Buccaneers Mock Draft 2022The reigning Super Bowl champions saw their hopes of back-to-back titles die at the hands of Matt Stafford, Cooper Kupp, and the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday afternoon. The Buccaneers put together another successful regular season campaign in 2021 with yet another strong showing on both sides of the football. Tom Brady carried the load for the offense with league-leading performances in completions and passing yards, while the strong run defense held up all year as the pass defense improved. Tampa Bay’s problem going into the 2022 season is that they won’t have the same luxury they did last offseason. It’s very unlikely that all of their starters on both sides of the ball will return once again. The Buccaneers’ pending free agent starters include wide receiver Chris Godwin, center Ryan Jensen, guard Alex Cappa, tight end Rob Gronkowski, running back Leonard Fournette, defensive linemen Jason Pierre-Paul and Ndamukong Suh, and secondary defenders Carlton Davis and Jordan Whitehead. The good news is the Buccaneers have a solid amount of cap space to bring several of those guys back, but they likely won’t be able to hang on to all of them. With that in mind, I played GM for Tampa Bay in this Buccaneers 2022 NFL Mock Draft.
Round 1 (No. 27 overall): Chris Olave, WR, Ohio StateThe Buccaneers already lost Antonio Brown before the regular season ended, and they may lose two more receiving targets depending on how contract negotiations go with Godwin and Gronkowski. Adding a very talented extra target to an offense will certainly make the quarterback happy, an especially important factor when your signal-caller is the greatest quarterback of all time. Olave would take an already scary Tampa Bay passing attack and make it even scarier. As an elite route-runner, the Ohio State product has shown off an incredible ability to create separation downfield. Pairing someone who can consistently find ways to get open with literally Tom Brady is a frightening combination for the future of NFC South competitors. That’s especially true when considering that Brady has shown a renewed ability to throw the deep ball in Tampa Bay, and Olave could find himself on the receiving end of many explosive plays in this offense.
Round 2 (No. 60 overall): Jamaree Salyer, IOL, GeorgiaTampa Bay boasted one of the best offensive lines in the NFL during the 2021 season. Despite the Buccaneers’ pass-heavy tendencies on offense, Brady was the least pressured quarterback in the NFL. The bad news is that they could be losing some key interior pieces there in free agency. Taking Salyer here at the tail-end of the second round would help fill in a potential hole there. Though he’s primarily played at either tackle position in his career at Georgia, his skill set projects better to an interior position like guard, where he has also had experience. He’s a strong, physical athlete who has had success in generating a good push up front at the point of attack. His balance, quick feet, and competitive toughness make him a really hard man to knock down, even when bull-rushed.
Round 3 (No. 91 overall): Zachary Carter, IDL, FloridaThe Buccaneers have already locked in Vita Vea with a four-year contract extension that he signed just a couple of weeks ago. However, the same cannot be said of fellow defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who is poised to test the free agency waters for a second straight year. I like them taking Carter here to pair up with Vea on the defensive line. The Florida product has versatility in both rushing off the edge and playing the run by shooting gaps up the middle. He’s got really good functional strength as well that allows him opportunities to recover and make a play even when he doesn’t win his matchup on initial contact.
Round 4 (No. 129 overall): Hassan Haskins, RB, MichiganWith so many impending free-agent decisions to make at the running back position, it would really make sense for the Buccaneers to alleviate the pressure to bring guys back by drafting replacements. Additionally, even if Fournette does return in a starting role, they’d only have Ke’Shawn Vaughn playing behind him, and the second-year running back didn’t show a ton of promise in limited action this season. Taking Haskins helps solve that issue. The Michigan back broke out in his final season with the Wolverines, showing off his abilities as both a physical runner that punishes would-be tacklers on contact and a dynamic playmaker in the open field. He’s not much of a threat as a pass-catcher, but he does add value in pass protection when he’s on the field for passing downs.
Round 5 (No. 168 overall): Montaric Brown, CB, ArkansasIt was no secret that Tampa Bay’s ability to stop the run was the main strength of their defense. Improving their pass defense with additions to their secondary, especially given the possible free agency departures, will be a priority for the Buccaneers in this draft. Brown was a ballhawk this season. He tied for the SEC lead in picks with his five interceptions in his final season with the Razorbacks. He’s a quick cornerback with solid closing speed and the ability to lock onto the ball to make a play, which makes him a strong defender in one-on-one situations. Brown is also a good downhill defender in the run game and on short passes; he doesn’t shy away from contact.
Round 7 (No. 244 overall): Merlin Robertson, LB, Arizona StateIt can never hurt to add depth at any position, especially one as important as linebacker. Robertson is a good tackler with a solid ability to defend the pass in both man and zone coverages. He likely won’t be an NFL starter from the start, but he’d add depth to both his native position and Tampa Bay’s special teams unit.
- Sep 29, 2023
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