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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Two For Two: Five Possible Targets for the Bucs' Pair of Second-Round Picks

The Buccaneers now have two picks to exercise in the second round on Friday night and a number of directions in which they could go, including edge rusher, defensive line and running back

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On Thursday night, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did something they hadn't done in nearly a quarter-century, trading out of the first round after the NFL Draft had officially begun. The spoils were extra picks at the very top of the fourth and sixth rounds, but the immediate result is that Tampa Bay will now be picking twice in the second round when the draft resumes on Friday evening. And that includes the very first selection of the night.

The Bucs came into Thursday's proceedings with the 27th overall pick in the first round, and held onto that spot amid a dizzying whirlwind of trades. The clock started ticking on their selection shortly before 11:00 p.m. ET but it stopped suddenly when the team traded that pick to Jacksonville for the first picks in the second, fourth and sixth rounds.

The added Day Three picks are helpful given that the Buccaneers came into the draft with no selections between number 133 in the fourth round and number 248 in the final stanza. But that's a Saturday concern. First things first, the Bucs will be picking twice in the second round – 'barring additional trades™' – and those selections could make a significant impact on the team's pursuit of another championship in 2022.

What will the second night of the 2021 draft produce for the Buccaneers? Below are five potential Day Two targets at five different positions, keeping in mind that the team has one pick each early and late in the second round. Please keep in mind that these are my guesses and are not meant to reflect the opinions of General Manager Jason Licht or any of the team's draft-weekend decision-makers.

1. EDGE Arnold Ebiketie, Penn State

We start here for one simple reason: Ebiketie was the choice I made at number 27 in my final mock draft on Wednesday. I have no idea if Licht and company have their eye on the Penn State edge rusher, but he is still available and there's no other team standing in the way. Just sayin'.

Ebiketie draws natural comparisons to Odafe Oweh, a fellow Penn State edge rusher who got to football later than most prospects and was considered a bit raw but an explosive edge rusher loaded with potential. The Baltimore Ravens selected Oweh with the 31st pick in the 2021 draft and he delivered a promising rookie season with 5.0 sacks and 15 quarterback hits.

Born in Cameroon, Ebiketie didn't pick up football until his sophomore year in high school, though he was already a multi-sport standout. He started his collegiate career at Temple but transferred to Penn State for his final season and made the most of that opportunity. Ebiketie earned All-Big Ten honors after racking up 9.5 sacks and 17 tackles for loss.

The Buccaneers drafted an edge rusher in the same vicinity of the draft just a year ago, tabbing Washington's Joe Tryon-Shoyinka at number 32, the last pick of the first round. Tryon-Shoyinka is in line to become a starter in 2022 opposite Shaquil Barrett given that the team has not re-signed veteran Jason Pierre-Paul. Fourth-year man Anthony Nelson is also in the edge rush mix after finishing the 2021 season on a strong note, but the Buccaneers could still use an addition to that rotation.

2. TE Greg Dulcich, UCLA

As expected, no tight ends were taken in the first round on Thursday night. That leaves Colorado State's Trey McBride as the most coveted player at the position heading into Day Two, according to most prospect rankings. I'm not convinced the Buccaneers feel the need at tight end is strong enough to take McBride with the first pick on Friday night, so the team would probably have to look farther down the board if they want to target that spot with their second pick of the round.

There are a number of options here, including Dulcich, Coastal Carolina's Isaiah Likely, Ohio State's Jeremy Ruckert and Virginia's Jelani Woods. I'll set my sights on Dulcich.

The 6-4, 243-pound tight end has decent size and a great 82-inch wingspan. He ran a 4.61-second 40-yard dash at the Combine and can accelerate well off the line and get into the seams. Dulcich also got plenty of opportunity to block at UCLA, unlike some college tight ends, so he has a chance to be a two-way, three-down tight end.

Dulcich showed his big-play ability by averaging 17.6 yards per catch over his collegiate career. In 2021, he hauled in 42 passes for 725 yard and five touchdowns.

The Buccaneers are still waiting to see if Rob Gronkowski is going to return for the 2022 season. Even if he does, the tight end depth chart is a little thin after Cameron Brate and Codey McElroy.

3. CB Tariq Woolen, Texas-San Antonio

Once again, I'm going back to my mock draft well with this one, as Woolen was my choice for the Bucs in a set of Round Two predictions a few weeks ago. The first thing to know about the UTSA product is that he is 6-4 and 205 pounds. That's a very big cornerback, and Todd Bowles definitely likes corners with size and length.

The second thing to know about Woolen is that he ran a 4.26-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. Wow.

Now, if those were the only two things you knew about Woolen, you would probably think he's a sure-fire first-round pick. In fact, he was not expected to go on Thursday night for an obvious reason: He is still a fairly raw prospect. He has only played cornerback for two seasons after converting from wide receiver, and he hasn't yet shown that he has the instincts for his new position. But he's made good progress in a short time and the Bucs, or another NFL team, could reasonably think he has the tools and the potential to blossom into a star on the next level.

The Buccaneers don't have a pressing need at cornerback, but neither do they have a lot of leeway at the position. Carlton Davis re-signed with the team in March and he forms a top three with Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting. The depth behind them is Ross Cockrell, Dee Delaney and Rashard Robinson. In addition, both Dean and Murphy-Bunting are heading into the final year of their rookie deals. It would make sense for the Buccaneers to begin planning for a possible transition at the position.

4. RB James Cook, Georgia

Running back isn't a glaring need for Tampa Bay after it was able to re-sign both Leonard Fournette and Giovani Bernard. That first move is particularly significant because Fournette has emerged as a three-down back for the Bucs over the past two seasons and appears to have Tom Brady's full trust. No matter what the Bucs do in the draft, Fournette seems likely to get the lion's share of the touches out of the backfield in 2022, and his new contract is, for the first-time, a multi-year deal.

Still, the Bucs could use an explosive change-of-pace back, one who can make plays in the passing game out of the backfield, and that's Cook's bread and butter. Make no mistake, this is a pretty significant reach based on what you will find in most mock drafts. I haven't seek Cook as a second-round pick in any mock so far. It's possible I'll get laughed at on Saturday by the personnel guys, but I can take it.

Cook is the younger and smaller brother of Vikings star Dalvin Cook. He may not profile as an every-down back due to his lack of size but he makes sharp cuts, has good instincts and is a natural pass-catcher. And if he gets the ball out in the open field he can take it to the house.

5. DL Logan Hall, Houston

Hall started showing up in first-round mock drafts late in the process, so it's likely the Buccaneers would have to start the day with his name if they want to land the versatile Houston defender. Hall appears to be a good foot as a defensive end in a 3-4 defense, like the one currently employed by Todd Bowles' Buccaneers.

Hall is coming off a very strong senior season in which he recorded 6.0 sacks and 13.0 tackles for loss. He's 6-foot-6 and 283 pounds, with room to grow, and he ran a 4.88-second 40-yard dash at the Combine. Scouts like his hard-working approach and his explosiveness off the ball.

The Buccaneers don't have a lot of glaring needs on their depth chart, and General Manager Jason Licht noted that there are a number of different ways to address the need for depth on the interior defensive line. Of course, one of those ways is in the draft, and after trading back to acquire more Day Three capital, the Bucs could easily go in that direction to start Day Two.

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