For this “Bucs Board,” I wanted to approach it a little differently.
With the 7th pick in the 1st round, I’m going to give 10 actions I would like taken by the Bucs in order.
If there is a trade-down that occurs, I will also provide five additional players I’d like the Bucs to target if they trade down into the teens of this draft.
Here is my Top 10 moves for the Bucs 7th overall pick:
1. Jadeveon Clowney – DE – South Carolina –Clowney is the most talented player in this draft and an instant difference maker on defense. Projected top 3 pick.
2. Sammy Watkins – WR – Clemson – Dynamic playmaker who plays like a running back when the ball is in his hands. Excellent fit for Jeff Tedford’s “speed in space” offense. Projected top 4 pick. If a miracle occurs and I can get my hands on Watkins, I’d immediately target Georgia’s Aaron Murray early in round 3 as my future QB.
3. Johnny Manziel – QB – Texas A&M – There’s only one QB worthy of a top 10 selection in this draft. With a top 10 pick, I want a player who will get me touchdowns on offense or turnovers on defense. I believe Manziel would be an excellent fit with Jeff Tedford and Lovie Smith. If he makes it past Cleveland, he might be available at 7.
4. Trade Down – I know Mike Evans has been a very popular pick in mock drafts to the Bucs, but if my top 3 players are off the board, I believe the Bucs should actively look to trade down and accumulate extra picks. In a trade down, I would not move down further than the 14th pick to ensure I can still get a WR or QB I fancy.
5. Mike Evans – WR – Texas A&M – If attempts to trade down do not come to fruition, I’d go for the biggest playmaker on the board in Evans. Evans’ physical attributes are not concerning at all, but his maturity is. During his bowl game against Duke, Evans was breaking down mentally when Texas A&M were down, but Johnny Manziel was able to keep his head in the game.
6. Khalil Mack – DE/OLB – Buffalo – Mack would be an instant impact player on defense for the Bucs. He could play strong side linebacker on 1st and 2nd down, while staying on the field to rush the passer in pass situations.
7. Greg Robinson – OT/OG – Auburn – It’s doubtful he’d drop to 7, but Greg Robinson would be the only offensive lineman I would even remotely think about with the 7th pick. I think Robinson could start out at guard, a huge position of need for the Bucs, before transitioning to a tackle position.
8. Derek Carr – QB – Fresno St. – Carr is my number 2 rated QB for the Bucs here because I feel his skill set and character is a great fit for what the Bucs are looking for in a quarterback. It’s a total guess because NO ONE knows exactly what this new Bucs offense under Jeff Tedford will be like, but Tedford’s familiarity with the Carr family and the success he had with David Carr should not go unnoticed,
9. Blake Bortles – QB – UCF – Bortles just looks the part of a true NFL quarterback. My main issue with Bortles is that I got to watch a lot of his games, including seeing him in person on the sideline against a poor USF team, and I just wasn’t blown away. Against USF who had three true freshmen starting in their secondary, Bortles struggled mightily for a majority of the evening and seemed rattled at times. The potential is there, but the doubt is strong with him as well. Bortles will need time to fully develop.
10. Teddy Bridgewater – QB – Louisville – Teddy Bridgewater has been the darling of the fans and the media since he dominated the Gators in the 2013 Sugar Bowl, but the fact is that it doesn’t seem as if he’s been the darling of NFL front offices during that same time. Bridgewater’s narrow frame, quiet demeanor, and lack of ideal arm strength has front offices possibly doubting him a bit, which could peg him as a late 1st or early 2nd round pick.
Trade Down Targets:
1. Derek Carr – QB – Fresno St. – While the 7th pick might be a tad high for Derek Carr, a trade down, picking up more picks, and still securing Carr would be a great move by the Bucs if the top 3 players on the Bucs board have already been selected.
2. Odell Beckham Jr – WR – LSU – While Mike Evans is a dynamic receiver, a trade down to acquire extra early selections and to still grab Odell Beckham might have more value to the Buccaneers. Beckham Jr. has decent size at 6’0” and 195 lbs, but possesses excellent speed and agility in space.
3. Brandin Cooks – WR – Oregon St. – Like Beckham Jr., a trade down to acquire more early round selections and still grabbing Cooks might provide more overall value than simply taking Mike Evans with the 7th overall pick. Beckham has better size, but Cooks is very reminiscent of former Panthers WR Steve Smith.
4. Teddy Bridgewater – QB – Lousiville – Bridgewater is good, not great, but it is possible that he fits nicely into the Bucs offense and would give them the opportunity to trade a little further down, which would bring a return a slightly better picks, and the Bucs would still end up with a QB of the future.
5. Zack Martin – OT/OG – Notre Dame – I’m a firm believer that guards can be found in the middle portion of the draft. If the Bucs were to trade down, the only guard I would probably consider would be the former offensive tackle at Notre Dame, Zack Martin. Martin’s athleticism and pass protection would go along nicely with the type of offensive linemen the Bucs have already brought in this off-season.
Follow Justin Pawlowski on twitter @Commishonline for updates on the NFL Draft and the Bucs.