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(s): 1st round – OT Mekhi Becton, Louisville; 2nd round – RB Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin; 3rd round – EDGE Josh Uche, Michigan
Comments: "While it is unclear who will be playing quarterback for Bruce Arians' Bucs in 2020, he should find a starting-caliber tackle at this point in the round. Becton's massive frame and nasty attitude should make him a favorite among NFL offensive line coaches."
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: OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia
Comments: "The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are another team who's keeping their future plans close to the vest as we won't get a clear indication until there's a clear answer on Jameis Winston. Regardless, if the team brings him back or not, it would be wise to invest in the offensive front. Andrew Thomas brings a bruising presence and provides much more upside than Donovan Smith."
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."
Chris Trapasso, CBS Sports (Feb. 3)
Pick: QB Jacob Eason, Washington
Comments: "Eason doesn't have the fine details of playing the quarterback position down just yet, but his arm was made to rip it vertically in Bruce Arians' aggressive system.
Kristopher Knox, Bleacher Report (Feb. 9)
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."