Draft day is less than 48 hours away, Scrumsters. Every major sports network has descended upon Chicago, and every team is making their final preparations. But for the hometown Buccaneers, what really matters is who they’re going to draft with their ninth overall pick. Its the moment that you’ve all been waiting for. For my number one pick, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should select…
#1 DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
The story for the Buccaneers throughout all of last season was the lack of depth in regards to the pass rush. Yes, on occasion, the Bucs were able to put pressure on opposing QB’s, but would eventually let up in the second half. The line was once again lead by stalwart Gerald McCoy, but he could only do so much. Guys like George Johnson and Jacquies Smith had decent moments, but there was never any consistency coming off the edge. The 23rd ranked defense is going to need help all around, and it all starts with the front line.
Which leads me to Mr. Buckner. I know that he’s ranked as the second best DE after Ohio State’s Joey Bosa. But keep in mind that both Dallas and Jacksonville are looking to boost their defense, and both clubs are picking before Tampa. Bosa is good, but I like the size of Buckner. Standing at an imposing 6’7” and 291 lbs, DeForest earned Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, raking in 83 total tackles (17 for a loss) and 10.5 sacks in a otherwise pedestrian Oregon defense. Considering that the Ducks played the 3-4 formation, its possible that this young stud could play at both end and defensive tackle.
Buckner has decent speed (5.05 40 time) and has good ability to shed blockers, and a hustle to chase down opposing running backs. Also, with his wingspan, he’s more than capable of deflecting the pass (10 career passes defended). His height tends to be a detriment in regards to his initial moves off the ball, but he’s more than capable of making the adjustment at the pro level. Per expert analysis for CBS Sports, Buckner has been compared to Arizona’s Calais Campbell, and if he develops into a similar style of player, we could have another Simeon Rice on our hands. Tampa Bay, take notice; put your money on DeForest Buckner. He could be a star on the rise.
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