NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2014 NFL Draft: Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Early Seven-Round Mock

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Seven-Round Mock

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With the 1-8 Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 2013 campaign all but over, it’s never too early to start looking towards the offseason and the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft. There are numerous areas they must improve in, and there won’t be a better opportunity to get better than the draft.

Of those areas needing improvement, one of the biggest concerns is quarterback. After a horrendous start to his 2013 season, Josh Freeman was released. The Buccaneers then handed the reins to rookie Mike Glennon, who has played well so far. While Glennon has shown some long-term potential, Tampa Bay will definitely want to look for a backup plan in the instance he doesn’t pan out.

Despite their need at quarterback, the Buccaneers still have holes across the board. The offensive line – specifically the guard spots – could use some depth behind two above-average starters. Their lack of a pass rush has also been a major concern this season, so Tampa Bay will want to find a disruptive defensive end or two. The tight end position is also a problem seeing as they don’t have a true blocker who can seal the end in the running game.

Either way, the Buccaneers need to make the most of their draft picks in May. The 2014 NFL Draft will offer Tampa Bay an opportunity to rebuild their roster and replace some of the broken pieces that have kept them in the loss column for the majority of the 2013 season.

With that in mind, here’s a look at what the Buccaneers could choose to do with their six current draft picks when the 2014 NFL Draft finally rolls around.

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1st Round: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

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All season long, the Buccaneers have failed to get any sort of pressure on opposing quarterbacks, which has hindered their rebuilt secondary’s ability to slow down offenses. Da’Quan Bowers never panned out, so Tampa Bay needs to go get a dynamic defensive end. Clowney is arguably the most talented player in the 2014 class, but questions about his drive and determination have surfaced this season. When he’s going full speed, though, there aren’t many NFL ends as disruptive as Clowney. Despite other needs, it will be too hard to pass up this elite talent.

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2nd Round: Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State

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Even if the Buccaneers are sold on Glennon as their starter for now, it might be smart for them to go out and get another starting-caliber quarterback who can push him for the job. Carr is an intriguing prospect who has been extremely productive throughout his college career. The younger brother of NFL bust David Carr, the Fresno State gunslinger has excelled in the school’s spread offense. He does tend to overthrow and isn’t very accurate on deep balls, but has the football IQ to develop into an NFL starter.

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4th Round: Xavier Su’a-Filo, G, UCLA

Via Xavier Su’a-Filo’s Personal Twitter Page

While their two starting guards are outstanding – assuming they’re healthy – the Buccaneers have minimal depth along the interior of their offensive line. And seeing as their guards routinely get injured, the lack of depth needs to be addressed. Su’a-Filo is a dominating guard with the physical skill set to develop into a true starter in the NFL. His run blocking is impressive, although his pass protection needs some work. While he might be gone by the fourth round, the Buccaneers would be glad to have Su’a-Filo aboard.

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5th Round: Jacob Pedersen, TE, Wisconsin

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The Buccaneers are currently bringing along an intriguing receiving tight end in Tim Wright, but they need some help in terms of blocking from the position heading into next season. By drafting a player like Pedersen, they’d be getting themselves a quality blocker who has spent his entire career opening holes for an outstanding running game. He has great balance and power when blocking, driving and turning his defender to open holes. On top of that, he’s also a sneaky threat in the passing game.

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7th Round: Jonathan Brown, OLB, Illinois

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With several of their outside linebackers headed for free agency, the Buccaneers will need some help at the position in the not-so-distant future. Even though they’ll likely swipe a starter off the open market, adding a youngster to fill a backup role would be wise. With Brown, the Buccaneers are getting a physically gifted linebacker who is still struggling to get it all together mentally. He often takes poor angles and has a lot of technique issues, but the potential is there if he’s coached properly.

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7th Round (via PHI): Chaz Sutton, DE, South Carolina

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The other South Carolina defensive end, Sutton has spent the last couple of seasons living in Clowney’s shadow. Still, he’s a talented pass rusher who could be a valuable asset in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers have watched their ability to get to opposing passers dwindle over the last year, and need more help at defensive end. Even with Clowney in the mix, adding a talent like Sutton late could be a solid insurance policy moving forward.

Note: The Buccaneers received a conditional pick from the Philadelphia Eagles in a trade for Arrelious Benn. It’s unclear at this time what round that pick is in. This seventh-rounder was an estimation.

Gil Alcaraz IV is the Content Planner for Follow him on Twitter @GilAlcarazIV, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.