The Tampa Bay Buccaneers hold the 14th overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. As such, the field for potential first-round draft picks is wide open and despite it being January, draft pundits from around the country continue to weigh in.
The Bucs' needs and draft focus will be largely affected by what they are able to do (or not do) in free agency. With that in mind, let's see who the analysts have as front-runners to land in Tampa Bay come end of April.
Pick: QB Jacob Eason, Washington
Comments: "Tampa might trade back, but Eason could still be the target. While I expect him to be taken later than this pick, his stature and arm strength will give Bruce Arians some Carson Palmer vibes."
Pick: DT Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
Comments: "As a big, physical interior defender with extraordinary length and strength, Kinlaw is an ideal building block at the point of attack."
Pick: QB Justin Herbert, Oregon
Comments: "Teams are all over the map on Herbert. However, he does fit the profile for Bruce Arians -- he's big, strong and smart."
Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN (Jan. 24)
Pick: OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa
Comments: "This is another tough team to peg because we don't yet know whether it will bring back quarterback Jameis Winston or breakout pass-rusher Shaquil Barrett, who are both free agents. The Bucs also could lose defensive linemen Ndamukong Suh, Carl Nassib, Jason Pierre-Paul and Beau Allen in free agency. That's a lot of unknowns, and the entire defensive line could be addressed here, really, particularly if Bruce Arians & Co. spot a pass-rusher they like. Because this is _my_ mock draft, though, I see a perfect fit for Wirfs on the right side of the line with Demar Dotson likely leaving in free agency. Wirfs is powerful at the point of attack and tremendous in the running game. And if you're keeping count, that makes four offensive tackles in the first 14 picks here."
Pick: DT Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
Comments: "There may not have been a more commanding presence at the Senior Bowl than the one from Javon Kinlaw. Right off the bat Kinlaw was impressing NFL teams and the media alike with his interview sessions.
Coming from humble beginnings, Kinlaw's words were inspiring to anyone who heard them. He had your ears hanging on every word. Then, when it came to the practice field, he had your eyes not wanting to miss a single rep.
Kinlaw had a dominant performance in Mobile, and is expected to be a top-15 pick because of it. Kinlaw next to Vita Vea in Tampa Bay would be an unmatched combo."
Mike Renner, PFF (Jan. 14)
Pick: DL Derrick Brown, Auburn
Comments: "Brown feels like a pretty safe projection with how much he dominated week in and week out in the SEC. He had only one start this season (LSU) where he earned a below-average grade. That will pair nicely next to Vita Vea on Tampa Bay's interior."
Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports (Jan. 27)
Pick: OL Andrew Thomas, Georgia
Comments: "Thomas was a three-year starter at Georgia, where he was dominant at times in protecting Jake Fromm and blocking for D'Andre Swift. In Tampa, Demar Dotson will be a free agent in March and Donovan Smith has two years left on his rookie deal. Now the Bucs just need to settle on a quarterback."
Kristopher Knox, Bleacher Report (Jan. 29)
Pick: EDGE A.J. Epenesa, Iowa
Pick: OL Josh Jones, Houston
Comments: "In PewterReport.com's previous mock draft, Jones was our second-round selection for Tampa Bay, filling the Bucs' biggest need this offseason, which is at right tackle. Even if the team re-signs 34-year old Demar Dotson for one year to compete for the job the Bucs will need an heir apparent.
That could be Jones, who has great size at 6-foot-5, 311 pounds and athleticism. Jones was a four-year starter at Houston at left tackle and has the ideal footwork and wingspan to move to the right side and be successful there.
PewterReport.com had South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw in the first round of our initial mock draft, and he's still in consideration for Tampa Bay. But we're operating from the premise that Kinlaw's stock is on the rise after a very good showing at the Senior Bowl, and the fact that four offensive tackles – Georgia's Andrew Thomas, Alabama's Jedrick Wills, Louisville's Mekhi Becton and Iowa's Tristan Wirfs – could all be off the board by the time Tampa Bay selects."