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DraftNerds: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2023 Mock Draft

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have many issues to fix in this new post-Tom Brady era, can they fix them in this NFL Mock Draft by @DarthDbacks

Dynasty fantasy football is a year-round affair. A sharp manager will always think about all aspects of the dynasty season. Managers keen enough to look ahead will be the ones who can grab themselves an edge. This article is about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and how they recover from Tom Brady’s retirement. Of course, this team is injury-plagued. They have a lot of uncertainties going into the off-season and next season. Most of those uncertainties revolve around the quarterback, offensive tackle, edge, linebacker, and secondary.

Most of the dynasty off-season will be spent discussing incoming rookies and the related topic, the NFL draft. It is easy for us to fall in love with the next workhorse running back or prototypical alpha wide receiver, but a manager in tune with the entire draft class will find themselves ahead of the game. Whether it is the next road-paving interior offensive lineman or genetic freak edge rusher, we can find ourselves at quite the advantage in April by building an entire picture of how the 2023 class will play out. Those that prepare ahead will not often be surprised at the outcomes. Look at the Chiefs or Eagles. They have a ton of depth. This allowed them to outlast the rest of the competition and compensate for any injuries.

The draft order used in this article reflects the order following the Super Bowl. Credit for the mock draft simulation goes to The Draft Network. Team needs are generated from this site.

2022 Season Recap

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers suffered an embarrassing playoff defeat in the Wild Card Round at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys. It’s an even more bitter taste considering it was the final game of Brady’s legendary career at quarterback. He led the Buccaneers to two division titles, a Super Bowl win, and three playoff appearances over his three years there. Brady practically dragged this team into the playoffs on his own with an 8-9 record. Little went right from big-money free agent signing wide receiver Russell Gage being injured or underperforming to Donovan Smith and the offensive line getting hurt non-stop or the various awful injuries suffered on defense.

The Bucs’ defense was gashed on the ground due and through the air thanks to injuries to Shaq Barrett, Chris Godwin, Julio Jones, Carlton Davis, Logan Ryan, Lavonte Davis, and many others. Brady was left with an inexperienced, young offensive line that couldn’t block anyone. At least he had stalwart Mike Evans and plodding Leonard Fournette. Yet, those two, with White and Godwin, couldn’t do much. The team could never get into a groove offensively under new head coach Todd Bowles and Offensive Coordinator Byron Leftwich. The good news is that Leftwich got fired. Replacing him is Dave Canales from the Seahawks.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers missed Bruce Arians. They wasted Brady’s final season. Now, their future is murky. They will push to compete. They don’t want to do a lengthy rebuild. That might not be possible.

2023 Free Agents

Beyond Brady being gone, the Buccaneers have a massive free agent list to potentially bring back or sign/draft new players to replace them. Over a dozen starters and critical depth pieces are set to test the market. One key element I want to mention is that I highly suspect or expect the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to bring in a veteran quarterback like Jimmy Garoppolo. They have an older and win-now team that would benefit from a veteran’s experience and ability. Plus, this team has far too many holes to allow them to move up in the draft to take a highly-regarded rookie quarterback.

The team is letting go of Fournette and likely Donovan Smith. Other free agents are star linebacker Lavonte David and an entire secondary of Jamel Dean, Sean Murphy-Bunting, Mike Edwards, and Logan Ryan. Akiem Hicks and William Gholston leave big holes at the interior of the defensive line. Guard Aaron Stinnie, running back Gio Bernard, backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert, tight ends Cameron Brate and Kyle Rudolph, and wide receivers Julio Jones, Breshad Perriman, and Scotty Miller leave a ton of exposure to fill on their offense. There are more I’ve not named, but the Buccaneers have many spots to fill without enough draft picks.

There will also be a ton of cuts beyond the ones listed, as the team is currently over fifty million dollars over the salary cap. Many changes and new players are coming to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this off-season.

2023 Draft Picks

1.19 – Broderick Jones, OT Georgia

The Buccaneers need to start over at left tackle after Donovan Smith’s miserable season. He’s not worth the cap hit. He will be released. Wirfs is so dominant at right tackle that I’m not sure it’s worth moving him to left tackle and weakening the right side. This is where Jones comes in. He’s a top-three tackle in the draft that has started at tackle his whole Georgia career. Jones’ massive size and stalwart hands fit perfectly at left tackle. With a veteran quarterback, the Buccaneers will have to protect him.

Jones will slide in and start day one, bringing a healthy and tough presence to a bruised-up offensive line. Also, check out how good Jones is below when asked to block way outside on a run—an excellent rushing blocker.

2.50 – Sydney Brown, S Illinois

I wanted to give the Tampa Bay Buccaneers an edge rusher, but I didn’t love the options available here. Most didn’t have the requisite speed or win-now ability that the Bucs would be seeking. However, there’s no denying that Tampa Bay needs a whole new secondary after so many free agents. Brown will seamlessly slide into one of the safety spots. He is a physical and fast safety that fits the type of defense Bowles loves.

Brown loves to play run defense. He’s a strong tackler. Brown can cover tight ends. That’s another need on this defense. Brown knows how to intercept the ball. He was a standout at the Senior Bowl. Sydney fits this defense perfectly. In IDP drafts, I would look at Brown in the third round.

3.81 – Daiyan Henley, LB Washington St.

Henley will bring youth, toughness, and tackling to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker’s room. Lavonte David is 33. David doesn’t fit this roster, either. They need youth, not older players. Either way, Devin White needs a new partner. Henley performed excellently at the combine with an impressive 4.54 40-yard dash. He’s rangy and attacks downfield. He isn’t afraid of blitzing or making tackles in space. In IDP, I would look at him in the third round or so in the rookie draft. Henley will take time to develop, and White will get the king’s share of tackles. However, Henley will bring a refreshing taste of speed and athleticism.

5.155 – Andre Iosivas, WR Princeton

The Buccaneers must replenish their depth at wide receiver with speed, speed, and athleticism. Good thing that Iosivas has that in spades. He ran a 4.43 40-yard dash and is 6’3″. He’s got plenty of length to make acrobatic catches downfield. Iosivas will be a better and bigger Scotty Miller that can take the top off defenses and force them to defend downfield. He’s a developmental prospect but could eventually threaten for an outside spot. Iosaivas’s sharp on zone routes, and brings much-needed youth and speed to the team’s aging and injury-prone wide receiver room.

5.175 – Jerrod Clark, DI Coastal Carolina

Clark’s a space-eating lane-filler beast of a man that will help Vita Vea along the interior defensive line. Akiem Hicks and William Gholston are off the team. Logan Hall is more of a pass-rusher than a run-stopping and pocket-collapsing player. That’s where Clark comes in. He’s developmental but has the size and speed to become a mainstay on first and second downs next to Vea. Either way, the Buccaneers must address their interior defensive line or edge rusher. Clark can help address the interior and open up Vea to pass-rush more.

6.181 – Luke Schoonmaker, TE Michigan

The Buccaneers need new tight ends behind starter Cade Otten. With Cameron Brate and Kyle Rudolph leaving, Schoonmaker can step in as a strong blocking tight end with some enticing red zone ability. He is far faster than he looks, which could lead to some potential starts down the line if he develops his route running. Either way, Schoonmaker comes from a rushing-oriented offense at Michigan. He is used to blocking a lot. This will get him into that TE2 role on day one. A cheap starting-caliber player is something the Buccaneers need a lot of. That will help him start day one as the blocking tight end in head coach Todd Bowles’s new-look offense.

6.196 – Puka Nacua, WR BYU

Nacua is one of my favorite sleepers at wide receivers. The Buccaneers must develop better and faster young wideouts that can replace Godwin or Gage when they eventually miss time. Nacua has a lot of speed, versatility, and a proven ability to separate, which makes him an intriguing addition to the team. He’s not worth anything in dynasty but would be a quality pick by the Buccaneers. Nacua brings a ton of sideline ability and athleticism to this aging roster. His star is on the rise after a strong Senior Bowl. I believe in the talent.

7.232 – Mohamed Ibrahim, RB Minnesota

The Buccaneers cut Fournette. They need a new bruising running back to complement Rachaad White. I wanted to find a better running back for the Buccaneers, but I’m not sure they can get one due to having no fourth-round pick. They have so many more pressing needs/wants than another running back. Ibrahim isn’t a slouch, either. He’s a gritty bully that can get tough yards. He’ll be a strong complement to the faster and smaller White. Ibrahim will bring the thunder. You can snag him off waivers following the rookie draft. He isn’t draftable with this late of a selection.

7.253 – Jake Moody, K Michigan

It sounds like current kicker Ryan Succup will be a cap casualty which means the Buccaneers are in the market for a new kicker. Moody has a huge leg, is accurate, and provides a steady and cheap presence at their kicker position. It will not be a surprise if Moody is selected by the Buccaneers earlier. They need a cheap kicker. Moody brings that in spades with tons of talent. This isn’t the first time GM Jason Licht drafts a kicker either in his history. Perhaps he’ll stick with Moody and not cut him too soon like with Gay.

Want the new-look Nerds App or free access and help on the Discord? Join the NerdHerd! Do you want to become the best dynasty player you can be? Be sure to use my promo code “Darth” for 15% OFF your subscription to Dynasty Nerds! It makes it only three dollars or so! Connect with me on Twitter @DarthDbacks. I love to talk football, baseball, movies, shows, Star Wars, and Marvel, and interact with the fantasy football community. For more articles of mine, click here.

As always, May the Force be with you…

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