame offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley with the No. 9 pick. In short, if Mankins retires, don't expect Tampa Bay to jump at a potential replacement in this year's draft.
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There is no question, though, that the Buccaneers are a better team with Mankins on their roster. This past season, Tampa Bay finished fifth in the NFL in total offensive yards, their highest finish in team history.