With the NFL Draft less than a month away, ESPN resident draft analysts Mel Kiper and Todd McShay have been hard at work providing up-to-date mock drafts for fans. This past week, both Kiper and McShay published new mock drafts, with Kiper projecting a new player to fall to the Buccaneers at No. 9.
This is Kiper's fourth mock draft of the offseason after projecting the Bucs to draft former Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves in his first three. This past week, he has flipped his pick to former Notre Dame offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley.
See how Sports Illustrated Senior Writer Don Banks predicts Round 1 of the 2016 NFL Draft.
"I could see Stanley going as high as No. 3 overall, which makes him a reasonable value here," Kiper wrote. "The Bucs did target offensive line help in last year's draft, but ceiling is a pretty big question mark, and they shouldn't make the same mistake the Colts did with Andrew Luck when it comes to building a solid group in front of their franchise talent."
Buccaneers General Manager Jason Licht has reiterated that Tampa Bay will draft the best player available, not necessarily a player to fit what some consider to be a "need". As far as offensive tackle goes, the Buccaneers already have a proven group on their roster. The team returns Donovan Smith, who started all 16 games at left tackles during his rookie season in 2016, along with Demar Dotson and Gosder Cherilus, both of whom served as starters a year ago. Just two seasons ago Dotson was considered to be a cornerstone on the Bucs' line.
McShay dug a little further with his latest mock draft. He went three rounds, as opposed to Kiper's one. His selections for the Buccaneers were former Michigan State offensive tackle Jack Conklin in the first round, former Cincinnati wide receiver Chris Moore in the second and former Michigan State defensive end Shilique Calhoun in the third.