After watching film and analyzing the Bucs' current roster, I have put together my first "Bucs Board" of 2016. This board will be fluid and I do expect changes along the way with free agent signings, the combine, and pro days all to come.
I would like to point out that character only plays a minor role in my construction of this board. I am not privy to background investigations and the one-on-one interviews teams will be able to conduct with prospects over the next couple months. My board is pieced together based on the proper balance of talent and need areas, which is why you won't see a QB on my list.
1. Jalen Ramsey - CB/S - Florida State
I believe the Bucs would absolutely love to have Ramsey be the Jameis Winston leader on their defense. Ramsey is interesting as he could go anywhere in the top 8 picks, but if he makes it to the 4th or 5th pick, I could see the Bucs at least having a conversation about moving up.
2. Laremy Tunsil - OT - Ole Miss
No, offensive tackle isn't the Bucs' biggest need, but it is a need nonetheless. Tunsil is as athletic an offensive tackle as you'll find.
3. Noah Spence - EDGE - Eastern Kentucky
Noah has had his issues off the field, but on the field, he is as athletic and explosive as you'll find. He dominated at Ohio State, he dominated at Eastern Kentucky, and he dominated at the Senior Bowl. Spence could be the Von Miller or Khalil Mack of this class.
4. Joey Bosa - DE - Ohio State
Bosa is getting all the hype, and rightfully so. He's not the next JJ Watt, but he should be a very good defensive end for a long time. I thought Luke Easterling's comparison to former Bucs' DE Michael Bennett was very accurate.
5. Robert Nkemdiche - DT - Ole Miss
Special talents should not be ignored. Rumors have swirled about Nkemdiche's effort and character, but there is no denying his natural talent. He is big, strong, quick, and fast. He just looks different than most others when I watch his film. Putting his talent with Jay Hayes' coaching could be a lot of fun.
6. DeForest Buckner - DT/DE - Oregon
Buckner is a massive defensive lineman that could play end or tackle. He plays with plenty of power and could be in a similar mold to Calais Campbell, who Jason Licht had in Arizona.
7. Ronnie Stanley - OT - Notre Dame
So, someone had Stanley going to the Bucs in a mock draft and everyone flipped out. Why? I think it would be great for the Bucs to get a young OT to pair with Donovan Smith, and Stanley is not that much of a step down from Tunsil. Stanley projects at left tackle, which would allow the Bucs to move Smith to right tackle, and have protection for Jameis Winson for years to come.
8. Myles Jack - LB - UCLA
Linebacker might not be a need for the Bucs, but special players on defense are definitely a need. Jack is a special player, and possibly the most talented player in this draft.
9. Vernon Hargreaves - CB - Florida
I like Hargreaves, but I'm not sure if I love him yet. Hargreaves is excellent in coverage and can play very physically. If he measures in at 5'10'' at the combine, that will not be good news.
10. Shaq Lawson - DE - Clemson
Oh no, another Clemson DE! I'm not narrow-minded to ignore talented players because of the school they went to. Lawson was a very productive leader on one of the best defenses in the country.
11. Laquon Treadwell - WR - Ole Miss
I'm not sure Treadwell becomes an elite NFL receiver, but he could become a very good receiver for a very long time. Treadwell might not have the elite top end speed, but his hands are excellent.
12. Sheldon Rankins - DT - Louisville
I'm not saying Rankins is Aaron Donald, but he played like Aaron Donald during Senior Bowl practices.
13. Kevin Dodd - DE - Clemson
Lawson received most of the publicity, but Dodd is a very solid defensive end. Dodd did play left defensive end, which meant he consistently went up against right tackles.
14. Darian Thompson - S - Boise State
The Bucs have a big need at safety, and Thompson's stock should continue to rise after an excellent showing at the Senior Bowl. Thompson will likely be taken after the Bucs 1st round pick and before their 2nd round pick.
15. Jaylon Smith - LB - Notre Dame
Smith is another stud linebacker like Myles Jack, who the Bucs would only take if he was heads and shoulders better than anyone else on their board.
16. Eli Apple - CB - Ohio State
Apple is a big corner who could see his stock rise through the draft process. If Hargreaves measures in at 5'10'' at the combine, don't be surprised if the big Apple (intended) moves right past Hargreaves on mock drafts.
17. Vernon Butler - DT - Louisiana Tech
Butler is a massive defensive tackle who carries his weight extremely well. He is athletic and plays with a ton of power.
18. Mackensie Alexander - CB - Clemson
Alexander is a confident corner who was consistently matched up with opposing top receivers. The major concern with Alexander is that he never had an interception throughout his entire collegiate career.
19. A'Shawn Robinson - DT - Alabama
The massive Robinson plays with a ton of strength and is a solid space eater.
20.Corey Coleman - WR - Baylor
I like Coleman much more than my partner, Luke Easterling. I see Coleman as an explosive playmaker who can run routes all over the field. Pairing him with Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson could drive opposing defenses nuts.
21. Jonathan Bullard - DT - Florida
Bullard is the type of defensive lineman I love. He is mean and nasty and creates havoc.
22. William Jackson III - CB - Houston
Jackson is another player who could see his stock rise through the process. Jackson has very good size, and athleticism to go with that size.
23. Bronson Kaufusi - DE - BYU
Kaufusi is another freak along the defensive line. At 6'7'' and 280 lbs, Kaufusi could turn into a terror is coached up the proper way.
24. Michael Thomas - WR - Ohio State
Thomas is a big receiver who can stretch the field. This class isn't strong with top-end receivers this year, so Thomas could come off the board much sooner than expected.
25. Taylor Decker - OT - Ohio State
Decker is big, strong, and tough. I think a team will try him at left tackle first, but if he doesn't work there, he should be fine at right tackle. Decker is the type of lineman you want on your offensive line.
26. Jarran Reed - DT - Alabama
Reed is very similar to A'Shawn Robinson. Both are very big and both play with excellent power. i think Robinson is a little more athletic.
27. Jack Conklin - OT - Michigan State
Conklin's lack of elite athleticism might limit him to right tackle. Right now, he's very good, but not great.
28. Braxton Miller - WR - Ohio State
Braxton Miller might be new to playing receiver, but he is electric with the ball in his hands. Miller's upside at receiver might be higher than any receiver in this class.
29. Jihad Ward - DT - Illinois
The combination of size, strength, and athleticism is fun to watch with Ward. He was consistently double and triple teamed in college as Illinois just didn't have any other players on defense that concerned opposing offenses.
30. Cody Whitehair - OG - Kansas State
Whitehair has the size, strength, and movement you want in a top notch guard.
31. Leonard Floyd - EDGE - Georgia
Floyd is based solely on potential. He has an excellent frame to get bigger, but right now, he looks gangly. With good coaching and a dedication to the weight room, Floyd could turn into a dominant pass rusher.
32. Vonn Bell - S - Ohio State
Bell is excellent is coverage and has experience as the single high safety.
33. Shon Coleman - OT - Auburn
Coleman is your typical big offensive tackle with plenty of strength, but lacks athleticism. He’s probably better suited at right tackle.
34. Kendall Fuller - CB - Virginia Tech
Fuller has good size and is aggressive. The problem is that he can be too aggressive at times and get beat.
35. Kenny Clark - DT - UCLA
Clark is an early entry with a lot of potential. He played nose tackle at UCLA, and will likely be more of a run stopped in the NFL.
36. Sterling Shepard - WR - Oklahoma
Shepard is a fun receiver who may continue to be rated higher on this list as we progress, He runs great routes, catches the ball well, and shows good explosion.
37. Shilique Calhoun - DE - Michigan State
Calhoun is a productive defensive end who needs to add some more bulk to be an every down player at end in a 4-3 defense.
38. Emmanuel Ogbah - DE - Oklahoma State
Some folks love Ogbah, and others don't. The more I watch Ogbah, the less I like. The natural talent is there, but he looks completely lost sometimes.
39. Jason Spriggs - OT - Indiana
Spriggs had a great week at the Senior Bowl, which has helped his stock. The natural talent and athleticism is there for Spriggs, but his film shows that he can be physically outmatched at times.
40. Will Fuller - WR - Notre Dame
Fuller is an explosive receiver with lots of top end speed. He was a big time playmaker and could be a solid 2nd round selection for a team needing more explosive players on offense.
41. Josh Doctson - WR - TCU
Doctson has good size, but I am curious to see what he runs at the combine. I watched numerous TCU game and was impressed with his playmaking ability in that offense. Doctson did deal with his fair share of injuries.
42. Jeremy Cash - S - Duke
Cash started his collegiate career at Ohio State before transferring to Duke. He's an all-around safety who earned ACC defensive player of the year honors in 2015.
43. Jerald Hawkins - OT - LSU
Hawkins started 36 straight games before leaving LSU early for this year's draft. He is supremely athletic and may be rated higher by NFL teams.
44. Tyler Boyd - WR - Pitt
Boyd was a 3-year starter at Pitt with experience of being the go-to receiver. I think his potential is to be a solid number 2 in the NFL.
45. Ezekiel Elliott - RB - Ohio State
Elliott is the best RB in this class, but he isn't special enough for me to consider him any higher than this. Talk to me next year when Leonard Fournette and Dalvin Cook are in the conversation.
46. Chris Jones - DT - Mississippi State
I probably rank Jones higher than others, but I like his size (6'5'' 308), his ability to play all over the defensive line, and potential to get better.
47. Andrew Billings - DT - Baylor
Billings barely made my rankings. Billings looks squatty and may be limited to a run stopper in the NFL.
48. Miles Killebrew - S - Southern Utah
Killebrew is a small school prospect with excellent size, athleticism, and head on his shoulders.
49. Austin Johnson - DT - Penn State
Johnson is just another massive defensive tackle in this class. Johnson's strength is valuable to take up multiple blockers and allow his linebackers to roam free.
50. Germain Ifedi - OT - Texas A&M
I wasn't blown away with Ifedi on film. He's better at right tackle than he'd be at left tackle. I wouldn't be surprised if he failed to make this list next time.