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Column: Drafting The Bucs 2018: Seven Round Mock Draft

With a mere two days separating us from the big day, we come to you once more before the card is turned in with a seven round mock draft for our beloved Buccaneers. How accurate will we be?

Utilizing a variety of online applications and keeping a sense of the realism that will actually spell out the selections on Thursday, Friday and Saturday Night, I kept to the draft needs of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and looked to address positions with not only prospects of value that will be day one starters, but that weren’t a reach.

The fact of the matter is this, if we don’t take Quenton Nelson at pick seven, we are probably going to wait until day three and our fourth or fifth round selection. As important as that is, we’ve addressed it somewhat in free agency, so we can look at some raw and unrefined talent that can potentially be late round steals.

Our secondary and running back concerns will take us to the top of our draft boards and looking at those available where we pick, we have some solid players that can add value right away. So if you can imagine the voice of Commissioner Goodell in your head, we start off with the seventh pick in the first round of the NFL Draft, our Tampa Bay Buccaneers select:

Derwin James (S, Florida State, Round One, Pick Seven)

I just cannot imagine a scenario where this doesn’t make the most sense unless Quenton Nelson factors into the argument if he’s there. James is a hitter and he will find the ball, no matter where it’s at on the field. He’s going to immediately make your secondary better and he can be a long-term Captain of the defense along with our young core of Linebackers. Watch the tape, do your last minute homework, this is a pick to get very excited about.

Ronald Jones III (RB, USC, Round Two, Pick Six)

Many teams are going to be kicking themselves if they don’t have the option to grab either Saquon Barkley or Darrius Guice. As talented as both men are, it’s insane how much people are “sleeping” on Jones. He is one of the most entertaining backs to watch in this draft and he has an ability to read the defense and find the holes. We have been missing a true three down back for some time now and it’s about time that we get back to basics to take the pressure off our Quarterback.

Duke Dawson (CB, Florida, Round Four, Pick Two)

Not having a third round pick is going to be problematic when it comes to addressing cornerback unless we take Ward or Minkah at seven in the first, and then address safety later, but Derwin James is too talented to miss out on. Dawson is young and he’s still a bit raw, but coming from a storied program that struggled mightily last year, he still stood out on passing downs. Getting around veteran leaders like Brent Grimes can allow Dawson a chance to grow and develop into something special. He is a fine selection, but if for some reason, Tennessee’s Rashaun Gaulden falls to this pick, run to the podium with that card.

Desmond Harrison (OT, West Georgia, Round Five, Pick Six)

Harrison is a raw tackle, but goodness gracious, if you missed his performance at the combine, you missed something special. Many of you will question the fact that he’s looked at as a “combine darling”, but don’t let that fool you. Several scouts from programs with iron-wall offensive lines have him high on their day three draft boards and we should be no different. He is a gifted, natural athlete and has the potential to become a staple at the right tackle position, something we need solidified sooner, rather than later.

Hercules Mata’afa (DE, Washington State, Round Six, Pick Six)

Mata’afa is looked at as a potential option ranging anywhere from the early fourth to the late sixth round. He is a house of fire and is not afraid to come out of his shell to attack the Quarterback and the running back. That’s where the fall comes, he hasn’t had proper coaching that has come in to “reel him in” and help him adjust so that he isn’t wildly missing on every other tackle. With sound defensive coaching, he has the potential to be an absolute steal in the later round of the draft. Look to him as a potential starter within a year or two if he spends time under the learning tree of our veteran defensive linemen.

Poona Ford (DL, Texas, Round Six, Pick Twenty-Eight)

I want to throw my pen every time I see Poona Ford this far down draft boards. Living in Oklahoma, I watched this young man attack each and every offensive line he played in the big twelve and it was ridiculous that he was a “combine snub”. The fact that he can be attained this late is not only a moment to get overjoyed about, but this is a talent that will report to camp, get to work and find himself a leader in no time. Watching his pro day, he is a “big hongry” to say the least and he took his shirt off on a beautiful spring day, attacked the bags, ran the shuttle drills and did everything asked of him, and he did it all with “swag”. Give me this young man yesterday!

Trayvon Henderson (S, Hawaii, Round Seven, Pick Thirty-Seven)

A comp pick that can turn into another absolute steal late in the draft. Where some will see this as a possible “practice squad” candidate, Henderson was a staple for the Hawaiin team and is another talent that can show up fot OTA’s along with Derwin James and Duke Dawsob, game set and ready to make this team. There is absolutely no reason not to double dip in the secondary, which is a true position of need.

There you have it, the board is set, things might change and this was just a bit of fun to get us ready for Thursday Night. Hopefully everyone has their mock drafts ready and have their draft boards set to see what route the Bucs end up taking. I am very excited to report on this early Thursday Night for the Scrum Sports as we welcome our latest editions to our historic franchise as the weekend comes to a close!

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