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."
Todd McShay, ESPN (Feb. 3)
Pick: DE K'Lavon Chaisson, LSU
Comments: "Pass rushing was a strength for the Bucs in 2019, but they are now faced with free agency for Shaquil Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul, Ndamukong Suh, Carl Nassib and Beau Allen -- and expect Barrett to get paid after his incredible season. No matter how it shakes out, Tampa Bay will likely now need help getting after the QB off the edge, and a strong late-season push from Chaisson (4.5 sacks in his final four games) has him in play in this range. He'd bring a lot of speed to the front. But don't rule out a quarterback if GM Jason Licht decides Jameis Winston isn't in the team's 2020 plans. If Herbert is already off the board, Utah State's Jordan Love, who is rising after the Senior Bowl, could be another option."
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: "Bucco Bruce Arians is likely chomping at the bit to get his hands on his quarterback of choice, but they're out of realistic options here at 14. And with the only remaining offensive tackle being Andrew Thomas, who is better in shorter pass sets versus Arians' wide open, downfield attack, the team instead opts to target South Carolina's Javon Kinlaw, who will step into the void left by free agent Ndamukong Suh and continue Tampa's stout run defense from the end of 2019."
Mike Renner, PFF (Feb. 3)
Pick: DL Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
Comments: "At 6-foot-5, 315 pounds, with 34-plus inch arms, Kinlaw is a specimen at the defensive tackle position. He doesn't even have that many pass-rushing moves yet and still put up a 90.7 pass-rushing grade last year in the SEC."
Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports (Feb. 3)
Pick: QB Jordan Love, Utah State
Comments: "The Bucs have a decision to make on their QB position. Do they re-up Jameis Winston and pray he somehow quits throwing interceptions, or take a flyer on Philip Rivers, assuming he's available? We know Bruce Arians' track record with developing quarterbacks, and if the plan is to find the next face of the franchise, Jordan Love could fit the bill. He's coming off a tough season at Utah State but like Herbert, the physical talent is off the charts."
Kristopher Knox, Bleacher Report (Feb. 3)
Pick: EDGE A.J. Epenesa, Iowa
OL Josh Jones, Houston
"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."