Who Will Tampa Bay Buccaneers Take In First Round of NFL Draft?

New Swashbuckler?

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The NFL Draft is almost here. Let’s examine who the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are most likely to draft in the first two rounds.

In 2023, they exceeded expectations by going 9 – 8 and winning the NFC South. They beat Philly in the Wild Card playoff game, 32-9. They lost in the Divisional Round to Detroit, 31-23.

They had three Pro Bowlers; quarterback Baker Mayfield, wide receiver Mike Evans and tackle Tristan Wirfs.

Tampa’s biggest team needs are pass rusher, inside offensive lineman, corner back, safety and linebacker.

Several different publications have suggested that the Bucs should consider trading up in the draft. General manager Jason Licht is not known for doing that.

“I would say right now, I like the thought of the way I really have a lot of trust in my staff – both the coaching staff and the scouting staff – and how we’ve been operating,” Licht said. “Those picks seem pretty important to me right now.”

They have the 26th pick in the first round. They could select Oregon center Jackson Powers-Johnson if he is still available. He is the best center in the draft. They also need to replace Ryan Jensen. He injured his knee in August 2023 and missed the entire season. He announced his retirement in February 2024.

Powers-Johnson is 6’3 and 320 pounds so he has the required measurable for the position. He won the Rimington Trophy (2023), which is awarded to the best center in college football. He was also a Unanimous All-American and First-team All-Pac-12 in 2023.

He played in the Senior Bowl and he was dominant in practice against top competition. He played in two practices but he stood out playing guard and center. In 1-on-1s, he displayed his athleticism, violent hands and physicality.

Dallas and Green Bay are picking right before Tampa Bay so it is very possible that one of them will pick Powers-Johnson.

Penn State defensive end Chop Robinson might be the player picked in that case. He started his career at Maryland as a linebacker before transferring to Penn State before his sophomore season. Robinson is listed as 6’3 and 240 pounds.

Last season he played in 10 games and had 7.5 tackles for loss and 4 sacks. In 2022, he had 10 TFL and 5.5 sacks. He was named First-team All-Big Ten in 2023.

The Buccaneers also have the 57th pick in the second round. A player that may still be on the board and a good pick would be defensive end Bralen Trice (Washington).

Trice is 6’4 and 260 pounds. He had 11.5 TFL and 7 sacks in 2023. In 2022 he had 12 TFL and 9 sacks. He was First-team All-Pac-12 in 2022 and 2023.

If he is not available guard Cooper Beebe (Kansas State) would also be a good fit. The 6’4, 335 lb. guard had a decorated career for the Wildcats. He was a Unanimous All-American (2023), First-team All-American (2022), Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year (2022, 2023) and First-team All-Big 12 (2021-23).