For the first time since taking quarterback Jameis Winston No. 1 overall in the 2015 draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a pick in the top five.
Despite that, things have not been good in Tampa. The team has had just one winning season since 2011 and Winston’s longterm future is in doubt. The same can be said about Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht, who was surprisingly brought back for a sixth year.
New head coach Bruce Arians now faces the difficult task of fixing the Buccaneers with the futures of Winston and Licht in doubt. The fixing should be on the defensive side of the ball. The Buccaneers allowed the second-most points in the NFL last season and lost starting linebacker Kwon Alexander in free agency.
In the SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft, Gil Arcia of Bucs Nation checks in with his selection of Tampa Bay.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
Arcia: This is a crucial spot for the Buccaneers and trading down would be a better option. But with the need for a legitimate pass rush and the uncertainty surrounding the future of defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, the Bucs should go with Houston defensive lineman Ed Oliver. Tampa Bay hasn’t had a disruptive force along the defensive line in a long time. Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul provided some excitement last season, but that’s just one man. Last year’s first-rounder Vita Vea came on strong as the season progressed and pairing him with Oliver will solidify the defensive front for years to come.
Analysis: It’s true, the Buccaneers need pass rush help. McCoy and Pierre-Paul combined for 18.5 sacks last season, but both are over 30. Further, rumors swirled that McCoy would get released this offseason. From that standpoint, it makes sense to take Oliver, a player who can play on the inside or shift outside with his uncanny athleticism. Don’t forget, some teams wanted Oliver to work out this offseason at linebacker. Maybe his NFL role is playing much more than just defensive tackle.
Top five remaining players:
- 5. Devin White, LB, LSU
- 6. Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
- 7. T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
- 8. Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
- 10. Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
Our final pick of the day in the SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft is coming up later today 3 p.m. ET. Ed Valentine of Big Blue View will be here to make the pick for the New York Giants. Will he take a quarterback?
What grade do you give the pick of Ed Oliver by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?
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