The 2017 NFL draft is only eight days away. This is the most exciting event during the grueling seven month offseason. Smoke screens are everywhere. Heresy of whom each team is considering can be found on every single football related website.
Oh and the mock drafts. I cannot wait to be done with these redundant mock drafts. I still will never understand how “professional analysts” can be paid big bucks to guess which players each team will select. My two year old son may do a better job than some of these guys.
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After researching all the speculation in comparison to the Buccaneers needs, I have narrowed the players down to three in which I feel they are targeting. I realize that there are others that we could trade up for like OJ Howard for example, but I’m just going to assume we stay put.
Dalvin Cook– I’m just going to get this guy out of the way. He is seemingly becoming a fan favorite in Tampa. All the publicity and media questions directed towards him and Jameis have indicated this would be a match made in heaven. Bucs fans are clamoring to add him to the roster. I, on the other hand, am opposed to this idea. I like Dalvin and would accept it if that were the case but I do not think he will make the impact that Zeke did for Dallas last year.
It was only a short time ago did the consensus agree that first round Running Backs were rare. A one-year outlier with Zeke to an elite Offensive Line should not change that mentality. His stock has taken a hit lately and I could see it happening, but if I were a GM I would address a position of a bigger need. I have faith in Doug as well. Don’t shoot me.
Obi Melifonwu– I can’t get over this guy’s combine numbers. The dude is 6’4” and ran a 4.4. Those are insane numbers! Don’t even get me started about his vertical and long jump. He is a freakish athlete and the sky is the limit for him. However, he is a project. There are a few holes in his game, such as his man coverage skills but what player in the draft isn’t going to take time to adjust?
Obi is one of two guys I am targeting if I am Jason Licht. We desperately need a Safety in this draft and I would bet a ton of money that we leave with at least one in the early rounds. You also must consider that our Cornerbacks are all short in comparison to the league average. A 6’6” threat in the backfield would help that department overnight. Especially the fastest Safety in the draft. He’s not a popular mock to the Bucs, but don’t be surprised if he’s the guy.
David Njoku– There has been a lot of skepticism with drafting a Tight End in the first round with Cameron Brate currently on the roster. There shouldn’t be. Cameron Brate is an excellent route runner. He is an excellent receiver with great hands, but he is a below-average blocker. Luke Stocker has been our blocking Tight End for quite some time and his days are numbered as he is getting older. Njoku is a dual threat that can be lined up on any given play with the capability of running a route or blocking a Defensive End and could fill that hole. His blocking skills are a little rusty but I saw a report recently in which an analyst indicated that Njoku is almost as athletic and skilled as OJ Howard in both receiving and blocking, but is two years younger.
We have a very young core of guys on this team and he would be a solid infusion to the youth movement to grow as one. Don’t forget Dirk Koetter’s history with Tight Ends. He worked magic with Tony Gonzalez and gave ASJ several opportunities to maintain his lead role at Tight End, even after several incidents that should have mandated his removal of the football team. Adding this guy to a roster with Djax, Evans, Martin, Brate, Humphries, Sims, and of course Jameis would be a nightmare to think about for opposing defenses. I am just as keen on Njoku as I am on Obi.
Ultimately, I would be content with any of these picks. They all, at this point, fill a position of need and possess elite athleticism. The rumors are going to circulate even more in the coming days, so take everything said with a grain of salt. We are certainly at a point in which we could select the best player available so I wouldn’t be surprised with any selection.
Whomever we pick needs to get ready for the spotlight though because the Bucs have also been selected for this season’s Hard Knocks on HBO! It’s been a while since we’ve had this kind of exposure so prepare yourselves. Like I’ve said many times, it’s going to be a very special year…