With the nineteenth pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select…
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jabrill Peppers, S | Michigan
The Bucs were a fun team to watch in 2016 and just missed out on a playoff berth in the NFC. Jameis Winston still has a bit of maturing to do off the field, but the Buccaneers struck gold with the first overall pick in the 2015 draft. Winston is the first QB in NFL history with consecutive 4000 yard passing seasons to start a career. As if he needed more firepower, Tampa Bay went out in free agency and signed the speedy DeSean Jackson to add a vertical threat to the Bucs offensive passing game and help free up monster receiver Mike Evans. The Buccaneers offense seems poised to continue to push the ball down the field in 2017, but that doesn’t mean they won’t look to add more weapons for Winston. The coaching staff really likes tight end Cameron Brate who came on strong late in the season but they could look to upgrade at the position especially if OJ Howard or even David Njoku are on the board. A lot of mock drafts also have Tamba Bay grabbing Winston’s former running mate at Florida State, Dalvin Cook. With running back Doug Martin in and out of rehab, not to mention his 3 week suspension to open the upcoming NFL season, the Buccaneers may be looking for a new feature back.
Defensively the Bucs finished 23rd in the league and while this looks like an up-and-coming unit with the free agent signings of DT Chris Baker and safety JJ Wilcox, depth is needed on all 3 levels. The Bucs went out and signed free agent defensive end Robert Ayers last offseason before grabbing Noah Spence in the second round of the 2016 draft. Together they combined for 12 sacks. Meanwhile on the other side of the line, William Gholston totaled only 3 sacks. It’s no secret Tamba Bay has been looking to add a premier pass rusher for the last few years but has yet to find that guy. This draft class is deep at the position so it wouldn’t surprise me if the Bucs opted to grab a prospect such as Taco Charlton or Derrick Barnett if he were to fall. At linebacker Lavonte David is a stud, Kwon Alexander is serviceable and Cameron Lynch is, who? Jarrad Davis would look good in a Bucs uniform should they choose to go that route. Then there’s the secondary. I mentioned free agent addition JJ Wilcox from Dallas, and the Bucs have last years first round pick Vernon Hargreaves at one of the corner spots. Brent Grimes mans the other and is still playing at a high level even at the age of 33. Eventually they’ll need a replacement there, but that other safety spot is wide open. I like Budda Baker as a safety prospect but there’s another big name that everyone has there eyes on right now and that’s Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers. If Christian McCaffrey is the Swiss army man of this draft on offense, the same can be said about Peppers on defense. At Michigan, Peppers lined up all over the field, as a linebacker, safety, return man and even played some snaps on offense. The nag on Peppers has been his size as a linebacker and his lack of tape & production at safety, the position he will ultimately play at the NFL level. At the end of the day, Peppers is too good of a prospect to pass up and he will go somewhere late in the first round possibly earlier depending on how teams scouts grade him.