Posted April 18, 2014

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2014 NFL Mock Draft Tracker

NFL Draft, NFL draft 2014, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2014 NFL Mock Draft Tracker: Sammy Watkins, Clemson

Sammy Watkins, Clemson (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

What will the Tampa Bay Buccaneers do in the 2014 NFL draft? Keep track of all the predictions made in our mock drafts leading up to Round 1 on May 8.

April 17, 2014 — 2014 NFL Mock Draft 7.0 (Chris Burke)

Round 1, pick 2 (via St. Louis): Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

We said: In the words of Michael Keaton’s Batman, “You wanna get nuts? C’mon! Let’s get nuts!”

The Falcons have been discussed as a likely trade-up candidate, with their eyes on either Clowney, Khalil Mack or an offensive tackle. Detroit, too, has been floated as a possible aggressor during Round 1, a Calvin Johnson-Golden Tate-Sammy Watkins receiving corp revving the fan base there.

But Tampa Bay needs a receiver worse than Detroit does after dealing Mike Williams. Plus, not so quietly, the Buccaneers have undergone a Lovie Smith-led roster shake-up this offseason, leaving them with far fewer holes than a team picking at No. 7 ought to have. It all adds up to Tampa Bay throwing caution to the wind and nabbing Watkins, giving new QB Josh McCown a Watkins-Vincent Jackson pairing to work with in what would be a dangerous passing game.

April 10, 2014  2014 NFL Mock Draft 3.0 (Don Banks)

Round 1, pick 7: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

We said: C’mon now, be honest, who had two receivers going before a second quarterback came off the board when this longest-ever draft season started? Anyone? But it darn well could unfold that way, and Evans would be the impetus. With the Bucs giving up on Mike Williams thanks to his maturity issues, landing the ball-hawking Evans as a replacement playmaker in the passing game makes solid sense. If both Watkins and Mack are already gone — and they will be — Evans becomes a Day 1 starter and one of Josh McCown‘s new best friends.

April 1, 2014 — 2014 NFL Mock Draft 3.0 (Doug Farrar)

Round 1, pick 7: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

We said: The Bucs, and specifically new head coach Lovie Smith and new general manager Jason Licht, may be ready to cut bait with receiver Mike Williams after a long history of off-field incidents. And if Watkins is available with the seventh overall pick, that decision becomes much easier, because paring Watkins with Vincent Jackson would be downright unfair. Watkins doesn’t have Jackson’s size at 6-1 and 211 pounds, but few receivers in this draft class get off the snap with more quickness, and in and out of breaks more suddenly. The Bucs excelled in free agency, and adding Watkins to that mix wouldn’t just validate a tough decision — it might make the Bucs the favorites in the NFC South.

March 25, 2014 — 2014 NFL Mock Draft 6.0 (Chris Burke)

Round 1, pick 7: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina

We said: Staying put here, with the way the board has fallen so far (Bortles-Clowney-Bridgewater-Robinson-Watkins-Mack) makes things tough. Taking a TE at No. 7 may seem like a stretch, but Ebron is the top player at his position and would open up the Buccaneers offense. It would not be all that surprising to see Ebron put up the top receiving numbers of any rookie next season.

March 18, 2014 — 2014 NFL Mock Draft 2.0 (Don Banks)

Round 1, pick 7: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

We said: The Bucs would be thrilled with this scenario, in having the draft’s best receiver fall into their laps at No. 7. Watkins is an elite talent with home-run ability, and he’d do a world of good for Tampa Bay’s No. 1 receiver, Vincent Jackson, not to mention Josh McCown at quarterback. The NFC South is no picnic, but the Bucs look ready to make some noise this season. Michael Johnson, Alterraun Verner and Clinton McDonald were major defensive upgrades in free agency, and Watkins would be at the forefront of an offensive improvement that includes McCown, tackle Anthony Collins and tight end Brandon Myers.

March 5, 2014 — 2014 NFL Mock Draft 2.0 (Doug Farrar)

Round 1, pick 7: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo

We said: New Bucs head coach Lovie Smith isn’t quite the rigid Tampa-Two disciple some would have you believe — the Bears ran a lot of Cover-One and Cover-Three concepts in Smith’s last few years there. But there’s one thing Smith always wants in his defenses, and that’s linebackers who can cover a lot of ground and do multiple things. With Lavonte David already in the fold, and a lot of pieces in place on his defense, Smith would be wise to add Mack to the mix. Mack has proven that he can do everything from coverage to rushing the passer, and he’d be a huge factor in the double A-gap blitzes Smith will bring to Tampa.

Feb. 26, 2014 — 2014 NFL Mock Draft 5.0 (Chris Burke)

Round 1, pick 7: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo

We said: With Lovie Smith in town, the Buccaneers are a good bet to bulk up on defense should the opportunities present themselves. Here, one does. The Tampa Two preferred by Smith needs speedy linebackers to work. With Mack on the strongside and Lavonte David on the weakside, few teams would have a better combination at the position.

Round 1, pick 38: Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama

We said: Kouandjio’s combine performance (and a report of failed medicals) certainly will not help his stock, and that may be just fine with the Buccaneers as they add some needed tackle depth in the second round. Kouandjio has the potential to dominate, at least at times.

Feb. 19, 2014  – 2014 NFL Mock Draft 1.0 (Don Banks)

Round 1, pick 7: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo

We said: The small-school label might make some teams wary, but Mack has three-down potential at outside linebacker, with the ability to bring pass rush off the edge, stand up against the run and drop seamlessly into coverage. He would be a cornerstone defensive cog for new Bucs head coach Lovie Smith, who always builds his defenses around playmaking linebackers who can multi-task and make their presence felt in a variety of ways. UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr will be the other name in the debate for Tampa Bay, but Mack’s instant-impact quotient should be higher for a talented Bucs defense that’s ready to win now.

Feb. 6, 2014 — 2014 NFL Mock Draft 1.0 (Doug Farrar)

Round 1, pick 7: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo

We said: New Bucs head coach Lovie Smith has inherited an estimable linebacker corps, but as he built his Bears teams on the combination of linebacker acumen and pass-rush consistency, Mack would be a tremendous addition to a defense that is in for a major upgrade from a coaching perspective. He set FBS career records with 75 tackles for loss and 16 forced fumbles, and with his physical talents, Mack can do everything from drop into coverage to clog up the A-gaps in the dual-linebacker blitzes Smith loves to set up.

Jan. 9, 2014 — 2014 NFL Mock Draft 4.0 (Chris Burke)

Round 1, pick 7: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA

We said: Expect there to be a lot of Mack-versus-Barr discussion in the four months between now and the draft. Mack is further developed as a pro-ready prospect; Barr may have the higher upside. A lot of the comments for Atlanta’s pick hold true here, too: Barr would provide a jolt to an undermanned pass rush, even if the Buccaneers had to be a little creative in utilizing him.

Lovie Smith will want defensive playmakers — and not only Tampa-2 guys. Barr would be a welcome addition.

Dec. 5, 2013 — 2014 NFL Mock Draft 3.1 (Chris Burke)

Round 1, pick 5: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

We said: Matthews slides up a spot in the Mariota-less draft, leaving the Buccaneers in need of a new selection here, too. So how about adding perhaps the best WR to complement Vincent Jackson and to give emerging quarterback Mike Glennon another weapon?

Sept. 24, 2013 — 2014 NFL Mock Draft 2.0 (Chris Burke) 

Round 1, pick 3: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

We said: Had a tough time with this pick, mainly because it seems like the Buccaneers are far higher than most on Mike Glennon. Obviously, if they deem him their QB of the future, this pick heads elsewhere — likely on one of the top offensive tackles or wide receivers. Barring that, this team still needs a quarterback.

April 30, 2013 — 2014 NFL Mock Draft 1.0 (Chris Burke)

Round 1, pick 14: Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State

We said: Sutton’s cut from the mold of Sharrif Floyd (a 2013 first-rounder for Minnesota) — undersized for DT (listed at 6-1, 288 and smaller than that), but a guy who continually makes plays.