Skip to main content
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2024 Mock Draft 3.0

With trade projections now included, the race to land the top quarterbacks heats up, while the Buccaneers stay at pick number 26 and add another playmaker for their passing attack


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have faced Justin Fields, currently the quarterback of the Chicago Bears, on two occasions, and handled him well both times. In Week Seven of the 2021 Fields, then a rookie, made just his fifth career start and was picked off three times in a 38-3 loss at Raymond James Stadium. This past season, Fields and the Bears came back to Tampa in Week Two and completed just 16 of 29 passes for 211 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions while being sacked six times. Overall, Fields has a 52.3 passer rating against Tampa Bay and has also been held to just 20.5 rushing yards per game.

That does not necessarily mean the Buccaneers would love the idea of playing against Fields twice per season, which is exactly what would happen if the Bears traded their current starter to the Atlanta Falcons, who have emerged as the "betting favorites" to be Fields' next employer. Obviously, while Fields has yet to solve the Todd Bowles defense, he has shown on other occasions that he can be one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the league. Put him behind a strong Falcons offensive line and surround him with such weapons as Bijan Robinson, Drake London and Kyle Pitts and things could get troublesome in a hurry.

This is all predicated by the fact that the Bears trade with the Carolina Panthers last year ended up delivering the first overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, which happens to have a possible "generational talent" in its quarterback crop. Most draft analysts seem convinced that the Bears will indeed snap up USC's Caleb Williams with that top pick and thus be looking to get some other draft capital back for Fields, who they drafted 11th overall in 2021.

And that's exactly the premise I'm going with in this, our third mock draft of the year. Unlike the first two versions (one by me and one by Team Writer/Reporter Brianna Dix), we are allowing trade projections in this one. That includes the notion that Atlanta will acquire Fields but will do so without giving up the eighth overall pick in the first round. After that move, the Falcons are out of the competition to get at the top quarterbacks in this year's draft and actually move downa bit to pick up more capital.

That is one of three swaps of first-round picks I projected in this mock draft. Before I get started with the picks, here are the details of those three trades:

  1. New York Giants trade the sixth-overall pick, their second-round pick (#39), their fourth-round pick (#108) and a 2025 second-round pick to the New England Patriots for the third-overall pick and a sixth-round pick (#182). On the Jimmie Johnson draft value chart there is a 600-point difference between the third and sixth picks, and the second and fourth-rounders match that point value almost exactly. However, this is a trade up for a premium pick to get a quarterback, with possible competition from other suitors, so the Giants have to give up a bit extra in the 2025 second-rounder to make it happen. They wrangle for a sixth coming back the other way.
  1. Minnesota Vikings trade the 11th-overall pick, their second-round pick (#42) and a 2025 second-round pick to Atlanta for the eighth-overall pick and the Falcons' third-round pick (#74). According to the draft value chart, picks #11 and #40 would be a pretty big overpay by the Vikings, so they get a third back. As with the trade above, however, the Vikings have to pony up a second-rounder in 2025 to make it happen, regardless of the draft value chart.
  1. Cincinnati Bengals trade the 18th-overall pick and their third-round pick (#80) to New Orleans for the 14th-overall pick. That's an almost exact match on the draft value chart.

    1. Chicago Bears (from Carolina): QB Caleb Williams, USC

Presuming the Fields trade is made in the weeks before the draft, we'll know for sure by opening night that the Bears are going quarterback. Drake Maye and Jayden Daniels will probably make some noise along the way but I think in the end the massive potential of Williams' talents will keep him in the top spot.

  1. Washington Commanders: QB Drake Maye, North Carolina

Same story here. In the last two weeks, mock drafts have begun to reflect the growing buzz that Daniels is overtaking Maye in the eyes of NFL talent evaluators. However, I expect it to swing back because Maye possesses a tantalizing mix of size, arm strength and movement skills and has a more well-rounded game than Daniels.

  1. New York Giants (from New England): QB Jayden Daniels, LSU

New York can afford to make a move because they have an extra second-round pick gained in last year's deadline trade of Leonard Williams to Seattle. The Giants probably can't get away from Daniel Jones' contract this year, but that's okay because Daniels probably needs a little more time to develop his gam than Williams or Maye would. In 2025, the dead cap hit the Giants would incur from cutting Jones would drop from $69 million (!!!) this year to "just" $22 million.

  1. Arizona Cardinals: WR Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State

This time around there was a little bit of wheeling and dealing in the picks ahead of the Cardinals but the end result is the same: Quarterbacks going 1-2-3 and the Cardinals having their choice among everyone else, including the top receiver. That's Harrison, who could quickly develop into one of the NFL's best receivers. Kyler Murray needs that badly.

  1. Los Angeles Chargers: T Joe Alt, Notre Dame

The Chargers have a star at left tackle in former Northwestern Wildcat Rashawn Slater but could use an upgrade on the other end over Trey Pipkins. Alt is a towering presence with long arms to keep pass-rushers off his body. Sure, the Chargers could use a receiver and there are a couple of extremely tempting ones staring back at them, but they have a better shot at getting a standout receiver in the second round than they would at getting a blue-chip tackle.

  1. New England Patriots (from N.Y. Giants): WR Malik Nabers, LSU

I had the Patriots trade down because I think they're going to go to the veteran market for a quarterback and whoever that is badly needs a top-notch receiver to which to throw the ball. Even if the Chargers had gone receiver, the Patriots still could have nabbed whoever was left between Nabers and Rome Odunze. With both available they go with Nabers who has explosive speed and can generate big plays on deep balls and shorter passes that he can turn into long gains with his short-area quickness and acceleration.

  1. Tennessee Titans: T Amarius Mims, Georgia

Mims is more commonly shows up in the 20s in mock drafts at this time, but I think he is going to be one of the biggest risers over the next couple months. Really, there are lots of great options for teams seeking an offensive tackle – a group for which the Titans are a card-carrying member – but Mims may have the highest ceiling of them all. His issue is just a lack of experience, as he made just eight starts in college, but the Titans are probably not contending next year and have time to let him develop.

  1. Minnesota Vikings (from Atlanta): QB J.J. McCarthy, Michigan

Here we have our second team trading up for a quarterback, as I'm thinking Kirk Cousins will be playing elsewhere in 2024 (maybe New England?). I'm not sure McCarthy is at the same level as the first three quarterbacks off the board, but QBs almost always rise in the months leading up to the actual draft, and Minnesota probably feels like it has to move up to beat several other teams to the Michigan star.

  1. Chicago Bears: WR Rome Odunze, Washington

Chicago could use a center but the ninth pick is probably a bit rich for that need. They may opt for a bookend edge rusher for Montez Sweat, in which case they would get the first one off the board. But it's just too tempting to pair one of the draft's blue-chip receivers with their shiny new quarterback. The 6-3, 216-pound Odunze has a nice blend of size, speed and cutting ability and would fit nicely with D.J. Moore to give the Bears the potential of their best passing attack in…forever?

  1. New York Jets: T Olu Fashanu, Penn State

The Jets' 2024 season is going to be all about Aaron Rodgers, so giving him good protection is the first order of business. Fashanu should be a starter from Day One. He's a polished pass protector who is light on his feet and refined in his techniques.

  1. Atlanta Falcons (from Minnesota): EDGE Laiatu Latu, UCLA

This worked out well for the Falcons (unfortunately), as they picked up some extra draft capital but still got their pick of the edge rushers, which is seemingly a perpetual area of need for them. Latu would have to see his stock go up in the weeks to come to actually be the first EDGE off the board, and he may not blow scouts away at the Combine. But he was essentially the most productive college pass rusher in the nation in 2023 and the Falcons are betting that will translate to the NFL.

  1. Denver Broncos: EDGE Dallas Turner, Alabama

Jonathon Cooper had a career-high, and team-leading, 8.5 sacks in 2023 but the Broncos still ranked 20th in sacks per pass play on defense. If they divorce from Russell Wilson, they could be looking to draft a quarterback, but I'm not sure they'd be tempted by Bo Nix or Michael Penix at this spot. Rather, they get in on the top edge rushers before they're gone. Turner has a good arsenal of pass rush moves and is fairly stout against the run, too.

  1. Las Vegas Raiders: T Taliese Fuaga, Oregon State

This draft continues to deliver for tackle-needy teams, as the Raiders can stand pat #13 (around here we call that the Tristan Pick) and still land a plug-and-play right tackle in the well-seasoned Fuaga. Across his last two seasons with the Beavers, Fuaga had 716 pass-block snaps and, according to Pro Football Focus, did not allow a single sack.

  1. Cincinnati Bengals (from New Orleans): TE Brock Bowers, Georgia

I had Bowers going to the Chargers at pick #5 in my first mock draft, but even at the time that didn't feel quite right. He might be a top-five talent regardless of position, but it's a bit hard to find the right landing spot for the dynamic tight end if the Chargers pass. That's music to the Bengals' ears, who wait for him to get close and then pounce with a trade up. Every single tight end on Cincy's depth chart is a pending free agent, as are wideouts Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd. Still, an offense that started with Joe Burrow, Ja'Marr Chase and Bowers is probably going to be highly effective.

  1. Indianapolis Colts: CB Terrion Arnold, Alabama

The first cornerback coming off the board at #15 is a little surprising, but expect to see a lot more of them taken in the second half of this round. The Colts definitely need help here, and they go with Arnold, who is both quick and willing to mix it up. He also finds the football, as evidenced by his five interceptions and 12 passes defensed in 2023.

  1. Seattle Seahawks: DT Byron Murphy, Texas

The Seahawks could use edge help, too, but will be getting star pass rusher Uchenna Nwosu back from injury in 2024. Instead they shore up the middle of their defensive front, potentially replacing Leonard Williams if he leaves in free agency. Murphy has a quick first step and the versatility to play multiple spots along the front. He had 45 quarterback pressures during the 2023 season at Texas.

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars: DT Jer'Zhan Newton, Illinois

The top two interior defensive linemen go back-to-back as the Jaguars address the weakest spot on their defense. Newton is an intense competitor with a knack for getting penetration up the gut. Jacksonville could really use an inside threat to pair with star edge rusher Josh Allen, assuming they can keep Allen off the free agency market.

  1. New Orleans Saints (from Cincinnati): T J.C. Latham, Alabama

The Saints have a decent number of needs and may have more after the first rush of free agency, given their eternally difficult salary cap situation. They also came into the draft with just two picks in the first 148, so making a move down for some more capital made a lot of sense, especially if they are perusing the heavily-stocked offensive tackle aisle. Despite seeing four other tackles snagged before their pick, the Saints still land a mauling blocker who may have some position flexibility. He could play tackle if the Saints decide Trevor Penning isn't the man, or he could possibly kick inside if Andrus Peat leaves as a free agent.

  1. Los Angeles Rams: CB Quinyon Mitchell, Toledo

Mitchell erased any worries about his small-school background with a dominant week at the Senior Bowl and could eventually rise to the top of the cornerback class by draft weekend. Here the Rams nab him at #19 and continue the defensive makeover that began with their impressive 2023 draft class. Mitchell is a feisty ballhawk who doesn't shy away from tackling.

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers: CB Nate Wiggins, Clemson

Yes, we've begun a mini-run on cornerbacks. This is a clear area of need for the Steelers, who have a couple corners headed to free agency and Patrick Peterson at the back end of his career. The Steelers hit on Joey Porter Jr. in the second round last year but this time spend a first-round pick to land Wiggins, who is a bit slight but has room to grow and good length and speed.

  1. Miami Dolphins: EDGE Jared Verse, Florida State

The Dolphins' defense cratered, understandably, in 2023 when a string of injuries took out their top three pass rushers. That underscored the importance of building depth at the position, which they do here with the powerful Verse, who brings good size to the position plus an explosive get-off. He had 18 sacks over the last two seasons for the Seminoles and was also good against the run.

  1. Philadelphia Eagles: CB Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama

Philadelphia's pass defense ranked second-to-last in 2023 and its principals aren't getting any younger. The Eagles almost moved on from cornerback Darius Slay last offseason. McKinstry excels in man-to-man coverage, and the Eagles gave up the second-most yards and second-most touchdowns when playing man in 2023.

  1. Houston Texans (from Cleveland): EDGE Chop Robinson, Penn State

The Texans actually had a productive edge duo last season in Jonathan Greenard and rookie Will Anderson, but Greenard and several other members of the Texans' defensive front are pending free agents. I think Houston may address pass-catching needs in free agency and let DeMeco Ryans get another big piece for his defense. Robinson wasn't hugely productive at Penn State but he should put on an impressive show at the Combine, leading plenty of teams to be interested in what his physical traits could develop into in the NFL.

  1. Dallas Cowboys: T Tyler Guyton, Oklahoma

The best Dallas teams have always had dominant O-Lines, and they have some of the pieces in place already, especially at guard with Zack Martin and Tyler Smith. Smith was originally drafted as a tackle and could possibly move back there if Tyron Smith departs in free agency. Alternately, the Cowboys could keep the younger Smith at a spot in which he's excelled and draft Guyton as a bookend tackle.

  1. Green Bay Packers: T Jordan Morgan, Arizona

David Bakhtiari's future is unclear and Jon Runyan (a guard) is a pending free agent. The Packers could always kick the ultra-versatile Elgton Jenkins out to tackle, but then they'd be in need of another guard starter. Morgan is 6-6 and 320 pounds but he's got the foot quickness to be able to handle speed rushers one-on-one. If Bakhtiari is indeed out of the picture next season, Morgan could step right in at left tackle opposite the underrated Zach Tom on the right end.

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: WR Brian Thomas, LSU

Yes, the Buccaneers would have a more pressing need at receiver if they are unable to re-sign franchise icon Mike Evans. But even if Evans is back (fingers crossed!), I think the Bucs would still be very interested in Thomas should he drop this far. They haven't used a first-round pick on a receiver since Evans himself in 2014 (Chris Godwin was a home run of a third-round pick) and they could use a new young potential star to be the future at the position. Thomas was overshadowed at LSU by Nabers but he's extremely fast and at 6-4 he's a long-strider like Evans. I'm also very tempted here by Oregon center Jackson Powers-Johnson.

  1. Arizona Cardinals (from Houston): IOL Jackson Powers-Johnson, Oregon

The Cardinals already got their receiver at pick #4, so they're very happy to see the Buccaneers go with Thomas over Powers-Johnson. Arizona might play the 6-3, 334-pound mauler from Oregon at left guard, where Elijah Wilkerson is a pending free agent. Powers-Johnson was a beast at the Senior Bowl and his stock is definitely on the rise.

  1. Buffalo Bills: CB Cooper DeJean, Iowa

DeJean might climb up the cornerback board if he dominates at the Combine, which is possible given his athletic skill set. Some scouts think DeJean might find a home at safety at the NFL, but that's okay in this case because Buffalo needs help at both secondary spots. DeJean is another ball hawk who had seven interceptions over his last two seasons at Iowa, returning three of them for touchdowns. He could possibly help as a punt returner, too.

  1. Detroit Lions: CB Ennis Rakestraw, Missouri

The corners keep coming. The Lions energized their fan base in 2023 with a fantastic season, which included the team's first playoff win in more than three decades, but their attempts to fix the secondary fell flat. C.J. Gardner-Johnson and Emmanuel Moseley were both plagued by injuries and Cam Sutton may have been miscast as a #1 shutdown corner. Detroit's defense stopped the run well but ranked 27th against the pass, so this is a clear focus in the first round. Rakestraw doesn't have as much size as some of the corners taken earlier in this draft but he's very quick and he plays the ball well.

  1. Baltimore Ravens: WR Troy Franklin, Oregon

Would the Ravens go receiver in Round One two years in a row after hitting on Zay Flowers last spring? Well, Odell Beckham Jr. is a free agent and he had just 35 catches in 14 games last season. Rashod Bateman, a 2021 first-round pick, still hasn't panned out. Lamar Jackson stirs the drink here; he's what takes a good Baltimore roster and makes it one of the best teams in the league. It makes sense to keep trying to get his supporting cast right.

  1. San Francisco 49ers: G Graham Barton, Duke

The 49ers could probably use an offensive tackle a little more after Colton McKivitz had a rough season trying to replace Mike McGlinchey, but so many tackles have come off the board that the value might not be there at this spot. Instead, San Francisco seeks an upgrade between the tackles with Barton, who played tackle at Duke but is likely to kick inside in the NFL. Barton is a technician who rarely makes a mistake.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs: T Troy Fautanu, Washington

Wait, no receiver for the Chiefs?! Relax, there's still two more days of drafting and the receiver class is deep. I mean, why would Kansas City feel like they have to spend their first-rounder on a receiver when all they've done since trading away Tyreek Hill is win back-to-back Super Bowls. And offensive tackle is arguably an even more pressing need, as Donovan Smith and Jawaan Taylor feel like stopgaps at the position. Fautanu could also play guard in the NFL but he has necessary foot quickness to stick at tackle and he displays a physical style of play.

Related Content

win monthly prizes, download the app and turn on push alerts to score

Download the Buccaneers app and turn on push alerts for your chance to win

Latest Headlines