Mock Draft Monday: Bucs uncertainty, and cameos by Artie Burns and Keanu Neal
The first round of the NFL draft is one month away from today, but there's not a lot of certainty over whom the Bucs might pick with the No. 9 overall selection.
Florida/Wharton High CB Vernon Hargreaves III remains one of the most popular options in my weekly survey of mock drafts, and he wouldn't mind playing in his hometown. But a pass rusher - Clemson's Shaq Lawson, Oregon's DeForest Buckner or Ohio State's Joey Bosa - also seems like an option.
Florida State DB Jalen Ramsey will have one of his final chances to show that he is worthy of a top-three selection this week. I'll have more on that tomorrow from FSU's pro day.
This week's Mock Draft Monday also includes two new additions. When ESPN's Todd McShay expanded his mock draft to two rounds, he included Gators S Keanu Neal and Miami CB Artie Burns.
Here's our weekly summary of potential Bucs targets and local players among noted mock drafts:
Bucs, No. 9 overall pick
ESPN's Todd McShay: Florida/Wharton High CB Vernon 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."
SI's Chris Burke: Clemson DE Shaq Lawson. "Lawson's potential to be an All-Pro-level pass rusher pushes him over the top."
NFL.com consensus: The site's four experts remain split between Hargreaves, and Oregon DE DeForest Buckner. Lance Zierlein suggests Buckner because it's "hard to find interior players with rush talent, but Buckner has terrific upside and would be yet another piece to help strengthen the defensive front."
CBSSports consensus: Either Hargreaves, Buckner, Lawson or Ohio State DE Joey Bosa. Of Bosa, Rob Rang writes: "Bosa isn't a flashy athlete and may never be a 10-plus sack-a-season player in the NFL. He's pro-ready, though, showing awareness and strength to handle run-stuffing duties as well as the burst and refined hand play to attack the quarterback."
USA Today's Nate Davis: Hargreaves. "The ball's in the air quite a bit in the NFC South. Pairing Hargreaves with veteran CB Brent Grimes would give the ex-Gator more time to adapt to the pros while honing his skills against No. 2 receivers or while locking down the slot."
Rotoworld's Josh Norris (unchanged): Lawson.
Pro Football Focus (unchanged): Baylor WR Corey Coleman: "QB Jameis Winston already has his big targets in Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson, but Coleman adds another dimension to the passing game with his ability to create quick separation and pick up yards after the catch."
ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. (unchanged): Hargreaves. "No change here from the previous mock. Hargreaves is highly regarded throughout the league and certainly could be drafted before this point.
Florida State DB Jalen Ramsey
ESPN's McShay: 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."
SI.com's Burke: No. 2, to Cleveland. "This roster needs talent, period. Ramsey might be the most talented player in the class."
NFL.com consensus: No. 1, to Tennessee. Charles Davis writes: "I know that the smart money is still on OT Laremy Tunsil to go here, but DC Dick LeBeau's ideas and creativity on how to use this talented player might win the day for a secondary screaming for help."
CBSSports consensus: No. 3, to San Diego or No. 5, to Jacksonville.
USA Today: No. 3, to San Diego.
Rotoworld (unchanged): No. 1, to Tennessee.
Pro Football Focus (unchanged): No. 1, to Tennessee. "He has the size and length to become one of the league's best, and given his domination at the combine, the physical attributes are there as well."
ESPN's Kiper (unchanged): No. 5, to Jacksonville. "I think a little patience with him at cornerback will go a long way. He has star potential."
Florida/Wharton High CB Vernon Hargreaves III
SI.com's Burke: No. 11, to Chicago. "He would step in immediately as the Bears' nickel back, with a multi-year plan to have him eventually replace Tracy Porter outside. Need meets best player available."
CBSSports consensus: If not Tampa Bay, then No. 11 to the Bears or No. 13 to Miami.
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."
NFL.com consensus: Somewhere between ninth (the Bucs) and 13 to the Dolphins.
Pro Football Focus (unchanged): No. 8.
Florida DL Jonathan Bullard
ESPN's McShay: 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."
Pro Football Focus (unchanged): No. 24, to Cincinnati. "Just as we said in the last mock, a nose tackle would be a great fit for the Bengals here, but Bullard's early down production and position versatility is too much to pass up."
Miami CB Artie Burns
ESPN's McShay: 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
ESPN's McShay: 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."