Perfect Picks: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
With the NFL Draft approaching we will be looking at each team and evaluating where they need to improve. In this particular series we will run a seven round mock using the Draft Network Mock machine and find the ‘Perfect Picks’ for each franchise.
We will highlight four players that could help each team. This will feature picks 1 and 2, a mid round gem and a late round sleeper.
First up is the Super Bowl Champions Tampa Bay. The Bucs will be looking to repeat their success in Tom Brady’s final contract year, 2021. Adding instant starters through the draft while in a championship window is key if Tampa want to go back-to-back.
Round 1 - Pick 32 - Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
Ndamukong Suh has been a dominant force in the NFL for a significant period of time but it is safe to say his best days are in the rear mirror. The Buccaneers will have plenty of question marks along the defensive front this offseason. Finding a way to replace a presence like Suh will be near the top of the list.
At this point Christian Barmore appears to be a solid option late in round 1. Barmore entered the season as the consensus number 1 defensive tackle. While his play hasn’t dropped it is fair to say becoming a full time starter didn’t quite elevate him to the level some had expected. However, if you want to see what Barmore is all about then re-watch the National Championship game. He was a force, recording five tackles, two for loss and a sack. Barmore is a high ceiling prospect who can play as a nose tackle or 3 technique.
Round 2 - Pick 64 - Carlos Basham Jr, DE, Wake Forest
The Bucs spend another high pick reinforcing the defensive line here. They simply cannot ignore the position given that veteran Jason Pierre Paul is entering the last year of his deal and Shaq Barrett is set to hit free agency in 2020. Barrett has been an impressive free agent pickup but having received the franchise tag last year, doubling down or resigning him would likely have a steep price. Finding a long-term replacement for JPP or immediate starter in the wake of Barrett is a pressing concern.
While Carlos Basham is far from the finished article, his college stats don’t lie. The defensive end amassed 19.5 sacks in his 31 game career for the Demon Deacons. Highlighting his ability to get to the quarterback. Basham did take reps on the inside at the Senior Bowl meaning he has versatility to offer but he projects to enter the NFL as a subpackage edge rusher. He will need to improve his conversion of speed to power at the next level but should get plenty of effort sacks as he never gives up on plays.
Mid Round Gem - Pick 95 - Michael Carter, RB, North Carolina
Michael Carter could be one of my favourite players in this draft cycle. The 5’9, 199lb running back played second fiddle to Javonte Williams in the Tar Heels backfield last year. However, he was just as impactful as his teammate. Carter has rapid feet and excellent lateral agility to make space for himself. He thrives punching holes in the middle of defenses as well as being proficient as a pass catcher.
Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones both offered plenty to the Bucs offense this year but neither is a long term option. Paying running backs is not the done thing in the NFL anymore so bringing in a fresh face like Carter seems reasonable. Carter’s ability to help on both facets of offense would make him a nice weapon.
Late Round Sleeper - Pick 246 - Ian Book, QB, Notre Dame
Despite the legend of Brady, the Quarterback position will need addressing at some point. I don’t see that time coming now. Brady had an exquisite season in Tampa and seems keen to go again with a team built to compete at the business end of each season. Taking a flyer on a developmental prospect at the position though is a worthy selection. Learning at the heels of Brady has to be beneficial for any young signal caller.
Who better than Ian Book. Book goes with pick 246 here and will be as keen to prove the doubters wrong as Brady was when picked with the 199th selection in 2000. Like Brady, Book is a winner despite the physical restrictions he has. Notre Dame has thrived under Book but he is considered a game manager who struggles in the pocket. Book is more comfortable on the move and making plays on the hoof. His desire to succeed and passion for the game match well with Brady and maybe there’s a chance that Book learns enough to one day get a shot at the starters job.
Draft in Full:
32. Christian Barmore (DT, Alabama)
64. Carlos Basham Jr (DE, Wake Forest)
95. Michael Carter (RB, North Carolina)
137. Simi Fehoko (WR, Stanford)
177. Jack Anderson (iOL, Texas Tech)
186. Tarron Jackson (DE, Coastal Carolina)
246. Ian Book (QB, Notre Dame)
253. KJ Britt (LB, Auburn)
formerly writing for the inside zone, rory will be breaking down college tape and keeping you up-to-date with all things CFB for the touchdown. an avid bengals fan, you can also find some of rory’s work at stripehype.com.