View photos of Penn State RB Saquon Barkley in college. Photos by AP Images.
While the consensus still has the Bucs addressing the secondary and taking either safety Derwin James from Florida State or defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick from Alabama with their first pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, there are a couple more analysts who think running back Saquon Barkley out of Penn State may fall to the Bucs.
Barkley was touted as the number one prospect on Daniel Jeremiah's Top 50 prospects list and he is expected to be a game changing addition to any team he lands with, which is why most are projecting him to go in the top five come Draft night.
Along the same 'this may be a stretch' lines: ESPN's Bill Barnwell released his 'All-Trades Mock Draft' in which every team makes a trade in the first round. He has the Buccaneers trading their No. 7 pick for running back David Johnson with the Arizona Cardinals. His reasoning is included below.
Have you weighed in on which position you think the Bucs should take with their first-round pick? If not, vote here.
The full roundup of expert picks is below.
View photos of Maurice Jones-Drew's first mock draft. Photos by AP Images.
Bucky Brooks (April 12) – S Derwin James (Florida State)
Brooks: "The Buccaneers' secondary needs an enforcer like James roaming between the hashes."
Maurice Jones-Drew (April 10) – S Derwin James (Florida State)
Jones-Drew: "He's a physical safety with the cover skills of a cornerback. Tampa gets a jack of all trades."
Chad Reuter (April 5) – S Derwin James (Florida State)
Charley Casserly (April 3) – DB Minkah Fitzpatrick (Alabama)
Jared Dubin (April 12) – S Derwin James (Florida State)
R.J. White (April 11) – S Derwin James (Florida State)
Chris Trapasso (April 8) – RB Saquon Barkley (Penn State)
Trapasso: "The Buccaneers take what some believe will be a luxury selection in the top 10, but Barkley will take pressure off Tampa Bay's pass game to help Jameis Winston."ESPN
Bill Barnwell's All-Trades Mock Draft (April 16) – RB David Johnson (trade from Arizona Cardinals)
"While the Cardinals' cap situation will be better in 2018 after financial concerns forced them to lose Calais Campbell and Tyrann Mathieu in consecutive offseasons, Arizona finds itself with a difficult decision ahead next offseason. Johnson was one of the best running backs in football during the 2016 season, but was on the bench for most of his rookie campaign in 2015 and then suffered a season-ending wrist injury one game into 2017. The Northern Iowa product is entering the final year of his rookie deal, which can't be extended by a fifth-year option because he was a third-round pick.
If Arizona doesn't want to give Johnson the $10 million per year he might seek as the best back not named Le'Veon Bell in free agency, here's the Cardinals' chance to trade up and get their quarterback of the future. Sam Bradford is a short-term solution, and if someone like Josh Allen falls past the top six picks, Arizona will remember the lesson it learned from last year's draft and avoid staying put for the passer it wants. The Arizona depth chart at halfback would immediately look bare, but it's way easier to imagine the Cardinals finding a replacement running back later in this draft than it is for them to find a franchise quarterback at pick 15.
Meanwhile, the Bucs manage to find their franchise running back and retain a pick in the top half of the draft, which they can use to aid the league's worst defense by DVOA. By the Johnson chart, this trade values the (unrelated) Johnson as being worth the 45th pick in the draft. When you consider that Garoppolo was dealt during the final year of his contract for a second-round pick, it's a reasonable return for Arizona if it doesn't want to invest in Johnson long term."
Mel Kiper Jr. (April 4) – CB Denzel Ward (Ohio State)
Todd McShay (April 4) – CB Denzel Ward (Ohio State)
Dan Kadar (April 16) – RB Saquon Barkley (Penn State)
Kadar: "Lasting until the seventh pick may seem like a drop for Barkley considering he could go as high as second overall. But the positional devaluing at running back and the general depth this year could lead it to happening. If so, the Buccaneers shouldn't hesitate to take him. He's a player who can transform Tampa's offense, and take a huge amount of pressure off quarterback Jameis Winston."
Scott Reynolds (March 25) – S Derwin James (Florida State)
Reynolds: "Assuming that Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson, North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb and Penn State running back Saquon Barkley are off the board by the time that Tampa Bay is off the clock, the Bucs stay in-state and draft James to bolster their secondary if the team can't – or chooses not to – trade down to acquire more picks."