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Mel Kiper Predicts Bucs' First Three Picks

Posted Apr 21, 2017

ESPN's Mel Kiper believes the Buccaneers will select a pair of Washington Huskies with their first two draft picks.

The NFL Draft is just days away. With that, ESPN’s Mel Kiper has added onto his mock draft, extending it from the first round to the first three rounds. In his latest mock, Kiper believes the Buccaneers will select a pair of Washington Huskies with their first two picks – wide receiver John Ross at No. 19 and safety Budda Baker at No. 50. Kiper had a change of heart recently; prior to this mock, he believed the Bucs would select Miami tight end David Njoku with their first-round pick.

“The guy I've compared Ross to since last year? DeSean Jackson, whom the Bucs signed this offseason,” Kiper wrote. “They have slight frames that don't fit with how traditional receivers look, but man, they are blazing fast: Ross clocked a 4.22 in the 40, and Jackson clocked 4.35. They're electrifying, big-play threats who could blow by defensive backs and take it to the house at any moment, and they're stellar returners. Adding Ross would give Tampa Bay a trio of Ross, Jackson and No. 1 wideout Mike Evans. That's scary for defenses.

“Baker is one of my favorite players in this draft and would be a top-15 pick if he were bigger. At 5-foot-10, 195 pounds, he's an enforcer who could line up in the slot, play deep safety or help in run support in the box.”

Kiper hasn’t given up on the Bucs using an early-round draft pick on a tight end. With the team’s third-round pick, he believes Tampa Bay will select Clemson’s Jordan Leggett, despite having Cameron Brate still on the roster. In 2016, Brate was tied for the league-lead among tight ends with eight touchdown receptions.

“Leggett is solid value here,” Kiper added.

When the Buccaneers make their selection at No. 19, Kiper believes Florida State running back Dalvin Cook, Tennessee defensive end Derek Barnett and Michigan defensive end Taco Charlton will all still be available. All three players have been linked to the Buccaneers in recent mock drafts. In his inaugural mock draft, Kiper listed Charlton as the Bucs’ pick.

For Kiper’s complete, three-round mock draft, click HERE.