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Sunshine State Report

The latest on college sports in Florida

Mock Draft Monday: Artie Burns, Keanu Neal and Jonathan Bullard in first round?

Florida/Wharton High cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III compiled an impressive highlight reel for the Gators.

11

April

The NFL draft is only two months away, and there's not much consensus among mock drafts.

Florida/Wharton High CB Vernon Hargreaves III remains a likely target for the Bucs and the No. 9 overall pick, according to my weekly survey of mock drafts. But the buzz around Florida State DB Jalen Ramsey and the top pick seems to be declining a little; only four pundits I track project him to go to the Titans.

A few other locals are popping into the first round. Miami CB Artie Burns and Gators DL Jonathan Bullard and S Keanu Neal all were first-round picks in at least one mock draft. Another local, East Lake High alum Tyler Higbee, is a second-round projection, according to Pro Football Focus.

Here's our weekly summary of potential Bucs targets and local players among noted mock drafts:

Bucs, No. 9 overall pick

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr.: Notre Dame OT Ronnie Stanley. "The Bucs did target offensive line help in last year's draft, but ceiling is a pretty big question mark, and they shouldn't make the same mistake the Colts did with Andrew Luck when it comes to building a solid group in front of their franchise talent."

SI's Chris Burke: Florida/Wharton High CB Vernon Hargreaves III. Burke writes: There is disagreement over Hargreaves's stock (and over this cornerback class in general), at least as it stands relative to a high-Round 1 selection. Is he big enough to excel in the NFL? Fast enough? What if he has to play the slot? Weed out the talking points and there is enough to suggest Hargreaves can become a dynamic pro.

NFL.com consensus: Hargreaves is the most common choice, followed by Clemson DE Kevin Dodd. Ike Taylor, however, has FSU DB Jalen Ramsey falling to Tampa Bay. Taylor writes: The Bucs are looking for a young corner to play Robin right now and then Batman for years to come. Ramsey is that guy.

USA Today's Nate Davis: Clemson DE Shaq Lawson...after the Bucs trade down two spots with the Bears. "The Bucs need to boost their pass rush, and Lawson could make offenses pay immediately for double-teaming DT Gerald McCoy."

CBSSports consensus: Hargreaves, although Stanley and Lawson are also possibilities. Dane Brugler writes: "Tampa needs to address the cornerback position this draft and Hargreaves is a tough-minded, instinctive cover man who is ready to start from Day One in the NFL."

Pro Football Focus: Hargreaves. "He took a step back in 2015 after posting the second-best coverage grade in the country in 2014, but few corners can play multiple coverages and mirror receivers, and he adds a much-needed playmaker to the Tampa Bay secondary."

Rotoworld's Josh Norris (unchanged): Lawson.

ESPN's Todd McShay (unchanged): Hargreaves. "The Bucs can never have too many cover guys playing in their division, and drafting Hargreaves would give them the best man-to-man corner in this class."

Florida State DB Jalen Ramsey

ESPN's Kiper: No. 3, to San Diego. "I know there are concerns he'll face some developmental hurdles as a rookie, but all cornerbacks do, and Ramsey's ceiling is extremely high."

SI.com's Burke: No. 3, to San Diego. "The beauty of Ramsey's game is that he legitimately could line up as a starter at cornerback or safety, or play a hybrid of the two."

NFL.com consensus: Perhaps No. 1 to Tennessee, but more likely No. 3, to San Diego or No. 5, to Jacksonville.

CBSSports consensus: No. 3, to San Diego.

Pro Football Focus: No. 1, to Tennessee. Steve Palazzolo writes: The upside is what separates Ramsey. He has the size and athleticism to develop into a top man-coverage corner, but he's not there yet, and at worst, he's a versatile zone/man corner that's also capable of playing free safety. Ramsey gives the Titans a lot of options on defense.

USA Today: No. 2, to Cleveland. "(Maybe) the new, analytics-driven regime opts for Ramsey, arguably the No. 1 prospect in this draft and someone who'd address a primary need in a pass-heavy division for a roster with needs at both corner and safety."

Rotoworld (unchanged): No. 1, to Tennessee.

ESPN's McShay (unchanged): No. 3, to San Diego. "Ramsey's ability to play both corner and safety gives him added value to the Chargers, who aren't set at either position. An All-America track-and-field star at Florida State, Ramsey is an extremely rare athlete and one of the best all-around football players in this draft."

Florida/Wharton High CB Vernon Hargreaves III

ESPN's Kiper: No. 14, to Oakland. "Hargreaves lacks some measurables, but the tape doesn't lie."

NFL.com consensus: The Bucs are the most likely pick, but he could go anywhere from No. 5, to Jacksonville, or No. 13, to Miami.

CBSSports consensus: If not ninth to the Bucs, No. 11, to Chicago, and No. 14, to Oakland, are possibilities.

USA Today: No. 10, to the Giants. "Hargreaves could jump right into the nickelback role as he begins what should be a promising career."

Rotoworld (unchanged): No. 8, to Philadelphia. "Hargreaves does offer athleticism (he's more athletic than 97 percent of NFL CBs) and is an aggressive player."

Florida DL Jonathan Bullard
Pro Football Focus: No. 30, to Carolina. "Last year's top-graded interior run defender has some position versatility at the next level, as Bullard could play base defensive end while kicking inside to rush the passer."

SI's Burke: No. 46, to Detroit.

Rotoworld (unchanged): No. 26, to Seattle. "The Florida defensive lineman surprised me with his athleticism (he's a great athlete) and can help the Seahawks generate interior disruption."

ESPN's McShay (unchanged): No. 46, to Detroit.

Miami CB Artie Burns
NFL.com's Charley Casserly: No. 25, to Pittsburgh. "Some will say this is a reach but he is my next-best cornerback."

NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah: No. 28, to Kansas City.

ESPN's McShay (unchanged): No. 45, to the Rams. "Burns' extremely long arms (33¼ inches) and ability to play press coverage give him a lot of upside as a cornerback."

Florida S Keanu Neal
NFL.com's Taylor: No. 17, to Atlanta. "The Falcons need an enforcer on defense. There's no finesse with this guy. He has a presence."

CBS' Brugler: No. 30, to Carolina. "Neal is known for his punishing tackles, but he also has the athletic upside to develop in coverage."

ESPN's McShay (unchanged): No. 54, to Minnesota. "A physical run defender, Neal comes with very good mental makeup and intangibles. But he doesn't have great playmaking instincts at this point, having tallied just four picks and five pass breakups in two seasons as a full-time starter."

Western Kentucky/East Lake High TE Tyler Higbee

Pro Football Focus: No. 52, to Houston. "Even more weapons for (Brock) Osweiler as Higbee is one of the best receiving threats in the draft."

[Last modified: Monday, April 11, 2016 11:01am]

    

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