Changes are coming for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a little over a calendar year after they won the Super Bowl.
For a Buccaneers team that still boasts legitimate Super Bowl expectations, what happens during the draft will tell us about their future. Before getting into our Buccaneers mock draft, let’s check in on what selections they will have in Vegas this spring.
Related: Sportsnaut’s updated NFL mock draft
2022 Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft picks
- 1st round: 27th overall
- 2nd round: 60th overall
- 3rd round: 91st overall
- 4th round: 133rd overall
- 7th round: 248th overall
- 7th round: 261st overall
Tampa Bay Buccaneers mock draft: Finding balance between short-term contention and long-term relevance
New head coach Todd Bowles and longtime general manager Jason Licht find themselves in an interesting situation heading into the draft. Tampa firmly believes that it is still a championship contender with Brady back in the mix. It also has to consider finding a long-term replacement in case 2021 second-round pick Kyle Trask isn’t the answer.
There’s also needs at guard, tight end, edge pass rush, defensive tackle and safety in Tampa Bay. Below, is our full seven-round Tampa Bay Buccaneers mock draft taking all of that into account.
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1st round, 27th overall: Kenyon Green, guard, Texas A&M
The shocking retirement of Ali Marpet has left a major hole at guard for Tampa Bay. Sure the Bucs acquired Shaq Mason from the New England Patriots as a short-term option. Even then, there’s also a need at the other guard position. With an immobile Tom Brady under center, finding an immediate Day 1 starter would make sense.
Green (6-foot-4, 323 pounds) would be just that. He’s a former five-star recruit out of Texas and started 37 games during his three-year career with the aggies. He has great strength at the point of contact and is already a plus-level run blocker. At least initially, that will help the recently-re-signed Leonard Fournette in the run game.
2nd round, 60th overall: Trey McBride, tight end, Colorado State
There’s no telling whether future Hall of Fame tight end Rob Gronkowski will return for a third season with the Buccaneers. He’s said to be fully considering retirement for a second time. Even if Gronk does return, finding a young tight end has to be in the cards after Tampa Bay lost O.J. Howard to the Buffalo Bills in free agency.
That’s where this catch-first tight end from Colorado State would make sense. He tallied 90 receptions for 1,121 yards for the Rams a season ago. He has the speed, agility and hands to make an immediate impact as a rookie. Moving forward, McBride translates into a potential future Pro Bowler. Nice value and need in Round 2 of this latest Buccaneers mock draft.
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3rd round, 91st overall: Tyreke Smith, EDGE, Ohio State
With fellow edge rushers Jason Pierre-Paul and William Gholston free agents, Tampa Bay will need to find more depth behind Shaq Barrett. It will likely target a veteran. But bringing in a rookie could make a ton of sense.
Sure Smith’s college stats leave a lot to be desired (seven sacks in 30 career games). But his tape tells us a story of a versatile defender who can have success playing multiple positions. He already boasts a pro-ready frame (6-foot-4, 265 pounds) and displayed a ton of flashes as Ohio State’s best pass rusher over the past two seasons.
4th round, 133rd overall: Yusuf Corker, safety, Kentucky
The Buccaneers signed veteran safeties Logan Ryan and Keanu Neal in free agency. The idea was to find a short-term replacement for free agent departure Jordan Whitehead at strong safety next to Antoine Winfield Jr. There’s no telling whether either one has a future in Tampa beyond 2022.
What we do know is that Corker translates well into Bowles’ defensive scheme as an in-the-box safety with actual coverage ability. He recorded 82 tackles and eight passes defended for the Wildcats last season. Back in 2021, he also recorded two interceptions.
Rounding out Buccaneers mock draft
- 7th round: 248th overall: Charleston Rambo, wide receiver, Miami (FL)
- 7th round: 261st overall: Damarion Williams, cornerback, Houston