If we’re reading the Tampa Bay tea leaves accurately, the chaos that ensued on opening night of the NFL draft could be kick-started again Friday evening.
After dealing their first-round pick (No. 27 overall) to the Jaguars in one of nine draft-night trades Thursday, the Bucs have tonight’s opening pick (No. 33) as well as a late-second-round selection (No. 60). But with all except one quarterback still available, a QB-deficient team could sway them to trade down again, giving Jason Licht and Co. more mid-round draft capital.
If they do stay put at No. 33, here are six guys that make sense for Tampa Bay:
TE Trey McBride, Colorado State
Even if Rob Gronkowski opts to play in 2022 (he claimed Thursday he’s still undecided), he’d be on a one-year deal. As it stands, the Bucs have two tight ends on the active roster: 30-year-old Cameron Brate and 29-year-old Codey McElroy. McBride, the 2021 Mackey Award winner, is billed as a baby Gronk.
DE Logan Hall, Houston
A defensive tackle who could slide to end in Todd Bowles’ 3-4 scheme, Hall is the second-best end remaining on Mel Kiper Jr.’s board. An All-American Athletic Conference pick in 2021, Hall had 6½ sacks and 13½ tackles for loss last season.
CB Kyler Gordon, Washington
A year after taking Huskies pass-rush extraordinaire Joe Tryon-Shoyinka with their first selection, the Bucs could go for a Washington player a second consecutive year. With Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jamel Dean entering the last year of their respective rookie contracts, Gordon — a former internationally competitive dancer — could be an intriguing replenishment.
DE Arnold Ebiketie, Penn State
A Cameroon native who began his college career at Temple, Ebiketie is the top-rated defensive end remaining on Kiper’s board. Equipped with 34⅛-inch arms, he had a team-best 9½ sacks and 18 tackles for loss while blocking two kicks in 2021.
CB Roger McCreary, Auburn
In terms of cornerback talent, the Tigers have served the Bucs well in recent years (see Carlton Davis III, Jamel Dean). They could go back to that well tonight with McCreary, a 2021 first-team All-American who led the SEC with 14 pass breakups and made a career-high 49 tackles in 12 starts.
Stay updated on the Buccaneers
Subscribe to our free Bucs RedZone newsletter
You’re all signed up!
Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.Explore all your options
WR Christian Watson, North Dakota State
The Bucs aren’t about to let Tom Brady find himself short on receiver depth a second year in a row. With the timetable on Chris Godwin’s return from a torn ACL still unclear, they could endear themselves to the fan base by taking Watson, a former undersized Plant High receiver whose astounding surge up the draft boards was chronicled in this recent story.
Contact Joey Knight at email@example.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls
• • •
Sign up for the Bucs RedZone newsletter to get updates and analysis on the latest team and NFL news from Bucs beat writer Joey Knight.