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2024 7-Round Buccaneers Mock Draft: Post-Combine Edition

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By: Mike Kiwak

Photo by Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Draft profiles continue to round out as Tampa’s needs come into focus.

Mock Draft Monday….? Mock Draft Monday!

While some of the team’s positions of need seem fairly clear, nothing can be said definitively on the Buccaneers’ 2024 NFL Draft plans until free agency commences in two weeks.

So, we’ll use our first Bucs mock draft of the year to familiarize ourselves with some potential targets and how they might align with draft priority. Now, Jason Licht is historically one of the most active trade artists on draft day during his tenure, but we’ll just make picks as currently scheduled right now since we’re so far out.

Duke v Miami
Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images
Graham Barton (left)

Round 1, Pick 26 – C/G Graham Barton, Duke

Measurables: 6-foot-5, 313 pounds

This is an epic draft for offensive linemen, and the chances are high the Bucs will have their pick of at least someone they like.

Graham Barton fits their mold to a tee – he’s most experienced as a tackle in college with 34 starts on the blind side but possesses the profile of an interior player. He’s a stocky, explosive blocker with great athleticism, intelligence, and play demeanor. He’s universally heralded as a hard worker who leads on and off the field, giving him all the makings of a high-floor starter.

Tampa could desperately use one of those at either left guard or center, and I don’t think they will have to think much if he’s still on the board at 26 overall.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: FEB 03 Reese’s Senior Bowl
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Marshawn Kneeland (left)

Round 2, Pick 58 – EDGE Marshawn Kneeland, Western Michigan

Measurables: 6-foot-3, 268 pounds

With the release of Shaq Barrett and the team’s generally underperforming edge group outside of YaYa Diaby, Tampa must continue to seek out high-ceiling talents. Kneeland will appeal to Licht and Co. as a plus athlete with heavy hands who can be moved around the field, either dropping into coverage or attacking with his hand in the dirt.

He’s still fairly raw in terms of implementing finesse into his game, instead opting for a direct but effective bull rush. He will be a strong run defender with his great length, strength, and ability to wrap up ball carriers. Between good college tape, an eye-popping Senior Bowl, and an excellent Scouting Combine, Kneeland’s sweet spot falls right in Tampa’s range.

Round 3, Pick 89 – WR Jalen McMillan, Washington

Measurables: 6-foot-1, 192 pounds

Now before anyone goes walking the plank and diving into an ocean of moribund assumptions, this has nothing to do with Mike Evans’s future. We’ll find out about that soon enough, but I think the team is going to be heavily invested in this stacked receiver class.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 08 CFP National Championship - Michigan vs Washington
Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Jalen McMillan

Ultimately, Tampa needs more depth in their corps both in the short- and long-term. Evans, even if he’s back, will not be in his prime forever entering his age-31 season. Chris Godwin is also entering the final year of his deal, and the team might not be keen on handing him $20-23 million a year again – he’s a good player still, but clearly not the same since his knee injury, and he continues to deal with knicks and dings that wear a player down over time.

Trey Palmer displayed some enticing flashes in his rookie year, but the room is pretty bare behind him. A robust array of weapons will only help whomever is under center and keep the team in healthy shape moving forward.

Enter McMillan, who was the third option on an absolutely stacked Washington offense but still impressive in his own right. He’s a silky smooth mover and route runner with an advanced understanding of how to set up defenders, which should translate to the pros well despite seeing so many free releases in college. His reliable hands, ability to threaten at all 3 levels, and blocking tenacity are all plus traits that can be parlayed into a long NFL career as No. 2 or No. 3 option.

Round 4, Pick 126 – CB D.J. James, Auburn

Measurables: 5-foot-11, 175 pounds

The pipeline of Auburn defensive backs to Tampa is well-noted between Jamel Dean and Carlton Davis, and this year could see another addition to the list with D.J. James. The long-term futures of both aforementioned veterans feels up in the air, and the team would be wise to invest in the position anyway given how often Dean and Davis are hurt.

James is very slight at just 175 pounds, but he’s got good movement skills and length with great twitch and aggressiveness. That aggression needs to be dialed back some, as he’ll bite on double moves and fakes that put him in positions where his speed is not good enough to recover.

He won’t crack the upper echelon of cornerback prospects in another bountiful crop, but he’s definitely in the conversation for late Day 2, early Day 3.

Round 6, Pick 204 – RB Jase McClellan, Alabama

Measurables: 5-foot-10, 221 pounds

The Bucs would do well to fill out the ranks behind Rachaad White, who firmly grasped the reins as RB1 in 2023. Chase Edmonds was unremarkable as a veteran backup, while Sean Tucker and Ke’Shawn Vaughn contributed basically nothing.

You frequently see backs of McClellan’s ilk provide meaningful snaps in the NFL. A true jack of all trades, master of none type, McClellan pairs his strong contact balance with clean vision and creative savvy to manufacture yards at a consistent clip. He’ll never blow you away as a homerun threat or bulldozer, and the physical tools present a hard ceiling, but he’s steady and should provide value in rounds 5 or 6.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: FEB 01 East-West Shrine Bowl
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Tyler Owens

Round 6, Pick 220 – S Tyler Owens, Texas Tech

Measurables: 6-foot-2, 216 pounds

At this point, you hunt for meaningful depth and lottery tickets.

Owens is big and fast…and that’s it right now. He played fewer than 1,000 snaps on defense and started just 12 games in college, so he’s about as close to a blank canvas as you’ll find in this league…or the universe in its entirety, if you ask Owens himself. The flashes are fun, and his build and demeanor scream special teams ace early in his career. There’s almost no chance he provides any defense snaps in year 1 or probably even 2, but patience could yield some tantalizing fruit.

Round 7, Pick 247 – DL Logan Lee, Iowa

Measurables: 6-foot-5, 281 pounds

Again, depth and lotto.

The Bucs can stand to keep stocking the trenches, and Lee presents a good option as a 5-technique in Todd Bowles’s defense. He’s a good athlete with a strong motor despite being undersized, but the lack of standout traits will cap his upside and probably push him deep into the 6th or 7th round.

He’ll need to add mass and power while maintaining his quickness, and maybe then he can stick as a rotational type player.

Well, there’s a first stab at the 2024 draft class, Bucs Nation. The outlook may very well change drastically in 2-3 weeks, but for now what do you think of this prospective haul? Vote in the poll below and let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Originally posted on Bucs Nation – All Posts