Analysis: Bucs Get ‘Absolute Robbery’ in Draft Night Trade

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Getty Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles and the front office staff could go multiple directions to open the second round of the NFL Draft on Friday, April 29.

With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers trading out of the NFL Draft’s first round for the first time this century, the team made off like bandits.

“Absolute robbery for [Bucs general manager] Jason Licht and company,” Pro Football Focus’ Brad Spielberger wrote via Twitter.

Spielberger broke down how the Bucs cashed in by trading the 27th pick on Thursday, April 28, to the Jacksonville Jaguars for the 33rd, 106th, and 180th picks. He graded the Bucs at 903 points better on trade value than the Jaguars.

Last time the Bucs traded down from the first round in 1998 per Buccaneer.com’s Scott Smith, the Bucs picked up two second round picks in  Brian Kelly and Jacquez Green. Both players contributed to the Bucs Super Bowl season in 2002.

This time, the Bucs could easily cash in the 33rd pick for more draft capital on Friday, April 29, when the second round of the draft kicks off in Las Vegas. The Bucs own a prime pick for trading down for more draft capital, according to insiders, because only one quarterback went off the board in the first round.

“They’re going to get a lot of action to move down again,” Tampa Bay Times reporter Rick Stroud said. “I think there’s strength in numbers here although they passed on some pretty good players.”

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Bucs Trade Options at 33

Teams searching for a quarterback could give the Bucs two picks between the 37th and 80th selections according to Greg Auman of The Athletic.

Atlanta, Seattle, and Houston each have a pair of picks apiece between the 37th and 80th spots, and all three of those teams have needs at quarterback, Auman noted. Top remaining quarterbacks include Liberty’s Malik Willis, Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder, Nevada’s Sam Howell, and Ole Miss’s Matt Corral. Only Pitt’s Kenny Pickett went in the first round.

Trading down enables the Bucs to go after more prospects at needed positions, Joey Knight of the Tampa Bay Times noted in the video. Colorado State’s Trey McBride could add depth to a thin tight end room. Houston’s Logan Hall and Penn State’s Arnold Ebiketie, both edge rushers, could bolster a defensive front that may lose Ndamukong Suh.

“They gotta get a tight end in this draft, and they probably gotta get one [Friday],” Knight said about the Bucs. “And then you talk about defense. So there’s still some value picks there that will probably be available to them if they move down a few more spots.”

Licht hinted at such a strategy in his pre-draft press conference on April 19. Knight anticipated the first trade before the draft via social media.

“There may not be 30 guys that you think are legit first-round picks, but there’s going to be a lot of good players in the middle rounds,” Licht told the media.

Trading the 33rd pick doesn’t happen often just twice in the past two decades, Auman noted. The Tennessee Titans grabbed the 40th, 108th, and 245th picks in 2015. The Oakland Raiders netted the 38th and 105th in 2007.


Who the Bucs Could Take at 33

If the Bucs stay at 33, the team has good options with the pick. The top-two rated remaining prospects include Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth and  Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean, Auman reported.

Pewter Report’s Jon Ledyard suggested Hall, McBride, Michigan edge rusher David Ojabo, Oklahoma defensive tackle Perrion Winfrey, and Penn State safety Jaquan Brisker. Sports Illustrated’s Bucs Gameday suggested defensive lineman Travis Jones from UConn, Boye Mafe from Minnesota, and Kyler Gordon from Washington in addition to some of the aforementioned players.

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