It's no surprise that experts would pick a secondary player for the Bucs at number seven overall in this year's draft– especially a corner as good as Denzel Ward out of Ohio State. What's perhaps a little surprising is that guard Quenton Nelson out of Notre Dame was still on the board when both Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN tapped Ward for Tampa Bay in their latest mock draft that came out on Wednesday.
Nelson is widely regarded as the best offensive line prospect in the draft and the best guard to come out in years. The Bucs already made some moves on the O-line with the addition of center Ryan Jensen from the Ravens, which subsequently means Ali Marpet now returns to guard. Adding Nelson to that mix and solidifying the interior is definitely an attractive situation for the Buccaneers, but ESPN's resident mock draft gurus have Tampa Bay prioritizing its cornerback need instead.
The Bucs did re-sign cornerback Brent Grimes in the offseason. Cornerback Vernon Hargreaves battled injury in 2017 but had much of his success inside at nickel. So, it's conceivable Tampa Bay would want to add cornerback depth to the roster. In 2017, Ward was targeted 57 times and only allowed 20 completions – the fourth-lowest mark in the country. Additionally, quarterbacks had just a 52.9 QBR against him. The Ohio State-product would be a welcome addition to the Bucs' secondary, but is seven too high to take him with other highly touted prospects at other positions of need still available?
To read all 64 of Kiper and McShay's first-round picks, click here.