Most NFL Draft analysts will be spending the next few weeks piecing together numerous mock drafts with different possibilities and outcomes for each one. It's a science no one will ever master, and they shouldn't. Mock drafts are simply for discussion purposes and to show how many different ways one draft can truly play out.
As I sat down on Sunday to piece together my latest Bucs-Only Mock Draft, I realized that the Bucs might be best suited to stay in-state with most of their picks. The state of Florida has produced some of the top prospects in this draft, and it makes sense for the Bucs to bring back a strategy Tony Dungy and Rich McKay used a long time ago.
During the late 90's and early 2000's the Bucs drafted many players from the top three schools in the state. Of course, the Bucs' most famous draft of all time included Warren Sapp from Miami and Derrick Brooks from FSU. Brooks would be joined by Super Bowl MVP Dexter Jackson and Warrick Dunn from FSU. Sapp would be joined by Nate Webster from Miami 2000. Those Bucs teams definitely did not forget about the Gators either, drafting OTs Jason Odom and Kenyatta Walker and WRs Reidel Anthony and Jacquez Green.
Those Bucs teams were not afraid to bring in the local talent, and hopefully this Bucs team isn't either.
This year's draft for the Bucs should start with FSU QB Jameis Winston. However, it probably shouldn't end there with potential FSU players. Offensive linemen like Cam Erving, Tre Jackson, and Josue Matias could all fill big holes along the Bucs offensive line. Rashad Greene in the 3rd round to be paired back with Winston and give the Bucs a legit slot receiver makes about as much sense as anything in this draft. If the Bucs are indeed looking for another running back, a 5th round pick on Karlos Williams could be a nice fit as well.
Why stop with FSU?
If the Buccaneers are looking for offensive line help, and they should be, all eyes need to be on Gainesville. The Gators produced one of the most athletic tackles in this year's draft in D.J. Humphries, but it doesn't stop there. OT Chaz Green has been getting some increased buzz and could be a late round steal in the 6th round. OG/OC Max Garcia has also seen increased buzz and could also present himself as a day 3 steal.
Offensive linemen aren't the only position the Gators produced. Matt Jones could be a nice day 3 pick as a big running back that can carry the load. The Bucs have also shown significant attention to for Gators DT Leon Orr, who's projected as a day 3 pick.
Let's not forget about Miami. Denzel Perryman might be my favorite middle linebacker in this draft, but his style doesn't really fit what Lovie Smith likes to do on defense. I know the Bucs really like OT Ereck Flowers, but he'll likely be gone by round 2. However, Phillip Dorsett's speed would fit in any offense. Dorsett could be a steal if he falls to the top of the 3rd round, and fit that slot position with the Bucs. The Buccaneers could also use a pass rusher, and Miami's Anthony Chickillo might end up being a steal at the top of round 4.
Think about the possibilities the Bucs have by just staying within the state. Would you be alright with this draft?
1st Round - Jameis Winston - QB - FSU
2nd Round - Tre Jackson - OG - FSU
3rd Round - Rashad Greene - WR - FSU
4th Round - Anthony Chickillo - DE - Miami
5th Round - Karlos Williams - RB - FSU
5th Round - Chaz Green - OT - Florida
6th Round - Leon Orr - DT - Florida
7th Round - Max Garcia - OL - Florida
Needs are filled and fan bases are happy. With this draft, the Bucs would bring a lot of talent to a team that has had little talent over the past five years.
I know a draft with all in-state players is unrealistic. I know it would likely never happen. However, what this illustrates is that the Buccaneers can really start to build back their franchise by bringing in a lot of players with roots right here in the state of Florida. If they do that as much as possible in this draft, the reward will be worth it.Subscribe to The Commish Online Podcast on iTunes!
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