The Buccaneers go into 2019 with the number five overall pick. They also have new head coach, Bruce Arians, and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. 2019 should be a change in culture in Tampa Bay.
The Buccaneers are heading into a new era for the franchise. Bruce Arians brings a winning attitude to the team and Todd Bowles brings a hard-nose style defense. The Buccaneers could use some help on their offensive line as they had the second worst grade in run blocking and were only middle of the pack in pass blocking.
Outside of the offensive line, the team needs to focus on defense, defense, and more defense. The defense suffered mightily last year, especially in pass coverage. They have a couple of pieces in place, including a solid safety in Justin Evans, elite linebacker in Lavonte David, and great pass rusher Jason Pierre-Paul. With that being said, those guys need some help.
Round 1, Pick #5 Jonah Williams, Offensive Lineman- Alabama
Jonah Williams is probably the best offensive lineman in the draft. His ability at the point of attack is top notch. He uses his hands very well and rarely needs to make adjustments. Williams has beautiful footwork and great leverage and works the double team to perfection.
With the Buccaneers offensive line being so poor, Williams jumps in and probably is the best lineman on the team. He may make the move inside to guard as his arm length is shorter than expected from tackles in the NFL. Even though he still man handled most defenders while playing tackle in the NCAA and should not have much of an issue translating to the NFL.
Round 2, Pick #39 Trayvon Mullen, Cornerback- Clemson
Trayvon Mullen had a somewhat pedestrian season leading up to the National Championship game. In 2018 he only totaled 30 tackles (24 solo), three tackles for a loss, one sack, and three passes defended in 12 games.
Then came the Championship game where he performed at a very high level becoming the Defensive MVP of the title game. He finished that game with six solo tackles, one tackle for a loss, one sack, one interception and a forced fumble.
Mullen’s ability to come up huge in the biggest game of his life leads me to believe that he will have no trouble transitioning to the NFL. He has good size at 6’2 and 190 Lbs. and a 4.50 second 40 yard dash, he has the body for the NFL. The Buccaneers are in need of quality corner help and Mullen is a good start.
Round 3, Pick #70 Darrell Henderson, Running Back- Memphis
I feel at this point with how incredibly disappointing Ronald Jones was last year Bruce Arians will want to move on. Jones could not even beat out the likes of Peyton Barber who averaged barely over three yards per carry or aging receiving back Jacquizz Rodgers. The Buccaneers land their back of the future here in the third round grabbing Darrell Henderson out of Memphis.
Henderson enjoyed a very productive collegiate career gaining 3,545 yards on 431 carries for an average of 8.2 yards per carry and 36 rushing touchdowns. He added 63 receptions for 758 yards and an additional eight touchdowns. During 2018 he was superb tacking on 1,909 of those rushing yards with 22 touchdowns in 13 games. At 5’9 200 Lbs. and running a 4.38 second 40 yard dash, Henderson easily becomes the teams best back.
Round 4, Pick #108 D’Andre Walker, Edge Rusher- Georgia
The Buccaneers are changing to a base 3-4 defensive scheme this season under Todd Bowles and they have a good start with Jason Pierre-Paul at outside linebacker as moving from defensive end to outside linebacker should not be too much of an issue for him. He may need to cut a few pounds but his athleticism should serve him well. Walker should be able to come in and start opposite of Pierre-Paul.
Walker had a solid Senior year with the Bulldogs at outside linebacker. He finished with 45 tackles (23 solo), 11 tackles for a loss, 7.5 sacks, three passes defended, four forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. He is not the largest outside linebacker at 6’3 and 245 Lbs. but has good speed running close to a 4.60 second 40 yard dash. His skill set should have no problem in the NFL.
Round 5, Pick #146 Ben Burr-Kirven, Inside Linebacker- Washington
Ben Burr-Kirven is a tackle machine. If you watch any of his game tape you will see him all over the field. He came into his own during his Junior year where he totaled 84 tackles with four for a loss, an interception and two forced fumbles. Then, in his Senior year, he finished with an astounding 176 tackles (94 solo), 5.5 tackles for a loss, two sacks, six passes defended, two interceptions, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.
That is a crazy 12.5 tackles per game for the entire season. The Buccaneers are most likely going to lose Kwon Alexander in free agency due to their lack of cap space. They have Kendall Beckwith waiting but there is no guarantee that he is fully healthy. Ben Burr-Kirven can jump in the middle next to Lavonte David and do what he does best…tackle. David can take on most of the coverage duties while Burr-Kirven can play run stopper.
Round 7, Pick #217 Montre Hartage, Cornerback- Northwestern
As mentioned earlier, the Buccaneers secondary was a major issue for the team last season. Brent Grimes is 36 years old and a free agent and will not be with the team next year. Vernon Hargreaves has been a bit of a disappointment so far and cannot stay healthy. After that, the rest of the secondary is not tested, or has not played well.
The Buccaneers took Trayvon Mullen earlier in this mock and attack the position again. Hartage has nine career interceptions and 26 passes defended with 11 of those passes defended coming in his Senior year. With a solid NCAA production Hartage has the opportunity to come in and compete for one of the corner jobs with this depleted secondary.
The Buccaneers go and grab the best offensive lineman on the draft in Jonah Williams hoping to improve the weak line. Bruce Arians goes and gets his bell cow back in Darrell Henderson in the third round after Ronald Jones and Peyton Barber performed poorly last season. They added two corner backs, one in the second round (Trayvon Mullen) and one in the seventh round (Montre Hartage) to try to boost the secondary. They also added to the middle as they may have found their replacement for Kwon Alexander in tackle machine Ben Burr-Kirven. The Buccaneers went defense heavy in this draft to boost the weakest part of their team from last season. That being said, they also added two offensive studs.
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