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Widely considered one of the best interior offensive linemen in the draft, Zion Johnson is incredibly stout and proficient in both the pass and the run game.
The 2022 NFL Draft is finally here, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are selecting 27th in the first round. The team won’t select in the fifth and sixth round, but hold picks in every other round, including two picks in the seventh round.
Tampa Bay’s needs are certainly mostly in the interior of both sides of the ball, with the Bucs perhaps being interested in bringing in a project-type tight end to sit behind Cameron Brate and (hopefully) Gronk, while also maybe wanting to address that secondary that was ravaged by injury last season. With all of that being said, let’s get started with our mock draft.
First round, pick 27, no. 27 overal
Zion Johnson, guard, Boston College
As a New Orleans Pelicans fan, writing the name Zion is slightly painful, especially with the birds’ success against the Suns (imagine how well they’d be doing if the Duke star was healthy?). Alas, I digress. Zion Johnson is projected by some drafts to go earlier in the draft than no. 27, but my guess is that if he falls (which he very well could), the Bucs will jump at the opportunity to draft the young guard who played the majority of his time at left guard in his final year of college. Widely considered one of the best interior offensive linemen in the draft, Johnson is incredibly stout and proficient in both the pass and the run game. With TB12 returning, protecting the GOAT has to be a priority, which is why the Bucs will certainly use one of their first two picks on an interior offensive lineman to try and replace Ali Marpet, who retired this offseason
Second round, pick 28, no. 60 overall
Logan Hall, Interior defensive lineman, Houston
Hall has been a late riser in this year’s draft, with some people having him going as early as the second round. The Bucs may have to trade up to get him, but with defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh remaining unsigned, the Bucs need to act quickly to fill a huge hole (no pun intended) in their defensive interior. Hall is nothing if not big, coming in at 6-feet 6-inches and 283 pounds. While the Bucs might want more of a run-first minded lineman, his flexibility and versatility is incredible, and reminds me a bit of the Colts’ DeForest Buckner. The Bucs might not get Hall, but if he falls they’re going to be hard-pressed to pass on an incredibly talented athletic guy like Hall, especially when you think about having him, Vita Vea and last year’s first-round pick Joe Tryon-Shoyinka all coming after opposing QBs.
Third round, pick 27, no. 91 overall
Jalyn Armour-Davis, corner, Alabama
You can’t go wrong drafting a DB out of ‘Bama, right? Armour-Davis certainly fits all the measurables, with great speed and size for the corner position, he seems to simply need a bit of refinement with coverage skills. That’s fine, with the Bucs having a pretty established trio of Carlton Davis III, Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting occupying all the starting roles. Armour-Davis can sit the bench, learn from the veterans the Bucs have on the roster, and maybe make some guest appearances if someone should get hurt.
Fourth round, pick 28, no. 133 overall
Isaiah Likely, tight end, Coastal Carolina
Likely is my sleeper for the draft, and is certainly a reach for the fourth round, but his talent in the open space is exciting. He can make people miss, and possesses solid size for the position. He is nowhere near the blocker that Gronk is or the route runner that Cam Brate is, but that’s why he’s going to (hopefully) sit and learn some things, right?
Seventh round, pick 27, no. 248 overall
Seventh round, pick 40, no. 261 overall
Tre Sterling, safety, Oklahoma State
Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, edge, Notre Dame
With these late-round picks it’s always difficult to anticipate which picks teams will pick, and which will be traded, or which players will even make the roster. However, Tre Sterling could be a steal in the seventh round. A consistent starter at Oklahoma State, he was anticipated to be a mid-round selection before suffering a major wrist injury that cost him his 2021 season. Now, Sterling might have to develop some special teams skills in order to make the Bucs roster. If he does, he could provide some needed depth behind a solid safety rotation of Antoine Winfield, Jr. and newly-signed Logan Ryan.
As for Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, the Bucs need some backup pass rushers with Jason Pierre-Paul unsigned and unlikely to return. MTA is a really interesting prospect, as he was a three-year starter at Notre Dame and a captain on the defense in his final season. While his size is a bit of a concern (he looks a lot heavier sometimes than the 270 he’s listed at), his experience, leadership and team-first mentality could prove invaluable for the Bucs in many ways.
Regardless of who the Bucs draft this year, this offseason has been a home run. Brady’s back, they brought back almost all of their major free agents and look primed and ready for another Super Bowl run. Fire those cannons and let’s watch some names scroll on the screen!
Follow @ctbrantley12 on Twitter and listen to him on the RBLR Bucs podcast.