Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Khalil Mack

Kiper's Mock 3.0: Buccaneers

March, 13, 2014
Mar 13
After a 4-12 season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hold the seventh overall pick in the draft.

It's hard to predict what the new regime of general manager Jason Licht and coach Lovie Smith will do with that pick. But the Bucs definitely have options as they start a new era.

Even after signing veteran quarterback Josh McCown, Smith said it remains possible the Bucs could use their first-round pick on the position. That could come into play if Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr remain on the board when the Bucs pick.

If the Bucs don't go with a quarterback, there are other options on offense. Tampa Bay is overhauling its offensive line and tackles Jake Matthews and Greg Robinson could be options. If the Bucs really want to spice up their offense, wide receiver Sammy Watkins could be a possibility.

But Smith is a defensive coach and he might go with what he knows best. Outside linebackers Khalil Mack and Anthony Barr have been tied to the Bucs in some mock drafts.

Check out ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper's latest mock draft to see which players he thinks Buccaneers should target with their first pick.
Todd McShay’s latest Insider mock draft is out and he has the Buccaneers taking Buffalo outside linebacker Khalil Mack.

That's been a trendy pick in a lot of mock drafts. But McShay acknowledges that the strongside linebacker position isn’t a premium spot in coach Lovie Smith’s defense. Still, McShay says Mack is a special talent that the Bucs could maximize.

Mack can rush the passer and drop in coverage. I’d rather see the Bucs get a pure defensive end. But there’s not going to be one of any great value at No. 7 overall.

In McShay’s scenario, Texas A&M offensive tackle Jake Matthews is available to the Bucs and so is his college teammate, wide receiver Mike Evans. Either of those players would make plenty of sense for the Bucs.

But let’s keep in mind that Smith is a defensive coach and McShay may end up being right with Mack as the pick.

Bucs question: Draft a LB?

March, 1, 2014
Mar 1
Let’s turn to Eric from Adelphi, Md., for today’s mailbag question.

Eric wants to know if I think the Bucs should draft a linebacker in the first round. My short answer is no and my reasoning is pretty simple. The Bucs have Lavonte David on the weak side and Mason Foster in the middle.

That leaves the strong side as the only opening. In an era when teams play so much nickel defense, the strongside linebacker wouldn’t be on the field very much. I can’t see using a first-round pick on a part-time player.

That said, some mock drafts are linking the Bucs to Khalil Mack and Anthony Barr, a pair of guys that played outside linebacker in college. Both have pass-rush skills and it might be a wise move to draft one of them and move him to defensive end. But there’s no need to draft an outside linebacker in the first round because the need isn't there.
Mel Kiper Jr. revealed his first mock draft, Insider and his pick for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers isn't a real shock.

Kiper has the Bucs taking Buffalo outside linebacker Khalil Mack with the No. 7 overall pick. A traditional outside linebacker isn't Tampa Bay's biggest need, but there's plenty of logic there because the Bucs desperately need an edge rusher and Mack has freakish athletic skills. He may be too small to move to defensive end permanently, but he has great pass-rush skills and that's reason enough why I could see the Bucs taking him.

I also could see them taking UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr, who Kiper has going one pick sooner to Atlanta.

But that doesn't mean the Bucs are locked in on a pass-rusher. The new regime has to decide whether Mike Glennon can be the starting quarterback. If the answer is no, Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater would be available in Kiper's scenario.

The Bucs could decide to stick with Glennon and that could lead them to use this pick on an offensive lineman. Auburn tackle Greg Robinson and Michigan tackle Taylor Lewan are available in Kiper's mock.