Predictions for the 2015 NFL Draft have already started fluctuating from analysts both locally and nationally. While I fully anticipate my mock draft to change drastically over the next few months with the combine, pro days, and free agency still to come, here's an early look at who I think the Bucs could take in the upcoming NFL Draft.
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Commish's Take: Jameis Winston is the more NFL-ready quarterback and the quarterback that will yield more of an immediate impact, but he is also the quarterback with the bigger character risk. Taking a look at the Bucs recent track record, I just don't feel they're a strong enough organization that's willing to take a chance on a player like Winston.
Mariota has excellent talent and impeccable character, but there is a concern with his transition to the NFL. Coming from Oregon's offense, Mariota rarely took snaps from center, called plays from the huddle, audibled at the line of scrimmage, or went through NFL progressions in the pass game. All of these aspects of a quarterback normally do not have to be taught or developed once in the NFL. Mariota might turn into an elite quarterback, but it just might take a little longer for him to develop and a lot more patience needed from an organization and their fans.
I could be wrong, but I'm not sure why most people with mock drafts are so confident the Bucs would be willing to take a necessary risk on a player with the talent of Jameis Winston? The Bucs have not shown that willingness and have been a conservative and safe organization in recent years. I'm just not quite convinced yet that they'd actually be willing to take that risk this year.
To make matters more difficult on the Glazers, Jameis Winston's accuser is in a tell-all documentary on sexual assaults on college campuses. The film was shown for the 1st time Friday night. It will also be aired on CNN and expected to be released in theaters on March 20. The drafting of Jameis Winston will need to be done by a strong organization from the top down. The Glazers may not be willing to put up with the negative publicity in the short term, even if it leads to winning and positive publicity in the long term. Here is the trailer to the documentary:
Commish's Take: The numbers might not be there for Odighizuwa, but the talent is. Odighizuwa's big frame and long arms are attractive to NFL scouts as a potential pass rusher. Coming from UCLA's versatile 3-4 defense, Odighizuwa was not asked to rush the quarterback as his primary objective. He can win with quickness or strength inside or outside. He's a versatile player who should continue to get better with experience and once he settles into one position.
The major concern with Odighizuwa is the two surgeries he had on his hip that forced him to miss the 2013 season. The injury did not appear to affect him in 2014, and he looked strong during Senior Bowl week.
Commish's Take: I liked Tomlinson's film heading into the Senior Bowl week, and he came out of Senior Bowl week as one of Mike Mayock's top risers. Tomlinson is a typical 3rd round guard much like Lions OG Larry Warford or Raiders OG Gabe Jackson. Tomlinson can start at right guard from day one and be successful. Another possibility here would be FSU OG Tre Jackson if he falls to the 3rd round.
Commish's Take: It might be a bit of wishful thinking, and honestly the Bucs might need to package this pick along with one of their 5th round picks to move up, but Williams is the type of right tackle the Bucs need. Right tackles typically aren't highly regarded in the draft because left tackle is the premiere spot. Williams lack of quickness in pass protection limits him to right tackle or possibly guard. If the Bucs are comfortable with Demar Dotson at left tackle, Williams would be a great fit at right tackle with his power and strength. Again, the Bucs might need to move into the late 3rd round to guarantee Williams, but that might just be worth it.
Commish's Take: If the Bucs are going to draft a middle linebacker, they need one that will be the emotional leader their defense needs to take them to the next level. I like the athleticism Clemson LB Stephone Anthony has, but Jones film is much more attractive. Jones played OLB for the first 3 years of his time at Michigan State before moving to MLB in 2014. Jones can fly sideline to sideline and plays with emotion. Jones is also a stout hitter.
5th Round (via NE) - Stefon Diggs - WR - Maryland
Commish's Take: Pick your poison here with whichever wide receiver drops on draft weekend. With this draft being so deep at receiver, the Bucs can just wait and grab the best of the rest that falls. Diggs was a playmaker in Maryland's offense, but his injury history might scare teams away from selecting him early. With other receivers like Tyler Lockett, Justin Hardy, Phillip Dorsett, Ty Montgomery, among others as potential mid-round WRs, the Bucs should still be able to get a quality slot receiver in the 5th round. No need to reach on one earlier in the draft when there are better players at other positions that fit bigger needs for the Bucs.
Commish's Take: According to a team source, the Bucs kept a keen eye on Marshall at the Senior Bowl last week. The former Auburn quarterback was making the transition to cornerback, which is where he'll play in the NFL. Marshall has excellent size, speed, athleticism, and ball skills, but will need time to develop into an NFL caliber cornerback. Marshall will need to be a big contributor on special teams to be given that time to develop.
Commish's Take: I'm not sure Max Garcia gets drafted before the performance he put on at the Senior Bowl. He held his ground against some of the top defensive tackles in this year's class. Garcia is a versatile lineman who can play at any spot along the offensive line.
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