Mock Draft Monday: Final guesses on Bucs, Vernon Hargreaves and Jalen Ramsey
NFL draft week is finally upon us, and not much has changed (locally) since the first Mock Draft Monday back in February.
The Bucs' most likely target seems to be Florida/Wharton High CB Vernon Hargreaves. He's the only unanimous pick among CBSSports' and NFL.com's pundits, although some analysts still think Tampa Bay could choose a defensive lineman or offensive tackle. One interesting wrinkle: ESPN's Todd McShay thinks the Titans could trade up to grab an offensive tackle, letting the Bucs slip back six spots to still land Hargreaves.
Florida State DB Jalen Ramsey will almost certainly go somewhere in the top five, and most pundits don't expect him to fall past the Cowboys at No. 4.
Miami CB Artie Burns, Gators DL Jonathan Bullard and his teammate, S Keanu Neal, are also possible first-round picks. Burns is gaining the most momentum but isn't a lock to hear his name called Thursday.
Without further ado, here's our final weekly summary of potential Bucs targets and local players among noted mock drafts:
Bucs, No. 9 overall pick
ESPN's Todd McShay: Michigan State OT Jack Conklin: McShay thinks the Bucs could trade this pick - potentially to Tennessee, so the Titans can select Conklin, and Tampa Bay could slide down to get Hargreaves.
ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr.: Conklin. His three-round mock draft also has the Bucs picking Virginia Tech DB Kendall Fuller in the second round and Gators DL Jonathan Bullard in the third. Of Conklin, Kiper writes: I have my quarterback of the future coming off a good rookie season, and the one way he's going to regress is if my shaky offensive line doesn't get better and provide more running lanes (better down and distance football) and more time for my franchise QB. Conklin might not ever be a great NFL left tackle, but he can certainly challenge for that role and probably end up as a very good right tackle.
SI's Chris Burke: Ohio State DE Joey Bosa. His three-round mock draft also has the Bucs choosing West Virginia S Karl Joseph in the second round and Rutgers WR Leonte Carroo in the third. Of Bosa, Burke writes: "It's borderline stunning that Bosa could land in Tampa Bay without the Bucs moving up, but here we are."
The MMQB's Peter King: Florida/Wharton High CB Vernon Hargreaves. King writes: The Bucs could go offensive line here too, but for a secondary that allowed a pathetic 70-percent completion rate last season, corner is a bigger need area. When NFL teams talk about Hargreaves, one of the things they say is he'll be able to play significant time from week one of his rookie year.
NFL.com consensus: Hargreaves. In fact, it's unanimous...and it's the only unanimous pick in the whole first round. Charley Casserly writes: "Excellent corner who can play man cover, which will be a big part of the Bucs defense."
CBSSports consensus: Hargreaves...who is also the only consensus pick in the entire first round. Rob Rang writes: Bucs general manager Jason Licht won big by sticking close to "home" with FSU quarterback Jameis Winston a year ago and may take a similar path with Hargreaves, a three-time All-SEC pick. Hargreaves is a scrappy playmaker with terrific agility and instincts for the position.
USA Today's Nate Davis: Clemson DE Shaq Lawson. "Their defense would greatly benefit from a relentless pass rusher who can capitalize on the disruption Pro Bowl DT Gerald McCoy causes in the middle."
Pro Football Focus: Hargreaves. Steve Palazzolo writes: "I've slotted Hargreaves in there in multiple mock drafts and it's his movement skills, scheme diversity and ball skills that make him an attractive option for the Bucs."
Rotoworld's Josh Norris: Hargreaves. "There's a lot of polish in Hargreaves game, especially as a press man corner. He also offers athleticism (he's more athletic than 97 percent of NFL CBs) and is an aggressive player."
Florida State DB Jalen Ramsey
ESPN's McShay: No. 3, to the Chargers. McShay writes: ...I keep hearing Ramsey. Is he a safety? Is he a corner? I don't really care. One of the best pure football players in this class, Ramsey is a true difference-maker.
ESPN's Kiper: No. 4, to Dallas.
SI.com's Burke: No. 5, to Jacksonville.
MMQB's King: No. 3, to the Chargers.
NFL.com consensus: Somewhere between third to the Chargers and sixth, to Baltimore. Lance Zierlein doesn't expect him to fall past the Cowboys at No. 4: "Dallas could be torn between Ramsey, Joey Bosa and Ezekiel Elliott here, but Ramsey has rare size and athleticism as a dual-position talent who can step in as a starter at either cornerback or safety."
USA Today: No. 4, to Dallas. "Given how disappointing (and expensive) CBs Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne have been, plus the fact nickelback Orlando Scandrick is trying to come back from two torn knee ligaments, the gifted Ramsey makes perfect sense, especially given he can play anywhere in the secondary."
CBSSports consensus: No. 4, to Dallas. Pete Prisco writes: "They need help at both corner and safety. This is a player who can step in and play either spot."
Pro Football Focus: No. 3, to Jacksonville (in a trade with the Chargers). Palazzolo writes: Ramsey's floor is that of a versatile defensive chess piece that can play over slot (using his nation-leading run stop grade to play the run like a linebacker), cover tight ends, or even dabble at free safety. As for his ceiling, with only one full year as a true cornerback, there is still room to develop given his length and athleticism and he could still become one of the league's best cornerbacks.
Rotoworld: No. 4, to Dallas.
Florida/Wharton High CB Vernon Hargreaves III
ESPN's McShay: No. 15, to Tennessee...maybe in a trade with the Bucs
ESPN's Kiper: No. 14, to Oakland. "He has been the best pure cover corner in college football for the past two years on the aggregate, and even if you have questions about the size and speed, the tape makes up the difference."
SI's Burke: No. 10, to the Giants.
USA Today: No. 13, to Miami. "(His) quickness would serve him well in a division where Miami routinely battles quicksilver receivers, including Sammy Watkins and Julian Edelman."
Florida DL Jonathan Bullard
Pro Football Focus: No. 24, to Cincinnati. Palazzolo writes: "I've been back and forth between Bullard and an interior defensive lineman for the Bengals, but Bullard brings strong run-stopping ability as a base defensive end in their scheme to go with upside rushing the passer from the interior."
Rotoworld: No. 22, to Houston. "The Florida defensive lineman surprised me with his athleticism (he's a great athlete) and can help the Texans fill one of their defensive line spots and create a unique sub-package pass rush with Watt, Bullard, Clowney and Mercilus."
ESPN's Kiper: No. 74 (third round), to the Bucs
SI's Burke: No. 51 (second round), to the Jets
Miami CB Artie Burns
NFL.com consensus: No. 25, to Pittsburgh.
ESPN's McShay: No. 28, to Kansas City. "Burns' stock continues to rise."
ESPN's Kiper: No. 26, to Seattle. "Cornerback is a need, and Burns has tremendous upside."
SI's Burke: No. 42 (second round), to Miami.
Florida S Keanu Neal
ESPN's Kiper: No. 75 (third round), to the Raiders
SI's Burke: No. 62 (second round), to Carolina. "Neal-drawing speculation as a Round 1 option-steps in as an enforcer on a Carolina defense that can help cover his flaws."
CBS' Dane Brugler: No. 29, to Arizona. "The Cardinals have some questions in the secondary, including at safety. Neal is a known as a physical thumper, but he also has the required athleticism to develop in pass coverage."