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Mel Kiper Releases First Mock Draft

Posted Jan 19, 2017

ESPN's Mel Kiper believes that the Buccaneers will select a pass-rusher with the No. 19 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.

The 2017 season is coming to an end and with that, mock drafts are beginning to roll in. ESPN’s draft expert, Mel Kiper, released his first mock draft on Thursday morning and believes that the Buccaneers will use the No. 19 pick on a defensive end. Tampa Bay picked up a pass-rusher in the second round of the 2016 draft when they selected Noah Spence, who recorded 5.5 sacks as a rookie.

According to Kiper, Michigan’s Taco Charlton will join Spence on the defensive line.

“Charlton plays with good leverage for his height (6-5) and has active hands and an incredible wingspan,” Kiper wrote. “I'm curious what he'll measure at the combine. He can play on his feet, too, which means he could fit in a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme. The Bucs took Noah Spence in the second round last year, and he improved in their 4-3 as the season progressed (5.5 sacks). Charlton would be a great pick.”

Charlton recorded 9.5 sacks during the 2016 season, the 14th-most in the country. For his efforts, he was selected by both the coaches and the media as a first-team All-Big 10 selection. He was a three-year letter-winner at Michigan, appearing in 46 games and making 15 starts, all at defensive end. He finished his career with 94 tackles, 28 of which were for a loss, and 19 sacks.

Charlton is the fourth-best defensive lineman available, according to Kiper’s initial mock draft. He has Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett going NO. 1 to the Browns, Alabama’s versatile defensive lineman Jonathan Allen going No. 3 to the Bears and Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas going No. 9 to the Bengals.

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