Let's set the ground rules. I am ranking the top 50 prospects in this year's NFL Draft from a Bucs' perspective. That means there won't be any quarterbacks, running backs, and tight ends. There just is no need for the Bucs to draft a quarterback or running back that early, and this draft is awful at tight end...and I really like Cameron Brate.
The way I approach this is that I imagine as if the Bucs have every pick in the first 50 picks. I choose the best player available with each pick, thus the Bucs Board.
NOTE: I, along with anyone else who tries to analyze the draft, do not have access to one-on-one interviews with players or private investigations, so any assumptions on a player's character is simply an assumption. I try to avoid assuming based on rumors for this board.
Here's how the Bucs Board lays out just a few weeks away from the draft:
1. Jalen Ramsey | CB/S | FSU
Ramsey is talented, but his leadership on defense is most attractive from a Bucs' perspective.
2. Laremy Tunsil | OT | Ole Miss
Tunsil is a stud left tackle in the mold of the Cowboys' Tyron Smith.
3. DeForest Buckner | DL | Oregon
Massive defensive lineman that would be an ideal fit for the Bucs hybrid defense.
4. Ronnie Stanley | OT | Notre Dame
Stanley is not far off from Tunsil. Stanley is a potential franchise left tackle for the next 12 years.
5. Joey Bosa | DE | Ohio State
Bosa is a physical defensive end who is just a hard nosed football player. He is productive and will be a leader in the NFL.
6. Myles Jack | LB | UCLA
Jack is a unique linebacker as he will stay on the field all the time. Not a need for the Bucs, but Jack is special. I would find a way to have Jack, Lavonte David, and Kwon Alexander on the field at the same time if Jack fell to 9.
7. Robert Nkemdiche | DL | Ole Miss
Nkemdiche has plenty of rumors swirling around him, which I believe has tainted the way people watch his film. If you watch Nkemdiche's film at the same sitting when you're watching other defensive linemen in this draft, there is literally no comparison. Nkemdiche is that much more talented.
8. Noah Spence | EDGE | Eastern Kentucky
In a weak edge rusher draft, Spence is among the best. While his testing times do show he isn't as elite with his explosion as Von Miller or Khalil Mack, Spence has shown the natural instincts to get to opposing quarterbacks that most guys just don't have.
9. Corey Coleman | WR | Baylor
Coleman is raw, but has special potential. He has speed and the ability to be a big time playmaker in the NFL.
10. Vernon Butler | DT | Louisiana Tech
Some might be surprised to see Butler this high, but, if I'm truly the Bucs in this exercise, he might be my top realistic target in a few weeks. Mike Smith wants a hybrid defense that seemlessly transitions from 4-3 to 3-4 and back. To do that, you need versatile defensive linemen. You might want to get a 6'4'' 325 lbs monster with surprising athleticism.
11. William Jackson III | CB | Houston
Sure, locally, fans love Vernon Hargreaves, but I'm in the NFC South with Julio Jones and Kelvin Benjamin. Along with good size, I also feel like Jackson is the best cover corner in this draft
12. Jack Conklin | OT | Michigan State
Conklin has the ability to step in and start immediately at right tackle. Needs to improve some technique issues, but I like the mentality he plays with.
13. Josh Doctson | WR | TCU
I like the combination of Doctson's length and speed combination. Underrated.
14. Vernon Hargreaves III | CB | Florida
Hargreaves may be a bit short with short arms, but he is feisty and physical. Hargreaves can be a great corner, but may need a great pass rush to help him.
15. Sheldon Rankins | DT | Louisville
Rankins is good, but limited. He does not possess scheme versatility as he is a fit in a 4-3 defense. Some might feel he's a 3-technique, but I view him, from his film, as a nose tackle in a 4-3 defense. Rankins' film is nowhere near Aaron Donald, so we can stop that talk. Good player, not great. Trending down the more I watch his film.
16. Laquon Treadwell | WR | Ole Miss
Treadwell is a solid player who has proven to be a go-to receiver. He doesn't have elite speed, but can be a reliable possession receiver.
17. Shaq Lawson | DE | Clemson
Solid rusher who can play the run and the pass. Physical player, but, as Bucs' management, we cannot miss on another Clemson defensive end. We just can't. Plus, I need to take into account the massive pressure and extreme scrutiny another Clemson defensive end would have on him from my fan base.
18. Chris Jones | DT | Mississippi State
If you want versatile, Jones is your guy. He can play up and down the defensive line. The more I watch of him, the more I like. I can get creative with a player like this.
19. Leonard Floyd | EDGE | Georgia
Raw and athletic. If we're patient, Floyd could have as big a payoff as any player in this draft. He's also risky in that aspect as well.
20. Taylor Decker | OT | Ohio State
Big and nasty tackle who could play on the right side for years.
21. Hassan Ridgeway | DT | Texas
If Ridgeway stays in school, he's a top 15 pick next year. 6'3'' and over 300 lbs, and he can move. Ridgeway is versatile and impactful.
22. Ryan Kelly | Center | Alabama
Every draft has one center that could play the position for 10-12 years. Kelly is that player this year.
23. Karl Joseph | S | West Virginia
Joseph is a tone setter, but much more than a big hitter. Joseph can bring leadership and aggression to a defense.
24. Michael Thomas | WR | Ohio State
Thomas is getting lost in the shuffle, but he has the tools to be a number one receiver.
25. Jason Spriggs | OT | Indiana
Spriggs is an athletic offensive tackle who is still growing. As he gains more experience, Spriggs may end up as one of the top tackles in this draft.
26. A'Shawn Robinson | DT | Alabama
Tough to distinguish between Robinson and Reed. Robinson is big and physical. Scheme versatility to play in the 4-3 or 3-4.
27. Jarran Reed | DT | Alabama
28. Kevin Dodd | DE | Clemson
Dodd may be a one-year wonder, but he was stuck behind Vic Beasley and Shaq Lawson. Dodd is not a speed guy and wins more with power. Like Lawson, Dodd would have so much pressure on him from the moment he was drafted because of the position he plays and the college he went to.
29. Mackensie Alexander | CB | Clemson
While everyone drools over Vernon Hargreaves, Alexander may be the much better value for a 5'10'' corner. He is as confident and cocky as any player in this draft. Alexander had ZERO INTs in his collegiate career, which is a big concern.
30. Sterling Shepard | WR | Oklahoma
Shepard can step right in and contribute for my offense next year. He's an excellent route runner, catches the ball with his hands, can stretch the defense, and plays physically.
31. Emmanuel Ogbah | DE | Oklahoma State
Ogbah has great measurables and his stats look appealing, but his film is so blah. He disappears for long stretches during games as he gets pushed around with solo blocks. If we can make him more consistent, he could become elite, but there is a risk.
32. Andrew Billings | DT | Baylor
Good player, but when I watch him I feel like he's moving around a lot, but not making up any ground. More of a 2nd round guy to me who can at least add depth.
33. Jonathan Bullard | DL | Florida
Bullard is another tweener DT/DE who plays with a nasty streak.
34. Eli Apple | CB | Ohio State
Big corner who I'd like to see use his size a bit more.
35. Will Fuller | WR | Notre Dame
Speed kills, but Fuller's drops could kill even worse. Can we teach him to not be like Mike Evans?
36. Artie Burns | CB | Miami
Love this underrated prospect. Burns has nice size/speed combination, and an inspiring background story as well. One of my top 2nd round targets.
37. Vonn Bell | S | Ohio State
Safeties that can cover get paid a lot of money. Bell is one of the better cover safeties in the draft.
38. Shon Coleman | OT | Auburn
Coleman could be a top right tackle or guard prospect in this draft. He is big, powerful, and physical. He played very well against Sheldon Rankins and Robert Nkemdiche.
39. Darian Thompson | S | Boise State
Thompson is an interception machine, but a 4.70 40-yard dash time at the combine is alarming.
40. Darren Lee | LB | Ohio State
Lee is a tremendous talent. If he slides, pairing him with Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander is intriguing, but not a huge need.
41. Kendall Fuller | CB | Virginia Tech
Fuller is just solid across the board. His brother plays for the Bears, so bloodlines are good. Might be a nice grab to provide depth and then become a starter.
42. Germain Ifedi | OT | Texas A&M
Ifedi is another OT with a ton of talent, but inconsistent tape. Ifedi might be an excellent fit at right tackle.
43. Jihad Ward | DL | Illinois
Versatile defensive lineman with the size to play inside, but the athleticism to play outside.
44. Keanu Neal | S | Florida
Big hitter from the safety position. Physical presence from a physical defense. If Bucs fans want Vernon Hargreaves because he's a Gator, they'll love Neal as well.
45. Cody Whitehair | OG | Kansas State
Left tackle in college, but Whitehair will be a guard in the NFL. He's a smart player who plays with strong technique.
46. Jaylon Smith | LB | Notre Dame
Smith is a top 5 talent who will drop because of durability concerns. Depending on what medical says, If he slides to the mid 2nd to early 3rd, he would be a steal.
47. Shilique Calhoun | DE | Michigan State
Long defensive end with a frame to get bigger. Not really the fastest or most athletic. Solid day 2 player.
48. Braxton Miller | WR | Ohio State
Miller is raw at receiver, but experienced as a playmaker. The Bucs are in a good position with Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson to allow themselves to draft Miller, allow him to learn while contributing, then take on a starting role in 2017.
49. Javon Hargrave | DT | South Carolina State
Jason Licht loves small school studs, and Hargrave is a small school stud.
50. Le'Raven Clark | OT | Texas Tech
Film stinks for Clark, but the potential is there for him to become an elite left tackle. Boom or bust.
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