We’re past the Combine now and mock drafts have predictably suffered a shake-up after some unpredictable performances. With the beginning of the legal tampering period today at noon, and free agency looming on Wednesday, these predictions will presumably be short-lived.
For now, no one prospect helped himself more than Mississippi State’s Montez Sweat. His 4.41 40-yard dash ran him straight into the top five in many drafts, with multiple analysts mocking him to the Buccaneers, including NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah and ESPN’s Todd McShay. Chad Reuter from NFL.com had not one, not two, but three quarterbacks going in the first four picks – yet he has the Bucs picking linebacker Devin White over guys like Kentucky’s Josh Allen and Alabama’s Quinnen Williams.
A couple analysts also have the Bucs taking tackle Jawaan Taylor out of Florida, but those mocks were done before the team locked up left tackle Donovan Smith last week to a three-year deal. Tampa Bay taking a tackle is probably significantly less of a priority with their first pick of the draft as a result and in a defense-heavy draft, most analysts have the Bucs addressing that side of the ball.
Chad Reuter (March 7) – LB Devin White, LSU
Reuter: “With three quarterbacks going in the top four in this scenario, the Bucs get their pick of the top defensive players other than Bosa. They're moving to a 3-4 defense this year and White would lead that group admirably.”
Daniel Jeremiah (March 5) – DE Montez Sweat, Mississippi St.
Jeremiah: “No prospect has helped himself more since the season ended than Sweat. He followed up a great Senior Bowl showing with a huge combine.”
Peter Schrager (Feb. 28) – T Jawaan Taylor, Florida
Schrager: “With 2018 starting tackles Donovan Smith (a pending free agent who's not expected be franchise-tagged) and Demar Dotson not long-term answers, don't be shocked if the first pick of the Bruce Arians era in Tampa Bay is a tackle who can protect the quarterback's blind side.”
Todd McShay (March 6) – DE Montez Sweat, Mississippi St.
McShay: “If you set a combine record for the fastest 40-yard dash for a defensive lineman (4.41 seconds, at 260 pounds), you're going to make some money. Sweat has a ton of upside, and Tampa Bay badly needs difference-makers on defense. But there's also a very real possibility that the Bucs trade back with a team looking for a quarterback, and taking the best available offensive lineman -- perhaps Jawaan Taylor -- makes sense in that scenario.”
Ryan Wilson (March 11) – T Jawaan Taylor, Florida
Wilson: “Bruce Arians would love to give Jameis Winston another downfield threat but he'll need to protect his quarterback first. Taylor could be the first offensive linemen taken and it would make perfect sense; he's a monster in the run game and was rarely fooled in pass protection last season.
Will Brinson (March 6) – CB Greedy Williams, LSU
Brinson: “Williams tested well enough (and was good enough to begin with) that it's not difficult to imagine the Bucs taking him here given their needs at cornerback and the other positional setup they have elsewhere.”
Dan Kadar (March 11) – DE Montez Sweat, Mississippi St.
Kadar: “Last offseason, the Buccaneers signed pass rushers Jason Pierre-Paul and Vinny Curry. Pierre-Paul thrived with 12.5 sacks, while Curry was injured for much of the season and was released after the season. That leaves Tampa Bay potentially looking for a new partner for Pierre-Paul. That could be Sweat, who has the profile of a 4-3 end but the playing style of a 3-4 pass rusher.”
Scott Reynolds (Feb. 1) – LB Devin White, LSU
Reynolds: “Tampa Bay’s defense needs more talented playmakers for new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, and White is one of the most athletic and physical defenders in this year’s draft. With the likes of Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa, Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams and Kentucky pass-rushing linebacker Josh Allen already gone, the Bucs opt for LSU inside linebacker Devin White for the second straight mock draft on PewterReport.com.”
View photos of Daniel Jeremiah's 2019 mock draft 2.0.