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Column: Drafting The Bucs 2018: Defensive Tackle

Adding rookie talent to a core group, laden with potential hall of famers, is an option for Tampa Bay in the later rounds of this year’s draft.

I contemplated doing this latest installment of Drafting The Bucs last week, as it doesn’t appear to be a pressing need, but with the additions of Vinny Curry and Jason Pierre-Paul, Defensive End seems locked up for the time being.

With Gerald McCoy holding the line, a potential future hall of famer and a savvy veteran, the Bucs can look to address the defensive tackle position in the later rounds of the draft.

It will never hurt to add young, hungry talent to a strong line where they can sit under the learning tree, spending time with and racking up sacks with the best of them. Let’s look at potential options at the position in this latest feature.

Defensive Tackle:

Taven Bryan (DT, Florida, 6’5, 291 lbs.)

Bryan will be the only potential first rounder that we’ll discuss this week as Tampa Bay has the potential to add him to the roster as a very early day two selection. Some mocks have Bryan going in the middle of the first round, but what a steal this would be!

Bryan is a freakish athlete. He has speed to go with his size and adding him to the line alongside McCoy would be a really solid choice. If given the opportunity to play alongside the best, can you ultimately carry the torch at the position in future years?

2017 was his breakout year, he had 40 sacks, six tackles for loss and four sacks. That is remarkable at the defensive tackle position, especially in a conference loaded with as much talent as Florida sees opposite them each and every game.

The Buccaneers certainly have more pressing needs to address in round one, but when you get into days two and three, why would you not take the best available player? If Bryan is the card turned in to start the day, rest assured, that defense is going to be scary for NFC South opponents and their running backs looking to find that open hole.

Rasheem Green (DT/DE, USC, 6’4, 275 lbs.)

Green is one of the most intriguing prospects in this year’s draft. The crazy part? He’s seemingly one of the forgotten talents in it this year as well.

In 2017, Green, playing as a junior, recorded 43 tackles, 12 and a half tackles for loss, ten sacks, and a forced fumble. Your eyes go wide when you see those stats, but here’s where things become a point of interest, he can play two positions very well.

Green is being projected as a defensive end on some boards and an interior lineman on others. Why not draft him and let him do both? When you have teams that come at you with some crazy scheming, not afraid to line up a player inside or outside, what harm can that do?

Granted, it can be argued that if you’re a jack of all trades, you’re a master of none.

If Tampa Bay wants to have Green play the inside, do it. If they want him to play at end, do it. If you want to bring this young talent into camp and see where he fits the best, or whether or not he can succeed playing both, why not allow him to spend time with the veterans, garnering knowledge and succeeding as the best of both worlds?

Green is projected to go midway through the second round or early in the third, as with Taven Bryan, why not? The draft is about adding talent, and Green is one with a very high ceiling.

Derrick Nnadi (DT, Florida State, 6’1, 317 lbs.)

Nnadi might be one of the steals of this year’s drafts. I have seen him listed as high as a mid first rounder on some boards and have seen him slide down boards to find himself an early choice as a day three selection.

It doesn’t hurt that he’s from a school that plays to the North of Raymond James Stadium, fans always seem to enjoy having hometown talent on their roster, and Nnadi makes a great deal of sense for Tampa Bay.

He’s raw and some consider 6’1 a tad undersized, which can or cannot be argued depending on your position as it relates to the defensive tackle spot.

In 2017, Nnadi amassed 53 tackles, ten of those being tackles for loss, a forced fumble and three and a half sacks.

What is so great about this year’s defensive tackle class is that you literally have no consensus “best overall player” at the position.

Some lucky team is going to find themselves with a great player that might fall to them in a later round. That’s what the draft is all about, finding a quality player that can either make an immediate impact on day one, or someone that after a year or two of growth, is going to find themselves a mainstay on your defensive roster when we get into fifth year options and big money contracts.

Having now covered the line, both on the interior and the exterior, we are coming back next week with the first of the must have positions for the Bucs heading into their 2018 campaign. It’s the subject of an underrated Wale song featuring Lil’ Wayne and a class featuring some potentially transcendent talent, the running back class.

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