We are almost a week away from the NFL Draft and the Bucs have a lot of work to do. Despite an encouraging nine win season last year, Tampa Bay has a lot of needs to fill and only seven picks in the upcoming draft to do so. That means if the Bucs want to make a serious run at the playoff then they need to get contributions from all of their picks, including the late round guys of day three. While a lot of the big name prospects have been discussed in depth by many different venues, we haven’t heard a ton about the “sleepers” who could make an impact as a rookie. Here are my day three targets who the Bucs could, and should, be looking at.
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James Connor, RB, Pitt
Doug Martin’s issues have been well documented and there is still a lot of doubt regarding his future with the team. If the Bucs do decide to move on they could look to take advantage of this deep class of running backs. Connor would be an ideal addition in the fourth or fifth round of the draft. He’s a big body RB who physically punishes anyone who gets in his way. He’s the type of powerhouse, between the tackles runner that compliment what the Bucs already have on the roster in Charles Sims and JacQuizz Rodgers. He doesn’t have breakaway speed, which is a big part of why he will slide down draft boards, but he does accelerate to his top speed fairly quickly. He’s the perfect addition for the Bucs grind it out rushing attack.
Jeremy Cutrer, CB, Middle Tennessee State
This is a very deep class of cornerbacks and it’s likely the Bucs will add at least one. If they decide to address other needs in the early rounds then Cutrer could be their best option on day three. He has ideal size, 6’2, for the position and moves very well. On top of that he’s also a good, physical tackler who’s not afraid to take on bigger guys vs the run. This small school gem had offers from big time colleges like LSU, but was forced to go the junior college route do to academics. That combine with his lean build (only 170 lbs) have dropped him on some draft boards, but the talent is still there. He would be a great value in the fourth or fifth round.
KD Cannon, WR, Baylor
The Bucs have made a point this offseason to add some big play speed to the offense. While they did that with the signing of DeSean Jackson, they could look to add another deep threat in the draft. Cannon is a very good athlete and one of the faster WRs in this class. He’s also fairly physical with the ball in his hands, not afraid to lower his shoulder. He’s not polished as a route runner and his hands aren’t especially good, but the physical tools are there. He can be a good fourth receiver for the Bucs and he can likely be drafted in the fifth or sixth round.
Roderick Henderson, DT, Alabama State
If you like the quick flashy pass rushing DT, then this pick is not for you. Henderson is all about doing the dirty work as a nose tackle. At 6’0 feet tall and 350+ pounds, he’s a brick wall in the trenches. He loves taking on double teams and re-establishing the line of scrimmage. Henderson also brings an overpowering bull rush to blow plays up in the backfield. He will likely slide to the sixth round or later for several reasons such as lack of length, level of competition he played against and lack of pass rush ability. However, as far as run stuffing interior linemen go, Henderson can be a valuable part of the Bucs rotation.
Josh Dobbs, QB, Tennessee
It’s safe to say that the Bucs are set with their starting quarterback. However, there is a lot to be desired in terms of the backup. If Jameis Winston gets hurt then this team is in big, big trouble. That’s why I believe Dobbs is a great fit in Tampa. This is a QB with really good physical tools; a guy who can make all the throws and make plays with his legs. He brings high character and a good mind. He’s not the most accurate passer on a consistent basis, but he has some great flashes. He’s the type of high potential guy who can come in and win a few games in a pinch and he’s not nearly as raw as many of the other “high upside” QBs in this draft. Look for Dobbs to be a target in the fifth or sixth round.