Back at it again with another Buccaneers.com mock draft. How lucky are all of you that Scott Smith and I are taking turns this year, thereby giving you a new mock every single week until the 2021 NFL Draft?
The usual arbitrary nature of mock drafting is now exacerbated by the fact that the Buccaneers won't make their first selection until the very last pick of the first round. Heck, it could be even later if we're talking trade scenarios but bear with me as I get my feet wet in this here #DraftSZN. I won't be doing trades quite yet, though I think Scott may have something for you come next week.
I've actually been pretty good with picking who the Buccaneers will draft in the first round the last couple years we've done this exercise, however I've now resigned myself to the near impossibility of a repeat performance given Tampa Bay's positioning. Not to brag or anything but my first pick of 2020 in these exercises was in fact, Tristan Wirfs. Though, I didn't see the trade up to number 13 coming. And in 2019, I accurately picked Devin White at fifth overall. I feel an immense amount of pressure to be right in my very first crack at it, to be sure, but with free agency still looming and the Bucs waiting behind 31 other teams in the first round, I don't think the third time will be the charm.
Qualification aside, of course I'd take this scenario any day of the week (and twice on Sundays) because it means that the Buccaneers are to now be addressed as the 'defending Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers' for the duration of this upcoming season.
Without further ado, let's get cracking.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
Duh. Like Scott said last week, the Jaguars helped coordinator Lawrence's pro-day so I don't know what more proof you need.
2. New York Jets: QB Zach Wilson, BYU
I feel bad because I don't really think Sam Darnold has gotten a fair shake since being drafted third overall in 2018. He's going on his third head coach and fourth offensive coordinator in New York. It's probably best he starts over with a different team, which means the Jets are taking a quarterback with a top three pick for the second time in four seasons.
3. Miami Dolphins: T Penei Sewell, Oregon
And we thought last year's tackle class was good (and it was – especially for the Bucs). This one may be even better and Miami needs some further insulation for Tua.
4. Atlanta Falcons: QB Justin Fields, Ohio State
I woke up this morning and, as I do most mornings, chose violence… which means I'm choosing a quarterback for Atlanta in this no-trades-allowed mock. The Falcons get one more year of Matt Ryan as he grooms his heir apparent under new head coach Arthur Smith.
5. Cincinnati Bengals: WR Ja'Marr Chase, LSU
They got the quarterback last year, now they get him more weapons because how old is A.J. Green?
6. Philadelphia Eagles: TE Kyle Pitts, Florida
It's no secret that common sense often evades Philly in the draft. So yeah, they could go quarterback, but with the almost-certain departure of long-time playmaker Zach Ertz, they figure they need a ready-to-go replacement for Jalen Hurts to throw to. And let's face it – the Eagles aren't taking a wide receiver.
7. Detroit Lions: WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
But the Lions are! They have a shiny new (to them) toy under center now, thinking they'll be able to take a step forward under the very, uh, intense Dan Campbell with Jared Goff. Now, they get him a big-time playmaker from a big-time program.
8. Carolina Panthers: QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State
Timeout. Could you imagine if the Eagles had taken Lance? Another North Dakota State quarterback? Six would have likely been too high for Mac Jones so Lance would have been thought of as the best available at that pick and now I'm tempted to go change my pick right now just to be devious. But I'll resist the urge and give Lance to Carolina, who is still searching for a better fit for Joe Brady's offense under center.
9. Denver Broncos: CB Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech
It's a big draft for Virginia Tech, which has an alum, Bruce Arians likely loves to see. This isn't hard though, the Broncos need help at corner and Farley is one of the best ones.
10. Dallas Cowboys: CB Patrick Surtain II, Alabama
The Cowboys also need secondary help and could easily take an offensive tackle here to help them return to the up-front dominance we're used to seeing out of Dallas. However, I think they get a little spooked on a corner run here and nab Surtain before anyone else does with the tackle class being so deep this year.
11. New York Giants: WR Devonta Smith, Alabama
Waddle was already off the board so the Giants take his teammate, which is no consolation prize to be sure. They need wide receivers. Bad. And now they get a Heisman winner.
12. San Francisco 49ers: QB Mac Jones, Alabama
Five quarterbacks in the top 15. That's the second-most ever to go in the first round and first time since, well, 2018, when Baker Mayfield led a class of five that included Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen and Lamar Jackson. There's also a pretty big drop off in arm talent after Jones so the 49ers are glad to get their guy.
13. Los Angeles Chargers: T Rashawn Slater, Northwestern
Scott and I share another thing in common other than just being your Buccaneers.com staff writers: we are both Northwestern alums. I think he had Slater going higher than this, which is still not the highest a Wildcat has been taken in the draft but this makes me happy. It makes LA happy too though because Slater is a heck of a tackle and with his Northwestern smarts, should be ready to go at the pro level.
14. Minnesota Vikings: T Samuel Cosmi, Texas
Minnesota is also in need of some protection for Kirk Cousins and they get another pro-ready talent in Cosmi from Texas. Cosmi has some versatility, playing both right and left tackle for the Longhorns, so the Vikings could use him at either spot as they continue to figure out their offensive line configuration. They used five different starting combinations this past season. But they have a greater need at left tackle in order to keep Cousins clean – something they couldn't do this season.
15. New England Patriots: LB Micah Parsons, Penn State
Yes, the Patriots could absolutely use a wide receiver here, thanks for asking. Head Coach and General Manager Bill Belichick doesn't care, though. His defensive mind wins out as the Patriots address one of their defensive needs first. Parsons opted out of the 2020 season and after seeing Penn State's results, I don't think you could blame him. He has some stellar production in his first two seasons and was a five-star recruit coming out of high school in Harrisburg, Penn. That's music to Belichick's ears.
16. Arizona Cardinals: CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina
The Cardinals made the splash of this year's offseason by snagging J.J. Watt away from Houston, with maybe a little bit of coercion from former Texan-turned-Cardinal wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Whatever Hop said, along with apparently Chandler Jones' cooking skills, convinced Watt his talents were best taken to the desert. Now, Arizona further fortifies their defense by adding some back-level help.
17. Las Vegas Raiders: LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame
Scott and I are in agreement on this pick, not wanting to overcomplicate it with the Raiders needing some linebacker help badly. Las Vegas could use an edge rusher here, too, but from a Bucs' perspective, I'm not complaining they decide to go in a different direction here.
18. Miami Dolphins: WR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota
Now that the Dolphins have their line pretty much squared away, they focus on getting more receiving talent as the building blocks keep stacking up around Tua.
19. Washington Football Team: WR Terrace Marshall Jr., LSU
Not totally sure who is going to be throwing Marshall Jr. the ball come the fall with rumors swirling that Washington is moving on from Alex Smith. In the real-world, where trades are allowed, I'd expect Washington to be one of those making some calls to move up the board for one of the previously taken five signal caller prospects.
20. Chicago Bears: T Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech
Sigh. What don't the Bears need right now? It's looking like they, too, will need another wide receiver with Allen Robinson expressing his desire to be set free of yet another tumultuous offensive season in the Windy City. Maybe with some more protection, Trubisky and/or Foles can make something happen? *she says wistfully without a semblance of sincerity*
Realistically, the Bears are also on trade watch but that's a problem for future Carmen to figure out.
21. Indianapolis Colts: T Tevin Jenkins, Oklahoma State
The Colts getting another excellent blocker along the offensive line should scare people. They'll likely have one of the best units in the league protecting the Carson Wentz experiment. Buckle up, because I see Indy surprising a lot of people this year.
22. Tennessee Titans: EDGE Kwity Paye, Michigan
Paye is a massive yet still very agile rusher at 6'5 and 277 pounds. Somewhere, Head Coach Mike Vrabel is cackling at the possibilities of his pass rush now.
23. New York Jets: RB Najee Harris, Alabama
To be clear, I'm not sure this is what should happen. But I think it might with New York holding a bushel of draft picks and already having gotten their quarterback. Now, they give him a pass-catching back to help ease his transition.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: RB Travis Etienne, Clemson
Seeing Harris already off the board makes the Steelers jump at Etienne before someone else can take him. They'll wait on a tackle or a corner for now.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars: CB Greg Newsome II, Northwestern
Sure, you can accuse me of bias toward Northwestern but the Jaguars are happy to see Newsome come to them. Newsome is a long corner and just does everything right. The Jaguars have their offensive star, now it's time to bolster the defense, and especially a depleted secondary.
26. Cleveland Browns: EDGE Jaelen Phillips, Miami
Phillips opposite Myles Garrett is not something any NFL offensive line wants to see. I may regret this come playoff time next season.
27. Baltimore Ravens: WR Kadarius Toney, Florida
Give Lamar Jackson weapons. That's all.
28. New Orleans Saints: CB Aaron Robinson, UCF
The Saints need help at multiple levels of the defense, especially at corner. This year's corner class is pretty consistent so the Saints take Robinson to match up with the slot corners of the NFC South.
29. Green Bay Packers: LB Nick Bolton, Missouri
Yeah, Green Bay needs a receiver. No, they're not going to take one. They also need linebacking help and they get it with Bolton.
30. Buffalo Bills: EDGE Azeez Ojulari, Georgia
The Bills have proved their high-powered offense is no fluke. Now, they turn to the defensive side of the ball to improve their pass rush and I see another AFC Championship in their future.
31. Kansas City Chiefs: IOL Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC
You can't argue that the Chiefs' offensive line was one of their major downfalls in Super Bowl LV. That doesn't discredit the effort put forth by the Buccaneers' defensive front, which dominated all night, but it definitely exposed the need for depth along the offensive line in Kansas City.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: EDGE Joe Tryon, Washington
With that hefty contract for J.J. Watt, players all along the defensive front across the league are now likely adjusting their expectations on salary when it comes to free agency. Among them is likely Shaq Barrett. If he departs, the Bucs will need an edge presence opposite Jason Pierre-Paul more than ever. Even if Barrett stays, Tryon could add to an already scary rotation and hold down the outside while former teammate, Vita Vea, eats up blockers on the interior.