The Tampa Bay Buccaneers just hired their 5th head coach since 2009. That ten-year revolving door has led to a whopping EIGHT last-place finishes in the NFC South. Their best finish over that stretch? A respectable 9-7, 2nd place effort in 2016. Maybe, just maybe, Bruce Arians can help right the ship (pun absolutely intended) with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2019 mock draft. Early indications are that Arians will let new OC, Byron Leftwich, run the offense. Which makes total sense since Arians will have his hands plenty full with that terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Buccaneers defense. In Arians’ five years as HC in Arizona, the Cardinals defense ranked in the top 1/4 of the NFL in yards allowed and points allowed. In other words, they were pretty frickin’ good. In the last three seasons under Dirk Koetter, the Bucs defense ranked in the 48th percentile in yards allowed (dead last in 2017), and 31st in the league in points allowed last season. No wonder he had to walk the plank. These Bucs need help. They need more help than my Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2019 mock draft can provide, but hopefully Arians can grab one or two impact guys to start building around. Starting with the 5th pick of the draft…
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2019 NFL Mock Draft
Round 1, Pick 5 – Devin White, LB, LSU
If we’re going to start rebuilding, let’s start with the heart of the defense. White is an instant upgrade for the Bucs linebacking corps and will step right into the vacancy left by Kwon Alexander. White is a very smart run stuffer, with all the physical tools to produce for years to come. He is also a crushing tackler that has the speed to chase runners down from behind. He still needs some development above the shoulder pads to be able to unpack NFL offenses and anticipate plays,but White is a future star. Working with Lavonte David, he can become an NFL standout and perennial Pro Bowler.
Round 2, Pick 39 – Chase Winovich, DE, Michigan
I’m stubbornly sticking with defense in round two. Maybe to a fault. Winovich is not the most physically gifted edge rusher, but his work ethic and drive is unmatched. He couples great hands with great technique and has a head full of gorgeous, long, blond hair that would make Thor jealous. Move over, Clay Matthews. That may or may not have impacted my selection. Anyway, he’ll probably never lead the league in sacks, but he is smart and unrelenting.
Round 3, Pick 70 – Charles Omenihu, DL, Texas
Did I mention the Bucs need defensive help? Omenihu provides a much-needed presence on the defensive line. He’s got great size, got great speed, and is as solid a rusher as he is a run stuffer. He had 16 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks in 2018. Omenihu has incredible quickness for someone 6’ 6”, 275 lbs. His excellent hand work and long arms enable him to shed blockers consistently.
Round 4, Pick 107 – Damien Harris, RB, Alabama
Ok, ok. I know I have to break away from defense sooner or later. The Buccaneers running game is a bit in limbo at the moment, with no true #1. Sophomore Ronald Jones II was a healthy scratch for a good chunk of 2018 and didn’t make much of an impact when he did play. At worst, Harris and Jones could form a well-balanced 1-2 backfield tandem. At best, he has the talent and awareness to be an every-down back. Harris is a punishing power back who will not shy away from contact. His ability to shed tackles makes up for his lack of quickness. Harris does have elite top-end speed, but it takes a few steps to get there.
Round 5, Pick 145 – Will Harris, S, Boston College
Back to back Harrises? Could we be so lucky? Will Harris possesses great natural athleticism and was named team captain in his senior year at BC. He’s smart. He’s safe. He’s sound. He’s the kind of guy you’d want your daughter to bring home. Unless your daughter’s not into guys. That’s cool too. I didn’t mean to assume. Harris only has two interceptions over the last two years, so he’s not a big playmaker. That said, we’ll take substance over style to try and get this bottom of the barrel defense trending in the right direction.
Round 6, Pick 208 – Chase Hansen, LB, Utah
One more LB because… why not?? We already snagged the Harris siblings (they’re not siblings). Now we’ve got our 2nd Chase! Hansen switched from safety to linebacker in his senior year. So he’s only got one year of linebacking experience under his belt. Granted, he was a giant safety at 6’ 2”, 220 lbs. Hansen is a high energy, high-intensity playmaker, but will have a lot of learning to do at the next level. Once he figures out what it takes to be a linebacker in the NFL, he will be a strong complement to the Buccaneers defense of the future.
Round 7, Pick 215 – Jordan Ta’amu, QB Mississippi
Let’s address the Jameis situation for just a sec. To know Jameis is to know frustration. He’s a super talented athlete, with super terrible decision-making skills (on and off the field). Can Arians/Leftwich fix that? I don’t know. I do know they just signed Blaine Gabbert to be this year’s Ryan Fitzpatrick. Let’s face it, Gabbert has just as good shot at being a relevant QB as he does of growing a Fitzpatrick-like beard. Either way, if (when) Jameis fails, that starting QB door could swing wide open. Who’s gonna step up? Gabbert? Right. 7th year man, Ryan Griffin? The same Ryan Griffin who has never taken a snap in a regular season game? Did you even know the Bucs had a backup QB named Ryan Griffin? It’s a make or break year for Jameis. Let’s do a little doomsday prep and grab Ta’amu. Ta’amu has a strong, accurate arm, and good feet to get him out of trouble when needed. He’s not the most polished prospect and will need time to mature and learn the game. But hey, we’re not looking for a game 1 starter. We’re looking for an escape plan.
We used this draft simulator to make our picks.