Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Buccaneers.com 2022 Mock Draft 6.0

The first blush of free agency changed the draft needs for a lot of teams, including the Buccaneers, who aren't nearly as needy on the O-Line anymore and now turn their attention to the big men on the other side of the ball.

Bucs Mock Draft

Tom Brady kicked everything into motion just in time.

On Sunday, March 13, 40 days after he had announced his intention to walk away from football after 22 seasons, Brady thrilled the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their fans by revealing that he had changed his mind and would, in fact, be playing in 2022. That very welcome announcement landed three days before the opening of NFL free agency and just one day before the start of the "legal tampering" that is effectively the opening bell for negotiations all around the league.

New contracts for Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen and star cornerback Carlton Davis soon followed, as did the free agency acquisition of former Atlanta wideout Russell Gage and a trade for Patriots guard Shaq Mason. In less than a week, the Buccaneers' 2022 season went from a murky proposition with an unsolved issue at quarterback to a rerun of last year's "keep the band together" approach to another championship run.

All of which may also have a big impact on how the Buccaneers approach the 2022 NFL Draft in late April. Some glaring needs have been met, some potential problems have been avoided. Certainly, the Buccaneers would seem to be in "all-in" mode again for the upcoming season, which could affect their decision-making in the draft. The thing is, the same thing was happening all around the league over the past week.

There was some staggeringly big news throughout the week, sometimes happening at such a rapid rate that one mega-story barely had time to breathe before it was eclipsed by another. Davante Adams was traded. The Browns gave up three first-rounder for Deshaun Watson. Von Miller jumped from the defending champs to another prime Super Bowl contender in Buffalo. Randy Gregory changed his mind. Jacksonville signed half the league.

There are certain developments between January and late April that create major shifts in mock draft season. The Scouting Combine generally leads to changes in the perceived draft stock of a handful of prospects, for instance. But nothing does more to rearrange our notions of which teams are after which players in the draft than the first week of free agency.

And that's the them for our latest Mock Draft here on Buccaneers.com: How has the last week of non-stop Adam Schefter Twitter notifications changed what we think we'll happen? Spoiler alert: It changed a lot.

If you care to review what we've said in previous weeks and how things have changed, here are our previous efforts:

Mock Draft 1.0 (Carmen Vitali's final contribution.)

Mock Draft 2.0 (My first attempt, without trades.)

Mock Draft 3.0 (A mock dedicated solely to the Bucs' 2022 draft picks)

Mock Draft 4.0 (My second straight mock, still without trades.)

Mock Draft 5.0 (In which I am required to make at least six trades.)

In my most recent Mock Draft, I purposely tried to make a whole bunch of trades, after not allowing them in the previous two. I am going to allow trades in this one but not make a special effort to force them. I'm also going to list the notable additions and losses for each team over the past week or so to help explain how things have changed. Let's get started…

1. Jacksonville Jaguars: EDGE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan

· Notable Additions: WRs Christian Kirk and Zay Jones, G Brandon Scherff, LB Foyesade Oluokun, CB Darious Williams, DT Folorunso Fatukasi, TE Evan Engram

· Notable Losses: WR D.J. Chark, LB Myles Jack, RB Dare Ogunbowale, G A.J. Cann, DT Taven Bryan

The Jaguars spent a lot to strengthen their roster around young quarterback Trevor Lawrence, and certainly added a lot of useful players. But most of the additions weren't at what you might call the "premium positions" that usually dominate the top of a draft, such as quarterback, tackle, cornerback and edge rusher. That's okay, because they can hit at least one of those at the top of the first round in Hutchinson, widely considered the best overall prospect in the draft and a great potential complement to Josh Allen.

2. Detroit Lions: EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon

· Notable Additions: WR D.J. Chark

· Notable Losses: OLB Trey Flowers, LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin

The Trey Flowers signing in 2019 never really worked out for the Lions. They did re-sign Charles Harris after he more than doubled his previous career sack total with 7.5 last year, but could still use more juice on the edges. I've avoided Thibodeaux to Detroit before due to a possible cultural mismatch, but in the end this kind of rate talent wins out.

3. Houston Texans: S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame

· Notable Additions: G A.J. Cann, LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin, CB M.J. Stewart, OLB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo

· Notable Losses: QBs Deshaun Watson and Tyrod Taylor, OLB Jacob Martin, S Justin Reid, CB Terrance Mitchell

This is a tough one. The Texans have made some moves but none that I think drastically affect their draft thinking. I mean, the Deshawn Watson trade was seismic but the team had already moved on in their planning anyway and appear set to give Davis Mills a real shot. So what do the Texans really need? Well, almost everything. Noting that they managed to keep Laremy Tunsil, a potential cap casualty, I think they skip the top tackles here and go with the best remaining athlete on the board.

4. New York Jets: T Ikem Ekwonu, North Carolina State

· Notable Additions: G Laken Tomlinson, TEs C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin, S Jordan Whitehead, CB D.J. Reed

· Notable Losses: DT Folorunso Fatukasi, S Marcus Maye

I think the Jets would jump at Hamilton if he makes it to this spot but they could also continue making their line in front of young QB Zach Wilson a real strength after signing Tomlinson in free agency. They will be getting mountainous tackle Mekhi Becton back from injury and also used a first-rounder on guard Alijah Vera-Tucker last year. The Jets also have another pick in the top 10 to bring in some much-needed defensive help.

5. New York Giants: T Evan Neal, Alabama

· Notable Additions: QB Tyrod Taylor, G Mark Glowinski

· Notable Losses: TE Evan Engram, S Logan Ryan, CB Keion Crossen

The Giants have two of the next three picks and I really think they use them to grab one stud each for their two front lines. Neal is the priority here as he and Ekwonu are the top tier at offensive tackle. After Hutchinson and Thibodeaux there are another three or four edge rushers who could go in any order, and several of them will definitely still be there at pick number seven.

6. Carolina Panthers: QB Malik Willis, Liberty

· Notable Additions: G Austin Corbett, S Xavier Woods, OLB Damien Wilson, WR Rashard Higgins, RB D'Onta Foreman

· Notable Losses: OLB Haason Reddick, DT DaQuan Jones

It seems as if the Panthers have made repeated attempts to bring a veteran star quarterback to Charlotte but has had no luck so far. At this point, I think they decide their best approach is to get one in the draft, and Willis has the highest ceiling with his big arm and dynamic running ability.

7. New York Giants (from Chicago): EDGE Jermaine Johnson, Florida State

· Notable Additions: QB Tyrod Taylor, G Mark Glowinski

· Notable Losses: TE Evan Engram, S Logan Ryan, CB Keion Crossen

I went pretty much the same route with the Giants' two picks last time but put Georgia's Travon Walker here. Flip a coin, really. Don't worry, I won't claim some sort of prognostication genius if the Giants end up taking either Johnson or Walker. Both players' stock have been on the rise in recent weeks but there is an awful lot of buzz around Johnson.

8. Atlanta Falcons: WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State

· Notable Additions: CB Casey Hayward, RB Damien Williams

· Notable Losses: QB Matt Ryan, LB Foyesade Oluokun, WR Russell Gage, TE Hayden Hurst, DT Tyeler Davidson

Not a quarterback after the Ryan trade?! Well, that move was followed almost immediately by the Falcons announcing a two-year deal for Marcus Mariota. So I'm not going to pivot to a QB here just yet, though I suppose the Falcons could pick one and then treat Mariota like a bridge. Otherwise, I've pretty steadily given the Falcons a cornerback here but the receiver situation is starting to look a little grave in the ATL. Julio Jones is a memory, Calvin Ridley is suspended for 2022 and Russell Gage is a Buccaneer. They need some immediate reinforcements.

9. Seattle Seahawks (from Denver): CB Ahmad Gardner, Cincinnati

· Notable Additions: TE Noah Fant, DT Shelby Harris, QB Drew Lock, DT Quinton Jefferson, CB Artie Burns, LB Uchenna Nwosu

· Notable Losses: QB Russell Wilson, LB Bobby Wagner, DEs Carlos Dunlap and Benson Mayowa

Kenny Pickett? Nah. I think the Seahawks either climb on to the ongoing NFL QB carousel (Baker Mayfield, maybe?) or skip this underwhelming draft class and wait it out for a year with Drew Lock. They definitely need help at cornerback and they can get the first one on their board here.

10. N.Y. Jets (from Seattle): EDGE Travon Walker, Georgia

· Notable Additions: G Laken Tomlinson, TEs C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin, S Jordan Whitehead, CB D.J. Reed

· Notable Losses: DT Folorunso Fatukasi, S Marcus Maye

I like what the Jets have done so far in free agency but they could still use pass-rushing help. Usually this is about the time we start talking about how the quarterbacks inevitably rise in the mock drafts, but this year I think that will apply to the edge rushers. Lots of teams in the market and a very intriguing group of prospects.

**TRADE ALERT**: L.A. Chargers trade pick number 17, a 2022 third-round pick (#79) and a 2023 third-round pick to Washington for pick number 11.

11. Los Angeles Chargers (from Washington): DT Jordan Davis, Georgia

· Notable Additions: CB J.C. Jackson, OLB Khalil Mack, DT Sebastian Joseph-Day

· Notable Losses: LB Uchenna Nwosu, DT Justin Jones

In my Trade-A-Palooza Mock Draft last week, I had the Chargers trading up to the 12th spot to get Davis. That was part of a gimmick, but I liked the idea so much that I'm doing something similar here. The cost should be about the same – two third-round picks – and that's a small price to pay for the player who could complete their offseason defensive makeover. Think about a front line of Mack, Joseph-Day, Davis and Joey Bosa. Whoa.

12. Minnesota Vikings: CB Derek Stingley Jr., LSU

· Notable Additions: DT Harrison Phillips, LB Jordan Hicks

· Notable Losses: TE Tyler Conklin, S Xavier Woods, C Mason Cole

The Vikings don't like to be back in the cornerback market on draft weekend just two years after taking Jeff Gladney in the first round, but it is what it is. Patrick Peterson and Mackensie Alexander may not be back, Gladney is in Arizona and the cupboard is close to bare at this position.

13. Houston Texans (from Cleveland): WR Treylon Burks, Arkansas

· Notable Additions: G A.J. Cann, LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin, CB M.J. Stewart, OLB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo

· Notable Losses: QBs Deshaun Watson and Tyrod Taylor, OLB Jacob Martin, S Justin Reid, CB Terrance Mitchell

Houston got maximum value in the Deshaun Watson trade, and now it's time to try to turn it into a handful of core players. Easier said than done. The first swing here is for a receiver who could follow in the Andre Johnson-DeAndre Hopkins lineage of big and dynamic pass-catchers and help Davis Mills build on the bit of promise he showed in 2021.

14. Baltimore Ravens: C Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa

· Notable Additions: S Marcus Williams, T Morgan Moses

· Notable Losses: QBs Deshaun Watson and Tyrod Taylor, OLB Jacob Martin, S Justin Reid, CB Terrance Mitchell

I just can't quite Linderbaum and the Ravens. I've now done four first-round mocks and have paired the Iowa center with Baltimore every time. Perhaps that shows a stunning lack of imagination, but incumbent center Bradley Bozeman remains unsigned and Linderbaum is the rare center who is worth a pick in the top half of the first round. What my insistence on this matchup probably means is that Baltimore will definitely not take Tyler Linderbaum.

15. Philadelphia Eagles (from Miami): LB Devin Lloyd, Utah

· Notable Additions: OLB Haason Reddick

· Notable Losses: DT Hassan Ridgeway, LB Alex Singleton

I would have given the Eagles a linebacker here even if Singleton had re-signed with the team. It's the neediest part of their defense, especially with the signing of Reddick (home run) and the return of Fletcher Cox not long after he was released. I've had Nakobe Dean here before but Lloyd's stock seems to be on the rise. Either one would be a rangy do-it-all defender in the middle of the field.

16. Philadelphia Eagles (from Indianapolis): CB Trent McDuffie, Washington

· Notable Additions: OLB Haason Reddick

· Notable Losses: DT Hassan Ridgeway, LB Alex Singleton

This is one of the picks affected by last week's action for me. I would have found a way to get the Eagles an edge rusher before, but the signing of Reddick makes that less of a first-round priority. Philadelphia seems to be perpetually in need of cornerbacks, and 2021 stopgap Steven Nelson remains a free agent.

17. Washington Commanders (from L.A. Chargers): WR Drake London, USC

· Notable Additions: QB Carson Wentz, G Andrew Norwell

· Notable Losses: G Brandon Scherff, DT Tim Settle, S Landon Collins, G Erick Flowers

If the Commanders had signed some veteran quarterback like Teddy Bridgewater, I would still be tempted to give them a rookie signal-caller, but they seem committed to making this Carson Wentz thing work. They made up for the expected loss of Pro Bowler Scherff by signing Norwell, so let's give their new passer a big target who can win contested catches and be a great complement to YAC specialist Terry McLaurin.

18. New Orleans Saints: T Charles Cross, Mississippi State

· Notable Additions: S Marcus Maye

· Notable Losses: S Marcus Williams

The Saints missed out on the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes but I think their pivot will be to bring back Jameis Winston (note: I wrote that before the Saints did, in fact, pivot back to Jameis Winston), not dip into this year's underwhelming draft class of quarterbacks. Receiver is a need but the Saints are pleasantly surprised to see Cross fall this far. (I'm pretty surprised myself.) Not listed in the "Notable Losses" above is stud left tackle Terron Armstead, but he's also not re-signed yet at this point. If any team is going to figure out a way to make the finances work and bring back Armstead, it's the Saints, but they could also choose to draft his replacement.

**TRADE ALERT**: Green Bay Packers trade pick number 22, a 2022 fourth-round pick (#130) and a 2023 third-round pick to Philadelphia for pick number 19.

19. Green Bay Packers (from Philadelphia): WR Chris Olave, Ohio State

· Notable Additions: P Pat O'Donnell

· Notable Losses: WRs Davante Adams and Equanimeous St. Brown, OLB Za'Darius Smith

The Packers have to draft a wide receiver with one of their two first-round picks, right? Right? Here, I think they see a separation between Olave and the next tier of receivers (Jameson Williams' knee injury complicates things), and they make an easy trade up with plenty of draft capital at their disposal.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: QB Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh

· Notable Additions: QB Mitchell Trubisky, G James Daniels, LB Myles Jack, C Mason Cole, CBs Levi Wallace and Ahkello Witherspoon

· Notable Losses: WR JuJu Smith-Schuster

I know this is almost too neat, but I'm sticking with it for now. I don't think the signing of Trubisky, from whom the Steelers could easily get away from after one year, changes the calculus here. Think of Trubisky as a bridge with potential, and the fact that Pickett is considered pretty "pro-ready," if Mitch struggles early the Steelers can quickly pivot to the future.

21. New England Patriots: G Zion Johnson, Boston College

· Notable Additions: CB Terrance Mitchell

· Notable Losses: CB J.C. Jackson, Gs Shaq Mason and Ted Karras, RB Brandon Bolden

The Buccaneers were certainly glad that the Patriots were willing to deal Shaq Mason for a Day Three pick, but New England can immediately fill that vacancy with Johnson, getting younger and cheaper at the spot in the process.

22. Philadelphia Eagles (from Las Vegas through Green Bay): WR Jameson Williams, Alabama

· Notable Additions: OLB Haason Reddick

· Notable Losses: DT Hassan Ridgeway, LB Alex Singleton

The Eagles figured they could move down a bit and still get a receiver, and they are willing to be patient with the injured Williams to add a potential big-play star across from DeVonta Smith.

23. Arizona Cardinals: EDGE George Karlaftis, Purdue

· Notable Additions: CB Jeff Gladney

· Notable Losses: DE Chandler Jones, WR Christian Kirk, RB Chase Edmonds, LB Jordan Hicks

Chandler Jones has moved on after six metronomically productive seasons in Arizona (save for an injury-plagued 2020) so the Cardinals draft his replacement with a prospect that some feel has top-10 upside. Arizona still has Markus Golden but I'm not sure they can count on another healthy and ultra-productive season from J.J. Watt.

24. Dallas Cowboys: S Daxton Hill, Michigan

· Notable Additions: OLB Dante Fowler, WR James Washington

· Notable Losses: WRs Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson, T La'el Collins, DE Randy Gregory, G Connor Williams

The Cowboys lost Gregory to the Broncos and weren't able to land Von Miller, but they did sign Fowler, who wasn't terribly productive in Atlanta but could be enough to let the Cowboys look in another direction in the first round. Meanwhile, safeties Damontae Kazee and Jayron Kearse remain on the market and may not return. Even if the re-signed Malik Hooker is seen as one starter the Cowboys still need another one and Hill could step right in.

25. Buffalo Bills: CB Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson

· Notable Additions: OLB Von Miller, DTs DaQuan Jones and Tim Settle, G Rodger Saffold, DE Shaq Lawson, QB Case Keenum, TE O.J. Howard

· Notable Losses: CB Levi Wallace, QB Mitchell Trubisky, DTs Harrison Phillips and Star Lotulelei, WR Cole Beasley

Buffalo has had a nice little run over the last week, with one huge addition in Von Miller and then a lot of other second-level moves to fill out the depth chart. But they did lose Wallace and could use another top-notch corner to pair with Tre'Davious White and excellent nickel back Taron Johnson.

26. Tennessee Titans: LB Nakobe Dean, Georgia

· Notable Additions: OLB Von Miller, DTs DaQuan Jones and Tim Settle, G Rodger Saffold, DE Shaq Lawson, QB Case Keenum

· Notable Losses: CB Levi Wallace, QB Mitchell Trubisky, DTs Harrison Phillips and Star Lotulelei, WR Cole Beasley

I considered an offensive tackle here, but Tennessee invested a pretty high pick in Dillon Radunz last year and might be ready to see if he is the answer opposite Taylor Lewan. Meanwhile, the off-ball linebacker spot was a revolving door last year and both Rashaan Evans and Jayon Brown may not return.

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DL Devonte Wyatt, Georgia

· Notable Additions: G Shaq Mason, WR Russell Gage, S Logan Ryan

· Notable Losses: G Alex Cappa, S Jordan Whitehead, TE O.J. Howard

As noted at the top, the return of Tom Brady was sort of the falling domino that led to an impressive week of retaining and adding players at positions that easily could have become problem spots. I had paired the Bucs with a guard in each of my last two mocks, but now that Ryan Jensen and Aaron Stinnie have re-signed and Mason has arrived via trade, the interior line looks set again. And with Chris Godwin and Breshad Perriman returning and Russell Gage added to the mix, there's not a pressing need at receiver. Ryan gives the Bucs a third safety to go along with Antoine Winfield Jr. and Mike Evans. So where's the need now? Well, Ndamukong Suh, Will Gholston and Steve McLendon all remain free agents, and in any case the Bucs could use to go younger at that spot. My only worry is that Wyatt, who is quick and disruptive and gives maximum effort, won't make it to pick number 27.

28. Green Bay Packers: T Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa

· Notable Additions: P Pat O'Donnell

· Notable Losses: WRs Davante Adams and Equanimeous St. Brown, OLB Za'Darius Smith, T Billy Turner

Green Bay hasn't brought in any outside free agents other than a punter so far, but they did complete new deals for LB De'Vondre Campbell and CB Rasul Douglas, two surprising breakout stars from last year's defense. Thus I think they continue to help out Rodgers, this time with a tackle who can play opposite David Bakhtiari and let Elgton Jenkins fill in whatever spot they need him to.

29. Miami Dolphins (from San Francisco): G Kenyon Green, Texas A&M

· Notable Additions: QB Teddy Bridgewater, C/G Connor Williams, RBs Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert, CB Keion Crossen

· Notable Losses: QB Jacoby Brissett

The Dolphins are reportedly hot on the trail of Saints tackle Terron Armstead (and could have him signed by the time this posts). We'll know by draft day, obviously. If they can land Armstead, move 2021 second-rounder Liam Eichenberg to right tackle and put Williams, the former Cowboy, at center, they would have room to upgrade on the interior line with Green.

30. Kansas City Chiefs: EDGE David Ojabo

· Notable Additions: S Justin Reid, WR JuJu Smith-Schuster

· Notable Losses: CB Charvarius Ward, WR Byron Pringle

It looks the Chiefs won't be bringing Tyrann Mathieu back but they gave a pretty big deal to his replacement, Justin Reid. Signing JJSS means they don't have to reach in the first round for a complementary receiver. Corner is a need but the value here isn't great. So the Chiefs roll the dice on the fabulously unlucky Ojabo, who was trending closer to the top 10 before he suffered an Achilles tendon tear at his Pro Day. Could he be back by the start of the regular season, or close. Maybe, but the Chiefs have a talented enough roster to take this chance, and to wait if necessary.

31. Cincinnati Bengals: CB Kaiir Elam, Florida

· Notable Additions: Gs Alex Cappa and Ted Karras, T La'el Collins, TE Hayden Hurst

· Notable Losses: TE C.J. Uzomah, CB Darius Phillips

For a while now, matching the Bengals up with an offensive lineman of some sort was the easiest move in this whole mock draft season, but with their recent addition of Collins that doesn't seem necessary anymore. They could instead try to find an upgrade over Eli Apple. Elam might have pushed his way into the first round with a 4.39-second 40-yard dash at the Combine.

32. Detroit Lions (from L.A. Rams): QB Matt Corral

· Notable Additions: WR D.J. Chark

· Notable Losses: OLB Trey Flowers, LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin

Hey, why not? Desmond Ridder might be a bit more pro-ready but the Lions won't have to rush their rookie quarterback onto the field. They are probably not quite ready to contend yet, so another year with Jared Goff at the helm won't cost them anything.

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