How clear is the path for Tampa Bay?
Lost in a lot of the noise and confusion happening in NFL free agent movement and trades is the successful offseason the Tampa Bay Bucs have been having thus far.
No, it isn’t the homerun 2021’s offseason was when the defending Super Bowl Champions brought back every starter and the majority of their role players.
But outside of losing Ali Marpet, Alex Cappa, and Jordan Whitehead, a large portion of the 2022 Super Bowl contending Bucs will be back in 2022.
With the futures of defensive linemen Ndamukong Suh and William Gholston, and pass rusher Jason Pierre-Paul up in the air still, just how clear has Tampa Bay’s draft path gotten with the returns of quarterback Tom Brady, wide receiver Chris Godwin, center Ryan Jensen, running back Leonard Fournette, and cornerback Carlton Davis III?
Not very, it turns out. Evidenced by the mixed opinions of NFL Mock Drafts we’ve collected this week.
RB, Breece Hall, Iowa State
Our first mock comes from Sports Illustrated and author Zack Patraw who sends Iowa State running back Breece Hall to the Bucs.
This mock was published before news of Fournette’s return broke, so we’ll check back with Zack again next week as well.
In his mock, Patraw writes that Hall is, “Excellent in pass protection that makes him a three-down candidate at the next level. He remains very patient, but not too patient, as a runner.”
OL, Zion Johnson, Boston College
While the Bucs did a good job of reacting to the losses of Marpet and Cappa with Aaron Stinnie re-signed and trading for Shaq Mason from the New England Patriots, Parson still believes the offensive line is the way to go on Day 1.
“Tom Brady unretires and the Bucs begin their journey to re-tool this offensive line,” writes Parson. “Johnson would fit in as a day-one starter to protect the winningest quarterback of all time. His short-area quickness, strong hands, and willingness to clean up for his teammates will ingratiate him with Brady.”
DL, Devonte Wyatt, Georgia
With the offense basically set to be a problem for the NFC in 2022, Joe Broback of Pro Football Network is the one who turns his attention to the defense.
“Tom Brady solved the Bucs’ need for a quarterback for now, so they can take care of other needs with this pick,” Broback writes. “Devonte Wyatt falling to 27 is going to be tough to pass. Given that they can draft their quarterback of the future and running back (another big need) later in the draft, adding Wyatt immediately bolsters their defense.”
We know who these three mock drafts have the Tampa Bay Bucs taking on Day 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft. But what do you think?
Let us know in the poll and the comments, below!