The 2018 NFL Draft is fast approaching. We’re less than two weeks away from the big day at this point, and the excitement is building all across the league. Here at The Falcoholic, we’ve talked at great length about Atlanta’s draft plans—but what about the plans of the other teams in the NFC South? Today we’ll take a closer look at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who sit just inside the top-10 at pick 7.
The prospect of the Bucs (or any division rival) getting a top-10 player is always a concern, particularly in a loaded draft class. This year, the current buzz actually centers more around a top-heavy QB class that could feature anywhere between 3-5 players being taken in the top-10 alone. Tampa isn’t in the market for a QB—as far as we know, anyway—which makes that 7th pick an ideal spot to snag one of the draft’s top non-QB players. It could also offer an opportunity to trade down and grab some extra picks, if the right situation occurred.
The Bucs have been closely connected to each of the “big 3” non-QB players in this draft—EDGE Bradley Chubb, RB Saquon Barkley, and G Quenton Nelson. In a class that didn’t feature so many potential franchise QBs (Josh Allen notwithstanding), Tampa might not have much of a chance to get any of those players. This year, however, it’s looking more and more likely that the Bucs will get an opportunity to draft at least one of them—and they could even have their choice of several if the board falls a certain way.
So, my question for all of you is, which of the “big 3” do you absolutely not want to see end up in Tampa Bay?
Bradley Chubb is the draft’s best pass rusher with a versatile, 3-down skillset. He’s basically a polished, NFL-ready starter that could instantly elevate any defense he’s added to. The Bucs were the worst pass rushing team in the NFL in 2017, so you’d have to think a guy like Chubb would be near the top of their wish list. Tampa did add Jason Pierre-Paul and Vinny Curry this offseason, but adding Chubb to the mix could take them all the way from abysmal to one of the NFL’s up-and-coming units.
Saquon Barkley is widely considered the draft’s best RB, and is thought of by some as a “generational” talent. I don’t know if I view him quite that highly, but Barkley is a very good RB with the potential to be a dangerous offensive weapon for years to come. He also fills a big need for the Bucs, whose RB corps features ex-Falcon Jacquizz Rodgers, reserve-with-upside Peyton Barber and little else. In terms of instant impact, Barkley could provide the biggest boost in year 1, as RBs seem to adjust more quickly to the NFL than most other positions.
Quenton Nelson is, in this writer’s humble opinion, the best player in the 2018 NFL Draft. If he played tackle, he’d be in contention for the #1 overall pick. However, as a guard, it’s possible he may fall out of the top-5. Nelson is an NFL-ready, All-Pro caliber interior offensive lineman that is a dominant run blocker and very good pass protector. He should be able to plug in and immediately improve an offensive line. Nelson plays a position that doesn’t get many individual accolades, but he could have a huge impact for Tampa as a long-term elite starter.
If I had to choose, I’d say Quenton Nelson. Sure, he’s not as flashy as Chubb or Barkley, but he’s more talented than either of them—and would likely remain an elite starter for the Bucs for a very long time. The good news is that the Chicago Bears have been heavily linked to Nelson recently, and could select him right in front of Tampa Bay. Truthfully, any of the “big 3” would be great additions to Tampa’s roster—the bigger question is, can Koetter and Mike Smith get the most out of them?
What do you think about the top-tier prospects that the Bucs could add at 7 overall? Share your thoughts in the comments, and vote in the poll below.
Which of these prospects do you absolutely not want to fall to the Bucs at #7?
This poll is closed