The top 10 picks of this year's draft might be as unpredictable as any in recent history. With the Bucs sitting with the 9th pick, they may be in position to simply take the best of the top players that fall into their lap or trade down and get extra picks.
In this version of "make the case," we debate whether or not we'd each draft Notre Dame OT Ronnie Stanley or trade down to accumulate more picks.
The Case for Ronnie Stanley - Luke Easterling
If Stanley’s still on the board at the ninth overall pick, it’s very possible Titans GM Jon Robinson could call up his buddy Jason Licht and try to move back into the top 10 for Stanley. It would be nice for the Bucs to pick up an extra second-round pick in that scenario, but is that pick worth passing up the chance to draft a franchise left tackle? Detractors have tried knocking Stanley’s work ethic and passion for the game in recent weeks, but I’m not buying it. He was my top-rated tackle in last year’s draft, and another year in South Bend only refined him as a player. He’s the best pure pass-blocker in the draft, and a top-five overall prospect. Tampa Bay needs an upgrade and an infusion of youth at the other tackle spot (veterans Demar Dotson and Gosder Cherilus aren’t long-term solutions, and injuries have started biting them), and Stanley would team up with Donovan Smith to give the Bucs a pair of talent bookends to keep Jameis Winston off his back for the next decade or more. That’s worth more than an extra pick in the middle of the second round.
The Case to Trade Down - Justin Pawlowski
I have been a proponent to draft an offensive tackle for a while. To have the opportunity to possibly grab a potential franchise left tackle with the 9th pick is usually a dream. I had been banging the drum to make it a reality if Stanley was on the board for the Bucs pick. Things changed when the Rams and Titans agreed to one of the biggest draft trades of our lifetime. Now, with the Titans having a slew of draft picks, are picking 15th, and still have a major need for an offensive lineman, the Bucs may be in position to get themselves a nice little bounty if a potential stud left tackle is still on the board. This is a draft that has its strength from the late 1st to early 3rd round. Could the Bucs get an extra 2nd and 3rd from the Titans to move down just 6 slots? If the Titans are that desperate for Stanley, perhaps. At the very least, the Bucs should be able to get one of the Titans 3 2nd round picks to move back, which could mean an extra starter for Jason Licht's squad. The Bucs might also like Donovan Smith at left tackle, and if that's the case, Licht has said he values left tackles much more than right tackles, so why would he draft a right tackle with a top 10 pick? If the Bucs can get themselves a nice return in a trade, trading back even if Ronnie Stanley is on the board might be the smartest move the team can make.
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