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Looking ahead to 2016 NFL draft: Who might Bucs pick?

runs back an interception during the fourth quarter of a game between the Florida Gators and Ole Miss Rebels at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Fla., on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. LOREN ELLIOTT  | Times


Florida Gators defensive back Vernon Hargreaves III (1)

runs back an interception during the fourth quarter of a game between the Florida Gators and Ole Miss Rebels at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Fla., on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. LOREN ELLIOTT | Times

The Bucs hold the ninth pick in the first round of the NFL draft. Here are five players they might pick:

1. Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida: The Wharton and Gators standout left after his junior year and could easily be gone when the Bucs pick at No. 9. He finished his Gators career with 10 interceptions — there are concerns he's shorter than the listed 5 feet 11, but perhaps that helps him fall to the Bucs. FSU's Jalen Ramsey would be another great match, but he's even more likely to be gone by 9.

2. Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson: He won't formally announce until after next week's national championship game, but Alexander is another top-tier corner and just a redshirt sophomore. Drafting guys named Alexander has gone well for the Bucs lately, and as a bonus, his twin brother, Mackenro, will be a defensive back for USF this fall.

3. DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon: At close to 300 pounds, he's much bigger than Lovie Smith's traditional speed rushers. But he was prolific this year — 83 tackles, including 17 for loss, with 10 1/2 sacks. A popular pairing for the Bucs in national mock drafts, but Smith likes his pass rushers quick around the edge.

4. Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State: Seems more like a match for the Bucs at 6-4, 275. Still had 13 sacks and three forced fumbles this year — lining him up next to Oklahoma grad Gerald McCoy could be the bedlam the Bucs defense has been missing for so long.

5. Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson: We hear you, Bucs fans wary of using a high draft pick on another Clemson defensive end. But Lawson had 23 1/2 tackles for loss and 10 1/2 sacks — if you're trying to infuse the roster with players with a winning mentality, the Tigers aren't a bad place to start.

Looking ahead to 2016 NFL draft: Who might Bucs pick? 01/04/16 [Last modified: Monday, January 4, 2016 5:41pm]
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