NFL Nation: The Big Quesiton

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What if defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy are gone before the Buccaneers pick at No. 3?

[+] EnlargeRussell Okung
John Rieger/US PresswireIf the top defensive tackles are off the board, the Bucs could consider offensive tackle Russell Okung.
The general consensus is that the Rams will pick quarterback Sam Bradford at No. 1 and the Lions will pick one of the two defensive tackles at No. 2, leaving the other for the Buccaneers. But the Rams haven’t definitively said they’re taking Bradford. It seems as if Suh would be the likely candidate for the Rams if they do pull a surprise.

Let’s say they took Suh. Detroit almost certainly will go with McCoy because the Lions need a defensive tackle as much as the Bucs do. If that happens, the Bucs suddenly wouldn’t be in a very good spot. Their best hope then would be that someone would be anxious enough to trade up for Bradford. That would be nice because the Bucs probably could get a good player if they move back a few spots and they’d probably be adding at least one more draft pick. But draft trades are easier said than done.

If the Bucs are at No. 3 and Suh and McCoy are gone, the choice likely will come down to safety Eric Berry or offensive tackle Russell Okung. The argument there opens a whole can of worms. Do you really draft a safety that high? The Bucs certainly could use help back there, and Berry’s the best defensive back in the draft. But how many problems is a safety going to solve if you don’t upgrade your front four?

Okung would have to be intriguing. He is a franchise left tackle and could protect franchise quarterback Josh Freeman. But the Bucs already have a decent left tackle in Donald Penn. But Penn has been making some noise about wanting a new, long-term contract. If the defensive tackles are gone, the Bucs might have to switch up and get an offensive tackle.

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